Wednesday, January 05, 2011
My refrigerator is the center of my universe, the heart and soul of my very being and without question, the hub of all that defines my world. Not because of the mince pie, Jack cheese and leftover potato salad contained within. But because of the Almighty Calendar that hangs on its shiny surface -- eye-level, next to the school lunch menu, surrounded by tiny scraps of paper upon which I scrawled phone numbers I need to know but will never remember. And like a lot of well-worn items in my household, it looks as though it belongs there -- wedged comfortably between favorite photos, prized artwork, a colorful array of magnetic letters A to Z and those all-important memos and appointment cards without which I would most certainly shrivel up and die.
Each perfect square on that grand and glorious grid of events represents a chunk of precious time. And it must -- I repeat, it MUST -- have something scribbled within it. Someone’s birthday. A holiday mealtime. A veterinary appointment. An eye exam. New tires for the car. A vacation destination. A reminder to return the kids’ library books. Something. Anything. Except nothingness -- which would imply a sort of nothingness about me, I suppose; or perhaps that downtime actually exists in my harried world. Ha! White spaces on my calendar!? How ridiculous. I should be so lucky.
There are swimming lessons, birthday parties and play rehearsals to attend. Basketball games, hair cuts and doctors’ visits galore. Empty blocks simply do not reflect the reality that is mine. Besides, the voids make me feel guilty -- as if I have nothing better to do than sit around and watch bits and pieces of Play-Doh dry and crumble while the kids are at school. Calendars crammed to capacity with details of this or that planned affair give me a real sense of purpose, of direction, of connectedness with the outside world -- linking me to all the goings-on I have chosen to include (willingly or not). And they provide a healthy dose of structure and truckloads of predictability, too -- both of which are sorely lacking under this loonified circus tent. In sum, calendars bring a smattering of order to my otherwise disordered world. I shudder to think where I’d be without mine -- mired in some muddled state till the twelfth of Never, no doubt.
Some days the world simply spins too fast for me (as my friend, Ruth, has so often quipped). Nothing could be closer to the truth. But my oh-so-wonderful, month-at-a-glance, tangible timeline-on-the-fridge helps me hold it all together, to keep everything in its proper perspective and to effectively answer questions like, “What are you doing next Tuesday the 16th?”
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have a clue unless and until I consulted the silly calendar. At least I know my limitations -- one of which involves not straying too far from the Master Schedule. Another: Writing small enough so that everything is neatly and completely contained within its designated block -- an impossible task to say the least.
But I love calendars, despite my personal limitations in dealing with them. I especially enjoy receiving a crisp, new one for Christmas (a traditional wish list item in this household) and spending a lazy afternoon in January slathering its pristine little blocks with all sorts of important dates and times to remember. Every syllable precisely placed, of course. Even more thrilling: Adorning my organizational wonder with cool reminder stickers that are sometimes included as a bonus. Woo hoo! I’m quite certain that for a day or so following said ritual, I fool a myriad of individuals into believing that I’m impeccably organized. Even I believe it for a time, until that dastardly interloper with whom I reside adds HIS appointments, meetings and countless other chicken scratchings to the revered framework I so meticulously and thoughtfully crafted. Arrrrg!
Shortly thereafter, the frenzied pace of the world returns and information starts spilling from those neat and tidy little squares into the narrow margins. Stuff gets scribbled out or transferred to other squares in willy-nilly fashion and big, ugly arrows are drawn across what was once an unsullied masterpiece of time management -- which is a lot like life, I suppose.
It is subject to change.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live. Visit me there at www.melindawentzel.com.
[Melinda Wentzel is Mom of the Month at SocialMoms! Check out her humorous interview at www.socialmoms.com/profiles/blogs/our-very-first-socialmom-of.]