Because nothin’ says The Holidays
like serial procrastination

December 17, 2009 · 14 comments

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I need to see a therapist, if for no other reason (and really, what other reason could there be?) than to find out why I am a classic procrastinator. I know — I’ve heard schpeels on NPR about how it’s all based on how self-centered a person you are. The more you procrastinate, the more you gaze at your navel. It’s all about me, right?

Right?

Did I just hear the collective deafening silence of The Internets?

So, yeah, I procrastinate. To make it a double-whammy come December, at the same time — I believe I’ve mentioned before — I’m on the thrifty side. These two personality traits combine a few times a year, and when they do, it’s not unlike baking soda and vinegar. An explosion of anxiety occurs, and I bring down into my miry pit four (or more) innocent victims, making them wonder whatever happened to all the good cheer that’s supposed to be happening right now. It always starts with good intentions, and a crystal-clear moment when I think, “Hey — I can make that!”  And I get excited, and commence with the daydreaming about me and my two older children making holiday memories by working together, peacefully, laughingly, as tiny little hands help Mommy with The Project. So then, my kindergartener will go into school and hand her teachers their gifts, and will say, “Yes, I helped my Mommy make it.” And the teachers will ooh and aah, and lift me onto their shoulders, carry me down the hallway of the school, and before a ceremony of lavish proportions, crown me School Mom of the Year.

Wait — did I just write that?

I mean, yes, of course. We all want people to like the gifts we give. But this whole homemade thing — it’s really about an obsession with not spending money on things I can make (by the way — if I EVER on this website type the phrase, “I’m thinking about recovering a piece of furniture,” then please, for the love of sanity, call the IPD and warn them of a potential incident that could effect the public good. Tell them to put out an APB for a crazed woman running down the streets of Broad Ripple waving a staple gun and flinging upholstery tacks at innocent bystanders). See, when I saw this post from another food blogger, I immediately commented, with glee, “I’m doing this!!” (and yes, I did include multiple exclamation points). And I thought ahead: I thought, if I’m making custom tea blends for my kids’ teachers and some family members, then I should order the ingredients. And I ordered, pondering the prices and volumes for only 5 or 6 days while my online shopping cart stayed full (gotta love cookies).

But there’s always a rub: the containers. The tea containers had to be cute. Not a cute-yet-un-reusable sort of way, but the cute where the person actually uses the container again. I had these simple round silver tins in mind, but when I went to order them from this site, the shipping was going to cost as much as the 15 containers. This is exactly the type of thing that will keep me from ordering, on principle alone. Nevermind that I’ll spend the next week of my life, needing to pop extra melatonin to sleep at night, trying to find a local source for the tins so I CAN SAVE FIFTEEN BUCKS.

Let me ask you: is a week of your life worth a ten and a five?

Well, I’m happy to say that I decided mine is. Problem is, I decided it after the week was gone. So I found myself carting a 1-year old and 3-year old out in sub-freezing weather to hit thrift stores to see what else I could find. Normally, I love going to thrift stores — I am a person who experiences inexplicable joy while digging through junk that someone else deemed it necessary to give away. Again, more fodder for the therapist (I wonder, are the procrastination and junk-store-diving related?). But all of that joy fades fast when you’re trying to keep four hands from picking up every breakable piece of refuse in the store.

It was actually a successful trip. I found six silver tumblers. All of them tarnished — there’s something I love about tarnished silver — and I could immediately see that they would work for the tea, and that they would make lovely cut flower vases on someone’s breakfast table or guest bath vanity. At a dollar each, they fit the bill.

That was Tuesday. Wednesday was a wash — a Christmas party at the preschool seemed to consume the whole day. So today, I was out again, with two children under age 4, trying to get all the last odds and ends to make it work (the gifts go to school tomorrow, and with us to see family on Saturday). I was grumpy, and angry at myself for once again doing all things of this nature at the 11 o’clock hour. I was impatient with my preschooler, and pushed the nap limits of the baby. Today, I would most definitely not be lifted on anyone’s shoulders and be proclaimed School Mom of the Year. Lifted on a gurney and carried off to a place where your tea comes by way of a Lipton bag in an insulated plastic cup? Perhaps.

And this is the real problem: here I am. Blogging at 10pm, and they’re done. In the bag, ready to go to school tomorrow. I finally found the little round tins for the rest of the gifts, and my daughter did joyfully help me pick out ribbons and write all the cards. But this wrinkle on my forehead — a vertical line right between my eyebrows — it got deeper this week. It’s my procrastination flux capacitor. If I were a Botox-type of woman, that’s where they’d be sticking the needle. And it just leaves me wondering: how do I change this? I’m in my late 30’s, and I’m still wondering when will this change.

But then I look at that photo up there, and think, “Hey, I made those.” That’s the thought I’m left with, and it’s the one that will once again start the whole process, and land me here. In this strange and mysterious place of exhaustion and satisfaction and — dare I say it — joy.

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