Tag Archives: marriage

Procrastination Isn’t All Bad

I’ve put off writing this post as long as I can.(1)

The truth is, I’ve been a procrastinator all my life. The number of library books I’ve returned past their due date adds up to quite a sum in fines. I always tell myself that this isn’t a character flaw, it’s just a way of supporting the library with my funds as well as with my votes.(2)

The one thing that I haven’t been able to procrastinate about is worrying. As soon as worry niggles its way into my mind, there it is, taking up residence, and threatening to stay for the duration.

However, the reason that I say procrastination can be good is that, if you wait long enough, whatever it is you’re putting off may just go away.

Once my husband and I were vacationing in Boca Raton. There was going to be a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, on the other coast, on the day we were supposed to leave. Dan very much wanted to see the launch. I would have liked to as well, but I thought it would make our drive home to Ohio one of crazed madness, driving too far too fast, and not enjoying anything. We would arrive home stressed, exhausted, and angry.(3)

So we postponed having the fight. There were still a few days before the launch and there was a telephone number to call for updates. Every day Dan called and every day they reported whether it was still on schedule or on hold. Many of the days we called it was on hold. Eventually it got to the point where there was no way we could stay for the launch, make it over to the other coast of Florida, and still have enough time to get back to Ohio before we had to go to work.

The point is that at that time neither one of us could be angry about it. Dan missed seeing launch, but not because I was being a bitch about it. I got my long, leisurely drive back home without Dan being a resentful Mr. CrankyPants. In that case, procrastination may have saved our marriage.(4)

Here’s another example of procrastination as a marriage-saver. It’s in my nature put off large purchases by shopping around. Dan is more of the “see-what-you-want-and-buy-it” type of consumer. When we need a major appliance I procrastinate by comparing models, prices, ease of service, delivery charges, and so on. Then when I go out of town for any reason, Dan simply buys the appliance he likes best while I’m away.(5)

Useful as I find it, I am trying to break – or at least lessen – my habit of procrastination. That’s one reason I’m lying here in bed, beset by two kinds of antibiotics plus probiotics, allergy pills, antihistamine pills, and all the usual meds I take just to get through daily life. I have promised myself that I will post on my blogs every week on Sundays. To do that and do it well (or reasonably) I need to start writing by Wednesday at the latest.(6)

Fortunately my Samsung Galaxy Android tablet allows me to dictate. Then when I feel better I can go downstairs to the real computer and edit. Hemingway is said to have advised writing drunk and editing sober. I suppose writing while medicated and editing while recovering is at least close to the spirit.

Defeating procrastination is a question of whether you have power over it or it has power over you. With me, I guess it’s about six of one and half dozen of the other, or a little more on the procrastinating side. But I don’t have time to worry about that now. I’ll get to it later.

 

(1) See what I did there?

(2) It’s less easy to explain away how I managed to procrastinate on filing my taxes. I’m pretty sure that my next investment will have to be a tax attorney. When I get around to looking one up online.

(3) At least I would have. Dan would have skipped the angry part, since he would have gotten his way.

(4) I won’t say I’m recommending procrastination for everyone, all the time. I’m just noting that it has its uses.

(5) That’s also how he ended up with a pet hedgehog, which I suppose is better than a major appliance, though definitely not as useful.

(6) In high school and college I could put off writing like a champ. It was seldom that I ever wrote a paper more than a day before it was due. And I got away with it. Now I can’t – or at least don’t – do that anymore. Either I’ve gotten worse at procrastinating, worse at lying to myself, or better at realizing that my work needs more work. Whatever the reason, I definitely procrastinate less, when it comes to writing.

 

When Life Gives You Daughters…

Dad wanted sons, it’s clear in hindsight. What he got was me and Lucy.(1)

Being a good dad, he never said – at least within my hearing – that he really wanted sons. He never said it to my mother within my hearing either.

But there were subtle signs. He gave us boys’ nicknames, for example. Lucy was Buddy and I was Cubby, after the cute little boy Mouseketeer.(2)

Dad would roughhouse with us. He took us to the rifle range and taught us to shoot. He wanted me to grow up to be an engineer. Lucy was determined to be either a jockey or a veterinarian neither of which was a realistic goal, but he left her to her fantasies and decided that I should follow in his footsteps.(3) My mother finally convinced him not to try talking me out of my goal of being a teacher, but by the time she succeeded I had already given it up.(4)

Dad was no feminist though.(5) He just wanted children that he could engage in his guy pursuits with. He wasn’t a sports fan, but he encouraged – no, positively enabled – any interests or hobbies I had that were even quasi-military.(6) I liked archery, fencing, and martial arts. He would buy me all the equipment or accessories I needed. One Christmas he even gave me a Black Widow model slingshot. It had a spiffy wrist brace so that you could get a steady aim and a stronger pull. I don’t think I ever used it, but if I had wanted to I could have put a ball bearing through the side of the garage.

Lucy and I were what they called tomboys back then – me more than Lucy.(7) My mother still got a chance to indulge girlier whims. Every Easter would find us dressed in ruffled pink organdy with frills and itchy headbands adorned with fruit or flowers. Little white patent leather shoes and little white ankle socks were also required, as was the taking of pictures in front of the house.(8)

Despite the occasional attempt at girliness, Lucy and I were not indoctrinated into the prevailing feminine ideals. For example, neither of my parents ever even hinted that I should hide my brains so as not to scare off the boys. In fact, they encouraged me to show off my smarts in some fairly obnoxious ways. I always knew college was my destiny, but I never got the impression that marriage and motherhood were also expected. It came as a surprise to everyone – most of all me – when I did acquire a husband.

Perhaps not surprisingly, that husband turned out to have a combination of male and female traits himself. He bonded with my father by replacing his shocks and with my mother by gardening. He has a background in private-duty nursing and has often had women for bosses.(9) I don’t know that much about his upbringing, but I do know it left him flexible and understanding about the limits of gender roles. I know even less about Lucy’s husband, but I think it’s probably significant that he drives for Meals on Wheels, another sort of caretaking.

In a way I feel sorry for the girls I see who are raised to be princesses in pink. It’s so limiting. We were raised not as girls, not as boys, not as girly boys or boyish girls, but as children (10), who came from male and female, and carried bits of both inside us. And I can’t speak for Lucy, but I think the experience has served me well.

(1) That’s not her real name, but I may occasionally say unflattering things about her and want to cover my bets. And my ass.
(2) Admittedly these were better than the nicknames one guy on a reality show gave his little daughters – Truck and Tank. But ours were still just a wee bit butch.
(3) He was an industrial engineering technician, and since I was destined for college, that made me the obvious choice. I suppose I could have become an engineer, but I would have been a very unhappy one.
(4) There were much more exciting things to be, like a bus driver, a chemist, an FBI agent, or a poet.
(5) When I decided to keep my own name – well, his name, really – after marriage, he quoted that bit to me about the man is head of the woman as Christ is head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23).
(6) He considered “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” to be a fun, catchy children’s song.
(7) I don’t know what they call tomboys now. Just girls, I think. Or maybe children with non-conforming gender identity norms. If you’re a sociologist, I mean.
(8) Some of these pictures may still exist, but you’re not going to see them here.
(9) Not to imply I’m bossy or anything.
(10) It could have been worse. When we were out and about in the neighborhood Dad would whistle to call us back home. I suppose we could have turned out to be dogs.