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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

« Finslippy has a new home | Main | EIGHT »
Wednesday
Oct202010

Write blog post: check!

I am officially spread too thin. Like peanut butter that has been spread too, uh, thin. On a piece of toast, say. Nothing worse than thinly spreaded peanut butter. On the other hand you don’t want too much, or it gets stuck in your throat.

Now I’m hungry. Thanks, bad analogy.

This whole “my kid is back to school and therefore I have the whole day ahead of me” notion is bullshit. Bullshit! You heard it here first! Because it’s not the whole day. It’s six hours. Then you factor in getting to and from school, and blammo, you’ve lost an entire hour. So: five hours. Five hours during which, in addition to work, you’ve got to exercise (right?), answer emails, eat, and also carry out an unending list of small yet vital errands and tasks that somehow manage to eat up your entire day because say you have to print out a contract but the driver on your computer was deleted after you had to get the computer serviced so you download the new driver which of course means you have to restart and once you finally get it to work it turns out the printer is out of ink and the only place that carries your printer’s cartridges is the Staples which is easily a half-hour walk from your place and the employees at Staples hate to be rushed or to do their jobs at all so that’s going to eat up another half-hour, easy, so while you’re there you might as well pick up some school supplies and—oh, look, it’s pick-up time!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a notepad, upon which, I resolved, I would write my to-do list for the day. It was a small, simple notepad. It might have cost a little over a dollar. It was not an enormous investment. Usually I have notebooks and pads all over the place, but at some point I cleaned and purged and removed every half-finished book of scribbles that was cluttering up my shelves. And then I had nothing to write on. I could write a to-do list on my computer, but then I'd be denied the pleasure of crossing off items. Crossing them off AGAIN and AGAIN and maybe stabbing at them a little bit.

I forgot to use my new notepad for the first couple of days after I bought it, because I was too busy trying to find, I don’t know, socks. I can’t remember why I didn’t use it. Finally I remembered to use the notepad, and I spent a day crossing items off my list and feeling terribly organized and accomplished. The next day I went to write a new list, and I couldn’t find the notepad. I still haven’t found it.

So now my to-do list is in my head, and at the top of it is the item OH MY GOD FIND THE FUCKING NOTEPAD. I could buy another one, sure, but that would be admitting defeat. Plus it would be another errand and then another entire day would be gone, poof, like that.

Reader Comments (78)

Alice, I generally love your work and lap it up with a spoon, but i have to say that this was a little irritating to me, the working mom. You know, working, like I'm chained to a desk for 8 hours a day and I have to drop off and pick up from daycare and when the printer breaks I have to go chase down that scenario on Saturday, as well as cook all the meals in my house, keep everything relatively clean, and do the other stuff too, like seeing family, keeping clothes in the closets, rounding up gifts and groceries, yada yada, all AFTER work hours.

I would KILL for five hours during the day.Seriously, if it would get me five free hours A WEEK, let alone A DAY, I would off someone, no question.



October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Also, I maintain four blogs, two of which are professional, one of which is about cooking and requires prep, photos, and all that jazz. So don't tell me the writing is what is keeping you so busy. Sister, PUH-LEEZE.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
I have to say, Megan, this is a little irritating for me, because *I am* a working mom. I make more than half of my family's income, and I have to do it in a relatively small window of time.

As long as we're comparing whose scenario is worse.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
Excuse me, Megan? What did I say, exactly, that warranted this kind of response?

I don't know what you're so angry about, but it surely isn't my innocuous post about not having enough hours in the day. I think we can all agree that that's a fairly universal complaint.

As for your belief that writing doesn't take up a lot of time, that leaves me sort of speechless. If you want me to go into detail about the multiple projects I currently have and how much time they each take up, I mean, I can send you a timesheet, but I think you'd be bored senseless.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
This is why I do not use the calendar in my work email to remind me of anything important. Because that only works if I remember to look at the damn calendar in time. Which I never do. I am a post-it note junkie, myself. I write lists and Important Things on post-its, often multiple times, and have them all over the fucking place. Often, it's the act of writing the same reminders a dozen times that makes me remember whatever-the-hell it is, not the notes themselves. But the Really Extremely Important things get written on the littlest post-its, and stuck to the back of my cell phone or on top of the ID sleeve in my wallet -- because those are two places that I will always see at least a couple of times each day, so it's nearly impossible to forget about whatever is on the note. (If I have to add this...I still forget at least half the things I write on all these damn notes. *sigh*)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B
Alice,

I'm sorry. I'm tired, and I'm bitchy. I have an infant, get up at 5:30 every morning, and hit the ground running. I would love to have time to go to the gym more than twice a week but it's not gonna happen.

I have three jobs, one of which is the actual "sit at a desk all day" job and the others are freelance writing.

I get it.

And I'm sorry to be a bitch. I was just jealous of your chasing down the computer story because I have had a similar task sitting undone for months.

Again, sorry.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Megan, thank you, and I get it, I really do. Listen, just the sleep deprivation alone entitles you to some bitching. I would be gritting my teeth at me too.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
I only have one word: Exactly.

(Which was actually six words.)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegsie
As of this last Monday, both my kids are at school "all day". In the run-up, everyone kept asking me what I will do with all my free time... I don't know if you're familiar with Bill Bryson's 'Thunderbolt Kid', but several idiots have been vaporised with my laser vision.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTinkersdamn
I recommend a dry erase board that you can stick somewhere (fridge/wall). Erase and rewrite the list as you see fit...make it big enough you can't lose it under or in anything. When it's time to go get stuff..I write that list on paper..and put it directly into my purse. If I don't - I WILL forget it, and forget everything on it and wander the store with no purpose. Good luck!
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa
And I laughed, especially at the notepad part. Of course you want the satisfaction of physically crossing off the items on the to-do list! I know I do. Makes me feel so accomplished that something I add a few other things I did that day just so I can cross them off too (shower, crossed off; cup of coffee, oh yeah, did that one).
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
As Bilbo says in the movie, "Like butter over too much bread." Glad everything is okay and that it's only schedule craziness and not sick or other emergency craziness. I was starting to mildly worry :)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMargie
I have a notepad. I can't find the pen that came with it.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercheryl
I have learned that almost nothing of worth can be accomplished in six hours, whether it's on a list or not.

Which is why at the end of every day, my kids get off the bus and see their mother waiting for them, weeping.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
I was not aware we have the same life until I read this post.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie
OK, about the notebook thing - here's how I resolved it.

I got myself some chalkboard paint and painted an entire door in the kitchen.

Now I can write GRAND, SWEEPING to-do lists, I can cross things off, I can leave lists for OTHER PEOPLE, and other people can see just how much I have to do so they can just back off.

Plus, I got some colored chalk, so I could even decorate my list if I wanted to. :)
October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris
This reminds me very much of this blog post, which I hope you have seen and which you must immediately see if you have not.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html

There really are just too many THINGS.
October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBriar
My husband has a thing for notebooks. Like he gets great satisfaction from having them all around the house and doesn't seem to mind that each one only has 4 used pages in it.

I've been working on de-cluttering our lives but have accepted that many, many notebooks will always be with us.

Oh, and I totally should not spend time reading not only blogs, but COMMENTS to blogs, but I just did (and always seem to)...so now I have to say that I love it how you can basically get into a full on pissing match and then kiss and make up all within these comments.

I hope poor Megan gets some rest and realizes it's not a competition for busiest mom. As a chained-to-the-office style working mom myself, I actually took comfort in your post about harried days, knowing that the grass is not always greener for those working from home or doing the SAHM thing.
October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Yep. Exactly.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenice Johnson

Amen Sister. I've recently been through my own emotional roller coaster all at the hands of a cute little spiral planner.... you know, to help me keep track of things.... So funny, thanks for the laugh.

November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMari

I write my to do lists on the back of old envelopes (the eco aspirer in me). I have a stash of them on the shelf above my desk, that poke out a look a bit untidy, but they are so useful. Consequently, my to do lists are really easy to loose, however, the advantage is that when I find a list from a few weeks before it is often still quite useful as I won't have yet done half the things on it!

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBriony

Just this morning I discovered that my cell phone has a notepad function. I carefully transcribed the contents of my worrying brain into my cell phone in hopes that it will push me to transform words into deeds. I did get two phone calls made, and subsequently erased them, character by character, from the list. Not quite as tactile as crossing things off, but vaguely satisfying nonetheless. I have great hopes for this new system. We'll see.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

This is my life in someone else's blog... however, the fact that the said computer also now has Windows 7 with Norton and no longer allows cookies to run, but you can't find it, so you can't print a stupid fedex label even when you get the damn driver installed again. So, when you call for some kind of computer support out of India, you get to spend another three never-ending hours trying to figure out what is wrong with the computer (i.e. you) because you CAN NOT GET IT TO WORK.

This is the first time I read a post here, and subsequent comments. Stinkin' hilarious. Thanks for the chuckles! It's so nice to know you're not alone :)

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternikn

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November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUGG Knightsbridge grey

OMG! I'm laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes! This is MY life!!!!! I'm so glad to hear someone else is as disorganized as I am! I have confirmation now that I don't totally stink as a mother! :)

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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