Probably just because it’s a gloomy damp day, and grumbling suits it.

Things are actually going well enough, just not to plan. I’ve done some teaching things . . . not the most urgent ones. I’ve done some research . . . on the long-term project, not this month’s main event. (That actually was the plan, for today; the trick will be going back to the main current thing tomorrow, instead of getting caught up in the old thing that now seems like the New Shiny, thanks to the break while I worked on other things.) I’ve been to the gym, though I left two hours later than I planned to. What I never account for, in planning a day at home, is the process that goes like this:

If it snows tomorrow, I can’t wear those boots. Unless I waterproofed them. That would be a great idea, actually. What did I do with the waterproofing stuff? Oh, look, it’s exactly where I thought it was, how very organized of me! Why doesn’t it have a nozzle? Oh, right, now I remember: the old cleaner was having a clumsy day, maybe a year ago (more?) and knocked the nozzle off a new can of bathroom cleaner, and I was a clever-boots and found that the nozzle from the waterproofing stuff fit the can of cleaning foam, and I told myself to remember to notice when we ran low on the foam and move the nozzle back to the waterproofing stuff. Predictably, I was not nearly clever enough to remember to do that. Now, what do I have that will fit the waterproofing can? Not that . . . look under a different sink . . . not that . . . try that one . . . well, that made a mess, and I don’t think it did anything for the boots . . . is there anywhere else to look? (Repeat process a couple of times.) Okay, that worked. Put back the nozzle that didn’t fit (why do household items have at least two different sizes of nozzle, anyway?). Put back the one that did fit. Leave the boots to dry. Get back to Plan A.

Sir John suggested that I toss out the nozzleless can and buy a new one. “Call it your contribution to economic stimulus.” I admit that he has a point, but if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do the boots today, or not unless I’d added another errand to the list of things to do today. It might have been quicker anyway, but then again, maybe not.

It’s this sort of thing that always derails me. That, and feeling that it is time for a cup of tea. If it were just the tea, it would be fine, but I always do something while the kettle boils and then, twenty minutes later, resume Plan A. It would be quicker just to stare out the window while the kettle boils.

At any rate, I was supposed to spend the afternoon decluttering, but I still have Urgent Teaching Things to do before tomorrow, and I think I can see how this is going to go. Once the UTT are done, it will be time to cook dinner, and afterward I will get ready for tomorrow’s departure at sunrise, and then I will do something to wind down before bed, and the clutter will be exactly where I left it.

But I will be able to wear my favorite boots even if there are snow showers. Win?

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8 thoughts on “Mustn’t grumble, but I do anyway

  1. I used to not have ADHD, but I think the internet and social media have induced it in me. I’m like you — have a plan, screw around trying to make it work, have coffee that takes me away from plan, read something else interesting and/or for class, stay up until 1:00 reading Machiavelli, lose sleep, feel terrible in the morning, oh look — cat pictures!

    I am hoping that having a research assistant (or two) will help me be more accountable for whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. We’ll see.

      1. — “I’m too much a control freak to make good use of research assistants, though I’ve tried.”

        I like to think of myself as a fantastic collaborator, so I hope that this experience with the assistants will be useful for me! We’ll see…

  2. That pretty much perfectly describes how I, too, get sidetracked. It’s also my best excuse for why I don’t keep up better with household chores, both regular and of the intermittent kind (like, yes, waterproofing boots. Or, recently, in my case, a raincoat): I have enough experience with this sort of sequence to know that five minutes of getting tea and doing a few chores while the water boils, or half an hour of tackling a half hour job, will turn into a much longer period away from whatever else I’m trying to do. So I don’t even start (well, I do sometimes get the tea, and wash a few dishes, but I’m cautious beyond that).

    I’m not sure what the/a solution is, but I’m certain that, at least for some of us, ignoring all the “just do this for 5 minutes a day” advice makes sense. I suspect it may actually make sense for people who are constantly interrupted (e.g. by children) because they’ve got another force to counterbalance the down-the-rabbit-hole chore trail. Of course, they end up frustrated because they have to spread the same sequence of events over a whole day, or even several days, before completing the task.

    1. It’s always something. I was amazed, a couple of weeks ago, at how quickly and smoothly I managed to change a light bulb. And then as soon as I put the stepladder away, another one burned out.

  3. Yes, win. And buy 2 cans of waterproofing stuff; it will save you in the end.
    Those “if I try to do A, but I don’t have B, but then I can make it do with C” self-conversations are exhausting. And you’re also right about the tea: I usually unload the dishwasher, and then load it, and then the first thing you know I’m on a full-on cleaning binge of avoiding writing. Looking out the window would be better.

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