(One of the posts I wrote on my Swell 24.7 blog in my previous life as a gift store owner in the busy tourist town of Provincetown on Cape Cod; posts that are grouped here under the category What Else Is Swell?, and are generally about life in Provincetown, life as a retailer, our fabulous dog Jack who sat outside the store for well over a decade, and other random things that grabbed me at the time.)
I used to be a nanny before we moved to Cape Cod and there was a great series of children’s books, much requested by the kids I looked after, by Laura Numeroff (with fantastic illustrations by Felicia Bond). If You Give a Moose a Muffin was my personal favorite, though If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Pancake are definitely worth a read too. (There are other ones but they were published since I moved so I’ve never read them to a child so, obviously, they don’t count.) The books all follow basically the same story structure. The central character is a small boy who, in my favorite one, gives a moose a muffin. The moose then wants blueberry jam to go with it… then he eats all the muffins so he wants to go to the store to buy more…but it’s cold outside so he borrows a sweater from the boy…but one of the buttons is loose so he asks for a needle and thread to fix it…and somehow, I forget exactly but I think the sewing stuff reminds the moose of his grandmother who used to make sock puppets with him, so they end up making puppets and painting scenery and putting on a show behind the couch but his antlers stick out so he covers them with a sheet which gets paint on it so the moose washes it and when he is hanging it on the line to dry he notices the blueberries growing in the garden which reminds him of the jam which reminds him that (probably hours ago) they were on their way out to get more muffins!
So this is how my life is right now.
Or at least it is how my brain seems to be operating.
I jump from one distraction to another often/usually/lets face it pretty much always without finishing the thing that I was doing first; or the thing that I left the first thing to do; or the thing that I left the second thing to do; you get the idea.
And at the end of the day I look back and there are a string of half accomplished tasks in a sort of actualization of a stream of consciousness. I seem utterly incapable of simply making a quick note to do a certain thing AFTER I have finished what I am doing NOW. Instead I justify actually doing it by saying it is something that is pretty important and should therefore be done now and anyway it will only take a moment (less time even than writing a note about it, right?).
There are two flaws in this logic. One, it almost never just takes a moment because usually it will side track me onto something else and two, if it was that important I probably would have thought about it before I started doing whatever it is I’m doing.
So here is a typical example. I came in to work this morning (the store is closed so it’s work in the back office, just me, no distractions) and I had decided that I should research which products we sold last year that need to be reordered. This plan makes a lot of sense – I can’t do that at home because I need the store computer, and we are going to the gift shows this weekend so it is something I have to do within the next couple of days otherwise I’ll look like an idiot who doesn’t know whether she wants 10 or 100 of something. Anyway it was TOP of my ‘List of Things to Do Today’ so it must be the most important.
But before I even turn on the store computer I notice that Jack is all curled up on his bed looking as cute and adorable as ever, and that reminds me that today is the day I have to call Dr. Lear and let him know how Jack did after his first acupuncture treatment on Sunday, so I leave him a message. And using the phone reminds me that I also want to call to make an appointment to get my haircut before we leave and we really should take the car in for it’s 70,000 mile service as it’s actually done 71,000 miles. So I call and schedule those. But while I was looking up the number on the internet I noticed I had an email and it was telling me someone was following us on Twitter, so I just very quickly clicked on the link to see who it was and it turned out to be someone who writes a blog about visual merchandising in retail stores. Well, obviously that is a big part of my job so I figured I’d take a really quick look and see if it was interesting/useful and something I should read later. It wasn’t, but it did have some display contest winners so I glanced through them to see if I was familiar with any of the stores. I wasn’t, but one of them had a picture with some jewelry and that reminded me that we really need to find new jewelry lines that include cufflinks so I (ever so quickly, it will only take a moment) went to the New York Gift Show site and typed cufflinks into their exhibitor search, whereupon several came up so I quickly just checked them to see if any would be worth looking at while we are there. They weren’t. And then I got this idea that I should make cufflinks because I am pretty crafty and have a lot of creative ideas about stuff like that so I googled cufflink backs because I can’t make those, just the decorative part, and lots came up so I started browsing around them.
And then I realized, I hadn’t even turned on the store computer yet.
And while I probably could justify taking the time to make those appointments (I have to call when they are open, and they might fill up so I should do it sooner rather than later) somehow I’ve ended up researching the materials I would need to make cufflinks! How the hell did that happen? That is so NOT on my ‘List of Things to Do Today’ and so IS something that could be done any time, preferably not when I am at the store and have access to all the info that is only at the store.
And while I make light of all this here it is actually very frustrating, wastes a ton of my time and is more than a little scary because I too am reminded of my grandmother who didn’t make sock puppets with me but did have alzheimer’s.
And then I realized that this is exactly what Amanda (who designed the Swell Dwell site) means when she says I should blog about what is going on for me, in real life not just the store, which can always seem so contrived and forced unless it’s something I am really interested in (and lets face it I’m probably not).
So, here I am blogging about how my brain darts from one thing to another, and how my body just seems to follow instead of saying ‘how about you finish this one thing first’.
But it is important to blog and I did promise her over two weeks ago that I would try and blog more often and more personally and I’ve thought about it a lot but haven’t done it, and it’s been on my ‘List of Things to Do Today’ everyday for a while but it never gets crossed off because I never do it. So maybe this is an OK distraction (unlike researching cufflink supplies – please, when the hell am I going to make cufflinks? What was I even thinking?)
So now I’ve been here two hours and I still haven’t turned on the store computer.
But I will, as soon as I’ve had lunch; a girl’s gotta eat – especially me! And hopefully there won’t be any muffins in my lunch bag!