Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Back to the grind

Monday we were supposed to get a new front storm/security door and of course when they finally showed up to install it after we waited for 6 weeks, it was backward. Yes, backward. The hinges were on the wrong side and the handle was on the other, equally wrong, side. DH had to send them away with instructions to reverse the door and bring back a new one. Lord knows how long this will take...

Yesterday I worked from 5 p.m. to midnight working on a "deck." A deck, for the uninitiated, is Big Corporation-speak for a Powerpoint presentation full of charts and commentary. I had to finish said deck by end of day so that it could be e-mailed out to LA in time for copies to be made for a meeting taking place on Wednesday.

I felt pretty good about it by the time it was done but exhausted. I am way too old for this kind of thing. "Why," you may ask, "were you working on it at the last minute?" I have an easy answer for that. Because it is mentally impossible for me to focus on any big project until I absolutely, positively, have to get it done. If there is even a day to spare, it is too much. I know I have "a whole day" to work on it. So I don't.

This is how I have always functioned and I've managed to make it to 53 without becoming a colossal failure, so it is unlikely I am ever going to change.

I spent my high school years ensconced in my little den typing up lab reports and research papers on my old manual typewriter at 2 a.m.

I spent my college years during the last week of the whole semester, pulling all-nighters and pounding out English papers directly onto the typewriter from my notes.

I even had devised a clever color-coding system for organizing my papers. I took the scribbly notes that I had taken when I did whatever research I had managed to do (how on earth did anyone do research before the Internet???) and I'd circle various sections of notes in different colors which signified whether it was the beginning, the middle, or the end, or if I was feeling more adventurous, different colors pertaining to different topics. It was my way of doing an outline, which of course was way too much planning for me.

Of course now it's all I can do to read my own writing, so when I take notes for the neighborhood association meetings or the park conservancy, or the Historic District Review Board (I'm on that too, did I mention that?) I take my laptop computer with me and take notes that way. Not only can I read them afterward but they're already typed up.

When I was cleaning out our old house, I found a lot of my notebooks from high school and college, and was amazed at how large, loopy and flow-y my handwriting was. You could actually read it. Years of typing into computers have totally atrophied my handwriting abilities. Now I make these illegible scribbles that are impossible to decipher even five minutes later.

Speaking of our old house, my mother has reported that the man from her church whom we had been working with to clean out the house had gone over there and finally removed the rest of the detritus that was strewn about, and gotten rid of any remaining unwanted furniture. He had even managed to sell my father's piano for $400, which he applied to the cost of the cleanout, bringing it down to a very manageable figure. Bless him, I never could have finished cleaning the place out myself.

I feel a little sad that my father's piano is going to strangers. I had hoped a friend would take it so I could visit it occasionally. We have our own piano and neither of us actually play it anyway so it didn't make sense for me to take it. But the piano always reminds me of my father since every night when I was growing up, after the news and the Johnny Carson monologue were over, he would sit down for about 15 minutes and just ramble through old songs he knew. He was an excellent pianist, but despite his early training in classical music, he really preferred to play old pop songs like "My Funny Valentine," "It Had to Be You," "My Restless Heart," or anything by Noel Coward. I hope the piano will find a good home and someone to appreciate it.

Now our last step is to turn the keys over to the bank and be done with it. It only took us 5 months to clear it out! A friend of mine at work's father passed away in April and somehow she and her sisters managed to clear out the entire house and sell it by June. I don't know they managed that but of course having 3 siblings helping probably made a difference. Large families do have their advantages, I guess. But I remind myself, I had my own room the whole time I grew up, so being raised as an only child also has its perks!

3 comments:

Philippe de Largilliere said...

I like rour diary ! it's the life, your life... It's charming to know you with a few words !
sincerely and friendly
Ph

Anonymous said...

I'm just the same. I find the more time I have to do something the less I do. In my working life I always worked more efficiently under pressure. It must have been a wrench to say goodbye to your fathers piano but good to know that the music will continue even if with anothers hands. Take care and enjoy your memories
Rx

Mauigirl52 said...

Thank you Philippe, for your comment! I have visited your blogs as well and enjoyed seeing your art.

Ruth, good to hear from you again. I'm glad I am not alone in working best under pressure! ;-) Thanks...