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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Don't Let the Genes Get You Down

Have I mentioned that we are a family of over-extenders? Not as in ElastiGirl. As in Can'tSayNoGirl. As in, "oh, you need three pans of brownies for the bake sale? This afternoon? No problem." As in, "someone needs to supervise the class play rehearsals every day for three weeks for two hours without any other help? Sign me up." If not saying "NO" to a project were a superpower, my family's superhero uniform would have this on the chest:

If not saying "NO" were an Olympic event, there would be a serious competition between my sisters, our mom, and me to see who would win the gold medal. But know this: our family would make a clean sweep of that podium.

We don't just take on too many projects; we make the ones we have bigger. Need a birthday cake? Choose a shape and design that requires five colors of homemade icing. Getting married? Cook your own food for 110 guests. Feel like gardening and frustrated by the dirt patch where grass won't grow? Decide to move a 10 x 10 fieldstone patio from the sunny side of the backyard to the shady spot, including putting down the proper layers of rubble base and patio sand (twenty 50 lb. bags for each layer). And do it all yourself because your husband has two herniated disks and shouldn't carry flat slabs of fieldstone that are two feet in diameter. And, of course, need a Halloween costume? Spend two hours and $27 at the fabric store, and then come home and spend 6 hours building (that's the term costume professionals use -- they build costumes, not make them; make is for amateurs with glue guns) something that involves papier mache, gold braid, and pintucks and looks good enough to show up on Broadway.

Which is why I call THIS real progress:

What is it, you ask? Why, it's my proof that one can resist genetic predispositions and thirty-eight years of conditioning. In other words, it's the scraps from the "ghost outfit project" I did with Son yesterday morning.

Having fantasies of a long, flowing white robe, complete with a hood that had an insert of tulle for him to see through, I stood in my pj's in the kitchen, considered the hassle, and marched upstairs and pulled an already-self-destructing pillow case out of the linen closet. With two firm jerks, I completed the removal of the hem that was already coming loose. I pulled the case down over Son's body, marked spots with my fingers, and with a few snips of my good scissors produced eye and mouth holes. And voila! Son was thrilled. Truly. And three and a half minutes after I started, the ghost outfit was complete!

Trust me when I say that this was a world record in my family. When I waved the little scraps of fabric in his face and touted this as a major accomplishment to my husband, he replied, "Yes, and I do love a completed project."

Because if you're doing ten projects at once, it will invariably take ten months to complete all of them, rather than spending one month per project. Huh. Go figure. Maybe I'll have to start "ghost costuming" my yard. And my bathroom renovations. And all my new projects. Who ever said you couldn't teach an old dog new tricks?

16 comments:

sarah said...

Oh my goodness I had to comment because the post discribes me PERFECTLY! Cousin needs a bachelorette party with no notice...stay up all night because you feel that it it needs a THEME and paint masks so it is a mascarade...having a few people over for a cookout...spend three days making enough (delishous) food to feel 100, then step back and honestly say "Is it enough??".

We have actually moved our patio in the back yard TWO TIMES. and we did all the gravel and sand too, so I know the pain. We decided we needed to add on to our house...so we are putting on a bathroom that is actually bigger than the master bedroom...and we are doing 95% of it ourselves...

my mom and sisters have this problem too. We call it the crazy gene.

MultiplesMommy said...

Woo-hoo! I'm so proud *sob* to know that you've broken the mold. Finally. Having been married almost 10 years, Husband has learned that it's easier to just throw up his hands and sigh than argue with my over-the-top, last-minute-giant-projects. He knows it's in the genes! I, too, am debating taking the easy way out on a project. Big Sis' ballet recital is Sunday. Last year I made her one of those doll cakes and decorated it like her tutu. This year, I'm considering have the bakery do a photo cake using her in her costume. Should I feel guilty over cheating?? :-) Hmmm. Will let you know Sun if I caved and made one myself or not...

Aimeepalooza said...

It's a woman disease I think. I do way too much and then when Aaron picks up a project I jump in to help because, you know, he can't do it right anyway! Sigh. Good for you on the pillow case. Probably made your son just as happy as a super stressful lots of labor project anyway!

MommyTime said...

Cousin needs a bachelorette party with no notice...stay up all night because you feel that it it needs a THEME and paint masks so it is a mascarade. Sarah, I am laughing out loud in Panera right now reading this. You apparently are actually our long-lost sister. Welcome to the family!

Aimee, I think you and I might be the same person (when Aaron picks up a project I jump in to help because, you know, he can't do it right anyway!) -- or at least married to the same one.

MM, thanks. Good luck fighting yourself. I hope you win. :)

MIQuilter said...

WOW - I am IMPRESSED!!!! Sarah, you MUST be our long lost sister!

Personally, I keep stalling on my landscaping projects... because I know once I get started I can't stop til it's done - which could take a LONG time if I cave into all of the wonderful ideas I have for what I want to do.

Husband has actually been moderately successful at talking me down on more than a couple projects. And by moderately successful, it's not that I don't still take on the project - it's more about his ability to limit my scope. I'd probably have way more time on my hands to do what I love if only I'd listen to him more.

Ah well... it's baby steps.

Momo Fali said...

That is record time! I would've completely screwed it up if I tried to go that fast!

Mrs F with 4 said...

Ohhhhh, my life would be so much QUIETER if I could just say no.... my head says 'Hell, NO', while my mouth says 'Oh, I'd be glad to'.

Volunteer at school? During the dinner hour? In FRENCH? Oh, please let me help...

Your cake has turned out inedible for that baby shower tonight? No problem! In the shape of baby bootees? Iced? Of course I can..

Have your three children for the weekend while you vamoose with hubby for a romantic getaway? Anytime... THIS weekend? With my mother arriving for her annual inspection on Monday?....Oh, I'm glad I can help...

Mr F has suggested installing a zip on my mouth.... or a t-shirt that says 'I'd LOVE to help. But I can't'.

In my case, it comes from my father.... ideas on overcoming my overwhelming desire to be Little Miss Helpful gratefully received. Especially by Mr F!

foolery said...

I like to focus on my projects at their cellular level. Clean up the wasteland that used to be the dining room? I know, let's polish the hell out of that water spot on the maple table, toys on the floor be damned.

Post a simple photo meme for which answers are represented by single photos? No, let's pick THREE photos per answer, and crop them all down to 200x200 pixels. This should take until 2:30 a.m., which is perfect, because I have to get up at 6:30, and eye bags make me look deep.

I like the ghost, by the way.

Brillig said...

Hahaha. Congrats on the self-control. I'm so proud of you.

MultiplesMommy said...

Mrs. F -- LOL! Can I have one of those shirts too?? My husband would forever be in your debt... :-)

Mrs F with 4 said...

Multiplesmommy - sure you can have one... or one in every colour... and would you like them by tonight? Sure I can do that!

And Foolery, I thought I was just procrastinating. You know, kitchen needs cleaning, so focus on removing every bit of debris from the deepest crevasses of the dishwasher door attachments (designed by a man for difficult cleaning). Focussing at the cellular level sounds so much more... efficient!

MommyTime said...

I am laughing out loud right now, Mrs. F -- perhaps you could start a little etsy shop to make and sell those shirts? I'm sure you'd make a fortune. Especially if you can get a gross or so done by next Thursday, as I'm having a little party and could sell them for you...

Foolery, I'm laughing over that meme. And "at the cellular level"?!? That's me to a T. It does sound much better than simply being a procrastinator. It makes one sound so thorough.

And, thank you Brillig, for the visit and the comment.

Mrs F with 4 said...

MT, I'll get going on those t-shirts right now. Just as soon as I've finished scrubbing the electrical sockets with a toothbrush.

Yes, it really IS Mother's Annual Inspection on Monday. For three weeks. Focus, Mrs F, Focus!

MommyTime said...

Heavens, I could not survive a three week inspection, unless the inspector arrived with rubber gloves and a vat of elbow grease to help out. Godspeed. (Perhaps just make her bitter chocolate muffins and distract her from looking at things?)

Kimmylyn said...

We MUST be related. My husband tells me that I do not know the word NO unless of course he asks if I cooked dinner tonight.. hahaha

MommyTime said...

Kim, Join the family! We've already adopted Sarah!

 

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