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Thursday, July 25, 2024


Notes to my neighbors 1/25/2006

By Rick Racela

A person who procrastinates may have a slight problem, but it’s not like all-out sloth, for heaven’s sake.
Take me, for instance.
Today, I’m putting away the last of the Christmas decorations. Sure, it’s a little late, but all the rest of our garlands and ornaments have been bubble-wrapped and stowed in the storage room for weeks.
I always have a good excuse for leaving a few stray items around – an angel here, a wise man there.
When February looms, I gather up the last of these renegades into one spot. It usually takes me another week or so, but eventually I send them packing with the rest.
It’s a problem I’ve had forever, resisting finishing off a job, and it’s something I inherited from my father-in-law.
My mother-in-law always had a project going (at least one), and so her husband indulged her, not only by painting and wallpapering, but he was also known to tackle more substantial renovations like moving kitchens from one side of the house to the other.
Invariably, when the job was “done,” he’d have left one tiny detail for “when he got around to it.”
He’d proudly point out the missing length of chair rail behind the buffet, or the picture waiting to be hung on the newly painted walls, or the spice rack sitting on the counter that hadn’t yet made it to its new wall mount.
It’s pretty obvious to me that there was no malice here. He was only trying to stall before beginning the next project.
Stalling was hopeless, though, because before one room was done, Mom had already selected the color scheme for the next one.
And you can bet that some clerk at Sears was packing up the drapes she’d ordered, getting them ready to send.
So why fight the inevitable? Postponing it wasn’t much help, either.
But it sure was a noble effort on Pop’s part, and to tell the truth, I think he relished the game.
As for me, I don’t think I’m resisting what’s going to come next. I just have trouble letting go of the past.
The past is so comfortable. We know what happens there. The future’s so, well, unknown.
So I make excuses.
This year’s was pretty clever, I’d say.
I finally decided that this was the year to buy plastic boxes to store the decorations in, to replace the old cardboard ones, you know, the ones the kids’ Hot Wheels came in (the kids are in their 30s now), and the box that once contained a toaster-oven that’s been decomposing in some landfill since 1985.
Replacing them was an ingenious, practical idea. I went to Kmart and bought the Rubbermaid storage boxes that were on sale, three at first, which were filled in minutes.
Then, fortunately, Lowe’s had them on sale, so I bought another three there.
They almost did the trick, but I wound up with just enough odds and ends to require a trip to BJs for three more.
Now I have three empty boxes on the floor in the living room, right next to the pile of errant Santas and snowmen and bubbling nightlights on the table nearby.
As you can plainly see, I’m putting plenty of effort into thinking about finishing the task once and for all.
But first, I have to finish this column.
Then, I’ll have to start dinner.
Oh, and I must throw a load of wash in.
And I refuse to renege on my New Year’s resolution to take a walk every day. (Oops, I forgot. I never make New Year’s resolutions.)
All right, already. I’ll do it.
This column’s finished anyway.
What? Is that the doorbell I hear?
Oh, dear. I guess I’ll just have to make some coffee and visit a while.
The boxes?
They’ll wait.

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