Thursday, February 9, 2012

Choking Under Pressure

I’m a mess when it comes to gift giving.

I’m a mess when it comes to time management.

And I’m a mess of a multi-tasker.

These three weaknesses have come back to bite me again and again. Heaven’s way of helping me turn my weaknesses into strengths, or as my dad aptly put it to me at least 1,000 times during my formidable years: be smoothed by adversity.

Let me provide you with some examples of these weaknesses. What my blog needs is more examples of my ineptitude, not less.

The first Christmas I spent with Kulani, I bought him a scarf, drinking glasses, and two place-setting mats. Nothing says, “I’m hot for you” like a wool placemat and scarf. How did he not dump me on the spot?

During my single years, the roommates and I drew names as a Christmas gift exchange. The gifts could be no more than $10. The gift I bought happened to be the largest, and the roommate whose name I drew was getting excited to open it.

I warned her, “Don’t expect anything great just because it’s in a big package.” (Oh no, here I go with a Michael Scott: “That’s what she said.”)

Unluckily for me, her anticipation just grew, because she was the last one to open her gift. Her face went from elated to deflated after she opened the present.

I had bought her apple-scented Suave shampoo and conditioner and a shower caddy, which I thought she said we needed one.

Real nice. A gift that says, “Hey, we’re roomies! Can I use your shower caddy?”

I tried never to put my soaps in it, just to help her understand that I did indeed buy it for her. I think she was allergic to the cheap shampoo.

The examples of my time mismanagement are endless. Dr. Phil once told me (yes, he speaks to me everyday at 4 p.m.) that people who are constantly late are arrogant.

Ouch, Dr. Phil! Take it easy on me!

No, no, I deserve it.

I once missed a brother’s wedding because I was that late. It was really a failure to look at when the wedding actually started, but still. That marriage ended in divorce, and I blame it entirely on me missing the wedding.

Heck, I was almost late for my own wedding. Thanks to my dad’s pedal to the metal, we made it in time. Well, five minutes late, but that’s really “on time” in my book. (I’m such an arrogant jerk.)

But this latest example has kept me crying on my huge pillah at night.

My sister-in-law Susan lives in a big house in Lindon and is pretty much the queen of throwing parties. They are legendary.

I received an invite to one of her parties in the mail, and my heart skipped a beat. She was hosting an Oprah-style “Favorite Things” party.

Are you screaming with me here, or is it just me?

I was to bring the following items:

·         A list of three of my favorite things from 2011.
·         A recipe from one of my favorite recipes from 2011.
·         12 small gifts representing one of my favorite things.
·         A sampling of the recipe of which I would be providing.

For the next few weeks I thought about 2011 and all the joys and pains of last year. For the record books, 2011 was a more difficult one for the Fishers.

Not to go into specifics other than to say marriage and family has good and bad; mountains and valleys. We pulled ourselves out of the valley, and I know one of the reasons I survived was due to a healthy dose of positive podcasts and CDs.

So I wanted to burn a CD of my favorite podcasts for my gift.

Wouldn’t you know it: I put it off until the last minute. It’s not that I wanted to put it off, but looking back, I honestly don’t think I had a free night.

Oh wait, there was that night I watched Downton Abbey for four hours.

No, that’s not a good excuse.

For various and sundry really bad reasons I put off making the CDs until the day of the party. I also needed to get ingredients for the recipe I’d be bringing. Oh, and I was working until 2:30 p.m.

Kulani is actually the one in our family who tries out new recipes, etc., so I decided to bring a dish that I kept reading about in 2011.

It involves a type of grain called quinoa. It’s pronounced “kin-wah,” but everytime I hear someone say the word, I want to punch them in the face.

It just sounds so pretentious, and even worse, it’s a favorite of vegans. It’s a grain that actually has protein, a substance vegans lack—that and a sense of humor. (Oh stop, Cindy, your painting yourself as a jerk. You really are arrogant, aren’t you? Dr. Phil was right, as usual.)

So I got off work, picked up the girls from home and school, made my way to Walmart, because I’d have the best chance of getting all the things on my list there. (A pack of recordable CDs and ingredients for a salad.)

They didn’t have quinoa (vegans obviously hate Walmart), so I made another stop at Smith’s. They thankfully did have quinoa.

I made my way home, and now the hour is drawing near. It is 5 p.m.

I start my quinoa, pomegranate, and avocado salad and make pretty good time there. I borrowed the recipe from Have you been to that site? It really is something special.

At 5:30 p.m. I’m done with the salad, and now I turn to my computer to start downloading the podcasts onto the CDs.

Snag: Windows Vista.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of working with Vista, consider yourself blessed. It is the worst program ever invented.

First of all, it constantly needs babied. It doesn’t like to access the Internet, so you have to first completely turn off the computer, and then turn it back on. And then magically, it lets you access the Internet.


I know, let’s multi-task while waiting.

Girls talking to me in the background.

Mmmm hmmm. (This is the sound I make when I want to look like I’m listening, but I’m really not. Ask my co-workers and husband how annoying it is.)

I’m trying to type up my recipe on Word (one of these days I’ll explain my hate for Word).

Then I remember this computer has never had our printer hooked up to it.

Access Hewlitt-Packard Web site for a printer download.


Multi-task over to the CDs. Put another one in to burn. Burn, baby, burn. Hells bells! Vista has stopped being able to read the CD burner. (Hells bells is an Idaho saying said mostly by my Jeppesen cousins. I consider it "swearing lite," which like diet soda, is okay in moderation. If you disagree, then this blog is not for you.)

Feet don’t fail me now. (This is my mantra I say to myself when I’m running late.)

Look up and notice that, oh crap, it’s already 6:30 p.m. The party has officially started.

I live 15 minutes away from Susan.

I’ve only burned four CDs, and my printer still isn’t working.

I give up. I’m missing the party.

The choice now is to show up with nothing, except the quinoa salad, which is quinoannoying, or don’t show up at all. I take the chicken way out and choose to not show up at all.

In the light of day I realize that I should have just grabbed a back-up plan, such as one of the following:
  1. Little baggies full of gourmet popcorn.
  2. Little bottles full of my favorite smelly lotion.
  3. That bee lip balm everyone loves.
I’m not sure I’ve been so sad about missing a party since I was in high school and managed to find myself on the uninvite list because of my outspoken ways.

I can picture what a fabulous time everyone had. My heart is sobbing for the missed opportunity.

Plan better for the future: a lesson I unfortunately seem to need to keep relearning.

I’m afraid if I don’t get myself in order, I’ll end up as one of “those” 10 virgins, parably speaking. (No, I don’t think “parably” is a word.)

Dr. Phil says one of the keys in getting over procrastination is by really experiencing negative consequences to the behavior. (What would I do without that man?)

If Susan tells me someone gave all the party guests a new car as her favorite thing, I’m pretty sure this will be the very last post you will ever read about my procrastinating ways.