Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow

Well chickens, it is no surprise to any of you that I am a serious procrastinator. To say that your Polymath has elevated procrastination to an art form does not even begin to do justice to my ability to leave shit to the last minute.

It is a skill honed over years of doing homework for one class during the class which preceded it. And yes, I am including graduate school in this equation, and no, I’m not particularly proud of myself. I have been known to write research papers which were supposed to span a whole semester of work in the weekend before they were due, compose science fair projects out of whole cloth a mere 24 hours before needing to schlep my display board into the gymnasium, and more than once cut the five periods before my English class in order to read the whole novel upon which we were being tested. AND I LOVE TO READ!

I once wrote over 8000 words in one day because I had procrastinated a deadline beyond all reason. AND I LOVE TO WRITE!

What is interesting about my particular procrastination pathology is that sometimes projects which I have procrastinated only get done while in fact procrastinating doing something else.

Case in point, my guest room closet.

My Victorian Era apartment is not lacking at all in charm, architectural interest, windows or space. It has beautiful hardwood floors and amazing built-ins and tall ceilings. It has a spectacular circular bay in the front, and I kid you not, the windows in that bay have curved glass that follows the same curve as the walls. It is my single favorite place on earth.

Part of my love for it resides in accepting its many imperfections. It heats indifferently with loudly clanky radiators, requiring layers of clothes and many throw blankets in the winter, not to mention creating an atmosphere entirely devoid of humidity that makes for five months a year of extra-strength lotion and ashy elbows and cracked heels. It gets dusty pretty much within eleven seconds of being dusted, and every year a different grouping of tiles does a kamikaze leap off of the shower wall. While the entertaining rooms are an embarrassment of riches, the bedrooms are small and oddly shaped. And there is minimal closet space.

When I was married, the his and hers closets in the bedroom didn’t come close to providing enough storage, so we used the guest room closet as overflow. When I got divorced, one project I did not procrastinate was to immediately take over both bedroom closets, my clothes were very excited not to be living apart anymore. The guest room closet quickly became something of a junk drawer. I decided I should convert it into a linen closet/shoe closet, in order to house two of my favorite things (and two things that I tend to over-purchase, requiring inventive storage). I took everything out of the closet, measured everything out, and bought all the necessary supplies.

And then someone called, or there was a marathon of The Surreal Life on, or perhaps something sparkly flew by, but whatever the cause, the supplies, along with all the crap I had taken out of the closet went right back into it and the door was shut.

For five years.

Until, procrastinating on a book deadline, it suddenly became priority number one and I again pulled everything out of the closet, installed the shelves, put away my linens and shoes and patted myself on a job well done, if not done in a timely fashion. The fact that the whole thing only took about 3 ½ hours, after five years of putting it off, is not relevant, but is embarrassing.

It is often thus with my procrastination, that as paralyzed as I am by inertia, as daunting as things seem, usually once I get started it really isn’t that bad, and usually is much less of a pain than I build it up in my head to be.

So it is often with this blog. I have every intention of writing several times a week. I WANT to post with regular precision, I want to be able to come up with those witty once-a-week specialty posts that other bloggers come up with, like Meatless Mondays on food blogs, or Bullet Point Fridays on a mommyblog. I could recap a show like Blackbird does with Survivor, or explain a witty food idiom like Claudine does. I may be a procrastinator, but I do respond well to deadlines, so at least I know if I had a promised day-of-the-week posting, I know I would do it. Probably at 3am that day, but I would do it.

But so far, nothing particular has jumped out as the right thing.

I don’t have pets, so I can’t give a weekly update as to the antics of furry creatures in my life. I’m not really dating much these days, so I can’t regale you all with tales of a Charming Suitor or the hilarity of blind dates gone wrong.

This post began as an apology for not posting more often…but it seems to be ending with a request for assistance. Your Polymath may be really good at a bunch of stuff and pretty oddly knowledgeable about random topics, but she is good and truly stumped and needs your help. I want to share more often. What would you like to read about?

Pick a day of the week and a catchy topic, and if I pick yours, an appropriate prize will come your way.

In the meantime, I will try to get my poop in a group and get in touch more often.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Show Me the Money

For those of you unfamiliar with my Great Chair Debacle, read here for the backstory and here for the last installment.

For the rest of you, we finally have CLOSURE!

Not that it was easy.

After negotiating a cash settlement so that I never had to see Ancient Bob ever again, I waited patiently for the young man responsible for ruining the chairs to come deliver the money. Because when I say cash settlement, I do mean cash…green in hand.

And by patiently I mean calling the company every day for a week to try and determine when the little SOB was going to make the drop.

I had agreed to sign a document that indicated that the settlement ended the matter and that the company was afterwards absolved of any further involvement, which was fine by me. The young man in question finally called to say he would be by to give me the money. When he arrived, he counted out the money, and then dropped the following little bomb:

“So that sheet you had me sign?” I had asked him to write out on a piece of paper that he had ruined the chairs and sign it so that I had some protection when he took the cushions to try and clean them offsite.


“I’m going to need that back.” WTF?

“That wasn’t the agreement. I agreed to sign a paper for the company saying that I had accepted the settlement.”

“But I am also going to need that paper back.” Yeah, right.

“Um, no.”


“No, you may not have that paper back. I am happy to make you a copy, but the original stays with me.”

“I need that paper.” I have no idea what he thought I was going to do with it, but now I was more than miffed.


“I don’t know, I just need it.”

“Well, that isn’t going to happen.”

“Well then I am going to have to call Michael.”

He stood up, pocketed my money, and went to leave.

“Just stay there, we can call him right now.” I reached for my phone, and since I now knew the number by heart, began to dial.

“No, I will call him.”

And then….HE LEFT! Huffed right out my door and got in his van and drove away.


I was gobsmacked. You have got to be freaking KIDDING me!

I called the company. I explained the situation and they promised he would be back soon.

Ten minutes later my phone rang. He was on his way back. But he was “Going to need that paper.”

My patience was officially gone.

“You are going to come back here right now and you are going to give me my money and I will give you a COPY of that paper and I will sign the paper the company sent, as agreed. That is the last conversation we are going to have about this, I expect you in the next ten minutes.”

Fifteen minutes later he came back. He handed over the money, and I signed the paper and handed him a copy of the paper he had signed for me. And then he left.

I called my new buddy Nathan at Crate and Barrel who informed me that my darling Dorien was ON SALE!!! 30% off, baby. Finally a little bit of joy from the universe. I ordered 22 yards (yikes!) and called Rachel to tell her that she was on deck for reupholstering.

Now I am just waiting for the fabric to come in and by the beginning of November the chairs and ottomans will be redone and delicious. Only four months after they were defiled.

I’m counting the days. And I can tell you something else, I am never having them cleaned!