Last week (yes, last week) in her Prosperous Writer newsletter Christina Katz asked us to blog about being busy. I wasn’t going to do it because, well… I’m too busy. I have 14 days to prepare for another year of homeschooling. There are 18 days before I speak in front of a PEN Women group in Iowa City. I’d also like to organize a “Not Back to School” picnic for homeschoolers. On top of all that, I’m hard at work on research and writing for my new book. And then there is the everyday stuff, like laundry, toilets to clean, a sink that needs scrubbing, letters to write, thank-you notes to help Abby with, a card to send to a friend who just completed cancer treatment. Busy? Busy is an understatement.
And yet, in the midst of all this I was planning a writing course for homeschooling mothers and/or their teens. I have the syllabus completed and a rough draft of a couple of the courses. It is a wonderful idea, and one that I would have a great deal of fun doing. It could also turn into an income of sorts for me in the future, something we have to think about now, with my husband being newly unemployed.
I was pondering all this yesterday. Do I have time right now to add something else to the mix of what is already a busy life? I really, really, want to do this writing course.
Last week I got a cut-off notice in the mail from the city, stating that I hadn’t paid my city bill and it was overdue. I was aghast. I am the bill-payer in the house, and I normally do a pretty good job of juggling and getting things paid on time. The city bill is one of the few bills that doesn’t come with its own envelope. I distinctly remembered writing out an envelope for the bill, along with the check. I quickly scanned through the check register, and sure enough, there was the amount for that check listed. Had it gotten lost in the mail? I sent my husband downtown with a new check, and promptly forgot about it. A few days later, I found the envelope on my desk in between a stack of papers regarding unemployment benefits, written out, just as I remembered it. And totally empty. I found the check still attached inside my checkbook, folks. I hadn’t sent it. I hadn’t even torn it out of my checkbook! What had happened in between the writing and the mailing? I don’t know. I’d written it out the week after my husband had lost his job.
Yesterday my son asked me to mail his car insurance payment on my way to the library. As I dropped the envelope into the mailbox it struck me that I didn’t remember paying my own car insurance bill! I looked in my checkbook register and there wasn’t any payment listed for the last two months! (I make a monthly payment) Was I even insured? Was I driving around, blithely unaware of having been cut off insurance? I vaugely remember a letter that stated payment was overdue but I’d ignored it because I’d just sent payment and was sure they had crossed in the mail. But had they? Had I even sent the payment? I started to feel a little panicky. I dropped the kids off at the library and headed to the insurance agency. I sheepishly asked them if I owed anything, explaining I hadn’t gotten a bill recently. He checked his computer and assured me we didn’t owe anything until the 27th and I’d be getting a bill any day now.
I left their office feeling both relieved and a little bit foolish.
Then I came home and informed my husband I wouldn’t be conducting a writer’s class just yet (maybe this winter, after I complete my book).
And that maybe he should think about taking over the bill-paying.
Busy can be good. Busy can mean productivity. As women we already know how to juggle our many and varied responsibilities to the point that we are balancing half a dozen things at once. But sometimes, it takes dropping just one plate to make us see that we weren’t doing such a great job, after all; Getting hit by a virus and taking forever to get better, forgetting to pay a bill, not sending a card to a friend during their cancer treatment. Busy can also be crazy busy to the point of overwhelming.
What kind of busy are you?