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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, May 14, 2023
9:18 pm

Ralph and I have a Sunday morning routine that has existed ever since we took that productivity course recently. After weekend breakfast, we get on a Zoom with anyone from the group who wants to participate, and we do a “weekly review.”

This amounts to figuring out what has to happen in the week ahead and setting yourself up for success. Nobody talks on the Zoom, it’s just an accountability thing. If you’re on video and there are other people on video and you’re supposed to be working, it’s hard to go make the bed or lie on the couch playing card games.

Lately it has been just Ralph, me, and some guy from Montana. But really, it works.

It works so well that I now have a process for things I never had a process for before. Like managing the business finances.

Since I’ve been doing it for 25 years, you’d think I’d have a process. But really, what it usually involves is me swearing at Quickbooks a lot, occasionally calling my father and saying HOW DO YOU PUT IN A JOURNAL ENTRY?? and then putting it off until next January when I have to prepare everything for taxes.

Every January I tell myself I’m going to balance Quickbooks and do all the financial recording every month instead of waiting for the end of the year. And every January I curse and complain about how I should have balanced Quickbooks and done all the financial recording every month instead of waiting for the end of the year.

But this year, I went through the effort of actually writing down a process, down to the minutia, like “put the bank statement into the folder.” And now it’s May, and so far I have followed the process every month and all the bank statements are in the folder.

This is practically a miracle.

So after our Zoom today I told Ralph how great it’s been to have a process for doing the financials. I don’t think about it, I just cross off whatever is next on the list and go.

I told him that come next January, it might be the first time in 25 years that it isn’t a nightmare to live with me while I sort out a year’s worth of Quickbooks.

And then he said something surprising. He said you’re not a nightmare to live with. You get it done and I don’t even notice.

He also said you handle real stress well. It’s only with fake stress that you lose your shit. If I told you I had [insert horribly unrepeatable disease here] you’d be on fleek. You’d be totally calm, you’d figure out what to do and take care of it. But if I told you there’s a scratch on the shelf, you’d melt down.

And that’s just…?? I mean…!!! how dare he….

be absolutely right.

Which got me thinking, because there is more than one Large And Annoying Thing happening in life right now, that I am doing a pretty commendable job of managing it all.

It’s just that… after dealing with Quickbooks and EVERYTHING ELSE in life, do I ALSO have to deal with a scratch on the shelf?

The injustice of minutia.

Because I did the thing with the client crisis and I did the thing with the family crisis and I handled the thing with the bank and I managed the thing with the problem.

But really, my SHELF has to be scratched, too?

Because why??

There is no more room in my brain for anything to go awry or to disappoint or to fail, so [shelf is scratched] does not compute.

And I did not tell you this next bit, dear reader, because I thought I owed you a break, but now that the context is right it’s only fair that you know that there were NO STRAWBERRIES at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.

Remember how they sent out an email on Friday warning us that they couldn’t promise how many strawberries would be available? The answer was zero. Zero strawberries.

Turns out that rain I loved so much flooded out the strawberry fields utterly and ruined the entire crop.

I did, in fact, melt down.

I mean, I don’t get out of bed at 7:30 on a Saturday and battle construction and traffic and crowds for fun!

Anyway, I spent about fifteen seconds feeling bad for the farmer who had no crop to sell, who was not melting down at all.

Then I turned around and got back into my car and had words with the universe.

Fortunately Ralph was not with me and I pulled myself together by the time I got home so when he said, “How was your trip?” I managed to chirp out a “Great!”

Or choke. Maybe I choked it out.

But really, the lack of strawberries was too much.

That’s the thing about stress. And I don’t think I’m alone. Most of the time you probably don’t even notice it’s there. You handle it and manage it and deal with it and do what has to be done until one day someone says your shelf is scratched or you won’t be getting strawberries with your breakfast this week and it’s TOO MUCH.

There is no more space to accommodate one more thing. The bucket is full.

Sadly, not the bucket of strawberries.

But Quickbooks is balanced, and my week is set up. I’ll field whatever comes my way, and besides, it’s almost peach season. All I can say is NOBODY BETTER MESS WITH MY PEACHES.

Photo: a strawberry-peach flatbread crossover that I discovered at Arrington Vineyard one spring, then recreated at home about 47 more times.