Thursday, February 25, 2010


I like to think of myself as being fairly organized and a reasonably neat housekeeper. So that is why this little green block under Eva's crib has me in such a state of cognitive dissonance. See, this block has been on the floor, just barely under the edge of Eva's crib, for several weeks (a month or two?). I see it every time I sit on the floor in her room to change her diaper, read her a book, or wrap her in her blanket for a nap or bedtime. I think to myself, "Man, that block is still there. I should really pick that up." But I don't.

I have helped Eva pick up her room countless times since this block first appeared. I have put away stacks of books, done a weekly sheet-changing to the bed, even moved the rug to vacuum. I have reorganized our kitchen, steam-cleaned our carpets, but somehow it never seems convenient to me to pick up this block. I tell myself that I'll have to bend WAY over and reach under there and then open BOTH the drawer containing the blocks AND the lid to the box, and then it just seems like an inconvenient time for this whole block-picking-up thing.

Part of me wonders if I am subconsciously engaging in some sort of housekeeping chicken, waiting for Kyle or one of the kids to pick up the block first. They have messed up and cleaned up Eva's room dozens of times, also missing this block every night. How can this be? I mean really; they've even had that set of blocks out, and this one's not very far under the crib. They could have easily picked it up.

The thing is, it seems like there is always one thing like this in my life; one nagging thing that would be so easy to just take care of and be done with, but that I put off, over and over, carrying it to the next day's "To-Do" list like a remainder in some elementary-school math problem. I spend most of my summer putting off cleaning the garage. When I was working full-time, it was writing letters of recommendation for students. Last year, I left a pair of Kyle's pants hanging on our closet doorknob, waiting for a new button, for almost the entire regular school calendar (and even then it was Kyle's mom who fixed them in the end). It's like something in me needs to have something left undone. And I wonder, do other people do this kind of thing? Or do normal people put off actually unpleasant tasks instead of just trivial ones like I seem to?

Eventually, though, I always break down and do whatever it is that I've been avoiding. I never know what it is that gets me over the hump. Too much caffeine one morning? A particularly slow day in the Sterup house? Neither of these seemed to be the case this evening, but I finally did it. I reached under there, grabbed the block, and put it in its place. In my approach I also identified a couple of other things, way far back under the crib, and figured I'd better just go ahead and get those out while I was feeling all motivated about it.

The whole thing makes me wonder what morning will bring. I can sleep well tonight, basking in the relief of a task completed. Now that I've picked up the block it seems like I have a lot less to do tomorrow. Who knows what I'll accomplish?


  1. So true. . . I find most tasks on my list only take about 2-10 minutes to complete, but I can easily anticipate them with months of annoyance and dread.

  2. I just recently had the same revelation about myself. I found a number 8 birthday candle in my "junk drawer". I know everybody has one of these drawers but for the life of me I cannot understand why I would have saved this candle. It was either from your past birthday or your brothers birthday. Given that he is 30 years old it has been lingering in that drawer for quite sometime. I think I get too sentimental about what needs to stay and what definately needs to go. I have saved outdated prom dresses and pompoms from cheerleading days. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can hear the sounds of you and Ian running down the steps. About halfway down the staircase there is a definate squeek. It is my house sounds...So, don't fret over the small stuff. Someday a long forgotten toy will serve as a gentle reminder of your childrens best days. They grow so quickly. Birthday number 8 will be here before you know it...Mom

  3. Erika, I am this way except to a much bigger extreme. I can't stand the tedium of doing a job all the way through to the very last block, so I always leave those last little bits undone. Ask Zac--it droves him batty!
    But the difference between you and me is that once that block has been there for a day or two, it does not register in my brain at all; it blends in with the background. It no longer occurs to me that it isn't supposed to be there. I'm sure you could tell me what about my Myers-Briggs type makes me that way :)