1991 called

I think I have mentioned before that I am addicted to planners. Not a bad addiction when you consider the options. But I fear I am woefully out of date (pun intended).

I watched the movie 27 Dresses where the main character Jane, played by Katherine Heigl, is a perpetual bridesmaid and wedding planner for her friends. She scribbles all her bridesmaidenly tasks in a dayplanner, which, when left in a cab is the cause of much distress and missed appointments. I relate… I would sit on my rump, head cocked sideways staring at the floor not having a clue what to do next if I mislaid my planner. My daughter has a book about some creature who makes a list of what he has to do that day but when it blows away in a wind gust he is helpless. When his friend suggests they look for the list he refuses because that wasn’t on his list of things to do. I’m not quite that bad but if I accomplish something that wasn’t on my to-do list I will write it down just so I can experience the pleasure of checking it off – a far more healthy obessesive trait, I believe.

Anyway, back to the movie… when the love interest in the movie finds Jane’s planner, making fun of her, he says something about 1990-something wanting its planner back. At the end of the movie when they are all kissy-kissy and she has thrown out her closet-full of dresses (and symbolically, her past), he gives her some electronic, very 21st century, planning gizmo.

Now, before watching this movie I had no feelings of inferiority surrounding my complete dedication to the paper and pen method of time-management. In fact, I wondered why these very-berry thingy-ma-jigs were so popular – what was the point? But suddenly, I am questioning my whole life and its so-called efficiency. Why exactly do I carry around a 5lb tome when I could have a slick, clicky thing that fits in my pocket… and it’s a phone too! Now, there’s true efficiency for ya.

But I don’t have a blackberry, or even a strawberry for that matter, and I probably won’t have for a very long time (well. maybe I will in 2038 when everyone else has their daily schedule implanted behind their eyelids).

But continue to plan I must.

So, it was with resignation I ordered a Franklin-Covey designed especially for busy mothers. But when it arrived, its pink and brown mommy-ness and unmarked pages laying flat and shiny waiting for my life to fill its lines, reminded me why I love them. Yes, it’s heavy and not as fun or multi-taskerific as a handheld computer/phone/camera/music player/kitchen sink but until 2038 when my grandaughter’s discarded device is passed on to me, my planner and I will continue to make plans the good old fashioned way.

——

As an addendum to this story – when I opened my new planner and inhaled its scent in true addict fashion, my husband, who in true male fashion hates gift shopping, says to me, you better wrap that thing up and put it under the tree, it might the only thing you get. I think I deserve a blackberry after that comment… or at least a new cuddly sweater.

Update 7/22/14: I now own one of those shiny everything-but-the kitchen-sink “phones,” and I don’t know how I got to appointments and meetings before its existence. However, for planning my day-to-day to-do list and brain-storming ideas, it will always be paper. Paper = thinking.

Driving ourselves to debt (pt 2)

Hello, my name is Joanna, and I am a Shopper.

OK, I admit, I’m a shoe whore. I also like to be surrounded by pretty things. I love matching dishes and coordinating bedrooms. I prefer to have the perfect weight jacket for the temperature and the most appropriate mode of transportation for my baby (i.e. sling, backpack, jogger stroller, wagon, etc.). Yes, I am part of the problem. I love to shop. I have a credit card balance. (BUT I also buy many things second-hand and I rarely pay full price for anything. I’m just relieved I’m not so materialistic that I just have to have that designer bag or the latest iPhone (I don’t even really know what one of those is.) )

Almost a month ago I began a rant. Now I will finish it.

On my walk to work I pass houses of every economic description. Most are well-kept and beautiful, some are shabby, and some are, well, let’s put it this way, you couldn’t get me to cross their threshold even if the dog chained in the backyard was about to sample my derriere for dinner.

Lawns littered with old swing sets, pools, and discarded toys where no child could safely play. Mud-splattered, plastic Santas smiling pathetically at the cracked Easter bunnies and smashed pumpkins. Old cars, vans, and trucks, tires melting into the mud; no more use than outdoor closets. Through open front doors I see hallways where “stuff” is piled so high and deep a person would have to turn sideways to inch past it. Now, granted, this is (I hope to goodness) the exception, not the norm. (Pack-ratting (is that a word?) is one thing, hording another, but plain ol’ lazy is quite another.)

The difference between this house and, say, mine? My crap’s hidden.

In closets, sheds, attics… the reality is Americans shop and shop and shop. Whether we pitch it all with equal enthusiasm, yard sale it, or stuff it in our multiple storage units (or cars), it is a national pastime. Our credit card debt, our lack of savings, and Suze Ormon on Orpah every week are all testimony to our addiction.

Why do we need so much stuff? A TV in every bedroom? Read a book. A sweatshirt from every tourist trap along the eastern coast? Highlight a map. Four inflatable, light up, jingling Christmas monstrosities that leave your electricity bill and taste in question? Put some (little) lights on a tree.

Unfortunately, Americans will continue to shop and horde until they are completely shopped out and poor. Maybe then life will become more simple.