Last Minute Annie... I've Been Called Worse

I have made a fine art out of procrastination.  From a young age, I have worked hard at putting everything off to another day. Often, when I am up into the wee hours of the morning struggling to meet some deadline, I can hear and see my Dad. Last Minute Annie he would call me as he ran his hand over his balding head that was lowered and shaking with disapproval. I would drive my parents crazy. At 42, I still do; especially on holidays when I am finishing a last minute gift or making and hiding Easter baskets until midnight.

That’s me; Last Minute Annie 

Even now, as I should be working on lessons and syllabi for classes that start next week, I am finding anything and everything I can to use for a distraction. Is that a load of laundry? Great! Let me dive right into that basket that has been sitting there for a few days.  Is that an unfinished craft project in the corner? I should work on that so it can be finished for Christmas. Did I water the flowers this morning? Let me check. I don’t think I called my mother this week.  I should do that before I start my work.  I wouldn’t want these things looming in my brain, clouding it up while I try to create the perfect math lesson.  

I am envious of the non-procrastinators.  I have tried to be like my ultra organized, no time like the present, husband.  I have broken down long term projects into smaller, daily tasks that are carefully placed onto my calendar. I have made lists, charts, and thoughtfully designed blueprints that all looked very professional and grown up.

It doesn’t work.  

Those smaller tasks that should take a few minutes seem to take forever.  My brain doesn’t respond to the prompts it is given.  I make mistakes.  My ability to problem solve is drastically reduced. Usually, if I start a project early, I will go back at the last minute and start it over again anyway. My husband and others like him do not understand.  They lower and shake their heads with disapproval, just like my Dad had done so many times.

Just to be clear, I may wait until the last minute to get things done, but I get them done and I get them done on time. I can count on one hand the occasions when my craft for delaying has failed me. The most memorable was the incident known by my husband as The Christmas of the Afghan 

One Christmas, I wanted to give my mother-in-law something other than our traditional gift of practical shoes, so I decided to make her an afghan. I found the perfect pattern and the perfect color yarn that matched her new recliner.  Starting in May, I crocheted my heart out.  Well, I crocheted my heart out from May until June; then I crocheted when there wasn’t anything else to do. Of course, like it does every year, December rolled in.  That was when the crocheting frenzy began.

The week before our annual journey to NY, my husband kept asking if I was going to finish in time. I assured him that I had the perfect plan; I would finish all the individual pieces here and then sew them together during the 5 hour ride down and in the hotel that night.  It was working perfectly.  I DID finish all of the pieces.  As a matter of fact, I finished those hours before we were planning to leave. To make my husband proud and with a smug look of I told you I would finish, I started my sewing before we even got in the car. I was really quite proud of myself for being so far ahead of schedule.

 As I laid the long, multi-colored pieces on the floor, panic struck.  The pieces were all different lengths.  I pulled, stretched, tugged; nothing.  I tried to make a pattern out of the varying edges; it was a hand-made gift and imperfections mean love.  No luck. It looked awful.  I burst into tears and my husband burst with laughter.

Luckily, I am married to an extremely patient man.  We stopped at a shoe store on the way to pick up those predictable, practical shoes.  Out of guilt, I also picked up a beautiful, long, black coat. My mother-in-law was happy and my husband never told her about her ill-fated afghan. 

After that experience, I promised myself I would never wait until the final hour again.  That lasted for about two months.  Now, I am just sure to check my work as I go.  That is the real lesson here, isn’t it? Think about it, if I had checked each piece as I made it, my plan would have worked out just fine.

That Christmas was seven years ago. Today, I sit at my kitchen table finishing the work I had all summer to do while my sixteen year old son is in the basement finishing the work he had all summer to do. God only knows what my nineteen year old son has put off doing.  Sadly, both my boys inherited my I’ll do it tomorrow gene. As much as he tries to ignore it, this drives my husband insane.  I try to be supportive and back him up when he is lecturing them, but we all know deep down, I understand where they are coming from.  After all, they don’t call me Last Minute Annie for nothing.








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