Tunnel vision

image courtesy of photobucket.com

My Wednesday afternoons/evenings are typically pretty full. My son takes private horn lessons right after school. He gets home at 3:00, then we leave at 3:30 to get to his lessons at 4:00. Because we have to leave the house before my daughter gets home from her school, my friend Tamara (who works at said school) has graciously agreed to bring my daughter home with her, then either my husband or I pick her up, depending on which one of us gets home first. Once we’re all together as a family, it’s usually a quick dinner, homework, then I’m off to praise team practice by 7:00 pm. This is a typical Wednesday.

Yesterday was not a typical Wednesday. Early in the day, I got a call from Tamara’s husband Jeff, who also happens to be the pastor and worship leader of our church.

Me: How’s it going?

Jeff: Oh, not so good. Do you think I could come by and borrow your saw zall? It seems we have a leak in the main water line into the house and I need to cut through the wall to find the leak.

Me: Dang. I’m sorry. How suck is that? (Yeah, I talk to my pastor like that. I’m me 24/7.) Sure. I’ll be here.

Note: You may recall the infamous saw zall from my post The New Math. If not, this picture may refresh your memory

He also asked if we could move practice from their house to mine since their water would be turned off for the foreseeable future.

Of course I agreed. Not a problem. The only problem was that Tamara called later as I was headed to their house to pick up my daughter and asked if she and their girls could take showers at our house. Wait–that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that my daughter’s room and adjoining bathroom resembled war-torn Beruit, and this is where the girls would be showering and hanging out while we practiced.

I picked her up and proceeded to read her the riot act about how she needs to take responsibility for her things and that if she kept her room neat we wouldn’t need to rush around to get it straight when we had company, causing everyone undue stress in the process. Me in particular. (I said that last part to myself.)

After a very quick and nutrious dinner of $5 pizza and some further instruction from me about getting her room clean, off she went. After about 20 minutes, she emerged briefly to inform me that she had made her bed. To the untrained ear, this may have seemed like good news, but I have a 6th sense about these things. I knew it was not good news. Because I knew she had spent the past 20 minutes making her bed.

I made my way to her room. Indeed, she had made her bed. And quite elaborately. But while her bed looked like this:

Her floor? Well, I’m not even gonna go there. But it was bad–the last episode of Seinfeld bad, Disney Channel’s Suite Life on Deck bad, Jerry Springer on Dancing with the Stars bad. I think you get the visual picture. Bad, as in not good.

I told her how nice her bed looked with all 47 stuffed animals arranged so nicely but that she had exactly 30 minutes to get everything else picked up. Amazingly enough, she did. Her room was presentable by the time everyone showed up at the house. She really did want her room to look nice for her friends.

I considered giving her a lecture about the need to use her time wisely and not getting tunnel vision about a particular project, but I didn’t. Because I know she comes by that honestly. I do the same thing. I often find myself scurrying around at the last minute doing things I should have done because I’ve spent so much of my time doing the things that give me a sense of purpose, things I’m passionate about.

Maybe it’s part of the mindset of creative types–the ability to completely block everything else out and put all of ourselves into accomplishing the perfect vision in our minds. And while I know things would be much easier if she took a more systematic, ordered approach to life, I wonder if she would lose some of the creative spark and the “thinking outside the box” mentality that makes her so very special.

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23 Responses to “Tunnel vision”

  1. Sharkbait October 7, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    That bed does look super neat. I hope you told her what a good job she had done with it.

    • katdish October 7, 2010 at 8:08 am #

      SB,

      Yes. I did. Despite the fact that I was a little stressed about the rest of her room, I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of her for what a great job she did arranging all her favorite stuffed animals on her bed. I think this was her top priority. Once it was finished, she cheerfully went about taking care of the rest of the job.

  2. Jennifer@GDWJ October 7, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    The monkeys with the crossed legs are cracking me up. This looks like my daughter’s bed.

  3. Doug Spurling October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Great post and insight and parenting…but “how suck is that” is that a new way of saying “that sucks”

    Thanks Kat – you’re really good at this stuff

  4. Steph October 7, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    You saw on my random post about Hannah and forgetting to chew her food, right? I’ve been blessed with three creative types. Well, technically, all five of us are creative types. Good news: That means NO ONE notices the mess.

  5. Kathleen October 7, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    My mom has spent her entire life trying to get me to be tidy. It still hasn’t happened. I’m 50. My work table is a glorious mess as we speak, with some lovely things being created…… 🙂 Courage my friend. I clean up when needed because I love hospitality. It’s more cozy than perfect though.

  6. Melissa Brotherton October 7, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    This is so my daughter! I am Type A, firstborn, uber-organized, logical thinker. My daughter, not so much. I don’t understand her. How is it that I can tell her to pick up all of her socks, and 4 hours later the socks are still there, but she’s put all of her hair pretties in her shoe box. Luckily, my sister and my husband are both creative types, by this I mean unorganized, non-linear thinkers who drive me crazy! So I take a deep breath, and jump into the mess with her. Plus, she’s only 4. The funniest part of it all is that my husband has even less patience for her. We’ve decided it’s because he hates this about himself and so it infuriates him to see it in her. Haha!

  7. Amy Sorrells October 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Awesome. And so true. Love her sweet bed. Love the image of Seinfeld dancing. Love you & your creative self!

  8. A Simple Country Girl October 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    It’s the monkeys’ fault.

    All of it. The messy floor and even the pipes.

    Why else would they lay there looking so innocent?

  9. A Simple Country Girl October 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Okay, I just looked at that mathematical blog post you linked… There are reasons my husband keeps certain tools locked in the front of the horse trailer and “forgets” to leave me the keys.

    I of course blame similar looking Saw Zall escapades on the monkeys.

    Blessings.

    What does “DH” mean? Dear Husband? Dorky Husband? Delightful Husband? Dang-Handsome Husband? Here it could mean Darlene’s Husband. Darling Darlene’s Husband. Ooops, I think I threw in a DHH and a DDH. Whatever. The monkeys made me do it.

    I need out of the house. Too much monkey business. Too many monkeys…

  10. A Simple Country Girl October 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Okay, I just looked at that mathematical blog post you linked… There are reasons my husband keeps certain tools locked in the front of the horse trailer and “forgets” to leave me the keys.

    I of course blame similar looking Saw Zall escapades on the monkeys.

    What does “DH” mean? Dear Husband? Dorky Husband? Delightful Husband? Dang-Handsome Husband? Here it could mean Darlene’s Husband. Darling Darlene’s Husband. Ooops, I think I threw in a DHH and a DDH. Whatever. The monkeys made me do it.

    I need out of the house. Too much monkey business. Too many monkeys…

    • A Simple Country Girl October 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

      double comments.

      dang monkeys.

      i’m leaving and taking my computer with me.

  11. Maureen October 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Wish those monkeys had stayed in Texas. They played havoc at our house last week. Our house that decided to leak through 3rd floor windows. We had one shift begun at 2:30 in the morning and lasting all day, trying to catch the water with towels, water that kept coming because it was raining (for days), water that made towels feel as if they weighed tons. Talk about tunnel vision! The focus on stopping the water left me with migraines. We now have blue tarps hanging outside and in until all the repairs can be done. But today the weather is glorious and maybe I can turn the heat off.

    Good essay!

  12. jasonS October 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Oh yeah, I can get so consumed with a project, especially something creative, artistic. It kills me to try to play a new song I’ve written before I feel it’s ready, but thankfully over the years, I’ve found some grace to be able to come to a place where I can call it done (that doesn’t mean I still don’t spend way too much time on it in the process).

    Thanks Kat.

  13. Hazel Moon October 7, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    WOW, so I am not the only one! LOL Great Post Kat

  14. David @ Red Letter Believers October 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    That’s a great scene. We do get focused – even mesmerized by certain things. That looking down a tunnel has led to big problems for me.

    Today I blogged about “the Shiny Object” and Michele at Graceful blogged about Balance. Think something’s going on here?

  15. Missy@WonderFriend October 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Oh, I live with one of those creative people, too. I constantly fight an internal battle – I do not want to squash his creativity, but I do really wish he could finish putting on his underwear before stopping to build a space ship. (I’m talking about my 4 year old, not my husband. Just thought I should clarify.)

    • katdish October 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

      Thanks. And just so YOU know, I was very tempted to delete your clarification, but I decided to behave myself!

  16. Helen October 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Thank you for giving me a new way too spin my messy house: I’m so focused on creative endeavors that I just get lost in the mundane….

  17. mo October 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    It’s funny how stuff usually manages to get done somehow when it gets down to the wire.

  18. Wendy October 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Okay, but was there a pathway? As long as there’s a pathway, it’s all good. At least, that’s what I always used to tell my mom. When that didn’t work, I found that the closet was a good place to hide everything. Just don’t open my closet door. Ever.

  19. Sandra Heska King October 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    “I often find myself scurrying around at the last minute doing things I should have done because I’ve spent so much of my time doing the things that give me a sense of purpose, things I’m passionate about.”

    I don’t know anything about that kind of thing . . .

  20. Cheryl Smith October 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I so feel your pain! Just this weekend we had a conversation with my 14 year old about all the stuff under her bed… at least there was a path to the doorway.

    I struggle between letting them have control over their own space, and worrying that she might end up on “Hoarders.” 🙂

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