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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