Over the edge

February 10, 2013


By Judy Cools.

When I was growing up, there was a phrase we sometimes used: “Conspicuous by his absence.” Or by its absence… or any of a number of other variations of being obviously absent. The idea, of course, is that you might not give a thought to something if you’re accustomed to seeing it, but when it’s gone – you notice.

After a year of gracing the pages here at the MCP, I feel I may have been conspicuously absent these last weeks. Life marches on in its steady rhythm, and that wouldn’t be so challenging if that were all it did. Along about mid-November, though, circumstances began to layer. The holidays were coming, the weather was turning, and even the best advanced planning for those predictable events will only carry a person along so far.

With family illnesses and surgeries piling up, we delayed family holiday gatherings until January. Throw in a kidney stone adventure and an unexpected crown, and poof! there went the schedule. Relentlessly marching along in predictable fashion, came year end responsibilities both at work and at the family business….and yes, our own tax preparation. My protests that I was already quite busy enough did nothing to stop them. Annual reports, medical stuff for family members, and that postcard that made me scream what-do-you-mean- it’s-time-to-see-the-dentist-again?

Clinic payroll didn’t balance, which added some extra layers and late nights to the usual things I have to do to get W2’s done. And right in the middle of it all, two huge things that were supposed to be resolved last week, aren’t. Both have found new life and consequently new ways to use my attentions, my resources, and what used to be my down-time.

Then our Internet modem died. And our grand-dog needed an urgent trip to the vet. The final straw came yesterday when I got a reminder call for a doctor’s appointment. I made the appointment a year ago, and just never gave it another thought.

I don’t mean to whine, although I’m sure it sounds like that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m just saying that I’ve been buried. I hear from many of my friends that they are feeling buried as well in unusually crazy and layered life circumstances. I’m blaming the late winter and the bitter cold for their collision with the annual paperwork season.

I’ve risen to the challenge, though. I have a new system of dates and calendars, a new way to post the “to-do”s near my kitchen, and slowly, slowly, I am taming the beast. This coincides with the days getting longer, sunshine occasionally peeking through the clouds, and my finally declaring time to write another column.

Hoping you are all well, and coping with February in northern Michigan.



© 2013, J. L. Cools

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