Saturday, October 3, 2009


This short story is in response to
Click on the above link to join in or read other entries.

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word mega-challenge.

Mega challenge:
family, cheese cake, 20 years ago, refrigerator, laugh and the world laughs with you, bath brush, zombies, African violets, butterflies, holding hands, monsters in the closet, roughly, bowling, menu, Pennsylvania
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

If I stood in a bowling lane and kept rolling balls at the ten pins in the lane in front of me, I would eventually knock them all down, and it probably wouldn’t take me very long to do it. If, however, I were in lane 1, and moved to lane 3, then back to 2 and on to 5 in the bowling alley, it would take me forever to complete my task in the first lane.
That is how the artistic, right-brained mind works.
I can’t start a task and, like a zombie, walk unconsciously through it to its end. No, not me. I jump from task to task. I may complete a task, but it takes forever, sort of like driving from Illinois to Texas, but getting sidetracked through Pennsylvania and Oregon along the way.
I’ve been this way since I was a child. It drove my left-brained family crazy. It took me all day to complete my chores and my room always looked like I had purposely thrown everything I owned into the air just to see where it landed.
Twenty years ago, I thought that as I got older, my organizational skills would improve. Instead they have worsened, so I have decided to accept my incompetence and find the humor in it. As they say, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.”

Let me take you through a simple task. Last Sunday, I decided I absolutely had to read the Wordzzles from Saturday and comment on them. After lunch I headed to my computer, determined that I would not be distracted.
The night before, I had placed some papers on my keyboard to remind me to fill them in. On Monday I had an appointment with a new doctor who had sent me forms about my medical history. I didn’t want to forget them, so I decided to do that first. I already had documents on my computer with medical-history lists, so I opened those to see if they were up-to-date. Two medications had changed, so I headed upstairs to find the bottles to spell the names correctly and find the dosages.
As I passed the refrigerator, I thought I better see what we had for dinner that night. I found leftover pork chops. I grabbed a plastic bowl and headed to the garden to pick what remained of our pole beans.
I returned to my computer to check out the Wordzzles. But, oops, I hadn’t gotten the information from the medicine bottles. On the way, I picked up something that belonged in the closet in the dressing room. But there were monsters in the closet that suckered me into searching for a pair of slacks I couldn’t find. I eventually gave up and headed toward my medications.
In the bathroom, I felt a cold wind coming in the window, so decided to close it, but it had rained for several days, so it was swollen. I looked around for a tool. I figured the bathbrush wouldn’t help, so I found a rubber mallet in a kitchen drawer to bang it shut.
While in the bathroom, I decide to use the facilities, I grabbed a magazine. I browsed articles on butterflies and houseplants. I decided that African violets were too much work, so I chose to forget about any exotic plant life for the house.
Returning to the computer, I realized I had left the post-it note with the names and dosages of my medications in the bathroom. After retrieving it, I revised and printed the information for my doctor. Then I filled out the forms by hand, writing “see attached” when it asked about medical and surgical history and medications.
After placing those with my purse, I was ready for Wordzzle. But then my husband came in to ask if I could help him in the garage. Before retiring, he ran an automotive computer diagnostic service there, so it is not just a garage, it is a G-A-R-A-G-E.
We’ve been havng some car troubles. He was moving some of his other projects out of the way to make room to work on a vehicle. He wanted to store an old car engine in the second-story storage area, so he needed to pull the chain to raise it, while I steadied the 500 pound motor his hoist was holding. Hands down, that hoist is one of the most useful items in his G-A-R-A-G-E.
My husband asked if I had received an email response about an online order that hadn’t arrived. So I checked my email, deleting 37 pieces of junk mail, filing 12 messages to read later, and answering five messages from friends. While I was at it, I decided I might as well check my other two email accounts. I found two messages from friends in Brazil, so I used to help me write responses and translate them because my Portuguese is rusty.
Then I realized that I had paid for my mother’s Meals On Wheels up through the week that just ended. So I wrote a check and walked to the post office (a block away) so it would go out on Monday.
As soon as I arrived back at the house, my famished husband came in from the G-A-R-A-G-E and asked what was on the menu for dinner. He rinsed the beans and placed them into the top of a steamer and threw the cooked chops into the microwave while I sliced cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad. Lacking something wonderfully obscene like cheesecake, we would have fruit and yogurt for dessert.
We ate dinner while watching a so-so Jimmy Stewart screwball comedy (You Gotta Stay Happy) stopping it once to clean up the kitchen. After the movie, my husband had a few more tasks for me in the G-A-R-A-G-E, including removing rust from tools with a wire brush and polishing some of them with silver polish. (He is a little obsessive about his G-A-R-A-G-E tools.)
After my husband went to bed, I logged into my blog. I found several comments I needed to moderate, some from Friday Flash 55, which reminded me I needed to read and comment on some of those.
Roughly twelve hours after I had first turned on my computer, I clicked on the link to Raven’s blog and pulled up someone’s Wordzzle. Before I read two sentences, I remembered I had promised an organization I belong to that I would set up a blog for them by Monday. At 6 am Monday morning, I went to bed. I might get five hours of sleep before I had to get up for my doctor’s appointment.
The rest of the week was pretty much a repeat of Sunday, so I still haven’t read all of the Wordzzles from last week. (Sorry.) As you can see, I am organizationally impaired and suffer boggled-mind syndrome.


The above is 90% true. I had to fudge a few magazine articles to fit in butterflies and African violets, but I did read two articles in the bathroom that day. We hoisted some big-ass piece of machinery in the G-A-R-A-G-E but I didn’t know what it was called and my husband was already in bed while I wrote this, so I made it into a car engine since we have hoisted several into the storage area on earlier occasions. But the details don’t matter. The pattern is what is important.
The above describes the motif of my life. It sometimes brings me wonderful and unexpected surprises, but it also frustrates me, and those around me, to no end.


That being said, I am going to take a hiatus from Wordzzle for a few weeks. I have some projects I have been postponing including some digital photo retouching and freelance art work. I will try to get back to last week's Wordzzles that I missed to add comments. I’ve neglected laundry, mail, bills, my husband and the cat.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)


Dr.John said...

Great use of the words.
Have a glorious disorganized vacation from Wordzzle.
Now I understand that the problem with my whole family is that we are right brained.

Raven said...

Well we will miss you, but this was delightful. I can so relate except for hoisting 500 pound engines. Happy photoshopping.

Argent said...

Oh, what a brilliant glimpse into your world. I'm a your typical left-brain, linear, borderline Assberger's type of IT geek who hates mess and disorder, but I'd give anything for your artistic touch. Words I cope with but pictures are HARD!

Anonymous said...

It's me! (Except when I finally open that medicine cabinet door I can't remember what I was looking for and have to go back to the place I thought going to the cabinet in the 1st place was a good idea so I'll [maybe] know what I was looking for.)
Enjoyed the post - "african violet" search got me here and you were only pretending to like them? Oh well!
Have a wonderful day :)

Stephen said...

I enjoyed reading your Wordzzle story about your life. Sorry I'm a bit late getting to it. I'm a bit right brained myself, but also left brained enough that I wrote computer programs for several years, some of them extremely long and complicated. When I was in school I sometimes thought I might be an artist. It didn't work out that way, but my younger brother did go into commercial art, and sometimes does some regular art also.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Dulce said...

I miss you PJ especially on Fridays... your ingenious posts and funny comments...

Hoping you are having a gorgeous time.