Negligence At Its Finest

Dear Grace,

How in the world do you do all that you do? It feels like I am constantly rushing to get things done; rushing through planning and grading, rushing to school, rushing to scouts, to church, to dance practice, etc. Due to aforementioned rushing, I have decided to compile a list of everything I have been neglecting lately just so you know my letters to you have not been the only things on the back-burner.

  1. The Food
    • I have never been the sort of person who could consciously or subconsciously skip meals. In fact, most of my thought processes seem to revolve around what I am planning to eat next. But if I am being completely, totally, unabashedly honest, I haven’t made Abe a home-cooked meal for a week. Mumsie would be shocked and dashed. I just can’t seem to pull myself together at the end of my long days to cook anything, so Abe will sweetly give in and order pizza or fetch breakfast burritos or let me heat up frozen corn dogs. My skin and wasitline are certainly paying for it.
  2. The Dishes
    • Despite the fact that we have not been eating real food lately, there is still a mountain of dishes to be done. How does that even happen?
  3. The Laundry
    • I might get the laundry into the washer and eventually into the dryer, but it has been sitting in mountainous piles in baskets waiting to be folded. When it comes down to it, I probably will just rewash everything because it is all a sad, wrinkled heap by now.
  4. The Exercise
    • Besides teaching my dance classes, I cannot think of the last time I purposefully exercised.
  5. The Hair & Makeup
    • Five out of five hairdos this week have been messy buns. Emphasis on messy. Abe’s teenage cousin has taken to calling my hair The Tumbleweave due to its sad resemblance in both color and texture to our beloved desert plant. I also ran out of face makeup about a month ago and have not made the time to go out and buy more. Given the fact that our diet of grease has been doing a number on my skin, I don’t look much better than the acne-infested students I teach.
  6. The Cleaning
    • Where does one even find the time to clean the bathrooms anyway?
  7. The Patience
    • I think Vanessa may have picked up her habit of eye-rolling from me because it feels like I have been doing this a lot. Or maybe I picked it up from her? I find myself rolling my eyes at my students, the teenage girl drama of my dance team, my scouts, even sometimes at Abe (Heaven forbid!). Most recently I found myself losing patience at a Cub Scout pack meeting. One of the leaders decided we needed to do a group cheer of sorts at the beginning of each meeting. The eight-year-olds started off with a steady beat befitting their age and abilities, the nine-year-olds added a beat slightly more complex, and then the ten-year-olds added theirs. I was actually slightly impressed and for a brief moment thought it was a good thing for the boys until the leader who started it all cried out, “And now I’ll add a cha-cha of my own!” She started flapping her arms about wildly, slapping her body in an inconceivable pattern, and stomping carelessly about the gym not caring for the steady beat set by the young boys. It was clearly an attempt at an impromptu Stomp performance, but we all sat there awkwardly patting our legs while she flailed about, literally to the beat of her own drum. I was so bewildered I couldn’t even roll my eyes, and I certainly neglected masking my impatience that night.

What this all boils down to is negligence. Not purposeful negligence, but negligence nevertheless. So I repeat: How do you have time for it all? Sometimes the thought of adding one more thing to my schedule actually brings me to tears. I keep reflecting on it all and asking, “How can I possibly think about adding a baby to this mess? How can I even think about adding more classes, more involvement, more reading, more cooking, or more anything?” I have always known life as an adult would be busy, but my word, does it never end? I surely can’t go on neglecting things forever.

Love always,


P.S. Tell the kids we miss them and talk about them all the time. I hope we can come visit you at least sometime this year! We will try our best not to neglect that.

Desperation’s Garage Sale

Dear Grace,

Believe me, I understand completely with regards to feeling like you are so behind on everything that it was as though Christmas was not celebrated as you hoped it would be. This year it hardly felt like Christmas at the Dutchman House. But maybe that has something to do with the weather here in the Southwest because the high today was 75 degrees, and that’s just awfully hot for January.

I feel like I even sluggishly approached the New Year, which is thoroughly unlike me. I usually have 20 goals planned and even a yearly theme picked out, but this year I barely have an inkling of what I would like to accomplish and I am waiting for the “opportune time” to begin my resolutions. Heaven help me.

But I do know that at very least the one thing I do want to tackle this year is STUFF. Abe and I have so much stuff. We live in a house meant for five or six and shop like we’re a family of twelve. We’re both descendants of rainy day types of folks and we save all sorts of things just in case. Of course there is nothing wrong with preparedness, and we have food storage that has saved us countless times when we have found ourselves in a pinch, but things are out of hand. For example, Abe owns entire wardrobes in various sizes. Whereas I pretend like I don’t have a ton of stuff but I really just sort through things then put them in a box in the garage. Then I think to myself, “Hey, where were those one shoes?” and then I rescue them (and more) from the box in the garage. Obviously, it is a very productive process.

This weekend Abe and I found ourselves in one of those aforementioned pinches and decided it would be the perfect time for a garage sale to help us bounce back a little. It was quite the white trash affair. We only have one folding table which we piled high with unwanted kitchen items. Abe constructed “tables” out of cardboard boxes which he covered with old sheets or curtains where we piled as many knickknacks as possible. Then I ransacked our closets for every available hanger (which wasn’t close to enough). I began pulling clothes off their existing hangers and throwing them every which way so I could hang up all the clothes we were selling.

Abe had me make the signs and because we didn’t have any poster board, I wrapped extra cardboard boxes with brown paper; and because we didn’t have any sharpies I used acrylic paints to paint our signs by hand. Abe gave me specific directions to make all the arrows on the boxes going the same way. In my brain that didn’t seem to make much sense so I sought clarification as to which direction he wanted the arrows. “Doesn’t matter which way,” he said. Still confused but ever-trusting, I figured Abe knew what he was doing when it came to directions and decided to make all the arrows point left.

Sadly, this was not what Abe had meant. He did not mean that all the arrows should be drawn in all the same direction, but that each arrow on either side of the box should be facing the same direction so that the box could be turned whichever way to point garage sale goers to the proper house. Abe didn’t realize my mistake until the morning of our grand garage sale, so I quickly had change the direction of some of the arrows leading to slightly confusing looking signs. Abe learned that he needs to be more specific with one as directionally-challenged as yours truly.

We spent our Saturday camped out in our garage watching Netflix from the old TV we were wanting to sell and stealthily attempting to “outsell” one another. In the end we really did not make much money, but thankfully enough to help us in our pinch. Once the sale was over, I wanted to box everything we did not sell (quite a lot) and ship it off to Goodwill so that it could be out of our lives forever. Abe, however, believed the garage sale was great fun and that we should keep the garage in its garage sale state and keep having garage sales until we could garage sale no more. I simply want to get rid of stuff, but Abe sees it all as a giant pile of cash to be made if we can only lure in the right buyers.

I am afraid this sorting thing just isn’t sorting out.

Much love,