Friday, November 18, 2011

Practical matters

I am working on scheduling a meeting for 14 people who are impossible to gather in one room at the same time and on the same day.

They're all very busy people. And for whatever reason, it's a group where emails to "the group" elicit no response. This means having to make multiple individual contacts to get the job done. Oh, I will do what I must...but I have to make sure I keep my ADHD brain organized while I'm doing it.

I get out a piece of lined paper. I write the purpose of the list I'm about to make at the top of the list. I list the people I need to contact. I make little columns for the possible meeting dates so I can put little Y's and N's under them.

Then I send a round of individuals emails to each committee member. I make a small black check mark next to each name as I email them.

When I have to send the second round of emails (to confirm additional information or to try again with the folks that didn't respond the first time) I use a RED pen to make little check marks.

I'm about to make a third round of contacts. For that, I will use the BLUE pen to make little check marks.

To make it clear which check mark was first/what order they were made in, I put the check marks in the same order each time.

I like electronic spreadsheets for storing information that will be used later, or for organizing information for people to understand in a certain multi-dimensional way, but for immediate to-do items that I have to stay organized on, I like a simple pad of lined paper and lists...and check marks...and colors.

If people look at the list, they remark that I look very organized. They are correct, but it's funny too...because they don't realize they're looking at a coping strategy.

Coping strategies are powerful tools. They can help you keep up and get done what needs doing...but they can sometimes make you look even MORE capable than someone without ADHD might. That's something to think about in your "ADHD is lame" moments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Key hunt

I seem to have lost my keys to my office. I seem to have lost them while looking for my glasses. I now have the glasses on my face, but the keys are nowhere. A reminder of the thin line between order and disorder.

I have two sets of keys, one for home, one for work. I was doing a great job of keeping track of them. (Translation: I was only having a couple of moments of panic/day, thinking I'd lost them and scrambling to find them, because I can't remember things like "where I put my keys this morning". THEN we got the new set of keys for the new house.

Chaos I tell you, nothing but chaos since that day.

For about a week I juggled the three sets of keys. It was taking up way too much of my conscious thought, so I finally decided to organize my keys and get myself back to two key rings. I plunked myself down at my desk, and took apart the "home" ring, winnowing the collection (having realized that many of the keys were no longer necessary) and adding the new house keys. The end result was a streamlined and easy-to-use set of keys that lets me into both of my homes. Perfect.

Perfect until 3pm that day, when my stepson's mother called to ask if I was able to get into my house to grab his yoga mat for him. No problem! I ran to my car, drove home, and discovered I had no key on my "home" ring for my apartment. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!

I jumped back into the car, ran back up the stairs of the victorian house that I work in, breathlessly grabbed the apartment key off of the office windowsill (where I'd apparently left it, along with the no-longer-needed keys), hustled back into the car, back to my house...the kids and their mom were there at this point, waiting for me in the driveway. I stick the key in the lock...WRONG FUCKING KEY. AGAIN.

I apologize profusely. I go back to work, feeling like a big dummy.

I did finally determine which key, from the windowsill collection, would open the door.

And then I lost my glasses. Which involved having to come to the office to see if they were here (they weren't) and sometime between when I checked the office for the glasses, and this very moment, the work keys went missing. They're not in my bags...they're not in any of my coats...they're not sitting out in the open at my house...they're not here in my office...they are now truly missing.

THIS is when you know that a) you have ADHD and b) you are beyond your capacity to operate even remotely efficiently. When apples start to fall off of the wagon, one by one, normally that's when I realize that just like my keyring, I need to take some items off of my to-do list. The current challenge to that, of course, is that we are in the middle of necessary home improvement so that we can get ourselves moved into the new house by the end of the month. And there's nothing I can do about it.


I'm super excited about the move of course, and the house, I'm just not super excited to realize that I can't take anything off my plate right now, which probably means that I'll be spending a great deal of time dealing with ridiculous shit like lost keys, missing glasses, and losing my own ass.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

every day is like sunday

Sunday. The day when many (I'd dare to to say most) American families attend to matters of routine that prepare them for the week ahead. In our house, this process is often fraught with a sense of urgency:

a) because we are damned busy most of the time
b) because when the kids aren't here we have to get as much done as we can before they come back and we won't be able to operate as efficiently
c) if the kids ARE here we have to figure out how to get everything done while of course attending to the things kids need, you know eating, homework, behavior modification (...did you just THROW the cat?!)
d) if we don't get a least half of "To-Do Mountain" pounded out before the week officially begins we are screwed...laundry (piles taller than my husband), cleaning AND sanitizing (why is that doorknob sticky?), animal care (who crapped in the laundry room?!), that sort of thing.

And now, with the PURCHASE OF A NEW HOME officially under our belts, we have added, cleaning a second household, shellacking, priming, painting, spackling, plastering, sanding packing and unpacking to our repertoire.

Having completed today's demented obstacle course to the finish line I find myself musing. Here are some of those musings:

1) Why is that I cannot remember to feed the cats at the same time every day, but I CAN remember to remind the girl that it's time for her to feed the cats.

2) Why did my 5-year-old stepson yell "LOOK! It's a MINI PERSON!" after spotting his first "little person" this afternoon? We discussed proper nomenclature for future use.

3) Why do all home improvement tasks take exactly 4 times longer than anticipated and why don't we learn to just factor this into the tasks in advance?

4) Why did the adult with ADHD cross the road? Duh, to...

5) Why do people bother to substitute the phrase "See You Next Tuesday" for that know, THAT word...that word that so many people seem to be offended by that they have to come up with dumb phrases to replace it, and the replacement phrase is so gaudy that it creates more hubbub than the word itself...I'd rather just say cunt and get it over with <-----there, I said it.

6) More people should use words like "f'realsies".

7) Why am I so reassured by lists? I love a good bulleted, numbered list. And I hate outlines.

8) It's not that Sunday is more work-filled than any other day, it's just that certain tasks require attention on that day. Each day of the week is a hamster wheel unto itself.

So let's hear it for unnatural conclusions. Let's hear it for Sunday.