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This Day in My History


Anyone can do anything for only 15 minutes, even if you have to break it down into 5 minutes segments.

- Fly Lady

Yesterday's Entries

2000:  Santa Needs a New Elf
2001:  Christmas Tree Letter
2002:  Christmas Time Around the World


Breakfast:  Scrambled egg burrito + grapefruit

Lunch:  Yogurt

Dinner:  Terriyaki Chicken + rice


Working with the usual afternoon fare:  WestWing, Columbo, Dr. Phil and Oprah.





23 December 2003

The Fly Lady suggests that anybody can do anything for 15 minutes at a time. I decided to put her to the test today.

The psychiatrist was here last night with his annual Christmas gift–a fresh turkey from the local free range turkey ranch. Brannigan’s Turkeys are absolutely delicious and every time I think about finally hanging up my transcription equipment and suggesting he find someone else, I think of what life would be like without our yearly Brannigan’s turkey.

The man is truly one of the most patient people I’ve ever met and has said nothing about the growing backlog of transcription that I somehow never get to. I’ve never been this far behind, or had this little enthusiasm for starting it. But he did mention it in passing last night, how backed up it all was. It’s hard not to feel guilty when a man is handing you a 26 lb turkey that costs as much as your month’s salary and mentions how you haven’t done diddily squat for him in a very long time. (He, of course, was much more tactful than that).

So I decided to try the 15 minute rule on transcription. I woke up at 5 a.m., put on my clothes, laced up my shoes (supposed to put you in "work mode" right off the bat, Fly Lady says), and sat down to transcribe.

The rule was that I’d type 15 minutes, then do something else for 15 minutes, then go back to transcription.

It was raining out and Walt was taking the car to work, which I took as permission to keep working and skip Weight Watchers (probably a good thing, all things considered). I kept on typing. I even reset my e-mail screener to check for e-mail every 15 minutes instead of every 2 minutes, so I wouldn’t be distracted by all those penis enlarger ads every 2 minutes.

It was an extremely active morning, but by noontime, when I finally took a break, I had completed four days worth of transcription, made my bed and straightened up the bedroom, totally cleaned off the kitchen counter, rearranged my cupboards, cleaned off and scrubbed the top of the refrigerator (which hadn’t been touched in at least 15 years), washed, dried and folded a batch of laundry, did a first go-round on cobweb removal (still more to do, but had to wash and dry the brush first), and did a load of dishes.

All in 15 minute work-segments.

I stuck with 15 minutes, even when I was engrossed in something and surprised when the time passed so quickly. I figured I’d stick with it if I kept running from task to task.

I quickly filled up a whole garbage bag with stuff I discarded. I don’t care how much starving children in Bangladesh would love a 10 year old box of Soft as Silk cake flour, out it went. And I didn’t strain the bugs out of the powdered sugar, but tossed the whole thing. I was ruthless.

I even put away the new Christmas finery I bought the other day, where it will stay for a day until time to set the table for Christmas dinner.

Yesterday I was looking through old photos for a picture to use for "The Ghost of Christmas Past" and came across a picture I had taken of the kitchen counter a couple of years ago. I know it’s a couple of years ago, because the photo is dated, but it could just as easily have been 10 years ago or one year ago.

This is the way the kitchen always was the day before Christmas.

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Then I would run around like a chicken with its head cut off, throwing things into boxes because there was no time to sort through anything. I’d put the boxes in my office, so there would be no place to sit in my office, but at least there was some room, however limited, on the counter. There would never be a LOT of room on the counter because I only cleared away enough room to carve the turkey, and most of the stuff would just be pushed aside.

I am proud to present to you my kitchen counter today:

bench2.jpg (29160 bytes)

The best thing about this is that there is nothing shoved into any nooks and crannies. Everything has a place and is in its place, so there is nothing to "move back" after Christmas. What’s more the cupboards are organized, so easier to find things. And you don’t stick to the top of the fridge if you touch it.

Plus my office still looks clean, tidy, and uncluttered.

And I am not living out of a laundry basket where my washed or unwashed clothes are bunched together, but everything is clean, folded and in the proper drawer.

This is the way normal people live. I’ve never claimed to be normal, but I have to admit that Christmas week is sure easier to handle when you are normal than when you are the way I’ve been most of my life.

And best of all, I won’t feel guilty when I cook the turkey Thursday night!


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Walt plays Santa Claus

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Weight Lost to date:  48.6 lbs

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Created 12/21/03