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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Write blog post: check!

I am officially spread too thin. Like peanut butter that has been spread too, uh, thin. On a piece of toast, say. Nothing worse than thinly spreaded peanut butter. On the other hand you don’t want too much, or it gets stuck in your throat.

Now I’m hungry. Thanks, bad analogy.

This whole “my kid is back to school and therefore I have the whole day ahead of me” notion is bullshit. Bullshit! You heard it here first! Because it’s not the whole day. It’s six hours. Then you factor in getting to and from school, and blammo, you’ve lost an entire hour. So: five hours. Five hours during which, in addition to work, you’ve got to exercise (right?), answer emails, eat, and also carry out an unending list of small yet vital errands and tasks that somehow manage to eat up your entire day because say you have to print out a contract but the driver on your computer was deleted after you had to get the computer serviced so you download the new driver which of course means you have to restart and once you finally get it to work it turns out the printer is out of ink and the only place that carries your printer’s cartridges is the Staples which is easily a half-hour walk from your place and the employees at Staples hate to be rushed or to do their jobs at all so that’s going to eat up another half-hour, easy, so while you’re there you might as well pick up some school supplies and—oh, look, it’s pick-up time!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a notepad, upon which, I resolved, I would write my to-do list for the day. It was a small, simple notepad. It might have cost a little over a dollar. It was not an enormous investment. Usually I have notebooks and pads all over the place, but at some point I cleaned and purged and removed every half-finished book of scribbles that was cluttering up my shelves. And then I had nothing to write on. I could write a to-do list on my computer, but then I'd be denied the pleasure of crossing off items. Crossing them off AGAIN and AGAIN and maybe stabbing at them a little bit.

I forgot to use my new notepad for the first couple of days after I bought it, because I was too busy trying to find, I don’t know, socks. I can’t remember why I didn’t use it. Finally I remembered to use the notepad, and I spent a day crossing items off my list and feeling terribly organized and accomplished. The next day I went to write a new list, and I couldn’t find the notepad. I still haven’t found it.

So now my to-do list is in my head, and at the top of it is the item OH MY GOD FIND THE FUCKING NOTEPAD. I could buy another one, sure, but that would be admitting defeat. Plus it would be another errand and then another entire day would be gone, poof, like that.

Reader Comments (78)

I wrote about peanut butter today, too. And I frequently lose things. We are obviously kindred.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNichole
are you sitting up in the ceiling tiles watching me at my desk? because frankly, you're creeping me out. stop stealing my awesome and highly effective work habits.

so effective, in fact, that i'm reading your blog right now. lists within lists... within lists...
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthe grumbles
Yeah. It's not a "whole day". Never. Ever. A tip from a list writer: Buy the notepads in bulk and leave one in the kitchen, one in your bedroom, one in your purse, and one in your car. Even if you lost a list...You can restart with a new list. I don't care that I find lists with things written down like, "Don't forget, this is really important" and relaize it's been sitting under the seat of my car for 6 months. I just feel good that I wrote it down. :)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaegan
This happened to my husband once. Same thing. He was going to be more organized and write up a manageable to-do list. He bought a pocket sized notebook to write in. Then he lost the notebook.

Because I washed it. Then I put it in the dryer. So I washed and dried it. Clean, but no longer a functional notepad.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
I can so relate. I retired last year after 20 years as an elementary school librarian to travel the world and write about it. This is working out great, except for what you mention above. Where the hell does the day go?? I seem to spend an awful lot of time just puttering around, straightening, messing around on the computer, running errands, whatever and then it's evening. It's crazy. The day NEVER went this fast when I was working. If only. (BTW, I love your magazine articles!)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan Ross
Add me to the growing legions here who can completely relate. And this year one son's bus is all screwed up, so a few days a week I have to go pick him up at his school, in a very other neighborhood. So that cuts me down to 5 hours. And that? Gone in a flash.

Also? I have actual ADD (which this is all a pretty good description of.) And when you factor that in? It's a wonder I get anything, ANYTHING done at all.

And the lovely part of it? If it doesn't go away after childhood, it gets worse with age. I was actually relieved when I read that one of the many little diagnostic ticks was a sloppy handwriting that gets worse at middle age. Because lately? My handwriting? I still make lists, but can't understand a thing I've written on them.

It was good to know it's just a symptom of what I already know I have. I was afraid there for a bit I was losing my mind. Nope, same quirky self, just... more so.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVarda
Yep, that's me and my daughter. Girls with ADD, unite!

I am actually working PT now, so imagine a day where the time they are in school is spent at an office and you can do some of the things on your to do list, but you can't run any of the errands! My weekends are now so miserable for me because I must spend them running errands and shuttling children to various activities. I think the knife put a hole in my bread when it spread that peanut butter too thin.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSCJ
So sad what passes for a blog post these days. So. Sad.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka
You need a "Not to do list."
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLivewithFlair
That was a mean-spirited comment, Marinka.So. Sad.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn
you rock my world. I was a little cranky today. but then your peanut butter analogy gave me some mighty guffaws. thanks to you, no people will be kicked today.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterandygirl
@Marinka And I was just stopping to comment about how you know you're a writer when you can write a funny post about a $1.39 notepad. And it was funny and well written and a perfectly fine blog post. Not every post could or should be a birth story or dramatic event or even important event. Blogs are about life. And sometimes life is about the little things.

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara
I thought Marinka was joking! And I still think so. MARINKA?!
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
I have the same problem. I have about five billion notepads, and here I am, not doing a damn thing, because I forgot to write it down.

I wonder if I can find a surgeon to attach it to me permanently. No, forget it, the paper cuts. I can't handle that.

Also, I feel cheated about school. Thanks.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstatia
Marinka, if that was a joke, I do apologize.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn
I feel bad commenting to the comments, not the post...but Marinka is my friend and she has the driest, most sarcastic wit ever. Guarantee you, she was competently joking.

Oh and Alice? I bought this app for my iPhone called post-its. You know, to have post-its on my phone. I thought, this is awesome, except that you have to open said app to look at it. Now, I just put real post-its everywhere.

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIssa
Yes, joking! Amazing what passes for a joke these days.

sorry, everyone!

I adore Alice and would actually read her transcription of the phone book. (Oops! Sorry for the spoiler about next week's post!)

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka
Actually, my post for next week is "The Phone Book: Who Needs It?" I plan to become the next Andy Rooney.

Marinka, I'm going to have to teach you the use of the "smiley emoticon." Or perhaps the term "LOL."
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
I have thought that so many times...that those 6 hours just fly by. Still, by the end of summer I am really wanting those six (well 5) hours. Just to go to the grocery storeALONE. Or go to the gym without having to hear complaining about the gym's childcare (which is awesome). But then, homework starts coming home, and I'm wishing it was summer. Sigh.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline Calcote
I love how you can make such ordinary, mundane "life" things interesting to read about. I too have too many half scribbled in notepads... but one day I decided to rip out all the used pages (because I'm too cheap to toss out the whole thing), and now I have a drawer full of flimsy notepads with half the pages. Which I someday plan to make lists in.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
I would like to share this with you Alice:

Because I love you.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You're welcome.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
I bought just such a notepad yesterday. I had big plans for that notepad. It was going to Get Me Organized, so I wouldn't miss another Open House at the school. But tonight my husband is flying back to the States, and while packing, he asked "Hey, do you have a notepad I could take with me?"

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna
I know. I also manage to lose my metro card EVERY DAY, which as you know, means NO getting on the BUS. I don't like to think about what it says about me that I can not keep track of this very essential item.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula/adhocmom
Paula, I have about ten metrocards, because every time I lose one I buy another, and then Scott finds them all over the place and is all, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU."
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Bradley
A timely post. Just last night I came home from the gym to find my husband folding the laundry that I had started but then never finished. I had a list of clients to respond to, an ad to send and a blog post to write. Gavin's almost finished Halloween costume was lying across the entry table. Oh yeah, and hubby and I still had to have a talk about what happened at daycare drop-off that morning.

Then I said it out loud. "I think I've over extended myself." It was like a light bulb went on.

Good to know I'm not the only one. Oh, and I lost my notepad yesterday, too. Found it under my mouse. :)
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

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