A mind like a pantry – nothing ever stays where it should

Categorized as 06/27/11 Goshen News column

That’s exactly what happens inside my brain.  Just when I think I have the weekly schedule figured out, someone will canter past my desk, dropping a casual, “Oh, by the way.  You remember that awards program tonight, right?”  Now that the two oldest are working, there’s even more to keep straight.  Remembering who needs to be where and at what time is trickier than threading a needle in the pouring rain.  On the back of a bucking bronco.  With water in your boots and a bur under your saddle.  I’m serious.  Then Boy Three has a sleepover, someone else needs a ride to youth group, and there are pictures to pick up at the portrait studio.  There’s a quarter cup of milk (how many gallons did I just buy?) and three lone Cheerios rattling in the bottom of the box.  The lunch meat is gone, too, judging by the empty Ziploc that “Nobody” returned to the meat compartment.  A small mob is forming, and any minute now, they’ll begin marching and chanting, waving hand-lettered signs with clever slogans printed in Crayola.  Uh-oh.  The kids are hungry again.  What I need is a mind like a steel trap to keep track of stuff.  That, and to keep ahead of these guys.  If Mr. Schrock’s children were less creative and more content to pursue benign activities, such as crocheting, it would really help.  But that’s not how it shook out.  No wonder it feels like someone lifted the top of my head, stirred around with a slotted spoon, and forgot to get the lid back on.  Not only do I have to figure out who pulled the latest prank, but I also have to anticipate what stunt is coming next so I can head it off.  I have a hunch this is why The Mister looks so relaxed when he comes home from the office.  None of his clients are setting off firecrackers behind his chair or leaving anonymous notes on his fridge, promising bodily harm to whoever stacked the glazed muffins in a bowl instead of storing them in a box.  (“Muffins,” the perpetrator wrote grimly, “are no laughing matter.”) I wish I had a brain like a library with everything organized by the Dewey decimal system.  Every time I moved stuff around, I could remember exactly where I put it.  This would bring no end of relief to Mr. Schrock whose stress level veers into the red when I misplace little things like keys and Vital and Extremely Important Papers.  Why (there’s this) can’t it be more like a church service between my ears instead of a carnival?  Soothing, lofty organ music instead of pint-sized circus barkers sounding off?  A robed choir singing hymns instead of a pack of clowns spilling out of a VW?  A baritone reading scripture instead of trumpeting elephants and people in tights shooting from cannons and furry bears trotting on top of balls?  Metaphorically speaking, of course.  I won’t be getting an MRI anytime soon if I can help it.  Pity the poor fellow that reads that one.  “Scan is uninterpretable,” he might say, “due to fluid, shifting contents.” Shoot, at this point, I’d be happy if he just found “contents.”  Something – anything, ‘cause I can’t find the sugar and I’m missing a set of keys. 

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