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Oh, surely the Germans have a word for it! [Jan. 6th, 2011|10:14 am]
Because the German language rocks when it comes to having a word for all those cool things that take a paragraph to explain in English. Even if sometimes it's just seventeen words stuck together. You have to admire a language that says "no need to invent a whole new word when we can get more use out of the ones we already have."

But what's the word for that thing where you just can't seem to get something done. Not procrastination...that's sort of purposeful. You're making a choice to avoid doing something. "I don't want to pay my bills! It makes me vaguely nauseous and my checking account makes that high pitched keening sound. I think I'll watch this episode of Prayer Beads, a very strange Japanese horror series, on Hulu, instead. Tomorrow I'll worry about the bills."

What's the word for when you actually pay the bills, write out the checks, put them in your purse...and then walk around with them for two weeks, forgetting each day to actually mail them and thus ensuring that they're all late. Again.

Side bar: Don't make fun of me for paying my bills with an actual physical check. I have auto-pay on a lot of things, but sometimes I need to time the payments of utilities and other things. And I still haven't set aside the time to set up the whole banking online thing. I was so scarred by rushing into "paying online" way back in the early days...when there was no centrality to it, you had to have a separate log-in and password for every bloody account, and the sites were often so wonky, that you had to move through 12 screens just to pay a $25 bill. Plus, the bill reminders would wind up in my spam filters, or I'd go to pay it while at work and I'd have the log-in and password at home. Or vice versa. And then in an effort to not be late, I'd reset the password...and then wind up using the wrong, the old password, entering it three times thinking I was using Caps, or typing it in wrong, and then they'd lock me out of the account and I'd have to call in to re-set it. But of course, I'd have to have the card, or the account number or a personal note from a local freemason before they'd let me back in. So, not only would I be a late-pay, but I would also have developed a brain tumor out of frustration. It will happen. I know this because: I paid for some clothes last week with a check because I knew I had the cash, but had forgotten to go to the bank first and I felt distinctly Amish and quaint, pulling out my checkbook.

Anyway. That's called distraction and that's not the word I'm looking for either. Like the funky pair of reading glasses I picked up for a bargain three weeks before Christmas. Because my ones here at work -- that I need to read the sometimes teeny-tiny spreadsheets that my twenty-something year old colleagues produce -- are all whackadoo and sit on my face at a distinct angle, plus are all scratched up in the very places I need to look through.

That cool, funky pair of glasses are sitting down in my car. Where they've been sitting for what, five weeks? And I only remember them when I have to...sigh...put on the Melvin glasses that are here in my cube and swear that TODAY at lunch I will remember to bring them back up. Even though, secretly, I KNOW that I'm going to just have to break down and make a special trip downstairs to the parking lot to get them. That is the ONLY way I'm going to get them.

I know this, because it took me just that kind of effort to get my EZ-Pass back in the car in time for the Christmas holiday. Even though it sat there on the kitchen counter, RIGHT BY THE DOOR, for months. Easy to grab. Easy to see. Yet, still, there we sat, in the "too lame to get EZ-Pass, so we'll have to wait 30 minutes to get through the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza on Thanksgiving" lane. I finally just had to make a special trip out to the car to take it out there.

There's got to be a word for it. I mean, you've GOT windshield wiper fluid in the garage. But when the "low wiper fluid" light comes on, and you swear that when you get home you'll go get it...you don't. And there you are, driving down the highway, praying that a passing truck will hit you with some road water, so you can scrape away some of the smertz that's obscuring your view. And days later, when you're measuring your chances of being able to get enough Diet Mountain Dew thrown onto the windshield to clean it, without it all pretty much just being blown back in your lap, you realize that you have hit a new level of dysfunction and even though it breaks your heart because you have a whole gallon of it, at HOME, four feet away from the hood of your damn CAR, you stop at 7-11 and buy a new gallon, paying the exorbitant "I'm a poor planner" price that they charge people like you.

Surely there's a word for that gap, that inability to close a loop, solve an easy problem, in a timely manner!

What, senility?

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[User Picture]From: fountaingirl
2011-01-06 03:27 pm (UTC)
You need a planner. A small calendar book that you get into the habit of looking at every morning while you have coffee. Establishing and remembering one thing is doable. Then, you write reminders in the book - and do the things and check them off at the end of the day. Not done? It gets put on the next day. And the next, so that it dogs you until you get it done.

Trying to be organized and remember everything without any place to collect tasks and info is a lot harder than life needs to be.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2011-01-06 03:45 pm (UTC)
You're so cute.

I couldn't get out of bed without planners. I have the personal planner at home where I do have things like "mail SueEllen's gift", that then has a sub-entry "give up on trying to find the packing tape gun and just buy more". And then "buy packing tape" goes on the shopping list in my purse. And after two days of driving around with the packing tape in the car, today I actually brought SueEllen's package down the the car. Tonight, I will write on the list "Get SueEllen's address out of the bloody rolodex".

I have a list on the fridge of large, long term projects/dreams I don't want to lose focus/timelines. I have a list by the television of "things I can knock off while sitting on my butt watching tv". I have a list upstairs of things/projects when the weather's nice and when the weather's bad. I have a wonderful planner at work, which tends to be more effective because my cube is only 5x7, so the odds that I'll think of a thing I need to do and still be within arm's reach of the planner are very, very high.

The problem is that distance between thinking of something I need to do and remembering it long enough to get it in the planner. Or, conversely, in the morning, the distance between looking at the planner and noting something and then walking another two feet and promptly leaving the something on the counter.

When I'm entertaining conspiracy theories and dabbling in magical thinking, I consider that perhaps my stairs and doorways have a brainwipe function that's been installed by the government, Pookahs, or dolphins.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2011-01-06 04:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Lists.

Maybe THAT'S my problem. My brain is a timeshare.
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[User Picture]From: im_geva
2011-01-06 04:21 pm (UTC)
Maybe you're too organized? No, don't laugh. I mean that you think 'I'll remember and do that when I'm doing this other thing that is right next to it' And then that's how you forget.

That's how it happens for me - I think, 'oh, I'll take that thing downstairs next time I go to do the laundry...' and then when I go to do the laundry, I'm thinking about laundry...not the other things that need to go to the basement.
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[User Picture]From: dreamtigress
2011-01-06 04:54 pm (UTC)
I have a phrase for days that go like that - where you set out to do ONE thing, and the world waylays you for HOURS with related and unrelated nonsense, until it's dinner time and you still haven't gotten the ONE thing done, and you're kind of mystified... Glass Doorknob Day. Named for the day it took me over five hours to install two simple glass doorknobs. Also shown as this =O for short hand.

My system for bills, which is not fullproof, and is, perhaps, a bit wacky, but it works for me nonetheless, goes like this: I still get paper bills for everything. Because if I don't have a physical, paper bill in my hand and on a pile of bills, I will forget to pay the bill on time. This has been proven when I misplace or don't receive the paper bill. I write the amount due, and the due date, minus 2-3 days depending on the bill, on the outside of the envelope in large sharpie lettering. This way I can easily glance at the envelope and then at my *paper* calendar, and think, "Oooh, I need to pay that soon." I pile the bills in a specific place on my desk, with the bill due the soonest at the top of the pile.

When it's time to pay a bill, or the many bills that are all end and beginning of month, the bill(s) and my checkbook and I go to my computer, where I pay them online through my bank. One website, three pages in, I can pay all of the bills in one spot. But none of them are auto pay, because I'm an artist, and I am never completely certain the money will actually be exactly where I need it. Giving myself that 2-3 slush time on the written due date gives me time to transfer money as needed.

This system works for me. It probably wouldn't work for everyone, and various companies urge me to go paperless at every log in. While I love the world and the environment, I also *know* myself, and have a bit of an irrational anti-paperless stance. If an EMP blast takes out the internet and all the computers, I will still have records of all of my bills ! I have never claimed to be entirely sane, right ?
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[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2011-01-06 05:09 pm (UTC)
I've been telling Beth "Wait a minute." or "Just a second." so many times that she's started imitating me. If I realize/remember that I have to drop something in the mail, I do it RIGHT THAT SECOND because I know that if I don't RIGHT THAT SECOND I will forget all about it.

When I'm really desperate, I start writing notes on my hand. I've been doing that for decades... long before Sarah Palin made that look lame.

And I pay stuff with checks because I don't trust auto-pay, period. I got screwed in the opposite way... I forgot all about my car insurance which was being paid by auto-pay (ha, a pun) and it didn't get renewed when I moved to MD from VA so I was without car insurance for months. Writing checks in my mind forces me to be aware and mindful of my spending, however painful that may be.
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[User Picture]From: dawntreader90
2011-01-06 09:41 pm (UTC)
ha!! i write on my hand all the time, too. my mom still makes fun of me for that but it works. :P
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[User Picture]From: bittibuddha
2011-01-06 06:00 pm (UTC)
yes, of course there is a word for that situation - but hell if I know what it is. I think it would sound rather like "kerCHUNK" because that's the sound of a gear falling out from the bottom of a car - which for some reason bears a strange cognitive resonance in my brain to this scenario.

I once found little write-onable paper bracelets made by PostIts. I think they were originally designed to use with kids (to write their names and emergency phone numbers, etc) on, and they look like the armbands you get when you go into events where there is drinking, etc.

Anyhoo. I kept a pack of them at work and I kept a pack at home. If I needed to stop off on the way to pick up milk or drycleaning or mail bills, etc, I would write it on my bracelet and put on the bracelet, and sometimes I'd even remember to do those things before I reached my ultimate destination of the day.

I don't see those particular things available anymore online, but these things would do: http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=3/1590&mode=Searching&erec=0&D=ticket+wrist&gclid=CIPtxM2TpqYCFZNd7AodZEW4dQ&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&Ntk=all&searchTerm=ticket+wrist&ms=search&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&N=0&BP=10679&Ntt=ticket+wrist&Dx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&cm_mmc=google-_-Toys+and+Novelties+-+Adlucent-_-Tickets+-+Wristbands+-+19-25-_-1ad546d52e0a4162aab9c4a7b3addfa5&sd=Yellow+Self-Adhesive+Wrist+Tickets

kinda thing.

not that Im trying to give you unsolicited advice, because I hate it when people do that to me. I just like responding in your blog because I feel like a Cool Kid when i do. xox, etc.

Edited at 2011-01-06 06:01 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lady_foxchase
2011-01-06 07:28 pm (UTC)
and because I am such a creature of habit, my first thought was those are a cool idea....then my second thought was, I wonder if they come in pink, cause yellow won't match many of my outfits :-)
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2011-01-06 06:25 pm (UTC)

Avoidance Therapy

sorry - I do the same thing sometimes. Maybe that's why I call my own office and leave myself voicemail messages then don't check my voicemail because I know it's from me?

Putting on the semi psycho-logical hat for a moment: dig back into psych - probably developmental but maybe abnormal - and remember how the brain deals with stress. Too much crap and it starts taking out the trash. In your subconscious, you've already *completed* the task therefore your memory is just tossing that extra crap like mailing, taking things out of the car, taking things to the car, etc out like so much daily trash.

You're such an overachiever, your brain thinks it's already done. I almost bet if you made a postit note for each task you mentioned they'd either be ignored or tossed because ... well they're already done.

Oh look pretty shiney.

Edited at 2011-01-06 06:26 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2011-01-06 07:31 pm (UTC)
No auto pay, but everything gets paid via bank website, and they get written in, and dated for the due date, RIGHT NOW WHEN I OPENED IT. Then the paper gets put in the paid bills file next to the computer.
If it's paper, I try to deal with it once: not interested? tear it up and dump it in the recycling. etc.
I also have spots for sets of things.
A basket holds mailing stuff: stamps, envelopes, mailers, packing tape, labels. So when I need to, I don't have to go gathering. grocery lists on my phone. inventory lists on the fridge or the freezer, marked as things go in or out. Shopping bags on the door handle to where the car is so I can't miss them. mail packages stored on the front car seat.
mini post it notes on the computer frame for the next thing that needs to get done.
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2011-01-06 07:32 pm (UTC)
PS that's the only way I get things done. I dunno if it would work for you, but I lived a life of desperately trying to remember everything for way too many years.
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[User Picture]From: dawntreader90
2011-01-06 09:45 pm (UTC)
that's what i do--online bill pay through my bank. i have all my bills set up to email my statements to me (BGE, Verizon, Comcast, Mortgage, credit card, etc.) i keep the emails for my bills in the inbox until they're paid. then i move them to a bills folder in my email.

i don't trust auto-debits to come out at the right time (i.e,. when i've planned enough money to be there.) i also want to push money from my checking account as opposed to giving some company, multiple companies, permission to PULL the money from it.

i also don't trust paper statements because our mail carrier was an idiot at our previous place. we went two months without a bill (i think it was the BGE) and i didn't notice until we got the PINK BILL. grr.
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[User Picture]From: kiltboy
2011-01-07 12:08 am (UTC)
I do it as soon as I think of doing it. Otherwise it ain't gonna get done for three more weeks when I next remember to do it.
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[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2011-01-07 06:03 pm (UTC)
"blonde" :-) and yes, I resemble that remark :-)
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2011-01-08 03:15 am (UTC)
It once took me three days to make a cup of tea.

How that relates to what you wrote about, I'm not exactly sure, but my brain keeps popping that phrase up at me so I'm writing it down so it'll go away.

If I absolutely have to get something done I write it on my hand. Otherwise, odds are it simply won't get done and then I'll suffer those darn consequences.

Let us know if you ever figure out that word...
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