When Disorganization Gets Embarrassing…

This isn't my garage...but the two could be kissing cousins. Photo from Impowerage.com

Welcome to Thoughty Thursday here at More Cowbell! This is the day y’all get an open window into the twisty tunnels of trivial things that litter my brain.

Today’s topic is about my biggest fault…I am a disorganized procrastinator.

I mean, I do okay at work…somehow I manage to keep a pretty sharp focus on the high points of a project.

But then I come home…and have to depend on my hubby like a blind woman on her guide dog. I thank God for him all the time, but over the holidays — I’m just gonna say it — he saves my bacon every year.

You see, holiday time is guaranteed to shine light on this secret shame of mine. Let me give you an example…

When he we unpacked the Christmas stuff from the garage, I found scads of things I’d forgotten about:

  • Cards I meant to send last year.
  • Presents (including CALENDARS) that were for 2010/2011.
  • Birthday presents that went out to the garage last May when we went on a cleaning rampage for Baby Girl’s party.

In addition to the above, we’ve got:

Photo from blog.nicolesteffen.com

  • 46 boxes of Christmas cards
  • 9 stockings (there’s THREE of us)
  • 26 rolls of wrapping paper
  • 14 things of tissue paper (the jumbo kind)
  • 3 jumbo packs of Scotch tape
  • And NO colored lights for the tree (because we missed that after-holiday sale last year).

Hello???? There is something supremely wrong with this picture. I can’t find  most of my presents at the moment, yet ALL my family and friends could come to my house to wrap their stuff and not even make a dent?

(And…gulp…I have to get my Christmas cards out like yesterday!!!)

Normally I start getting things organized in November to avoid the disorganized-crap-pile depression, but this year I was too sick. So I’ve had to face the truth this week:

I’d be crushed by my mess if I hadn’t married the King of Organization.

Let me share a conversation I had on Facebook this week with Natalie Hartford, to give you some insight into how I’ve survived this long (besides by marrying my secret weapon husband). Imagine my delight when I asked Natalie for her address and discovered that my secret shame might  be a “writer thing”:

Me: I just had my organizing hubby add that to the address pile.

Nat: I’ve added you to ours as well…now, if I can just MAIL them out this year!! LOL!! 🙂:-)

Me:  Sometimes my cards don’t get out till late and we call them New Year’s Cards. (In really bad years, they’re called Valentines….I feel a post coming on.)

Nat: WAHAHAHAHA…Jenny, I think we are SISTERS! In year’s past, I’ve even had them STAMPED and then had to throw them out the following year when I found them unmailed…since then I stopped putting the year in them…just in case…LOL! 🙂:-)

Me: Yep, guilty. It’s how you know you’re a writer, I guess.

Nat: Badge of honor!

Me: One really terrible year, I had St. Patrick’s day “hellos.” 

Nat: WAHAHAHAHA!!! OMG!!! RIOT…but the question is, did you keep them as Xmas cards or did you go get green cards??? LOL!!!

Me: Oh no, I let people know I was a slack-ass.

Nat: That’s FANTASTIC! I love it!!!

Me: See, I buy the cards and presents on time and then I forget where I put them and have to get them again. When we had Baby Girl’s birthday last year, my husband asked if I would consider just wrapping and labelling everyone’s (old) presents and putting them on a table by the door so they could TAKE THEM HOME.

Nat: OMG…seriously?!?! That’s insane…and hilarious!! You must write a post about this…hehehehe…

Me: I definitely feel it coming on… It gets damn embarrassing after a while. What else can you do besides laugh?

Nat: I feel your pain! But you are right, all you can do is laugh…LOL…


Soooooo….are you shuddering right now or nodding your head in agreement? Do you feel our pain or are you that person I aspire to be — an organized soul? Do the holidays shine their twinkly lights on your greatest strengths or your greatest weaknesses? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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52 Responses to When Disorganization Gets Embarrassing…

  1. I find it remarkable that you just posted this and that I just read it. I was just journaling this morning and asking myself “am I the only person in the universe who is a disorganized, slacking procrastinator?”
    I have done the Christmas card thing many times… stamped and ready to go spread holiday joy. But wait… there is Darlene throwing those cards in a box meaning to get to them. All I had to do was put them in the mailbox! They were stamped!!
    Fortunately, I do have a savior man that helps me. His name is Andy and he gets things done.

    Great post! 😀


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Darlene. I was having a moment about it the other day and I must have felt your pain across the blogoverse. 🙂 (Congrats on marrying Andy…it is AWESOME to have a partner who gets things done!)


  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Oh, Jenny! I think this post is going to be commenting “gold.” The sad thing is, I’m the organized one in the family. *shudder* And our Christmas cards aren’t out yet (I’ve learned to keep the updates on the kids kind of generic…”the boys had a great year, no one’s in jail or flunking out of school” – you know, that sort of thing, just in case I fill out SOME cards and want to re-use them next year). That being said, I’d love yours and Natalie’s mailing address in case I get my crap together! You know my email address, right?

    Oh, and I thought I had wrapping paper, but I’ve only got scraps. Your 26 rolls sure would come in handy! Merry Christmas, hunny!


    • Your back up plan rocks Kathy! LOL! It’s why I stopped dating cards so…worse case…I can mail them the following year. LOL!!
      I must say, I’ve been a bit more on the ball this year and this WEEK I mailed out my cards to my new blogging friends. OMG – wow! It’s likely because we’re all in the honeymoon stage of our friendship. Next year I’ll be slack ass. LOL!! Definitely would love to swap cards. Email me your address at natalie at nataliehartford dot com and maybe…just maybe…I’ll get yours in the mail next week…eeeeekkkkeee…one can hope! LOL!!!
      Merry Christmas!!


      • K.B. Owen says:

        Wow, Natalie! That IS amazing…

        Ok, no volcanoes erupted, no earthquakes shook our house, so I’m guessing that you getting your cards out is not a sign of the apocalypse, LOL (I kid!). We’re good. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love that “in jail or flunking out of school” are the benchmarks you thought of…LMAO! I’ll DM you in Twitter with my mailing address. 🙂


  3. Emma Burcart says:

    I’m totally nodding in agreement. Except, I learned to come to terms with who I am years ago. I don’t do cards. I don’t even attempt them anymore. And no, ecards have not helped. I couldn’t remember to do those either. When I go to events, I bring a gift. Usually wrapped in a target bag. But, I take the reciept out. And I believe it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I got you a present, what do you care if it comes wrapped and with a card? If you do, then we won’t be friends. That’s all there is to it. At Christmas, I take my gifts over to my parents’ house and use their wrapping. If I’m lucky (which I usually am), my step-mom sees what a horrible job I do wrapping and takes over. And I don’t use labels, I just write directly on the wrapping paper. There is nothing wrong with us. Cards are just something to recycle, anyway.


  4. *giggling uncontrollably*

    My hubster is also the king of organization…me, not so much. I’ve been forbidden from even TRYING to do Christmas cards, because I always finish them, stamp them, and then…forget them. After happening 5 years in a row T-man put a stop to the insanity.

    This year was the easiest Christmas decorating year yet…because we just moved, and he organized everything before putting it in the garage. *rubs hands together w/evil grin* Don’t worry. Next year will be different.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, feeling so much better!! The biggest issue (to be fair to me) is that before The Organizer hit my life, I put everything in one closet and DID NOT have a garage. All gifts and wrapping were in one place so I didn’t really lose them (or multiply them). Now, it’s an ISSUE, as y’all can see.


  5. Laura Drake says:

    Sigh. I remember in the dark ages, back before I met Alpha Dog — I could find everything I owned, in the dark. Sorry Jenny, this is not a writer thing. But the good news is, it’s not your fault! Go read your ‘Bag Ho’ post – it’s in your GENES, Girl!

    You’ve found a wonderful solution, with benefits. You married your own secret weapon! Now that’s a win-win!


  6. Julie Glover says:

    I’m agreeing with K.B. Owen. I married the absent-minded professor: He’s brilliant, but if I could have the money back for all the umbrellas and jackets that man has lost over the years, we’d have fully-funded college accounts for our kids. So the task falls to me. Sad to say. I have pockets of great organization, and other areas of complete disarray. I’m great with to-do lists and event calendars, but terrible with Christmas cards, my kids’ project due dates and holiday party times, and what to eat for dinner. I need a personal assistant. Don’t we all?


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I definitely need a personal assistant. Ever since Kristen Lamb got one, I’ve been uber-jealous!!


      • K.B. Owen says:

        Yes, Julie, I have what I like to term “asynchronous” organizational ability, haha. (Hey, if the public school systems can use that mumbo-jumbo term, why not me?). I re-organize the cabinets several times a year, searching for that “ideal” system; I have folders for my email; my glove compartment is fabulous…but when I hunt for my car keys, they never seem to be where I think they should be. (of course, when we had ferrets, I could blame them, but now I blame the fact that I have too many DANG pockets). 🙂


  7. Sis, you and our sister in law are so much alike. The last year when I was out at our brother’s house she gave me my Christmas present from 2007! It was a new Christmas tree skirt celebrating my marriage. It is beautiful and made me cry. No matter when you were supposed to send the gift the fact that you purchased it, wrapped it and held on to it for so long with returning it or giving it away is sweet.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…I got a Christmas skirt too (a few years before you) and I love it! Best present ever, and I use it every year. 🙂

      p.s. I’m soooo happy you feel this way since I just found your presents from LAST year, and they’re coming with THIS year’s gift….sometime….


  8. Woot woot. Jenny!! So glad you posted this and aired our dirty laundry so we could see who else is in our slush pile. it sounds like we aren’t alone in our Christmas card disasters. Thank goodness. LOL
    As I told Kathy, I was super impressed with my bad self cause I did get a few cards out to my new blogging buds this week but I suspect it’s cause our friendships are in the honeymoon phase. I’ll likely suck a$$ next year. LOL!
    Like Christmas, each year is a surprise as to how “on the ball” I will, or won’t, be. I love what Emma said about being ok with who she is and that’s that. I think those that love me have just come to accept my “ways”. And hey, the years they do receive Christmas cards, it’s like a HUGE deal. I set the bar LOW 80% of the time, which allows me to truly SHINE on occassion. It’s all part of my evil plan…hain hain hain!
    Although hubby did put his foot down a few years ago and insisted that if I buy stamps, I must mail the cards – even if it’s years later. LOL! He’s tired of my wasting the big bucks.
    LOVE the post!!!
    Wishing everyone a very happy holidays!!!


  9. Oh.My.Heck.

    I am absolutely your dichotomy, call me the evil twin if you like, but I am way too organized at Christmas. I print out a calendar the week before Thanksgiving and plot out my demise, I mean holiday. And those cards? Yeah, I hand make 100 of those beauties every year. True, I have found some presents at Easter (why do I always think hiding them with the Easter decorations is such a fabulous idea?), but then I just re-wrap them with cute Easter packaging and no one ever knows.

    In all this craziness, I also have Baby Girl’s birthday to remember. Which means I have to find birthday paper because it just won’t do to wrap her gifts in Christmas wrap.

    Whew! Being this fabulously organized has made me hungry. I think I’ll go whip up a batch of fudge and some tea. I might not be a slack ass, but at holiday time, I’m certainly a fat ass!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh. My. God. You HANDMAKE 100 cards??? Are you on crack?

      Oh, sorry, I meant to say: I’ll be they are absolutely gorgeous and amazing (you over-achiever, you). I am completely impressed. Bring some of that fudge up north and we’ll have a eating write-a-thon.


      • I love the idea of a fudge-fueled write-a-thon! I’m going to need a sanity break the week after Christmas (daughter’s in town for two weeks and hubs is off work that entire week. Yikes.) Let’s make it happen!

        I mailed your card to the address you had on FB (in the messages with Natalie) – I addressed it to: Jenny, (your husband’s name), and Baby Girl. Hope you get it!


  10. I’m extremely well organized and never quit until a task is . . . oooh, look! A squirrel. Um, what were we talking about?


  11. Stacy Green says:

    Totally nodding my head! I do pretty good with my Christmas stuff, but the rest of my house is tucked away in closets and hiding spots. I’m always trying to get organized – especially my damned kitchen – and wind up making things worse. I just don’t have the Midas touch that some have.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      See how different we all are? I’m ruthless in my kitchen…I don’t lose my mind unless an item contains paper. THEN I’m a train wreck.

      What about your hubby? Does he bring an organization gene to the relationship?


  12. Ack, you and my husband could be related . . .
    DH: “Hun, we really need to get me more socks for work.”
    Me: “No we don’t. Look in the cupboard to the left.”
    DH: Pulls out a bag with three pairs of unworn dress socks inside. “When did we buy these?”
    Me: “Two months ago.”
    He says he doesn’t know how he survived before I came along 🙂


  13. Holy cow, girl – where is heavens have you stashed 46 boxes of Christmas card, 26 rolls of wrapping paper and 14 things of tissue paper (the jumbo kind)? Well, I would say you are well prepared and I admire that. Good job 🙂


  14. Okay seriously, after Ginger Calem’s post last week about her garage sale, you need to get in touch with her my friend. I see a garage sale in your not too distant future!!! LOL!!! 🙂


  15. Lesann says:

    My rule about Christmas cards is: if I miss the window of opportunity…I send them in July. It takes everyone by surprise and they don’t know if I’m uber early or lame-ass late. *tapping temple* Gotta keep them guessing.


  16. Hey, Jenny!

    I’m pretty organized but I was so HAPPY to find one of the twenty boxes of holiday cards in my office last week. I hired painters to paint the upstairs bedrooms, boxed everything up and emptied the rooms. The painters didn’t’ show up. I do intend to have the rooms painted, but my stuff is stacked in unmarked boxes halfway up the wall.

    I hear you on the tissue paper. I keep buying it because I put it away. Where, I don’t know. Same with all that post-holiday Crate and Barrel stuff I hoard for holiday gift exchanges. My dirty secret…I tossed the tangle of Christmas lights in the Goodwill bin (at the bottom so hubster won’t see them) and bought more. Everyone’s got a threshold. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jennifer, there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) like moving or doing home repair during the holidays. We did that last year and my dining room looked like Beirut on Christmas day. *shudders* But…you do what you must. I hope those damn painters get there soon and make your place look maaaahvelous!


  17. Jenny, Natalie, you guys as sisters really makes me smile. Ok, so I married a great organized guy. Me? I strive. I strive to be the organized super wife and mom. I do pretty well. I was a great teacher and an organized mom and wife.
    BUT My Christmas cards are not sent yet…. I started today. Yes. TODAY.

    My kids are adults. They have my free-wheeling sense of fun and some of their dad’s organization but neither of them have asked me what we’re doing for “Christmas” Which sadly leads me to believe that Mommy’s genes have won out. Hubby has been asking me if I’ve talked to the kids and just yesterday I quipped. “We’re having a mystery Christmas” He laughed and laughed and laughed. Obviously, he’s a great guy but next week, he’s going to be really nervous. Organized people want to know what their doing for Christmas NOW. I’m calling the kids tonight and getting it together.

    I’m hoping this gets makes me a triplet in the writerly/disorganized sisterhood:)


  18. Hartford's Hubby says:

    I knew Natalie was card-challenged when I received a Happy 35th Birthday card for valentines card – PS: I’m 40 Natalie!


  19. tomwisk says:

    I’m disorganized and I live with it. If people think it’s bad outside they should take a look inside (my brain, that is) They’d drop a brick. I’m the only one who knows how to make it work. Be disorganized, it’s your God given right. You know how the machine works.


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  21. ROFL
    Have not forgotten presents for an entire year. Have sent out cards late as in “Happy New Year” late. But I’ve gotten really bad about even trying to send out cards in general. It has become lower and lower on my list of priorities. Perhaps because I got out of the habit of buying those suckers the day after Christmas when I decided to make them…and finding the time to sit down and make them is harder and harder each year. Perhaps because mailing them started breaking the bank.

    I used to be so organized. Then I became a SAHM…


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  23. Jane Sadek says:

    I had a gazillion odd cards all gathered up, because every year I would buy new cards and every year there were a few left over. But I would never USE them for fear that I would send someone the same card I had sent in the past. This year I got over it and used up all the old cards. I get to start the process all over again when I go buy cards at the after Christmas sales.


  24. This could be me writing this post. You are not alone, slackass-Jenny! I recently found a pile of thank you cards (from a 2008 family event) that I’d stamped and thought I’d mailed. I also found my siblings’ 25th anniversary cards that I bought ahead of time and then couldn’t locate so I had to go out and buy new ones. At least I didn’t write in them so I can still use them for someone else.

    My husband encourages me to only buy what I need at the time and not buy ahead. That’s helping a little. But I’m very reassured this may be a writer-thing. I feel in good company. 🙂


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