Friday, December 12, 2008

I Don’t Know Why She Fights It Every Year

Every December, when Steph realizes that's she's overcommitted herself with the knitting again, I make her a schedule. Or rather, a Schedule. In this document, I tell her exactly what she knits (and bakes, wraps, etc.) and when in order to get it all done by Dec.25. It's our Christmas present to each other - I get her through the gift knitting with her sanity relatively intact and she feeds my belief that when I run the world, it will all work out. We have a beautiful friendship.

Being the maker of the Schedule, it is perhaps not surprising I like lists. Lists are soothing, writing down everything you need to do a week, divided into categories of e.g., Do, Call, Email, etc., allows you to get a general overview of the insanity that is life, assess whether you will have a decent week or one in which you need to invest in several pounds of chocolate covered coffee beans and creates a sense of control. As I hit 40 some years ago and therefore allegedly am somewhat wiser these days, I do know that this sense of control is completely illusory, that life can explode at a moment’s notice (and frequently does), but that's why you allow yourself to move items off this week's lists and onto next week’s, thereby creating an equally illusory big chunk of time in which life can have an apoplexy should it need to. This is why my list for the week in mid-November had an item reading "Steph re: schedule", figuring that if we jumped on it early this year, we could avoid It. ‘It’ being the annual Christmas breakdown that Steph has when she can't do it all and I subsequently have when I try to cram a gazillion projects into a two-week schedule. So I asked, she said she was "fine", I decided not to challenge that, but mentally rearranged the end of the month to allow time for making a Schedule when she came to her senses.

What I had not counted on was Ms. Harlot being fully immersed in the Five Stages of Christmas. She'd entirely skipped shock and moved straight to an extreme case of Denial - and I quote "Dudes. I have this Christmas thing SO licked", which as far as I'm concerned is just asking for the Cosmic Feline to notice you. She then devoted an entire post to a change of attitude, claiming - am I the only one who detected a note of desperation? - that as long as she proceeded with confidence, " I AM going to finish. It IS going to be something I get licked. The Christmas knitting IS NOT going to get the better of me this year. I repeat, I have it licked". The fact that she acknowledged this might be a delusion would qualify that stage as Bargaining, with a soup├žon of Sadness and verily, by the next day, she'd reached Acceptance and asked me for a Schedule. Not entirely fully Accepting, the e-mail was entitled "do I need a schedule?" and included a list of knitting projects totalling 160 hours, adding six hours of baking, a day of work-that-can’t-be-knit-to and removing a perfectly lovely five hours of good knitting time for shopping. And giving me only seven hours of knitting time a day. As I was in the throes of a particularly enthusiastic life apoplexy of my own at the time (see Monday's post), I really appreciated the laugh. Once I was done wiping away the tears and only occasionally hiccupped in a giggle, I started hounding Steph for additional information such as events, concerts and parties that needed to be inserted in The Schedule, got a little busy with a deadline or two and by the time I sat down (metaphorically) to work out the puzzle, there were 25 days of knitting, baking, etc., and 21 days into which to fit these activities. This seemed a bit ambitious, even for my admittedly overdeveloped idea of what I'm capable of.

Luckily, while I wasn't looking, Steph had managed to knock off three projects, enabling me to upgrade from gibbering and tearing out my hair to intense focus and merely tugging at my remaining locks and Sunday, I presented her with the finished product (askew to preserve project confidentiality)

in which she will finish the day before the last present is due, leaving a full evening to


And "knit what you want" on the last day. She liked it. Called me overly controlling, but also omnipotent and y’know? I'm just fine with that.

Still, next year we're so starting this puppy on November 1.

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