Projected time warp | Living with Gleigh

I think when we begin a project we enter some sort of time warp. Did you ever notice how much you think you can get done is nowhere near how much you actually get done?

I think when we begin a project we enter some sort of time warp. Did you ever notice how much you think you can get done is nowhere near how much you actually get done?

I just wrapped up two whole days of working on scrapbooking projects at my church’s craft and hobby retreat. I ended up feeling more like I was yelling “Retreat!” “Retreat!” Once a year our church holds this retreat allowing people to bring as many supplies as they need to work on their project, leave it overnight and come back the next day to continue working on them. Dinners are catered, snack are shared.

It started at noon on Friday, went until midnight, then started at 9 a.m. on Saturday and went until midnight. That’s 27 hours of “uninterrupted” time. I put uninterrupted in quotes because that only happens in that parallel world that doesn’t suffer from the time warp of real life.

But what is it that makes us think we can get all that we had planned finished in time? Have we ever gotten that much finished before? Do we think sitting in a room with 40 other people we won’t interact with anyone? Will we not stop for sustenance?

Sure I got a few things done. I completed our 2011 family photo album. That is an accomplishment, although I only had one month left of the year to finish. Then I got three years done on my oldest daughter’s “Tot to Teen” album. Three years might sound like a lot, but the whole album was complete with embellishments and I only had to add one picture a year for about ten events.

You might wonder why I’m complaining; I did get something done. But what I planned to get done, what I packed in to get done, far outweighs my accomplishments. Friday night I not only brought my family photo album to finish, I brought my personal baby album and some loose pictures of my childhood to put into a photo safe album. I figured I’d get it all done. When I finally finished the family album at 7:30 p.m., I knew I couldn’t finish my personal album, so I packed up and went home. “Retreat!” I figured I’d rest up for my next project.

Saturday I brought five huge, double boxes of pictures. I figured it would be a snap and I could simultaneously work on both my daughters’ albums. But not only did the real life time warp apply, it was too confusing to manage both albums at the same time.

When my family joined me for church at 5:30pm, I had expected to send several boxes of pictures I was finished with home with them. I hadn’t even made it through the first box, which was 1995-2000. I should have sent them home with the latter years. But I was still in denial of my abilities. After all it was only 6:30 p.m. when they headed home, surely in five and a half more hours I would be able to complete the rest of the years, even though in eight hours I’d only complete two years of one child’s album.

There’s a superhuman trapped inside all of us who makes us continue to over-plan for ourselves. I have actually started major remodeling projects the week before a major holiday. I remember the Thanksgiving I had to call my girlfriend and beg her to have Thanksgiving at her house. I had decided the weekend before would be a good time to tear apart my younger daughter’s room and repaint and reorganize. When Thanksgiving loomed over me, my daughter’s bedroom was still piled in my living room.

I’ve had a birthday party in the midst of a kitchen remodel. We used plywood for the kitchen counter, the bathrooms for water, and my girlfriend took all the dirty dishes home in a laundry basket to run through her dishwasher.

I could go on with the list. At least I’m consistent and I’m not the only one. Others were hauling away piles of supplies after minimal accomplishment. What if next year I gather just enough supplies to accomplish a conservative amount of a project? But I probably won’t. Because as soon as I left the event, the project time warp dissipated and won’t show itself until next year or until the next task for which I will ultimately over-plan.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com.

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