Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Late, I'm Late, For a Very Important Date, or Appointment, or Lesson, or...



Do you ever have that feeling that you are behind? That there is somewhere you should already be and you are not there yet. That there is someone waiting for you? I feel like that almost all the time. I've heard it said that people who are always late value their time more than other people's time. I swear I don't feel that way! I often have a stomach ache worrying about the person or people I am currently inconveniencing. I think my propensity to lateness is a genuine disorder--complete with the inability to be on time and the extreme guilt that comes from always being late.


When I am late:




- Church: It doesn't matter what time is starts. 9:00a.m. or 1:00p.m. I am always late. Eric doesn't even wait for me anymore. I think he may be known as that poor man who shows up for Sacrament Meeting with some or all of his children but no wife. She eventually skulks in somewhere between five minutes to a half-hour after the meeting has begun. I have a friend in my ward with seven children under the age of 13 and they arrive at church EARLY every single week. What is my problem?

- Lessons: (Not all of them! See below.) I am typically late for Haven's dance class every week. It begins at 11:00 so I don't see where the problem is. Sage's violin lesson is another one. I have been as late as 25 minutes for a 30 minute lesson (on that particular day her teacher taught her the full 30 minutes because the lesson after Sage's was cancelled).

- Birthday cards, presents, phone calls: For those of you who are tracking the success of the one New Year's Resolution that I divulged (sending out birthday cards for the entire year), I am still sort of on track. However, all but two of them have been late (you February birthdays: they are on the counter awaiting signitures and stamps!). I have a birthday present in my closet--wrapped and everything--for a friend whose birthday was last May. I'm considering giving it to her as this year's gift. I am also known for making birthday phone calls late at night or even the next day or never. Bad, bad, bad.

- Dr. or Dentist Appointments: I really try not to be. And I am sometimes successful. I think the reason here is that, at the last minute, I am looking for an immunization card, an insurance card, or my checkbook. There is always something.

- Dinner: I aim for sixish. Really I do. But we often eat closer to seven or seven-thirty. We've been know to eat as late as eight or nine. As much as I like to cook (as long as I have a dinner idea and the ingredients) I am not good at accurately determining how long it will take.

- Library Books: This is one of the most embarassing for me. And probably why I opt to buy books rather than check them out (I think the fines I have paid will finance a new wing at our library). I really hate that I do this! They are mostly children's books but still! What if there is a kid out there who really wanted to read Owen sometime in the past three months. (The cost of that book is $3.99 and today I paid a $6.00 fine for it.) What is wrong with me?

- Parties, Showers or other fun stuff: I don't know why. (This also includes parties I am giving--I'm rarely ready at the appointed time.) This is one reason I am a BIG fan of the "Open House." That way I can't be late. And I can leave early if need be.


When I Manage to Arrive on Time:


- Taking Kids to School: I am rarely--if ever--late doing this. My kids should not suffer because I have a handicap. (The doesn't, however apply to picking them up after school.) Now, in Haven's case, her pre-school has a really cool flexible drop off schedule. I can drop her off anytime between 12 and 12:30. I just have to pick her up at the corresponding time three hours later. (Which is also not a problem. This may stem from my previous experience as a pre-school teacher. Those teachers are ready to get out of there at the end of the day. Don't make them wait!)


- Paying Bills: Only occasionally is this a problem although I do admit to considering whatever grace period there is as "on time." (You know, some bills are still on time even after 10 days. If I pay it within those 10 days I consider that on time.)

- Lessons: This may seem confusing because it is also on my "late" list. But Savannah is always on time for cello (see explanation below) and my girls are on time for piano (this may be because I drop them off immediately after picking them up from school. The only time they may have been late is if I pick them up late after school.). And for some reason I have been able to get Haven to tumbling on time. It starts at 10:30. (I think that the difference between tumbling and dance is that tumbling is 1/2 hour and dance is 1 hour. Does that even make sense?) Although I do manage to drop Sage off for her dance class on time.

- Returning DVDs: Okay. I'm cheating on this one. I subscribe to Netflix so there are never any late fees. You return it when you are good and ready. Still. I would like to take credit for never having to replace a Netflix DVD. I always return them. Eventually. (I had a very hateful relationship with Blockbuster because if they charged me a late fee when I didn't deserve it--which they did more than once--it was hard to argue with them when I already had a legitimate pattern of lateness with them.)

I know that I have not included every circumstance in which I am late. There are, unfortunately, many random opportunities for me to expand the horizon of my lateness. But I have embarassed myself enough.


I would like to offer some sort of explanation, however paltry. I think that one thing it boils down to is that my mind thinks in increments of 15 minutes. I think that everything should take about that long. Whether is is getting ready for the day or driving somewhere. I consistently suffer under the delusion that it will only take me 15 minutes to get ready in the morning (or afternoon, as the case may be). This includes a shower. My hair air dries and I only wear mascara and maybe lip gloss (both of which I put on in the car--not while driving! I put them on in the parking lot before I go in somewhere. Which is why sometimes, if I only taxi people around and don't actually get out, I never put on make-up at all!). So why should it take any longer? It does and I should have clued into that by now. But my brain refuses to accept it. This is also the reason that I can make it to cello on time but not violin. Savannah's cello teacher lives almost exactly 15 minutes from our house. Sage's violin teacher is about 10 minutes further but I give myself 15 minutes no matter which place I'm going.


So. What to do? Is there some sort of medication I can take. Even a vitamin or something? Do I need therapy? Am I just a poor loser for whom there is no hope? I don't know the answer to these questions. I would love to be that person you can always count on to be there on time. (I have a friend from high school by whom you can set a clock!) I am trying. And perhaps some day I will have mastered time management. I just hope it's not too late.

16 comments:

Aivaz Family said...

Give yourself a break. If I had that many places to be all the time, tardiness would be inevitable. I am usually on time to church and church meetings, but not much else. Granted, I don't do much else. And also, I only have 1 kid. When I have 4, I'll read this blog again and feel better. I like you.

Natalie said...

Yes, Jennifer you do have a problem with being late. But the nice thing is that those who are close to you know this. We know that if you tell us dinner is at 6:00 we can plan on 6:30 or so. There is no need to change. We have adjusted to your time frame.

Natalie said...

You have your own time standard. I refer to it as JST. You can figure that one out can't you. Even though you are habitually late and I don't understand why, I still love you as my sister. I have come to accept the fact that you are late to everything and I just need to adjust my time to your JST when we come see you or plan to see you somewhere.

Natalie said...

That last comment was MRK

grandma kopp said...

Jennifer you are the sweetest gal ever but for the life of me I can not understand why you are late all the time. I would be so happy if you would get up one half hour early on sunday and get yourself ready then get the children ready and go to church with your hubby and kids. Will you just try it one time? I love you and I know you can do it. Let me know how you do. Some things take longer than fifteen minutes.

Jenn Elison said...

MRK-I was sure glad to see that the second comment was from you. Because at first I was thinking, "Okay, Nat! I get it! I'm late!"

Hacking it up said...

Jen, Jen, Jen...You have no idea how happy this post made me! We truly are kindred spirits! It is as if I wrote this post myself!

I used to stress out all the time as I was running around screaming at everyone to get their shoes on, etc...Finally, I decided to just accept the fact that I was always going to try my best to make it on time, but if I don't?...Oh well, it's not worth th stress it puts on me and my kids...anyway, people expect me to be late...I aim to please...don't want to disappoint.

I love ya!

easleyfamily said...

Can I just copy this post into my own blog...its like you were speaking for me! :)

Britain said...

I am sure I have spent over a hundred dollars in library fines last year alone. I am thinking of cutting up my library card like you would a credit card.

Jen said...

Hey Jenn, Thanks for you comment on my blog...I think that topic struck a nerve hey! ANyway, I love Mel, you're lucky to have her in your family!! Love your blog...I'll have to visit more often! :)

Linda said...

Jenn, you crack me up! I don't know who you got the "being late" thing from. I hate to be late!!! We still love you regardless! love you, mom

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, let me first just say that I love you just the way you are. But I support you 100% in trying to be on time more often. I might even suggest a paradigm shift for you that I think will help: imagine waking up early in the morning and getting all your mundane stuff done, like showering and dressing, before the little guys wake up? You could have breakfast with me and the big girls and we could watch the beautiful Henderson sunrise together and Channel 8's excellent morning newscast. At night you will be able to go to bed at a sane hour here soon, because you will be able to watch your latenight shows whenever, once I get my awesome homebrew DVR up and running. A key to this working will be getting the little stinkers in bed earlier, so you will have some quality reading, lounging, etc. time at the end of the day. I'll take care of the stinkers. I think this will help a bunch and I challenge you to try it for a week and see if it doesn't help. And in return I'll accept any challenge you can throw at me, as long as it is only for a week, you know, just to keep things fair. Come on, it'll be fun!
Eric the Husband.

Jenn Elison said...

Eric:
Maybe we can work something out. I'll think it over. I also have to think about what you would have to do. You are so perfect already, though! Love ya!

Eliza said...

First of all, I appreciate that you and Eric communicate through blog so the rest of us can feel like we are a part of your relationship. Second, when you were talking about how you think in 15 minute blocks, it reminded me of About a Boy when Hugh Grant said that his life is made up of units of time. Each unit is a 15 minute increment. Getting his hair carefully disheveled...2 units. So maybe you just need to adjust some things from 1 unit to 2 or 3. I am not the most punctual person myself, but I am actually okay with that. I have much bigger fish to fry when it comes to improving myself.

Becky said...

I find I can be on time and am most of the time but if I am going somewhere that I am dreading or don't really want to go to I dilly dally around or stall and end up being late. You only need to change if it really bugs you.

Maren said...

HA HA HA! I really loved reading, this, Jenn. It was funny and truthful.