Things Which Must Be Done

Archived | February 13, 2015 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Not bad at all. There was a guest host, a Mr. Thile, and I enjoyed his voice and such, and I think he did a fine job. I did miss Mr. Keillor’s voice, I will say, but that’s pretty much a given, and frankly I’m glad he has a bit of a break from the show. People who work hard need a gear shift now and then, a change of activity, down time for some, a workout for others. Even if it’s only a short while. You enjoy what you do when it’s not all you do. Often a break for me is a shift to a different kind of work, and I’m blessed for sure to live a life where I, daily, have an array of work from which to choose.

Except for those few seasonal things which must be done — like shoveling — and those one-a-year chores, like planting the garden or washing windows. Or taxes. Oh, yes. Taxes. It’s that time. I’ve tried to make doing taxes its own kind of break from something else, but who am I fooling? Tax accounting is, in no way, a break. And if you’ve got perfectionistic, procrastinative tendencies like I do, then you have to be careful or you’ll find yourself up You-Know-What Creek without a paddle.

So I’ve been giving myself a deadline a bit earlier each year, and forcing myself to meet it so I can end that pressureful feeling of having Taxes to Do. Worked on it all for two full days this week, and I’m done. (There’s a bag of heart-shaped Reese’s chocolates in the cupboard above the stove. It’s my prize.) Two days, you ask? Yes. Because I, like many people I know, am gifted in taking breaks, and finding rather insane ways to burn up my nervous energy in what I know to be pure procrastination.

For example, during the past two days of Doing My Taxes, I spent about half an hour sweeping out the garage. Because it needed sweeping and I did not want to put it off. I did several loads of laundry, and stamped and addressed birthday cards for people I love for the months of March and April. I cleaned out my bedroom closet, and sorted through my summer clothes, and washed the kitchen floor. I made waffle batter for the weekend, wrapped a gift for Mr. S for Valentine’s Day (Got him a lovely Mark Twain candle that smells like a library, seriously. Pipe tobacco and vanilla.), and I cleaned out the plastic thing that holds the silverware.

I dusted the tops of the door frames all over the house, and cleaned out the bathtub drain which took a short while. I sorted through the Rolodex, updating and tossing, and I made a few phone calls which might have waited a week. I trimmed my nails, and I did a mole check to make sure there’s nothing unusual growing on me. I changed the furnace filter. I washed Mr. Sundberg’s parka. I did some research on the Mediterranean diet, and the Apostle Islands, and what cats make the best pet. I shoveled the sidewalk, and later on, I swept it. I washed the windows near the front door because someone had licked the glass. (I can tell. The kids think it’s a real hoot to lick the windows. Especially those on the car. Sigh.)

The funny thing, people, is that I really don’t DO my taxes. I simply prepare the info so they might be DONE. It’s all in a pile on the kitchen counter, and today I will take it to the man who does the real work. It feels as if I did my taxes, though. I got done what I set out to do, and did it a bit early, and managed to take enough breaks to do a whole crapload of other things which, all told, no one will likely know I did. But I know I did ‘em.

Mr. Sundberg called several times from Texas. “I thought you were doing taxes,” he said each time he called and I listed all I’d gotten done. “It’s my Process,” I told him. Everyone has one, and this is mine, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Here’s a snack that goes way back to winter evenings when I was a child. We all sat around the TV waiting for “Lorne Green’s Last of the Wild” to start, and Mom brought in a big ol’ bowl of caramel corn, and paper towels, and hot chocolate. This recipe makes enough to share with someone you love, for sure.

Caramel Corn

2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
½ cup white corn syrup
6 quarts popped popcorn
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp butter flavoring

Pop the popcorn and set aside.

Boil the brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt in a saucepan for 5 minutes to 234. Remove. Add baking soda and butter flavor. Stir well. Pour over popped corn and mix well. Spread over tinfoil on a baking sheet, and bake at 200 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Store covered.