Our family calendar is an information multi-tasker. Each year I purchase one with large monthly pages and ample, oversized daily squares, so I have plenty of room to write the myriad of time-sensitive tidbits that decorate the pages and give meaning to our days, weeks, months and the year as a whole.
I know this is a little old-fashioned. I have calendars on my phone and computer, but I still like to have the hard copy paper version that I can hang on a hook on the wall in the kitchen.
I keep track of everything on our calendar. Paydays are circled in red. Payments due are listed on the top right corner of each month. Jobs completed and waiting for payment are written at the upper left corner. Sports schedules are listed at the top of daily squares; appointments are assigned to the middle. Birthdays are recorded at the bottom, as are days with no school. Weddings, baby showers, graduations and other such happenings are scrawled wherever I can find room. Phone numbers are sometimes recorded at the bottom of a page. Occasionally the word v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n spreads across numerous days.
My calendar tells me where to go and what to do. With one quick glance, I get a visual on how many days I have to prepare for Thanksgiving or whether my husband’s birthday falls on a Thursday or Friday.
By this time of year, the calendar is well-used and well-worn. It has been examined, peered at, studied and scrutinized so many times that its pages are no longer stapled neatly together. The binding gave out mid-way into the year and April now rests atop July, with May and June somewhere after December. It no longer hangs neatly on its hook, but nestles in a spot on the kitchen table. Despite its reckless appearance, the significance of the calendar remains intact. It keeps me on track and I’d be lost without it.
I not only would be; I am.
The best I can figure, it happened the Sunday before Halloween. We were carving pumpkins and the kitchen and dining room were just a little bit busy, not to mention messy. We’d layered newspapers and cardboard over the tables and counters to protect them from pumpkin innards. It was a serious and intense contest situation. Even the youngest among us wielded a large, sharp knife.
You can’t carve pumpkins without having to clean up afterward. Here’s where I believe the folly occurred. The rag-tag (albeit essential) calendar must have been inadvertently swept up and away during the frenzied collection and removal of cardboard, newspaper and wet pumpkin goo.
Of course, we didn’t realize it at the time. It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that I had a need to glance at the calendar. Its spot on the kitchen table was decidedly empty. I searched behind the TV and computer. I looked in the bedrooms and on top of the fridge, but there wasn’t a day or month to be found. How could we lose a large, oversized multi-paged calendar? The reality of the situation descended like a pile of pumpkin goo falling to the floor.
Maybe, in the thralls of pumpkin carving clean up, someone threw out the calendar. A panic shuddered through my entire being. Then the true horror hit. It was Tuesday.
Garbage pick up day was Monday. My calendar – my useful, utilitarian, innocent calendar – was long gone, destined to spend eternity in a landfill with a bunch of pumpkin goo. Dead, but not forgotten.
That was days ago (I think, I’m not sure without my calendar). I’ve already ordered a calendar for 2018, but that doesn’t do me any good now. I’ve got nearly two full months of 2017 left and no calendar to prove it. And a person can’t buy a calendar in November – not for the current year, at least. They sold out last January. So for the next six or seven weeks, I guess I’m lost.
Sort of like my calendar.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.