Things come on to me at strange times and in strange ways. Lately, I have bored friends and acquaintances to morbidity with my recounting of all the projects of home remodeling: beams, painting, counters, fixing leaks, etc. They should flat-out run when they see me coming or when an email arrives. Today, in the middle of a couple of "to-dos" and while wandering around for thirty minutes looking for one of two twenty-five foot tapes that I had placed in some illogical place (in the cookie jar, in the freezer, by the night light), it dawned on me, a true epiphany, why I struggle with organization. I have a severe case of ADHD. No shit. Problem with this flash of reason is that I did not figure it out until nearly half way to my sixty-fifth birthday. Damn, I could have used some help or drugs or counseling.
The evidence is over-whelming: I have two hammers but cannot find one when I need it. Two to four staplers but finding one is a chore and when I do, I never can put my hand immediately on one of the half dozen packs of staples that I have bought and squirreled away. I would say I am squirrelly except the common squirrel does not forget where he stores his nuts. I would say I am nuts except some write to tell me that I actually make sense, at times. Why, just an hour ago, I could not find the vinyl spackling compound to use in some screw holes. I searched, probed, pondered to no avail; I had it only a week ago and went first to where I stored the paint I had moved from three closets, from the tool shed, and from under my bed. All those cans of paint are on a work bench in the basement sitting with four footballs, a scale, a hunk of split shelving, a huge DVD player, and some foam carpet padding. I can find footballs but not a half-gallon of spackling. Furthermore, I needed an adjustable wrench, have three, but had to resort to using one pair of seven pairs of pliers that I have scattered about and which I discovered while looking for the wrenches or maybe it was the spackling. I have a Sears-tool- box for wrenches and ratchets, a tool box with assorted sockets accumulated from my days as an avid yard-saler, a Sears-combination tool box and step with a handle made from eighteen inch length of nylon webbing screwed on with self-tapping screws. I also have a wooden tool box for carpentry stuff; I could not find it while looking for the wrench. But I cannot find a hammer, spackling, or a flash light; there may be a light(of six) under my bed; maybe I did see one there when I was gathering up the paint.
Also, I despise doing taxes, rail against it, am always late because I cannot sit still long enough to read the forms ,nor can I find all the W-whatevertheyares that reveal what I made. I can never pull all the odd items together and am constantly finding one more in with the rubber bands and stamps when I think I am done; of course having found one more 1099, I have to start all over. Because I occasionally work in Maryland and live in Delaware, the agony is compounded. I tried Tax Act, TurboTax, WizardofWealth, SuzeOrman’sTaxesMadeSimple but always lose them somewhere in the computer. When I work up a fever of guilt for not having filed them and begin to dig around to get them off, I simply do not know what file they are in. Plus, the year’s end summation from the mortgage company could be in a drawer, in the bread-basket, wedged under a table to keep it from rocking, but it will not be in a file folder marked Tax Info 2008. I have such a folder; it has pictures of football players from 1989 in it.
Another sure sign of suffering from attention disorder: I am an insufferable pack-rat. For example, I have approximately seven dozen empty, cleaned tuna cans for mixing epoxy; I cannot find the epoxy. I have an eighteen inch high stack of TV-dinner trays to use for paint trays; I cannot find a brush. I have seven rolls of painters’ tape, the blue, delightful smelling ones because I could not find one to tape out around the base board in the dining room; I bought six but today when ready to tape-out the sink before priming the counter, I had to search for half an hour to find one sitting in the clothes-hamper along with an area rug, two screw drivers, and a dozen switch plates. My soiled clothes are in the floor in front of the washer. In that vein, I have twenty-two socks that match nothing, I can find. I keep putting them on my pillow hoping that I will discover mates while looking for a stir-stick for the trim paint. I once wore a black shoe and a brown shoe to work; I blamed it on dressing in the dark but really the error was caused by putting the right on in the bedroom and finding a left in bathroom. Probably, the set of car keys I have not been able to find for a month is in one of the shoes under the bed. Recently, I grabbed up two free shoe racks from a pile of junk left over from a yard sale and designated for the land fill. They were in my car for a month and now I cannot find the legs; I have the shoe-shaped thingies but no legs to anchor them in. I will not go on except to say if anyone or two happening to read this need a set of golf clubs, please write; I have 67 sets. I will not go into drivers, wedges and putters; surely, I have made the case.
Frankly, I am pretty depressed by this bit of self-discovery; I cannot figure out what to do about it. All I really have is an explanation for why, for sixty-four plus years, I have always had half-a-dozen unfinished projects nagging away at me. I do not know how I ever got papers back on time to students, managed six periods of English, coached two, sometimes three, sports for a good part of my career, or how I never lost a grade book or ads for the football program. However, I will admit for the first time to finding Mel’s grade book two years after he lost it, sitting at the bottom of a stack of file folders marked Tax Info. I never told him; I do not enjoy making grown friends cry. I guess I will just stay depressed about this revelation, suspecting that it is way too late to fix me.
PS: sorry about this; I was going to write about BP's oil mess, the Supreme Court, and Sarah Palin, but I got off on a tangent.