Friday, June 5, 2009

Organized chaos

Dear Organizer Lady,

Recently I hired you to help me with my mother's crap. Her paperwork alone was a full time job because apparently one's paperwork increases proportionate to one's age, which means we have exactly 75 pages of forms to fill out for every week she continues to plague me with her existence. Until I hired you, I had been buried under Medicaid forms, life insurance questionnaires, denials of insurance coverage and a huge pile of papers that accumulates when one has only a day to go through all of your dad's file cabinets and take what you need and hope the rest is garbage. By the time I contacted you, I had cried at least 10 times while dealing with useless bureaucrats who actually didn't care that I was (or was pretending to be) a 75 year old widow of 2 months. Shocking really, but apparently par for the course.

So when I started losing my sanity (what was left of it naturally) it was time to bring in some assistance. Who better than an organizer lady? Someone who made it her business to organize other peoples' lives and make them run smoother. Your job was clear: to burrow through all the crazy papers and daily mail deluge and make sense of it. Then to spend 10 hours a week on hold to one government organization or another until you made one of them cry instead. Turnabout is fair play right? I got a recommendation from your friend and we were on our way.

The truly funny thing was that my mother considered hiring you an abandonment. The fact that I, her only daughter, was going to hand her paperwork over to a stranger to deal with was hurtful. She went into a tail spin and began calling me 4 times a day with random problems that ranged from needing some yogurt immediately (early in the week) to the truly insane (at the end of the week): "I have lost my bearings, I have lost all my sense of security. I can't sit in the living room because the tv makes me insecure. I don't know what to do." Okaaaay, what? "I can't do anything but lay in bed and I am so full of anxiety, what do I do?" Well, mom, you can either check yourself into a mental hospital, as it sounds like you're having a breakdown, or you can find a way to calm yourself down. "Oh no, a hospital would be terrible. I'd die there." Okaaay. Well what do you want me to do at 10pm on a Friday night when I'm home alone with 15 month old triplets who are in bed? Hmmm?

Who knows what she expected me to do but apparently she survived because come the next week she called me on Monday just fine. I didn't hear from her all weekend, despite the fact that she was apparently locked in her bedroom by fear. Funny how she made it to an exercise class and a bingo game that weekend. Hilarious. So, already, and unfortunately, hiring you began to unravel what control I had on my life up to that point, but that was hardly your fault.

In any case, I digress. During this emotional chaos you came to my house a total of 4 times. 3 of 4 times you were late, 2 of 4 times you had to reschedule at the last minute. I understand you had some stuff of your own going on so you had to take a week off. The week after your first visit was an unfortunate week to need off because I was still stuck holding most of the responsibility for my mom's insane paperwork but your mother had died and that's a pretty good excuse if I've ever heard one. The next week though, you returned to work, late, because you got lost trying to find the office store, but with no phone call while you were driving around, just blocks from me, when I could have been of assistance to you actually. I had planned my day around you arriving on time and sat here waiting for you so I could unload my stress about my mother's papers and get on with caring for the rest of my family. I was a little perturbed that "my" organizer could not work a GPS system or a cell phone to save her life, but I gave it a little more time.

You have diligently filed and categorized everything, waited on hold for many hours, gave me tasks only I needed to accomplish at the end of your day and got along well with me and my family. When you called me on the way home and said you had another job you needed to do Thursday and you didn't "know what to do" I let you off the hook for another reschedule and resigned myself to being second priority in your work life. But then we came to this week. First, the rescheduling of the rescheduled appointment because your daughter was in town. Then, you arrived late again without calling. Your daughter's plane was apparently later than you'd thought so you spent more time with her. Bravo for you and your family. I feel, however, that somewhere along the line you missed the fact that I am paying for your help and waiting for you to arrive at my house when the point of hiring you was to FREE UP SOME OF MY TIME.

At the end of your last visit I explained that I did need to know when you were coming so I could make plans to be here to let you in. I was politely trying to let you know that your unpredictability was becoming hazardous to your health. The fury that was growing inside me was partly fed by my mother's existence so it can not all be blamed upon your irresponsibility or lack of common sense but it was likely to be unloaded on you had you shown up late one more time, or rescheduled for that matter. So you promised you'd be here at 10am. Promised. There was no reason anything should delay you on Friday. Right? Those were your words!

So why, dear organizer lady, why at 10:05am when I called you this morning were you so chipper when you announced that you were just about to start out for my home right then? And when I asked you how long it would take you to get here, how could you have so nonchalantly said it would take you 45 minutes or so? Was it my imagination or were you completely oblivious to the fact that normal people with jobs tend to show up not only on the date and time that they are scheduled but, if they are unable to do so, usually notify their employers of their reason for an estimated tardy arrival? How do you not know this at 50 something? I understand you had a flat tire. I understand you apparently forgot your phone as well. Is this really my problem? Aren't you an organizer? Shouldn't you be more, well, organized?

Because when I politely inquired as to whether this job was really the right one for you, while explaining that what I had intended to do was hire someone who was not crazy and overwhelmed like me, you explained that you were, in fact, "overwhelmed and perimenopausal?" Really? I need to know about your hormones? Because it seems to me that of all the people on the planet who should know how to help someone become more organized and bail them out of their own world of chaos, an organizer lady should be the right choice because her life should be organized too. And as much as we chaotic people have sympathy for people more screwed up than ourselves, we are not in the mood to pay you to help us while simultaneously making our lives more chaotic because we have to sit around and wait for your butt to arrive whenever you feel like it or twice a week, whichever works out better for you.

So, sadly we must part ways. I, hopefully to find someone more organized than myself to take over my mother's paperwork, and you, hopefully, to find some way out of your chaos. Because I recognize crazy. I've lived with it all my life, and you, my dear friend, are crazy.

Yours in chaos


  1. Wow! Triplets, eh? I have 3, but thank goodness not all the same age! And, as you saw I have ALL BOYS, so it amazes me that people asked if every one of them was a girl when they were younger. Even up to age two, dressed in blue, with their name out in the open I'd hear, "So pretty, girl or boy?" BOY! BOY! BOY! Boy face, boy clothes, boy name, BOY! End rant.
    Enjoyed your blog, very nicely written. Eager to read more. Happy to be your 2nd follower. How bout add you to my blogroll see if we can drum up some interest in the Triplet Crown?

  2. Thanks, I'm just starting out obviously and will take all the help I can get!