No, I’m not talking about when people are upset with me (though I have been called some pretty nasty things there, I’m sure I deserved most of those!…). I’m talking about things that seem to come up in, what I consider, standard conversations.
Usually the things I am called are compliments. I feel that I don’t deserve these for a huge number of reasons. Usually they just relate to who I am, who I’ve been brought up to be. My mom deserves most of the compliments I receive…she did teach me a lot of what I know and everything about how I should be (have I ever mentioned that my mom was a single mother too?). I am going to go through each one of these (the ones I can remember anyways), explain what is meant by them/what prompted them, and why I don’t think I deserve them.
1. “Miss Organized” Yes, this was said as a title and not as a one-word description. This was said by my once full-time (now occasional) babysitter, on a number of different occasions. She has made this statement as I plan my workday, looking in my kitchen cupboards, after hearing about systems I have helped implement at work, or just as I am gathering and/or talking about the kids.
I tend to think out loud and prioritize EVERYTHING. My talks (and my cupboards) are reminiscent of prioritized lists. My thoughts (talks) can also run in a specific timeline format. I ALWAYS have a schedule.
I don’t deserve this title because I am NOT super organized. My work days I keep structured, but my life is anything BUT organized. At work I fit in extras “when I have time”, in my life I fit in LIFE “when I have time”. I have no idea when my next trip to the grocery store will be. I have no idea when my next load of laundry will be done (though I do know I have at least a week until laundry is a necessity). I don’t know what’s for supper tomorrow or when those dishes on the counter from supper tonight will disappear. It will happen when I have time. Oh yeah, my memory sucks too…makes organizing kind of a waste of time…
2. “Mental Mathematician” Granted, this can be taken two different ways, but the one they mean isn’t the correct one. This has come up in both my jobs when dealing with money.
I do not use calculators for simple addition, subtraction and multiplication. Groups of numbers, especially in the context of money, just make sense to me. They fall together into their Nat little patterns.
While I’d like to credit this one to my mom (sorry Ma), this is entirely to the credit of my childhood teachers. Bash the public school system all you want, but public school teachers can be damn good at drilling things in. I had an amazing grade six teacher and a pretty good grade seven math teacher who both emphasized mental math. Those two teachers HATED calculators and rarely allowed them in the classroom. Mental math was a necessary survival skill for those two years.
It is due to those two teachers that I don’t deserve this label. I used the skills they taught me. I can only be credited for continuing to hear their voices every time I approach a math problem that most use a calculator for now.
3. “Miss Fix-It” I get this one every time I offer to “take a look at” something that isn’t working properly. I wish I could say I deserve this one, but I really don’t. This one comes from my best friend. I love her to pieces but she is truly inept at minor repairs. I’m not talking about actually fixing things…just making them KEEP working. If it’s truly broken, I’m useless to you.
Some specifics: I can put together a bookshelf out of a box, where all the pieces are labelled and the directions are clear with pictures. I can tighten screws on a wobbly shelf so it doesn’t wobble anymore. I can reattach the chain in the toilet tank so that the toilet flushes when you hit the trigger. She can not do any of these things. I can also tell you that her printer isn’t printing everything she sends to it because she probably doesn’t have the “print only in black and white” button pressed in her settings and she has no colored ink.
I don’t deserve this label because I look at the issues/symptoms of a issue and follow logical troubleshooting steps to fix it. I also follow directions when provided. I think anyone would do this. My mom gets the credit for this one: she taught me logic, common sense, how to ask for help, and basic troubleshooting. By the way, my kids have been taught these skills too.
4. “Keener” This comes up every time I am early for something, whether it’s work, an appointment, a meeting, or just picking the kids up from school. By the way, I am ALWAYS early. Most of the time this is because I think that I am running late.
I catch the bus that comes half an hour before the one I NEED to be on. That’s because in my mind, if I wait for that other bus, I will be late. I leave for the school fifteen minutes before I need to be there. I live one block from the school.
I don’t deserve this title because my mom taught me how to set alarms and clocks. Alarms are set for five minutes before something REALLY needs to be done. I currently have nine alarms set on my phone, all of them for at least two days a week. All my appointments, work schedules, PTA schedules and specific day reminders are there too (also equipped with alarms). I have been taught to keep track of my obligations and to have a system of KNOWING what things need to be done when. I have also been taught to set all clocks four minutes fast (five minutes makes it too simple to remind yourself you have a little extra time somehow).
5. “Budget Queen” This one actually comes from my mom. My bills are always overpaid in advance. I never pay bills on the deadline. I usually have more money in the bank than I feel should be possible. I am able to go out at least once a month with my children and not worry about what we are spending our money on.
This one is my favorite. I love hearing how great I am with money simply because so many people seem to struggle with it. My budget plan is actually pretty simple. Other than the one aforementioned monthly outing, lock up the bank card…only bring it out for absolutely necessary purchases that can’t wait.
The actual reason why my bills are overpaid, why my bills are paid in advance, why I have more money in the bank than I feel I should, is because I have a TERRIBLE memory. I have set automatic bill payments from my bank account for key payment dates the month before they are due (the 20th and the 30th). These payments are slightly ($5-$10) higher than the monthly billing amounts. I have set 99 (max number) payments for every bill that I have. The excess payments keep accumulating.
The reason why I always have more money in the bank than I feel I should is because I have lived my whole life on very little income. I became a mom young. I was sixteen when I found out L was on his way, eighteen for T. I didn’t get much support from their father when L came along and none at all once he found out T would be around in about seven months. Young moms of new babies means no money. As I said at the beginning of my post, my mom was a single mother too. When I was a child, the family allowance was so low that childcare ate up the whole thing. Employers were less forgiving of family requirements as well. I now have two major sources of income, a much more substantial family allowance than my mother ever dreamed of, employers willing to work around my family, and very little childcare necessary. This all adds up to a income that actually exceeds expenses. My finances are in the black instead of the red and I’m not used to it, so I don’t spend what I get and am surprised by the resulting balance.
I don’t deserve this title because Mom taught me to only spend when necessary, not to live outside my means and how to find the best value for my money. I just keep forgetting that my means are a little more than previously in my life….and the only title I deserve for that is “Miss Forgetful”.
I’m sure there are more titles, but it is almost midnight so the only name that’s coming to mind right now is “Sleepy” and if I don’t listen to that soon, tomorrow it will be “Grumpy”. I know I deserve those titles! 🙂
G’night, and remember: No matter how dark the day (or night), the sun is always shining somewhere!