My Obsession With The Calendar

If anyone’s been with me for any length of time, you’ll have noticed a pattern.
Hardly a post goes by when I don’t mention my calendar, schedule, or both. When you have so many balls in the air, you live and die by the calendar. We have three paper calendars in the house. Mine, Theirs, and Ours- which is my wife’s master calendar in a big pink binder.

The electronic calendar is shared on my phone, and was tied to my personal and work gmail accounts.

I probably spend as much time pouring over my calendars each day as some people do staring at facebook or twitter. There is a small part of me that loves adding things in bright colors to the schedule.

Yesterday, however, I realized that I may have a problem. My tech job, for some reason- decided to move from gmail hosting to Microsoft Outlook. Of course, my boss needs to have shared access to my calendar so he can schedule my work around PD shifts, The Narrator’s school schedule, and any number of other things which might impact setting up my days at work.

The shift from hosts was a catastrophic and stressful time for me yesterday when I tried for nearly an hour to migrate/merge/sync my android, gmail, and Outlook calendars into one cohesive entity. I needed to be able to add something to any one of the three calendars, and have it appear on the other two.

You’d think I was asking NASA to reinstate the Apollo program.

The three calendars acted like three step-siblings. All somehow related, but in no way willing to cooperate with each other fully.

The anxiety I felt when I saw my android calendar had duplicated every entry for the next two months, and that gmail sat like a petulant child while I tried to talk some sense into Outlook was an indication to me that I perhaps put too much stock into these things.

It isn’t the obsession with devices that plagues the modern world so much as it is an obsession with order. I have never been described by anyone who has known me as ‘OCD’ but I suspect that is because my starting to organize my days like they are now is something new. When a person has a single full time job and a few outside obligations, you can often keep track of your life with a handful of post-it notes on the fridge. That was how I used to live. Then when I shifted careers and entered the world of various part time jobs and personal obligations, it quickly became apparent that they didn’t make enough post-its.

One of the most stressful times of the month for me is when I have to sit down and plot out my availability for each of my three jobs.

The Ambulance already asked me to work nights “A and B” each week, so that means I can’t work PD shifts during those times, I’ll have to sign up for day shifts, but not on days “C and D” because The Narrator has to go to school those days. Maybe I could do nights with the PD on days “C, D, and E, and days on F and G.” So that means that my IT job can have me on days “A, B, C, and E.”

Its enough to ulcerate you, I promise. Especially when you toss in a doctor’s appointment or something fun and unexpected.
However stressful it is though, there is a tiny part of me that actually enjoys it. At the end of it all, I look at a collection of disastrously colored boxes on multiple sheets, then conglomerate them all into one glorious master sheet which then gets copied to my electronic calendars, and I feel like a Time Lord. I was able to condense umpteen thousand obligations, interests, and appointments into thirty days, and still have room to sleep for a few hours here and there.

…so yesterday’s “Charlie Foxtrot”   when it came to the calendar migrations damn near broke me. If anyone had been around me while I worked out this mess, they’d have seen a thirty-one year old father of two, part time cop, firefighter, and ambulance driver as close to tears as a sixteen month old child gets when you tell him something like “Please stop biting the cat” ….complete with quivering lower lip.

So yes. I have a problem. My newfound sense of order and control was slightly disrupted. Much in the same manner that Pompeii was slightly disrupted by Vesuvius.

I think though, that my problem isn’t actually the problem, but the fact that I have such a problem with the problem is the problem. (Got that? Good, because I can’t go through that again. It hurt to write.)

Perhaps I needed this disruption in my sense of order and control to ground me a bit. Yes, being organized is a great thing, but on the other hand, being anal retentive about such things and being so disturbed by a monkey-wrench or two can’t be constructive…or healthy.

I don’t know. What I do know is that while I had planned to wrap this post up with some great philosophical nugget about mankind and our foolish conquest to control time, Mini-Me, who is sitting on my lap, just decided to fill a diaper.

So I’ll leave the conclusions to you.

Do I, and perhaps many, many other people like me spend way too much time trying to compartmentalize our lives by planning and plotting out every single day? Are we in control by doing so, or are we completely delusional and being controlled instead?

One thing for sure that is controlling me at this very second, is the need to do something about that diaper I mentioned a second ago. I guess the lesson I’ve learned in this very instant, is that no matter how I try to schedule things, I’m still at the mercy of the universe, as well as one small child’s butt.

 

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