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When your day sacks you behind the line of scrimmage

By Heather Oman


If you’re like me, your car trunk is sort of always full of good intentions.

If you don’t really know what that means, you are one of those people who packs up clothing that is too small for your children,along with other items they may have grown out of, dutifully hauls to GoodWill or DI or whatever, and dumps it, all in the same day.

Go you.

But for those of us who aren’t like that, we pack up stuff to give away and dutifully haul it to our trunks, where it sits for a few days.

Or a few weeks.

Perhaps a few months.


I might have a trunk like that. It might also be full of boxes that I meant to ship, like, forever ago. The stuff might also be buried under OTHER stuff that I have tossed back there in an effort to keep the seats in my van sit-able for the bevy of teenagers that I haul back and forth from early morning seminary these days (which, by the way, is OF THE DEVIL but that’s another post entirely).

Today, though, I had the entire day free, which is something that hasn’t happened in a very, very long time. I was bound and determined to get stuff done, including emptying my trunk of unnecessary trunk items. I delivered the bags of clothing to the appropriate places, ran some other errands, and walked into the post office with 5 boxes to be shipped an hour before I had to pick up my daughter from school to take her to her piano lesson. Hashtag adulting.

Doesn’t that sound reasonable? Doesn’t that sound like I would have enough time to send my boxes and then maybe even have minutes to run through a drive-thru and surprise my daughter with an after school milkshake treat before we went to piano? DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE A PLAN MADE BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT THAT WOULD HAVE WORKED?


The boxes were being shipped internationally, so I had to fill out a customs slip for each box. I messed up the slips. Twice. Then, they all had to be weighed, etc, and then the very nice postal employee told me the price of shipping each box, and I sort of choked. Then she told me that if I had packed the boxes in a different sort of box, it would be $20.00 cheaper per box. I’m not that good at math, but I know that 20 times 5 is worth it to repack all of the boxes. The lovely woman even gave me some boxes from behind the counter and said, “Here, take these! You can have three of them! Here’s some scissors and some tape, too, so take over the counter over there and do your thing.”

So I did, thinking I had enough time to quickly repack the boxes, mail them, and maybe not get that milkshake but still pick up my daughter on time.

It took longer to repack the boxes than I thought, and the replacement boxes were smaller than the original boxes, and so I had to ask for another free box, and the lady couldn’t find any other replacement boxes of that size, so she handed me 3 more tiny boxes, and I realized that I would have to essentially pack up and tape 3 more boxes, and with my milkshake window already closed I sadly told her I didn’t have time to mail them today, and awkwardly took all my cardboard detritus off the counter and hauled it back to my car.

In case you got lost in that paragraph where I used the word “boxes” far too many times, let me sum up. Instead of 5 boxes to be shipped in my trunk, I now have 3 empty boxes (that I will need to break down), 3 re-packed boxes ready to be shipped, 2 packed boxes whose contents need to be redistributed, and 3 very small boxes that I have to assemble and fill with the redistributed contents of the 2 larger boxes.

It’s a buttload of boxes.

Also, it took me three trips to carry all of this stuff out of the post office, at which point any cushion of time to pick up my daughter had vanished, and I was 5 minutes late to the school and we were 5 minutes late to her piano lesson.

I described this situation to my husband, who said, “So, instead of getting rid of stuff in your trunk, you got more stuff?”

“Yes. And I still have to repack those stupid boxes and label them and fill out new custom forms. I made more work for myself. Instead of making progress, I went backwards!”

He laughed and said, “You got sacked behind the line of scrimmage.”

Yes. Yes I did. I mean, I’m not really into sports metaphors and I don’t really like football and I’m not ENTIRELY sure exactly what that means, but if it means that all kinds of garbage got piled on before I could even make any progress and now I’m even more behind than ever, than that’s totally applicable.

And the chances of me getting to those boxes this week are zero. The chances of me getting to those boxes this month are also probably not much more than zero. Frankly, I’d feel accomplished if I got to them before Christmas.

Sometimes I find it frustrating that my days are so tightly packed lately that it’s difficult to find an hour to go to the post office. It means I am sacked behind the line of scrimmage more often than I’d like. I try to remind myself that when my days weren’t packed it didn’t necessarily mean I was more productive, it just meant I had lamer excuses for being behind (because “Hey, Netflix isn’t going to watch itself” isn’t really a great reason for not getting stuff done), but sometimes I do wish I was able to better balance my days.

So if you see a dented mini van (the dent is not my fault, it’s been paid for by the person who caused it, we just haven’t gotten it to the shop yet, because if I can’t get to the boxes in the trunk, you KNOW I can’t get to the dent in the front) full of boxes in the trunk, just wave and smile. If I don’t smile back, don’t be offended. I’m just trying to make sure I get to the next stop in my life in one piece and on time. Or, at least, early enough so the person who is expecting me doesn’t think I’ve ditched them.

How do you balance your time? How do you recover from days that are less than productive? Also, any good Netflix recommendations, because seriously, it’s really NOT going to watch itself.

About Heather Oman

(Prose Board) lives in the south with her husband, her two kids, and her wiggly black lab. She is a licensed speech language pathologist, but spends most of her days trying to teach her own kids how to say please and thank you. She is a member of the Segullah Editorial Board, and is the founding member of the blog Mormon Mommy Wars.

7 thoughts on “When your day sacks you behind the line of scrimmage”

  1. Ha, thanks for explaining why I always seem to have some mid-project going on in the back of the van.

    I finally saw Quiz Show; it's on Netflix now. It almost hurts to see Rob Morrow so young.

  2. Oh, I could have written this, except mine is the DI pile on the drier, and the stacks of written but not sent thank you cards. I run into them everywhere. If I owe you a thank you note, there is a pretty good chance that I have written it but not mailed it.

    Great British Baking Show.

  3. Heather,

    Thank you for a smile and even a belly laugh today! I wish it wasn't at your expense!

    My advice – it will get a little better when they all leave home! Not that we want them to all leave home…we'd just like them to leave for 2 weeks, so we could make a dent in the trunk or the dryer or wherever the heck it all is. It's not my trunk, it's the laundry basket..when I can't get to everything, I stick it in a laundry basket. Once the laundry basket is full, I grab another basket and when they begin to multiply and take over the study or the bedroom and company is coming, I hurriedly stick them out of sight in the attic..oh yes. I own enough laundry baskets for every Segullah reader to take 2. And you are welcome to them, if you'd just come clean them out! Somewhere in one of them are 2 books I've borrowed and really needed to return last year! And I'd swear my passport is in one and possibly a life insurance policy. Kon Mari would say if I haven't needed the things in the basket in the last two years, just toss them (but it's been 6 years for a few) and what if there is a valuable medical record in one of them. And besides, I'm getting a lot of exercise, loading my arms with laundry and going back and forth to the washer and dryer…

    Hang in there, Heather! And thanks again for the very big smile!

  4. Just throw it away. Throw everything away. You don't want your old used stuff. Nobody else really really needs your old used stuff. Take the money that you would have spent at the post office and make a generous donation to some worthy charity.

    I know its hard. Emotionally, it's hard to get rid of it. But it's just stuff.

  5. I too have a strong aversion to shipping. Once I was cleaning out the clutter-corner of my room (akin to Kim's laundry baskets) and I found a box I never shipped. A baby present to a friend with size 12 month clothes; and said baby was quite a bit past size 12 months at that point!

    How do I balance my time?
    A smaller trunk and fewer boxes.

    I'm slightly obsessed with Google Calendar these days. I also became quite practiced at saying "no," nearly a decade ago and it's a skill still serving me well =D It helps that my kids are only 3 and 2, so I have nearly complete control of their schedules. (No football games, no Mutual or Scouts, no piano practices.)

    Eh, and a fantastic support network. So maybe I'm outsourcing to other people's trunks. Though I do believe I have a few of their boxes in my trunk as well.

    Big warm blanket and an eBook to read on my phone. Or, apparently as I am doing now, Segullah. It doesn't help that my kids are 4 and 2, so they have nearly complete control of the vast majority of my waking hours and sleeping minutes as well.

  6. Hilarious, Heather! (Sorry) For me, it's my Lists. I love lists (yes, plural) but there are things on my lists that have been there so long I don't really see them anymore. But somehow, life rolls on, even though I NEVER empty a list. Maybe that's a good thing. I'd hate to die with nothing on my list.

    I just binge-watched 2 seasons of "Touch" on Netflix.


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