- Cheryl Catrini
So let me set the scene. (Because that's what writers do, right?)
It's Friday night. Dave is at the White Sox home opener. A small bug has nursed himself into a *fingers crossed* long slumber (to keep the writer theme going- this is my own suspension of disbelief). Mi madre, who is currently a fellow resident of our reno while she looks for an apartment in the city, and I ordered Thai food. I am wearing one of these and sitting at my brand new floating desk that Dave created for me. It turns a slightly awkward, tucked away corner space into a functional office nook that allows me to focus better on my writing. While it is true that my novel has found parts of itself born during showers, on long Canadian hikes and in the Notes app on my phone, I think it will find its completion at this little desk. Maybe even this year. Suspension of disbelief?
Consistency is key.
I have a consistent key that unlocks inconsistent doors.
I’m not quite sure what a routine looks like but I hear its stability can be quite comforting for people.
On the flip side though, I know that my success (loose definition here, people) is based on my overall consistency. I approach each entirely-too-new day with the same absurd overachieving drive. Even when the overachieving is forced.
Now let me set up some background to give this tale some depth.
Per usual, this week has been an interesting one. We received the proofs back from our photo shoot. They really do an incredible job at showing the progress that DMF Woodworks has made in the last year and are going to look killer when incorporated into our portfolio and website revamp. We also received our stellar custom cookie cutter pictured above from Printsicle, an awesome cookie-cutter-creating husband-and-wife duo, which meant that today saw the first of many trial-runs to perfect our snickerdoodle adaptation. Most notably for me, though, was that I experienced my first bout of thought-based, or more honestly, worry-based, sleeplessness since my early twenties. This loss of sleep is of exacerbated importance too because it drew from the already limited pool of three or four hours that are available to me to begin with. A few nights ago, before going to bed, a mere 45 minutes before the evening’s first pangs of hunger whimpered through the baby monitor, it struck me; ‘Whoa!’, our wedding is just a little over two months away. The day when all of my emails with farmers in Michigan, fancy porta potty suppliers in California, restaurant supply companies in the land of Internet, culminate into not only the moment when I forever commit my existence to be tied to that of another person’s but also when the largest party that we will ever host goes down.
“That’s what happens when you choose to do everything yourself.”
That’s was Dave’s response when some of my tossing and turning rolled me his way and I had to express the obvious Our wedding is only two months away. Cue all the background meanings. We have so much to do!!!
It's weird that until he had said that, it hadn't occurred to me that this was a path that I'd chosen. Admittedly at the outset I didn't know a ton about weddings. I had to Google "What to put on a wedding registry" because what am I supposed to ask for when I don't want things? But when it came to everything else I was doing, the 'all of it' part of it, I was really just doing what I saw as obvious. I've never been to a party with a DJ who I thought nailed the music so I made a list of songs (Notes app, here's looking at you, again) that would work for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and then dancing. Dave did the music for his brother's wedding and could readily streamline these selections into awesome playlists for us. Obvious.
Wedding food has never been a source of culinary excitement for anyone and I've never hosted a party with anything other than food that I have made. With the right menu we could make the food. Obvious.
Each piece dominoed like this. Everything was something that he and I could obviously do well.
Well, now Dave and I are personally responsible for essentially every aspect of our wedding. We run businesses, we sustain a tiny human, we renovate a condo and we orchestrate this wedding. On a daily basis. Even when we don't want to. For those reasons, we also make sure to always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge so that six twists of a wire and one cork pop later, we can call activities like reorganizing our storage locker and ordering twenty pounds of pasta and four million square feet of aluminum foil from restaurant supply websites, dates.
Background set. Back to the present and the forced overachieving. I left out an important detail earlier. This scene also has a timer going and it's not for my face mask or something suspenseful like a bomb detonation. It's for writing this post, because I didn't want to do it. I'm tired, my mood is a little meh and I go through moments (read: rather substantial stretches) of time that I think writing this is a stupid idea. Enter my backup plan. I wouldn't be doing it except for the fact that there are 17 minutes left of the 60 that I started this session with.
Second to Notes, the greatest tool on my phone is this timer. I set it for 3 minutes for my planks (working back up to my pre-baby standard). I set it for 12 minutes for my weekly batch of hard boiled eggs, 30 minutes for when I put Roark in his crib and hope he’ll take a nap and then when I don't want to do certain tasks or when I feel too much like doing unproductive things (domino), I set it for 30 or 60 minutes and get to it.
This is how I handle all of the minutiae of wedding planning that I hadn't anticipated
Back to the fancy toilet emails. Sometimes I simply don't want to respond to an email that basically breaks says, given the unit rental rate and the usage potential per unit, that I have to pay $8 every time someone pees during my wedding, but the timer says I have to, so I do. It is how I stay on task with writing regularly, whether it be my fiction or this slight-self-doubt-creating blog. When an open-ended writing session isn't giving me the feels, I set the timer and at least give it some effort for the day.
So there you go. I wrote a 60-minute novella to share the concept of breaking tasks and time into manageable segments in order to keep yourself motivated, or moreover, when you simply lack all motivation.
I hope the moral of this story sticks with you.
Oh yes, this week was also noteworthy because yesterday, as remembered by its coinciding with the first day of the Masters, was the one-year anniversary of finding out that we were pregnant with our ring bearer. It was a shock at the time, to say the least, but now it makes sense, because when you are naturally inclined to do everything yourself, you make the decor, the food and, if need be, some of your wedding party members.
Also, also, the recipe part.
I believe I have made reference in the past to the series of eight recipes that were written on the recipe card back of our wedding invitations. These snickerdoodles were one of the eight. It is also the recipe that we are adapting to be suitable for cookie cuttering.
Dave’s Go-To Snickerdoodles
(Formerly Dave’s Impress-the-Ladies Snickerdoodles. Kidding. I make this stuff up. Intrigue is good for the storyline)
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 c sugar
2 2/3 c flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Take the eggs and butter out of the fridge. The creaming of cold butter isn't a real thing. Preheat the oven to 375. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Whick together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Form into 24 balls, roll in cinnamon sugar, bake for 8 to 10 minutes and then enjoy. Thoroughly.