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Done in by the to do list

Everyone enjoys taking a couple days off from work to get things done -- which is exactly what I did this week.

I'm still recovering.

Like other people I know, I tend to set my goals too high on days like this. This time, I decided to take it a little easier.

Or so I thought.

One project was to line up parent volunteers to fill in time slots for an upcoming activity in our daughter's classroom. Parents, however, were only some of the people I needed to call.

Also on my list: calls to the pediatrician, veterinarian, carpenter, furniture refinisher, a friend or two and, oh yes, a call I needed to make for work.

No problem, I thought, pouring myself a big cup of coffee and taking a seat at the kitchen counter. Just make sure you don't ask the carpenter to help out at school or tell the pediatrician you need to make an appointment for a rabies booster.

Of course, few parents were home to take my calls because they were either 1) on vacation for spring break, 2) at work or 3) tackling chores on their own To Do lists.

After each name I wrote myself a little note:

Answering machine. Left message.

Answering machine. Did not leave message.

Call back at 6 p.m.

Call after 3 but before 4:30 p.m.

Can help anytime. (Yes!)

Can help on Thursday but not Monday.

Luckily, I immediately reached the man I want to refinish the top of our dining room table. Yes, of course he could stop by and take a look at the table.

How about tomorrow morning?, he asked.

Sorry, I said, I'm back to work.

I also reached a parent or two. While talking to one of them, my call waiting clicked in, which I usually ignore.

But, wait. What if it's Ed the Carpenter calling me back to say he could stop by that afternoon -- but not again until 2010? Or the pediatrician's office changing the appointment I had just made two minutes earlier?

Phone calls were just the beginning. Also on my To Do list was a trip to a store to see if, by any chance, an employee could locate a counter stool that had long been discontinued.

You see, I already own two of them but I want a third. Why I didn't take care of this last year when they were widely available is beyond me.

Looks like there are some in Nashville, the helpful sales associate told me, staring at her computer screen.

A stool from Nashville. That would be cool, we both agreed.

But, alas, no counter stool in Nashville. Nor in Erie, Rochester and everywhere else the poor woman called. It's hard to say who made more phone calls that day -- she or I.

Also on my list was to return the American Goldfinch that didn't chirp. You see, our daughter had received as gifts four plush birds from the Audubon collection that make authentic bird songs.

Except for the American Goldfinch.

The return and exchange went so smoothly, I couldn't wait to get on with my list.

Home Depot. Boulevard Mall. Gas station. Bank. Post office. Grocery store . . .

The good news is that even though my head is still spinning and I am out of luck getting a third counter stool, both the carpenter and refinisher are stopping by this weekend, my packages are mailed, my tank full and the American Goldfinch is chirping.

And -- the best part -- I only need to line up a few more parents for the classroom project.

Perhaps the pediatrician is available.


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