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I suffer from ‘But First Syndrome’

March 3, 2016
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

I've been battling a strange malady lately. You might have had a case of it, yourself, at one time or another.

Yesterday's bout was typical.

After son Tim and I had breakfast, I began clearing the table and putting the dishes on the counter, ready to be washed. I had to get the kitchen back into working order. But first, I needed to get out a new bottle of dish detergent.

As I turned toward the pantry, I noticed the morning paper. I hadn't even taken time to glance at it yet. And, there on the front page was an article that caught my attention. The folks who run my friend Linda's favorite golf course, are considering shutting it down.

"I'd better call her," I thought. "Maybe the group she plays golf with can find a way to save the popular course."

The dishes and paper would wait, but first I had to look up Linda's number.

I went to my desk and I took out my address/phone book. As I started thumbing through it, I noticed the electric and phone bills. I had put them in the center of my workspace so I wouldn't forget to pay them before the due dates.

I could find Linda's number later, but first, I had to retrieve my checkbook.

After getting the bills ready for the outgoing mail, I went back into the kitchen and opened the pantry. I still needed that dish detergent to get those dratted dishes out of the way.

I quickly found the bottle and headed for the waiting dishes. But first, I needed a fresh washing sponge from under the sink to do the job.

When I opened the cabinet, I was greeted with disorderly jumble of household supplies. Apparently, I'd been randomly stashing things in the shadowy innards of the space with intentions to organize later.

When I finally dug the sponge out of its burial place, I decided the dishes would just have to wait. But first, I needed to straighten out that monumental mess in the sink cabinet.

As I was unloading the clutter, I came across the small watering can I had been searching for to care for my neglected African violet. It would only take a minute to give the poor plant a drink.

Once the deed was accomplished, I decided to find a new home for the can. It certainly didn't belong under the sink. Instead, the shelf above the dryer would be a much better location.

Unfortunately, in the laundry I was greeted by an overflowing hamper of clean clothes, still waiting from the washing session the day before. How did I overlook my folding duties?

I'd find a home for the watering can later. But first, folding the wash moved to the top of my to-do list.

I took the wash basket to the bedroom, intent on getting the clean items to their rightful homes.

Suddenly, son Tim popped in and said, "Mom, it's lunch time."

How could the morning have slipped away so quickly? The wash folding would have to wait, but first, I had lunch to make.

When I got back to the kitchen, I found a counter full of dirty dishes, the contents of the under-sink cabinet strewn across the floor and the pantry door standing open. My morning was lost to the dreaded But First Syndrome.

Well, that's the way my day went yesterday.

Today, I looked over my to-do list and noted a number of unfinished chores glaring at me from every corner of the house.

Ah, but first I have a column to write.



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