Don’t call us, we’ll call you

March 29, 2011

On soapboxes (and hypocrisy)

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 11:44 pm

If you’ve ever had the good fortune of being in a Sunday School or Elder’s Quorum (male-only Sunday meeting) lesson with Neal, you know that he has a SOAPBOX ISSUE.  I put that all in caps because it’s such a soapbox issue that he will search endlessly for a way to work it in regardless of how peripherally related to the lesson material it is.

And that issue is . . . busyness.  You’d be amazed at how many ways he can bring that topic into lessons on the Word of Wisdom (our law of health) or baptism.  No doubt it’s a joy for the teachers.

A little background: when I met Neal, I was working egregiously long hours for very little pay at a small non-profit.  It was taking a toll on my health and my sanity, but I cared so deeply about the cause of helping disadvantaged youth that I couldn’t bring myself to move on.  Until I met Neal, this long-haired, college drop-out who worked about 10 hours per week — just enough to pay for a tiny nook (and when I say nook, I mean nook, as there were only three walls to it so it in no way resembled an actual bedroom) in an old Georgetown rowhouse.  On our second date (don’t pay any attention to Neal’s protests that it was not a date, it was), I was talking about my work dilemmas and he said, You should just quit and relax.  And so I did.

Of course, people gotta eat, so I often took on odd jobs (a combination of consulting work, grant-writing, and babysitting) to make ends meet.  But for the most part, I actually did work on my conceptual art and read a lot.  The concept of a simpler life, opting out of the slippery slope of busyness, was one of the chief commonalities that brought Neal and I together — it was not an extremely common orientation in a major metropolitan area like D.C.

Which is why the fact that lately our calendar looks like this every week is causing no small amount of stress in our lives:

It’s not exactly how we planned things, but as I’ve mentioned before, when you live on an irregular income, you have to take work opportunities when they arise . . . the success of “the project” unexpectedly led to additional consulting work; Neal’s usual SAT prep course got atypically large this term (after we thought a school-scheduling issue was going to derail the course completely); and of course, all these things occurred after I had already committed to my work on campus this semester.

Of course, Neal has no idea how complicated our calendar actually is — no doubt he would blow a fuse and end up catatonic if he did.  So every week I painstakingly write a simplified version on our little whiteboard.  All the while, counting the days until August when, God willing, we’ll both graduate and re-exert control over our mushrooming schedule.



  1. Oh I love this! My calendar is like my security blanket now. But how awesome would an entirely blank week be?!

    Comment by Emily T — March 30, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  2. You may have a few withdrawals. Then again, you may not :O)

    Graduating is wonderful, and it isn’t…only because you miss the people (at least for me–people make my world a little brighter). Can you tell I’m still adjusting to my graduated life? [BTW…I still fill it with little jobs here and there. Only now, I can control family time so much better] Good luck to you! I hope your thesis is coming along well!

    And I’m glad you give the shorter version to Neal. Sometimes, it just makes life a bit easier when you don’t have to add in the soap box along with the stressful schedule! ha ha :O)

    How are you feeling by the way?

    Comment by Meg Romney — March 30, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  3. August, please come soon, for Lindsay’s sake 🙂

    Today I caught myself fantasizing about having an unexpected pregnancy so I could bejustified in putting off graduate school for another year. Yes, I actually did just write that. I’m feeling so.worn.out. today that I wish I could just take Neal’s advice to “quit and relax”. Hopefully that time may open up for your family and mine…someday!

    Comment by Jen — March 30, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  4. I’m laughing because my friend posted “what is your worst pet peeve?” on FB today and here was my response:
    people who “choose” to be too busy and then complain that they don’t have enough time. . .

    It must be a Call thing. 🙂

    Comment by Liesl — March 31, 2011 @ 12:36 am

    • Perhaps it is a Call thing…part of your mystical heritage from having so many ancestors living close to the land, the slow, steady land 🙂

      Comment by llcall — March 31, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  5. What’s your plan to combat this increasingly busy schedule? You might have to be pretty mediocre from now on cause you sure wouldn’t want it to get out that you two are geniuses–people might want to use your brains (and hence time).

    Comment by Audrey — April 3, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

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