It's that post-holiday time of year, when every third commercial is about dieting, gym memberships, or unbelievably buff people touting exercise machines that cost more than my first car. After a few days of these spots, I start thinking about resolutions for the new year. Maybe fitness would be a good place to start, I ponder. Something besides tummy crunches. I make a few pseudo-kung-fu moves.
"Hee-ah!" I try out a kick in front of the television. It feels impressive. I try a couple more, a little bit louder. "Hwah! Hoo-hah! Hee-ah!"
Suddenly I hear my husband's voice from the next room. "I'm hearing weird sounds," he says. "Did the cat just throw up?"
Okay, maybe fitness isn't my strongest suit. I could work more, but I already spend enough time at the desk to have a pitiful lack of hobbies. The last fiction I read was a brochure at the doctor's office touting the joys of broccoli. And while I do watch TV, I don't think George Lopez can count as a viable pastime.
Maybe it's a good year to get organized. First, I'll need a pencil, some paper, and a new calendar. I begin searching through old Barnes & Noble bags for the calendar. No luck. My husband suggests I look in the filing cabinet. Ha! That man and his crazy notions. However, sometimes he does have an occasional helpful thought. I open the filing cabinet gingerly, just in case a giant spider has taken up residence in there since the last time I filed papers. Instead, I find lots of other cool stuff, like a box of dried-up ink pens from 2002, a box of stuck-together envelopes, and three pristine calendars, still in the shrink-wrap. Eureka! I take a closer look at the date. Two of the calendars are for 2001, and the other is for 1999. Undeterred, I open the box of pens, take one, and do the zero scribble on an envelope for about three minutes. I'm encouraged by bits of blue appearing in the grooved circles, so I consider my calendar options, then go with the 1999 Scooby-Doo calendar, a classic. I begin scribbling in potential goals on each month, like "Write best-seller" and "Find good tuna recipe."
Just then, my own personal Scrooge peeks over my shoulder. "You know, that calendar is sadly out of date."
"Don't stomp on my dreams," I reply, writing in a note to lose hubby's socks in March.
He shakes his head and leaves, mumbling something about institution and commitment. It gives me such a warm glow when he talks about our marriage, so I carve in (the pen has quit working by this time) a reminder to lose only half of his socks; this gives him a foot to stand on. My goals now set, I wander back to the living room, wait for the Ab-Killer commercial to end, then relax with a well-deserved glass of wine. I think it's wine, anyway. I do vaguely remember buying some grape juice last July. I sip delicately from my plastic Shrek glass, comforted by the fact that the new year is all planned out, and I've got everything under control. I ignore the giant crash from the kitchen, followed by a plaintive 'Meow?' Yep, everything's under control. Best of all, George Lopez is coming up next.
This essay originally ran on Beth's personal blog, www.plaidearthworm.com, in December 2007.