People Who Don't Plan And How To Live With Them | Giftie Etcetera: People Who Don't Plan And How To Live With Them

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

People Who Don't Plan And How To Live With Them

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There are things that you should discover before you marry someone. For example, on my wedding day back in 1996, I believed the following about my husband:

1. He was a friendly, outgoing guy.

2. He had a surgery as a young child to remove a vestigial tail that he was born with. (Yes, I believed it enough that I learned proper use of the word vestigial.)

3. He was organized.

The horrible, mind-boggling truth:

1. He was the president of chess club in middle school so that he didn't have to socialize at recess. His favorite activity in high school? Playing role-playing games. (I had to look that up just as much as I had to look up vestigial.) He was a complete introvert, who pretended to be outgoing later in life (from 11th grade onward) so he could meet girls.

2. THE TAIL THING WAS A LIE!!! Can you believe that?!? I know, right?!?

When we were first dating, I found a little indention on his lower back. He told me the story of the surgery where the tail was removed.

THAT LYING LIAR CLAIMS THAT HE THOUGHT I KNEW HE WAS JOKING ABOUT IT! (That was completely worthy of all caps, right?)

One day, after we were married, I was telling someone the story when he looked at ME, as if I was the CRAZY ONE, and told me that he thought I knew he was joking - and had thought that for years. Then he laughed and laughed.

I still have received neither the apology chocolates nor the apology jewels that I so rightly deserve.

3. He is NOT organized. He is ex-military, so he always made his bed and kept things pretty clean (fooling me), but he can't keep up with a schedule or to do list to save his life. He can't remember when he has meetings, parties (although, on consideration, he could be lying and just avoiding those), or things to do. He is the king of procrastination.

This is the part of the blog where I give you sage advice about:

*putting things on a family planner,

*having weekly meeting to remind the family what is on the agenda,

*emailing dates/times to the offender in advance for those moments when they claim "you never told me," 

*giving them a lovely, simple planner for Christmas, and

*teaching them how to plan.

Don't even bother with those last two! You will drive yourself crazy. And you will drive them crazy. Two crazy people do not make a nice relationship.

Nonplanners are hard-wired that way. You cannot expect them to change. 

Instead, change you. Change the way that you react.

1. Be willing to be the family secretary

I believe in fairness and equality in a marriage, so I assign them something I HATE to do. They clean the toilets or do the dusting or do whatever chore you hate, when asked (not later, because they don't plan, remember) in exchange for you taking over the family social calendar. If you can peacefully agree to this, in advance, it will save much heartache.

2. Let others know you are the planner in the family.

One of my friends, B, will call my house to make plans. If my husband (who is also a horrible phone communicator) answers, she waits patiently for him to hand me the phone. She used to ask, "is Kristy there?" but stopped, because he would answer with "yes" and silence.

3. Understand that they will NOT remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important occasions and plan accordingly.

To be fair, my husband has an incredible memory for occasions. But for your husband or wife...

Yes, that means you should go ahead and put in your Filofax order for Christmas right now...and let the nonplanner know how much you are going to appreciate that new, buttery leather.

Good luck. I know how important your planner is, but remember that they may not understand. Be patient. They do have some other good qualities. Probably.



Anonymous said...

:) MY husband can't even remember where he left his wallet 10 days ago. I have to keep randomly checking our accounts online to make sure no one's found it because I'm sure it is lost in his mancave and not in the Big Bad World. I have just upgraded from a wall calendar and college planner to an everything-in-one planner, and without the wall calendar, I suspect this year will be the last year he remembers my birthday :)

Giftie Etcetera said...

Every year, 7 days before your birthday, send the following email to your husband: We are going out for Saturday for my birthday, 7 p.m. I've hired a sitter and taken the liberty of putting my wishlist on Amazon at the following link....


msrn58 said...

I am pretty sure either your husband or mine is a bigamist because they sound like the exact same person!!! We once paid $$& because he did not think to plan ahead for a beach vacation with his family, so we only could stay 2 days instead of a week like everyone else!! I am in charge of planning from now on!!

yezenia said...

Vestigial tails are FASCINATING! I don't blame your husband for making it up. It adds more seasoning to his life story.

yezenia said...

Also, gorgeous wedding pic!!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Seriously, Yezenia? You call yourself a friend, yet you support the vestigial tale?!?

;) said...

This is an awesome post! I tell my daughter-in-law all the time that she can't expect people to change. I tell her that she has to modify her responses so they don't drive her crazy. That's what I've done and I am definitely the family secretary. The WHOLE family. My mom even tells me to remind her to do stuff. I politely decline, though.

Anyway, great great post and the tail story made me laugh.

Laurie said...

My husband can't remember his OWN birthday. No lie. However, he is one of those genius-type people that can keep huge multi-million dollar work projects in his head. He's going at warp speed with the big thinking all the time so I don't mind that he can't remember things like trash day. I'm happy to do all the planner-ing for our family. And as a result, he doesn't mind my planner addiction because it keeps us all organized!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Laurie, my husband is a budget analyst and oversees millions (billions?) of dollars of money, too. (Not our money, mind you. His employer's money.)

But he can't remember to take out the trash. :)

Laurie said...

There ya go, you know exactly what I'm talking about! :D

Robbie said...

Sounds like all of you are married to the same guy. lol

donnamcbroomtheriot said...

Hi! Another Louisiana Planner here! Love your blog. We've started a group on Facebook and would love for you to join and share some of your great ideas. It is Louisiana Planner Girls. You have such great ideas and I hope to see you there! Donna

donnamcbroomtheriot said...

The name has been changed to Southern Charm Planners on face book.

Giftie Etcetera said...

Donna, I think I added it. :)

Anonymous said...

My husband was a Marine. And we've decided that he's better at taking But, seriously, very similar. Keeps things clean, follows a routine, but can't remember sh*t. We joke around that every time he remembers something, he's just lost something valuable. Like someone's birthday. This is a great read. It's actually giving me some good ideas about how to set up my house planner! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I think my husband may be the king of "you never told me". He's not big on technology, so email and texting are out. I joke with him that I'm going to get those old carbon copy inter-memos where I write him a reminder and keep the copy for myself to prove I did so. I literally have to sit him down and say, "listen carefully - tomorrow I'm leaving work at 3 then going to the store to run errands. So don't call my cell at 3:30 and ask me why I'm not at work."

OY! I share your pain. I'm the house secretary as well!

Bree said...

Sharing the pain. Mine is the creative type - he works in video. His strengths - he's a creative, generous, awesome gift giver, beautiful wrapping paper, meaningful handwritten cards. Puts me to total shame.

But no clue how we're paying for it because he never managed finances a day in his life. After digging hi,self out of debt after his first financial lessons, he sticks to cash and clears major purchases and all accounting for his business with me.

He can be delegated to if I'm explicit. He does the kid's after school activity taxi service, and I've given him spreadhseets in 3 prong folders with the payment deadlines for each activity. This has kept me sane, and our accounts paid on time.

But the heart of our system is me entering things into iCloud, the family wall calendar (Amy Knapp), and a dry erase weekly calendar with "out the door" reminders (Board Dudes). It's gotten a lot more complicated with two grade school children.