Do you function well after 4pm? I don’t. But not many people know that. My mom is the only other person who admits to that gift.
…it was Thursday night at the Family History Center, and I was furiously finishing the bulletin board in the hallway. I only had to remove 12 staples out of whatever 17×4 adds up to. (I know. It’s not addition. But how else do you say it?) I can do math. But my brain doesn’t function after dark. It’s solar powered.
At 7pm, just as the sun was going down behind my eyes, and I was flipping the switch labeled. “From This Moment On, Watch What You Say and Do Because You Might Regret It,” Kathy walked in.
You know, I have to hand it to fate. I needed Kathy and she needed me.
I almost laughed out loud. Another notebook and pile-of-paper clutcher! But I restrained myself and led her into my office, sat her down, and asked. “Whatcha got?”
After about 10 minutes of searching through her papers to fill in the Betsy-required 4-generation pedigree chart, I started stealing her documents.
People are very possessive of their documents and paperwork, cluttered and disorganized or not. But I had a choice. Either we could both fall into the endless pit of confusion that sucks up time and creates the illusion that you’re working hard, or I could take control and make her relatively stressed out while we got her organized, thus saving us both from a lot of pain and anguish.
Yes. That’s how it feels when you are disorganized. I’ve seen it enough to recognize the signs: forehead rubbing, apologizing, downcast eyes, sometimes even a light sweat as documents and notes are shifted from one pile to the next with hopes that the elusive needle in the haystack magically appears, and a sigh of relief escapes.
I chose the latter and made generation piles where she had to choose which document belonged in which pile and put it there. Then, because I forgot to bring file folders, we paper clipped all of the scanned pictures and documents to the correct cover sheet, labeled with which generation and on whose side of the family (her mom’s or dad’s) the pile belonged.
Then we sat at the computer searching on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, for her great grandfather. I worked the mouse and she typed.
You see, she was half brain-dead, too. I laughed when I saw myself in her. She’d stop and ask, “What was I doing?” when in the middle of typing a name. She would sit back and stare blankly at the screen and say, “I’m clueless. I should be in bed!”
To ease her up a bit I told her that we sometimes do Dairy Queen runs (my friend does), but she said she got enough sweets working at her nursing home down the street and she was staying away from sweets.
When all else fails, break out the food. People get happy and relaxed.
“What do you do there?” I asked.
“I work with Alzheimer patients.”
“Is it contagious you think?” I stared her in the eyes and waited the millisecond it took to register the question. I was just having fun with her, but she doesn’t know me. It could have gone either way.
“Yes! I do!” she roared.
It was obvious that I’d found a kindred spirit when math became an issue.
(I even laughed that statement out loud to my friend who was getting free entertainment from us two computers down.)
Kathy and I both looked at each other and shook our heads in shame and amazement that we could each do the same calculations, agree that we were right, and find out we were both 20 years off!! I was so amused. “Oh, my! It’s so nice to meet someone else who is number-challenged when night falls!”
We found Great Grand Daddy in the 1910 census right where he was supposed to be with his wife and children. He was farming land in Pennsylvania and his wife was “keeping house.” Note to self: do better with that one.
It was time to go home and I gave her some homework . She was so excited and is coming back on Tuesday night.
I left my wonderful friend to lock up and made my way to the parking lot where I learned that my son had been driving the car. No big deal except he has no permit or license, yet. He’s only 15 and often takes my keys. Note to self: keep keys on your person.
He doesn’t like math either.