Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Front Porch: Procrastination just distraction in disguise

I would tell you how many times I started this column, but somewhere along the way, I lost count.

What no one warns you about working from home is that if you’re prone to procrastination, your house will give you ample opportunities for postponing pesky deadlines.

In more than 15 years in journalism, I’ve never missed a deadline, nor even been significantly late, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t cut it close to the wire.

Not long ago I wrote a column about anticipation, referencing the Carly Simon classic hit song “Anticipation.”

Guess what? That tune works fine if you substitute procrastination for anticipation. (You know you just tried it.)

I hummed that tune as I started a load of laundry after typing the header on this column. Since the washer is next to the freezer, I thought I might as well grab the roast I was planning to cook for dinner.

I set the frozen slab on my desk and typed my byline. Then I checked Facebook and time melted as I scrolled through a friend’s vacation photos. The roast also started melting, so I hustled it upstairs to the kitchen.

Opening a cupboard, I searched for the seasonings I’d need for the roast. Searched, because tall bottles of cooking wine, vinegars and oils had hidden the basil and oregano.

Then I eyed the cupboard with baking supplies. We’re in the middle of zucchini season, and every week I’m churning out breads, cookies and muffins. Why was the baking powder on a shelf so high I had to climb on a chair to reach it?

Obviously, the cabinets desperately needed organizing. I pulled everything out of each cupboard and wiped down the shelves, racks and lazy Susans.

Hysterical meowing broke my cleaning reverie as my cats, Thor and Walter, notified me lunchtime was past due. I filled their bowls and heard the timer on the dryer ringing. When you don’t iron, you can’t afford to let your clothes sit in the dryer.

My blinking monitor reminded me I’d barely started this column, so I sat down and wrote the first sentence. That’s when I noticed my email flag waving. After answering and categorizing a multitude of messages, I realized I’d left everything out on the kitchen counters.

Organizing puts me in an absolute Zen state of mind. The beauty of a well-stocked kitchen delights me. By the time I was done, all of the baking and cooking spices were within easy reach, and I’d rearranged the canned and box goods, too.

It was picture-perfect, so of course, I grabbed my phone and took some photos. I posted the pictures on Instagram and congratulated myself on work well done. Then I remembered my paying job. I’d only written about 50 words. Back to the basement I trudged.

As I finish this, it’s almost time to start dinner. Which has me thinking about my pots and pans. Why are the baking sheets so hard to reach? Wouldn’t the colanders and mixing bowls work better in a larger cupboard?

That’s when I started humming. Feel free to sing along.



Is making me late

Is keeping me waiting

Concert memories

In my previous column I asked readers to share stories of memorable concerts they attended. Here are a few:

“It was summer around 1957 and I was in high school in a small town north of Detroit. My boyfriend Bill, who was three years older and already in college at Michigan State, often took me to movies in Port Huron, Michigan, about 20 miles from where we lived. Somehow he knew of exciting things to do across the Windsor Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario,” wrote Judy Kotar. “Pat Boone was coming, and Bill got tickets to the dance! The dance was outdoors and the weather was nice. It was after dark in a sort of courtyard of a restaurant and seemed very sophisticated. We stood right next to the stage and could have reached out to touch Pat Boone’s shoes as he stood looking down at us singing ‘I almost lost my mind.’ Bill made a good impression on me and when I finished college we got married. The marriage lasted only 5 years but Pat Boone’s career lasted for decades. I’m 81 now, and Pat Boone is 87.”

Beverly Gibb of Spokane wrote: “One of the best concerts I ever attended was at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman. It was Huey Lewis and the News. It was 1985 or ’86 when I was in grad school. My coworker girlfriends and I from Pizza Haven went together. We acted like lovesick teenagers! Huey even pointed to us a couple of times! We screamed! And of course his horn section was incredible. I don’t think we sat the entire time.”

Melanie Kinder and her husband have attended many great concerts, but one stands out.

“Even though we have seen the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Bon Jovi, among others, the one we remember often is John Denver. He was here in 1974 as part of Expo ’74 activities. We had just had our daughter, she was just a few months old, and so we obviously had not gone out too often lately. John Denver had a concert scheduled for 8 p.m. or something, but we could not go to that one. There was so much demand for tickets that he decided to add a midnight show. We were able to get tickets for it. The atmosphere in the Coliseum that night was awesome. Everyone was cool, laid back, happy & it was an awesome experience. We were all in sync with each other!”

Marilyn Ring-Nelson wrote: “Over the years I’ve seen dozens and dozens of rock ‘n roll concerts, all but a few in Seattle where we lived for many years. We enjoyed almost all of them from Dylan to Ronstadt, from Springsteen to Petty, from the Stones to U2, but my own personal favorite was the Eagles concert in 2010 when I was 70.

“It was a perfect evening: The concert started on time, we had great seats, the sound was perfect, the audience was pumped but respectful. Glenn Frey was still alive, and after two generous encores, the band walked off the stage to great applause. It was just right.”


Correspondent Cindy Hval can be reached at Hval is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation” (Casemate Publishers, 2015) available locally at Auntie’s Bookstore, Barnes & Noble locations and on Amazon

More from this author