The Perfect Plan

The Perfect Plan


It’s that time of year again… Back to School.

Perhaps it’s been that time of year for a month or two, at least retail-wise. But with our family’s three-ring circus complete with flying monkeys, I failed to notice.

It hit me hard when I took my aunt for her weekly grocery shopping. There. Right at the entrance of the store was a huge—I mean huge—display of Post-It Note products.

I think my mouth watered.

I know my knees went weak and wobbly.

But alas, my focus was on my aunt and her list, not my near-blinding office supply fetish.

But the display burned a hole in my brain until the next week when we returned to that same store.

“I gotta pick up some of these,” I told her.

Then she remembered she needed a binder to control some of her paperwork.

My heart soared.

We wouldn’t just stop at the Post-It Note display in the front of the store and then head straight to the bread and cookie aisle (Aunt adores her cookies). We would, indeed, make our way to the back where the full spread of back-to-school and office supplies were kept. We passed rows and rows of stuff I don’t need.

Stuff I have too much of already.

New stuff I’ve never seen.

I picked up a pack of little Post-It flags (Yes, I did need more of those because I’m sure I owe my proofreader a refresh on her supply after the last batch of edits killed two tree branches-worth of sticky notes marking all my typos).

I also bought a rather hefty block of lined, super extra sticky Post-Its.

I have the perfect plan to plan out the perfect plot for my next novel (as the characters in my work-in-progress novel scream at me from the side of the road where they’ve been stuck all year).

I envision writing plot beats and scene snippets, one per Post-It, and slapping them all over my office walls. Perhaps immersing myself in a three-dimensional outline will get me going. Good plan, right? At the very least a good excuse to buy a rather hefty block of lined, super extra sticky Post-Its.

And then Aunt and I saw planners. Lots of planners.

Unfortunately, though, the selection included only “academic.” Meaning they start in August and end next year sometime.

I prefer planners that start in January. A clean, fresh start to a clean, fresh year yet untainted by juggling clowns, ducks not in rows, and those dastardly flying monkeys.

In other words, my plan with a new planner is to totally forget about the year we’re in (2020? 2021? 2022? Each one of those had its own dumpster-fire flavor of the year) and develop the perfect plan for the upcoming twelve months.

(Cue the smirks. Cue the chuckles. Cue the knee-slapping guffaws).

The perfect plan?

I could possibly find the perfect planner:

  • Starts in January. (I’ll forgive them if they added December of the current year. I can always rip out that gut-wrenching month if need be. Holiday drama, anyone?)
  • It must be spiral-bound and lay flat.
  • The cover must be waterproof-ish and wipe-clean-ish.
  • The cover must be chew-proof-ish (because of the cats, not because I have lost my mind to the point that I am now eating office supplies… yet).
  • The cover must be here-we-go-again-proof-ish. For when life tanks and the planner is crammed into a backpack to accompany me to doc offices, emergency rooms, and other office-type settings I’d rather not speak of here.
  • Little Miss Muse prefers the cover to be some shade of purple. I try to appease her, but all the other points must come first. She threatens to spill grape soda on it and force it to be purple. Thus the previous point of waterproof-ish and wipe-clean-ish.
  • The paper must be heavy enough for me to mark through my to-do lists with fiery flare.
  • It must have sturdy plastic tabs marking the monthly spreads.
  • New this year: The ink must be crisp enough to see through my I-can’t-stand-these-blasted-bifocals-anymore glasses.
  • It must have enough space on each day to write down the medical comings and goings of six adults, a day job, the dream job, and, as it turns out this month, the plumber.
  • I must love it enough to want to spend time with it every day for a whole year. After all, this planner becomes my right arm, my very brain, and, at times, my therapist.

So, the perfect planner is doable, even though I know the perfect plan doesn’t exist. Too many monkeys, squirrels, ducks, and clowns.

And, oh, look. There’s an ostrich in my duck row!

So, while I wait for the calendar people to forget about academics for the season and focus on a totally fresh, new year, I’ll use my rather hefty block of lined, super extra sticky Post-Its to plot and plan other things.

Perhaps one of those lined notes will fill with other office supplies I can’t live without.

You know.

To make the best of the upcoming year.

Sounds like the perfect plan.

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