The To-Don’t List

Today was one of those days that you would cheerfully sell for a dime if only someone would take it. My dishwasher didn’t wash, but it did dry hard with a vengeance (isn’t that a movie?) and melted most of the items on the top rack.

strugglequoteWhile I was dealing with soft, hot plastic and rubber, I heard water splashing on tiles–but not in a good way. My washer had become incontinent, and was peeing on the laundry room floor. The laundry room is next to the family room–you know, the absorbent carpeted one.

No repair person available today, so I had to schlep the laundry to a laundromat where a woman with sad eyes asked if I were a Christian. (Uh-oh, loaded question.) She then told me the plot of several Christian movies, in rather confused detail, mixing plot lines and characters.

I’m out of  blog ideas for the day, and need some re-grouping time before I become optimistic and cheerful again. So today, a re-run of The To-Don’t List.

*    *   *

keep-calm-and-don-t-do-it-2We all have to-do lists. Just for today, I’m creating a To-Don’t list. Things I can let go of, not care about, not do. Ahhh, it feels better already.


—Spend all day dusting instead of enjoying last of the cool, sunshiny weather.

—Scrub the pool walls and get it ready for a summer of swimming.

—Answer that angry email with an angrier email. That’ll show ’em. Make ’em feel sorry, too.

—Tell my best friend what she should have done in that confrontation with her boss; advise (unasked) my spouse how to look better for that first meeting at work; fix my client’s need for attention.

—Find other people’s mistakes and point them out, along with my expertise in these matters. Maybe snag a few clients by showing off what I know. Really put myself out there.

—Start six new projects, but with no idea why or what they are supposed to be.

That’s my to-don’t list for today–things I want to walk away from and not get involved with. What’s on your To-Don’t list?

—Quinn McDonald is the owner of Old Testament appliances that seek revenge for unacknowledged grudges. The warranty of both the dishwasher and clothes washer expired 22 days ago.

22 thoughts on “The To-Don’t List

  1. The day I was told that my sewing machine was fatally wounded was truly terrible . . . bit I had quite a different relationshinp with the machine in the 40+ years we had been together. I had earned my living on that machine for a number of years but the grief is beginning to fade.

    On my to don’t list is to not concern myself with confused words . . . further/farther.

  2. In response to comments more than your blog post….yes, it can always be worse, everyone knows that. But in all honestly, when you feel like everything is flying at you at warp speed and every time you turn around, something else goes wrong, you just want to feel sorry for yourself for the time being. Yes, it can be worse but it still sucks right now!

    I’m with you right now Quinn! I keep telling everyone to stay away from me for a little while. LOL

  3. Sorry to hear about the dying appliances which decided to vent before going. I think I prefer the ones which just refuse to start instead of stopping in mid-cycle. Of course it COULD be worse! I had a washer that quit in mid-cycle and fortunately drained itself down the drain, but remained LOCKED shut and, of course, that was the lingerie load! Try explaining that one to the repairman who doesn’t want to come out on a Sunday..

    • Oh, it could always be worse. About 12 years ago, the roofers set our house on fire. Even then people said, “You are lucky!” meaning, we got out alive. And I’d correct them, “No, lucky is winning the lottery. This is a lot of bad news.” But it was one of those days where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But, if I’m looking for rosy linings, we only had to pay one service call for both appliances! And while I DID have lingerie in the wash, the lid did not stay locked. For which I am eternally grateful.

      • Nah…if you had won the lottery, there would have been an unexpected letter from Great Uncle Blatznell who needed just a small additional investment into his startup file compression company, and you would have said OK but you needed some assurances so he put you on the board. You wouldn’t have thought more about it until the attorneys arrived with news about the 19 workers crushed by the hydraulic machinery, when you would have realized, in retrospect, that Great Uncle Blatznell never, in fact, specified digital file compression. Then three months later while you were sitting through the 17th court hearing you would have felt a tap on your left shoulder and turned around to see Lenny “The Popsicle” Schmercholzheizer, who would turn out to be an “attorney” (in a sense) for Charlie Bloot, one of the workers crushed to death. You would have followed Lenny out to the foyer where he would have pointed out at least two opportunities you had inexplicably overlooked previously, one of which involved an unusual amount of corn flakes in an unprecedented location. So you would have smiled to the best of your ability and turned away, only to discover that Great Uncle Blatznell apparently employed more than one individual with unexpected family connections…

        Nope, winning the lottery is not necessarily good luck.

  4. I feel your pain…been there. I think we would be all better off if we made daily Don’t Do lists rather than To Do lists. Know that your efforts are appreciated by the larger creative community. Namaste

  5. Sorry you had such a lousy day. Your to-don’t list did speak to me though. Not so much right now, since I’m in a good place (fingers crossed, haha), but it’s what happens when something goes wrong. All of a sudden I then see all the other things that aren’t in order, mostly around the house and I have this intense furious need to fix them all. At once. Now! The problem is that at that moment nothing good can come from me fixing or doing anything, it would just leave me even more furious and obsessed. So that is the time to really back off and relax and get some healthy perspective. Glad you figured that out, I’m still working on it. 😉
    Good luck to you, hope the bad luck wears off soon.

    • That is one of the huge lessons in life that I am learning over and over again. Once things start to go wrong, STOP interfering! Just step back and breathe. I don’t know how many pieces of art I ruined by not stopping. . . The repair people showed up today, and both appliances are working, and I just deposited a check from a client that covered the fee. Good news all the way around.

  6. Just be happy you have a washer/dryer to break. In our building the laundry room is on the top (penthouse) floor of the building. There is not an extra inch of space in the condo for them. When we stayed in Tucson there was one in the condo and we did a wash at least twice a week! Just because we could! LOL.

    • Oh, yes, I am grateful. That I have a washer and dishwasher to break, that I have a carpet in the family room to soak up the water from the broken washer, that the laundromat was not teeming with small, sticky, screaming children–there is a lot to be grateful for, as long as you keep searching for it.

  7. Quinn, Either one of those could ruin one’s day. I’m so sorry you had to deal with 2 messes (and the resultant costs). Now might be a good time for you to hear how much I enjoy and appreciate your blog, and how some days your writing helps me think about an issue I’ve been dealing with. It seems quite uncanny yet wonderful. I hope today is a better day for you.

    • You, Ruth, are a joy in my life! Sometimes it just seems as if the world is pooping on you, and it is wonderful to have someone pick you up and give you a hug. Thanks!

  8. I live my life according to the list I make every morning – how brilliant is the idea of a ‘don’t do list’ – will put it on my to do list this morning!


  9. Clearly your washers were not ancient enough. 😉 I recently heard over the radio (oh my, how ancient is that!) about a study where the researchers had collected stories about old household appliances still in use. Apparently there is a horde of old hairdriers, electric mixers and food processors dating all the way back to the 60s and 70s still in use all around Finland. And washing machines too! As one of the researchers pointed out, back then a washing machine cost you approximately a month’s pay, even two, so the manufacturers used excellent materials in sufficient quantities. You expected your washer to last a long time! Naturally these ancient appliances devour electricity but as they last a long time they end up saving in materials and in the energy consumption during production.

    But I do know how you feel. My washers too suffers from incontinence but luckily we don’t have carpeted floors (nobody has them over here) and the tiling we used on the floor of the bathroom (it’s common to have your washer in there in Finland – unless you have a house large enough to have a proper utility room) is the same they use in pools and public baths and it can stand industrial strength chemicals. Plus it’s really comfortable under your feet! As for the fact that all kinds of appliances seem to fail as soon as the warranty expires: have you ever read Eduard Uspensky’s “The Little Warranty People?” It explains clearly why.

    • The last washer I had in this house came from the previous owner. It was harvest gold, so, vintage 1970. In the four years I owned it, it never broke down. This one? Just 22 days over the one-year warranty, and problems. I LOVE the idea of a fully tiled bathroom with a washer and dryer! Our laundry room is tiled, but it is really a small hallway between the garage and the family room/kitchen. And I hate wall-to-wall carpet. Eventually, we’ll have wood and tile floors throughout.

      • It’s funny how you don’t realise how differently we do everyday things until you travel abroad or get foreign friends and connections. To have a fully tiled bathroom is so obvious here that you don’t ever think it ever could be otherwise. The silliest solution I have come across was a bathroom in a B&B in Scotland, a really, really lovely one except that it had fully carpeted floor even around and under the bathtub and no shower curtain at all. There were tiles on the wall: whole three rows just behind the tub! That was the carefullest shower I have ever taken! Then on the other end are the traditional Japanese bathrooms with everything, even the tub, made of wood. Doesn’t sound that practical at first but I would imagine them to be comfortable for touch and sound. You only need to have good ventilation and to use suitable wood type that withstands water well.

        BTW, my friend has a saying about having tiled floors in the kitchen: you seldom have coffee cups without a handle (or ‘ear’ as we would say in Finnish) when you have a tiled kitchen floor. 😉

        • Our bathroom is a marvel in dumb design. It is carpeted up to the bathtub (I have a bathmat on top of the carpet), but the toilet itself is in a little tiled room (with a door) right next to the bathtub. I have claustrophobia, so shutting the door is not fun. Even better, this is the Master Bath (ensuite) and there is no door between the bedroom and the bathroom, so lying in bed, you gaze through your toes at the dual sink vanity. And because there is a skylight in the bathroom, in the summer the cats are up at 4 a.m., ready to go. P.S. The wood in Japanese baths is called Hinoki wood, and it not only smells beautiful, it stands up to a lot of water use.

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