Thursday, June 12, 2008

E is for Efficiency

For my birthday the first year we were married, Abe made me a crossword puzzle. One of the clues was an 10-letter word for "_____ is Erin's middle name". Some of you may know that I don't have a middle name, so this had to be some clever pun or reference. The answer was Efficiency. It's something Abe has noticed about me and teased me relentlessly about - and something that I never knew was, well, different from other people.

I mean, doesn't everyone always start their errands by making a driving route that optimizes distance traveled. And haven't other people planned their meals out for a 4-month period, came up with accompanying grocery lists, and printed them out to take with them every week when they went to the store. Because, you know, it would be faster to do it all at one time then to have to re-think the list each week.

I like to be efficient. And I'm very good at it. Have you ever read "Cheaper by the Dozen"? The father in the book is an efficiency expert, and he basically indoctrinates his family with his obsession. In one chapter, the mother makes a trip back home. While there, she has a list of old family friends to visit. She goes out in the morning and comes back just a few hours later, with all her visits finished. She greets her own mother and says "Well, that just took a few hours. Look how efficient I was able to be!" And the mother replies, "Yes - perhaps too efficient, dear."

I'd like to think that usually my efficiency makes the world a better place. I think it did today. At 4:15 I started packing for our move. I had until 5:30. In that time, I managed to:
- exhume our old moving boxes from our storage unit next door
- clean dirty dishes that needed to be packed (order is important here, because of course I needed to do this step early so the dishes had time to air-dry)
- make a list of all of the kitchen items we would absolutely need to survive the next 4 days of pre-planned food (2 bowls, 2 plates, 4 forks & spoons, 2 knifes, 1 sharp knife, 1 can opener, Tupperware, 2 cookies sheets, 1 large pan, 1 sauce pan, 1 rice cooker & paddle, and 1 turner)
- pack all of the breakable kitchen items into non-breakable positions in their boxes
- pack everything else in the kitchen except food and the aforementioned essentials

Oh, and make the pizza dough that needs to be refrigerated for a day before making it. (Note: need to blog about my adventures trying to make New York style pizza).

I know. I'm good. It's sick sometimes.

My living room with boxes, ready to be attacked by my packing efficiency.

One hour later. Bwah ha ha!


Sherry said...

I like to plan my grocery shopping that way. Only I do it one week at a time. That way I can use the ads to get the sale items, especially when it comes to buying meat.

Jen said...

That's great! I honestly had no idea you were efficient to a "T" or should I say efficient to an "E". Amazing amount of stuff to get done in an hour... even the pizza dough. And for the menu's, I'm pretty sure the seeds of those were planted by mom. Good luck with the move!

Dawn said...

Bruce wanted me to do the grocery list based on food planning...but that seems so...not FUN!! :) I love to go to the store and see what looks good. If I could, I'd live in Italy and wander from the butcher to the produce vendor every day on my walk home from work.

Good thing the world is full of different people! I can see the point in your efficiency..but I don't know if I'd have fun being it! I'm glad you are the way you are though! You give efficiency a good reputation!

Erin said...

Sherry, I'm glad you share my obsession. The 4-month thing was sort of a trial. I do it weekly now as well.

Ben and Sarah said...

Why don't you just forward me your meal plans and shopping lists? Seems more efficient to just mooch off of you. Are your children going to be like the Von Trapp children? Responding to a whistle? I like to think so...

Janssen said...

I liked this post from the beginning, but I was really sold when you quoted Cheaper by the Dozen (one of my all-time favorite books).