MARTY RUSSELL: Note to self: Stop making notes to self

I've never been one of those people who believed in or needed “to-do” lists. The primary reason for that is, for the past 40 some-odd years, some odder than others, I've tried to avoid anything so pressing that I felt I had to make a note “to-do” it.

But these past few weeks have been different. Either I'm getting older or my theory is true that the world is out to get me and make me pay for all those years I had it easy. For the past couple of months, I've found myself either having to make those “to-do” lists or lose the plot entirely while everyone else is two chapters ahead.

First a little background: Since May I have a) built a house in Oxford (OK, it was half built when we bought it. No builder works that fast), b) shown and sold my house here in Tupelo, c) been teaching a new course I've never taught while commuting from Tupelo to Oxford five days a week, and d) taken over the position of faculty adviser to the Ole Miss student newspaper, the Daily Mississippian.

And most of that has come to a head here in July with the closings and the final inspections and daily commute and the daily preparation for classes and the daily meetings at the DM.

And, oh, yeah, there's this column. Maybe that's why my “to-do” lists sometimes tend to ramble and wander off into other subjects. Being a writer making a “to-do” list is sort of like keeping a journal.

Here are some samples of my daily scribblings and reminders here lately:

Call mortgage company. Call buyer. Call builder. Call real estate agent. How can I be expected to teach a class in editing when no one bothered to order the textbooks? Call attorney. Call utility companies. Call attorney back to find out if he was talking about the old house or the new one. Argue with lender over interest rate. Decide to take his advice but can't find anyone named Greenspan listed in the phone book. Gas up the truck. Why is there a wiener dog named Hunky Dory present at all of the DM's budget meetings? Find out if he's the copy editor. Call coroner, find out what kind of day he's having because you don't want to add to someone else's already hectic day. Call for a termite inspection although my termites appear healthy and well-fed. Why am I sitting on a box full of books writing this column while the cat lounges in my desk chair? Gas up the truck, again.

When will it all end?

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at P.O. Box 909, Tupelo MS 38802 or by e-mail at

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