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My mother was an organized, thoughtful woman who never forgot a friend’s birthday. She answered the door with hors d’oeuvres out when guests arrived, a clean kitchen, perfect hair and – remarkably – a calm smile. Growing up, we were almost always early for everything, and did things like return library books on time.

Then there’s meThe other day I called one of my closest friends, who I’ve known 17+ years, to wish her an early happy birthday. She said, “Meri, today is my actual birthday.” She also worked a gentle hint about setting up birthday reminders on my iCal into the conversation. She’s organized, like my mom was. (Do I attract a type?)

I prefer to identify as ‘punctually challenged’ rather than ‘always late’ – and my goal is to not still be in the shower when guests knock at the door. Where did I go wrong?

Not that my mom was perfect. No one is. And while she may not have been punctually challenged like me, she did at times come close. There were almost always stacks of paper from the courses she was taking, as well as her own marking, on the kitchen table late at night.

I remember my sister and I, once we were old enough, making her coffee, doing the dishes, and giving her the congratulatory hug and kiss when she finally finished whatever it was that was due the next day. It was like the deadline was a team effort. And my mother was a high school English teacher for most of her career, so we’re talking lots of papers. We’re talking lots of anguished cries of, “Why didn’t I choose to teach Math?”

It’s not that my mom was a huge procrastinator. It’s amazing how much less midnight oil she burned after she retired and her two kids had left the house. And, in fairness, I’m not a huge procrastinator either, at least I don’t think I am. But another super close friend, who is a scientist and uses actual evidence to back up what she says, admits I’m always at working at deadline. I thrive on it, she says. But I say, when you’re a parent with little kids, there isn’t a lot of time to procrastinate. (Does doing laundry, getting groceries and making sure your washrooms aren’t health hazards count at procrastinating?) So I’ll call this working to deadline. And for the record, my best friend also has two small kids, and she did her taxes in February .

So now, just like my mother before me, I’m about to hit the dining room table with a pile of paperwork, receipts which should be more organized than they are, and unprinted invoices (everything is electronic), to figure out our taxes this year. It’s been on my to do list since, oh, February, when aforementioned best friend told me she had finished hers, and did I want to use the leftover license on her tax software? I haven’t looked into that yet.

I recognize that it’s a mindset. You’d think the five percent interest rate for being one day late would have motivated me weeks ago to think, hey laundry isn’t as important as five percent – five percent – of money we don’t need to spend.

But I hate piles of dirty laundry. You can see them, you can smell them. They’re actually there – unlike this virtual tax entity, which goes increasingly digital as the years pass. It barely seems a real thing. (The bill the Canada Revenue Agency mailed to us stating our taxes had been “re-evaluated” was real enough, though. Catharine and I just hoped they wouldn’t re-re-evaluate.)

I know that Canada Revenue Agency has a midnight deadline for taxes, and that post offices used to stay open until late, because of how my mom did her taxes. In the meantime, I’ll brew the coffee, take over the kitchen table and try not to freak out. How soon is Tuesday?

And if you need something to help with your procrastination: I love the April Fool’s Day episode of Roseanne, which I can relate to all too well. “More coffee, honey?”

Meri Perra procrastinated on her taxes by writing this post.

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