Knock knock, Overwhelma is here!

Dec 12, 2023 | Ryan's Blog

Take Lemons and make Lemony Snicket Lemonade!

Dec 12, 2023 – (Do NOT look at the date…eeeeek!!!)

When my three kids were small, I had to constantly find ways to engage them that wasn’t just TV or electronics, bonus points if it was educational. We walked to the local library weekly for storytime and browsing. Idyllic! 

In addition to plain ol’ book-books, we discovered that we could check out books on CD! (dating myself here!) Eureka!! Hours of entertainment for free. When did we listen? IN THE CAR. It made our car time so much more fun and engaging. Oh, I miss those days!

Among our favorites was a series called Hank the Cowdog, brilliantly narrated by the author, John R. Erickson, which kept us in stitches! Still to this day we say things like, “Oh, my leg!” and crack up remembering the good times (and how dramatically unintelligent Hank the Cowdog was!).

Another series that kept us enraptured was Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events; several of the books were narrated by Tim Curry who spoiled us with his unmatched vocal talent. (as with most books that are made into movies and/or TV shows, there is no comparison to the author’s prose. And when read by Tim Curry? Magical.)

Why am I thinking of all this now? One reason might be that all my children are headed home for varying amounts of time over the holidays and I’m so excited to be with them! A little time back in the nest:)

Another reason is that the past few weeks have been my own series of unfortunate events (nothing too dire, not to worry!)…but let me share. 

Right before Thanksgiving I felt a little bit of something coming on, but it didn’t seem too bad, just a cold, I thought. I soldiered through the days but by Saturday, I realized I was actually sick and needed to stop pretending! A Covid test read negative, but hey, let’s go big or go home! 

“Ryan, you have PNEUMONIA!” (Indicated by a chest X-ray)


“Rest, Ryan, rest, or you’ll end up in the hospital.” (SPOILER: I did NOT end up in the hospital! I don’t want you to worry.)

So, I rested. As much as Ryan can rest. (She’s bad at it, actually!)

Then last Monday, feeling much better and getting excited to rest “less” I foolishly and avoidably jumped up in full dive mode to answer the ringing phone (like it was 1982 or something!) during which my left pinky toe had a losing tussle with the leg of the sofa (why was I barefoot??? I know had a rule against that in the past).

Hopping around screaming and cussing my head off, I grabbed an ice pack and retired to the all-to-familiar couch. I sensed I was at a fork in the road: either it was an uneventful stubbed toe and things would be mostly normal in the morning…OR…it was NOT.

And, yeahhhh, it was the latter. 

GEEZ… X-ray time again, which revealed a broken bone in my foot just under the toe!! FWIW, my podiatrist proclaimed it a “good break” so there’s “good news”, right? A “nondisplaced fracture” for you fact-finders.

OMG. The timing though!!

Right after pneumonia and right during the holiday prep and frenzy? Of course!

So as I look to the next 4 weeks…from now through the December holidays, leading up to the New Year and then the trifecta of January birthdays we have in our family…I try not to full-out panic. 

Overwhelma is having a FIELD DAY with my own personal series of unfortunate events! 

Is it panic time?? Surely, it MUST be.

Not so fast. Guess what? I have a solution!

And it’s so good. It’s really easy, too.

There’s a question I can pose OVER and OVER: 

“Does this task HAVE to get done right now or today (or even THIS week)?” AKA: “Can this particular item wait??”

These questions are Overwhelma’s Kryptonite! It’s like throwing water on on the Wicked Witch of the West!!

She’s melllltttinnnnggggg!

BUH-BYE, Overwhelma! Here’s the door, and don’t let it hit you on the way OUTTA HERE!

If it can wait, it MUST wait.

This time of year, we are all strapped for time and energy. And when you’re hobbling around with a broken bone in your foot, or any type of physical limitation, it adds some extra special challenge.  

So, right now, if you’re feeling that Overwhelma knocking, do a brain dump, then grab a highlighter. Then only highlight the most important, deadline-bound items. Then you CALMLY take action on THOSE items first.

The rest can wait.

Does it need to be done this week?? 

Take advantage of our FREE accountability hour in the CALM Collaborative every Thursday at noon central. We call it Digital Decluttering Live, but it’s up to YOU what to work on. What task are you avoiding? Yeah, do that.


Ryan 🙂


My name is Ryan…

I love teaching people how to let go of the crazy and live a less stressful life. My book The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last-Minute Living is full of guidance and tips for you, but the real magic is in our community. The Find FOCUS Membership is a great place to get more done alongside your peeps!!!

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