The Small Stuff

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” And the completely illogical corollary: “It’s all small stuff.” Which is just ridiculous. Because if it’s all small stuff then there is no basis for comparison, so it’s all just stuff. I don’t know about you, but my stuff has sizes and degrees and gradations and– But I digress. Best to do that early on and get it over with.

Have any of you noticed that, if you ignore it long enough while you’re dealing with the big stuff, the small stuff just disappears? Well, OK, not always. But usually.

Though sometimes it has the annoying tendency to become big stuff. For instance, even though changing the litter box seems like small stuff, it very quickly becomes big stuff if you neglect it.

But there are all kinds of things that seem destined to blissfully remain small stuff almost indefinitely — that is, until someone comes along and oh-so-helpfully points them out.

Have I mentioned my DD19 is home from college this week for spring break?


I’m really not sure how I, of all people, managed to raise an opinionated, judgmental, vocal teenager. One who not only notices but delights in pointing out all the small stuff I have neglected lately.

I believe I could have gone months without knowing that I overlooked a few Christmas decorations when I was putting them away. Having them there on the mantle saves time next December, right? And those coupons I’ve saved in a messy pile on the kitchen desk. Does it really matter that they expired three months ago? And yes, I know the soup in that plastic container is too old to eat. Is it imperative that I remove it from the fridge the exact moment it becomes toxic?

Please tell me, what is the harm in having a cookie jar half-full of stale Oreos? It’s not like I’d eat them even if they were fresh. Don’t they have decorative value?

Apparently not.

Whoever said not to sweat the small stuff did not have a teenage daughter. Spring break is over in a week. Think I can keep her out of my closet that long?

Good thing she can’t sneak a peek into my disordered brain — all kinds of small stuff wandering around loose in there. She’d be horrified.

So what do the rest of you do with your small stuff? It appears that ignoring mine is no longer an option.


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10 responses to “The Small Stuff

  1. orangehands

    well, i deal with the small stuff…

    then again, i’m an almost 19yr old teenager, so what do i know?

    besides, if it bothers her that much, she can take care of it.


  2. Jennifer Talty

    Don’t sweat the small stuff, eh? Yesterday I was agreeing with you, today is whole different ball of wax. That small stuff is about to get stuffed up someone else’s behind. Don’t ask…long day.


  3. Lou

    I thought all teenagers (especially the females) were judgemental and vocal. Aren’t they?

    I’m with OH – if something bothers her, she can take care of it. As long as she doesn’t do away with something important. And since when are stale Oreos not good anymore? They taste just fine with milk!

    And, of course, your coupons are out-of-date, so are mine. Who can read that small print that says that they have expired, anyway??

    Tell her that it’s more important – TO WRITE YOUR BOOK – so that the rest of us can be entertained!!

    Book done yet???

    Oh, and BTW, your snark over on Bob’s blog was hysterical.

    Book done yet??


  4. McB

    Small stuff … fits nicely under the bed, usually. I’d deal with it, but the big stuff takes up enough time and energy as it is. Geez, if you worried about the little stuff too you wouldn’t have any time left for a life. Really I don’t think the oreos or expired coupons will have much impact on the state of the universe.


  5. Mary

    I thought the saying went: “Don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” Must go back and verify this.


  6. Lou

    Yep, Mary, that’s it. Unless the sweaty stuff is a hot sweaty man that you are dyin’ for!


  7. Cary

    Well, as long as that plastic container of toxic soup has a tight-fitting lid…

    Frankly, it is only reasonable to keep that soup in its container in the fridge. If you were to dump it, the sink/garbage disposal would stink for DDs whole college break. And the empty container in the sink, waiting for a dishload? Eeew.

    Better to keep it in the fridge, tightly closed, where it can stay “small stuff”.


  8. Anonymous

    Dear Sis, I think your article is not so much about small stuff as it is about others pointing it out and not offering to help. My DN, your DD, has no concept of what small stuff is or even how to handle it. And it isn’t HER stuff anyway.

    I’m amazed at the irony, yet similarity, of your last 2 articles. First you talk about how horrible the news has been about people in your life and then you say that “it’s all small stuff” is ridiculous. When you are going through something scary, like possible cancer, everything else in your life shrinks and becomes small. Is it all really small? No. The cancer has just become really big.

    When I got sick from this stupid neuromuscular disease, I couldn’t even see the small stuff. Now that it’s been awhile, I do think that anything but my family and friends is small stuff. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about other things. I want a clean apartment and the laundry done. I want to take my dog for a walk. I want world peace. I just don’t have the energy to deal with the small stuff. And it is all small stuff; until I deem it large enough to deal with.

    Really, I’m not contradicting you so don’t snarf off and not talk to me for a week. When you are overhwelmed with what is going on in your life, the other stuff has to be small for sake of your mental survival! The Emperor has to believe he is wearing clothes. Perception is everything.

    It would be great if someone would come along and help you get rid of all that small stuff so that your book could get even bigger. 😉



  9. bon cheri bomb

    Hi Booko! You know, this is the problem with having family members read your blog — you spend half the time hoping they’ll comment and the other half terrified that they will. [grin] Yeah, sisters know all your secrets about stuff, big and small, and they’re not shy about ratting you out.

    It’s not so much that DD19 doesn’t have a handle on what constitutes “small stuff” as it is that she’s just too young to have big stuff of her own. And thank god for that. But her opinion, and that of her big brother, are very important to me. That really is big stuff. You know that.

    And sometimes when the big stuff seems overwhelming, like it has lately, that is when you need the small stuff the most. It balances things. There is something very therapeutic in forcing yourself to deal with the small stuff — filing papers, crossing things off the list, cleaning the toilets, sorting through the junk mail, eating stale Oreos, changing the fucking litter box. It helps to ground you so you can deal with the big stuff.

    Though I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind a sampling of Lou’s and Mary’s version of sweaty stuff — as long as it’s not too small. [wink]

    And I would never snarf off and not talk to you for a week! A couple days at most. I might have to take a quick break first though and try to determine whether I’m wearing any clothes.

    Love you, too.


  10. McB

    Its about priorities, and they shift as needed. They small stuff needs to be dealt with, but it doesn’t have to be RIGHT NOW.

    For instance, I have white elephant poop that needs dealing with this morning. But I determined that it didn’t have to be shoveled first thing, but a much bigger priority was checking in with my friends.

    msqtax: a quota tarrif on manuscripts