Wednesday, December 16, 2009



I confess. I read my horoscope. Addicted, I search it for insights, like a metal detector scouring a playground for shiny dimes. So I was exuberant when I found this treasure the other morning.

“Organization is the key,” my horoscope said. “Take the time to preview your day before it happens, anticipating possible obstacles, so you can be prepared with all you need.”

Wow. It made me sit back, like that moment a decade ago when I realized that meals would be easier if I bought the ingredients ahead of time.

Maybe life would be simpler if I imagined what would get in the way and stocked up an arsenal.

I read the horoscope to my husband, who is also an Aquarius. “Let’s preview our day,” I told him, “and anticipate what could go wrong.”

“Based on past experience?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said, grabbing our calendars. It was a Saturday.

“You have a haircut at 10 and a doctor’s appointment at 11. You’re working on some computer project in the afternoon, and we have company coming for dinner. I’m meeting a friend for coffee at 9, buying groceries, visiting my mother, writing in the afternoon, getting ready for company. A pretty easy day. What could possibly go wrong?”

“Probably the garbage disposal,” he said. It’s true. We haven’t had company come once in the last 12 years when the garbage disposal hasn’t backed up.

“That’s just because I clean out the refrigerator for company in case I’d need to open the door while they’re here. I’ll skip it this time.”

“Or possibly another leak,” he added

“Freak accident,” I told him. “What are the odds we’d have two massive leaks in three weeks with a nearly new house?”

“What were the odds the first time?”

I had to admit the prospect of dodging another geyser from under the kitchen sink made me nervous, especially since we’d just repaired the basement ceiling from the last time and the kitchen floor looked like a washboard.

“This time, I’ll slide a cake pan under the sink and wear rubber-soled shoes. I’d have probably crawled under the sink sooner if I wasn’t worried about electrocuting myself. Of course, my mother may still lose her purse.”

Purse-o-mania is always possible. Natty at 90, my mom still attempts fashion feats that I decided years ago were beyond me. Like changing purses. She wears white after Memorial Day, navy after Labor Day, a red Vera Bradley bag for casual, fun occasions, a black one for somber ones. All this means finding the bags, dumping the contents and losing something in the shuffle.

“Help! I can’t find my purse!” she’ll cry, and off I’ll go to her assisted living apartment on a search-and-rescue mission. Unfortunately, social occasions tend to bring on these attacks. Last time was the afternoon of her grandson’s wedding, when we were already late from the tornado warning.

“No problem,” I told my husband. “We simply won’t answer the phone.”

Of course we both knew that would never work. What if it was a call that her nitroglycerin was in the missing purse? Or a call from our daughter for her frequent flyer number because she needs to book the last ticket to San Diego to work on an organic farm? (What???) Or a call from our middle son, who’s lost his way visiting a friend in Killbuck, Ohio and needs us to Google him back to the main road?

It is small consolation that all their likely requests would be completely aligned with their horoscopes. My mom (Libra) was to “Say what you want to happen, with whom, how and when.” Our daughter (Taurus) was to “listen to your instinct rather than having to hear another, perhaps misguided, person giving you suggestions.” And Lost-in-Killbuck (Cancer) was simply operating “like an artist, creating a masterpiece of personal connection.”

As for my husband and me, that shiny dime I found turned out to be a grungy old pop-top. From now on, we’re switching to Aries: “To keep your routine from becoming a restriction, leave room for surprises, creativity and the possibility of changing your mind.”

It’s our best hope.

Pat Snyder is a recovering lawyer and mother of three from Columbus, OH, whose new book, The Dog Ate My Planner: Tales and Tips from an Overbooked Life, includes the horoscope story and other light takes on the too-busy life. Find her online at


  1. Oh my goodness...this is amazing...I am going to have to go pick it up!

    My hubby isn't recovering from his lawyerness yet.

  2. LOL that's too funny. I will definitely need to pick up this book.

  3. Your blog is really excellent. It inspires the readers, thanks for sharing...


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