I, unofficially, declared last week to be "Loose Ends Week." My goal was to make a list of plans and obligations I’d intended to tackle for weeks, months, even years and finally get ‘em done. I invited others, via social media, to join in the productive fun.
Overall, I did pretty well. A solid "B," for sure.
I started my Loose Ends list with "make a list" because then I got to cross something off immediately. Instant-gratification-me appreciated that. By the end of the week, I got to cross off other tasks from the list like making back-to-school appointments with my sons’ doctor, organizing my dresser drawers and hanging the new bedroom curtains that snickered at my laziness for months.
And, of course, there are a few things I didn’t get to last week. I had to cancel my long-overdue lunch with Katie because I realized I had a work meeting. (Boo!) Nor did I complete an article that’s been on the "back burner" for months.
I did, however, experience some meaningful moments that probably wouldn't have happened without making Loose Ends Week a thing:
- Last summer, while researching and documenting for a long-form article on the Sydney High building, my partner and I tracked down Gus Hosseini, the former owner and manager of The Unicorn, the iconic nightclub in the basement of the building. Gus now owns a Mexican restaurant in Franklin called Gus’ Mexican Cantina, which aside from being a tasty place to grab tacos or enchiladas, also serves as a quasi-museum for The Unicorn with hundreds of framed photos, concert fliers and handbills on the walls. While there, my partner took a portrait of Hussein and a longtime Unicorn employee and friend, Steve. We promised to make a hard copy of it for his wall and bring it out to Gus "soon." It took 11 months for us to finally make our way back out to visit our friend Gus, but we (with another longtime friend of Hosseini's, Izzy) did last week. And we gave him the photo and he made us lunch and margaritas and we chatted about Milwaukee, then and now. "Thank you for your friendship," he said to us as we left.
- My partner and I share what is aptly called a "partner’s desk." This is one very wide, antique desk with drawers and room for a chair on both sides – so we face each other while we work. Technically, it belongs to him, but it is one of my very favorite pieces of furniture in our house. We've been extremely productive sitting at that desk and typed thousands and thousands of words there. However, thanks to the busy-ness of summer, the desk morphed into a Place To Store And Stack Unrelated Things. Within six weeks, we abandoned the office and worked from the kitchen table. Meanwhile, my sister asked for a piece of furniture that was my father’s that I was using to organize a bunch of office supplies. Not wanting to get into a lame argument about material items that belonged to our father, I let it go. However, by letting it go, that also meant piles and piles of notebooks, folders, decks of tarot cards, old ink cartridges and magazines overtook the office like weeds in a chemical-free yard. To make a short story long, we spent hours organizing our office and cleaning our desk and, once again, it’s a lovely and inspiring work space. Plus, it’s summer and so the house vines grew over the window and it feels like we’re working in a tree top. I also found photos of my son’s birth – and grossed him out by sharing them – as well as a Milwaukee Brewers’ paperweight I made for my dad, complete with a hand-dawn bat-and-ball logo on it.
- I "owe" a few people email and calls, but two of them were really nagging away at me and were part of the reason why I decided to force myself into action with Loose Ends Week. One person gave me very insightful and lengthy information about an article I was planning to write in April for Poetry Month, but I never got to it. The amount of time she put into responding to my initial questions and the fact I did nothing with her generous contributions bugged me for months. I finally wrote to her, apologized and offered to write the article this summer even though Poetry Month was over – if it was still of value to her. She said it was and so I swear – right here and now with the ghost of Emily Dickinson as my witness – that I will write this within a month or less. Secondly, I am not very "girly" and I struggle with hair, make up, clothing that’s not concert-shirts and black jeans, etc. So I asked a pal who always looks very feminine and put-together to teach me how to apply make-up because I really liked hers. She typed out a list of exactly what I needed to buy and why. I ordered it (I think I spent more on that make-up order then I have for make-up during my entire adult life) and she offered to show me in person how to use it all. I agreed, but we proceeded to struggle to find a time that worked for us both and then I stopped responding and let the whole experience fade away – even though it never completely faded away. It irked me that I showed so much interest in something and then just let it fizzle out. So I wrote to her and thanked her for the time she took to share all of that information with her and told her, briefly, why I stopped reaching out.
I do feel accomplished post-Loose Ends Week, but also realize life will always have messy, dangly loose ends and that by tying off some loose ends often creates more. I do know, however, that my sock drawer is at the top of its game and I never knew I owned so many pairs of arm warmers.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.