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Procrastination, Dog Food and Gas Tanks

June 19, 2011

What is it about certain tasks that make us always procrastinate? Why do we avoid some of the most mundane – yet necessary – tasks? And by putting these things off, what are we hoping to gain? In my case, I’m talking about buying dog food and filling up the gas tank.

I seem to put off for as long as possible buying dog food. It’s not like this food purchase nearly every month should come as a shock to me. But for some reason, I seem to get down to the last kibble in the container before forcing myself out to buy more food. Why not buy a new bag when half the food remained? Or better yet, why not buy two bags at the same time?!

There were times when not even a kibble remained and I’d give Casey and Romeo leftover people food to tide them over. Of course that satisfies the dogs (and me) for an evening. But the next morning rolls along and I remember, “Oh SH$%, I have to buy doog food today!”

And if this isn’t bad enough, Tess the Cat will only eat dog kibble. Anyone who knows cats knows they are very particular with their habits. So whereas the dogs will survive a few days eating human food, Tess can’t handle the change and is freaking out at every turn. Now I’ve starved my dogs and I’m causing my cat to have a massive anxiety attack.

I recently learned this type of avoidance is not characteristic of just me. Sophie and I were enjoying a lovely Saturday afternoon with my friend, Kim, and her kids, when Kim remembered the torturous task of needing to go out after our playdate for dog food. Kim even avoided the dog food purchase for a few days by dicing up dog treats for her little guy. She realized she could no longer avoid the trip to Petco when she soon ran out of treats. I applaud Kim for her creativity.

This same act of procrastination is one I often feel about filling my car’s gas tank. I am SO bad about this one! I wait until the last possible moment to stop for gas. To the point in which the car is nearly running of fumes. And why — Why do I do this to myself every week? Is it because it kills me to pay nearly $55 to fill up the car? Partly. But even when gas wasn’t that expensive, I always waited until I was running on empty to stop at Chevron.

A friend told me she always fills up her car when her tank is half empty in case she finds herself in a car chase and doesn’t want to run out of fuel. I wish I had that same paranoia. But no. I wait, and then usually end up kicking myself when I’ve waited until before work to buy gas.

Perhaps I procrastinate because buying gas and dog food are not “fun” purchases. It’s not like buying Starbucks or food (although one could argue that gas is coffee for the car). Or maybe since I’m not the one starving, I don’t feel bad rationing the last cup of kibble between my dogs and cat. I don’t know. I may never know. All I do know is that I did buy dog food today (beacuse we wouldn’t have lasted until tomorrow) and I have no gas in my car for Monday morning. Isn’t the first step admitting the problem?

Poor Tess sadly wondering when she’ll eat again.


39 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2011 3:50 am

    I put off getting gas until the last minute. Twice, I’ve felt the car shuddering and in the nick of time pulled into a gas station. It took about twenty minutes for the gas to make its way down the line (or so it was explained to me) so it would start again even after I put the gas. One time, in a church parking lot, I wasn’t so lucky. I had to call my bff to bring a gas tank, buy some gas, and then pour it in.

    WHy do I hate putting gas? I’m better at it. I never let the car go under 1/4 tank anymore. I guess back then, I loved the drama…

    AS for dog food, I’ve run out of it so many times and given my border collie things like lasagna and meatload that the bugger doesn’t want dog food anymore. He goes on strike from eating it unless there’s some nice human food piled on top.

    • June 20, 2011 8:37 pm

      OMG, I’m cracking up thinking of your border collie striking for people food. My dogs would love you! For a while, Casey, my beagle, refused to eat kibble until she realized there was absolutely no chance of getting a morsel of people food that night.

      And I’ve been unlucky with the gas too. I actually did have the car run out of gas on the freeway once. Sadly that didn’t even deter me from this bad habit. I know just know how much time I actually have!

  2. June 20, 2011 4:07 am

    I used to hate buying cat food and litter. Sadly, the cat died; we’re now petless.
    I’ve put off putting away all Lydia’s college stuff she didn’t get too- still in the basement and will probably be there until she leaves in August! And I hate cleaning closets and sorting things to give away.
    Great title of post.

    • June 20, 2011 8:35 pm

      Thank you for the compliment. Although I must say that is so sad about your cat. I’m so sorry! I don’t mind giving things away. But I don’t like cleaning closets much either.

  3. Lena permalink
    June 20, 2011 5:43 am

    This is hilarious — and so true! I don’t have a dog, but I do put off buying cat food every time. Recently I have started buying the super-size bags of cat food and just keeping a small amount in the house in a Tupperware container. This makes the need to purchase cat food limited to every other month or so. I don’t do it because I hate going to the pet store, there is nothing else for me to purchase there so it requires it’s own trip, which I hate. At least when I go to Target for diapers, I can get a few other things for myself — whereas, pet sore — nada. Also, my husband hates our cats so refuses to buy their food so this chore is always on my list.

    I’m a little better about gas, I usually stop when I have about 1/4 tank full, but I hate doing it. Partly because it’s usually out of my way, I’m in a hurry or I hate the germiness of it. All those hands touching the nozzle – ick! Good thing I have hand sanitizer everywhere. 😉


    • June 20, 2011 8:33 pm

      Whereas my husband is usually pretty good about buying the dog food if I tell him to, it always seems like it falls on me. He doesn’t really care if there’s no food left for the animals. Whereas I start panicking. I want to say, “Don’t you care that our dogs/cats are starving?!” I guess not. By the way, my friend (Kim) who inspired me to write that post bought a 35-pound bag to avoid going out again anytime soon.

  4. June 20, 2011 5:51 am

    LOL – I understand. I love shopping for food, but hate emptying the dishwasher!

    • June 20, 2011 8:31 pm

      OMG Ann, I HATE emptying the dishwasher! I avoid it at all costs. I was forced to do it as a kid, which is why I think I hate it now. Once Sophie is old enough, that will be her chore. Seriously, I hate it!

  5. June 20, 2011 5:55 am

    Poor Tess is SOOOO cute!! And I can so relate to the dogfood thing — same with dog meds — and gas too. I think these must be universal truths!! Which is what makes this such a great blog topic! Too funny!

    • June 20, 2011 8:31 pm

      Oh dog meds! I forgot about that one. They are so expensive and usually need a trip to the vet with the meds. It kills me to spend the money. Although I know I have to. UGH!

  6. June 20, 2011 6:43 am

    Leah, that photo of your cat beside her empty bowls just kills me. LOL!
    With me it’s balancing my checkbook and writing out the bills. I still do it the old fashioned way. And I procrastinate the heck out of it. My daughter thinks I’m crazy to not have it all set up on the computer, but I worry someone will hack my accounts. So, I get this stack of bills and I look at them, and they look back at me (accusingly) for many days and sometimes weeks, before I break down and just do it.
    I feel so much better afterwards.

    • June 20, 2011 8:30 pm

      Thanks for the compliment on the Tess photo! I still do all my bill-paying once a month and most of it buy hand too. It makes me feel more in control. I do tend to take care of all that once a month. But I do start putting off balancing the check book as we get into the middle and end of the month. That’s just clear avoidance so I don’t have to see how little money we have until payday.

  7. June 20, 2011 6:56 am

    I don’t have to buy dog food, but I do the exact same procrastination when it comes to buying bottled water. For me, I put off this purchase because it’s heavy and the thought of taking it from my car into my condo always forces me to just keep on walking right past it! And then of course I’m mad when I don’t have any water at home. So thank you for giving me a chance to admit my problem too!

    • June 20, 2011 8:29 pm

      I hear you on that one too! And I hate running out of bottled water because I refuse to drink tap water. But something about lugging all the bottles to the car — you’re so right!

  8. June 20, 2011 8:05 am

    I always put off buying dog food, too. Had no idea I wasn’t the only one!

    For me, it’s because I usually take Lola with me to the pet store. She likes to go and the outing is good for her, socialization-wise. But that means I don’t combine my dog food run with other trips. I could stop on the way home like I do with my other errands, but then I feel guilty that Lola missed out on her special shopping trip. She probably wouldn’t know the difference, but I do. Sigh.

    • June 20, 2011 8:28 pm

      I totally get this! Not that it’s the reason I procrastinate on buying dog food. But there are other errands that I avoid because I know Sophie will want to go or I can take the dogs for a quick car ride. There are so few things the dogs can go out and do. The least we can do is take them to Petco, right?

  9. June 20, 2011 8:34 am

    I always procrastinate packing for a trip, which is so ironic, because I’m a compulsive organizer. But there is something about having to choose what to wear in a different city with a different climate that renders me paralyzed with indecision. So I wait until the last possible moment, throw in whatever I’m in the mood for at that precise moment, and it’s never the right clothing, and then swear that next time, I’ll pack in advance and be better prepared.

    • June 20, 2011 8:27 pm

      I agree! Packing for trips seems overwhelming to me. So I too avoid it until the last possible minute.

  10. June 20, 2011 9:24 am

    I’m pretty bad about procrastination, too, Leah. I actually have two graduation cards beside my computer that should’ve been mailed two weeks ago. Oh, well. At least those we love (like your dog and kitty) understand us enough to cut us some slack…we hope! ; )

    • June 20, 2011 8:26 pm

      I’m bad at that too! I plan to buy the cards. Or even have them sitting them and then avoid mailing them. What’s wrong with us?!

  11. June 20, 2011 9:57 am

    Buying four new tires is the worst. Where’s the fun in that?

  12. June 20, 2011 10:34 am

    Shopping of any kind is the worst. Wish I found some pleasure in it, but loved your post. My dog also gets a raw deal!

    • June 20, 2011 8:23 pm

      Thank you! And so glad my dogs aren’t the only disadvantaged souls out there. Oh well. They learn to live with it, don’t they?

  13. June 20, 2011 11:00 am

    Since writing and blogging, I’ve become a horrible procrastinator. Cat food, check. Gas, check, even though I swear every time I’ll fill it halfway through, not to deal with the trauma of paying fifty or sixty bucks. I still do it every time, though. Errands in general…not my strong point.

    • June 20, 2011 8:22 pm

      Isn’t that the truth?! Why don’t we just do it when we can? But no. I also put off renewing prescriptions until the last minute. Which is just foolish!

  14. June 20, 2011 11:08 am

    Leah , I am okay with food for Peaches, but I do forget about my tortes sometimes. He goes without his food for days and I never hear a beep out of him. Poor “Chauncy”.
    What I absolutely hate is changing my closet from winter clothes to summer ones. I put this project on hold for as long as I can and as soon as it’s done, I have to go back and change it again. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

    • June 20, 2011 8:21 pm

      Maybe that’s why I leave all my clothes in the closet for all the seasons! I’d be the same way.

  15. June 20, 2011 11:47 am

    Ha ha. I think procrastination is simply human nature… and I’m not sure there is a cure.

  16. June 20, 2011 1:03 pm

    I love your cat. I have always wanted a grey tabby. And I wait till the very last min to buy cat food also. And those same words come to mind also. ‘Oh s#!t, I have to buy cat food’ which happened yesterday btw. The gas I don’t worry so much about. I work at home, so that is the husband deal since he has to go to work. But when I do have to use the car, ‘oh s#!t, he didn’t put gas in the car and now I have to get out in this heat to put it in’ Oh the days!!! Great post. :0)

    • June 20, 2011 8:20 pm

      I think I’d trade in my car and fueling to get to work in order to work at home! Glad you can relate to the cat food. And thanks for your compliment on Tess. She’s a sweat cat!

  17. June 20, 2011 3:57 pm

    Tess is the most adorable cat I’ve seen in a long time! I’m with you on waiting till I’m driving on gas fumes to pump gas in the car. I just hate it and the cost of gas doesn’t help at all. My mother always says that someday I’m going to run out of gas and be stranded on the highway, and when that day comes, I will learn the importance of fueling the car!

    • June 20, 2011 8:19 pm

      Well you can tell your mother that I have actually run out of gas on the road. That has not deterred me yet. And thanks for your compliment on Tess.

  18. June 20, 2011 8:32 pm

    LOL! Awww, love the photo. 🙂 I have issues with buying gas for my car, too. But my worst ones deal with cleaning, getting the mail, and money. I’m amazed I can even own a house without getting foreclosed on. LOL! I hate checking my bank statements, I hate walking to get the mail, and I hate doing the dishes. In terms of writing, I bet thinking about what your main characters procrastinate about might help you develop those little details in which others can relate. Fun post!

    • June 20, 2011 9:06 pm

      I have the complete opposite situation with respect to the mail. I love walking to my mailbox and seeing what awaits me (usually nothing these days). I’m not a fan of doing the dishes either. But my need for a neat kitchen will freak me out before the dishes pile up too much. So compulsive neatness overrides dish cleaning procrastination.

  19. June 21, 2011 12:22 am

    Adorable pic of your kitty. Beautiful. Why is this so true for so many of us? Do we just have too many tasks to do? I have been simplifying my life, clearing out those things/people which no longer serve me. Even so there is much more to do. I find there are always those things which I resist. Talking about it helps! I like focusing on all the things I am much improved from resenting/procrastinating. I embrace these successes, knowing they are evidence that I can shift, grow and improve. Each time I can do that and be filled with gratitude while I do the task, I know I am making progress. I am reminded of the old saying: What did the monk do before enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water. What did the monk do after enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water. Same wood, same water, different monk. 🙂

  20. June 24, 2011 8:25 pm

    Procrastination should be my middle name. Although when it comes to dog food, I have no problem … I go to the pet store entirely WAY too much!!

  21. June 24, 2011 9:02 pm

    I totally identify with this!

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