My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

BE a Procrastinator

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My wife says I procrastinate, which occasionally gets under my skin because I feel I am a very productive person. In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of constantly replacing high-priority actions or tasks with low-priority actions. Our friends poke fun of me for never being able to just sit down, of constantly being in motion, or perpetually doing something. How is it that I could possibly be a procrastinator?  

Recently, an event proved my wife correct. I am absolutely, 100%, undeniably, a certified procrastinator with a capital "P."

If you've been following my blog posts over the last few months, you may be familiar with my vacuum cleaner struggles. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story, let me take a few paragraphs to summarize.

A few months ago, our vacuum cleaner broke. The rotating brush would spin fine when the vacuum was lifted off the ground, but when it met with any resistance at all, the brush would stop. We borrowed a neighbor's vacuum periodically for quite some time. They were happy to help, as they know our debt situation, it was near the holidays, and the vacuum they had (which my wife was convinced was the one we wanted) was rather expensive. This inspired a blog post about neighborsBE a Procrastinator exchanging useful tools (vacuums included) or skills to save each other money.

Then, an unfortunate incident with my wife's iPod got me searching online for used household items and I got the idea in my head that it was pure destiny that I find our next vacuum cleaner, used and super cheap, through the help of Craig's List. This inspired another blog post, "It's New to You."  

That catches us up to right after the holidays, where we STILL didn't have a vacuum cleaner. However, in this third installment of The Vacuum Cleaner Saga events will unfold that will bring this story to conclusion. Who knew that a vacuum cleaner could be so inspirational? 

The holidays were over, and we had been playing "neighbor roulette" for a few months borrowing vacuum cleaners.  Due to my wife's constant insinuating that I was procrastinating doing something about our vacuum situation, I decided to get serious about replacing ours. I found some promising leads on Craig's List, but none of them panned out quite as I had hoped. 

There was a bit of excitement on a Saturday as I called pawn shops, and one in particular claimed to have the exact model we were looking for - at about one fifth of the price of a new one. Too good to be true?  Yep. 

I walked in the door, and saw it sitting in the corner behind the counter, right where the person on the phone said he would put it. It was scratched up, beat up, and didn't look anything like the one our neighbors have. I tried it out, and it didn't work well at all. The pawn shop employee was genuinely shocked that I wasn't going to buy it.

That same night, we had some friends over - including those that owned the vacuum my wife so dearly desires. I was telling them of my pawn shop trip earlier in the day, when my friend asked of our broken down vacuum, "Are you sure it's not the belt?"  I insisted it wasn't, as the brush would rotate, but would stop when met with resistance.

As I was falling asleep that night, the conversation with my friend popped back into my head.  "This has happened before," I suddenly remembered.  When the belt gets stretched out, it slips when it encounters resistance. I could hardly go to sleep. I was so excited to wake up the next day and see if I was right. 

No comments are necessary about what gets me excited, by the way.  I'm well aware of how this sounds. Let me just say that I revel in solving a problem. Any problem.  Even if it involves a vacuum cleaner belt. 

I woke up at 6:30 a.m., hours before anyone else in my house would even think of getting out of bed. I threw on some sweat pants,  grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and headed out to the garage where our broken down vacuum cleaner sat alongside some empty paint cans, a broken hedge trimmer, and a handful of other things that need to be disposed of at a special recycling center. As I wrote down the model number of the vacuum, I remembered my wife accusing me of procrastinating numerous times over the last three months, asking, "When are you gonna get this junk out of our garage?"

I headed to Wal-Mart and bought a new belt for $2.47. I got home, cleaned out the entire vacuum, and removed the old belt. Sure enough, it was stretched out to about double the size of the new one. After I installed the new belt? It worked like a champ. 

By the time my wife woke up, I had done quite a bit of vacuuming. She came down the stairs, looked at the vacuum, noticed my smile and threw me that, "What is going on here?" look. I explained to her what I had realized the night before. Jokingly, I said, "See, aren't you glad I never took all that stuff to the recycling center?"  She was not amused. It was probably a little too early in the morning for that large a dose of my humor.

It was then that I realized that I was indeed a procrastinator. Not for refusing to take junk to the recycling center, and not for neglecting to replace our seemingly broken down vacuum cleaner. 

I am a procrastinator at admitting defeat. I refused to let it be broken, and I refused to believe that we had to replace it. So there it sat in the garage for three months waiting for me to discover its secret. 

Join me, and be a procrastinator! Refuse to be defeated

When life throws a problem or a challenge in your direction, don't stop until you find the solution that is right for you, not just the first solution that comes to mind, or the easiest. Find your own $2.47 answer. You will be called a procrastinator, stubborn, and maybe even worse, but in the end, it'll be worth it!

Related Links:

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Travis PizelTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Travis, I do enjoy reading your blogs.  You bring humor into problem solving.  Congratulations on saving yourself a bundle on a new vacuum cleaner.  Love your blogs!!

  • Thanks, mdavis1964, I'm glad you like my attempts at humor.  I'm a firm believer that if you can't find the humor in life, then you're doing it wrong.   I think there's another blog in there somewhere.  :)  You want to hear something really funny?  The vacuum mentioned in the blog that I went to the pawn shop to look at?  I'm 99% sure the vacuum in the clip art posted above  (which our friends at CareOne so graciously do for me) is the EXACT vacuum I went to look at.  Only the one at the pawn shop was completely beat to crap.  That's quite a funny coincidence, don't you think?

  • Travis, Let me guess... it's a Dyson...I have always wanted one of them but alas I can't afford one. I am so happy you finally fixed the vaccum; see good things come to those who procrastinate! I am always telling my family friends that I procrastinate because that's when I do my best work...under pressure!

  • Travis that is absolutely hilarious that the picture and the pawn shop vacuum are almost identical.  Minus a few scrapes and scratches lol.  You truly are doing awesome.  Thank you so much for sharing with those of us that are struggling right along with you to get out of debt.  You are a true inspiration for me!

  • Ding, Ding - Winner!  You're right, Suzanne, the vacuum our neighbor has is a Dyson Animal.  I can't believe vacuums can cost that much.

  • mdavis1964 - I'm really glad you liked the post.  Life is full of such experiences isn't it?  Nothing is more entertaining than real life,  you just can't make this stuff up.  :)

  • If I call a business to inquire about a product or service, and get an answer I don't like, I'll hang up, call right back and ask the same question. Y ou'd be surprised how many times you get a different answer.

  • Awesome column - especially since I can't tell you the number of times my inexplicable "procrastination" would at some point be, um, justified?, when events showed the action I was trying to will myself to take was completely unnecessary after all...and would have been wasted effort, time or money. And then of course, sometimes it's just stuff I am dreading doing. ;) Thanks for sharing your journey!

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