The Non-Bucket List: Things I’m happy to never, ever do

When was the last time you did something for the first time

In the last twelve months, I’ve challenged myself by starting my own business and speaking in front of large groups of people–on purpose. I’ve finished my first manuscript and sent it off to my very dear beta readers. And I’ve tried new things like petrifying my own fruit and making yarn pom napkin rings for my cousin’s bridal shower.

It’s a great feeling to take on new challenges, but I’ve also taken the time to reflect on the things that I’ll never do, or more than 99% likely won’t ever do–my Non-Bucket List. Here is a sample of that list for your reading pleasure:

1. Fold a fitted sheet. I’ve spent countless minutes of my life trying to force these unwieldy pieces of fabric into a perfectly shaped square or rectangle. I’ve seen how-to videos and picture tutorials, and yet my attempts have resulted mini tantrums and an overwhelming feeling of exasperation. Now they are immediately placed back on the mattress (Okay that was a lie. They sit in the dryer for at least 8 hours before they make it back on the bed) or they are wadded up into a ball and jammed into the linen closet. I see no reason to change my ways.

Silky Green by EvelynGiggles

See, this person has the idea. Just crumple it up and put it away. You will never get those hours spent trying to fold it back. (Silky Green by EvelynGiggles via Flickr Lic CC By 2.0)

2. Run a marathon. I know this on a lot of bucket lists out there, but the thought of running for miles on end is exhausting. I’m getting tired just thinking about it. My argument used to be that running that long of a distance was ridiculous. No animal in the wild would run like that if they didn’t have to for survival. Why would we do it for fun? Then I saw this article: Wild Animals Have a Hankering for Exercise. I guess I was wrong. But that hasn’t changed my stance. I’ll get my endorphins from a bite of chili pepper, or even better, a bite of chocolate.

Frederick Marathon by Ken Morrill

See this woman checking her watch. That would be me. Like every five seconds, wondering when this awful activity would be over. I would have abs just like that too. I already do. They’re just hidden under a little insulation. (Frederick Marathon by Ken Morrill via Flickr Lic CC By 2.0)

3. Hike Mount (Fill in the blank): This is along the lines of number two, but with the added risk of: oxygen deprivation, lightening strikes, fall related injuries, avalanches, hypothermia. You get the picture. I’m all for accomplishing really cool things. That’s why I wrote a book. No need to get frostbite or be airlifted from the top of a mountain due to high altitude cerebral edema, also known as HACE. The voices in my head are scary enough.

Guided Nature Hike Program by USFWS Mountain Prairie

Now this is my kind of hiking. See how it’s relatively flat? And the two girls have stopped to check out something very interesting on the ground? This is the perfect ruse to get other people to stop so you can rest. “Oooh. Look at this rock. Have you ever seen a rock like this?” (Guided Nature Hike Program by USFWS Mountain Prairie via Flickr Lic CC by 2.0)

4. Play with a Ouija board: As some of you may know, I sort of believe in ghosts. I like to think they are all nice, and they’d like nothing more than to enjoy a nice BBQ on the back patio with the rest of us living folk. But I’ve seen too many Poltergeists and Amityville Horror movies for my own good. So why would I invite any old spirit into my house? And then make it answer questions for my own amusement, spelled out, letter by letter?

Ouija Board Ad 1968 by Justin Wilson

Okay, so if you’re going to summon random spirits to your house, this is what you’d ask? “Who’s Debbie’s date to the prom?” Why don’t you just ask Debbie? “Should we go steady?” I’m guessing the answer is no if you are asking a piece of cardboard. (Ouija Board Ad 1968 by Justin Wilson via Flickr Lic CC By 2.0)

5. Drink another Mudslide: In college, I thought this was the best drink ever invented. It had alcohol. And chocolate flavoring. And about a zillion calories. Now, I’m much too refined to drink Mudslides. I drink boxed wine instead.

Mudslide by Stupid Systemus

My mudslides never looked this fancy. (Mudslide by Stupid Systemus via Flickr Lic CC By 2.0)


Joady's Bday Dinner for Tracy (2009) by Pat & Keri

I had the college version that came in a bottle. No fancy chocolate drizzle, or glass to drink out of for that matter. (Joady’s Bday Dinner for Tracy (2009) by Pat & Keri via Flickr Lic CC By 2.0)

So, if you are planning to run a marathon up Mount (fill in the blank), where everyone folds fitted sheets at the top and then plays with a Ouija board while drinking mudslides, you can count me out. Unless you replace the Mudslides with champagne. I might reconsider if there is bubbly involved.

43 thoughts on “The Non-Bucket List: Things I’m happy to never, ever do

  1. elainecanham says:

    I’m with you on the running and the climbing. I can kind of fold a fitted sheet (because I’m nerdy that way). Ouija boards creep me out, and I never knew there was a drink called a mudslide (I too have boxed wine). I’d put parachuting, going in a submarine, backpacking in the Sudan, and eating fugu right bang at the top of my non bucket list.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I agree with the parachuting. I’ve been on the Disney submarine ride, does that count?

      Okay, I had to Google the fugu thing. I won’t be doing that either. I go through all the trouble of putting my seatbelt on, taking vitamins, and wearing sunblock. Why would I risk my life eating a deadly fish, when I have a McDonald’s just down the street. I mean, when I have a very healthy, non-lethal salad, made with organic greens. It’s just silly.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I can safely say there is no sky-diving, bungee-jumping, or parasailing on my bucket list. Actually, there really isn’t anything on the list that may result in grave injury. I’m kind of a wuss that way. 🙂 And I’m with you on the fitted sheet folding. I gave up years ago.

  3. gpeynon says:

    Great post and (as usual) another great idea. I’ve done – and still do – the marathon one; I’ll drink almost anything; I can fold a fitted sheet (so long as I have help); I don’t live near any mountains and I don’t believe in ghosts… All good.

  4. fudgeandpoppy says:

    I often attempt to fold fitted sheets. I am not the worlds most neatest or tidiest of people but I can get a little OCD about some things, like making sure all my Disney DVDs are in order, lining up books properly, putting two coasters on either side of my sideboard which my husband will always move so there are three on one end and one on the other because he knows how much it irks me (especially if people are coming over.) It bothers me to put the sheet away with it askew or awry however as I always shove everything into my airing cupboard, it being neatly folded really doesn’t matter in the end as it will be shoved in underneath my stepson’s duvet or a wadge of towels that are on the brink of leaping out on top of me at any given moment.

    I agree with you on your non-bucket list. I may have to think of my own. Earlier this year my husband asked me if there was one thing I really wanted to do this year. I tried to be all positive but it took me ages to think of something, and now I can’t even remember what it was. So not sure if I did it or not. Mmm.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Things are always toppling out of my linen closet. I think they’re just destined to be that way. I’ve almost given up on trying to be tidy. It seems like I spend hours cleaning and then a half hour later everything is a mess again. I figure I’ll just leave it a mess and save myself a few hours.

      Have you thought of anything yet? I have a few things on the top of my bucket list right now. One of them is to learn how to sail. I’m crossing my fingers for the upcoming year.

      • fudgeandpoppy says:

        I shall have to get thinking!

        My husband used to teach sailing. I’ve only ever been on two boats that weren’t ferries. I used to live on the Isle of Wight which has a big sailing community. I would have liked to do more but wanted my partner at the time to give me some one on one sailing experience so I didn’t appear to be such a novice in front of his parents and friends. Never happened. Then he would moan that I wasn’t keen on sailing!

          • fudgeandpoppy says:

            Oooh exciting! I have just this second watched a video on how to fold a fitted sheet. It might have just revolutionised my whole life. Or maybe just how I deal with my fitted sheets at least. As the taglines often say – MIND BLOWN!

  5. Marcy says:

    The one thing I refuse to do is parallel parking. No jumping out of planes or marathon running for me either, or need to scale mountains. I can fold a passable fitted sheet, learned from my mom. It never looks as good as Martha Stewart, but then nothing I do ever does.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      You know I’m no good at parallel parking either, unless I have someone directing me. Even then it still takes scooting back and forth about a million times to get it close enough to the curb.

      I think Martha Stewart is magic. It’s the only explanation.

  6. Trent Lewin says:

    Dude, I would still drink Mudslides with you, or even more refined beverages such as vodka shots. But I also draw the line at running marathons. Or walking. Mountains? What the heck is a mountain? If I need to go over one, I’ll just have someone blast it down, nice and easy.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      We’ve blasted through some of our mountains here (by ‘we’ I mean the State of Colorado, not Lindsay and me). Now it’s easy peasy to drive right on through. Why go over or around, when you can just shoot right through?

      I’ll take the vodka shots – way more potent and way fewer calories. But can we make them lemon drops? Those are way yummier.

        • jennifer Windram says:

          Now, I wait for my beta readers to get back to me, edit again and then try to find an agent. And I’ve started the next one. I have about 10,000 words so far.

          My husband usually starts with bourbon and then switches to wine. I just skip the bourbon part.

  7. M. C. Dulac says:

    The “non-Bucket list” – an excellent idea! As always, I had a laugh out loud at your post (which was a little embarrassing, as I was reading it on my phone in the queue at the post office). Great to see you back!

      • M. C. Dulac says:

        Good on you! I can’t believe it’s June and I haven’t made any progress on social media. I’ve discovered that some people put my short stories on Goodreads and are reviewing them and adding them to their reading list, and I don’t even have a profile over there! So I have to do an Amazon profile, a Goodreads profile and then consider FB and Twitter!

        Hey – I have to ask – who are beta readers? I’ve heard of them, and everyone says they are great, but where do you find them out here on the net?

        • jennifer Windram says:

          I have the social media accounts, but I’m not always that great at keeping them updated. There are some people constantly posting on Facebook. I guess I’m just too much of a slacker 🙂

          How exciting about Goodreads! I have a Goodreads profile, but I don’t use it. I’ve heard conflicting things about authors engaging with readers on that site. I think there’s been some backlash against authors who try to engage too much or push their books.

          Beta readers are just the first group of people who read your book/short story/etc. It can be anyone really, but you want to find people who understand story structure and hopefully enjoy reading your genre. I’m using my cousin, my mom, and a few friends/acquaintances. I’m hoping they will at least pick out areas that drag, continuity issues, plot holes, flat dialog, inconsistent characters, etc. I don’t expect them to be experts on grammar.

          I think people have found them over internet: people they meet on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs. There is a post on Goodreads for writers to connect with beta readers. They’ve also made connections at writers conferences or at writers groups who end up beta reading for them.

          I’d be happy to beta read if you’re interested. And if you’re interested in reading more about Libby (well the book is really about her friend) I’d love for you to take a look at mine.

          I think the hard part is finding people who will give quality feedback because of the skill set required and the amount of time required. It can be a very time consuming process, especially for other writers who are working on their own projects. 🙂

          • M. C. Dulac says:

            Thanks for your detailed response Jennifer! My whole life is in slow motion nowadays (Note, how last year I replied to comments within hours, but now it’s taking a week!)

            I’ve set up on Goodreads now and have written some quizzes! I’ll see how I go – I’m only engaging with real life friends or blog friends at the moment. When I mentioned my writing in real life, I haven’t had anything to point to except this blog and Amazon. Now I can refer people to my Goodreads profile if they are interested!

            I’d love to beta read Libby! (in a few months maybe when I have more time) As you say, it is hard to find the time and to ensure you have the right skills. The best readers are the ones who not only pick up the faults you suspect yourself, but the faults that you don’t know about, as well as finding the really good stuff that you didn’t realise was there! I might start reading some of those “How-to” books on editing and story structure, so I can be a good beta reader!

            • jennifer Windram says:

              As you can see, it’s now taking me more than a week to respond. Sigh.

              I didn’t know you could create quizzes on Goodreads. I’ll have to check out your profile (or whatever it’s called). It sounds fun!

              No worries about Libby. It’s hard to take on a huge task like that and still try to work on your own writing. Why is it so hard to find time??

              • M. C. Dulac says:

                9 days later… (it’s like these messages are going via sailing ship!)

                I’m not sure where time is going! I’m now on Goodreads so you can find me there. Yes there are heaps of quizzes on different writers and books! I’ve added some quizzes to my books!

                I am getting some very stern instructions from friends to get on Facebook, so that may happen this week too!

                I would love to be a beta reader for Libby later in the year! Okay, it’s on my to-do list now!

                • jennifer Windram says:

                  HA! A sailing ship that’s taking it’s time sightseeing along the coast.

                  Yes, let me know about Libby. I’m going to revise it again here soon and then maybe you’ll be interested in reading the latest version once it’s finished.

                  Find me once you get on Facebook 🙂

                  I am going to Goodreads to find you. Now. I’m serious. Here I go…

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    I have never understood the appeal of jumping out of an airplane that’s in perfectly good working order. If an ex-president wants to celebrate his 90th birthday that way, well, whatever floats your boat, I guess. If I make it that long, though, I think I’ll stick to something a bit less risky!

    Fitted sheets were designed by someone with a twisted mind, I think. Probably the same person who decided half-a-cup of ice cream was a serving size for the nutritional labels….

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Yeah. Maybe for my 100th birthday I’ll swim with sharks or something.

      All serving sizes are wrong – you can only eat like two oreos and that is a serving, but you have to eat the whole bag of spinach for that to be a serving. It’s just cruel.

  9. heatherbcosta says:

    I am so with you on point number 1!

    I still haven’t worked out how to effectively fold a fitted sheet and it’s even worse now that I have no one else to do it for me….

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