Get organised

Once upon a time there was a guy who couldn’t seem to remember family birthdays or anniversaries.

And it was bad.

Then he worked out how to use the organiser on his phone, and they all lived happily ever after.

That’s the Hollywood script I hope to turn into reality this year after a lifetime of slackness.

The issue came to a head recently when I was quizzed about a sibling’s birthday – when was it, exactly?

I’ve got a few, so it was obviously a trick question.

When I failed to hit the buzzer straight off the bat, eyebrows raised.

‘‘Somewhere around ... um ... summer,’’ got heads shaking.

And homing in on the day by process of elimination generated much regret.

If only I’d started at the beginning of the month!

Obviously there were gaps/chasms in my knowledge.

I was OK with immediate family birthdates – like mine – but I struggled with extended’s – like my siblings’, or aunt Petunia’s, or the rest of the tribe.


Not knowing this stuff and not caring are the same thing, no matter what you tell yourself.

So I vowed to do something about it, other than nothing.

And when my youngest pointed out there was a birthday reminder function in my phone, I knew what – start inputting family data.

First port of call the information matriarch – Mum – a veritable Yoda of family lore.

Want to know a family birthday? Ask Mum.

Want a heads-up on an anniversary? Ask Mum.

Want to know who let the cat out of the bag about an impending birth? Ask Mum.

She’d tell you it wasn’t her, and probably mean it too.

In this way she’s co-ordinated the family for years.

All without the aid of technology.


The only blackberry mum knows goes in jam.

‘‘I phone’’ is what she does, not what she uses.

And who needs Facebook? Mum is a living, breathing social media platform.

Now I aspired to her mantle.

But I wasn’t going to use a conventional calendar because, historically, conventional calendars have failed me.

Mainly because I rarely read them; carefully, at least.

And when I do, I can’t decipher what’s written on them.

Calendar scribble only ever makes sense to its author.

But an electronic calendar that goes ‘‘ping’’, that’s the future, man, and I got thumb cramp inputting towards it.

Close enough may have been good enough in the past when acknowledging family moments – a phone call in the same month, or year, say.

But now with my trusty phone organiser twinkling alerts each morning, I intend to get suffocatingly efficient.

Like the IRA, I now know where we live.

And by and large I know who we live with and when they were born.

The fruits of my labour came home to roost, so to speak (if you speak like a gibberer) the other day when I rang up my sister-in-law to wish her happy birthday ... on her actual birthday.

I could literally hear her falling off her chair.

It might have been a champagne breakfast thing, but deep down I suspect it was genuine surprise.

Like all technology-related things, this latest obsession – caring about my family – may prove a fad.

But until then, I’m going to acknowledge every catch, match, hatch and despatch (yes, even dearly departed pets will get a run) I can program into the phone.

Just got to stay organised with the organiser.

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