I am the type of person that keeps my spices in alphabetical order. The canned goods are stacked two high, labels facing forward and are in alphabetical order also. All of my clothing hang in my closet 1″ apart, and are categorized from no sleeves, short sleeves, three quarter sleeves then long sleeves. Summer and winter. Skirts hang from shortest to longest, same with dresses. Pants are hung from their cuff, and are grouped by length and color. I keep lists, it’s just my nature, but I have met a man who puts me to shame!
Meet Brent Smeltzer. Brent is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and has been keeping spreadsheets since 1986. Do you know how much you weighed on April 26th, 1995? Brent does. Do you know what your power bill was in January of 2000? Brent does. Do you know every country you have been to, and when you were there? Brent does. You get the picture!
I asked Brent what got him started keeping spreadsheets and he said, “I’m a compulsive list keeper and spreadsheets are a great way to keep lists.” He said it all started with him wondering, “How many miles did I drive last year?” He made a spreadsheet for that. Brent has spreadsheets IN spreadsheets. For instance, the “Car” spreadsheet has a tab for the mileage, maintenance, gas usage, even one comparing the five different cars they were looking at before buying one. This particular one, comparing the different cars, helped them make the decision by comparing the features of each one, including overall weight, length, MPG, cargo space, etc. Believe me, all the information is there, I have seen it. I really was quite impressed!
Brent showed me the spreadsheet he has for utilities. I found the one he has for water particularly interesting. In one month, a couple of years back, the water consumption more than doubled, but because of other “lists” he has kept, he knows it was because they had sod laid that month. He also has a spreadsheet on how much the Water Works Board charges per 1,000 gallons consumed. I laughed and asked Cheryl, Brent’s wife, if she had to turn the water off while shaving. Cheryl said, “SHH! Don’t give him any ideas!”
Do you know how many square feet of grass you have in your backyard? I know someone who does! Brent created a drawing of their lot with the backyard, front yard, side yard and the house. By doing so, the spreadsheet shows exactly how much grass is in each area along with the square footage of the house and garage. ”Why?” I asked, and Brent said, “When you buy fertilizer for the grass, the bag will say it covers ‘x- amount of lawn’, because of the spreadsheet, I know I have to buy 20 bags to cover the entire yard.” It’s pretty smart if you ask me.
When I say, “Brent has a spreadsheet on that.” Believe me, he has a spreadsheet! Rainfall? Yup! This helps him out with watering the grass. How many people does he know? That too. Not just people he has met, but people he KNOWS, and on this list it tells him where he knows them from and if they are still alive. He has every calendar that he has created since 1996, and each event on the calendar is color coded. Church events, Cheryl’s schedule, vacations, doctors appointments, etc, it’s all there. He has 20 different spreadsheets in the spreadsheet labeled “Calendar.” Every Friday night Brent and Cheryl have “date night.” If Cheryl asks, “Where did we go on this date three years ago?” Brent can tell her. He can also tell her how much the dinner costs! Date weekend? Yes, where they went and what the distance was to get there. Do you know the name every book or movie you have read or seen in the past several years? I know someone who does.
To some of you this may sound extreme, and you might think he is a control freak. Not at all! I call it being in control of your life instead of your life controlling you. I asked Brent how much time he spends working on this each day, and he said, “About an hour is all it takes.” Now, you may say, “An hour? Good GOD!” But let me ask you, how many hours each day do you spend being a zombie in front of the boob tube?
Does your wife/husband know what to do when you die? Cheryl does. Brent created a spreadsheet named, “Final.” This list tells Cheryl EVERYTHING she needs to know, from having him cremated, where to spread the ashes, who to call and their phone numbers, the finances etc. Brent even created a budget for Cheryl to follow so money would never be an issue. My opinion? This man loves his wife!
I could go on and on about all the different lists this man keeps, but I would end up with a “million word count” story, so I will stop here. I AM a control freak and surprised I have never used a spreadsheet. Brent said with the journey I am about to embark on, he is surprised I don’t have one. He gave me a quick lesson on how to start, and last night I stayed up until 11:30 making my first “list.” (That is SUPER late for me!) I now have something else to occupy my time!
(The pictures of spreadsheets I have here are not Brent’s. I would not divulge his personal information.)
This is my journey…[donation-can goal_id='keep-me-on-the-road' style_id='default' show_progress=true show_description=true show_donations=false show_title=true title='']