Indecision time: we're Wurthin' it

Indecision time: we're Wurthin' it

We have an indecision problem in our family.

At least I think we do. I could be wrong. What do you think?

This malady afflicts us to varying degrees. I fall somewhere short of midrange on the decisiveness-o-meter — not as bad as some but worse than others.

It has inspired a new verb this year, courtesy of an in-law who had no idea what he was getting into when he married into the family. In typical Wurth fashion, no one can decide who actually came up with it, but we’re blaming/crediting him.

Yes, we are “Wurthin’ it.”

Definition: to put off making a decision (or plans) due to a desire to weigh every possible option — and make sure everybody is happy. We have been accused of excessive politeness.

Use in a sentence: “Why aren’t they here yet?” “Oh, they were still Wurthin’ it about how many cars to bring.”

This tends to flare up when we get together in St. Louis during the summer or around the holidays and we’re trying to coordinate plans with 27 people. Should we take the kids to the zoo? Go to our favorite ice cream parlor (Crown Candy, of course)? Get Italian food on The Hill? (Lots of our indecisions revolve around food.)

Usually we settle on a plan — while the kids are standing around waiting in their parkas for The Decision — and then someone will say, “Or we could ... (fill in the blank).” Groans all around.

Wurthin’ it.

We saw it again over Thanksgiving as we started to clear out my mom’s house, which has been sold. In many families, this process can generate lots of resentment — if a treasured antique or memento is snatched up before others have a chance for input, for example.

We had sort of the opposite situation. Everyone kept waiting for everyone else to make the first move.

Last summer, when we were all in town for a wedding, my brother hauled out my dad’s mementos from Brazil, where he was stationed at an Army supply base during World War II. Some of it I’d seen before, some I hadn’t — letters from his sisters, a wallet with his old Army ID, some brass souvenirs and cleverly carved wooden boxes. We all marveled over them — and managed to parcel out a few of the 50-some items laid out on the pingpong table.

But nobody wanted to be a hog. So at the end of our visit, we packed it all up again — only to bring it all back out at Thanksgiving.

Wurthin’ it.

In our defense, we hadn’t really expected the house to sell so quickly. And none of us was happy about disassembling a lifetime of memories.

But eventually we had no choice, as we faced a deadline (my usual motivation). The closing is next week.

So we started making suggestions — for each other. My sister-in-law talked me into taking some great furniture that I hadn’t really considered. I thought my brother should take the grandmother clock. We agreed my niece should get my mom’s dishes, which matched her own. And so on.

This was the usual conversation:

“Oh, I remember this ice cream scoop/rocker/table, but does anybody else want it?”

“I love that, too, I’m so glad you’re taking it.”

“Wait, I’m sorry, did you want it?”

“No, you take it.”

Wurthin’ it.

Eventually, after lots of exhausting decision-making, and more than a few sentimental tears, we managed to sort through everything. The house is nearly empty.

Of course, there’s an entire room’s worth of keepsakes and old letters (we dubbed it the “Memento Room”) that we didn’t have time to go through and divvy up. We’ll have to do that later, when we all get together again.

It wouldn’t be a family occasion without some Wurthin’ it.


Julie Wurth blogs about kids and families and covers the University of Illinois for The News-Gazette. Leave a comment below, or contact her at 217-351-5226, or

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nojunkstuff wrote on December 09, 2014 at 10:12 pm

You must either be related to my family or be from Minnesota- or both!  Our family is so like this and others call this "Minnesota Nice"- sometimes tongue-in-cheek, because it can be rather annoying to outsiders.

Julie Wurth wrote on December 10, 2014 at 10:12 am
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We're not from Minnesota, but you never know! Yes, I'm sure we are annoying. Especially on vacations - lots of decisions involved. :)