Friday, June 14, 2013

Making the bed while you're lying in it.

Mix Sweet Shop
12 oz Americano
(surreptitious oatmeal cookie from my purse)

This is supposed to be a short, quick blog since it's late (and Friday!) and I've got to get home before too long.  It will probably go long anyway.  I'm trying to do this a day early this week so that I can stay home tomorrow and try to "deal" with the chaos there.  Why?  In short, I flooded the front room.  Just a bit.

Last week was hot as all heckers, so I maneuvered out the portable a/c unit, stuck the exhaust vent in the window, and stressed over how to keep the door to the room open to get that cool air while keeping boys out of it.  The front room, you see, is the "closet" room.  We moved the beds to the back room and turned the front room into the dumping ground for everything else we didn't want the boys getting in to.  Of course, that meant it became the life-sized junk drawer for everything I wanted to be dealing with but somehow could never get to.  Boxes of mail that just need to be sorted into "shred" piles and "file" piles... stretching back for years now as time pushes on past my intentions, still stuck in the mire. 

I hate that room.  As my thighs are the physical representation of my mistreatment of my health, this room is the physical representation of me not getting my shit together.  The contents of that room loom over me.  Well... "loomed" would be more correct.  By the time I finally entered, noticed the funky smell, and approached the corner of the room with the a/c unit (to finally put the laundry away from several days previous), my foot squelched on a patch of carpet several feet away from the unit.  Crap.  Apparently, in the disorder of the room, the little black stopper that keeps the excess condensation from dripping out the back was dislodged, lost.  It also doesn't help that we haven't cleaned the vent part in, oh, I don't know if we've ever cleaned it in the three years we've had it, leading to an inordinate amount of drippage.

So, despite the impressive absorbancy of several Sham-Wows, we destroyed the chip-board flooring beneath the carpet.  Our friendly neighborhood handy man was literally shoveling it out yesterday morning.  It has since been replaced with new plywood, new padding, and the now dry old carpet has been stretched back into place.  However, it's Friday and we won't be able to get it cleaned until some time next week.

It may have occurred to you that this room sounds like it must be empty now to have done all this work.  It is.  And where has the contents of the junk drawer gone?  Mostly to the kitchen.  Three of the four bookcases and all of the books, and some other goodies.  The boxes of paperwork ended up in the playpen (the toys are under the table) covered by a blanket - partly, to not engender the curiosity of the boys, and partly so I don't have to look at the damn mess.

My typical reaction to all this disorder is to get over-stressed, over-whelmed, and shut down.  I'm trying to be optimistic and look at it as an opportunity to start fresh.  I am mistrustful of my optimism, though.  I do this every time I move, at the start of every school year.  I'm going to be organized, I'm going to keep a routine - I'm going to "get my shit together."  I swear I'm still carting stuff around from two decades ago, just waiting for me to go through it and toss it out.  And this disorder has cost me more than just mental health and storage space - it has cost me real tangible dollars.  Like however much it's going to cost for all this floor repair, because I was too overwhelmed to even enter the room and notice the water beneath my feet... because there was too much disorder to keep the stopper safely in place, or because I am too disordered to keep up with the regular cleaning and maintenance of my home...  I know that might sound a little harsh or excessive.  Let's just say it's representative of some of the other consequences I'd rather not catalog.

The amount of work that needs to be done to fix all this could be achieved in a day...  if I had no babies underfoot and a team from HGTV with a budget to redesign and update for all my storage needs.  As it is, with pittance pay, two toddlers, fibromyalgia, no sleep, and the Daily Show to watch every night... let's just say it's like trying to pay off a credit card making only the minimum payments.  If that.  Maybe the destroyed floor is the analog for your credit finally crashing and having your account sent to a collections agency.

However difficult it is to cope with the reality of having no access to even the microwave and babies (and husband) underfoot, I cannot shut down.  There is no ideal way to deal with this situation so I just have to deal with it as it is.  It will take longer, for sure.  It will not go as planned.  There's a good chance it will not have a great result.  The trick - I have been told - is accepting all that.  As is, however it is.  This is going to be like trying to make the bed while you're lying on top of it.  Or, as one of my favorite memes put it... "Trying to clean with children in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos."

But that's life, isn't it?  We seldom get the chance to step back and reexamine our lives, and we never get to step out of them altogether to fix them.  You are living your life as you try to make it the life you want to live.  You may have a long-term goal but every step you take towards it is also a part of it.

So be it.

1 comment:

  1. Damn. That really, really sucks. I hate to ever try to commiserate with and relate to parents because I don't have kids and no matter how difficult anything in my life ever is, it is only a fraction of what it must be like for people with kids - that being said, I feel you. I don't have a special room for everything, and mostly it's Evan's stuff, but it's everywhere. He gets mail and leaves it unopened (or opened) in piles all over the place. On bookcases, on the kitchen table, on the counters. We finally moved all of his boxes from behind the couch into storage, but he has no walkway to his side of the bed as his closet is so stuffed (and his dresser broke), that a lot of his things (read: piles and piles of clothing) are all over the floor.

    Between his mail and mine I have about five Trader Joe's tote bags full of paper waiting to be filed and shredded. My shredder broke and who knows when we'll buy a new one. ;-)

    Anyways, I guess my point is that it's one thing when you have your own mess (and nobody else to deal with) but when you suddenly become responsible for (or just burdened by) someone else's mess it becomes a whole new story. I try not to nag, and he's pretty good about making some changes when I reason with him, but I am not one who can handle a lot of clutter. I get claustrophobic. The love of my life; however, feels differently - he seems to be comforted by it, like a vast womb of randomly collected objects.

    The trick is to not only accept it, but not give up on it. It's a fine balance and it sounds like your clutter is overwhelmingly greater than most. Just whittle away at it a little at a time. While the kids are sleeping, get the hubby to help, take baby steps. It may take a long time, but the time is going to go by anyways and all forward motion counts.