Monday, April 04, 2005

Organizational Bulimia

I have decided that I am the organizational equivalent to a bulimic.

First, I gorge. This is the cycle where stuff piles up. The closets begin to overflow. The ‘junk drawer’ becomes the ‘junk desk’ and eventually the ‘junk desk, cupboards, built-ins, closets and Every Flat Surface In The House’. The laundry is piled up all over the house. The ironing hasn’t been done in three weeks and the husband is wearing “KISS ME – I’M IRISH!” shirts to work (which is silly, because he isn’t even one little drop Irish). The kids haven’t had a bath in a week because there is no soap and no clean towels; and besides, the tub is so dirty that it is arguable whether their bath is cleaning them, or the tub.

Then suddenly, with little or no warning, I purge. In a week (or two) long frenzy, I work ten, twelve, fifteen hours a day or more. Cleaning. Organizing. Tossing trash, filing paperwork, donating worn out clothing. The house is sparkling from roof to garage. The roses get pruned, the lawns get mowed, the children are suddenly dressed before breakfast, from their brushed hair to their neatly cleaned shoes. Bag after bag of outgrown clothing has gone to Goodwill, a hundred bucks worth of books has been sold on and suddenly I can find all my knitting supplies the instant I need them.

It is very, very good. And it stays that way for a month or two, or even three.

Then, one non-recycled newspaper or spot on the bathroom mirror at a time…it begins to grow.

And it grows, and it grows. Knitting needles get left on top of the shelves instead of getting put away in their holders. Balls of yarn get tossed into a pile that quickly begins sliding onto the closet floor. Craft supplies get shoved into drawers until they won’t close anymore, and then are simply dumped onto the floor in front of the chest on the theory that I’ll put them away ‘in a minute’.

First I dismiss: When I get a second, I’ll deal with that.

Then I deny: It’s no big deal, it’ll take me, like, five seconds to snap that room back together.

Then I defend: It isn’t like I’m not doing anything here. I’ve got four little kids to keep amused all day, every day. That’s a lot of supervising. That’s a lot of work, right there. I’ll take out the trash when I get a damned minute – right after I finish reading this article about General Motors’ loss of market share and research the bond market a little bit…

Then, I get mad: Why the HELL is this MY job? Would it kill people to pick up a dish once in a while? And why is it that I’m the only one capable of hauling a trash bag out to the trash can? And while we’re at it, how come I’ve got to clean the damned bathrooms all the time and iron HIS shirts? His legs ain’t broke and I know he’s not stupid, so how come he can’t do his own damned laundry and his own damned shirts and maybe JUST ONCE take out the damned trash?!?!

Then, I sulk for a while: I’m not doing it. Not. Doing. It. I’m not picking up even one (1) more thing in this house. Hell with it. I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me. I’m sick of it. Besides, there’s a new article at…

But then, one morning, it happens. After a week (or two) of having to walk through the house as though it were a minefield, stepping over toys and boxes and whatnot, a bit will suddenly flip. I will literally wake up one morning full of vinegar, jump out of bed and start scrubbing. One room at a time, one task at a time, doggedly, grimly determined, ignoring all else and letting my children watch TV or play video games literally all day for a week – I clean.

And then I vow, solemnly, that I will never let it get that way again. I will never set trash down on the kitchen counter when the trash can is right there, under the sink. I will never decide to give Laundry Day a miss, even if it does happen to fall on a perfect ‘let’s go for a drive’ kind of day. I will do the ironing every Tuesday, so that it only takes about twenty minutes instead of becoming a two hour ordeal. I will not allow my discarded newspapers to pile up in my knitting basket, or permit coffee to pool up on the counter behind the coffee maker. Ever again.

And I won’t.

For a month or two, or three.

But then, one crumpled up envelope of Equal left on the kitchen counter at a time, it begins again.

I’m on the beginning of the downward spiral right immediately now, as I write. And I swear, I am not going to let it get out of hand. I’m going to get all these books that have mysteriously entered the house via some mystic portal (a.k.a., UPS deliveries from Barnes & Noble) out of here, and I’m going to file all those bills and shred all those unsolicited offers of credit and I’m going to clean the coffee off the kitchen counter and put away the laundry and go through the toys currently carpeting the floor upstairs from the bedrooms down the hallway.

But first…I understand there may be some upheaval in the bond market right now due to the high price of oil and the rising interest rates. And the bond market, as we all know, waits for no one – not even a Domestic Goddess who has dust bunnies the size of goats under the bed.


21st Century Mom said...

What's worse is when I clean it up and then I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING!! I just cleaned up my desk and lost my MS Office CDS. Dang - if only they were in that pile just to the left of my monitor......

Very Herodotus said...

Hey, as long as your checkbook doesn't suffer this same fate, I think you're looking pretty strong!