Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oh goody, I get to do the laundry list

I think I am suffering from post-vacation-dear-$DEITY-I-forgot-how-much-real-life-sucks stress disorder. Or something like that. I’m sure the professionals would have a long, vaguely-Latin-ish word for it.

For a few days, I had no children. I ate meals while they were hot. Beds magically made themselves. Some mysterious hand turned down my sheets at night and left chocolates on my pillow. I did not wash a single dish or deal with any screaming children. I lounged, people. I went to a pool and didn’t have to rescue anybody from Certain Death by Drowning. I drank too many mai tais one night and got a hangover. Which oddly, I rather enjoyed. “Oh goody, I overindulged, isn’t it grand?!”

Hmm, yeah. That’s, uh, really great. Congratulations…I guess…

And then I came home. My house is cluttered, my vehicles are filthy, Boo Bug is throwing up today and of course everybody is in trouble at school. Even Captain Adventure, who doesn’t technically go to school yet – he refused to say even one sound for the nice speech therapist yesterday.

He then promptly said all of them to me on the way home. And laughed, mightily. I swear it was like he was saying, “Hey, mom, wasn’t it hysterical, when she was all like, ‘say baa-baa’, and I was all, like, just staring at her and some junk? Baa-baa! HA! Yeah, right, like I’m going to say ‘baa-baa’ just cause she wants me to, har-dee-har-har-HAR…”

Little twerp.

You really can judge how good a vacation was by how pitiful your life seems when you get home.


Having resisted a time share opportunity and recovered from my hangover, I got home and looked around here and thought to myself, Holy crap, how did it get this bad?

I’m not just talking about the general clutter and dirt. Honestly, I’m not all that bad there. (Well, I don’t think so, anyway – I’m sure Martha Stewart would require smelling salts at the very least and possibly a lengthy stay in hospital over the state of things around here.)

It’s more that my list of Things I Will Get Around To Eventually is getting to a length that is making me think of things like… If all of these tasks were written down on postcards, and those postcards were laid end-to-end…how many times would they circumnavigate the planet?

The thing that makes this a bad, even sad, thing is that it isn’t that I’m jotting this stuff down and then cheerfully working my way through the list.

Things go ON the list.

Things never seem to come OFF it.

Instead, I sit around brooding about them. Stupid cluttered up hallway built-in and our front yard looks like a danged ghetto and would it kill us to wash the van once in a while and how come nobody ever cleans off that secretary and how the hell long has THIS been sitting here and OH FER THE LOVE OF GAWD, am I really looking at a cupboard so crammed full of crap we don’t need or use or even really want that it can’t be closed?!

I get upset, but I don’t get moving. And lately I’ve spent way more time worrying about what my husband is(n’t) doing than getting things moving.

Maybe it’s human nature, when faced with a Herculean task, to glance over your shoulder at all the people who aren’t shoveling out the Augean stables and mutter about it.

Curious thing is, all that worrying about who is(n’t) doing what doesn’t really do a danged thing for me, except make me vaguely angry all the time. And oddly, I can manage to be very much extremely upset that he is sitting on his butt on the couch watching TV instead of {insert task of choice here, there are thousands to choose from}…which resenting I am doing while sitting on my butt in my computer chair playing a video game or reading knitting blogs.

Yeah, I find that pretty amusing, too. In a darkly ironic kind of way.

Meanwhile, the yard still looks like we’ve abandoned the house (but left the water on – it’s green, but wildly overgrown) (I think it has actually been well over a month since the lawn has been mowed and/or the leaves removed…) (except that I did sweep and wash down the front porch last week – I have my principles, people, I have my principles… “Never y’all mind all the weeds along the side of the house, the leaf-covered lawn and the bird-poop encrusted driveway! Just step right on up this spic-n-span walkway and wipe your feet on my freshly washed mat!”)

WhatEVER, Tama.

I really am weird.

And Good Lord, even my digressions have digressions!

ANYWAY, what I’m trying to get at (through a most circuitous route) is that I’m sick and tired of playing this game. Sitting around building spreadsheets to track which one of us has washed more dishes or powdered more baby bottoms or taken out the trash last is making me freakin’ miserable.

The sad truth is, we’re both guilty of the sin of laziness. We’re both spending way too much time pursuing idle, brain-draining pleasures and not enough time looking after the things we claim really matter to us: Our family and our home.

And instead of getting it on, we’re using the other as a convenient excuse to not get it on. I’m sure he sits down there watching UFC and thinking to himself, I’ll bet she’s up there blogging instead of {insert task here}. Meanwhile, I’m upstairs blogging thinking, …watching UFC instead of {insert task here}, tsk tsk, am I supposed to do EVERYTHING around here?! (Do not answer that. I am warning you.)

The work really doesn’t care who does it – so long as it gets done. And if I were really honest, it isn’t that I can’t do it or am just so impossibly overwhelmed with things that I can’t chip away at it, or even that I mind doing it – it’s purely that I’m tired of being a grownup and want somebody else to do it for me, while I play some video games and take a little break.

Say, three months. Or until school is out. Yeah. Let’s go with that. A little breaky-pooh until school is out?

Which would be all well and good if it made me feel better, if it let me rebuild my mental and physical strength and then off I go.

But it doesn’t. It makes me tired, angry, depressed and otherwise fidgety. The sight of all my cluttered surfaces, bulging cupboards and nasty yard makes the skin of my brain crawl like a thousand ants were parading around inside my skull.

When my house is cluttered, so is my brain. When it’s neat and orderly, so is my thinking.

I’m going to get right on the straightening up and such.

Right after I catch up on my knitting blogs, and beat my newest video game…


Yarnhog said...

God, you always make me laugh! I know it's not funny, but it's funny. I totally hear that running dialog in my head when it comes to what my husband is/n't doing, too. "Oh, never mind putting that in the dishwasher...the dishwasher fairy will be HAPPY to do it for you...she's hasn't just spent the whole damned day washing your dirty underwear and shopping for your food and cooking your dinner..." But I have found that the more I do, the more he does. I think he feels guilty when I'm out in the yard hacking my way through the jungle and he's sitting on the sofa with a beer. Or something. Who knows? He's a man.

Science PhD Mom said...

Turn the tide one room or area at a time. Some days it's just the kitchen counter (when it is a "some day" in this house I don't know, but it hasn't happened in the past 3 months!).

Anyway, just tackle a little at a time. Even if it's just 1 surface decluttered, you will have one sanity point to gaze at and say, "Someday, the rest of my house will match that." And that's enough...at least, that's what I tell myself.

Kris said...

I feel ya.

About a month back I saw a q-tip on the floor by the bathroom door. I said to myself...it's not mine. I passed it by thinking the person who put it there should pick it up. I'm constantly picking up after everyone else...I just plain didn't want to do it anymore.

Do you know how long that q-tip stayed on the floor? 7 days. I eventually caved and tossed it on garbage day. sigh.

Anonymous said...

Thank God I'm not the only one with Lazy Martyr's Syndrome! If I had a nickel for every time I groused to myself about what the rest of my family is/n't doing, I'd have all three kids' college paid for in advance. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have that little voice in the back of my head saying "Well, you could always get off YOUR lazy arse and do something, Steph!" (I hate the little voice. It's always so dang reasonable.) Anyway, you're in good (if somewhat indolent) company, so relax...this too shall pass. Or fossilize, whichever comes first. :-)

Anonymous said...

Tam, how dare you post my thought out loud, claiming them as yours!

My guilty secret sins are supposed to stay my own! I mean come on already!

Oh well, even though I know I'm married to the (TM) "World's Greatest Husband", would it kill him to hang up some pictures for me, already and go through his mail? So what if he brought home dinner last night, since I've thrashed my ankle, and didn't feel up to doing much of anything.....is that any way to treat me?

Sigh, now if I could just conquer the endless piles of paperwork that reproduce faster than my dustbunnies, that'd be a start, and he wouldn't mind that!

Okay, I guess I'll quit grousing, and start cleaning! :-)

TMFly, yours Anon

Rena said...

You must have the end of summer, too busy to do anything with child underfoot, chaos that hits me every September. Right now I am reaching OVER a pile of books to type this while sitting next to a huge pile of papers, some of which I'm sure are important, and there's an even larger pile of dirty laundry at me feet. My yard is so full of weeds I'm sure the people across the street who are trying to sell their house are about to send me hate-mail. I say I'm not washing my car because there is a drought, but really, would I wash it if there wasn't a drought? I am slowly trying to find some sense of order again, one corner of a room at a time, but I'm sure it will take me until Christmas. Oh well...

RM Kahn said...

How hard is it to lift the lid on the laundry basket and put the Offending clothing in? I'm sure if I asked Hubby he'd have a humdinger of an answer. But I simply do not care.. put the frackn' clothes IN the basket!

I hear ya Tama! Behind me right now, as I type, in the office is the growing pile of DOOM and it is creeeping ever closer to me. If the dust vorpel bunnies don't get me, a pile of magazines may bury me soon. BUT I"M NOT CLEANING UP HIS MESS! (yet...)

Helen said...

Perhaps if I wrote the list DOWN, I'd be able to get soemthing done, just for the sheer joy of striking something off the list.
Like the clutter I've collected that can't be counted as garbage --- surely I could find a way to take it over to Goodwill or Slavation Army or... so that it's OUT OF MY HOUSE???
but nooooo. I'm waiting for something... (wonder what?)
And the rooms that are 80% de-cluttered.... why can't I just do the last bit?
I'd so much rather read my blogs, knit, watch TV, read books... yak on the phone, comment on other blogs of other people doing what I do...

Amy Lane said...

*sigh* I know it's your blog, darling, but I swear it's my life...

MadMad said...

I think Capt. Adventure should meet Boy. They have a lot in common. (May the force be with you...)