zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
[personal profile] zeborah
Every now and then I get in this thing of being all Organised and stuff. I think it's an attempt to wrest control over a chaotic world. Usually it starts with general reluctant resolutions and lasts a couple of days at best, but occasionally when my mindset's just right, cleaning the inside of the microwave gives me the most satisfyingly self-accomplished feeling ever. Like, "There's no longer any cat puke under my dining table, I'm totally awesome!" Last time this happened, it lasted a couple of weeks, I think. Not sure about this time. After the spurt of "Eek, EQC inspectors coming, must hide evidence of slobbiness!" on Wednesday morning (I'd been putting off vacuuming up all the cat hair because first the vacuum cleaner needed emptying, and it was a pain to empty because the bag has a strategic knot sewn in the middle of where you'd empty it, I don't know why. "Had", I should say, having now taken scissors to it, so I might now vacuum and empty it at actual regular intervals, who knows?) -- so, since then, just maintaining a decent house might require sufficient enthusiasm without going so far as to actually clean the stovetop and vacuum up the potting mix that got spilled on the 22nd February.

(Oh God, someone remind me, tomorrow when it's light, to scrape at the bleach I discovered that had been spilled onto a bare untreated floorboard inside a cupboard since 2:20pm on the 13th June. Turns out bleach turns wood very white and very soft, but I have yet to determine just how far through the softness goes.)

This is starting to sound like I'm not all that Organised at all, which admittedly is the ordinary state of affairs. Let me explain:
  • I'm now making all my own bread in my breadmaker. This was originally so I wouldn't have to haul bread from far-off supermarkets or risk running out between shopping trips, but now it makes me feel so clever I'm likely to keep doing it even though the supermarket's back here. Ten minutes each loaf to measure ingredients and wash the breadpan before reusing it (while I wash, the yeast/liquid mixture sits in warm water to start rising) and then I go to bed while it bakes. It beeps in the night which wakes me, but I'm kind of used to being woken in the night now so who cares. Then in the morning I get up and I'm already an accomplished baker! Possibly it's more nutritious, tasty, and cheap too, I dunno, the important thing is it makes me feel like a genius.
  • The other cool thing to do in the morning is to dump the laundry in the washing machine on the way to the shower. The way my shower works, this is not a recipe for pain. Instead I shower, get ready for work, cut myself some fresh bread for breakfast nibbles and lunch sandwiches, drape the now-clean clothes over an A-frame in the bay window, and go to work knowing that by the time I get home again they'll be dry.
  • One morning I also did several days of accumulated dishes before even checking my email. And I didn't even miss my bus!
  • Another day I did some weeding! Of course that was while I had a cold, but I stopped when I realised that the effort was making me nauseous. Whoops.
  • Did I mention cleaning all the things on Wednesday morning? It's now Friday evening and they're still all clean! I walk into a room and there's floor! The clean parts of the bench are expanding! I even got carried away and wiped an edge of the dirty stovetop!
  • My old M.O. when I discovered a pair of tights has got a hole in the toe was to put it aside for mending. My new M.O. is to put it on and darn it while reading my email. (The way I do this it's perfectly safe as long as Boots doesn't try to help.)
  • I eat food most nights. I'm trying to get in the habit of buying meat on the way home and not freezing it. Occasionally I have nights where I'm like: "I have stale bread, cabbage, red peppers, cheese, cooked chicken, and milk - what happens if I throw it all in a casserole dish?" But since what happens isn't all that bad this works out quite well.
  • I changed a lightbulb that's been gone for a couple of months.
  • I'm working steadily through my pile of Highly Overdue paperwork. I started with the unthreatening "Return to sender" letter, now finally posted. There remains an insurance bill (I try to have everything on automatic direct debit, or at least automatic credit and then my credit bill is paid in full on automatic direct debit, but the history behind this one is complicated; fortunately this insurance only comes into effect if I die so I'm not actually all that fussed, which may be why it's maybe a year or two overdue) and taxes (only half a month overdue so far, and I think I get an extension) and submitting my earthquake bills and content claims (except my laptop's DVD drive is miraculously working again) and... oh yeah, some earthquake people wants my up-to-date contact details. Also, as of today the government wants to know how I think they're doing with earthquake stuff. Do you think they'll care if I tell them that I think since they're spending 500 million on supporting insurance companies, maybe they could spend 500 thousand on Women's Refuge?
  • (Oh btw, the home and contents insurance have paid out for all the burglary repairs beyond my excess, which was nice of them considering that the lovely door repair guy - friend of a friend - has a unique style of invoicing which consists of scribbling his ridiculously low labour charges on the bottom of the receipt from the hardware store for whatever he didn't scrounge from his garage. Don't get me wrong, the insurance company totally phoned to Ask Questions about this, but then they paid it.)
  • Generally being awesome at work and reading lots of books and working on Distributed Proofreaders (whose forums took it remarkably well when I suggested we could maybe try finding more non- white-and-male authors to work on) and... not actually doing a lot of writing, but a bit, and a bit of critiquing.
I do fear that I'm already neglecting a choir commitment I made; Saturday's to-do list (Sunday being reserved for the ordinary rush of church, and critique group, and potluck dinner at friends' house) includes weatherproofing the boards they put up in place of my chimney but didn't weatherproof because they didn't realise things would drag on this long (wtf? *I* could have told them things would drag on this long, and wouldn't be surprised if those boards wait another year before a permanent fix. Also it could have poured with rain any time in March), and getting new lightbulbs which have been waiting to be changed for a year or two, and booking in for that massage I've got a coupon for, and insurance and taxes and baking a dessert for potluck dinner, and printing out the choir music and phoning up the nice person who said she would help tutor groups of us, hoping desperately that she didn't start doing that like two weeks ago.

Oh yes, and the bleach thing.

Also there's that list of things that I'm totally going to get around to any day now, including cleaning the shower properly, and mopping the floor properly (including the pantry floor, after relocating the civilisation that's developed there in the meantime), and deciding whether or not my ill-fated potted mandarin has enough life force remaining or should just be put out of its misery, and finish weeding the 'rosary', and writing all the books.

So, all the stuff to do still feels quite overwhelming, but I think I'm in a space where I can actually chip away at them, and hopefully I can get through most of the really important ones at least before the inevitable burnout hits.

Date: 2011-07-22 12:20 pm (UTC)
heleninwales: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heleninwales
I wish it were easier to establish good habits, though you seem to be making good progress on that department. When I emerged from dissertation hell I was rather overwhelmed by the state of the house, but finally the urge to get it all under control has reemerged. In the past, this is the point where I would have hurled myself into a cleaning frenzy -- and then I'd burn out after a couple of days and soon everything would be nearly as bad as ever. This time I'm attempting the little bit at a time approach and it seems to be working.
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