Friday, April 16, 2010
Just say whoa...
Most people say time flies when they are having fun. For me, time flies even faster when I have an unpleasant chore, maybe because I wish the time away. I simply cannot believe that it's been two weeks since my last post or that I have done one thing and one thing only in that same time. Clean. Clean and then clean some more. (Yikes, big lie there. I'll explain in my next post, hopefully sooner than two weeks from now!)
For the last five or more years, my schedule was so full that I had very little time for cleaning. On the weekends I was exhausted from doing too many things at one time. As usual, I said yes to too much and needed to learn to just say no. In between the stuff I was doing were several emotional upheavals (are there other kinds in my life??) that created their own stress and exhaustion. And at some point within the last few years, I had gradually started that winding down time of life known as menopause. While some women may have been prepared for the changes, I was not. I have always had fatigue that resulted from monthly hormonal changes, and this was as bad if not worse. Suffice it to say that if I was at home, my preference always was to rest rather than clean. If I did any cleaning, it was minimal.
Funny how things can really pile up. One day there is that day's mail on the counter, then suddenly there are weeks' worth just sitting there. Not to mention the things emptied out of my hubby's pockets each night as well as the stuff I brought in each week from the many projects I was working on. It was so much easier to move the piles upstairs to keep them out of sight. Of course, there came a point when the piles had to stay downstairs because there was no room upstairs. And laundry? Piles of dirty laundry versus piles of clean ones. Did I mention that I don't like to use the washer on a lot of items and never use the dryer on anything except linens? I have four clothes racks that are labeled by color and are constantly in use. Move the dry clothes off the rack onto the sofa and start the whole process over again.
Imagine how completely embarrassing this is for me to reveal. Now imagine how it was to actually have anyone see it. No one, and I do mean no one, was allowed to come in my house for the last five years. One friend did see it because she took me home after a surgical procedure, and at the time I could have cared less that she saw it. Later, however, I was truly mortified. My other half's family were sending him articles about how to deal with hoarding. As angry as that made me, I still did nothing about it. I knew I wasn't hoarding, and he really didn't think it was either, but he wasn't certain. The few times I did try to work on the house, I got so overwhelmed that very little was actually accomplished. There was too much to do in such a short amount of time.
Which brings me to what has kept me away for two weeks. We are refinancing since I haven't been working and contributing to household expenses. At some point, there will be an appraisal, and that is what ultimately motivated me to get to work. The first week was almost a full-time cleaning event. Almost round the clock since we thought that the appraisal was going to be "any day now." Unfortunately, I got so tired that the second week has been more part-time with rest periods in between and an early quitting time. I am happy to report that things are looking much, much better! I have managed to get all but one room in decent shape. Not completely clean, but I will go back and do more if I have time. I saved the worst room for last. Actually, I started upstairs and worked my way downstairs, so it just happened to work out that way.
Anyway, that's what I've been doing, and time has flown. I have purposely not taken time to look at anything online, knowing how I have a tendency to spend hours bouncing around in space. No reading since I usually start and finish a book in a single sitting. And definitely no tea parties! No, I forced myself to focus on the cleaning. Now I know why an annual spring cleaning is recommended. Otherwise, stuff, both necessary and not, just piles up and becomes overwhelming. And although it took a TV show ("Hoarding" on AandE, I think) and several chats, my hubby realizes that I'm really not hoarding, just holding onto and collecting things for all my artistic endeavors. I'm not sure, but I think he based his decision on the fact that in the show there were lots of dead creepy critters underneath all the "stuff" that was shoveled out. Thankfully, I didn't have to use a shovel, and I am happy to report that no critters were found during my cleanup. Well, except for the three that kept taking the trash out of the bags and playing with it, making me wonder if they shouldn't go in the bags, too!
I also thought about hiring some help at first. This crew looked interesting and did have a shovel, but I couldn't find any recommendations, so I just said...
(Image used is entitled "Mule Day Cleanup Crew" and is by PhotoAmerica at Etsy.)