Tuesday, February 2, 2016

That’s Enough, Now

Every February, I exhale.

I made it.  January’s over, and I didn’t die, I’m still here.

Most years I don’t even realize I’m doing it, that I’m holding my breath.  I make a few jokes about how much January sucks, and paste on a smile as I crawl my way through it, fingernails clawing at the ground in front of me.

It’s post-holiday blues, definitely.  The letdown after the buildup.  It’s the weather, surely.  January in Pennsylvania is utterly repugnant.

This is my 6' son standing in waist-deep snow on our patio.
His feet aren't touching the ground here.

It’s back to school, the end of holiday eating, ramping up of schedules and appointments and back-to-lifeness of life.  Feeling run-down and overspent and sliding into a new year, full of promise and fresh starts and a huge credit card bill.  Knowing I should make better choices and grab life by the horns and NEW YEAR NEW YOU but man, it’s the middle of winter and all I want to do is hibernate.

My grandmother died last January.  Death anniversaries definitely don’t help.

This year my husband and I took a short trip to Mexico specifically to alleviate my post-holiday funk.  It was fun and a relief to get away, but five days isn’t enough of a chunk out of January to make it less of a letdown.  We came back and things were busier – lifeier – than ever and I scrambled to get myself in order.  Then I suffered a severe cold that lingered for two weeks.

And January marched on as forcefully as every other month, fiercely determined to trample me into oblivion as I grasped at anything to set myself straight.

I think what happens in January is that when the sparkle of the end of the year is removed, we see the dents and dings that make up life.  The festivities at the end of the year obscure the mundane.  We trick ourselves into thinking that life is on hold for a month or so, and when it comes back, we see the tarnished areas more clearly.

The cupboard door needs to be fixed.  Someone needs to see the doctor.  Unpleasant conversations happen.  Children’s schedules have to managed again.  Work propels us forward.  I’m not ready.

Every year I try something different to make January less of a blight on my mood.  A trip.  Making the holidays less.  Clearing the schedule of all non-essential appointments and tasks.  Working ahead to get in front of the rush of the new year.  Mentally preparing for a good month. Nothing works.

My husband would tell me that I’m doing it to myself.  That I prime myself for a terrible month by focusing on it so much.  That may be true, but it’s also true that I’ve worked hard at trying not to let January bother me so much and yet each year I welcome February like a long-lost love.

It makes me feel foolish, silly, immature.  That after this life and the wisdom I have gained, I still struggle with January.  Haven't I dealt with this enough?  Why can't I be over it already?

I wish there was an answer.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

I’d Do Almost Anything Else

As I sit here staring at a blank screen sloooooooowly filling with words, I’d like to own up to something.

My bathroom, the one I share with my husband, is filthy and needs to be cleaned.

The kids were just off school for four days due to the several feet of snow (OMG save me) we received in a massive winter storm and I asked them to clean their rooms and their own filthy shared bathroom.  Which they did.  Because my kids know that if they don’t do what I ask, things happen which make them cry fat tears of sorrow and shame.

I'm exaggerating, of course.  This doesn’t really happen that much anymore.  What I do is follow them around with bathroom cleaner and rags, scream-singing my own version of Barney’s clean-up song until they comply.

Sorrow and shame are optional and totally on them.

As a rule, cleaning bathrooms isn’t my most reviled household chore.  I hate vacuuming much worse, followed by kitchen duty and sweeping / mopping hard floors.  Bathrooms are usually small rooms, and in ten or fifteen minutes they can be refreshed.

But our bathroom is big.  Every surface needs a scrub, and to be clear, our bathroom consists of one large room and a smaller throne room that houses a toilet.  That’s two rooms, math whizzes.

Two rooms full of sinks, a shower, a large tub, and the throne room – that’s a lot of crusty bathroom area to clean up, people.  Whoever decided that the masters of the home need a huge master bathroom needs a junk punch.

But ahmagahhhhhhhhhh it needs to be disinfected like yesterday.

And I’d rather do anything but clean it.  Like the following:

1. Write a blog post about not cleaning the bathroom what is my life.

2. Watch a thirty minute YouTube video.  If you know me, you know that I have a hard rule against watching online videos if they are over one minute long and aren’t funny or cute or involve someone falling down or possibly being injured.  Here’s the one I watched.  Educate yourself.  It’s not porn, jeez.  Settle down.

3. Order new window blinds to replace the broken ones in our house, and then after placing the order realize I forgot one because everyone knows that ordering blinds is almost as mind numbing as cleaning the bathroom; you’re bound to make a mistake.  It’s actually worse, because when you receive the blinds you have to install them, and you know you’re going to do it wrong and what would be a 30-minute job for normal people will take you half the day.  You’re terrible at home improvement!

4. Doodle.  I got an A in doodling, which is the mark of a true genius in every fantasy world.

5. Apply eye makeup.  There’s an inch of crud on the bathroom counter, but at least I’m wearing mascara.  But no lipstick!  ::runs off to apply lipstick::

6. Pretend that houseplants need pruning and prune houseplants.  Prune one a little too much.  Throw out over-pruned houseplant.  Rearrange houseplants.

7. Think to myself: I would do almost anything instead of clean my bathroom.  Think of a million other things you’d rather do than clean a bathroom, because that job’s for suckers, and this blog post is terrible.  Congratulations.  You’re at the end. 

Eh, it’s not that bad. I'm pretty busy - it can go another week.


This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #3: List 7 things you would rather do than clean your bathroom.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lost: Mojo

January is almost over, and I still haven’t gotten my groove back.

There are many reasons why. 

We took a quick vacation right after the holidays, and despite my plan that the trip would recharge my will to keep living after the build up and let down of the season, it served only to throw me off. 

The kids have so much going on after school every day and on the weekends, and the cancellations / scheduling / rescheduling are unrelenting.   I’m spending half my time reshuffling the calendar and trying to work out logistics again, and the other half wondering why anyone bothers with a schedule at all.  A set routine is a pipe dream, a distant memory.

I have had a cold for almost two weeks; the amount of mucus that flows from a body is staggering.  A groove is difficult to get back when you’re sitting around with tissues stuffed into your nostrils.

Last, and highest on the list: I have loads of free time and I’m using it to procrastinate. 

The house is dirty and someone hit my car in a parking lot and I haven’t yet had it looked at and oh, hey, there’s three feet of snow on the ground.  Our garbage can is under there somewhere.  You know, tomorrow is another day.  I’ll find it then.

Priorities.  I am having trouble with them.

There are no projects on the horizon, just daily things.  Nothing pressing, nothing of high importance.  Just the normal chugging of normal life.  The 24-hour stuff.  Nothing big, nothing small.  Just – normal.

I’m letting it all slide.  Because it’s dumb stuff and nobody cares about whether or not it gets done, and life will keep chugging along even if these things are left undone.  I used to care more about these things.

Is this what people mean when they say “I’m bored” ?  Because I never thought I’d be.  I’m not one of those people who need constant entertainment.  I can spend a week inside and not feel as if I have nothing to do.  There is always something to do.  I can rip up a carpet, paint a room, purge unwanted items, clean the fridge, organize closets.  There is no way I could find nothing to do.

But all those things – eh, they can wait. 

I’ve got this big book about Paris to read.  The kids are off school today – first snow day of the year – and they keep producing laundry.  I’ll do that, and eventually I will also make dinner, return a phone call, watch more TV.

 My mojo has stalled.  I’m unfocused, lackadaisical, who cares-ish about things.  The machine is running well enough without my superpowers, which I’ve learned really aren’t so super after all.  It’s easy to lie low when you’re feeling a little blurry around the edges, a little slower than usual and everyone else around.

Eventually I’ll get back into the swing of things – I always do.  There is comfort in knowing yourself this well.  But for now, I’m just sort of – being here.  Doing laundry.  Getting over this cold.  Procrastinating.

Keeping an eye out for my mojo to return.  It's here, somewhere.