Monday, December 3, 2012

Matter of fact

Today, I present a mental exercise. I want to talk about chores. Household tasks. Things we do because someone needs to do them, and usually the someone is us.

First, think about the chores you do every day (or week) that you just. don't. like. to do.

Next, consider the duties you perform every day that you love to do, can't wait to do, wish you could do more often. Or, maybe, just don't mind doing? Heh.

Finally, think about the tasks you do every day without thinking about them at all.

Things I don't like to do
Dust. I really, really, really don't like to dust.
Clean the bathrooms. Ick.
Mop the floors. I don't mind dust mopping. I do mind damp mopping.

Things I love to do
Cook (usually).
Organize closets/the garage/the pantry - big, not-very-often stuff.
Work in the yard/garden.

Things I do without thinking
Make the bed.
Load/unload the dishwasher.
Laundry.

I have nil, none, absolutely NO illusions about moving things from the first list to the second. But I wouldn't mind moving them to the third. I'd love to go through my week just getting things done without attaching emotion to them.

Keep in mind, I'm just talking about basic everyday to-do items, not the fun stuff. My love-to-do list is long and varied, and I manage to inject a few of them into every day. My do-without-thinking list includes many items that aren't chores.

For instance, I've walked all but three days since Thanksgiving. It's getting to be a regular thing. It's not something I especially look forward to (like sitting down to knit). More like taking a shower or brushing my teeth: personal care. Something I do without arguing with myself about it.

And so the challenge is to turn cleaning toilets (which is something I do without arguing but with gritted teeth) into one of those routine, matter-of-fact, do-it-without-thinking-about-it tasks.

You know, like a grown-up. Heh.

Flylady has the right idea, but it's a little too ... not sure what descriptive term I'm looking for here, but it just wasn't a good fit for me. It seemed like she was trying to turn dust bunnies into diamonds. And really? They're just … dust.

In writing about all of this, I'm reminded of a very low point in my life, right before I turned 30 (don't trust anyone over 30, said Bob Dylan, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and the Beatles). My doctor prescribed an antidepressant, which I faithfully took every day for about six weeks. The dark thoughts went away all right, but so did the bright ones. My life was unemotional and flat, with no highs or lows. I stopped taking the medication and decided I'd find another way to deal with depression. The bright spots were worth the trouble.

What I need is a way flatten housework. I think, in the holiday spirit, I'll start by making a list and checking it twice daily.

9 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about FlyLady. And don't ever sign up for her emails, because they are the worst. All chirpy and annoying and full of exhortations about why you absolutely MUST wear tie shoes in the house and why her dusters are magical. Still, I imagine she has helped a lot of people, and the idea of routines is solid. The 15-minute timer thing helps a lot.

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    1. I signed up for her e-mails a long, long time ago, before I even started blogging, I think. Didn't take long to get off *that* list! Glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about her but, as you say, she's helped a lot of people.

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  2. I hate a lot of the same cleaning chores as you do. I would love to hit lotto to have a merry maid to do them for me. Sigh...Another for me is windows as I am so short and I have OLD windows that I need to take out and lift and it wipes me out. Ok, on my wish list would also me new windows!

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    1. I have the same "issue" with windows, being of short stature myself. My windows are sliding glass doors, though, and there are SEVEN sets of them in my house. We don't have walls, we have sliders. Needless to say they don't get done very often, except for the front one with the nose and paw prints on it. =)

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  3. House work is no fun any way you slice it, but you have made me realize that there are some chores I do without even thinking about it. Amazing that is.

    Kathy
    http//:gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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  4. I don't like housework at all. I'm a list maker and I put on the routine things that I do without thinking just so I can cross them off triumphantly - feed hens, load washing machine, tidy kitchen (that's usually washing the dishes & putting a few things away) as well as some of the things I think I ought to do. I don't mind bathrooms too much as long as I have rubber gloves. I clean our en-suite and the downstairs toilet, OH has to clean the family bathroom as that's his territory. And I never dust because I don't see the point of sending dust into the air,it's only going to settle again. Instead I use a damp cloth when needed. When I was working full-time and didn't feel like doing anything in the evenings but hated spending the weekend catching up a handy tip was to plan to spend 10-15 mins cleaning each evening. That way I got an hour's work done by the end of the week and usually more as it the getting started that was so hard.

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    1. Ruta! How nice to get a comment from you! Hope you're well. You're absolutely right - the getting started is the hardest part. As I've aged, I find a need to take a lot of breaks. Eventually it gets done, though.

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  5. I hate cleaning of most types. The only time I don't mind it too much is when things are really dirty and when you clean you can see a big difference. For that reason, I don't mind dusting too much as long as I have a dust rag that picks up the dust and doesn't make it airborne - which will kick up my allergies. But when you're done dusting you can see what you did and it feels good.

    On the other hand, I hate to vacuum. I'm not sure why. Part of it is that I've never had a really good vacuum cleaner I think.

    Also, I dislike housecleaning because I find it hard to stay focused. Where a maid could come in and clean my place in an hour or two, it takes me all day because as I clean I will run across something that will cause me to go start some other project etc. I'm easily distracted when cleaning.

    And, I don't like doing something that I know full well will need to be done again in such a short period of time.

    I don't know of anything I do automatically without thinking about it except making my bed. Everything else is done both sporadically and grudgingly - if at all!

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  6. I lived in the same town as the Flylady. Flylady was a rich lady. Her husband was a judge who just recently retired.

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