Well I liked eat, pray, love better, too – but dust, iron, sort, along with frame, mend, and weed badly need doing. There are various theories and strategies for housework, like the “do it every week and on the same day” principle which I mostly observe. But this last week the cleaning lady (that would be me) didn’t come. (She was blogging.)
Usually I show up weekly in that persona and do the basics. In spite of what you read about vacuuming just scattering the dust, somehow rearranging dust molecules is a necessary fundamental. It’s hard to be creative for me in a mess. That can also be an excuse to not get to the real work.
But even if I adhere to the basic schedule, the secondary tasks pile up. Oh yes, even just clean the bugs out of the corner of a couple of pictures. I’m tired of the thought pattern that occurs when I look at a long-framed picture of a belladonna lily, amaryllis like, blooming for the new year. For too long now I’ve looked at that picture, and instead of thinking about the amaryllis and how much I loved drawing it and how the real-life version might bloom soon, I think about that bug. Very dead and very irritating.
Some jobs on that list of house verbs are good for wit gathering, always a worthy endeavor. Scattered wits allow no space for important thoughts to surface. Folding laundry works – making those one-of-a-kind piles – but not putting the laundry away. Too often the t-shirt or sock drawers are overstuffed and that leads to a whole internal lecture about the necessity of making room while trying to fit the newly folded pile into the drawer.
Ironing quiets the mind for thinking, warm fabric, hiss of steam, but it is prioritized way down – tablecloths from Christmas won’t be needed for so long that they exert no pressure, allow no solace today.
In theory I could devote a day, and sometimes that seems the best thing to do for creative work, to organize the real world. Do the high dusting. Clean under the sink. Or under the stairs. Sort out the pantry. Doable and not confusing jobs. But in one day, because of a concept an old friend introduced the other night, I might not get under the sink.
My friend told how she’d cleaned out a cupboard and discovered food products of ancient lineage. I asked, being curious about people’s housework habits and since she’d started the comment by saying she was taking down the Christmas tree, how she happened to clean that cupboard, “Oh,” she said “don’t you know about One Thing Leads to Another?”
And indeed I do, but never had labeled it quite so accurately. Now I’m wondering if I can employ it to my own ends. I began to clean the fridge this morning (if you really love vegetables your fridge is always stuffed, and the only hope for a bare shelf is the day before the CSA). I’m looking for a reversal of my friend’s One Thing Leads to Another experience – in hopes a clean refrigerator leads me to bid farewell to the Christmas tree.
Ahhh, Katy, well said! And a corollary that came to me last week as I was finally sorting long-packed boxes, avoiding some writing task: I would never get anything done if I didn’t procrastinate! I do love “doable and not confusing jobs”–so helpful for getting back on a track I didn’t know I’d fallen off of. xoxo Julie