Some nights when I can't sleep, it's because of the Slideshow of Terrible Ways to Die. Other nights, it's Horrifying Screenplays of Fires/Intruders. Tonight, it's the Parade of Awkwardness.
I knew I was in serious trouble when my brain wanted to remind me of a houseguest experience where I was basically a fish flopping around on the tiles. I felt incompetent and bumbling next to my smooth and gracious hostess, and so didn't offer to help when I should have---and when I did offer, I didn't know what I was doing and messed things up. I misunderstood a question, and so seemed to be demanding to be served a drink. I'd gained weight recently and all my clothes were too tight for me, so I wouldn't take off my cardigan even though it was in the high seventies. I tried to act all free-spirited and confident, and in doing so broke their pretty rope swing. She offered me a choice of an item from her collection, and I was so nervous I'd accidentally choose her favorite, I chose nothing---as if I were rejecting the gift.
This was more than ten years ago, but I have every moment carefully preserved so I can examine it in perfect detail. I do museum-quality work.
I SHOULD be sleeping beautifully, I worked so hard today on the playroom today. So many toys have so many pieces, and the pieces get everywhere so it was like an Easter egg hunt. I rooted around under bureaus, beds, chairs, the couch, the DVD shelves, the crib---and I found almost all the pieces to everything. I'm still missing a few puzzle pieces, but I need to deep-breathe and let it go or else I'm going to start ripping open couch cushions saying, "It has! to be here! somewhere!"
And I could almost cry, the way things were already getting messy again within an hour. One reason I don't try to be a better housekeeper is that being a better housekeeper makes me a worse person: I'm on edge all the time, angry at my family for messing things up, finding someone to blame for whatever's not perfect, finding fault with our whole house and everything in it, seeing every place where the hardwood is unevenly shiny. When I let things get messier, I calm down; when I make things tidier, I start snapping at people and not letting the kids play with their toys because I'm NOT looking for all those pieces AGAIN.
But of course, below a certain point, which is where we finally were, the kids can't play with their toys because nothing has its pieces anywhere near it anymore. It's a fine line, and right now I'm on BOTH wrong sides of it: parts of the house are too clean and organized, and parts of the house are too messy.
I'm trying not to let my "There's too much to do, so I won't do anything" impulse take over. I'm trying to keep chipping away at it, believing that each Skittle found under the recliner and thrown in the trash makes a tiny but cumulative difference in the overall household cleanliness. It's like putting away a basket of tiny white laundry: it seems like you take out a hundred pairs of socks and there are still more socks, but eventually if you keep at it, the basket really does get empty.
Well, and then it starts filling up again, moments later.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...