Monthly Archives: July 2017

My Methods

am decluttering/dehoarding the house, a bit at a time. I am changing my ways, although I can’t show anyone a habit tracker with lots of little checkmarks indicating things get done day in and day out.

That said, I have learned a few things about what works for me. I realized that because I’d never really been taught how to clean a house (the housekeeper not only was abusive, but she was also lazy and inefficient) or maintain it. I can read books and lists all I want, but there is a kind of natural pattern which I found which works for me. On the good days, this is what I do:

  1. Get out of bed, turn back the covers.
  2. Go down, get coffee, while it’s heating (if it needs it) I wash or rinse whatever is in the sink or wipe down the sink counter, depending.
  3. Go to office, get email, finish coffee. [Future piece to add to this is to straighten the desk or an area in the office.]
  4. First trip to bathroom, drop denture cleaner tabs in toilet (we have a lot of iron in our water, this helps keep the iron munge down). Wipe down bath sink first time sink is used.
  5. When I return to the kitchen for the 2nd cup of coffee, put away dishes or wash/rinse more, depending again.
  6. By this time I’m usually actually awake. If I remember, this is when I’m supposed to make the bed. (Making the bed is the newest piece I’m adding to this routine; not there yet!)

What I know about myself and shows in the list is that I hate “just” cleaning something. I want to do the maintenance cleaning while I’m doing something else: getting coffee, using the sink, getting my email, whatever. Ideally, I’d never do maintenance cleaning as a “chore” by itself, but it would be done along with something else: the prep dishes washed or soaked while dinner was being made or served is another goal.

I haven’t figured out how to add floor cleaning yet. I have routines for cleaning mirrors, bathroom chrome, and many other items, but some are still in process.

Seems like a PITA? Yes, it might be to someone else, but because setting out to “clean” something as a goal for decades pushed on the PTSD, I had to find other ways to approach the issue, and this works. I can add the little bits of maintenance cleaning to the things I do every day: getting coffee, getting out of bed, using the bathroom, etc. I can’t decide I’m going to clean for an hour between 9 and 10 a.m.!

 

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Getting It Gone

Since last summer, I’ve sold our old dining room table, the bookcase which was in the hall, the oak stand which was in the entry and one of two Hoosier cabinets. Still to sell: a double dresser, a marble/wrought iron table, at least one coffee table.

I acquired on a sale rack at a home center not too long ago two jars of paint in “modern finish” (high gloss) in black and white. I also got a high gloss liquid wax which does the same thing, but it’s clear. This morning I cleaned the black strap steel shelves in the hall then lightly coated them with some of the black paint to spiff them up. I didn’t “paint’ them, I used the paint as a “buff.” Worked. It was what I had in mind when I acquired the paint. Black metal looks dingy after a while and cleaning it doesn’t get it looking as good as I’d like.  In the process, a lot of things were put in the car to go to the antique store.

Yesterday I started cleaning out the shed; we both worked on it in the evening. There’s a lot less stuff in there (much of it is in the car for the booth) and we generated 2 bags of trash. If the roof project was finished, we would have set up the bagster we got a while back. That will happen soon.

There is still the storage IN the shed: all the items on the 2 platforms (it’s like a bunk bed) and two shelf units. When we get those cleaned out/cleared/modded and then the stuff we’re keeping stored the way we have planned, the shed will be much more efficient and easier to use!

Today

They’re putting the new rafters in place. I’m cleaning out the shed.

There are a few obvious “go to the dump” pieces: a broken-down particle board bookcase I bought when I had the store. The ones which were put together were disposed of long, long ago. This pile of boards has been in the shed since something like 2001! It’s going today.

When we bought the house, the kitchen lights were fluorescents with a plastic grid hiding them. One of those grids (or more?) are in the shed too. I don’t know how long the grid has been in the shed, but we’ve had the house > 20 years now, so the thing has been in our space at least that long. It could have been an extra stored in the shed when we bought the place, or it could have been moved there when we replaced the lights. I don’t know — and I don’t care. It’s going away.

About 5 (?) years ago, at auction, we bought 2 single-pane sidelights. We have the better of the two installed in the new kitchen wall. (Partially replacing the two windows we removed from there last summer.)  I had the idea we might use the 2nd sidelight on the shed itself, but this morning DH said to get rid of it, so it’s going!

ingrid-catlin-too-much-stuff

At one point the contractor asked if we had any 8 penny nails? I didn’t know, but there was a peanut butter jar with a few huge (he said they were 10 penny nails) in it and I gave it to him. Told him NOT to return the jar or any he didn’t use. One more item gone!

I need to get back to the shed clean out so I can actually FINISH today, preferably this morning. (I’d like to go to the antique store this afternoon and maybe run a few errands too!)

Mundane, necessary, and productive: my day so far. Not too bad!

I won’t get this done this morning. For one thing, it’s noon. For another, the dump doesn’t open ’til 1:00!

Workin’ On It

Our house feels like it has been attacked by giant termites. In reality, what’s going on is that they are (finally) tearing the roof off the laundry room. Hurrah!! The old roof has to go before the new roof can be put on.

I intend to make cookies this morning. It’s a grey/gloomy day here and although there are a few drinks in the cooler outside, I think the workers would like warm cookies more!

Opened the memoir file this a.m. and got through the front matter and first 3 chapters before I quit. If I keep myself doing 3 sections at a time, eventually I’ll get through the thing. I’m sick of working on the piece!!!

The “feeling stronger” I talked about in the last post affects this. I have two or three things I’m feeling a lot these days: I want to keep feeling safe, I feel strong enough (I think) to finish things, and I’m tired of wading through my past/stuff associated with it. Time to go on!

street signs

The One-Trick Pony Lost Its Trick…

There are days when I wonder wtf I’m doing on the planet, except wasting resources?

I haven’t changed the world, I doubt that there are more than a few lives which are better for my having been here, and I wonder, seriously at times, why I’m here?

I used to feel heroic, challenged, and as if the challenge mattered. I had to feel that way or I would’ve quit. I didn’t quit and I made it through.

So what?

My last insight isn’t mind-shattering, but obvious, if you’re not me. For years decades I thought if when I beat the PTSD/pain I’d be invulnerable, super-powered!!! Then when I did get to where I could really cope, I felt like a wimp and tissue paper.

I think I finally know why: after fighting for approx. 50 years, I was emotionally exhausted. Sounds obvious, right? Much of my life I thought of myself as an “emotional heat sink.”  Throw trauma at me, I’d “hug” it and push it down into my gut. I’d get up again and keep going, over and over, like the stupid Eveready bunny.

Suddenly, I couldn’t cope — I became someone who was weepy at nearly any challenge — and I’ve been that way for years now.

So instead of ending a 50 year challenge with strength, I became a quivering nerve. I’ve just wanted to nest: stay isolated in these woods, this house, my marriage. I’ve wanted to cook and garden and read and hide from almost anyone and everything. There was a part of me, a small part —  it was the old voice — that just couldn’t understand it? I had never been like this!

I spent 5 decades fighting myself, the terror that I was a homicidal maniac, really f’n crazy, actually damned or flawed in some awful molecular way, only to win against that and see that I wasn’t crazy, or a murdering maniac, or damned — and I became a weepy raw nerve???

Talk about unexpected consequences! And no wonder I wasn’t interested in being an advocate for anyone or anything!

I have had to grant myself grace. I have to understand that yes, I’ve been exhausted, and that’s okay. I also have to let myself move on.

I’ve been afraid, as much as I let myself get involved with anything, that there was nothing else, I was a match, I’d burned myself out, and now it was my time to die. Seemed pretty stupid and it’s the damned Ibsen play I always wanted to avoid being. But. Maybe there’s more? I don’t know.

I have passed a magic marker, somewhere. I can feel strong now for short periods. I can and have been making small lines in the sand and I’m doing whatever it is. Things are getting done, finished. I don’t feel like a dandelion floating in the breeze all the time any more. The anchor maybe very thin and long, but it’s still there.

For the last 3 years or so of my therapy I’d just get overwhelmed by the idea of something and say I couldn’t cope. My therapist would reply, “You’ve weathered so much. Why wouldn’t you think you’ll be able to cope with this?”

I never had an answer: I had no strength. More, I had no belief in my strength. Maybe that is (finally) turning around?

Rather like this blog — this is NOT the topic I intended to write about!

The human brain is bizarre and wonderful.

 

Stuff Reduction

What I’ve done this morning:

  • I waxed the edges of the new desk with beeswax to help the piece run smoothly.
  • I washed down two exterior walls which because of the way the roof was originally built were really dirty. These two walls now have a concrete floor, in the patio, so there should be a lot less asst. dirt, leaves, etc. to crud them up.
  • I decided to sell my espionage paperbacks as a lot. I like them, I even every now and then look through or read a book or two, but not enough to justify the nearly 4 linear feet the collection needs. I can use the $20 more than the nearly 40 books.
  • Then I got a new container for and culled the vegetable seed collection.
  • I ate breakfast.

It’s about 11:45 a.m. and I haven’t done anything this morning at all ‘eh?

Life’s Logic Problem

Remember those? Well, we had one. DH solved it, of course.

Two cars, both needing inspection. Both had appointments today. Two drivers. Two garages in two different towns. Three vehicles.

Sounds easy, right? Except the 3rd vehicle can only be ridden by one person and the other person will not be a passenger. (It’s a motorcycle and I nearly died/was brain-damaged the last time I got on one.) So how do you leave the 2 cars for inspection at the 2 garages in the 2 towns?

I married a brilliant fellow. I know that, and here’s exactly the kind of thing which makes me say so.

  1.  Her car and his motorcycle go to nearest garage. He parks motorcycle and gets into her car.
  2. She returns home.
  3. He picks up his car.
  4. Both drivers go to farthest garage and leave her car. She gets into his car.
  5. His car returns home. She stays.
  6. He drives his car to nearest garage. Leaves car for inspection. Gets on motorcycle and returns home.

Result?

Two cars at two garages in two towns. Both drivers at home. Motorcycle at home.

Now, wasn’t that easy?

:-/