Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Swamped - the long-winded version

You'd think I'd learn one of these days. Just because I have an extra day in my week now shouldn't mean that its a good idea to add three extra days of work to my week.

Right now my house looks uninhabitable. Really. There's dirty dishes climbing out of the sink, clean dishes stacked in the dish drainer up to the bottom of the cupboard, every possible bit of counter space is covered with something. The living room, well we don't have a living room right now... basically its just a bunch of trails from here to there and from that spot to the other. There's a bookshelf in the kitchen, crib parts and dresser drawers in the dining room and living room, boxes and baskets and buckets of clothes, toys and books all over the living room, bags of non-perishable groceries still unpacked in the kitchen, bibs and sippy cups still on the table from dinner, dirt you can SEE on the floor in the kitchen, and that's just the beginning.

Sometimes I wonder how I let things get away from me like this, and then I try to figure out how I could possibly still be unpacking from our trip, rearrange two rooms of the house completely, go grocery shopping, still make three meals a day, dress, feed, and put the kids down for naps, change diapers and NOT have a disaster of a house. The answer is, I can't.

See, before we went on our trip to California (which I'm in the middle of posting about), Sir and I decided that it would probably be easier to keep the house uncluttered if all the kids were in one room and all the toys were in another. The extra bonus would be that we wouldn't have to listen to the static-y, non-digital baby monitor every night. Then we went away for eleven days. When we got home, I started on the unpacking, but there's still a few things here and there that haven't made it all the way back to their original places. Then there was the normal weekly things like cleaning the meeting room, laundry, grocery shopping to be done, but all with the handicap of still 2 feet of snow everywhere and slush, and hard-to-drive-in alleyways, that made the week interesting.

And then, I gave up the meeting room cleaning that I've been doing on an off for the last three years. For good. That meant I would have one more day to spread my normal weekly routines into, but it also meant that I started thinking, "Hey, I don't have to clean the meeting room, so why not rearrange the house?!" So right after breakfast Saturday morning, that's what I started doing.

Rearranging furniture is a family trait that I strongly inherited from my mother. I also have a wonderful tendency to do 'extra' stuff "because I'm in the area and it will 'save time and energy' to do it now". So, Saturday I got the 9 drawer dresser out of the kid's room and left it drawer-less in the kitchen while the drawers were stacked in piles in the living room. Then I vacuumed, AND cleaned the carpet (because there were spots on it that would be harder to reach once I'd put furniture back into the room) before setting up a playpen in the kid's room for Emma. I also made a fancier than usual dinner that day, and there was Sunday preparations to be done, so I didn't get back to the next step of the switch that day.

Sunday we were gone all day, and Monday morning I squeezed in a shower so my project waited until after lunch. While the kids napped, I took the crib in the nursery apart, hauled furniture out of the nursery, designed Dolly's birthday invitations, finally got to my weekly menu planning, and once the kids were up, I set the crib up again in the kid's bedroom, vacuumed the nursery, moved the bookshelf in the kids' room to the kitchen, the dresser that was in the nursery to the kid's room, got dinner for the kids and had Sir to help me move the 9-drawer dresser that was in the kitchen into the former nursery before we headed off for a bible reading with Chasm and HisLady.

Today we took Sir to work so I could have the car to do the badly-needed grocery shopping trip, and when we got home it was already 2pm. So, we had a late lunch and the kids went down for late naps. By this time I was starting to get really tired, so I emptied a few of the drawers in the living room, put them into the dresser in the nursery (now being called the playroom) and put a few buckets of toys away. Then I was lazy and read a book. I should have been writing e-mails that are overdue, or getting back to blogging about our California trip, or attacking the kitchen that was getting out of hand since Saturday night's dinner. It's not like I wasn't doing anything there, just that I wasn't getting enough done between meals to make the kitchen look more usable. I can only imagine what it would be like tonight if I hadn't run the dishwasher and washed a rack or dishes a couple of times in the last few days.

So, now I think I'm going to go to bed. When I get really tired (like a few days worth stacked up), I start to slow down way too much. Leaving everything one more night is really going to help me work more efficiently tomorrow. Right now it'll take me an hour to make the kitchen look halfway presentable and I won't have even gotten close to the e-mails, or blogging. Or cleaning the birdroom wall so I can move the bookshelf that's currently into the kitchen downstairs so I can move all the books out of the living room, or organizing the kids' clothes in their new dressers so I can put the last of last week's clean, folded laundry away. And tomorrow is Wednesday - laundry day - so, by the end of it, I'll just have another living room full of clean laundry that will need to be folded.

At least the kids' bedroom, and the playroom look pretty good so far. The major switch is done, but everything else is still reeling from it. Thankfully, tomorrow is another day. And with all of that out of my head, I should be able to start unwinding - Good night!


  1. I do the same thing as you. I find it's impossible to do just one job at a time. I do a lot of little jobs mixed in with fourths of bigger jobs all day long. I've been like this since I was little. I think I have finally learned that it doesn't work. Stick to ONE job and leave the rest for next time. (I still don't do this, even though I know I've learned it works better for me.) Although something like cleaning the carpets while the furniture is gone makes sense, doing all those other things really doesn't. And GET TAKEOUT. Or serve grilled cheese and tomato soup for supper on days like that! Why add to the mountain of work?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I love sorting and organizing and I wish I was there to help!

  2. Had to laugh in commiseration (is that a word?) at your busyness. I don't really enjoy having a ton of things pile up, and I get very disorganized and out of sorts. I agree with Coralee about simplifying when you're undergoing overhauls, doing projects, or rearranging things. Serve the simplest easiest food possible on paper plates, eliminate anything unnecessary, and prioritize. And I do the same thing when there's just too much to do...I retreat and read a book or do something non-productive. Sometimes you have to, to avoid complete burnout.

  3. I don't see how you can manage withouot getting cabin fever. At least, when my children were small they all chose to play out of doors. But then, in Hawaii, that is what one does. They even liked to play out in the rain. When we moved to Washington, D.C. my youngest couldn't understand why I wouldn't allow her to play outside barefoot in the snow. That old adage "a place for everything and everything in its place" just doesn't hold true when you have active little people underfoot. I marvel at the parents of the sextuplets who have cubby holes for each child. Of course they also have "help" come in and play.

  4. I think I would love to see some pics for this post ;)

  5. I read recently that you should not get anything out that you cannot put away within an hour. It could be a project or cleaning a room. That being said the person who said this was obviously not a mom and not used to multitasking - the only way to survive with kids in the house.

  6. It was good to see you last weekend, I wished we got to spend more time up there. I just came across your post today and loved reading it as it sounded soo familiar. I love those reorganizing projects, and figuring it all out in my mind how to make a room look different,etc. and then when finished the clean feeling of knowing where everything is and exactly whats there as I usually end up getting rid of some unnecessary clutter in the process. You so graphically captured with words the craziness that is there when you try and do it with little ones and everything else that comes with having a family and friends. May you get the time to finish it soon! :0D