back at it

Today is my first day back at work after 9 days off. It occurred to me about a month ago that if I took my last 3 vacation days the week of Thanksgiving, I’d get 9 days off in a row – something that hasn’t happened since 1992. Seemed like a no-brainer.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Wait, yes, I do. I thought it’d be a great opportunity to be productive around the house. I had a whole list of things to do. I did one of them – the frig is clean. I didn’t organize the boxes of bar books. I didn’t do ALL the laundry. I didn’t redo the Boy Child’s bedroom. I did bake a bunch of cookies, but froze none of them.

Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t terrible. I just couldn’t get motivated for those projects. It was so much easier to watch TV or take Jack for a walk. To be fair, there was a fair amount of entertaining, an auction to attend, Thanksgiving, crafting with the ladies.

You’d think being a slob all that time would perk me up. But as I come back to work, I feel something lacking. I hoped maybe for some great release, some clearing of the head. Nothing here is different. The break from the routine was nice, but now it hardly feels like any time passed.

I’m beginning to think this slogging through of things is just how it is now, and it was foolish to think 9 days at home would change anything . I yearn for the years past when I truly felt joy and happiness most of the time, and it makes me sad to even type that.

I chase it still.


Those who know me well would never say I am a tidy person, much to the consternation of The Geek, whose mother is the Queen of All Things Clean and Tidy. I can remember as a kid doing a big clean of my bedroom once or twice a year. It would stay that way maybe 2 or 3 days before chaos began creeping back in.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy things being in their place. I just didn’t – and don’t – THINK about it much. I have too many other things going on in my head, too many other FUN projects to do. Cleanliness is not at the top of the list.

Unlike my friend Jody, who has been known to vacuum in the middle of a party and whose house is ALWAYS immaculate. For her, cleaning seems to be a hobby. She is unable to just sit, always has at least 2 or 3 things going at once. I think it’s  a chemical thing.

I have long wished that I had some of that chemical for loving to clean, for keeping The Geek happy if nothing else. I still go through occasional spurts of purging and tidying, mainly to make rearranging the house easier. I get bored with the same view from the couch or the same things on the mantle.

Especially in a house as small as ours, purging is necessary. We just don’t have the physical space for stuff. While I have yet to tackle the garage, I have made progress inside recently. The Girl Child’s room is 90% redone, just needing blinds and one more piece of art – reveal to come soon. I ACTUALLY CLEANED OUT THE DESK DRAWERS, a feat for which I think some kind of award should be earned. I decrapified (soon to be trademarked) the corner by the front closet (we won’t talk about the inside of said closet). AND our bedroom has been tidy for about 2 WEEKS IN A ROW. Seriously. It’s a Christmas miracle.

Maybe it’s taken me 45 years to get to this place, but I’m starting to see the appeal of cleaning as sport/hobby. Things feel easier.  A weight has been lifted – I can open those desk drawers without a crushing sense of shame.  I can walk to my side of the bed without tripping on shoes or clothes. I can almost get to the closet but for the temporary boxes of holiday decor and Airsoft weaponry – a sassy combination to be sure.

I am starting to feel like maybe I can maintain this, like maybe it will creep over into the rest of the house – GARAGE. My kids are not getting smaller – Dean will soon be taller than me. We will need that space to live in soon or go crazy.

I like this little glimmer of how clean people live.  I’m not promising anything, but maybe it’s not too late. Maybe there’s hope for me after all.

I still refuse to vacuum during parties. Gotta draw the line somewhere.