Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Notes from the Frontlines . . .

Lest I forget . . the x-rays were delivered to the classroom and the kids were super thrilled and actually had some amazing observations/questions. And they all talk about Blue like she is still alive, and so in a way she is. I still miss her very much. Her death probably signaled the beginning of the funk and this resulting disaster of a house.

Despite my husband's best efforts to sabotage the endeavor, by opening the junk closet and emptying it all out to find a singular Def Leopard CD that could have been download via itunes SO much easier, there is some progress being made in land of tough decisions.

My dear friend Kate offered some good advice. Considering my hectic life and limited attention span a whole room is an awfully big bite to chew. Indeed this disaster had me spinning my wheels demolition derby style. So she suggested one specific spot at a time.
First up was the dreaded file cabinet. It went better/faster than expected. The pre-school work was also amazingly easy to toss, it just looked so infantile compared to what is hanging on the wall now that all the proud mommy factor had faded away. I kept the important stuff. According the comparative thickness of tax years 2005 was a big deal in this family. I also kept the health department record of the infamous cat bite from Ninny, lest we forget that madness. Nevertheless enough stuff was weeded out that I am not sure in fact why we have such a large filing cabinet. But it is large and very heavy, so Robert will have to be consulted on that change.

I have also come to the painful conclusion that there are some de-cluttering techniques that elude me. The OHIO rule for example (Only Handle It Once) I understand the concept, but I thin that assumes that once you decide to keep it there is some system in place to properly house it. I am only now creating said systems, so I have my grimy fingers all over stuff.

I have cleaned out 2 shelves from the bookcase to start to house the massive photo collection. One is full of completed photo albums, the other of boxes of photo madness. Baby steps, at least said boxes are no longer in the living room.

I told Robert that this room would be done by his return next Friday. I am already starting to panic about that deadline. His pile of junk to sort is growing though, this is not my mess alone. Let's not get me started about keeping every single set of Marine BDUs he owned. And who knew you could get so many trophies for playing basketball. Guess I really did suck. But hopefully I can get a little time this weekend to make a big push. When I take out the trash and recycling bags and the "outta here" boxes I think I will see a bigger difference.

Also in this collection of random musings it should be noted I sold 6 more books. I have also got the boxes to gather up photos/items that belong to David and Uncle Mack and they should be in the mail next week as well. This whole "spring forward" debacle is rocking my world and so I am to bed early tonight in prep for the always lovely Wednesday sensory OT. Bluck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And suddenly it all becomes so crystal clear . .

It took a few days of real effort to dispose of the top layer of this heaping mess that would be an office/spare bedroom. It was mostly just toys and clothes and artwork and the left over parts of bills after they have been paid, and a receipt or two, some homework notes, and correspondence. For the most part easy enough to find a home or chunk in the garbage.
But with the crust pulled back, its now becoming obvious as to why the clutter is here in the first place. I have renamed this room "the land of tough decisions." And for those you that know me well, the tough calls are not my favorite to make. But all those years of riding the fence waiting for the obvious answer seems to have caused my knee deep clutter. There are boxes of military mementos, a trunk that is doubling as a class of 1995 time capsule, textbooks from Tech and ODU, a collection of quilts, a fair number of unfinished art projects along with all the materials to finish them, 4 generations of pictures, Robert's upper deck figurines, my Audrey barbies, and much much more. Decidingly less cut and dry than the number of wash clothes I need on my bathroom shelf.
I am trudging through, getting rid of anything that I forgot I had, and some other things that no longer apply. The Robert needs to decide pile is growing, almost as fast as the maybe pile. Though I do have a tiny success story to report:
As you should well know by now I work at Head Start. One of our missions/goals/objectives is to provide as many hands-on/real world opportunities as possible. So this week while in one of the teacher's room I became part of a class room discussion about the upcoming field trip to the vet, and x-rays. In my room of clutter I just happen to have a collection of dog x-rays. (they are all I have left of my beloved Blue, and therefore over a year later still emotionally charged) So next week the x-rays are going into the classroom, hopefully to be used for years to come. I don't think I would ever had been able to simply throw them away, so this is really an ideal situation.
There are still miles to go before anybody sleeps in here, at least anybody of the two legged variety, but I think we may be down to shin deep disaster, at least until we open the closet!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weekly progress report . . . .

The beast (of a room) is being, well in all honesty, a beast. Two 20 gallon tubs of clutter out, as well as 2 trash bags of garbage and another of recycling, and it actually looks worse in here. It is most definitely more difficult to get around. Only the elusive cat is happy in this situation.
On the bright side I did find 2 photo albums I didn't remember having, and enough unopened wrapping paper that I will be good until Christmas 2020. I also posted more books online at half.com bringing my virtual inventory to 56, add the 4 that I have sold, and that is 60 books off my collapsing shelves. The bad news is I opened the closet and then just shut it back. It is crammed to the top (must remember to take pictures). Some is mine but most is Robert's from either his glory days of basketball, or in the Marines.
Not being in college for a semester (yea) I had forgotten that it is spring break season. So that would pretty effectively mark when we got the 3 month notification. And though the rest of the house was in decidedly better order, this room was already jacked. I have this vivid memory of mom trying very hard to not cry and dictate these diagnosis "facts" and then just stopping to declare "we have to do something about this room."
A year later I am. A year later, with a lot more stuff. But even as I type this the WALT man is downstairs tinkling the ivories of the family piano, and the circle continues. If I am lucky then there will be spring that one of my grandchildren must purge to make room for that piano.

On a lighter note, Mr. Clean bathroom cleaner with Febreeze smells REALLY REALLY good, it is not however an ideal floor cleaner. I thought perhaps with several misadventures this week with the incontinent cat, that it would do the trick. The floor does indeed look and smell better, but it has the grasping abilities of a Venus fly trap. WALT lost a sock on the way to the toilet (the whole 3 steps). Guess I will be re-mopping today with some old fashion spic and span. Live and hopefully learn. It's all we have any right to ask for . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A look back, before screaming forward.

Well I'm about two months into this one week project. That would make it seems as if I failed, but instead I am actually really rather pleased, with both myself, and the progress.
The funny thing about epiphanies, or at least my version of epiphanies, is that they tend to be fleeting. I am had ah! moments about the disheveled chaos of my life many a time. In deed I once embraced it, declaring myself and sub-prophet of the chaos theory, and thus quite effectively turned my life into, well, chaos.
Though many years have passed since converting to the hope of a greater purpose in life, I am not sure I really connected that organization is not the enemy. How you say. I don't really know, I guess I didn't necessarily have the skill set to be organized.
And I think it is that lack of internal triggers and problem solving, and really the ability to say NO to other people's junk, along with a year long funk, that got me to where I was. And those things take more than a week to remedy.
So . . . the best news is that what has been done is staying done. This is not to say that there is never a pile of laundry(speaking of which I need to start a load ASAP) in my bathroom. It is however in a hamper. The bathroom has been perhaps the easiest to keep in running order because I fold and wipe down while the mini-me is in the bath.
My closet and clothes in general are much easier as well. I think sometimes I put off doing laundry because I didn't want to try to stuff all the clean clothes into over-filled drawers. Robert was looking for something the other day and commented on how full his side of the closet was and looked over at mine in wide eyed wonderment. I am an example to be admired.
The "reception area" has been a life changer. There is even a nice spot for the lunch box. Non-perishables go in the night before and then in the morning, the jello and the cracker stackers and straight into the book bag. The recycling area is working as well. My mother even complimented on how nicely my recycling was prepared when we went to the dump this weekend. My mother, complimented me on an organizational method, yes the world may truly be ending.
This is not to suggest that I am a radically different person, at least not yet. I still do a panicked where's my keys dance a couple of times a week. Just yesterday I couldn't find one of the pair of shoes that I wanted to wear to work. I still have not found the set of keys that I lost in the kitchen and started this whole ordeal. Which is not good for my marriage because of course it was the set with the remote car starter. But running out to start the truck in the morning is good for reminding me I need to do better with my keys.
I am also still working on the saying No. In fact I have really made no progress there. I married the king of NO, I try to simply run behind him and tap his left shoulder, a code for him to start screaming NO. Just last week WALT and I ventured to my father in laws on our own and came back with 6 bags of stuff. I have got rid of 2 bags plus and most is edible, but I really didn't need all of Robert's ETSU memorabilia right then, but I got it.

A warning, the next set of pictures are rough. Embarrassing really. It is a lost room. It has never had a true function, except when it was Lee Jay's room. and it is awkward in its function and placement in the house. Nevertheless there is really no excuse for how bad it has gotten. Just know that before I even post them progress is being made. It may take the whole month of March, but the beast will be tamed!!