Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Banging Your Head Against A Wall

This evening, I found two bumble bees smacking their little heads and their probiscus (is probisci the plural there?) against a metal pole. There was apparently an odor that attracted them to it, but I don't know if they were able to get any of that lovely iron nectar they were after. It was pretty funny to me, so I took a little picture of one. Plus, they're unlike any bumble bees I've ever seen in the US, so I figured I'd show them off for my American readers (some day, I'll get a nice shot of the huge all black bees they have here - fascinating). After taking pictures of them, I realized how appropriate it was for my current mood. I feel a little like I'm banging my head against a metal pole, too. Here's why...

Having the duty of taking care of laundry and dishes and other miscellaneous messes for five is a daunting task. They work so much faster than I do. First, they outnumber me by far. And, then, they are so efficient at what they do. It can take me days to thoroughly clean a room, yet during the time it takes me to take an afternoon nap, they can not only undo all my hard work, but they can also rearrange the furniture and other things they hadn't thought to do before I cleaned. It's quite impressive, really, and if I weren't so busy trying to pick up after them, I'd been in awe of their talent. They're just that good.

The kitchen is the room I would most like to get under control (or at least some semblance of control). Like in many households, our kitchen somehow ends up being the command center of the house. There is so much more than eating and cooking going on in this room. They color at the table, even though they have a desk in their playroom. They play on the floor there sometimes. And, we can't forget that the kitchen is often turned into my sewing room while a cake or a loaf of bread bakes in the oven. Naturally, every time someone does a non-food related task in the kitchen, bits and pieces of their project (my sewing included) seem to find a semi-permanent home there. It's frustrating, and I never even come close to fully controlling this room. I think the thing I have the most difficulty with is the fact that (through no fault of the kids), every horizontal surface in the room becomes a junk space. We don't have a junk drawer, and since my husband still hasn't gotten around to making the majority of the closets and shelves that should be in our new house, I'm left with few storage options.

Tonight before dinner, I had a very strong desire to clean the kitchen from top to bottom. After dinner, I scanned the room to take stock. That's when I became paralyzed by a sense of being overwhelmed by the mess and all motivation drained from my body in a matter of seconds. Well, that's not really true. I still have a strong desire - a need really - to clean that room. I just don't know where to start. I always have trouble putting my blinders on and zeroing in on one section of the room at a time. Then, there's the very real issue that most of the things I see lying around don't have a real home of their own. So, I stand there aimlessly shifting objects from one pile to the next. Needless to say, none of this helps either my mood or the general appearance of the house.

I'm a little down now after wanting to dive in and get something done but spending too long standing around lost in my own home. And, when faced with this sort of problem what do all bloggers do to tackle it? Why, we blog, of course. I don't tend to talk much about this part of my life. It's a little too depressing, and I'd rather show off the kids and my sewing or knitting projects. Call it denial. I don't care. You'd most likely be right. After all, staring into this 14 or so inch box as I type these words certainly prevents me from looking around the room at the chaos around me.

Now, I generally choose not to be 100% honest about this part of my life. Well, I don't really lie. I just conveniently omit it when I blog. Some of you recently were amazed at all the sewing I seem to get done. It's largely due to the fact that I can ignore messes much like the one pictured here when my nose is buried in a bunch of fabric. This is a satisfactory solution as long as I continue to sew (hence the amazing productivity). Again some may refer to this behavior as denial, but I prefer to call it attention displacement. Sounds fancier that way.

It may seem a bit perverse or silly for me to snap a picture of this mess and post it on the internet (my mom is surely hanging her head in shame at the sight of it). My reasons are valid, though. First, I figure I'm not the only one out there with some section of their home that looks this way. It can only be comforting to those people to know they are not alone. Second, if I post a picture and claim I'm going to clean this mess up, I just might stick to it and show you the finished picture, where my lovely pots and pans might find a neat and tidy home here on the rack they used to love back before I had kids and a husband. And, third, I think taking a picture could help me to better focus on just this small area long enough to clean it without feeling overwhelmed. Just looking at it here as I write this post, I see a few items whose homes would be easy enough to find. I could clear them pretty easily. Standing in the kitchen looking at this rack, I was too shocked by the mess in its entirety to see the individual parts that could easily be dealt with. I just might have found a new decluttering method here. My camera's lens isn't wide enough to take everything in, and I just might be able to deal with the small sections of the chaos it presents me with.

Okay, I've talked myself into. The kids are in bed, and the men (husband and father-in-law) are engrossed in a rugby match on tv (I might even get them each a beer to nurse while I work, so I can feel all 1950's this evening), so I think I'll get to work. Before I go, I'll give you some happy thoughts to tide you over. Look at these clowns. This is why I still love them despite the messes they leave me to deal with.

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