Monday, 26 July 2010

Wrestling with routines ~ in Round Two I begin to get the edge...

As I had hoped the second week of timetabled housework went a little better than the first, although it all depends on how you look at it: I did get more of my appointed tasks done and caught up on some of the ones I'd missed the week before, but I still found it used up most of my available time.  I don't think I exceeded the maximum hours set, but neither did I get anything else much done.  More frustration.  There is growing satisfaction though, that the house is increasingly clean and orderly.  Maybe if I keep it up for a month or so I'll be able to give it up for another six!  Only joking.

I even pulled out the stove and neighbouring fridge so I could clean underneath - not a difficult task but not a pleasant one either as it was well overdue: I found unbelievable amounts of greasy dust, food spatters with the appearance of great antiquity and various small items which had fallen down and rolled underneath!  It took a while to clean but came up nicely.  All done now.  One way and another the house is gradually getting in better order.  It must be!

I did not go so far as to re-wash the car.  Two weeks in a row would have been verging on obsessive although I indignantly noticed it could actually do with it.  I'm happy to leave such excesses to those to whom cars are of greater interest - such as Harry, who lives in the back flat.  He really does love cars and can often be seen cleaning his or tinkering away under the bonnet.  Saturday was sunny, even mild by our wintry standards, and there he was at it again, washing not only his car but also his daughter's.  I felt I should give credit where it was due; I went outside.

I like the ease of exchange we have here.  Landlord Neil was also out the back, making a new kitchen bench in his garage.  The three of us called out greetings and exchanged cheerful banter.  

I thanked Harry for inspiring me to wash my car.  It seemed prudent not to mention that I hadn't cleaned inside the door surrounds or the interior!  It lives in the garage so was safe from inspection.  He seemed pleased.  I added that to my surprise it now needed it again, and that no, this was not a hint!  He responded that one had only to drive down the road to get more dirt on a car.  It was just the same with the heat pump indoors, he said, you turn it on and dust flies everywhere.
     "Really?"  I said, then added a solution: "If you don't dust you don't notice".  Harry was appalled.  He has long made it clear that household cleanliness is a priority, for him anyway.
     "Don't dust?"  He was incredulous.
     "Well, I did dust last night", I added conscientiously.
     "What do you do all day?  I suppose you sit at your computer."  This was a put-down.  Harry's a straight-talker and doesn't mince words.  I'm a straight-talker too, descended from converging long lines of straight-talkers and wasn't about to let this pass.  But neither was I going to let on how much of the previous fortnight I'd spent on long-neglected housework.  That would seem like capitulation.
     "Hmm...  I have other things in my life.  When did you last write a book?"  Harry had no response for this, and after a little light-hearted point-scoring I left him to it.

At the time I passed the exchange off with good humour, but even so, the exchange stayed with me throughout the day, keeping me bubbling between annoyance and laughter.  I have my pride, such as it is, and if I'm going to be remembered for anything I want it to be for more than keeping the house clean!  And yes, I am aware of the irony of writing about it.  The motivation for all this wrestling with routine lies in the hope that at some point it will recede into the background where it should be, leaving me with more energy for writing and other creative endeavours.

Having a timetable definitely does help.  It (usually) stops me procrastinating and once I've done a task for the week I can dismiss it, such as the dust and fluff on the floors which I'm always aware of.  I do the floors once a week and that's it - which is more than I used to!  And it stops me getting bogged down where there is more to do than I can manage all at once, such as with the mending and small sewing jobs.  Last week I was pleased to complete a number of these tasks in the allotted time and then happy to put the rest aside until the same time this week.  I look forward to it even!  Yes, Week Two definitely indicates the beginning of success.  Let's hope I can keep it up.
Later, when Rewi and I walked to the shops, we paused a long time waiting for an even longer line of traffic.  It must have been coming from a sports meeting or other such event.  Either that or all the residents of the end street were staging a mass evacuation.  Not only were there a large number of cars, but practically all of them were exceedingly dirty.  In fact I can't remember ever having seen so many dirty cars all together at one time - enough to make any self-respecting car wash mortgage free in half an hour had their services been called on.  It's the effect of winter, I guess, and muddy country roads.  My car seemed positively pristine in comparison.  I really don't think comparisons should matter but despite my best efforts to ignore them I find they do - a bit.   

So much for that!  Let's see how I go with Week Three...

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