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Posts tagged ‘mind’

Not It!

I am not the best housekeeper.  I take forever to do things, because I want them done perfectly.  This comes back to bite me; I take too much time to clean, so I don’t clean, which then means it takes longer to clean when I do.  Ugh.

To add to the mayhem, we’re not very good at picking up and putting things away, so in order to even begin to clean, we first have to organize and de-clutter.  So basically, we have to clean to clean.  We work so hard on the organizing bit that we have no more energy or time to do the actual dusting, vacuuming, etc.

The cherry on the pile- Chris decided recently that he doesn’t want to do floors anymore, because he has been doing them for the last 4 years.  (Also, because, with a dog, there is hair everywhere, and I’d like him to move the furniture to get it all up.)  I can’t do floors because of my back; the motion just sends it all out of whack. So if we want a squeaky clean house, Chris has to take that part.  And over the years, chores get old!!

So, yeah, I have a lot of excuses….  and I’m not even writing them all down, because I’m starting to get embarrassed.

Nevertheless, a clean house is very important to us for many reasons, but especially for our own mental health, so we had to do something.  We decided to stop living in a mess and hired someone to clean for us.

This was actually a really, really hard decision.  Here’s why I felt I couldn’t have something this good:

  1. I haven’t earned it.  It’s like being the boss before I’m the administrative assistant.  You know, I haven’t worked my way up the ladder by getting good at it myself and then passing it off.
  2. I don’t deserve it.  Like I should make myself do it because we aren’t old enough, rich enough, etc…
  3. It’s being lazy/undedicated/some other lame word. We’re adults and should figure out how to do this ourselves and take care of our own you-know-what.
  4. We don’t have the money.

#4 is actually based mostly in reality, because we do not have a lot of disposable income.  But it came down to this…  Should I feel guilty all the time over not taking care of the house (which I did), or should I find a solution (which I did)? Learning what I have the capacity for and what to let go of will be a lifelong process, but something had to give NOW.

I did the math and, while my numbers might be fuzzy, figured it out!  I’ve had a babysitting job every Friday for the last year and a half that I’ve thinking of quitting so that I have a proper 2 day weekend.  I sat down one day and contemplated whether I would rather babysit and have my friend clean or stay home and clean it myself.  Instead of staying home and doing something that I really don’t like and am not good at, I now make $2 less per hour babysitting than I pay my friend to clean.

Let me tell you; it’s been life-altering!  For example:

  • When things are clean, it’s just easy to keep them clean!
  • We straighten the house at least once a week in preparation for cleaning, but more often than not, we do it every day for our own pleasure.  It is a joy to have a clean house to come home to- not just on Fridays but every day.
  • I even enjoy babysitting now WAY more than before because I know that my hard work is allowing me something really special when I get home.
  • We’ve also had people over more often (and spur of the moment!) because we don’t have to run around cleaning before everyone arrives.

Chris summed it up two weeks ago when he said, “I love having a cleaner.  The house looks amazing, and I’m not even tired.”

So, feel free to stop by any time…  The house will be spic and span!

No, It’s a Good Thing!

My sister, Sarah, is coming to visit next month.  She is coming because she loves me and wants to spend time with me.  The trip was spurred on by the fact that I didn’t go back for Christmas this year because it was too big of a push for me mentally; I just needed some down time.  Chris and I got it by staying in California, but we really missed being with our families for the holidays.

Sarah decided to come visit, because she knew it would bless me, build me up, and care for me.  We and I are super close, can tell each other anything, and love each other immensely.  She is one of my best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

I explain this, because it got kinda twisted last week in my mind.  All the sudden, I started thinking about this future visit as a stressful time.  It was actually really strange, because she’s really low key and just wants to be with me.  Honestly, even if we sat on the couch all week, I’m sure she would be happy to have some time to relax and talk in person without two little munchkins (the cutest kids on earth, Elijah and Norah) running around.  Plus, she’s coming over my students’ break, so I don’t even have to juggle work!

But my odd response to the visit was another sign that I had my head on backward (see this week’s previous posts if you don’t believe me).  So I changed my mind.

In this situation, that change was really easy to enact.  I’ve been thinking about the fun things that we can do while she’s here (Año Nuevo’s elephant seals, Sonoma wine tasting, Santa Cruz, walks to take in all the California flowers in bloom, antiquing in my neighborhood), the way that we’ll stay up way too late chatting like we always have (since we shared a room when we were young), and getting to meet her little boy, Benjamin, for the first time.

Maybe we won’t do any of the activities that I’ve envisioned…  but who cares?!?  My little sis, who knows me better than the entire world, is coming to visit!  Maybe we’ll just cook and drink her yummy margaritas.

I am so excited now for her trip, but it took me realizing that the time together will bring joy and love and life instead of added responsibility.  And what little extra duties are required of me, I’m willing to take on, because that time together is totally worth it.

Even if I give up my bed for a few days.  But you would, too, if you knew how cute Benjamin was!

Vacation Contemplation

Vacations are tricky for me.  I love being away from home, relaxing, exploring, and trying new things.

Those very activities, though, also tend to make me melancholy.  Stepping away from the normal routine in my life gives me time to reflect without as much noise.  And that’s where I start to get into trouble.

One minor example is that I always decide that I want to move to the place where we’ve travelled (except LA, yuck).  For me, the grass is literally greener…  San Jose is dirty, smoggy, and expensive.  In Hawaii, I can buy an oceanfront condo in Kona for $199,000.  In Sonoma, a house on the Russian River surrounded by redwoods goes for $300,000.  Compared to the prices in the South Bay, those are a steal!

Vineyard, W. Dry Creek Road

But, honestly, it’s not really that the housing prices are more reasonable.  Sure, though places are quieter, cleaner, and more peaceful than being near the junction of two major highways, but I’m just not settled, and I haven’t been for a very long time.

Being in a new environment somehow forces me to think about my life and what I would like to do differently.  Maybe it’s because when I’m someplace different, I am the only thing that hasn’t changed.  (Well, Chris and Honey haven’t changed either, but I just bring them along for the ride!)

Olive trees, W. Dry Creek Road

So today, while taking the long way and driving through the various wine growing regions, I started to get sad- for no apparent reason.  I think I have a clue, though.  The last six months have brought major changes, and I’ve struggled with the transitions… And there are even more on the horizon.

Some come as soon as Monday, when I start looking for a new job.  Part of the quiet contemplation as we drove came from the fact that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  After years of switching jobs, industries, etc…, this prospect is daunting and exhausting.  While I am sure that I will find my niche eventually, the road seems as narrow and windy as our off-the-beaten-path trek today.

The bright side to this is that come Monday, when I put my nose to the grindstone and start my search, I will be rested and invigorated after having some fun excursions.  Maybe this time up in my brain is just setting me up to be successful and more grounded during the changes.  Maybe the new job is right around the corner.  In the meantime, I’m still bringing home the bacon as a tutor, and I am very thankful for that.

Plus, being away does have it’s perks too.  Yesterday, I brainstormed my idea for a cookbook (watch out, Rachel Ray) and came up with a way to make our home office a more pleasant place to work (plants outside the window).

But if I moved to Sonoma, I could just be a farmer.  🙂

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