Thursday, February 2, 2017

Overloaded, and then I understood...

It's been one of those weeks for me, the kind where everything's just piling up and I haven't had time or energy or the mental capacity to get done what I'd like to.
It didn't help today when a carton of soy milk split open in the refrigerator and spread it's creamy contents far and wide. Entertainment this afternoon was washing out the shelves and door...well, I tried to look at it that way.
It seems 'breakage' was the unintended sport of the day because an hour later I pulled a bag of potatoes out of the veggie tray and it broke wide open, the rounded balls I intended to peel and boil and mash for dinner fell rolling across the kitchen floor and into the next room, the one I'd only just mopped after a two week avoidance.

I know these are relatively minor hiccups in a homemakers day but when they come at the tail end of a lot of other hiccups they feel much weightier to the spirit than they would be on a day, or during a week, when life's been bright and breezy, you know?

Until today I hadn't vacuumed in two weeks and I didn't even realise this.
In fact when I stood and had a good look through each room it came to my attention there were a number of important 'big' jobs around the house which had been neglected. 
(I seriously need to approach my bathroom tomorrow with bravery!) 

So why did this happen, I ask myself?
It isn't that I'm a total clean freak, because I'm not. 
I am someone who can't handle visual clutter (a genuine OCD thing I've had since childhood) but I don't run around scrubbing the life out of my house - I just clean rooms on a regular routine-y way.  Like my bathroom, I clean it on Friday. The vacuuming, I do it on Monday. The washing, a load every day. 
But not the past two weeks. Things just haven't seemed routine-y at all.

And then I remembered. 

Mr E started back teaching two weeks ago after more than four years absence and I drive him to and from the school every day which is 200 extra minutes on the road for me each week, and the afternoon pick up is at odd times so I'm on stand by from 3:15 each day waiting for his call.

Now, I love that we have those extra 40 minutes together each day in the car. In the morning we talk about what's ahead, and in the afternoon drive home we share about what has happened in our individual days. The downside is that I've spent two weeks 'falling behind' because of the extra hours away from home and office, and the uncertainty of afternoon pick-up times which leave me unable to start anything after 2:45 because I have no idea when I'll need to grab my keys and head out the door.

Today Blossom dropped by with Cully May for morning tea and we were discussing this very thing. You see she drives her DB to and from work each day as well and we came to the same conclusion - what a delight and blessing to know your husband enjoys spending that extra time with you, but how do we balance it out with the responsibilities of home and baby, or in my case, work, so that we stay on top of the things that must be done yet still 'enjoy' the responsibility of our daily travels?

The answer came down to priorities. 
Our men (and her daughter) are our priorities...and bless their hearts, neither of our men mind if the house isn't spotless or if we're so worn out we'd like to get take-out for dinner sometimes.

What they care about is if we smile when they climb in the passenger seat after a day at work, if we're  as happy to see them as they are to see us.

On my part, I can get things back into a routine-y way now that I'm aware of what has thrown me out recently and I can also eliminate a few small things in my life which will 'give' me those 40 minutes a day (200 minutes a week) so I'm not losing the time from things that matter.

I can also switch around my daily schedule so that I do most of my reading/research/study or hand embroidery after 2pm because it's easier to close a book/web page or put down a sewing needle and walk out the door when Mr E needs me to come bring him home, than stop midway in the design process or baking or scrubbing the bathroom or other things that need uninterrupted blocks of time.

This is my new ordinary and I will find joy in it.

This week's Joy in Ordinary chat question...

Share your comments and thoughts below, or over here in the Gentle Domesticity Facebook group. 
I'd love to hear from you.



Little Quiltsong said...

Wonderfully said! I know that feeling of overload - you found a great solution!

Tricia said...

I love this! I call it "finding my new normal". It usually takes awhile, but soon I will find that I love the new routine when I embrace it. What a good reminder!


I am a senior living in a senior apt building--have no commitments--
so should have a daily routine that flows--that is what one would think--
but like you--things happen--and it seems my daily routine is broken more often than not--
not sure how to figure it out yet--but someday I will--
thanks for the encouragement--
enjoy the moments,di

Anonymous said...

I've had to do a lot of this sort of adjusting since "retiring" in August to care for my now nine-month-old granddaughter. Just when I think I have her eating/napping schedule down it changes, and I have to figure out a new way to get my "must do" chores done. The mopping got done this morning -- just in time for me to spill most of a box of Rice Krispies on the floor. Despite a second cleaning, I still feel like the floors are crunching! I spent decades chauffeuring kids (and sometimes my husband during periods when we only had one car) to work, sports, etc. I don't do much of that now, but I still keep needlework in the car to fill unexpected downtime.

Cindy in NC

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny! I understand struggling with managing time on a day to day basis. Then when our routines are changed it takes quite awhile sometimes to get back into a method that works for us once again. I hope that you find your method with little trouble, but as you have pointed out, there is all the extra wonderful time with your husband that makes it all worthwhile! Have a great day!

Winifred said...

Oh dear I know how you feel when things go wrong. For the past two weeks I've been coping with a bathroom nightmare. We discovered our shower has been leaking, probably for years & has damaged the joists which urgently needed to be repaired. So now we not only needed a new shower tray, wall panels, shower enclosure we also need a new hall ceiling (damaged beyond repair) also a downstairs loo ceiling.

Now you think you are insured against water leaks & damage etc with your household insurance. Well sometimes you're not! It's all in the small print that if you took out the insurance after the damage started (even when you don't know you might have damage) you're not insured. Shame they didn't tell us that when we too out the insurance.

So now I've had the mess for two weeks & we still haven't had the ceilings repaired until we know the shower isn't leaking.

Well I'm not going to let it bother me, things could be worse. I've just watched a mother talking about her little boy with terminal cancer, a brain tumour that will probably kill him soon. She is amazing & refuses to give up hope. Why should I worry about a blooming shower and ceiling I can replace when she refuses to give up and feel sorry for herself. God bless her.

Anonymous said...

I like this post. It's completely you. I'm not a great housekeeper, at best. I know how quickly time can fly by, and how quickly things get out of hand. Overload? Often. I recently did dump some things, though, and it's helped. I'm glad you two have those special times with your loved ones. Those time outs together are so important.

Baa. xxx said...

Hmmm.....get systems are about to go through a change in the next couple of weeks and I somehow feel it will take time to get used to it. Mark has got full time teaching work so instead of helping out at the community centre for 15 hours all of a sudden it's gonna be 30 - 35. Hmmm.....not sure that was quite what I planned but at the moment in spite of such a BIG change I am feeling peaceful about it.

Createology said...

Jenny Dear you always have the nicest way of recognizing and addressing any situation. I do understand your plight for I have a husband who is always the ONLY top priority and it is my great joy to have this husband late in my life for I am now blessed like never before. It is up to me to reorganize...just as you are I use my precious time each day. Instead of MY continuing to make excuses for why I never stitch any of your precious designs, I purchased the right hanky linen and just got busy tracing and prepping. When hubby needs attention I merely politely tell him I need to stop at the next line or stitch or something short and simple...and he is beginning to understand I cannot just drop and do for him every minute of every day...I HOPE!!! I am in control of my life? Is this possible? We shall see. <3. Blessings dear lady...XO

Annette said...

Your home sounds like mine, if it's tidy we don't notice the vacuuming needs doing until of course someone is coming for coffee!
Could Mr E take the car 2 or 3 days a week allowing you to have that extra time at home and cheaper on petrol as well, when I was running DH and children around we noticed how expensive the petrol bill was, now it's just me I plan my days out as I love to sew.......unless a grandchild needs me of course. Take care Jenny xx

Little Quiltsong said...

Beautiful thoughts and lovely bible! Yes, that quiet time in the morning and at the end of the day are the most blessed times spent of each day. He is our strength and I often think of that song - "Where would I be if there wouldn't be a Savior...."! Thank you for sharing your quiet time space and for the lovely verse - it is already downloaded :)!

Jeannie B. said...

I enjoy your blog very much. I love the creativity, the lovely needle work and your encouraging spirit. After years of carpool, I love days where I am just home. Maybe your husband could take the car and leave you at home? (I might have missed something as I don't read blogs every day!) Happy stitching to you.

Robin in New Jersey said...

All that driving takes up so much time. When I started working part time I realized one day that I lose about an hour and a half with getting ready to go and driving there and back. Then when I get home there are chores to do and I am tired. No wonder I don't have much time to sew these days. Thanks for sharing and giving us something to think about.