The Time Has Come to Clean All the Things

Sorry for my lack of posting the past two weeks. It always feels like a cheap excuse to say I’ve been too busy to blog, because what does “too busy” mean, anyway? Still, I’ve felt too busy and neglected my poor Inkwell. For shame!

I thought I’d give you a quick update on what I’ve been up to the past two weeks. Not much writing has happened, let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I have made some progress on editing Dr. Fantastic. I’m still in the first half of the book where the plot holds together well. But I’ve got my eye on the horizon and there’s a clusterfuck approaching, I just know it.

Other than that and my day job work, all we’ve been doing around here is cleaning, organizing, and painting. We have a lot of crap, yo. I mean, “holy hell, why did I buy this, what is this used for,” kind of crap. We also have a lot of stuff that’s been destroyed by the cats. Or mildew. Or cats and mildew.

In short, we’ve thrown out numerous bags of trash and junk. Unfortunately, this included almost our entire VHS collection. The tape within each cassette was encrusted with a white powdery mold. Living near the ocean or in humid climates, sucks! We also bought a bunch of storage boxes to replace old ones that had been, you guessed it, destroyed by cats and/or mold. I’m hopeful that these boxes will be longer lasting since they are not A.) Cardboard or B.) Fabric. These are smooth-coated paper boxes that don’t seem to interest the cats texturally and can be easily wiped off. Woo hoo! Organizing my desk involved throwing away a ton of paperwork. I’d venture to say a metric shit-ton, much of it from high school and college. Why was I keeping these things?

Amidst all of this, Matt painted the bathroom, which, as you might have guessed, was also coated in a lovely layer of mold. But it’s primed and sealed and painted now. Should last us until we move into a new place. Oh, and we decided to paint it yellow to offset the uglier than hell shower which is some kind of sickly off-white with blue-gray streaks in it. It’s not even egg shell white, it’s like if dingy was a color.

The yellow is really yellow. I’m officially calling it Motherfucking Yellow, because that’s the only intensifier that lets you know exactly how yellow it is. The sun is in our bathroom, and it is Behr paint called Center Stage. Seriously. Go look it up. It’s damned yellow.

I know it’s not advisable to try to “do all the things” as a part of the Unfuck Your Habitat plan, but I’m pregnant and I’ve got a sense of urgency thrown into the mix here. I’ve never felt the pressure more to get stuff done. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Wish I had more time for writing. I know, I know. Make the time. I’m trying, I swear.

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UFYH, Or “I’m Making My Life Better, Damnit!”

This post might be a bit off topic in the sense that it doesn’t relate directly to writing. However, what I’m going to talk about directly affects my ability to be a writer.

Like many creative people I know, I have trouble keeping my shit together. That is, the sink will fill with dirty dishes. The bed will lay unmade. The floor unswept, the clothes stuffed in a laundry basket after being washed, etc, etc.

I recently stumbled upon this thing called UFYH or Unfuck Your Habitat and it’s seriously changed how I view being an adult. Before, I thought I had to do ALL THE THINGS ALL AT ONCE and if I didn’t manage to do that (which I never would), I’d be OMG THE BIGGEST FAILURE EVER. In the past, I’d usually hit a tipping point in terms of cleanliness. I’d trip over the pile of clothes on the floor one too many times. The kitchen would smell. I’d walk into the living room and see clutter everywhere and sigh just a little too loudly.

My typical reaction in these cases was to scurry about the house and try to clean up weeks’ worth of mess in a few hours. And I’d not only fail, but I’d exhaust myself on the notion of cleaning. Process repeat.

With UFYH, I’ve learned that setting aside even 10 minutes a day to clean up one thing is a BIG DEAL when you’re a person like me. 10 minutes a day of cleaning is doable, won’t leave me exhausted, and does leave me with a sense of accomplishment. Lately, my chosen task has been making the bed every day. It only takes a few minutes, but damn if the bedroom doesn’t look better. It says, “a grown up lives here” not “an unkempt teenager passes out here.”

I still haven’t mastered putting away the dishes or hanging up the laundry right away. But my aforementioned tipping point happens a lot faster now. Another thing that’s been helping a lot is making to-do lists. It’s going to sound crazy, but putting things like “Make bed,” or “Wipe counters,” on my to-do list helps a ton! Plus, I get that crazy satisfaction of checking that shit off when I’ve completed it.

This weekend, Matt and I worked on scrubbing the tub. If you follow me on Twitter, you likely saw me bitching about my hip and I think that’s how I injured myself. Even so, most of the tub is clean now. Seriously, I forgot what color it was supposed to be. It took some serious, get on your hands and knees and use some elbow grease, but it got done.

And this brings me back to writing (I told you it was related). I find it impossible to write when I’m distracted by mess. The clutter and mess can leave me paralyzed. By tackling a little bit at a time and using to-do lists, I’m conquering the clutter and seeing my productivity rise. This is necessary, ya’ll, because I need to make money (cooking a baby in my belly, yo) and I need to finish some of my creative projects. Because when I don’t use creative outlets, I get even crazier than I normally am. And trust me folks, that’s not a good look.

l’ll probably write more posts about UFYH because it’s awesome and it’s helping me. In any case, I just wanted to share this nifty thing with you all. Would you be interested in knowing more things I’ve been doing to cope with being a real-live grownup? Do any of you struggle with these same issues?