Okay, yesterday’s post was a little dry. From the two comments I got (my wife and brother), I guess I spent a little too much time talking about feeling sick. So shoot me. You see, that’s the beauty of blogosphere. It’s a little less formal, and I can write pretty much whatever is on my mind. Besides, in blogosphere you can’t really shoot me. Thank God!
So today we’ll boldly go where no man has ever gone before. The “honey-do” list. Yes, it’s Friday and that means two days around the house, surrounded by unfinished projects and the other things I need to get done. Like getting a haircut, cleaning the basement, and sorting through the piles of unopened mail on my desk. I think some of them are bills.
You see, I have two “honey-do” lists. There’s the one my wife keeps track of, and one I dreamed up all by myself. And to be honest, my own list is much longer. Care to guess which one will get the most attention? If you’re married, you know the answer to that question. Neither.
That’s the problem. I go into the weekends with great intentions. For months, I’ve talked about moving my office back into the basement and putting a guest bedroom where I’m sitting right now. But first I have to put a new floor in the basement.
I even bought the new tiles. Three months ago to be exact. And to my credit, they’re still in boxes stacked neatly at the bottom of the basement stairs where we can trip over them until I finish the job or find a better place to hide the tiles.
I was all set to start on the floor when our youngest asked if she could move back in temporarily. As much as I’d love an empty nest, my grandchildren will always have a home as long as I do. And if their parents have to tag along, I guess I can’t complain too much.
Now she’s moved back out, but the basement is once again full of things that weren’t there a few months ago. My daughters are no different from anybody else’s kids. They move out and set up a home of their own, but the room they were in becomes a storage locker for the things that won’t fit in the new place.
My wife and I have decided to buy plastic totes so we can box up everything they left behind. We may throw in a few things we’ve been wanting to get rid of as well. I’ll start with these stacks of unopened mail on my desk.
Before I can finish cleaning the basement, I need to move the washing machine to its new location next to the dryer. And in order to move the washing machine, I have to cut into the drain pipe and install a drain for the washer. Then I have to shut down the water, install new valves, and hope I can get it all working with no leaks in time for evening showers.
In order to make the washing machine fit next to the dryer, the dryer has to move about 24 inches to the right. Except that space is crammed full of Christmas decorations. Well, it used to be. Now it’s crammed full of other things, and the Christmas decorations are at the foot of the stairs next to the boxes of new floor tile. So I have to sort through all of that and either carry it to the trash pile or stack it higher. Or I can put it in the new totes and let the girls worry about it. Possession is nine points of the law.
Then I can install the washing machine on its pedestal, which has been sitting in a box next to the stairs for the past six months. When that’s finished, we’ll be left with an open drain pipe and two unused water valves where the washer sits today. Rather than close them off permanently, I think I’ll install a laundry sink. Another project – see how this works?
After that I can clean the other side of the basement, which as I recall had some nice carpet on the floor. I haven’t seen it in over a year, but I’m pretty sure it’s still there. The one thing that’s remained sacred in that room is my pool table. Nobody would dare set anything on it. Besides, they couldn’t reach it anyway.
Once all of that is done, and the bags of trash have been carried out, I’ll be left with two dozen new totes that didn’t used to be there, all neatly stacked in the room where I need to install the new tile.
Oh, I’ll get it done. I’ll just move everything to one wall, rip up the old tile on half the room, install new tile, then move everything to the other wall and repeat. At my current pace, that should be done sometime in 2018.
Then I’ll disassemble the bed and get ready to move it upstairs. Except I can’t move it yet, because there’s no room upstairs. Remember, that’s my office. The one that’s too cluttered with unopened mail, along with remnants of every household project I’ve attempted in the past two years. So somewhere along the line, I need to clean this room up as well.
Which brings me full circle – the unopened mail. I guess sooner or later I’ll have to deal with it. Don’t worry, the bills are getting paid. Well, the ones we know about. We pay most bills online, so mail is just a “friendly” reminder and a chance for creditors to stuff my trash can full of offers for things I don’t need, like credit life insurance or stackable plastic totes.
Notice I haven’t said a word about cleaning out the garage, finishing the bathroom, installing baseboards, painting the front porch rails, rebuilding the storage shed, or any of the other projects still waiting to be done. And somewhere in the middle of all that, I’d like to squeeze in a little time to live. Is that too much to ask?
And therein lies the problem. When I look at any one task, I know that’s just the beginning. Then I begin to see the whole enchilada, and I know there’s not enough time in a single weekend (or a year of weekends) to do it all. So I stare at it a while, pour a cup of coffee, and turn on the TV.
This weekend, I’ll try a new approach. Instead of worrying about the big project, I’ll start with one small job and finish it. When I’m done, it won’t look like I accomplished much of anything, because there’s so much to be done. But next weekend I’ll do it again, and the weekend after that, and so on. Sooner or later, we’ll start to see some progress.
And that’s my message for the day. We eat dinner one bite at a time, and tackling a big project is pretty much the same. Whether that project is spring cleaning, landscaping, fixing a broken relationship, or paying down your debt. The process is pretty much the same.
Do what you can do, starting with the most pressing need. And if smaller chores are standing in the way, take care of them first. As you complete each task, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re that much closer to being done. And before long you’ll see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. A word to the wise, though – if the light sounds like a diesel locomotive, run!
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon