I have a tale to tell, a cautionary tale of home improvement, borderline obsessive compulsiveness and hands deformed and misshapen from nine hours of sanding and scraping.
It all began when my husband took my children to the mountains to partake in
At least it was for about three minutes until I decided that I should do all of the home improvement projects which have been vexing me for months. I had this idea, this notion, that if only I got everything organized and properly cataloged I would never waste another moment of my life looking for anything again.
I could see my home recreated as the love child of Ikea and The Container Store. The perfect combination of tidy and chic.
It seemed very logical in my addled mind that I should begin by repainting Rebecca's floor. I removed the contents of her room and put them into my room, the hallway and Lily's room and began to scrape and sand.
This took many, many, many, more hours than I imagined it would. To pass the time I listened to Jim Dale read aloud the seventh Harry Potter book, and even though I have read this book several times, I still sobbed great saw dusty tears into my face mask when Harry walks to Voldemort, ready to die.
There was no one to stop me from from my crazy so I went ahead and sanded in a tank top and underwear. I cannot recommend this outfit for sanding unless a butt full of saw dust is a desired outcome for you and if it is, please do not tell me about it.
I finished the sanding at about 10pm on Tuesday night and got the first coat of paint on by 10:30. It was going very well until just as I was finishing the floor, I stepped in some paint. I hadn't the foresight to have some paper towels handy so I was forced to crawl through the hallway on my hands and knees and then flip myself into the tub so I could properly clean myself of paint and sawdust.
Day Two began with me realizing that my hands had taken on the appearance of crone's hands, or perhaps those of a very evil witch. They were in a permanent clutch from so many hours spent scraping the floor. In addition to my deformed hands, every other body part hurt as well from being hunched upon the floor alternately cursing my inferior tools and crying for poor Fred Weasley.
Not one to let good sense get the better of me, I plunged into the day anew. Four motrin and a hot shower gave me the strength to put two more coats of paint on Rebecca's floor. While the floor was drying it was time to tackle Lily's room. I sorted all four hundred and fifty seven Littlest Pet Shop animals, Polly Pockets and Monster High Dolls into separate buckets and as long as Lily never actually plays with her toys, her room will stay nice and tidy.
It was by midday Wednesday that I began to have some nagging doubts about my master plan. I could see that achieving the organizationgasm which I desired would prove elusive as long as I had other people living with me. Plus, handling all of these objects was making me very tired. All the bins, the toys, the books- I could feel my dream crumbling.
I'd be lucky if it stayed tidy for ten minutes once my family came home.
Nonetheless, this project had become too big to simply abandon it. I could only go forward and hope that there was chocolate on the other side.
I began putting Rebecca's stuff back in her room which helped clear out the hallway and my bedroom a bit.
Meanwhile, I had "borrowed" two bookcases from the master bedroom for Lily's room which meant that I needed to sort through all of the books which I had dumped on my bed.
This is when a miracle happened. It was the miracle of "Law and Order" on television for four hours straight. I don't watch much television, so this was a revelation and it got me through the mind numbing boredom of book sorting. Once the books where sorted into the boxes of giveaways and the keepers, I had to find new homes for the keepers. These I brought downstairs and put on the shelves.
By the time I was done with the books it was time for me to clean out my closet. By now it was evening. I ate some nachos and by then "Bones" was on. It turns out that I love that show! Who knew?
By the time I was done with the closet and the nachos, I had solved two murders and was almost done for the night. I swept and vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms and washed the kitchen floor.
I declared myself done.
As I lay in bed last night I tried to reconcile the death of my dream. My basement is still a mess, worse than ever really since I hauled two bookcases and a dresser down there yesterday. I had wanted to begin the new year completely organized- everything in its place and a system for everything. The fall and winter felt so chaotic to me- like I was always trying to catch up.
I think I have caught up a bit, but it will never live up to my dream. Happy families, it turns out, are not tidy things.
Love often leaves its toys out and forgets to hang up its towel.
Today I took it easy. Ran a few errands, but mostly I rested. I made peace with reality and found contentment in lying in bed with the dogs and watching Law and Order.
So, I am ready to begin 2011 with a slightly more organized home and all of the love my crazy heart can hold.