Have you ever run around like a maniac, trying to get a gazillion things done, then turned around to survey your hard work, and find less done, like you've never touched it, or worse, a WORSE mess than you started, or a mangled project that looks nothing like what you started?
It's okay. Everyone has those moments. My blog is late this week because of it in fact, for which I apologize. My to-do list got out of control, and instead of my 5 things, I had 10-15 "must dos" per day. Learned my lesson there; never let it go above 5, even if it drives other people nuts.
Mom and I live out in the middle of nowhere, rural area, dirt road, LOTS of room. My father picked this place out, mostly because of the huge amount of land to build a house on, and of course, he fell in love with the barn, which is fully converted into a woodshop/storage area/office area for his DJ work. Mom and I spend most of the time working on getting the house cleaned from the chaos that has been since my father lost his fight against lung cancer in 2010. Any time we have company over, the house goes back to chaos – at least in part. It's a scramble to move in-progress projects, anything out of place in the "public" rooms, and cram it anywhere it "fits" in the non-public ones. After things calm down, we bring things back out (IF we can find them again), if we have the time after cleaning… which brings us both to a screeching halt before we're done.
Mom suffers from Degenerative Disc Disease. I suffer from Sciatica, which began back in 2008 during one of my many moves around Maryland – and I only recently discovered that's what my pain is. (I have been unable to sleep on my back since April 2008; doing so causes my right leg to either go completely numb and unresponsive, or feel like it's on "cold" fire. Sleeping on my side or stomach prevents this from happening most of the time. In 2008, I had MRIs, X-rays, and bloodwork done to determine the cause of the whole mess. My doctor found nothing, but I lost my job before I could get to a neurologist. I have been trying chiropractic aid, which has helped, though until my meddling sister stops trying to make me "ignore" the rest said doctor has been ordering for me, I can't go back, as she undoes everything he does within 12-36 hours after I've been, and since I have no health insurance, and live an hour away from him, it's not exactly affordable to just go back to him on my way home from shopping.)
Neither of us can function for very long without rest. Mom can often outlast me, but that might be due to her pain meds, tailored to her back pain. I sadly do not have that luxury, so I have to stretch, walk, sit, or lie down more often. Sitting helps me get some of the hand-work done, little things, but there's not often a lot of that to do. Most of the work we do is moving things, sorting out where we want things to go. This is where my title comes in! We finish a day of sorting things out and find…
A huge mess.
Usually we stare at it, turn our backs on it and go do something else in frustration, or, if we're done for the day, do something about dinner, watch a movie, or she heads in to lie down and I retreat to my room to get to work on my stuff if I still have stuff to do, or settle down to play WoW.
The next day finds us staring at the mess and not knowing what to do about it, since the barn is still a mess (Dad meant to clean it, but… never got the chance…), and neither of us can function very long before we need to take a break, and most of the stuff we've just sorted needs to go out to the barn.
Sensing a pattern yet? It's a vicious cycle, and I'm more than certain it's happened to you at some point or another.
I came back to my desk to write this blog post after starting my #1 project today (which turned out to be #4 on my day's list – took care of shorter, smaller things that were just as important; #5 must wait until this current project is done), and taking my first break.
This task is "Clean out all "expired" stuff from pantry".
I'm sorry I took this one on.
Our pantry is … not really a pantry. The floor plan for the "Manufactured Home" that we are in (which was meant to be temporary until Dad could start on the REAL house…) is just plain… stupid. First off, the kitchen cabinets BARELY fit our plates… WTF? Second, there is no PANTRY. There is enough space in the cabinets we have for our dishes… and a spice rack. And a box or two of pasta. I wish I was kidding.
Mom and Dad put in a wire shelf at the back of the kitchen, where there is a tiny counter-space (???) leading into the "Den" – which is now Mom's Sewing Room.. which comes complete with fireplace (??!??!?). Pots and pans fit on THAT shelf! Yay! Still no place to put pantry items though.
The other major design flaw is that the master bedroom has two doors – one leads into the kitchen/den area, the other leads into a "retreat" or "sitting room" that leads into the living room. The sitting room is perhaps large enough for …. a chair and a book case, if the bookcase is very small. Cue Dad, who said "WTF? No." and whirlwinded that stupidity into a room that fit a second refrigerator, and a large storage freezer. Fridge holds beverages, ice, and "snack" type things. Freezer? We shop at Sam's Club and similar places (Costco, BJ's, etc). The math there should be easy. They both put in cabinets to hold non-perishables. These are lined up against one wall. Four cabinets, each specific. Cabinet 1, against the outside wall, "Baking/Confectioner's Cabinet", Cabinet 2 "Paper Products", Cabinet 3 "Canned Goods" and EVERYONE'S favorite, Cabinet 4 "Snack Cabinet".
My major project today is to clean out all of those cabinets of "expired" items, as I mentioned, and also as I mentioned, I'm sorry I took this on, even though it really needed to be done.
These cabinets, for the most part since 2010, have been ignored. Bad idea.
I started on the Confectioner's Cabinet. There is some history to this cabinet, in all honesty. My sister, Linda, loves to bake. This was "her" cabinet, mostly, before she moved out. It is usually filled with cake mixes, baking chocolate, icings, and/or the wherewithal to make all of this from scratch, and also contains my own projects, which include chocolate candies/molds/melts.
In this cabinet, upon opening it, I found…..
Someone, in their infinite wisdom, had put canned fruit in this cabinet – the ingredients for our family's Ambrosia – mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, that kind of thing. Weeeeelllll… I found an exploded can of oranges. That aside, I found some things (dry goods, thankfully) that "expired" back in 2007/2008, and even one thing that expired in 2001 (which I BOGGLED at – this was before my parents moved to Georgia, and before I moved to Maryland from New Jersey). This, ladies and gentlemen, was before I ever even moved down here. Some of it was from 2010, things we bought intending to use right away… but Dad took priority, but the majority is from before my time here.
Okay, no problem! I dove in, and got rid of the cans, the boxes, the tubes of icing, etc. that had an expiry date prior to 2012.
The cabinet, except for some confectioner's sugar, brown sugar, and food coloring, and a couple of specialty items, is now empty, but I DO have two trash bags of things that were sadly never used, or opened, and I'm still left with the confusion of things with no date. (Kind of like the legend of Twinkies and cockroaches, these things would probably survive The Apocalypse.) I cleaned the spillage from the exploded can of oranges (all liquid, thankfully), and when I return to it, my task will be to reorganize said cabinet.
I still have two other cabinets to do (as paper products, such as paper plates, TP, paper towels, plastic silverware, cups, etc. have no expiry date), and I'm almost afraid at what I'll find. I do know that we've kept up with the other two much better, since we use canned fruits, veggies, soups, etc. MUCH more often, and the snack cabinet is constantly changing, but I'm sure I'll find a few things that I'll stare at and wonder WHY they are there.
Of course, this task is just a prelude to these cabinets eventually moving to somewhere in the kitchen, probably replacing the wire-rack we now have holding pots and pans. To do that we need to reorganize the Sewing Room.
Which brings me back to my title, and the original subject. Lots of work, nothing done. Cue me throwing my hands in the air and retreating back to my room, and the wreck it still is after adding more shelving and having boxes of jewelry supplies, books and collectables to be organized and put on said shelving. Not to mention the lists of designs I haven't gotten to, the unfinished pieces I still have to do…
… It occurs to me that I have not actually gotten a chance to MAKE anything new since January/February, other than a couple of commissioned items. Gah.
Overwhelmed, I tell you. Underwhelmingly overwhelmed, haven't worked on things that need to be worked on, even though I've been working on things that need to be worked on…
It never "looks" like a lot gets done, but it is. Don't worry, I'm sure all of us get that way, and I'm sure you've all had experiences like mine. You're not alone, I promise. There IS light at the end of the tunnel. Somewhere… maybe… hopefully? We'll get there!
And then we'll move on to the next project that buries us!
Until next week's interview, thanks for reading!