Here’s the problem. Long ago I adopted as my motto “A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.” Unfortunately, I have been spending my life too well lately. As much as I would like not to claim the title, nevertheless I have to come clean (no pun intended): I am a housework slob. Not just any housework slob, I am the Queen, the Universal Champion, the one and only Olympic Platinum medal-winning super slob in the decathlon of undone housework: Dusting, Vacuuming, Dish-Washing, Ironing, Unidentifiable Moldy Stuff in the Refrigerator Dumping, Floor Scrubbing, Laundering, Bathtub Cleaning, Floor Sweeping, & Window Washing. I can ignore the need for all ten longer than any other human alive. This talent is not lost on my Hubs. He is the long-suffering husband, much lauded in literature. The quintessential Mr. Bennet, who in lieu of living with a completely self-absorbed nitwit of a wife, suffers instead the trials of living with a woman who wears “clutter-blinders.”
You see, my dear Gentle Readers, I have become so involved in the activity of writing, that I am completely blind to the abhorrent mess that exists all about me. I firmly believe that the only reason that Hubs is still with me is because I have insomnia. What, you may ask, does insomnia have to do with it? I’ll tell you:
A few months ago, insomnia reared its ugly head, and with only a few intermittent periods of semi-normal sleep, I spend a great deal of each night (and day) awake. Wide awake. I am not a quiet person. Never have been. I don’t know if that attribute is commonly coupled with insomnia or not, but in me it is. I can’t just lie in bed and count sheep, or read quietly. I must have the television on, a bedside lamp on, my Kindle in hand, and my dear Sonya fired up and resting on its little desk, straddled over my lap. I have a lap, because I cannot remain prone. I noisily pile up a bunch of pillows behind my head and back in order to create a lap over which to place my desk. I haven’t brought out my earphones to use, so the various beeps and blips that Sonya emits, in addition to the Netflix movies frequently on her screen, are audible to anyone within earshot. This multi-tasking forms the bulk of each night.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have insomnia because I do these things, I have insomnia, so I do these things. Doctors finally acknowledged this after making numerous suggestions for better “sleep hygiene,” and discovered that without them, I actually do just lie there, getting more and more frustrated and irritated, working myself up into some sort of exhausted swivet, thereby preventing sleep from ever taking over. Self-hypnosis, bio-feedback, and meditation all help to a certain degree, but to date there has been no real cure for these extended periods of sleeplessness, so I found my own “inertly active” way of coping, and it works fairly well – for me, at least.
If I can over-tax my mind with leisure, I often will fall asleep, even if only for small increments of time. But a few minutes are better than none! If I get involved in serious things, my mind snaps awake, and I must see thoughts through to their completion, ending up more awake than ever; hence the “leisurely” activities of TV, laptop, and books. Now here’s where my own insomnia saves Hubs from suffering through his own: He is now able to get through each night of my sleep-destroying noise and light because I have retired to an upstairs bedroom we have dubbed “Paula’s Insomnia Room.” Hubs sleeps, and makes his bed every morning. He keeps our bed neat, and the floor beside it comparatively so, (not perfect mind you, but better than mine), and therefore can exist within some small corner of order.
Meanwhile, a bomb goes off regularly in the Insomnia Room – evidenced by the profuse scattering of my daily shrapnel – paper, magazines, instruction booklets, charging cords, computer paraphernalia, clothes, shoes, braces, medicine bottles, water and soda bottles, used kleenex, dirty dishes and flatware from the food I will occasionally cart upstairs, and full and empty laundry baskets intended for the dirty laundry I should haul downstairs, if only to sit unwashed in a pile in front of the washing machine.
I know the mess is there. I know it should be cleaned up. I know that Hubs would love for it to be cleaned up, as would I. It’s just that I haven’t gotten that magic wand thing down quite yet. Believe me, I have been working on that for years! For my own sanity, I have adopted the blindness technique. I simply refuse to see the clutter. It disappears before my eyes, and I am completely able to ignore its presence whenever I am absorbed with writing or reading.
My condition is not be equated or compared to those people who are known as “Hoarders.” I do not have scattered over or piling up on the floor anything that does not have its place (now empty) in a closet, drawer, sink, or trashcan. I have plenty of room to put everything. I just don’t. Hmmm. . .
Having guests over is motivation to get things spruced up a bit. Ah hah! you say. Just invite people over weekly! That would work fine, except there is one other teeny problem. I am rather anal about what constitutes clean. Things might look good on the surface, but as long as I know that it has not been cleaned and scrubbed within an inch of its life, I don’t believe that it is acceptably clean for guests, so instead of getting a lick and a promise from me, it gets nothing. I no longer have the energy physically to accomplish my desires, so I just don’t do any of it. I am one of those unfortunate people known as the “all or nothing” type. (Before you ask – Hubs does a lot of the work I don’t!)
The post is entitled “Clarity in Clutter” for a reason. It seems that sometime today, I actually achieved some clarity amidst all the clutter around me. I suddenly realized the real reason I have decided to start writing – wait for it, now – I am going to try to make enough money through free-lance writing to pay for a housekeeper! Someone who will come in once a week and clean up after me.
Herewith is my plea: Throw this old dog a bone! You know someone who needs a quick limerick or sing-song poem? Know someone who needs a filler article in their newspaper or magazine – a bit of nonsense, or perhaps an inspirational and uplifting short piece? You can give them my name. . .tell them that the poor woman needs to get to the bottom of the mess that is piling up in her insomnia room. She needs to do that so she can make her way out of the room in order to get the rest of the house clean enough to suit her. If that pitiful cry for help is not enough, then please consider Hubs – the long-suffering, tolerant, and brave man, who casts his eyes down upon the mess and sighs, knowing that it is not disappearing anytime soon. Poor guy! Take pity on him!
“Free the Dirty Laundry!”
“Jobs for Trashcans!”
“Save the Rugs!”
“Employing the Writer = Employing the Housekeeper = Pleasing the Hubs!”
Now, my gentle Readers, you have your marching orders. I am temporarily indisposed! Having tripped on the three pairs of shoes piled in the middle of the room, I am on my way to the Emergency Room. Looks like a long period of convalescence ahead. Hope it lasts just long enough. . .