Sunday, January 27, 2008

weekends are not long enough

In my head, I have this project list of stuff I want to get done over the weekend. Or several weekends. It’s really organized into Big Projects: Dig out and organize 1) my Sanctuary/Guest Room, 2) our Bedroom, 3) Sewing Room (for lack of a better name—it’s where our sewing machines and craft crap is now), and 4) the Living Room. The primary purpose is to declutter and clean. Mainly declutter.

In my sanctuary, which is also the guest room, I need to put away my clothes (the downside of living in a 200-year-old house is that closets are a joke, IF there are even any closets in the room to begin with), wash the quilts and remake the bed and figure out how to keep the cat hair off (I guess I will have to break down and use a throw, which I hate since I have such pretty bedding in there), clean the floors and make space so I can actually do yoga if I ever can get myself motivated enough to put in the yoga CD I got two years ago. That’s phase one. Phase two is refinishing the wood paneling (it’s real wood paneling—not that fake crap), re-doing the floor, and painting what little trim there is there—it looks exactly the same as it did in 1955 except that we turned the twin-size captain’s bed into a double bed.

Our bedroom is not so much work: just decluttering the nightstands, making Stanley put away his clothes, and vacuuming about ninety pounds of dog and cat hair out of there. Stanley already began painting the room—it will be stunning if we ever finish it. The walls are the color of twilight just before full dark and the cabinet doors and drawer fronts are a deep orangey-rust, with the ceiling and trim and doors bright white. We need to stain the dresser top and counter tops mahogany to match our bed (our antique four-poster that Stanley refinished—it’s beautiful) and copper-leaf the frame around the mirror and the radiator cover insets, and that will be done. It sounds like having deep blue walls would be oppressive, but it’s not at all—it’s very beautiful.

And the sewing room ... have to get rid of junk that I haven’t touched in all the years I’ve been here, unclutter big time. I found beautiful wallpaper for the non-paneled walls (the good paneling, again—needs refinishing to restore them) to cover up the pegboard and Stanley can put his built-in desk back together—and then we can set up at least one of our sewing machines. I need a new area rug, and we need to put up some bookcases, and I need a new counter top or a way to paint Formica, and that room will be done. The Formica is this hideous fake walnut wood Formica—it’s not even anything cool that I could go with to make the room a real retro style room. I read somewhere that there is a way to refinish Formica—but I just don’t want to go through all that trouble and have it end up looking like painted over Formica.

And finally, the living room. Which is just a matter of emptying and getting rid of the rest of the boxes that have been living there since Stanley emptied his storage bin. We got rid of more than half of them already—we’ve just run out of room for the books (oh, did I mention? The boxes were and are primarily boxes of books). The living room, when emptied of boxes, is beautiful. There’s something about the proportions that just work in there, with a fireplace diagonally across one wall, two arches, plaster walls, nicely placed windows. Of course the antique Queen Anne chair badly needs reupholstering, as does the small couch and the seats on some of the chairs (just covering them—we saw on Antiques Roadshow that the original seating material makes the chair a lot more valuable even if it’s disgusting). There’s one small sofa that I’d dearly love to get for the room, a colonial style with a Jacobean pattern. And I’d like to put an table Stanley has stashed next to the windows. But mainly the room doesn’t need much done to it once we get rid of the boxes. We have some more artwork to put up. It’s just such a serene and lovely place when not used as a storage room that I can’t wait to get it back to that state.

So that’s my master plan. Trouble is, it has been for about two months now. Saturday comes and I just am so tired I can’t get motivated to do anything major, or I have work I need to catch up on. I know my main problem is that I need to organize days better. Organize my days, period. I tend to let work take over, but it takes me quite a while in the morning to actually get started on specific tasks after dealing with my email and catching up on the news. I know I need to structure things to spend only so much time in the office working, and get that started earlier in the day (I procrastinate, but lately it’s been much worse than ever), and build in all the odds and ends I know will make my life more functional. And take Ginger for a walk at 5:00 instead of listening to the talking heads on MSNBC.

So Monday, January 28, I’ll start on my first work task within an hour after sitting down at my desk (an hour should do it for email and catching up), I will take a real break for lunch, I will take a cleaning break (one book I read suggests spending five minutes a day cleaning one room that needs it, or maybe it was ten minutes, but at any rate if you do it every day things don’t get so out of control), I will walk Ginger at 5 pm or play the ball-up-the-stairs game if it’s bad weather, I will spend ten minutes each evening decluttering a square foot or a stack or drawer at a time, I will stop working after I get 5-6 solid billable hours in per day (unless I’m in flow—it’s just too stupid for me to stop during flow), I will spend 30 minutes a day just reading (I have so many books waiting!) and to do the reading I will start going to bed a lot earlier than I have been. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of staying up all night whether or not I’m working on something, sometimes just staring at whatever is on HGTV like some mindless blob if I don’t fall asleep on the couch during Countdown. And thinking while staring at the how-tos that I could be doing something while watching it instead of just sitting there.

Stanley has been pretty patient with me during this latest bout of blobness, but it’s not fair to him. I might not be able to do the dishes, but I can sweep! I think I’m getting tired of this too, so this impetus to change my ways has finally hit. Especially since I accomplished nothing outside of getting some work done (billable work, I mean) this weekend and that’s not enough—nothing that I wanted to do, which is stressing me out even more than I have been.

Anniversary lilies next to the window at sunset, January 25, 2008

Last week, on January 23, it was our third wedding anniversary. Stanley gave me two bouquets of flowers, roses and the Peruvian lilies (click to enlarge the photo) I love, and a mushy card that made me really happy (he rarely gives me mushy cards). I gave him a card and took him to dinner at Bond, which we enjoyed. For my anniversary gift I told Stanley I want half of a snow blower, and he said we could get one though he doesn’t see the point since it hasn’t snowed much this year. I’m not sure if we should just get something else or just go get the snow blower. I know the anniversary is leather, but I don’t need or want anything leather (he already replaced the purse his cat destroyed!) and I’m thinking it would be a nice anniversary present to get something for us, like something for the house. And the last time we (mostly Stanley) had to shovel was really a bitch—we’re both getting too old for that nonsense; who needs a heart attack? I think if we decide to get something else, we’ll be hit with several bad blizzards and if we do get the snow blower, it won’t snow until 2011. (Superstitious? Me?)

Off to bed with me—I really want to get up earlier tomorrow so I’m tired tomorrow night ...

posted by lee on 01/27/08 at 11:30 PM

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