I’ve had lots of good intentions this week that have gone the way of so many good intentions. Don’t know how or why, but those things that I promised myself would get done are still on the “To-Do” list waiting to be done. They seem to be a patient lot.
There are quite a number of them. So many in fact, that they have organized themselves into categories based on location. There is the “To-Do” list in the garage. If I am honest, these are the ones that will be the last to get done. I am able to easily set them aside because they are out of sight and only invade my consciousness when I drive in and out of the garage.
Then there is the collection of “To-Do’s” in my office. These are harder to ignore, since I am dependent on finishing some of these in order to secure income sufficient to support my lifestyle. I am much more motivated to get these done, although there is an on-going debate between my inner four year-old and my more responsible self. Currently the four year-old is complaining that she just “doesn’t wanna do it!” and, with her little fists firmly planted on her hips, she is pouting. I have an increasing tendency to accede to her demands since I actually am in agreement with her!
That leaves the weekly “boring but necessary” to-do’s of laundry, garbage, dusting, picking-up and watering the plants. Oh, if only I had a wand to wave, a nose to magically twitch, or sufficient income to afford staff to manage these tasks. Having been raised by a mother who followed the old Victorian dicta of Monday, washday; Tuesday, ironing; Wednesday, mending; Thursday, market; Friday, baking; Saturday, cleaning; and Sunday, church, these routines were drilled into me from a young age. Truth be told, this schedule is actually a wonderful way to maintain a certain level of order within the chaos and variability of my life. But that four year-old continues to weigh in on the having to do it vs. the wanting to have it done.
I have developed a high tolerance for messiness. Papers can be strewn everywhere on my desk. Piles of journals and magazines reside on shelves as well as the floor and one end of the dining room table. They are nomadic in nature, traveling from table top to floor to in-box until they eventually are put in the recycling. These piles are not disturbing to me. I truly know what is in them, and they have an intuitive order that is perfectly clear to me, but does cause confusion and irritability in others. I had a boss once who came into my office and pointedly told me to get things cleaned up because he couldn’t find what he wanted.
Periodically I sort through things that in moments of impulse I printed out, cut out, or downloaded for future use. I can trace this behavior directly to my mother who was an inveterate clipper of articles. I vowed I would not replicate this behavior, but have fallen prey to the ease of printing or copying. My files are filled with these bits of information that I have promised to look at someday. I suspect they will end up being like the journals and make their way to recycling sooner or later. Probably later.
My husband and I used to share the office. His side was a model of architectural efficiency. Mine was more like a Jackson Pollack canvas. We periodically negotiated changing “His/Her” zones within the small space we shared. These negotiations often reflected acquisition of new office equipment, book shelves, or the focus of a particular project. Since his death, I have taken over the whole of the space and wonder how we could ever have shared it.
Today my neighborhood is holding its annual garage sale. This is an opportunity for me to put into circulation things that I no longer need or want. I have put aside many objects for this sale and had good intentions of setting up tables, placing price stickers on items, and having everything ready to release. But that darn four year-old kept pulling me away from these tasks. So I will keep my garage door closed today and allow my collection to increase in value one more year.
That just leaves my regular tasks ahead for the week. I intend to get them done, as well as tackle some of those things that I have been putting off. This means I will need to tear myself away from Facebook, from binge-watching TV, and taking a nap. Well, maybe I will take that nap.
Happy Father’s Day
Since this blog is published on Sundays, it would be an oversight for me not to acknowledge the debt I owe my father, grandfather, and other men who have shared their wisdom and guidance with me over the decades. My grandfather provided a role model for what a gentleman was supposed to be. He outlived my father and had a more lasting impact on my values and beliefs.
My grandfather’s legacy included demonstrating dignity in the face of loss. He was not ashamed to cry when my grandmother died. He maintained a positive attitude as his ability to care for himself declined. He demonstrated commitment to his faith and trust in his God, and approached death without fear.
My father died when I was 14. While I would have preferred to have him live and long and healthy life, I now believe his death was perhaps his greatest legacy to me in that I learned quite early on that we are not granted endless opportunities to say “I love you.”, or “I’m sorry.”
These phrases may have been difficult for men of that generation to utter. For so many of them, free expression of emotions was either never modeled or was considered unmanly. Yet they are powerful statements that are often key in healing wounds left from childhood. Such statements echo only in my memory, as my father and grandfather are long gone. But I delight in hearing them spoken today by fathers and grandfathers no longer bound by that norm.