Friday, February 06, 2015

Contradictory condition

It's 2.45 pm and I have just washed and changed out of my pyjamas.  I haven't been lounging around in them though I can't help thinking the FlyLady would disapprove most strongly.  I got up this morning determined to get the kitchen under control.  I haven't been feeling well the past couple of days, and have allowed things to slip, but the sad truth is that if it doesn't need doing in order to make a cup of tea or cook on the hob (ie if we still have clean cups and pans and plates etc) then no one else in the family will think to do it.

So... I started with the washing up and managed to turn the water to ice for Tom, who was showering in the bathroom.  It's the only disadvantage I have found so far for our wonderful new heating system - if someone uses water elsewhere in the house, you have a hard time maintaining a stream of hot water.  You soon hear about it if you do this!

I left that for a while and sorted things in the dining room - there are still sundry things from Christmas, including a selection of silly hats my mother passed on to me, which need to go in a box and be put in the loft.  I put them in a box.

I mused that I am a person full of contradictions.  I am tidy and untidy, organized and disorganized, clean and dirty.  My drawers are neatly organised, and I know what their contents is and where it is, but on the surface there is chaos.  I am obsessively clean when it comes to preparing food, washing my hands at the beginning but also if I have to touch a door handle, drawer handle or any other possible contaminated surface.  I make sure that I never prepare meat and vegetables on the same board, I hotwash anything which has been used for raw meat and especially am careful with anything which has touch poultry. Meanwhile, dust accumulates on the windowsills and my windows are gradually frosting over with coal dust and grime and I barely notice it.

I will tidy up beads and cotton reels into jars of similar colours, and sort stones and shells into categories known only to me, but I will happily go blind to piles of washing or bags of stuff waiting to go to the charity shop unless I start having to climb them in order to get to the fridge.  It's so much less interesting. 

I emptied the dishwasher and refilled the dishwasher, washed up pots and pans, put the gammon from last night in the big fridge.  I scraped out fat and dark brown material from the pan that it had cooked in and wondered whether the rehabilitation of fat as no longer the source of all ills extended to the gubbins which is left at the bottom of a pan when the joint has been cooked?  I remembered my grandparents scraping it into a bowl and frequently eating bread and dripping for a snack, and wondered whether it would be considered healthy or unhealthy to do that now.  I'm not much of a carnivore (another contradiction - I can take or leave most meat but I sometimes do crave a steak or lamb chop) and I've never much liked gravy, but the gubbins in the pan was attractive.  I scraped it out and into the bin, feeling guilty (about the waste) and virtuous (about not having eaten it) at the same time.

I managed to make it more or less respectable, changed the tablecloth, and then sat down to write my blog about intellectual property in Second Life, and before I knew it, 2pm had arrived, and I was still in my pyjamas.  As the postman has delivered the second parcel for my next door neighbour, I knew it was likely she'd drop in to pick them up, and so decided it was time to make myself respectable for an external audience, which I have now done.

I must now tidy up the living room in case she accepts my invitation to have a cup of tea, and comes in!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Finding my normal again

Alien overloards infect the cucumber....
You know how some days you click on something in Facebook and it takes you to a blog and then you read a couple of posts and end up on a link from there and then read a couple of items which takes you somewhere else and...?  Sometimes my life feels like that.

I got up this morning thinking that today TODAY I would get back to my fly lady apprenticeship.  I tried the FlyLady method of cleaning and organizing the house a few years ago, and though I untimately let it slip, I still do certain things I learned to do then.  I still (erratically) keep a control journal and attempt to note any important correspondence or phone calls in it.  It was the most useful thing... although I have failed to add my addresses and phone numbers to the most recent one, because... well because I am lazy and can generally find those things when I need them in my phone.

It was cold in the house when I woke up.  Not freezing cold, I'd only turned the central heating down, not off, but it was cold enough that I didn't want to have my bath until the house was warmed.  You are supposed to dress properly to laced up shoes (although who wears those around the house nowadays except for FlyLady devotees, I don't know) and I hate putting on my day clothes if I haven't had my bath.  So I pulled on jogging trousers and a top over my pyjamas and tiptoed downstairs like a naughty child, for all the world as though the FlyLady could actually see me.

Strike two was not going straight to the kitchen to shine my sink.  It would have been pretty difficult to do, and not just because my sink is ceramic and not very shiny at the best of times.  The kitchen was devastation city with dirty crockery piled up by the dishwasher, which was full of clean crockery, and the sink itself had been piled with dirty saucepans and tins from the oven. 

We had a semi-disaster yesterday when I discovered the freezer hadn't been properly shut the night before and the alarm had been going off since the previous evening.  It is a very tiny and pathetic alarm, which my daughter assumed was a smoke alarm running out of juice ("I'd have wanted to know that too!" I said, when she used this as an excuse for not investigating or telling me so I could investigate).  As a consequence we had a merry variety of foods in various states of defrosting - and we took pot luck for dinner depending on preference.  I had a melange of defrosted seafood, and very nice it was too... but the children all cooked their own stuff and then played Jenga in the washing up bowl with the debris.

So I emptied the dishwasher and restacked it, washed up the pans and tins from last night, but left them drying on the draining board instead of drying them and putting them all away as prescribed.  Guiltily I sat at the computer and to assuage my housework guilt posted three blogs on my Caliandris Pendragon blog about Second Life.

It occurred to me that I could have been a celebrated blogger by now, given that there were only seven UK blogs to be found on Google (or more likely Yahoo) when I first started blogging in 1998, and people used to say to me "You're writing a what now?"  because they'd never heard of a blog, didn't have a computer except at work, and couldn't understand why anyone would.

But life intervened, I gave it up after six months, and although I have had a lot of different blogs since then, I haven't gone back to writing properly every day the way I did then, because I tend to dissipate my anger and passion in the comments stream on the Guardian or on Facebook or Twitter.  I no longer blog properly, recounting the great websites visited, because I am too busy being Mrs Angry of Market Rasen.

So.  I achieved that item on my to do list, did some tidying up, dealt with the tv licence people on the telephone and then, house warmed up, went to have my bath.

I took my lunch with me on the basis that I would be multi-tasking and therefore saving time but the days when I could read, eat lunch, have a bath and chat on the telephone all at the same time are long past.  I can say without fear of contradiction that it was counter-productive having lunch in the bath.  Doh!

I couldn't even juggle book and plate and so I meditated on the fact that I do so enjoy writing, and so I really ought to be more disciplined and write more.  Now that I have started, I can't help thinking that maybe I should return to a more disciplined approach and plan out what to write and draft it before I put pixels to page.  I'm used to the spontaneity of blogging... but maybe I would write better if I were less spontaneous and put more effort into it.  Or maybe I'd never get around to it at all.

A couple of weeks ago I found some letters I'd received from my brother when he was in Australia and later at University.  I don't recall ever having written to him, but it is clear that I did, and he writes of crying with laughter at my descriptions of various family events.  It's been a long time since I made anyone cry with my writing, but maybe I'd like to try that again.  Flylady can wait... posterity needs me!