Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Maid of La Muncha

Whenever I feel life is just too easy, I buy a magazine.

Yesterday, in a visible sign of my need to make work for myself, I bought one of those "organization" rags.

The helpful pages tell how "you too can live in a house with other people and have a debris free existence." It looked so touchable and neat, I wanted this quieter life and felt I could have it if only I knuckled down and disciplined myself...so, I became a Knight Errant...

To Clean...the impossible Clean...
to Sort all the socks with their mates...
to fold...till the pile is nothing...
to sweep all the cobwebs away...

this is my Dream...to order this home...no matter how hopeless...

I tried the first method --Donate, Discard, Keep. It sounded promising.

Armed with a trash bag and a laundry bin, I went to the first room, resolute in my determination to sort everything in my two sons' room into one of three piles. After five minutes, it became apparent that I would need a forth pile for the clothing that belonged in another person's room, and a fifth pile for clothing that was out of season and a sixth pile for the things that my helpful toddlers kept bringing to me.

The magazine never said anything about toddlers undoing the work as you go, wearing the donations on their heads, reclaiming things from the trash, dumping the keep and jumping into it like leaves.

I felt I was playing Go fish with my kids who kept sorting back through the discard pile to find matches. Not one to give up easy, I put on the television to distract my "helpers" and started in on the 1/3 policy in the living room.

Now I get tunnel vision when I write, read, draw, watch TV or work. The world shuts away for me and I don't notice what should be obvious. I forget this is not what happens to everyone.

Helpers need snacks and thus the immediate urge to eat ten minutes after breakfast will superceed the desire to be entertained. So while Don Quixote was busy doing other things, like sorting laundry, Sancho and Dulcinea had to help themselves, which they did. Cereal and Hershey's syrup seemed like a good combo. Chocolate flavored Cherrios...they make a lovely mosaic on the floor. They even stick.

So we stopped in the living room and headed for the kitchen to address the newest distraction. That took wiping, sweeping, moping and no small amount of prayer. Then I had to clean up the artists. Bath time and new clothes, meaning more laundry. I wiped down the bathroom while they splashed and felt vaguely virtous for getting one room done while still providing appropriate loving care for my children. A mometary moment of victory for the Knight Errant.

But there remained the upstairs project I had half started. I admit, I was tired and the clock indicated it was near noon. Lunch time, the kitchen would be undone.

There was only one thing to do. Running up the stairs with my two helpers in tow, we bagged up everything we had already sorted, put everything else back into laundry baskets and called it a day. We went to celebrate at McDonalds.

And the magazine?

I put it in the recycling.

1 comment:

Aurora said...

that is how it works here, too: doing and undoing and redoing and forgetting and finding and doing and redoing...

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