Saturday, April 08, 2006

I'm Leaving...On a Jet Plane...Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again...

When I lived and worked in NH, I had this friend Nancy.

Nancy was a hoot...someone I really admired and grew to love. I was perhaps 23 or so when I knew her, and Nancy was in her late 50's.

She was a no-nonsense woman, who had a ready laugh, and would hit the bars for a few drinks with us on a Friday night.

She had been widowed twice at a very young age, and married three times...having married one of those husbands twice.

Her first husband had died at 30 of a heart attack, leaving her with 4 children to raise on her own. She remarried her 2nd husband, divorced him a year later, and then remarried him again.

He was killed a few years later doing drills for the National Guard...a driver was backing a tank up into a garage, and trapped her husband against the wall, killing him.

Needless to say, Nancy was an amazingly strong woman...she did manage to raise those 4 kids for the remainder of their childhood. And she managed to really love life along the way.

One of my favourite stories that Nancy told me was about a year before her second husband died. She was feeling very overwhelmed, as young mothers often do...and really fed up with the day to day routine's of making lunches, doing laundry, cleaning house, grocery shopping, cooking meals, etc.

And, like most of us who do those tasks on a daily basis, was feeling very under-appreciated.

So, she sent her kids, who were between around 8 and 13 at the time off to school; kissed her husband good-bye for work, and left them a note that said,

"You are all taking me for granted; none of you realize how much I really do around here. Rather than complain anymore, I am taking a vacation to my sister's in Wisconsin. See you in three weeks."

And...she left on an airplane for her vacation!!

Wow...I always loved that story, long before I had a family and knew the real extent of how she was feeling.

When she returned, her house was spotless, and her family was so glad to see her. She had a long talk with her husband, who apparently made some very real changes after that.

Now...the moral of the story for me...

I'm feeling exactly the same way. I've always described myself as a Type A personality trapped in a Type B body. I'm hyper, and a "doer"...I can't stand procrastinating, and leaving things undone. When I have free time, I want to use it to its best advantage.

I hate how much of my time feels "wasted" by every day tasks of, cleaning, ironing, vacuuming, etc...

Its a cycle that never, ever seems to end, and most of the time, it is literally one against three in my house...I clean and the rest of them make the mess!

I used to say that my sister cleaned more than anyone I had ever met, yet she had the most cluttered house of everyone I'd ever met.

Now, I understand why. Like she did at the time, I have a young family, and ironically enough, I have married a man who not only looks like her husband, but acts like him too.

If Type A is the most "hyper" personality Type, then Wayne is about a Q on the scale.

I think some of it is that I'm not a routine person...I cannot follow a routine like my mother-in-law...laundry on Monday, vacuuming on Tuesday, grocery shopping on Wednesday.

Just the thought of that drives me crazy!!! And God forbid if you upset that routine...there is hell to pay.

But, as much as I hate to admit it, I have own mother's trait of not being able to sit still for a moment, and always having to be "puttering."

Wayne...not so much. The man embraces relaxing...he eats a meal, he relaxes, he brings groceries in from the car, he relaxes, he mows the lawn, he relaxes. Couple that with his ability to find a baseball/football/hockey/bowling/golf game on the tv 24/7, and get the idea.

Today, he is off at a simulated Little League game (don't ask) he has decided to start Little League baseball in our town.

And when he gets guessed it...he will have to "relax" from his day.

I've done 5 loads of laundry, washed dishes, cooked breakfast & lunch for my kids, showered, dressed, grocery shopped...and as I look around my house, have so much more to do before my house meets my standards.

There are piles of papers on my kitchen table that Wayne has left behind...Little League sign-up sheets, phone numbers, etc. Not to mention the countless little computer parts and pieces that come home with him because of his job.

Paige has taken every magazine in our house out to look at it on the living room floor.

As I look around, I can follow Dakotah's trail of activities for the day. She polished her nails in the living room, leaving remover and nail polish, along with about 10 cotton balls on the coffee table. She's been outside, because she dropped her sweatshirt off in a chair instead of hanging it up. She's fiddled with her hair, adding gel, and leaving that along with a brush and a comb on the couch.

She's changed her clothes at least 3 times that I can count, as she is going to the movies tonight with friends, and must achieve that perfect look. This means that her bedroom floor is now covered in clean, unworn clothes, that when I ask to be picked up, will be stuff in the hamper and I'll wash them, not exactly knowing what is clean and what is not.

She's been in my makeup...which isn't a huge problem, but God knows where my mascara might be right now.

The more manical I become about getting all this clutter picked up the more "relaxed" my family will become. Wayne will generously tell me, "just relax....don't do it right now."

This is not some secret code for "I'll do it" simply means...don't do it can do it later.

I always, always feel so robbed of time...time for my family, time for myself, time to make a difference...and all of these daily tasks are just killing me today.

I wonder how much a ticket to Wisconsin really does cost?


Tara Marie said...

I'll join you!

You post rings so true with me....I can't sit still for a minute and I have so many projects in the works,,,and I vaccume the floors twice a day and at the moment of vaccuming is the only time they are truly clean.

Nancy sounds like a wonderful and very strong woman. It is so great to have had mentors in your life such as her.

The Imperfect Christian said...

I'm comin' with ya'll!!!

My husband's saying is "It's okay! It's clean! It's not that bad." In code this means, "I don't want to have to do it so I'll tell you it's okay even if it's not."

Men, ugh!!