Monday, November 21, 2011

An exercise in futility

This morning I was feeling cranky. My to-do list was long, and every single item on it seemed like an exercise in futility. Such as the following:

1. Wash dark laundry. In three days, everything I washed will somehow be dirty again. Also, I'm almost certain to forget some crucial thing, like my pajama pants or the diaper covers.

2. Wash diapers ... ditto, except it takes longer to wash them and less time to get them all dirty again.

3. Wash dishes. I will not even be done with the dishes before I start making more dishes.

4. Put away clean dishes. Since I have just washed all the most commonly used dishes, I'm going to put them in the cupboard where they will stay for eight hours tops before being taken out and used again. Leaving them in the rack would save me a lot of time.

5. Fold laundry. This is just ridiculous. Why are we required to arrange our clothes into geometrical shapes before we pull them out again, unfold them, and put them on? Sorting I can sort of see the point of ... but folding? I'll be lucky if they stay folded long enough to get into the dresser drawers.

6. Make yogurt. I do like yogurt. But it takes so long to make that nobody's going to want it by the time it's done. Then it will be gone in no time flat. Whereas if I keep it as milk, it will be gone in about the same amount of time. It gets eaten either way.

7. Put on clothes. I happen to like my pajamas. I'm not going anywhere, and the baby doesn't care. And if I put on a sweater before John gets home, he's unlikely to notice that I'm wearing the same sweatpants as I wore to bed.

8. Pick up baby toys in living room. Seeing as he is running around yelling at the top of his lungs while pulling more and more toys out and throwing them around, this is the biggest exercise in futility of them all. Every minute I spend cleaning, the place will get messier. But if I wait for all the toys to be out, eventually it will reach a critical mass of messiness and I will only have to pick up the toys one time. A little tripping between now and then won't kill me.

I am happy to report that I overcame my feelings of futility and did everything on this list. Well, except #7. Couldn't quite work myself up to that one. Other than that, it's a relief to have clean laundry, clean diapers, a clean kitchen (cleaned once by me, and once by John), yogurt in the fridge for an instant snack tomorrow, a kind-of-tidy living room, and clothes in the drawers. At least, in John's drawers. My clothes aren't folded because I simply couldn't see a reason to do it. But at least I now can find my underwear without having to dig through a pile of John's shirts.

The downside is that I am achy and exhausted and my legs are cramping up. I tend to do all my achieving in one day to buy myself several days of comparative slacking off. It used to be great because the more I did, the more momentum I worked up and the more I wanted to do. Now that I'm pregnant and getting by on six non-continuous hours of sleep a night, I wear myself out with this plan. But everything always needs to get done on Mondays!

Surely I'm not the only one who feels this unmotivated about the housework from time to time?


some guy on the street said...

Not the only one; not by a loooooong way. Said the single graduate student.

Sheila said...

Oh, good. It took so long for anyone to comment, I was thinking maybe I *was* the only one.

Enbrethiliel said...


1. I had a great laundry system for myself during my uni days. Whether I'd be able to wash clothes and bed sheets for a whole family is yet to be determined.

2. And diapers just complicate the already hazy answer to #1.

3. I'm not fond of dishes, either. My deal is always, "I'll cook if you wash!" Not that my brothers always take it. =P But I'll admit I like washing up better when someone else did the cooking; it's having to drudge before and after dinner that's the real demotivator.

4. Cupboards baffle me. Why shouldn't dishes all just stay out on the rack? (Have you ever read Lanna Nakone's work on organizational styles, Sheila? We may be the same type for whom "out of sight" really is "out of mind," and so we never like putting things away not because we're lazy but because we've determined it's impractical to do so.)

5. When I was younger, I told my mother I wouldn't have any dresser drawers. I'd just hang everything up. And she told me, "You'll stretch all your pretty knitted tops that way." I haven't had the chance to test that theory, but I wanted to share my own weariness with folding.

6. I've never done this, but I've had baking disappear faster than I can make it, so I understand!

7. LOL!

8. Heck, my own "toys" (namely, my books and my guitar) are still scattered all over the living room, and if I can't pick those up, well . . .

In any case, it's wonderful that you got so much done! Congratulations! =)

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