July 8, 2002
Even though it’s the Monday after a three-day weekend, which is a classic blues trigger, I’m feeling better today than yesterday. Despite my pessimism, I managed to get through almost all the remaining items on my to do list for yesterday, with the exception of drafting the book club questions, and that doesn’t really have to be done until Wednesday. As an experiment, I wrote down estimates for how long I thought each task would take and them kept track of actual time for most of them. I was right on for some, but way off on others, and not consistently high or low, either. Putting away the laundry took half the time I thought it would, while finishing the reader’s guide book took about twice as long as I’d guessed. It all balanced out, and I have some time to relax on the couch with magazines and tv, and even did a few things that weren’t on the list but should have been, like cleaning Bubba’s house tray and clearing off two of the kitchen counters.
I hope I’m on a roll, because I’ve got three nights to get the house clean for company. The woman who had Bubba before we did is coming on Thursday for dinner and working on blocks for the group baby quilt we’re doing with two other ladies. Since she seems to spend a tremendous amount of time cleaning her apartment, and this will be her first visit to our home, I want to make a good impression by at least clearing the worst messes. Plus, it’s good motivation to get the house clean for us, too, since both Mr. Karen and I feel more relaxed when things are tidy (though our tolerances are different, and I get relaxed at a lower level of clean than he does).
I’m intending to use this cleaning sweep to get my card system populated with tasks. I started that over the weekend, finding a card file box and dividers, deciding which color cards would be for daily, weekly, and zone tasks, writing out a few cards as I did things around the house. Looking for the dividers, I was faced with a perfect example of why I need to get more organized: I found two unopened and the equivalent of about two more opened packs of white 3 x 5 cards, which meant I really hadn’t needed the three packs I’d bought when I went to get the colored ones for the card system, thinking we were about out (since the stack in the place I’d looked for them before was depleted) and I’d need a bunch to catalog all the new fabric I bought at the quilt show. Sigh. At least now I’ve got them all in one place and know where they are.
Being me, almost as soon as I started to write on the colored cards for the cleaning system, I started to get anxious about running out. Just substituting another color (or white, since I am now drowning in white cards) in the event I ran out was not going to work; it would ruin the system. (Yes, I have issues, despite therapy). I felt much better after I went to Office Depot on Saturday and bought a back-up pack. After wandering the aisles coveting gel pens and colored paper and a particularly luscious purple backpack and all sorts of other things, I felt it showed great self-control when I left the store with only the fluorescent cards I’d come for, a pack of pastel cards (I use them for captions in our photo albums), a pack of marbled cards (New!), and a package of Post-It flags in colors to match the fluorescent cards (not sure how I’ll work them into the system, but I just couldn’t resist the matching-ness).
One problem I’m having with the system is deciding what should be a weekly task versus a zone task. I have established six zones—bedrooms, bathrooms/hallways, kitchen, family room, living room/dining room, and basement/garage—so the zone tasks will get done every six weeks or so. Some decisions are easy—obviously doing the laundry has to be weekly, or we’d run out of clean clothes—but others have me stumped. Given that most cleaning chores now get done a lot less often than every six weeks, I think I’ll err on the side of assigning things as zone tasks. They can always be promoted to weekly later. I’m wary of overloading myself with daily and weekly assignments in this first flush of enthusiasm, since a system is no good if I get discouraged and can’t keep up with it.
So, by Thursday, I plan to have a clean house and a full box of colored index cards to help me keep it that way. It could happen.
One thing that has happened is my journal home page is now here, with latest entry links added for those of you who’d rather bookmark something like that.