Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Things are improving

I have made a lot of progress on the house.  At this point there are 20 boxes left.  Some of those are dvds/cds that need to be ripped before they are gotten rid of.  Most of them are childrens/young adult literature and are waiting for the bookshelf that arrives next Saturday. (!) I will spend next Saturday and Sunday painting the bookshelf and then the rest of the "unpacking" should take ~30 minutes.  Then the boxes will be out of my house.  I am posting on freecycle today to get rid of the boxes.

So when I say I am capable of really ridiculous amounts of work, that's what I mean.  I cried.  I ranted.  I had a few emotional breakdowns (it's really good that Sarah and Noah can be patient with me) but we dealt with why I was having them and I soldiered on.  Because that's what I do.  The actual "unpacking" has less than two hours to go.

Now we get into sorting, decluttering, and storage.  Ugh.  It's not really part of "unpacking" but it is the hardest part of combining two households.  We have been making nearly daily runs to the local thrift store with a van full of stuff.  I had to make a trip over this morning because we can't put the kids in the van yet and Sarah wants to take Shanna to the museum. I must say that I experienced writing that last sentence with butterflies in my stomach and I had to bounce from joy.  Someone other than me is going to take Shanna to the museum.  Oh man.  I'm excited.  I find that I am having trouble feeling present with the "joy" of parenting when I do it 24/7.  That is already changing.

On the decluttering front: we have already gone through bakeware, pots and pans, purses, the glass cabinet, bathroom stuff (this was huge), and a ton of Sarah's clothes. We've done massive book purges, but we probably need to get rid of more.  I had a hard time this weekend because I have already gotten rid of everything I have ever owned that qualifies as "permanent storage", such as my baby box.  All my teaching stuff.  We truly do not have space for things that are not in use.  And I just won't pay for a storage unit.  I uhhh did not bring this up in a polite way, but I brought it up.  From what I could tell, both Sarah and Noah were unaware that I had already done that and it kind of changed their perception of how serious I am about storage.  Maybe.  That could be projecting.  But they had interesting facial expressions as I sobbed.  Getting rid of stuff is hard.  It feels like I am erasing my very existence.  So I get why Noah and Sarah are more resistant, but we only have so much space.

I need to have this house decluttered to the point where everything has a home and we can clean it quickly.  I just can't deal with all the stuff any more.  I am in this house night and day.  I have to feel comfortable in it.  I really feel emotionally overwhelmed by excess stuff.  I feel rather bad that I lured Sarah (who has a lot of cool stuff) into joining the semi-broken dynamic I have with Noah where I constantly badger him to get rid of stuff.  In my defense I get rid of my stuff before I get rid of anyone else's stuff.  Does that make it better?  Probably not.  But as long I am responsible for the vast majority of the cleaning, I have to be able to do it.  And I can't do it if I can't put everything away.

And if I paid a maid service I would still be doing like most of the cleaning.  The problem with cleaning is that you have to be able to sort, put things away, do dishes, do laundry, and be present for the incidental spills 100% of the time to actually be useful to me. The part a maid could do would only free up about an hour and a half or two hours a week.  And I really loathe the experience of trying to get the house tidy enough for maid service and then let it stay tidy until they arrive.  It's stressful.  My kids (until today!!!!) don't usually leave the house without me so I can't schedule things around them not being here to mess the house up.  Only now I can.  Hmmmm.  Maybe this is a more appealing option now than it used to be.  I'll think about it.

I suspect that part of the problem is that I have gotten past the easy (for me) parts of adding an adult to our house I am freaking out because the next bits are hard.  I have to walk a fine line between pushing people to get rid of stuff they have emotional attachment to and letting everyone decide for themselves what stuff they need.  I don't need the same stuff as Noah or Sarah to be happy.  We are incredibly different.  We are materialistic Americans with hobbies, yes there are things we feel we need to keep doing the things that make us happy.  That's not a moral failing.  But where does the stuff go?  This is a small house.  When I measured the rooms years ago I determined that inside the house is around 950' sq of living space.  Adding the garage adds 528' sq.  I am not thrilled with the layout, but I can make it work.

I need to sort through and organize the books and linens (finished before thrift run) and notepads.  Those are the current most over-full areas of the house.  I'm kind of terrified of books, honestly.  I'm not sure where we would put another bookshelf but we may have to find a spot.  Part of the problem is, this house is dark.  If you completely line the walls with bookshelves (that I also don't want to pay for) then it feels like a cave.  I wasn't happy in the house like that.  That was how the living room worked for years.  And it is always messy because the kids destroy the books.  Ugh.  That's why there aren't adult books in the living room.  I wanted to kill my kids because they were constantly strewn across the room.  I feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it.  I was constantly hurting myself and tripping.  I couldn't keep the floor clear for more than 15 minutes and it was awful.  I just don't want that in my life.  It sucks.  We have to fit this layout of books.  I can't put them back in the living room.  I can't deal with the stress.  Or Sarah will find a good bookcase for her room.  Oh god.  Not the living room.  And those freakin notepads.  Does anyone want any 3 ring spiral notebooks?  We have enough to furnish an elementary school for a year.  Freecycle.  That's where those should go.

Which is to say, I'm actually past all the hardest work.  I'm fidgeting stuff around until it fits now.  The kids can be in the same room while I work without making a mess so I can work all day long.  Though I did take yesterday off from the unpacking/sorting.  I'm to the point where I am pretty sure I could stack things in the storage area and have the party this weekend.  Oh man.  That's a lovely thought.  I really don't want to do that, so I'm going to keep plugging away.

It's probably worth explicitly stating that when I am miserable I post a lot.  When I'm being productive I don't post.  I rarely feel the need to steal moments away from happy times to announce on the internet that I'm happy.  Things are on an upswing.  I'm still a stress monkey because I am.  Yeah.  Dude.  Uncle Bob died less than three months ago.  Divorcing my family was also, less than three months ago.  I think the fact that I am to the point where I'm just over angsting about unpacking isn't actually so bad.  I'm still having a hard time being nice with friends.  I think I'm doing well with the girls.  They are both cheerful and seem to be thriving and growing.

I need to just hit post.

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