Saturday, January 14, 2006

a whirling question

It has been brought to my attention that I don't know a thing about time management, also known as "setting priorities". One quick glance around my house is all you'd need to become convinced.

It's been said that nobody ever laid on his/her deathbed and bemoaned the fact that he/she hadn't spent more time at the office. But here's what I need to know: did anyone, just before meeting one's Maker, ever regret poor housekeeping?

This is a true concern of mine. I don't know how important housekeeping is, if at all. I have heard convincing arguments both ways.

More than one upstanding citizen has assured me that "the housekeeping can wait. It'll still be there when your child grows up, and you can take care of it then."

Is it true that I'm allowed to let it go for eleven more years? Can these people be serious? Should I not fear condemnation by the Board of Health, or arrest for child endangerment? (My child, incidentally, has become highy adept at leaping from one clearing of floor space to another, skillfully avoiding toppling my stacks of papers, books, magazines and dirtying my piles of laundry. I should think that this unusual ability could serve him well. At the very least, he has attained a lean, muscular appearance unlike that of many of his classmates.)

Then there are those who express horror at my housekeeping. One ex-boyfriend on a recent visit from Montana suggested that I drop everything else, take a leave of absence (unpaid of course) from work, and get my everloving shit together.

What's a woman to do? If I did take a leave of absence, I can see it now: I'd be sitting around surfing,reading and thinking, sipping Starbucks, having a great old time. As my dear friend TA puts it, I'm somebody who "needs a lot of down time". Even given all the time in the world, I'd still be far behind in my housekeeping, because it just is not a high priority in my life.

Today, for example, I could conceivably have cleaned all day. But this morning, while the child was occupied, I tried to catch up on reading my favorite blogs, including The Daily Blog with Kelly Bell. Kelley described, in one of her recent posts, an incredible childhood experience in the woods in which she saved an owl from a group of attacking birds, and the owl found a way to very clearly thank her. Inspired, I decided I had to take my child for a hike in the woods. The frigid, blustery air just added to the adventure. We didn't save any owls, but I bet my child is going to remember today's invigorating hike for years. It was time well-spent, in betty's book.

Many spiritual masters espouse cleaning house, in both the literal and figurative sense. I'm better at the figurative. Yes, I'd love to have an immaculate, uncluttered house, but I seem to lack the wherewithal to bring it about. I lack the necessary motivation to prioritize it and the skills required to pull it off in a timely fashion.

If physical housekeeping is deserving of a higher priority than I am currently assigning it, I truly want to know.


Sideways Chica said...

Hello Betty...

This is a hard post for me (hits close to home), as I am married to a highly organized, you can't believe how organized, individual. Even the toilet paper evidently has a right and wrong way of going on the roll. I didn't know this until I was 28-years old. How did I survive? You see, I thrive in chaos, I love spontaneity, I hate preset commitments to my time...or at least I resent them.

But I have to say, that for the past 16 years, I have modified my whirling a bit...and though I hate to admit it, I think for me it was for the better.

Having said that, please note that my "Virgo" husband is not allowed anywhere near my office, my closet or the trunk of my car. I still have to have my disorganized organization somewhere.

Go with the flow is what I say Betty. The child will more than likely, if not already, be a multi-tasker. And this is a good thing.

Ciao chica...

Kelley Bell said...

Awe shucks Betty. That was so sweet, and just when I was wondering if should quit wasting so much time writing, and clean my house instead.

(Im telling the truth here. This is one of those moments of syncronicity that ME Straus and I were just talking about.)

If I could attach a photo of my family room to this comment, you would LYAO.

Teri Franta, girl, you must have married me hubbies twin!

Thanks Betty. Your post warmed my heart and brought me hope, at just the right moment.

(Ask spirit, and...bling! There it is!)

Bet ya didn't know you were an angel did ya?

Lavender Dawn said...

I hate cleaning. My husband threatens divorce if I don't. So while unnecessary to some, I unfortunately have to succumb.

garnet david said...

HI Betty. I like that you see housecleaning in the figurative sense. The other version will find its way. Or, if not, it won't ruin your life.

Living fully is the goal. Some find it by cleaning house literally to find the figurative meaning. And others do it another way.

garnet david said...

I'd like to think more about this at Whirling Betty's Coffee Shop, where the truffles have no hard shells, the seats are heated and fuzzy soft, the chocolate chunk brownies are orgasmic, and the decor is all bright colors.

Kelley Bell said...

It's 7:30 am. I just finished cleaning my living room, thanks to the inspiration of my WhirlingBettyFriend.

Now I am free to enjoy a quiet Sunday morning with my family.

Then, at noon today, I will break the bonds of cyberspace and meet our wonderful Garnet in the flesh, by attending a performance of The Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

If his music compares to his poetry, my cup shall be filled with wine and roses.

Another Day, another Grand Adventure!

Shankari said...

Physical cleaning is passe, I'd think- (a fellow whirler, obviously). But the other, figurative one- thats high on my list presently. After years of living in a fog, having had intense experiences- some happy, others not so, I need to set my mental and emotional house in order. This is where I miss the practicality of physical house-cleaning. Had I been physically more sorted out, more 'clean' perhaps it'd have been easier to get a grip on other matters!?! But could have lived and been the same without responding to all those impulses and done the things I did? Confused and chaotic as ever! :)

PS: Lucky folk you, listening to Garnet's music, which surely must be as good as his poettry!

Priyamvada_K said...

LOL@question before meeting the Maker. Still smiling at that.

I too am bad at housekeeping. Trouble is, one fine day I'd decide to clean stuff out and my kid would mess it up in just 2 days. As it is I'd rather spend any freetime doing more fun stuff.

I figured this: my house is technically clean - as in dust, bacteria and grime are under check. But clutter-free? No chance!

I never thought of the gymnastic benefits this may provide to a child :)). Good one!


Empress Baggie said...

Dear Betty,

There's so much whirlin' goin' on around here that the Queen of The World is getting dizzy. Her Majesty's husband, His Royal Heinie, would disagree with that statement. Royal Heinie says that The Empress is merely getting dizzier.

Whirly Girly, you listen to your Empress Baggie right now. Housekeeping can wait. You are absolutely right about the walk you took with your child in the woods becoming an everlasting memory. Anyone who believes that household chores should be put before spending quality time with your children can just, um, take a hike.

Her Royal Highness wants an immaculate, organized palace. She has purchased books on decluttering and organization, cleaning, etc. She has checked out innumerous books from the public library on those same subjects. And she has read them all.

Actual implementation of the ideas contained in those volumes, however, is another story. The library books are overdue. They're lost, too. Who knows where they are. Probably under last Sunday's newspaper next to the Queen of The World's crochet/quilting/ newspaper-readin' recliner. Or on top of the Royal Chest of Drawers under the clean sweaters that haven't yet been put in the proper drawer. Or in the freezer under a bag of peas.

Whirling Betty, you're not living in filth, are you? You can walk through your home without fear of tripping on something with each step and breaking your neck, correct? And your home isn't a fire hazard, right?

So don't worry about other people's "standards" and "priorities" for housekeeping. Raise your young'un to be happy and healthy with lots of love and plenty of good memories.

When your child has flown from the nest, there will be plenty of time left for you to clean it.

Very truly yours,

ME Strauss said...

Whenever someone starts to talk to me about things such as that, I come in from left field and say something like, "Oh, do you really want to think of yourself as someone who thinks SO MUCH about something like that?" or maybe I say "Thank you, I haven't been called inconsequential and really bad at priorities for so long. I really needed that. Whew! I feel so much better now."

Anonymous said...