Corner of Order and Chaos

Gah, my house.

“I’m tired of you leaving your crap everywhere!”  (Sidenote: I’d like to take this moment to pause and warn you all that ‘crap’ is a very bad word to some people.  Years ago, I used this word in my classroom in front of my students and a parent called and complained to the superintendent. Yeah, that happened.  Oh boy.  Needless to say, I don’t use this word anymore in my classroom.  This wasn’t my proudest moment.)   “Get your crap outta here,” is what both of us have said to our kids on numerous occasions, but the fact is… the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When I get home from work, I don’t want to clean. Can I get an AMEN?!

My house is actually a barrier to connection for me right now.  I don’t want any of you to see what kind of disarray I’m living in.


Let’s start with the couch.  Last summer, we bought a cute black pleather sectional off Craig’s list.  It was sleek, modern and perfect for our living room.  Now, its totally trashed.  It started with a little tiny piece of the pleather that peeled off.  I had hoped that our cats wouldn’t use the couch as a scratching post as they had done with the previous couches.  (They didn’t.  Boo-yah!)  Instead, our cat that we call Libble, who is not so Little, decided that the pleather covering was cramping his style as is, and it would look better to expose the thin white layer of lining underneath.  So whenever his style is cramped, which is often, he walks over and casually starts chewing on the couch!  AHHHHH!  This must happen often when we’re not at home, because now that cute little black sectional looks like peeling aged skin that’s spent hours on the beach.  It ain’t pretty people.  (You’d still sit on my pleathered aged couch if I had you over, right?  I do cook fabulous food.)  Why is it that this bothers me so much?  Furniture that looks less than presentable.  I know its not a reflection of me.  But, on some level, I must feel like it is.  I think it makes me feel vulnerable, like I don’t have my shit together because I have a couch that is peeling.  I’m weird.  But you already knew that.

Moving toward Order (in my head only, you gotta start somewhere)

I also don’t want to pay for someone to clean my house. We all know you have to clean and tidy BEFORE the house cleaner comes.  It’s a viscious cycle.  My sister told me about this imagesbook called, the life-changing magic of tidying up, (I’m not capitalizing this title because apparently Japanese books about tidying do not need to be capitalized because it makes the title more tidy) about the Japanese
cleaning style of dealing with clutter.  I don’t have time to read the book. Ugh.  I only have more week of summer and do I really want to spend my free time reading about decluttering?  If you saw my house, you’d say, “Hells yeah!”  But it’s a lot of commitment, decluttering.  I’ll need to rent a dumpster.  For realz.  Maybe I could upcycle some of my junk, but let’s be real, some of this stuff is just trash, basura, dumster-ready and should be kicked to the curb.

Housekeeper Shmousemeeper

I did have someone clean my house at one point and the house cleaner gave me a hard time about how much she had to clean. It was SO MUCH more work than some of the other houses she cleaned.  Oh brother.   I said to myself like, “Do I have to feel shame about how ‘dirty’ my house is, really?  That’s why I hired someone.  I need help.”  So, when she moved, I conveniently (or inconveniently) didn’t hire anyone else.  All that to say, since back surgery (in 2011) and probably two years prior to that, rigorous house cleaning was uber challenging physically.  Vacuuming and mopping would set my back off and I’d be down for the count for a few days.  It didn’t take much, (turns out that 10mm bulging disc sitting on my nerve really wasn’t my imagination.)

Reasons (ahem, excuses) for not decluttering

Reason #1:  I don’t want to fill the landfills with my junk. (I am SUCH an environmentalist, not.)   I feel bad when I throw stuff away that someone else might use.  I’m not worthy. (Kinda sick right?)

Reason #2: What if I NEED the item I’m trashing or donating?  Like, I’m going to totally NEED this extra air mattress pump just in case the other one we have dies.

Reason #3: What if there’s a zombie apocalypse and I need this item for a MacGyver-like escape from a zombie?  I mean, this could happen right?  You with me?  Any Walking Dead Fans out there?  It happens all the time… they just need that last bottle of antibiotics found in a dead person’s house to save the life of their living friend. (If I’m dead, I am well stocked with unused bottles of antibiotics and vitamin C and Tums.  A post apocalyptic diet consists of a ton of canned food, so you will need Tums after that can of chile con carne.)

Reason #4: I might want the future generations to have this awesome scarf, because it’s cool and 2016 is going to be amazingly groovy in 2036 and I’m going to regret not keeping this for my Middle and Little.

Reason #5: Time.  It takes so much time to go through all the dressers, drawers and bins.  Who has time for this?  (But I DO have time to binge watch episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix…priorities.)

Breathe Joy, Breathe

Even though you are in the middle of the epic battle of your life over the building code violations and solar panels (that you still cannot use even though they’re lookin’ real pretty up there on the top of the house as a constant reminder that you’re doin’ your part so save electricity, but that’s all, they’re just haute as all get out- a fantastic display of your commitment to the environment) and may have to be displaced from your bedroom for a few months.  And fuuugetabout the line of credit that you’re going to have to take out to fix said building code violations.  Forget that this all started a year ago August.

Breathe Joy, Breathe

Yes, you are insane and teaching two grade levels this year, 3rd and 5th, to make more money to pay off the solar panels that you can’t use yet.  (You like challenges and you’ve done this before.)  Remember the two years you taught with 3 teachers in job shares?  You survived.  Piece of cake.  This school year, you’re just going to teach with two teachers and you’ll just be at one school, not two.  You’ve got this.

Breathe Joy, Breathe

It’s okay—you’ve got a high schooler, middle schooler, an elementary schooler and your school.  Four school schedules to keep track of…(Thank you God for creating the people that invented the google calendar shared calendar feature and smart phones.  I might lose my mind if I had to write all this down in a Day Planner.  The daily boxes aren’t big enough and there’s no ‘Reminder’ section to notify me with an alarmed pop-up notification in a Day Planner.  THOSE were NOT the good ole’ days.)  I Heart Smartphones.

Breathe Joy, Breathe

You don’t have to have everything all figured out.  You don’t have to have pristine floors and a perfect couch.  Your real friends will love you, as is, in the days your world is more ordered and the days with mad chaos.

I’m glad we had this talk.

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.

Gastric Bypass Update:

I’m feeling a bit of stress this week. My mom’s 70th is on Saturday and friends and relatives I’ve not seen in many years will be there.  I’m excited.

The stress with the house has amped up too.  Long story.  Long story.

As with most of life’s emotions- be it happy, sad, angry, or apathetic, I’ve often coped with, what else? Food.  I haven’t made the best choices with food this week.  I’ve strayed from my routine.  I haven’t gained, just maintained.

I need to get back to the protein shakes and drinking more water.   I can do this.

4 thoughts on “Corner of Order and Chaos

  1. I’ve been where you are with the three kids in different schools, and I fully understand the hectic-ness (spell check REALLY doesn’t like that word). I think we should non-stop judgementally help each other with the house thing. I have all those same feels about the Stuff, and just not wanting to deal. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. 🙂


  2. Love you Joy. I also maintained during a week of training/vacation and now back to the plan. TODAY (I am capitalizing to remind myself that it must happen), is time to empty and donate the “fat girl” clothes. I’ve started to buy my new wardrobe and have to realize once and for all the old clothes are not going to be necessary ever again. I woke up late yesterday and did a quick grab of something to wear over my now too loose jeans and a sweater that now fits like a dress. Pray me through this my friend so I cannot come up with some lame excuse as to why I can’t, won’t, don’t want to do this. Maybe the added benefit is I will finally find my IPad that I seem to have misplaced somewhere in this mess. You are not alone.


    1. Love you too Vicki! I’m so glad to hear you’re back to the plan. It’s fun buying a new wardrobe. I’ve been loving the thrift store finds! It’s like a treasure hunt!


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