Another Tote Done, But A Lousy Day!

Today started out strong.

I knocked out another tote.

I reclaimed my fireplace.

My fireplace mantle.

My fireplace mantle.

I was having a great morning…until I wasn’t.  I won’t go into details, but when things go wrong at yonder Hoffman Haus, they tend to do so in biblical proportions.  I had to call off work, something I hate to do because A) I like the pretty, pretty money, and B) I don’t want to seem like a total flake calling off at my new job.

Ah well… Tomorrow’s a new day and all that jazz.  I suppose I just need to move forward.  I’m going to try not to let today’s setbacks be an excuse to keep me from reaching my goals, but it’s hard.  When things go wrong, like REALLY wrong, as they tend to do from time to time, it usually derails my plans for days, maybe even weeks.  There’s wallowing and a pity-party.  Snacky foods are eaten in abundance.  Binge watching Netflix seems like a fantastic idea!  Seriously, Season 4 of Once Upon a Time is finally up on Netflix.  It’s calling my name as I write this.  But, avoiding living my life won’t help me reach my goal.  UGH!!!  Sometimes, I hate being a grownup!  A little foot stomping and a temper tantrum would feel really good right about now.

And On The Seventh Day… She Registered Her Kid For School!

I registered my kiddo for school this morning.  It’s a major milestone sort of moment at yonder Hoffman Haus.

New school.

New grade.

New Teachers.

Kiddo's New Pencil Pouch

Kiddo’s New Pencil Pouch

Kiddo is not too happy about the situation.  Like me, he’s a perfectionist, and the unknown is scary.  He’s worried he won’t be able to get his locker open.  He’s unsure of the layout of the new school.  I hate to say it, but I saw a LOT of me in his sour grapes attitude, too much of me actually.  He was frustrated and cranky.  In his mind, all the other kids knew more than he did.  I kept pointing out the purpose of registration/orientation day: it’s a day for parents and kids to walk through the class schedule together.  I pointed out the other kids who were having trouble with their lockers, other kids (and parents) who looked equally overwhelmed by the experience.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t see that he wasn’t alone in this mess, even when one of the teachers tried to explain to him that there will be LOTS of teachers on hand to help with lockers and such once the school year starts.  I think he still felt like he was going to be all alone in this new adventure.

I started to think about his reaction, so similar to my own.  It’s easy to get caught up in the feeling of being all alone, of feeling like no one else has gone through the same experience.  How many times have I felt like all the other moms had a better set of instructions to pass on to their offspring?  How many times have I felt like I wasn’t given the same set of skills as the rest of the mothers out there?  And yet I can’t see myself as behaving irrationally.  I think I’m perfectly justified in my rants!

Sometimes, you really NEED someone else to hold up a mirror in order to see yourself more clearly.

Baby Step Six: A Reward

As of this morning, I’m down another tote!  My living room is more than half-way clear.  There will be an end to this sorting madness in just a matter of days.

As a little reward, for NOT quitting, for trudging on even when the task seemed somewhat overwhelming, I bought a new tablecloth for my table.  I wanted something pretty, a reminder that our table is NOT an appropriate dumping place for clutter.  I’ve been looking for a tablecloth for a long time, but nothing seemed quite right.  They were all too thin or cheap feeling.  Plus, I have cats that sit at the table far more often than the humans in this house.  LOL  I need a tablecloth that can handle being laundered often and won’t snag easily.

I found this Ralph Lauren tablecloth at a thrift store for only $4.99:

Ralph Lauren Tablecloth

My “New” Ralph Lauren Tablecloth

The tablecloth had never been used.  The material is thick.  The quality is similar to the fabric on our oversized chair slipcovers.  I scouted around the Internet, these tablecloths usually run between $60-$100 on Amazon.  I love finding a great deal!

It’s been suggested by family and friends that I box up what’s left and move forward.  Oh, how I’d LOVE to do that!  Unfortunately, there isn’t a closet, basement, or attic to put these leftovers in.  We have exactly 3 closets in my home, one for each bedroom.  My husband and I share a tiny closet that can’t hold our entire wardrobe.  We pack our off-season clothing into suitcases.  My son’s closet is smaller than our closet.  The smallest closet is in a bedroom we use as a library/TV room.  The fact that our master bathroom is 12ft 6in x 9ft, yet we have NO linen closets or coat closets proves that our home was designed by a man, a man who apparently only used a single washcloth and never wore a coat, but needed a bathroom big enough to dance in.  At least he had his priorities straight!

Anyway, the boxes, grocery sacks, totes, etc. in the living room are what remained when I cleared and organized the other rooms while I was unemployed from work.  These are the orphans.  I donated another bag of this leftover mess today.  I’ve got another donation bag half-full.  Progress is steady.  I feel good about this week’s accomplishments.

Baby Step Five: Back On My Feet

Oh, the healing powers of a good night of sleep!

I feel twelve thousand percent better this morning.  Yes.  Coffee is good.  Sleep is better.  I have to wonder, would my life be less stressful if I consistently got enough rest?  Would I be more creative?  Would I be able to tackle the drama of life with more zeal if I simply got more ZZZZZs?  I have always pushed the boundaries of sleep deprivation, but I hadn’t made the connection between sleep deprivation and procrastination until yesterday.  This morning, I woke up feeling less achy.  My mind feels clear and focused.  The whole day is still ahead of me, but I feel like I can handle it.  Anything’s possible.

Did I mention how many days a week I usually run on very little sleep?  I would guess at least 5 days out of 7.  I feel guilty about all the things left undone, all the stuff I wish I’d taken care of, but hadn’t.  I stay up late even though I know I have to get up early for work, etc.  The silly thing is, I don’t work on my unfinished tasks.  I binge-watch Netflix or read until 2 AM.  I procrastinate.  Procrastination leads to guilt, which leads to more procrastination.

As I wrote out my 3 Morning Pages in longhand, I realized the fears that have been surfacing were virtually gone.  My writing was far more creative and upbeat.  Freeform ideas and thoughts popped into my head and flowed out onto the pages.

This morning, I feel whole.

Is this a fluke or is this my body telling me what it needs?  The more I explore who I am as a person, the more I feel like I’m discovering shiny tools for my virtual toolbox.  Simple tools, but unused until recently.

Julia Cameron had a challenge for writers like me, writers who feel blocked, frustrated, guilt-ridden.  I’m paraphrasing here, but it’s basically this: if you don’t feel like you can write or you’re avoiding your current work in progress, write one new sentence per day.  One sentence.  That’s it.  Make that your goal.  Forget about word counts and writing speed.  One new sentence every day is the goal.  If you write more, GREAT!  Awesome!  Do a cartwheel.  Dance around the room.  Whatever floats your laptop.  But one sentence is an attainable goal.  No matter how busy you are, you can probably write one new sentence per day.  This advice is coming from a woman who’s NOT perfect, who’s written 30+ books, multiple plays and screenplays, song lyrics, poetry…and still makes time to have a LIFE.

I’ll admit, I’m having trouble incorporating the ONE new sentence habit into my life.  Perhaps I need to announce my intentions to the universe, much like I did when I confessed to my living room clutter.  I took care of another tote this morning.  My living room project is at the half-way point.  Publically journaling my way through it made a difference, made me feel accountable.  It’s getting me past my procrastination, to the place I need to be.  One new sentence per day would also get me to a path I’d like to be on.

I have a vampire series, a story about fairies, a science fiction story, a comedy about the grim reaper/death, all sketched out or partially written.  In addition to this, I have notecards filled with other story ideas.  I started to write a non-fiction book about my adventures in retail management.  I have partially written songs, lyrics only.  Since I decided to follow my heart, to become a writer, I’ve never failed to come up with new ideas.  It’s the follow through that trips me up.  It’s the act of staying with ANY writing project until completion.

This year, it REALLY hit me.  If I kept going the way I have, I’ll run out of lifespan before I’ll get to share these stories with the world.  It’s not a morbid or negative thing.  It’s just a fact.  We’re only given so many days on this planet, and we don’t know how many we have left.  I may have another 41 years left in me.  Or not.  Regardless, I’d like to be able to say at the end of my days that I lived a full life.  I’d like to feel as though my life had purpose and meaning.  And JOY!  I want my life to have more fun in it.  More whimsy.

I built a dollhouse at work yesterday.

Dollhouse at work

Dollhouse in the back room at work.

The child in me was THRILLED!  She wanted to play with this house, to use her imagination.  Until recently, I haven’t allowed this part of me time for play.  She likes putter with paints, to use her creative skills, to use her imagination.  Sometimes, I wonder if my writer’s block stems from not allowing this side of myself room to grow.  She is stunted, therefore I feel stunted as a person.

Perhaps a play date is in order later this afternoon.

Baby Step Four…Topple

I had another burn-my-own-chances-for-success evening/morning.  Last night, I came home from work, tired.  I had every intention of going to bed at a decent hour.  I lectured myself on my car ride home.  I need to get enough rest, enough sleep, if I want to make changes in my life, changes that will help me grow as a person.

Beautiful flower gift given to me on Monday.

Beautiful flower gift, given to me on Monday.

But, instead of eating a light dinner and going to bed, I stayed up reading.

For hours.

Did I really need to find out what happened in the next chapter?


I was avoiding going to bed.

If I went to bed, the day would be over.  Done.  All the things I wanted to do, but hadn’t, would remain unfinished.  Yes, it’s childlike behavior.  I’m no better than a three-year-old in that sense.  It’s not like I accomplished anything else.  In fact, I sabotaged this morning’s routine.  I woke up tired.  Irritable.   That’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep.

Want to know what else happens?

Not enough sleep gives me the perfect excuse to avoid living my life.  It justifies me not wanting to get out of my pajamas.  It says, “Hey, you don’t need to work on your living room clutter.  You’re tired.  You deserve a day off.  You don’t need to write.  You don’t need to do anything.”  And the things is, I’ve done this soooo many times before.  It’s another way to justify procrastinating.  It’s another way of avoiding success.  My subconscious is a genius, really.  Not only do I have a valid reason for getting out of whatever it is I’m avoiding, I’m also so tired, I can’t physically perform at my peak, further justifying my behavior.

I didn’t understand this before today.  It’s like a lightbulb went off in my head.  I’ve been having a LOT of lightbulb moments as I go through the exercises in Julia Cameron’s books.  I like that she doesn’t try to fix you.  She doesn’t make you feel guilty.  She doesn’t force you to commit to a bunch of weird mumbo-jumbo.  She just holds up the mirror so you can see yourself a little more clearly.

Lately, I’ve had mixed feelings about what I’ve seen, what I’ve learned about myself.  On the one hand, I’m learning to take care of myself.  I have value as a person.  I am intelligent and creative.  If I know these things are true, then why do my actions often tell a different story?  When I write my morning pages, I often wake up with fear regarding my future, even though a night’s rest should have theoretically left me with a clean slate for the new day.

This morning, I woke up with a feeling of dread.  I didn’t want to start a new day.  I wanted to stay under the covers and wallow.  Lack of sleep made this strategy seem especially appealing.  I had to force myself to get dressed.  I had to force myself to go through another plastic bin in my living room.  I had to force myself to eat something solid this morning, something besides coffee.  I had to push myself to do the things that are going to help me get through this day.  Pajamas, while WONDERFUL, are not going to help me get any work done.  While I did go through the motions of getting things done, in reality, I could have given myself the gift of a better day.  I made a decision.  I decided it was OK to put aside my dreams once more.