I Miss Routine Housework

. . .or maybe I just hate non-routine housework. I don't mean routine like regularly performed, but routine like a plan.

When I lived in NYC, I had a reasonable housework routine, and I didn't hate it. I did most housework once per week, on Thursdays. I did the laundry, straightened up, dusted, vacuumed, and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. The whole process took from three to six hours, but I was usually done by 4pm and that was it for the week. And the apartment was always neat enough to receive guests at any time. I'd often do a mini-clean on Mondays, which consisted of picking up things taken out over the weekend and vacuuming. That took 30 minutes or less.

In retrospect, it took me a long time to clean a one-bedroom apartment. Three to six hours? It wasn't like I was scrubbing the inside of the refrigerator each week (although I did one different "extra" cleaning task per week, like the inside of the fridge or cleaning the windows in one room, or cleaning out a closet or something). But since being diagnosed with ADD, it makes more sense why I was so slow. I'm generally incapable of cleaning things fast. Even though I can whip up a crossword puzzle for the local paper in under two hours.

When we moved out of the apartment and into two different homes simultaneously, my housework routine completely fell apart. All the travel was just brutal until I got used to it. Two weeks in VA, one day driving up to NJ, thirteen full days in NJ, then a day spent driving back to VA. Repeat. With cats.

Mostly I just lived with the chaos and clutter. Finally last year I hired an ADD coach since the VA house was really getting out of hand. And things have been bad since we had two rooms and the garage all in disarray due to construction that lasted over four months. And Terry quit his job before the coach and I put everything right, and then he spent many weeks in NJ getting that house ready to sell.

But at least the condo is cleaned once and for all, we are no longer living there since it is on the market. So I have only the house to deal with. And much less travel getting in the way (Although I think we're going to FL sometime this month, and I've got to go back to NY in February. I forget that this is still an unusual amount of travel; I remember a luggage guy asked me how often I'd be using the bag I was shopping for, and I said, oh, not much at all, just about once or twice a month, and he laughed and said that made me a frequent traveler since most people travel once or twice per year. I'm glad I got the bags with the lifetime warranty since I've had one of them repaired twice but since Terry used it for REALLY frequent travel it's stood up to the abuse well I think).

I would like to make faster progress on straightening out the VA house, but Terry has been sick in bed for an ENTIRE WEEK now and is not only no help but is quite a hindrance since he complains when I try to clean in the bedroom which is where we still have piles of stuff displaced from the construction. He insists that when he gets a cold, it really is MUCH worse than when everyone else gets a cold, but it seems to me that it's typical male behavior. It's not pneumonia, it's a cold, give me a break. I'm usually down for no more than two or three days when I catch a cold. I just don't understand why he feels the need to malinger so long. It's not like he has any sick leave to use up or anything. And I wouldn't mind him laying around in bed all day (goodness knows I do that myself when I'm perfectly healthy), if only he would stop whining about how bad he feels. I get it, OK!?!? You're DYING. From a cold. Not the flu, not a stomach virus, just some sniffles. And let me at least clean up the room around you for @#$#@ sake.

I usually let Terry do minor household repairs so he can build his competence (he actually is becoming quite handy, one skill at a time). But the toilet is now not just running a little bit, but constantly so I'm going to have to fix it myself. And I've already waited several weeks for him to cut me a hanging bar for the new closet space in the laundry room so I can hang some out-of-season jackets in there (I never had out-of-season jackets in VA during the winter, but since living in NY I actually have winter coats in spring colors to wear from February through April (or in rare cases, May). Sawing the wood makes my arm tired, but it's really hampering my progress, not being able to clear out some extra room in my main closet.

I was complaining to Terry about all the laundry I've done in the past few days, and he said he thought I moved the laundry room upstairs so it wouldn't be so bad. I pointed out to him that since the laundry room moved upstairs, the laundry is actually getting done (It really, really wasn't before, it actually backed up the chute all the way to the second floor in January 2007. See this photo which only shows the half that DIDN'T fall onto my head and smother me.). The upstairs laundry room allows me to actually do the laundry, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to like it.

I don't think I can realistically keep the house as clean as I did the apartment by myself, since it's 3,000 sq ft instead of 620 sq ft. But once we at least get the construction-displaced things moved back to the proper rooms, I'm going to hire a housekeeper to come in at least once per week. Maybe twice a week, depending on what kind of rate I can negotiate in this economy. Terry is on board with this plan, since he has been helping out cleaning since he quit work, and he doesn't like cleaning and vacuuming any more than I do. So we'll both get out of it.