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Daily Grind

I sat down wanting to write about so many different things but the moment I put fingers to keyboard everything flew right out of my head. I’m tired, but things are good. Mike’s two classes are going really well. He gets to watch his Anatomy professor cut dead people up into little pieces and I’m only a little bit jealous. Not that I want to see people being cut into little pieces. I don’t mean to the give the wrong (and super creepy) impression. But I have always wanted to dissect a human cadaver, so yeah, I’m a little bit jealous.

Thank you very much to Dori and Kim for donating to support research for Epilepsy! You girls rock my world. If I can convince eight more of you to donate five bucks each, I’ll have reached my very reasonable goal of $100. Come on guys! You can do it! End Epilepsy! Donate $5 HERE.

airsoft

I found this picture the other day while I was sorting through old photos on my computer. I haven’t played airsoft in AGES. It has literally (not figuratively, literally) been months. You like my gun? You know you do. It’s a – um, I have no idea what kind of gun it is. It’s an airsoft gun and it’s rad. My brothers are playing WWII reenactment airsoft this weekend. Ty pointed out that it’s just about the geekiest thing we could ever do because it involves playing dress up. Mike and I aren’t playing because we don’t have 1940’s outfits yet, but we’re putting them together. We’re going to be partisans and I’m going to dress up like this woman:

skirt gun

I can’t imagine the courage it must take to pick up a weapon and fight for your country. God bless our troops. That said, there is something pretty remarkable about a woman in the 1940’s who’d take a gun off a dead man and fight in the resistance. That is some serious nettle. I have no idea if I could ever be that woman, but I can spend an afternoon pretending to be her.

Kids dress up like super heroes, grown-ups dress up like war heroes. Er. Geeky grown-ups dress up like war heroes.

Mike and I are trying out the various fitness clubs in our neighborhood. We’re getting guest passes at all the gyms and hopping from one to the next every week. Last week was Spectrum, this week is LA Fitness, next week is 24-Hr Fitness. We’re trying to decide which one to join, but so far, I’m just thrilled to be getting back into a consistent work-out routine. We haven’t had a good, solid routine down since 2008, so this is a little overdue. Our workout consists of twenty minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes of abs and calves, followed by thirty minutes of weights. We’re on a three-day split; Sunday legs, Monday arms, Tuesday back, Wednesday legs, Thursday arms, Friday back, Saturday rest. It’s kicking my ass. I can barely walk  up the stairs. I can barely lift my arms over my head. It hurts to sit down, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to breathe. But it hurts so good. I love the feeling of sore, hard-worked muscles. It makes me love my body and how strong it is. Mike is a relentless coach, upping my weight when the exercise is too easy, coaxing me through an extra five reps at the end of a set. I love working the machines together, changing each other’s weights, counting each other’s reps, spotting one another. It’s the only real time we spend together during the week so it feels sacred. I’m a little nervous I’m going to get giant man-muscles, but Mike promises that no one will ever mistake me for a dude. He better be right or else I’ll have the man-muscles to make him sorry he was wrong.

Work is good – it’s busy and getting busier. I feel like I’m spinning a dozen plates but for now they’re all spinning happily away. I just have to keep them going nice and steady. I’m hoping to spend a little time this weekend writing more about Bolivia. It seems so far away now. I am eager to get all my memories down before they evaporate. There are also half-a-dozen projects I’d like to do around this place, and of course, a husband I’d like to spend some time with. And there are chores, too. And lots of pictures I’ve been taking and meaning to post here, but haven’t gotten round to yet. I just want an easy weekend filled with nesty things. I’ll do a project or two, write a little, do a few chores, maybe read a little. What are you doing this weekend? How’s your week? I’ve been talking all about myself. Now tell me, what is new with you?

Housekeeping

This week I paid someone to clean my apartment.

I was really nervous about it. Hiring someone to do something that is my responsibility felt like a reflection of my personal shortcomings. And a terrible waste of money. Why pay someone to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing? Help is a threat! If I need help something is wrong with me. And then of course I was worried she would judge me or think I was a filthy pig, so I spent all weekend fighting the urge to scrub the apartment before she came over.

It’s not that I mind doing the housework. I actually really enjoy it. (Except for the part where I have to put my hand in a toilet.) It’s time I spend nurturing my little nest. Making sure all the pillows are fluffed and the towels are clean. I use the time to think and reflect and when I’m finished I feel like I’ve accomplished something really valuable. Plus, I love the way everything shines. And Mike is great about housework, always willing to help, and actually, he’s better about some of the chores than I am. So really, there is no excuse for someone to have to come in and clean our apartment for us. We are perfectly capable of cleaning this apartment.

But suddenly we find ourselves busier than we’ve been in our entire five years of marriage, living the kinds of lives when all we can manage to do with a night off is collapse on the sofa in front of old episodes of Law & Order. I’m so busy that I consider it a luxury to spend ten minutes shaving my legs and he spends every spare moment he has studying. And it’s great, we’re happy, we chose this, I’m not complaining!  But something had to give. Neither of us can work any less and Mike’s education is a priority for both of us. We’re not going to spend less time with family or friends – we don’t get enough time with them as is. So housework had to go.

And it’s not that we’re dirty people, because it doesn’t matter how busy I get, I tidy up like someone with serious OCD. I probably am a little OCD, clinically speaking, because if things aren’t just so, I will f-ing freak out. Everything has a place and when it’s not in it’s place my eyeballs twitch and I can’t breathe and it’s not very pretty.  I used to throw terrible tantrums because of socks on the floor or a dishtowel with a smear of spaghetti sauce on one corner. I’d cry and bang things and scream, “When you don’t put the dirty dish towel in the hamper I feel like you don’t love me!” But I don’t do those things anymore. I’ve learned. Now I tidy up constantly, all the time, I am always tidying. It’s easier for me to take five seconds to toss a dirty dishcloth in the hamper instead of screaming at Mike about it because really? He doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. Especially since I’m the one with the problem. But when I’m working this much and he’s working and going to school and we’re trying to maintain healthy social lives and get adequate exercise and all that other stuff, even if we can maintain the basic chores like laundry and dishes and litter boxes and dog walks and paying bills on time, we can’t manage the big things like shower scrubbing and floor mopping. And when those things get ignored and start growing orange fur, my skin starts itching and I  wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and adrenaline coursing through my veins from nightmares about dead babies in filthy bathrooms crawling with cats.

So you see, it’s not really an option to give up on the housework. And that is why we are paying someone to clean the apartment for us.

You guys. She cleaned things I haven’t even had time to imagine cleaning. She scrubbed the teakettle so now I can see my reflection in it. She did all the dirty work in the bathrooms that I loathe and despise, and then she polished my perfume tray. She moved everything off of every shelf and surface area and dusted behind and underneath and around. She washed the screen door and the windows and she scrubbed the balcony, in addition to emptying the dishwasher, taking down the trash, and mopping the floors. What would’ve taken me twenty-four hours of work, broken up only by naps, she finished in four and a half hours. She is a miracle worker. I invited her to come back in two weeks. And then I hugged her and cried on her shoulder while wads of sticky anxiety flowed off of me.

In the aftermath of this stunning cleaning symphony, I lounge on the balcony, blogging, feeling completely relaxed because not only is the shower cleaner than it’s been in two months, I didn’t have to do any of the work.  The only thing better than a freshly scrubbed toilet is a freshly scrubbed toilet someone else scrubbed. I don’t get manicures or pedicures, I never go to the spa, I don’t get any of my parts waxed, I only get my hair cut twice a year, we hardly ever go to the movies or out for dinner, but we pay someone else to clean our apartment and as far as I’m concerned, that is more luxurious than any manicure or facial ever could be.

Balancing Act

It’s Friday night. Mike is in his art studio [read: the corner of our living room between his bookcase of school books and my bookcase of plays, where he keeps his easel and paints set up over a tarp on the floor so he doesn’t have to worry about spilling paint. It is my favorite corner in our apartment] and I have, so far, spent my entire evening wandering aimlessly, nervously, unable to sit and write even though it is the only thing I have wanted to do all day. See, I had a schedule today. I started out my week with a precise schedule that I had written to help me manage my time. There are only a few things in life I really care to spend my time on, but there are lots of things I am obligated to spend time on. I need a schedule to help me trudge through the have-to things so I can spend more time on the want-to things.

I’m going to have to go way back to the beginning here, because you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

Shortly after Christmas whirled past, (really? Has it really been weeks since Christmas? Because I still have a stack of un-mailed, un-written Christmas cards) I decided I was absolutely done feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I finally learned how to be punctual, and oh my goodness, it feels good. Now I wanted to learn how to manage my time. So I created a schedule that includes an hour a day for yoga, an hour a day for writing, time to prepare meals and walk the dogs, time to primp, time to read, time to work, to every season, turn, turn, turn. (Name that song and I’ll give you a high-five.)  By writing out, hour by hour, all the things I want and am obligated to do in a day, I proved to myself that there really are enough hours in the day to do it all. My goals were not too steep. I decided to start living this schedule the first Monday after the New Year.

That was this past Monday. Not a single day have I managed to follow my new schedule. Monday came pretty close, except that I over-worked and by the time I came home I was so exhausted I couldn’t do anything that required moving my butt off the couch. Every day after that I over-slept in the mornings, over-worked all day, and came home too tired to move. I fell asleep in front of the television every night this week, slept terribly, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. Then when I finally found a few hours to write tonight, I spent most of them wandering aimlessly around my apartment unable to focus.

How do you do it? How do you balance work, chores, exercise, romance, and play? Because I can’t figure it out.