Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What took me so long?! (Procrastination Analysis, part 1)

This weekend, we experienced our third annual winter plumbing crisis.  (Actually, they used to be bi-annual, but I guess this old house didn't want us to leave without a parting gift by way of spilled sewage.  Second sidenote, before I get too carried away with parenthesis: for those of you who were keeping track, 2011 was the sewage in the basement crisis, 2013 was the frozen/exploding pipes and leak before the main water shut-off valve, and this year was a sewage back-up outside (caused by tree roots and one errant cloth diaper wipe that accidentally got flushed a few months ago) that turned our vent pipe into a sewage sprinkler (thankfully discovered because we decided to go for a walk on the one day the weather was above 30 degrees!)  In all three crises, we learned just how quickly you can go from happy homeowner to essentially camping in your home without the ability to use running water or sewage disposal, and also how grimy you feel after 48+ hours without showers (bonus grime earned from snaking the sewage pipes which, yes, I helped with).  Justin claims I have an "annoying" habit of being peppy and optimistic afterwards and relaying all of the things that could have been worse, and all of the things we learned from the experience, and while I won't go into that now (I do have several I could list if you were interested), I will note our mutual improvement in handling said plumbing crises.  In fact, I think we even laughed before this one was over.  Anyway, the pipe outside was mostly spewing clean-ish water, since we were simultaneously running the dishwasher and the laundry machine, so there's a silver lining for ya).  We did discover in retrospect that probably a little of the water backed up into the downstairs shower as well.  And that brings me to the point of today's post.  I was beating myself up today about how I still haven't cleaned out the shower (24+ hours after having returned to modern plumbing conveniences) despite the fact that, you know, sewage was in it over the weekend.  Granted, we don't use that shower (unless we have guests), so it's not like our actual showering has been counter-productive.  But it still feels pretty gross to know that it's in there.

But then, the reality of it hit me.  Unless I were to make my tired pregnant self do it after 9 pm (after baby is in bed and dinner dishes are washed and I've checked two or ten blogs), it really couldn't have gotten done today.  Anna didn't nap.  She usually likes to hide in the shower behind the curtain (it's one of the walk-in ones, not a regular bathtub) while I'm doing laundry in that room.  And I need to use bleach.  I couldn't close the door and leave her elsewhere, and I couldn't leave the door open without her coming in to do a dance performance in the half-sewaged, half-bleached shower.

I guess all of this is to say that I walk the fine line between wanting to meet my own high expectations, and realizing that some of them are just unrealistically high.

Between motivating myself to do what I should, and not being frustrated about not doing what I can't.

Between writing a lot of posts like this:  Advice from a Singer Sewing Manual 

And living a lot of days like this:

(Not pictured: my camp-out on the other side of the sofa where I sat (probably in pajamas, breaking every other helpful lesson I listed in that previous post).  Also not pictured, probably at least one meal's worth of dishes on the table).

There's plenty that I don't get done because of my own laziness and my own distractions and willingness to leave a mess in one room and go hide in another, but there's also plenty I don't get done because I'm primarily taking care of a busy 1 year old who often necessitates the quick exit from a room to be saved from a precarious new climbing location, or because she has a diaper issue and we fix that and get distracted by 10 other things before we come back to put away the breakfast cereal.

Most of the time, I write posts like this because it's reassuring and helpful for myself to analyze my life and identify the things that I can change and the things that I can't, to challenge myself to deal with the ones in the first category and stop beating myself up over the ones in the second.  But I also recognize - in the isolating modern world of stay-at-home-moms - that reading about how other people are dealing with the challenges and rising to the occasion has been incredibly helpful to me, and so I write things like this for my mom friends as a sort of solidarity/sisterhood of "yeah, me too."  Although I'm probably the only one with lingering effects of sewage back-up in my shower.

This started out as an introduction to a post about the reasons I procrastinate on house projects (after so many "what took me so long" comments to myself, I finally sat down and figured out what did take me so long to do a bunch of things, and the reasons were pretty enlightening (at least to me)).  I'm going to call it a day now, but look forward to that riveting installment of my "why I procrastinate" series.  You know, whenever I get around to it.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you won't beat yourself up about it. While your incredible honesty in this post is appreciated, I know there are many other things (however insignificant they might seem at the time) that you are accomplishing when others might not have! Knowing you, most of us wish we could be half as productive as you always turn out to be! Plus, lazy days are allowed - I know you've never been that good at them but they're a part of life!