When we last saw our heroine, she had just taken a break from a major upstairs cleaning project to indulge in a little celebratory blogging. Self-congratulation was followed by self-deprecation, which was followed by requests for self-motivation. Let's check in with her now to see how her projects turned out and what new challenges she is tackling today:
Devoted Reader: Hello there. How is it going today?
Michele: Great, but I'm very busy. What do you need?
DR: Well, we were just wondering about all those hours of cleaning and organizing upstairs. Did everything turn out the way you hoped it would?
DR: Your daughters' bedrooms...you spent hours one day recently working on getting them clean, organized, throwing out junk, making space for new junk, swapping summer clothes for fall, stuff like that.
M: I did?
DR: Yes, and you wrote about it during a brief break in your labors. Your blog called "Halfway There" talked about all your hard work and the great plans you had for finishing the job.
M: I wrote about that? That was pretty stupid.
M: Because I never did finish the job. Daughter #1's room is just like I left it - empty bookshelves, piles that need to be sorted, boxes and bins of stuff I sorted but she needs to find a place for. Of course, she's added a week's worth of dirty clothes and another pile of sketches that we can never part with, but otherwise it looks just like it did when I took a break that day.
DR: What happened?
M: I'm not really sure. I think I got distracted.
DR: For a week? Did you at least finish in Daughter #2's room?
M: Daughter #2 finished what I started by putting everything that was sitting out into any drawer with space. Pencils went in the sock drawer, spare retainer cases in the jewelry box, books under the dresser, lip gloss in the pencil drawer, clean laundry on top of the 3" pile of unframed pictures and certificates on the desk. But she can walk around in there now.
DR: But you had such good intentions! You were so motivated! You seemed committed to getting those rooms done, once and for all. You even did some embarrassingly public soul-searching and admitted that avoidance was your strategy, because you said you cannot look at an unfinished job and leave it undone.
M: Hmmm...well, I lied. Ninety-five percent space in my home is devoted to unfinished jobs; the other 5% is taken up by people and dogs. Come on, if I told the truth about my housekeeping philosophy, not only would it not be funny, no one would want to read about it. It makes a better blog if I pretend to care about my "job," but am prevented from achieving my noble goals by "unforeseen emergencies."* I prefer to be thought of as a tragic heroine of housework, tirelessly working for the good of others while hoping for that rare moment of self-indulgence with a fat-free, no-sugar-added mocha latte.
DR: If that's all it would take to help you finish your project and feel good about yourself, I'll bring you that mocha latte.
M: Don't bother. Coffee without sweetener and milkfat reeks of communism. If you gave it to me I'd be compelled to call you "Comrade Reader." I was referring to those calm-looking women who drink General Foods International Coffee and watch Colin Firth movies while soaking in a jetted tub full of Calgon bubbles.
DR: But after you finish a project, that's when you indulge in a "Colin coffee/bath."
M: You don't get it! Obviously I don't need more pampering - I need negative consequences for my inaction. But as the High Priestess of the Household, there's no one to deliver that punishment. Besides, there is nothing you can say that I can't turn into an excuse not to get things done. It's called "rationalizing," root word "rational," therefore it is a good thing. It's my special gift.
DR: So how much longer are you going to sit at the computer, putting off the projects you were so passionately devoted to last week?
M: At least until you go away and quit bothering me, so I can concentrate on writing a new blog.
*shameless plug for my blog entitled "Ironic sarcasm and other repetitive redundancies."