Thursday, February 16, 2012

Domestic Diva and some Drivel about Drudgery

I'd like to begin today's rant with a lesson in logic and syntax. Read and analyze these two sentences:

I cleaned my house.

My house is clean.

It seems to me that, if you "do" the first sentence, then the second sentence would be a true statement.  In logic, this rule is called "transposition." Doubtless you all remember this from classical logic, but just in case, here's the cheat sheet:

  transposition is the rule of inference that permits one to infer from the truth of "A implies B" the truth of "Not-B implies not-A", and conversely.

Or, to clarify,

(P → Q) ↔ (~Q → ~P)

Got it?

So why, if I just cleaned my house, is my house already a mess?  Logic dictates that, if I clean my house, my house should be clean. And maybe it is, for a minute, but therein lies the problem.  Time passes and the statement becomes false.  It seems illogical to engage in unpleasant behavior (housework) that yields such temporary and illusory results.

I've noticed this fallacy often occurs with organizing projects as well. After several junk explosions and a scary visit from the closet police, I discovered that closets were not supposed to be stuffed to the hinges with stuff, but should be nicely organized into boxes, totes, bags, racks, shelves and baskets of stuff. To achieve this lofty goal, I spent months on an organizational odyssey around my house.  "Sort, categorize, contain" became my mantra. Be an HGTV before and after success story, I told myself.

I worked so hard.  I wanted spaces to look like this:

But this is my craft desk:

Not a pretty sight, is it?

But back to logic and ipso facto and stuff.

I did pretty well with the kitchen pantry, the linen closet, the medicine cabinet and actually merged three junk drawers into one.  But my issue remains with the fleeting nature of such jobs. Just take a moment to consider the tragic nature of this statement:

                      I organized my pantry My pantry is organized

It only takes one teenager 3 minutes of foraging for an after-school snack to undo hours of organizing.  Thanks to one or more of my "helpers," while trying to pack lunches one recent morning, I discovered I had zero granola bars (helpers usually eat >3/day) but there were four kinds of cookies, all open, none in airtight containers, ready to blithely be eaten by the handful, right where the box of granola bars should be. 

Speaking of the fleeting nature of success, don't even get me started on the joy of mopping or steaming a hardwood floor.  Unless you are one of the highly intelligent people who don't own dogs or children, you already know where I'm going with this.  I love to see a freshly vacuumed and mopped wood floor more than almost any other completed task, but dog hair, crumbs, footprints, sloshed drinks, etc., appear in nanoseconds to kill the moment. It's a documented fact that when scientists need to measure the shortest length of time that a feeling can possibly exist, they watch the face a woman who has just mopped her floor.

It frustrates me that I can finish a job, but it's never "done." It makes laziness and procrastination such attractive and sensible lifestyle choices. I seem to do the same unpleasant jobs over and over, but they always reappear on next week's to-do list. That just seems wrong. Isn't Einstein credited with defining insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"? Look at him, the smug genius - I'll bet he never cleaned a toilet in his life.

Yet here I go, off to the grocery store, where I'll read nutrition labels, compare costs per ounce of hundreds of items, juggle coupons and a calculator, try to resist buying junk, crap and non-essential, experience a sphincter spasm when the dollar total flashes on the screen, then come home and try to find a place for all the crap I had to buy. Seems like I just did that last week!

Then I'll tackle some equally repetitive and unsatisfying tasks, like laundry, ironing and scrubbing the kitchen sink.  I hope you enjoyed my whining as much as I enjoyed the time I got to waste looking up Latin phrases and pictures of Einstein.  I guess this blog is my ultimate example of an unfinished task, because no matter what I say, or how redundant my ideas are, I never seem to run out of them.

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