Busy doing nothing.

Three months?! Three months since I last blogged? I know I’ve been busy, but it feels like I’ve been busy doing nothing. While I know that’s not true, it’s quite easy to feel like you’re getting nothing done as you go about your day to day life – putting out (figurative) fires one day, recouping the next, figuring out what needs done next, and keeping up with the daily, regular stuff. All of this can make the days and weeks fly by, yet here you are, in the same place you were months ago – or at least that’s what it feels like.

My business has kept me busy lately; recovering from a flood in May while trying to keep up with business as usual and preparing for a big event. Then there was our “working” vacation. The Goat and I went to Colorado for a unicycling event at which we both volunteer when we aren’t participating in the activities as competitors. And just to complicate things, my left arm is still troubling me. So that limits my gardening, work, and general heavier tasks that I wanted to tackle this summer – our bathroom ceiling still needs repainted from the ceiling fan we had installed months ago and the back yard isn’t exactly what I had envisioned it becoming this year.

Yet I have been steadily working on cleaning out and sorting through the items in our attic. I’ve been moving at a turtle’s pace, but it’s been steady. I can’t even count the number of bags of shredded paper I’ve disposed of – about 2-3 a week all summer; or the amount I’ve dropped off for recycling. There’s an actual path in the attic now, an it’s potential as a usable space is much more obvious.

But there’s so much more to go through! And much of the stuff up there isn’t mine. Even though we’ve been married for over 20 years, I will not go through many of The Goat’s things. Paperwork, sure, that’s easy; it’s easy to tell that a letter or note is sentimental or important for some reason, but not so with toys, knick knacks, photos, electronics, and all that miscellany we all tend to accumulate. Those boxes have all been stacked in their own corner for him to tackle, if he’s ever ready for that.

And then there is this weird group of things that I can’t figure out why we started storing them in the attic. Building supplies, for example. Shouldn’t they be with the tools and other building supplies? Why are they on the third floor when out tools are in basement? The Goat’s been sorting through all the stuff in the basement too, and he’s made some great headway, so I feel guilty just putting more stuff down there.

Yet, after sorting though the random building materials, they get sorted just like anything else – keep, donate, or toss. So, some of it goes to the basement, some to people who can re-purpose or use it, and some gets tossed. But it does make it harder to sort it when keeping it feels like relocating to another black hole in your home.

Other things, like dishes and glasses, don’t belong up there either. They should be in, or near, the kitchen. But that would require finding space for them there. Like our basement, our pantry is overstuffed. Our dinning room doubles as an office, and our kitchen, while I’m quite happy with it overall, lacks cabinet space due to its age and design. And quite frankly, I’m not sure more cabinetry would answer the question of where to put more dishes in our kitchen.

Charlie Brown the Airedale has altered how, and where, we can store things. Even books on bookcases are in danger of being deemed prey, stalked, and gutted. So we have baby gates everywhere to protect things that shouldn’t need protected, and the cupboard space we do have is occupied with food stuffs or items we would prefer he not stalk. The high shelves in our kitchen, where normal people, and logic dictates, one would store seldom used items, are used for snack foods, tea, counter stored fruits and veggies (bananas, onions, etc.), and vitamins – you know, light weight stuff we use every day but need to keep away from a ravenous teddy bear monster. All that to say, I have no idea where to put the glassware and dishes that we are storing in the attic right now, which is precisely why they are up there. Sigh.

I did question myself recently – Why am I, after all these years, sorting through and trying to clean up the attic and turn it back into usable space? I’m spending a lot of time trying to clean it up. Why now?

Our attic is a walk up, two roomed space. Which means it could be usable as living space. Just a few years ago we had a new roof put on our house, so now, thanks to new insulation, the space is a bit more livable most of the year. Previously, there have only been a few days a year where it wasn’t to hot or to cold to be up there. But now, it’s more comfortable more often. There have been a few days this summer when it was a bit uncomfortable up there but to be fair, it was uncomfortable downstairs as well.

Related to that, I’m constantly trying to figure out the best way to use our space and live more intentionally in it. We have a big little house, and being just the two humans and one monster, it doesn’t always feel as if we’re using our space as best as we could. I don’t think we need a bigger house, nor a better one, just better use of the one we’ve got. Along with that, trying to live more intentionally also means trying to eliminate the clutter and excess in our lives. And believe me, there is (was) a lot of clutter in the attic and the rest of the house.

Yet when I head up there these days, with the intention of sorting and cleaning, I feel as if I’m not using my time in the best way possible. Shouldn’t I be doing something else? Vacuuming the living room? Dishes? Cleaning the bathroom? Yard work? Maybe. Maybe I’ll do those things first, then work upstairs. Maybe I’ll set a timer and limit how much time I spend upstairs. And that, or something like it, is what I usually do. So the daily stuff still gets done, and I continue working on the attic at a snail’s pace.

Which means that as I sit here, mentally listing all the chores I could be doing instead of typing, I wonder where Summer went while I was busy doing nothing.

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