The stuff I haven’t done around the apartment

Paper, meet shredder. Shredder, meet paper.

Paper, meet shredder. Shredder, meet paper.

After my layoff, I promised myself I would do more around the apartment. I didn’t tell wifey this, though I suppose I am now (doh!). By many measures, this husband already does his part. I go to the grocery store, though after years of this, all the green leafy stuff still kind of looks the same. I help with cooking, when told what to do and how to do it. I do dishes and laundry. Hell, I even clean (sometimes) and handle the finances. (And this witty commentary, though not technically housework, doesn’t write itself.)

But physical labor isn’t my thing. Truth be known, it kind of intimidates me a little. I’m always scared I’m going to do irreparable damage to something or someone. But I was game, what with my new-found hours, days, weeks, months of free time. A good friend of mine redid his yard and put in a beautiful deck during his unemployment. Surely I could tackle some relatively basic tasks. Here’s the list of projects I vowed to undertake…

  • Build a storage compartment in the hallway
  • Put up shelves or find some other storage solution for our gazillion CDs
  • Repair the ceiling plaster in the bedroom
  • Fix the bathroom sink
  • Replace the broken bathroom tiles

Here’s the list of projects I’ve actually undertaken since October…

Let’s call the last four months a ramp-up period. I like to prepare for projects, by doing lots of research, more than many doctoral candidates. Then I promptly forget everything and take forever to get back to it. Eventually I may return to a project, given enough procrastinating and prodding; my intentions are good after all. I’m just slow… g l a c i a l l y slow. Wifey would agree.

Yesterday I renewed my vow to get stuff done around the apartment, and then spent the better part of the day cleaning – a good first step. I started with my files, which had overwhelmed their storage cases and become piles of paper on my desk and the floor. There were paid bills and banking statements dating back 13 years. There were tax forms from the early 1990s – when I was in college and still, apparently, earned more than I do now. Some of paperwork, nay most of it, was disposable.

I reorganized the files and created a shredding pile a foot tall to destroy, two sheets at a time. Let’s create a mental image, shall we? Imagine a thirty-something-year-old unemployed guy sitting on his bedroom floor in boxers and a t-shirt shoving paper into a shredder. [Take a moment if you must, I have the time.] … [Sufficiently scarred? Okay, then let’s move on] Two hours later, my back was sore and a crick had crept into my neck. Six small plastic bags of shreddings awaited disposal. The pile was down to nine inches tall. Let’s where I left it.

Vacuuming – more of a mission than a chore for me – was next on the agenda. I have to get every speck of dirt, every carpet fuzzy and every stray strand of cat fur. I’m meticulous, anal even, for some reason. I crawled under desks and the bed. I reached into closets and behind furniture. Two hours later all 900 square feet of the apartment was clean, and there was enough collected fur to create a third cat. (This could be another project.) And all the bending over had wrecked my hamstrings.

It was late in the day at this point, and I had to do something else – like maybe eat or shower. The projects from four months ago are now front and center in my brain again. I’ve even made a bit of progress on a couple of them since yesterday. But they’ll have to wait again, because now it’s tax time. Will the fun ever end? Don’t answer that.

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  1. SUPL Blog wrote:

    I have the same list of chores for myself which entail cleaning out the boxes and getting rid of stuff from a move two years ago that obviously aren’t needed, as they’ve been boxed for two years. I couldn’t get to that yet though, because I was too busy sitting in bed writing my blog and doing other less important stuff. I did, however, rearrange my furniture to make room for myself at the desk but only because my back was killing me. Still is. Maybe today I’ll get a massage. Those boxes will just sit there.

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  2. unemployed wrote:

    keep em coming… someone is reading these. i have started burning cd’s into my computer and selling them on this week. i am clearing out the clutter…as we speak. i did the shredding thing yesterday but have lots more to go. i am throwing everything out.

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  3. I hear you! I was supposed to prepare for taxes, do a deep spring clean, learn how to use my new digital camera, train my dog to stay in the house w/o destroying everything in her wake, etc. Oh, well…

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  4. keri wrote:

    I love your posts my friend. They totally make me feel like I am not alone and I laugh quite frequently, as I sit alone in my house pants. I totally cleared out my stack-o-shit papers my third week, but since then I haven’t really done anything..except blog…because that’s about the same time I decided to start one. What happens when we do get jobs? How will we find the time to DO the projects we never did? Will it ever end?

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Norm wrote:

    Thank you, Keri. That’s very kind of you to say, and the praise comes at the right time. It’s been a particularly rough day today. I’m going to try to keep doing things, but my energy and enthusiasm for apartment projects comes and goes.

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  6. Tina wrote:

    It’s so ironic. All the time we had working full time jobs…looking at “stuff” around the house that needed to get done…thinking “oh, if only I had a couple of days with nothing I HAD to do”. Well, here it is. I think the procastination comes from an ingrained belief that we should NOT have the time to do this now, so we don’t. Meaning, really, shouldn’t we all be working? The Monday morning grind? The BS meetings? Sucking up to VPs and CEOs who are happily still cashing their checks at the bank?

    Yeah, I’ve made my “to do” list also. It involves a garage sale to make room in this house so I can rent out a room. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. Where the heck are my ruby slippers?

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink
  7. Karol wrote:

    I have gotten rid of a lot and still going through more. I am downsizing and getting back to basics. Who said cleaning and getting rid of junk wasn’t work…? I am exhausted most nights but wake up several times during the night thinking about what needs to be done and what I have to do. I would rather be working and getting paid enough just to make the bills on time! I can dream about it, anyway….

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink