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Thursday, November 5, 2009

"This mess is so big..."

"This mess is so big, and so deep, and so tall. We can not pick it up. There is no way at all!" (Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat)

This, basically, sums up my life.

Even before cancer, I found it difficult (read: impossible) to maintain order. Apparently, a chaotic environment is typical for someone with ADD. I struggled as a student, then as a single, then as a newly married wife. For a while, I managed to maintain a semblance of order.

Then I had kids.

Then I had illness (a year of post-op infections, following what was supposed to be a "simple" hernia repair, including two month-long hospitalizations).... and three small kids!

Then we moved (always a nightmare, even in the best of circumstances).

Keeping my home in order was a losing battle... and I was losing, big time!

I kept waiting for each "crisis" period to pass, so that I could "catch up."

But there was always some new crisis waiting around the corner.

Having cancer has only exacerbated the situation.

I am even more tired and overwhelmed than before.

I cannot catch up on my own.

But I do not want to live like this.

I feel like a kid who is not cleaning her room, except I am responsible for an entire house!

For years, I was able to "ignore" the mess. But not anymore.

The accumulation of "things to do" and "things to fix" and "things not to waste" is massive.

My husband would just throw everything out. But that is too hard for me.

I need to sort through it all.

But the task is enormous and overwhelming.

I need help.




Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

20 comments:

Kris Peleg said...

I hope you do find help. You sound overwhelmed today.

(and the blog is not sad. at least not primarily sad. sometimes sad. mostly not).

A Soldier's Mother said...

Look online for "FlyLady" - it's a concept that may work for you. It says - in 15 minutes a day...basically you can organize your life. Can you? Probably not, but it has some nice ideas and they are presented very well.

I remember a few (I'm not a practicing flylady person because I can't seem to even find the 15 minutes a day, but excusing that hypocrisy...

Go on the 7-thing Fling. Once a day, go around the house and grab 7 things you don't need and throw them out.

There's another one - forget the name, where you pick up some number and put them where they belong.

Make a list of things - give your kids chores - don't expect the house to get clean in one day...just make a plan and ask everyone to help.

Now, if I could only take my own advice...

I guess the main thing is not to be overwhelmed today...to let today come, deal, clean what you can. There are people who can't go to sleep at night if there is a dirty dish in the house. I envy them the clean house...but not the inability to leave it alone for other things.

I'm sorry you're having a day...and finally, since everyone else is commenting -

No, I think what is happening to you and what you are enduring is sad...but not the blog and not you.

Words for you - amazing, triumphant, beautiful, funny, upbeat, smiling, sassy, smart, relaxed, ambitious, loving, loud (in a good way)...

Smile today! There are a lot of people who love you.

Paula

Risa said...

I am with Paula on the last 3 paragraphs of her comment.
As for flylady, ahem, I have tried it. It's helpful if you can get your family involved. The most important thing I learned from it is to ask for help. You can't do it alone (even when you're 100% healthy).

Anonymous said...

Do you want help like someone to teach you what and how, or help like someone to come and do it for you?

Anonymous said...

First of all your blog is not sad, its inspiring.
OK - about the mess. I told my husband that the boxes in our storage space that have not been opened in 17years can be thrown out. If we have not needed them or even opened them in 17 years, they can't be too important.
Don't be afraid to let go of stuff - they are just things. You will be so much happier w/o clutter in your life.
Ariela

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not the expert, but starting small and keeping realistic goals has worked for me (sort of). Pick one room of the house. In that room, pick a book shelf, a box, etc. - but only one. And look through it, discard what you don't want. Don't just put back what you want to keep. The last time I moved, I realized I had a mess of papers that I needed to hang onto. They were completely unorganized and mixed in with things I didn't need. So I bought some file boxes and hanging folders and organized the paperwork. Four and a half years later, those papers are still organized. When that one shelf/box/etc. is finished, assess how you feel. Are you ready to take on another? Don't want to look at anything for a day or a week? Small goals lead to success, because you can still feel a sense of accomplishment, rather than, "oh my gosh, there is still so much to do." Instead, think, "wow, look how great that shelf looks!"

One shelf/box/cabinet at a time, however long it takes with however many breaks you need (months, a year, whatever). In the end, you will be organized, your most precious mementos will be stored or displayed properly (and the other items discarded), and you can feel comfortable. It's easier for me as a single person (one person = one person's stuff), so I'd say that family buy-in is an absolute must. And the trips down memory lane as you come across old pictures (perhaps label a box "to frame" or "to put in albums"), book reports ("to scrapbook"), etc., will be worth the effort and time.

It's not easy. B;hatzlacha!

Sarah said...

Maybe advertise on Janglo: "looking for a worker (female), two hours a day, with strong organization skills, compassion, and patience." Offer a great wage for the right person. Interview before hiring, trust your intuition.

I really mean this, it could be such a bracha. I don't think you need lessons in organization, you are in a totally different space than that. You need HELP. I pay dearly for the help I get with the children and the house. To me, that is what *I* need. Getting your house organized may very well help your health and strength, and I am not saying that lightly.

We still have to talk! Maybe tomorrow before Shabbat?
Hugs

Anonymous said...

hi ,sweety,its time to throw a chick party,it should be called,get it together,or get over it,invite 4,5 closest most organized freinds for a mivtza,pick a must get done job,i will bring thne muffins and pancakes,put on great music,and together it will go fast,and fun,time to party girl!!!loonytune

Jen Rouse said...

Hey, I don't even have chemo to deal with, and I feel like I can't keep up either! I worry sometimes that my kids are going to grow up to be slobs with poor standards of housekeeping...but if that's the worst that can be said of them (or of me)--well, there are worse things to be than a bad housekeeper.

I love the above commenter's idea about throwing a house-cleaning party! Do you think my friends would come if I threw one?

I have tried Flylady and haven't really been able to make it work for me. The best things I do (which I sort of adapted from Flylady) are to have just a few small things I do EVERY day. Make the beds. Unload the dishwasher. Wipe off the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms. Make the kids pick up the living room at the end of the day when they are done playing. The house is still generally messy a lot of the time, but those little things help.

Cheryl said...

Have to agree with previous posts - check out flylady. The main message I get from her is to be really gentle on myself and do things in tiny steps. A few very basic habit changes can be surprisingly transformative. Its not about taking on her whole system!

Leah said...

Rivka--

i once used these two women in israel who specialized in organization...yes, you have to pay---but they are fast and efficient and they turned what was a huge bologan into order. It was worth every penny.I recommend it.

Batya said...

The basic flylady (there are a Jewish and an Israel group, too) stuff is good, small doses and non-perfectionist. A friend had one of those professional organizers and was horrified at the results.

You need someone to help, but the somone should help the way you need and not with a preset system.

Anonymous said...

Hey RivkA,

Aren't you glad you don't have Thing One and Thing Two, also??

Klara

Anonymous said...

I ask my children to help for two minutes. I'm not asking them to clean the room, just to give it two minutes of serious work. They would complain if I told them to clean the room but are happy to help for two minutes. It makes a huge difference and the room is usually clean in two minutes! Two minutes a day x three children is a big help.

LOL

Na'amah

Sarah said...

I remember that you once made a deal with your husband that if you didn't sort through the things yourself by a certain date, you would let him throw it out. Maybe it's time to make good on that.

My suggestion is to schedule a day out with a girlfriend, while your husband gets rid of everything according to his own judgment - and he has good judgment! That's one of the reasons you married him, and one of the things that makes him a great husband and father! You'll come home to a clutter-free home and feel SO MUCH BETTER.

michele said...

Rivka, I think you need a handful of friends to come to your house and to help you sort through clothes, books and perhaps papers. (I'd love to be one of them). The rule: if we haven't worn it in 2 years, get rid of it, is a good one. When we moved recently I set aside a big box for sentimental things: old photos, cards, kids' drawings. Now I know where it all is and was able to get rid of a lot of stuff (still a lot more to go, though). Let us help. We're here for you.

Ranting Zelda said...

so glad to hear that you had a nice nite out with the girls. what was the chick flick that nite?

Ranting Zelda said...

i find that when i let things pile up i feel more trapped. we all need a clean and clutter free environment. balagon is symptamatic of how we feel inside. do one project at a time. proioritize! sometimes, we simply have to throw things away.i finally dusted my house today after the long heat wave and it feels good! all the best, zelda

Aliza Berger-Cooper said...

I am not offering any suggestions about how to organize, because I don't really have any.

I also find keeping up with the house an impossible task. I usually don't have the energy to do the clearing I have planned. I have a husband who finds it unbearable to throw anything out or give it away, and is not good at clearing up. He thinks washing dishes is an equivalent task to clearing up the house...It's not. The dishes have a set place to be put away, but the clutter -- you have to think hard to figure out what to do with it all...

Sorry for the rant. My point is that whereas all the previous comments offered suggestions, it might be hard for you to read them since these people sound so organized. I want to simply sympathize. I hope that the people who have extra time do go to your house to help.

To end on a different note: Where is the father in The Cat and the Hat, anyway?

LeahGG said...

I really really relate! I can't keep up with my house. With a toddler, a crawler, a husband who's a packrat, ADD, and fibromyalgia, I just think it's impossible..If my husband and I can keep up with laundry and dishes, I'm ecstatic.