Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Cleaning Philosophy

Yep, it's that time of year again. You've heard all the "definitions" of spring cleaning:heavy duty, top-to-bottom cleaning--carpets, windows inside and out, blinds, draperies, sorting through closets, basements, attics and garages--all this in addition to the traditional chores of dusting, scrubbing toilets, showers and kitchens. Most of us understand and appreciate that the meaning of this yearly event is associated with "spring" due to warmer weather and the idea that spring signals renewal and rebirth.

The older I become the less interested I am in rebirth and renewal--at least when it comes to my home. One afternoon while I was searching the Internet for cleaning "shortcuts" I came across the following spring-cleaning philosophies.

Spring Cleaning Philosophy #1
from YOU Magazine
Spring is here and it's time to give your home a deep cleaning. There are two roads you can go down. The first one is paved with loathing and complaints. Needless to say, it is not a very fun road to travel. Chores seem to take longer to complete, and by the end of the day, your back hurts worse than ever.
The second road is one that involves taking a slightly different look at the task at hand. Spring is a very symbolic time of year. From the beginning, it's always been associated with starting anew. If you think of spring cleaning in somewhat the same way, your attitude in terms of doing it may actually change for the better.
Think of how good it will feel to not only have a very clean home, but also one that's organized and clutter-free. At the same time, think about how much easier it's going to be to perform any subsequent cleaning throughout the remainder of the year. It may actually result in a renewed love of the space in which you live. Believe it or not, a good spring cleaning can be as cathartic
and invigorating as a move into a new home.
Spring Cleaning Philosophy # 2
I don't do windows because--I love birds and don't want one to run into a clean window and get hurt.
I don't wax floors because--I am terrified a guest will slip and get hurt then I'll feel terrible (plus they might sue me).
I don't mind the dust bunnies because--They are very good company, I have named most of them, and they agree with everything I say.
I don't disturb cobwebs because--I want every creature to have a home of their own.
I don't spring clean because--I love all the seasons and don't want the others to get jealous.
I don't put things away because--My husband will never be able to find them again.
I don't do gourmet meals because--When I entertain I don't want my guests to stress out over what to make when they invite me over for dinner.
I don't iron because--I choose to believe them when they say "permanent press."
I don't stress much on anything because--"A Type" personalities die young and I want to stick around and become a wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!"
Remember--A clean house is a sign of a broken computer.
Okay, I admit that spring-cleaning philosophy #2 sounds really appealing! So...what kind of spring-cleaning philosophy do you subscribe to?
Dexter:Honorable Cowboy
Book #2 The Codys: First Family of Rodeo

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day and Other Deadlines

Anybody out there working on taxes today?

It seems appropriate, as this is Tax Day here in the states, to talk about how we all deal differently with deadlines. In addition to the deadline to file taxes and deadlines at work, I've also been working toward a deadline for the revisions on my second book.

I don't deal well with deadlines. I admit it. They stress me out. Always have. Yet many years ago in school, (and no, I won't specify exactly how many years) I found my own way to deal with them. Given that I'm a nervous wreck until said deadline is met, I just meet them early. Like setting your alarm clock a few minutes ahead, I set the calendar a week or two ahead in my mind so I think things are due before they really are. Not that I avoid the stress, I just experience it earlier as opposed to later. I finished my term papers half way through the term. Not to say I didn't rewrite them three times before turning them in. I had nightmares about sitting in class and realizing I didn't have my assignment. We filed our taxes by the first of March because I couldn't take worrying about them. Currently, I'm working diligently to complete my revisions so I can let the manuscript breathe a week then proof it before sending.

Not to say that I've never missed a deadline, but not many. Don't say it. I completely realize this is a neurotic sickness.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, and possibly the sane end, I've had friends, co-workers, and even a critique partner that appear to drift leisurely along, then thrive on that last rush of adrenaline to meet deadlines with thirty seconds to spare. And they do it well. Their stress seems to last a much shorter time than mine.

What worries me these days is that I've got so many things going on in my life, things that demand my attention, that there aren't enough hours in the day. At times I have trouble keeping track of everything. My life has become a juggling act. The day job. Writing. An elderly mom living with us who needs more and more of my attention. This is the woman who taught me to balance my bank statement to the penny. Now I have to help her balance her's. Her doctor appointments. I'm delighted that my boys are both married and mostly self-sufficient, but they still rely on me for certain things. And then there are the grandkids and other family issues I won't bore you with.

Don't get me wrong. I am not willing to give any of this up. My family is the center of my life. Writing is a lifelong dream. And the day job, well it funds it all and I'm too young to retire. Being the white cream in the center of the Oreo is not new to me. But lately I'm slipping. When I'm working on one thing, my brain is spinning, thinking about three others.

Help me out. Surely everyone has to juggle at times. What works for you?