The Getting Your S*$@ Together Series

Day 1

Is this scene the height of my madness or glory?

In this series of “getting your s$#@ together”, we will refrain from leveling our homes, and instead determine three things we are just going to do and that only cost time and effort, not actual money. 

As I take this picture, it’s 11:24pm on a Tuesday night. Alone, I’ve moved both of the couches as well as the bookshelf to new locations, and taken almost everything out of my cupboards.

Only time will tell how I will be remembered in the annals of history. 

“How did she get here?”, you might be wondering. 

Perhaps it was the several cups of coffee I drank around 4pm that caused me to fully accept that summer will soon end and I must carpe diem. Or perhaps you might say carpe noche. Carpe nochem? In the times I am living, my knowledge of Latin is of little consequence. 

I need to tell you something precisely because it is 11:24 pm on a Tuesday night. It’s a desire that dwells deep within my suburban soul and gets highly aggravated whenever I watch HGTV or go to someone’s house who looks like they know what their doing. (Spoiler: this is one of those shallow/deep shares.) 

Here goes…

I desperately hate many things about where I live. For example, this awkward, too small rectangle living/dining room doesn’t quite fit our needs but maybe could if I had like $10,000 to “do it right”. I despise the (not pictured) tile on the ground juxtaposed to the peeling laminate. The half-painted bannister mercilessly mocks me on a daily basis as I enter and exit the building. The carpet in my bathroom is absolutely repulsive. There’s also a tile that falls off the side of the bathroom vanity every day. I dutifully place it back on because I sincerely feel like this experience is somehow the universe teaching me a lesson. The white caulking on the kitchen sink is tinged black with what I presume to be mold and I frequently wonder if maybe it is silently killing us. We might have termites. Or definitely ants. I could go on but I won’t. This is our house, and I am supposed to call it a home. 

I just don’t know where I need to start. And over a short period of time, I fall down the rabbit hole of one project inevitably leading to a bigger one, until I get so overwhelmed I quit trying all together.

I dream about knocking it down with a wrecking ball. I dream about it daily and I go pretty deep. It’s like a trashy romance novel that you hate but you can’t put down:

She sits on the hot wrecking ball machine seat, smoking a cigar, tugging the joystick to and fro with reckless abandon. And then she suddenly realizes it’s too much work to knock it down in this way. Exasperated, she reaches into the chest pocket of her overalls, searching her heaving bosom for a single stick of dynamite. Finally, she finds it and grabs one stick from the bundle. “Nay!”, she reconsiders, and grinning devilishly grabs TWO sticks. Lighting them both with the end of her cigar, she throws them through the open front door, and blows it all up. 

The end.

(I need to do a fact check if it’s possible to light a stick of dynamite with a cigar end and if two sticks would get the job done. Remember there are no bad ideas in brainstorming). 

Or even better than my trashy homeowner-romance novel- a brief poem of sorts

One day she learns that only her house

Has mysteriously burned to the ground. 

No one is hurt 

and 

The insurance company is extremely generous in the reparations. 

The end. 

In my highest highs, I recognize that it’s mainly my attitude and the food I produce that make any place I live a home. In my lowest lows… well, you actually read what plays through my mind. 

But there’s a sweet spot. 

You know what I am talking about- where you are so antagonized (and maybe kinda jacked on caffeine) that you determine around 10pm  on a Tuesday you’re just going to “do the thing” and clean/organize/build/demolish whatever the hell is on your last nerve. And then you go all in and pull all the crap out of the cupboard and finally get started instead of hating/dreading/avoiding whatever the thing is. This post is about how you get to the sweet spot, but try to avoid all the aforementioned drama and anguish.

Now listen. I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal. If you tell me there is a half of a pizza left, in my mind, that’s more a challenge than mere information. I’m an “eat the whole sleeve of cookies” type of person and I am not one of those people that pretends to be that way and then is really not. Those kind of people are the worst people. I have no middle ground on these kinds of issues, so if I am ever with you and refrain, please know I am definitely not being coy or modest, but attempting to avoid the sorrow that inevitably follows eating the sleeve of cookies. I digress…

In this series of “getting your s$#@ together”, we will refrain from leveling our homes, and instead determine three things we are just going to do and that only cost time and effort, not actual money

I’m no expert, but I’ve followed enough social media people to know that if you call anything a “series” the gravitas of the occasion goes up at least tenfold. If you could amp up the gravitas of “getting your S%$# together”, why wouldn’t you? 

This series will last until August 19th, the day many return to school. 

I am here to tell you that I have learned from a lifetime of an all-or-nothing mentality. I’ve evolved from dozens of failed DIYs from all nighters beginning in the third grade, to dying my eyebrows alone with no real sense of how important timing is, to landscaping hardpan with no motorized tools. 

All or nothing doesn’t get me very far. It takes me to a deep, dark place of self-loathing, but it doesn’t really get me what I want.

I get so overwhelmed by my “blow it all up” mentality- when I want to do something extreme in order to make myself feel better “quickly”. For example, an actual, real thought that I genuinely ran through my brain today was when I began to believe that I could actually hand paint my entire exterior in the four days my husband is on a trip whilst I am at home with my 5 and 6 year old.  “I shall surprise him”, I whisper to myself as I clean the bottom of my pint of Ben and Jerry’s with my spoon.

This is the point of my delusion when I usually begin to accept that I am in one of my “all-or-nothing” spirals, and I need to transform that energy into something more manageable (and that will also keep my important relationships in tact). 

So like the ancient Greeks- at least in the circumstance of homeowner tasks, not in their position on women’s rights- I will adopt their fervent devotion to moderation when it comes to the tasks I take on.

Yes, this single act of discipline, this hedged attempt to slowly conquer my house into something I eventually will be proud of, shall serve as the tiny pebble that will become an avalanche of productivity and organization! This is merely step one!

*crowd cheers*

We shall call this step the “Get Your S$%#! Together Series” wherein you pick three realistic things to complete by August 19.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the day you dynamite your house is never going to come. Quit wanting to blow it all up or for the “day” to come. It never just happens. This truth doesn’t just go for shallow DIY homeowner stuff. This is also weight loss, relationships, work issues, social justice, educational reform, etc. But that’s another blog post all together.

We will never have three magic wishes from the Genie, either. You think one day you’re going to roll into Agraba on an elephant with music blaring and an entire city admiring you? No ma’am. 

Not today. 

Not ever! 

Look, maybe one day you will get the magic genie. And by that I mean you get on Ellen. She’ll unexpectedly call you up and tell you she’s going blow up your house for you, and that you and her and Portia get to pick out all new things. But I am not holding my breath for that day to come- (but Ellen and Portia if you’re reading this please know I would love nothing more and this is my expressed written consent…)

Here’s what we can actually do today: start small. Pick three things (right now- don’t worry- you can do more later) that are manageable and that you could complete in a month. Let’s commit and check in on each other in the comments. Here’s mine:

  1. Reorganize the living/dining room (so that it doesn’t look like the above photo)
  2. Paint the entire stair rail (it doesn’t cost me anything because I already have paint and tools needed)
  3. Organize the linen closet

I end this post at exactly 12:30am and I realize that I still have the living room as a complete disaster. I need to finish before everyone wakes up tomorrow. Since my glass is now half full, I don’t think of this as a total disaster, rather, I am getting a really early start on this whole “get your S$#@ together” thing.

Best wishes my friends! I will see you on August 19.

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