Thursday, February 26, 2009

WHEN IS IT TIME FOR HOUSEWORK?

After dinner, my husband and I walk six paces from our dining room table to the sofas to plop ourselves in amongst the 3 cats and a dog. The idea is that the old guy will read while I either watch a documentary, drama or something on BookTV. Sometimes I print off a chapter and edit as I sit there. But that's for those nights when he's watching hockey or curling. Hey--Who's brilliant idea was it to put a mic around the Skipper and Third so we can hear them screaming at Second and Lead, "SWEEP! HARD!"?

Behind me, 10 paces is my Mac on a Costco folding table in the corner of my dining room. Some nights my Mac beckons me. I ignore it. Evenings are for me and the old guy. We don't have to talk, but we should at least be together. If I sit at my computer, I feel guilty. I had all day to write. Evenings should be for us.

But guess what? During the day I see dust bunnies in the corner of my kitchen, dining room and living room, and laundry piling up in the guest room, and I feel guilty because I was brought up believing, as an adult, if you weren't working, daytime was meant for housework, laundry, and outdoor chores. Only--I'm a writer. And I hate housework. But I like structure. And there are those days when I can rework an entire scene while vacuuming. However ....

The kids are grown. The two oldest grandsons have their licenses. Weekends can be hectic. But during the winter, mostly it's me and the old guy. How much mess can we make? Not much. But guess how much mess 3 cats and a dog can make? Apparently, quite a bit. Especially if you're working on a new book and aren't spending the allotted amount of time petting, patting and brushing as you used to. But that's a story for another day. Not a good idea to get me on the subject of strays. Then I'm off on a tangent about summer people bringing their cats out to the lake, then leaving them to the elements when they go back to town for the winter.

The point is, I'm a writer. I'm supposed to be writing every day. 1000 words. Evenings are meant for the old guy. Weekends are for the grandchildren: hockey games on the ice, ski-doing, and all those other crazy winter sports. While weekdays are for, dare I say: marketing, networking, blogging and editing. When is it time for housework?

This picture was taken last summer. I'm trying to remember if I've done housework since then...

Thank God the old guy cooks breakfast every day, gets the wood in and even cooks supper when I present him with my pathetic-I'm-so-busy-writing-face.

The trick is to learn to live with the mess, and to be happy if all you write is 200 words. I'm stuck on a scene right now, so maybe that's a sign that I should bring out the knee pads and floor detergent, and scrub the floor. I could be working on my next scene inside my head. Kill two birds with one stone. Course, I do have my back to think of.

By the way, notice how I started with "After dinner..." and not "After doing up the dinner dishes..."?

8 comments :

  1. I thought curling was just an Olympic thing. Second & Lead? Skipper & Third? I get an education here!

    It is a balancing act, this writing stuff. I work during the day, so writing is limited to weekends & evenings BUT... I don't want to be selfish with my time. Deb is home alone all day, so I work hard at being fair with my time. My most productive writing time is Saturday night between 9 & 4AM. I'm afraid book promotion tends to suffer the most.

    If I had to cook - we'd starve. I'm a complete idiot in the kitchen. I help out around the house but cooking - no way!

    The Old Guy??? Hmmmm.... Down here the surf shops have a line of gear that say 'Old Guys Rule' - I won't wear those shirts - even though I suppose I'm qualified.

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  2. I bought him a t-shirt when he turned 50 that said: It used to be "Wine, Women and Song." Now it's "Beer, the Ole Lady and TV."

    When he turned 60, I bought him a stand for his wood-splitter so he wouldn't have to bend over. lol

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  3. I love your choice of writing space. While the rest of the household needs may be intrusive the view is fantastic! I'd focus on it. Relegate housework to a designated time and ignore the dust bunnies in favour of creativity. :)

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  4. I broke down yesterday and washed the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, and mudroom floors. They're actually sparkling today. But, I'm not getting carried away. No more housework until I write 1000 new words.

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  5. "No more housework until I write 1000 new words."

    Good. We can't read your housework. *smile*

    Keith

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  6. thanks, Keith. What I need is to sell another book and hire a great housekeeper! Ooh, that sounds good.

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  7. On another note - Deb said to me a few weeks ago... 'I'd like to hire a housekeeper - yaknow... like once a week."

    I looked at her like she had 3 heads. "You would clean before they got here anyway."

    She denied it.

    I pointed out that while we were 'living' in a hotel suite in Chicago for nearly 3 months this past fall.... she always cleaned BEFORE the daily cleaning service folks arrived AND, since she didn't like the smell of THEIR sheets... she always washed the clean sheets in HER detergent/dryer sheet combination.

    I shoulda been a defense lawyer.

    Whoa! The word verification thingy says 'dieshoon' - Is that like a misspelled warning???

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  8. haha, your lovely wife sounds very normal. Don't you know you're supposed to clean before the cleaning person shows up! Heaven forbid if s/he found any dirt!

    hee hee, you men are so funny!

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