Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I give to you is just what I'm going through

Tuesday. Thank goodness. I'd become even more unbearable than usual. I'm the worst teenager in the house. A solid week of forced togetherness had worn The Goldens down to the nubs. By last night, I resorted to threatening nudity to chase Nathan from the bedroom.

"Time for you to clear out. I want to change into my pajamas."
"Hang on, I'm watching this. Mama, you love World War II in Color." This is true, but I saw this for the diversion it was.
"5:30 is going to come very quickly tomorrow morning. I need to get some sleep."
"Your laptop is still on, I don't believe you." I hate the back talk. I hate that he was right even more.
"Nate, go now. I want some alone time with Dad."
"Oh, gawd. I'm staying.You guys don't need alone time." He made air quotes with his fingers.
"You better scram. I'm taking off my pants." I did, too.
He covered his eyes.
"Now I'm going to take off this bra."
"Mom, no!"
"And I'm going to throw it at you. It'll probably burn your skin." I reached behind me to unhook my bra.
"I'm going."
"You can throw that bra here." MathMan is never far from the action when breasts are involved.

So they finally got out of the house today and I stood at the kitchen counter sipping coffee and listening to the quiet house. All around me chores begged for attention. Cat hair fringing the edge of something sticky on the kitchen floor tried to convince me to mop. Dirty clothes already sorted whispered Come on, baby to me when I passed by the laundry room door. My ever-trusty vacuum stood in the corner of the dining room. I swear it winked at me when I stopped in there to get something from the file cabinet. Fresh.

Resist, I told myself.
I'll just wash up these dishes. It'll only take a moment.
No! Resist! Walk away! Go work. Go workout. Go have a shower. Eat something! Be that person you said you wanted to be.

I hate when I make declarative statements to MathMan when my conscience is listening. Caught in the middle of whining about interruptions yesterday (and probably every day since January 1) I corrected myself by saying that I wanted to be that person who got up, got her family out the door, worked out, had breakfast, a shower and got busy writing. No internet until after 1pm when the job search would take priority each day.  Disciplined, focused, driven. That's who I want to be.

Time to stop blaming the kids and MathMan for my inability to finish anything.

I'll just do these dishes, then I'll work out, have some breakfast, a shower and then I'll be ready to work. Except why does the water pressure in this sink seem weak? Maybe I should take the aerator off and check it. Will pliers get it off? I'll get the pliers. On my way, I'll toss in a load of laundry.

I left the kitchen and fetched the pliers then went downstairs to the laundry room. Everything was going so smoothly. I'd get it all done and have time to work.While I wrestled with the pliers and the aerator, I talked to myself some more.Why do I treat writing like dessert? It's the best part of my day, but I save it for last, when I'm tired, distracted and likely to be interrupted.

I have a girlfriend who has always been thin despite her raging sweet tooth. She eats dessert first whenever she feels like it. Which is often.

I won't beat you silly with that epiphany. I put the pliers back and transformed into that person I said I wanted to be. I pulled out the manuscript that I've been revising since 1946 and didn't stop working until two hours later when I stopped to feed the cats who were using the youngest among them as a battering ram against my bedroom door, I think. She appeared dazed when I opened the door.

"Okay, guys. Let's go," I said to the cats as we moved en masse toward the kitchen where I didn't notice the spots on the floor, the wonky faucet or the dishes in the drainer.


  1. Good, you've turned a corner. Now for the big test ... ignore your family, let them fend for themselves for awhile (tell them to also clean-up after themselves). Because without selfishness, great things won't happen.

  2. Good for you! Well done. However, I wish I could say that household chores beckon to me as a temptation - I have to say that I usually procrastinate to avoid doing those chores! But that's because I'm not writing. Probably then I'd procrastinate with household chores too. Procrastination is one of my finest skills.

  3. cat hair "fringe" I have that too.

  4. It's like you are talking about me except I can't even blame my lame on kids. Trust me if you are writing at all I think it's a major deal. I have no idea how you mommies/wives/rockstar women do all you do.

    Rock on my sister...


  5. "'bout fuckin' time," I heard someone say

  6. Good for you! Resist resist! Start with the important stuff. All those crap chores will always be there.

  7. I fear my last comment did not pass border control. Please, allow me to tell you for the second time in only a matter of moments, how much I enjoy your writing!

    As far the drudge, I admire your restraint. My issues are all crumb related. I try to ignore. I really do but deep in my heart I know those disgusting particles have the upper hand.

    I know we've only just met but you are clearly an inspiration.

  8. yeah, what they said.

    i wish my distracting tendencies led to a cleaner house instead of naps.

    write write write (right?)

  9. Good for you. Those spots on the floor will still be there, you know. It isn't like the clothes get dirtier sitting on the floor, either.

  10. I love how you use nudity as a threat. Work it girl!

    Now, keep at it! (the writing, not the nudity)

  11. Good for you, Lisa! I commend you for putting down the pliers, walking away, and being the person you wanted to be by working on your manuscript.

    I think because my house is STILL FILLED with PEOPLE like my mother who did not go to work and my son who did not go to school today, and Poppa Sye who never leaves the house, AND because the dishwasher is still broken, and my house is a wreck....my writing mojo is way of kilter. And it's driving me NUTS.

  12. Yes, we must be ever vigilant observers of our world, except when it comes to chores and things that stop us from having our dessert first. A good productive day then for Mrs. Golden?

  13. I'm very proud of you.

    Now. Do it again tomorrow. And Thursday. And Friday.

    Hugs and love to you!

  14. I think anyone who knows what an aerator is, let alone how to fix one, should cut herself a little slack... That said, way to kick a** today!

  15. ...and thanks for your kind comment, Martin Luther King Day...felt like it was a good "Writing Practice" to type some of Rev. King's words. -- a good exercise...

  16. Wow. After reading, feel like just went through your Day, as you.

    Evocative. +
    Great-looking Cat.

  17. That's excellent news. A couple of hours in the morning followed by some necessities when you can be doing revisions in your head. You might even discover a new supporting character while you vacuum which you can continue describing in copy after lunch.

  18. I tend to get sucked into chores a LOT, rather than doing what I really want to be doing, which is being out with my camera (while I'm unemployed, that is.)

    I figure I can always procrastinate, um, later...

    Anyway, it's great that you got some writing in. Writing, they say, is a discipline (which has the word "discipline" in it, if you haven't noticed.) All the great writers sat their asses down at the same time every day and WROTE.

    So do it again tomorrow, Lisa. Spread some canned cat food on that fuzz ring and let the cats clean it up!

  19. You inspire me. I really need to turn off the computer and get that workout done first thing in the morning. And my non-blog reading needs to come first. You inspired me to lose weight. You have inspired me to prioritize. Thank you!!!

  20. Oh, Lisa, I love you. *grin*

    Seriously--it's like sometimes you climbed inside my head and heard every thought I was thinking. I am SO like that...even though you wouldn't know it to look at my often messy house, I do tend to choose "work" (whether housework or actual job-work) over "me time."

    But this whole experience with Iwanski has taught me that there's more to life than work. And thus, I am leaving work at 5 PM every day...even though it kills me to leave that stack of e-mails unanswered.

    You know exactly how I feel, don't you? We are just too "perfectionist" at heart. :)

  21. P.S. You are an awesome, hilarious writer! I love to read your blog posts...so keep it up, lady!! :)

  22. I don't have the ecuse of writing to explain my dirty house - just the excuse of I am tired of cleaning it over and over.

    Glad you got your work worked on.

  23. YAY for putting writing first! Oh, the image of the cats using the youngest as a battering ram... you are too funny. I ALWAYS put writing first... have a very tough time finding anything else I want to do at home...

  24. Remember the words of a great woman, who said something about parenting by benign neglect. Apply that to housekeeping, and you will soon have a finished book on your hands, my friend.

  25. Hooray! All through the think I kept thinking "I do that, I think like that..." And so when your writer self won out in the end, so did mine.

  26. It's so easy to get distracted by those pesky things around the house! Just keep your eye on the prize, cause we're all in your corner.

    Besides, we are anxiously awaiting your first novel!

  27. I think that's why so many people write at Starbucks (or similar) . . . so they can avoid the siren song of housework (the newspaper, checking email, whatever).

    Being the person that you want to be is such a DAILY endeavor. Sigh.

  28. Oh Lisa, you speak so much truth!

    My writing at the moment is basically my blog, but this means 2000+ words a week if I want to keep up to my self-set target of two entries a week. The day I post brings a feeling of freedom; two to three days later I feel the pressure of the monster demanding to be fed again! Why can something which one wants to do often be so hard? Discipline is, unfortunately, everything.

    My vacuum cleaner is screaming at me at the moment, but I'm steadfastly ignoring it. Life wouldn't be real if there wasn't some area in it demanding improvement!

  29. What I literally thought after I read the passage about your getting N out of your room was how masterfully written it is. Seriously. Your writing is better than ever, here and I'm sure in your other endeavor that you know we're all dying to read!


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