Jack of Many Trades


Originally posted: 2015-01-09

My friend Jenny had a post up about the importance of maintenance which is well-timed for me. I just got a text from my landlord, you see. Instead of doing annual inspections in the spring this year, apparently we're doing them this weekend.

I knew in the back of my head that I'd been letting little maintenance things get away from me, but actually knowing someone was coming in this weekend, I looked around and took a deep breath.

Lil Cilantro, you see, has just discovered fun games like "standing up" and "pulling everything off the shelves" and "getting cheerios in every crevice." I've been frantically trying to rehome everything on a lower shelf, get out of the house the things we decided we were finished with in the kitchen, and do it all in the ever-smaller window of time when Cilantro would consent to playing somewhere she was contained.

Tonight, finally, the box of extras from the kitchen went out to the thrift store. We don't have a lot of Christmas decor, but what we have is boxed up and ready to go back into the closet. That bought me some breathing room for piles that need sorting.

The nice thing, though, is that there was a time when this would have been several days work, done in a panic. It's still work, but the amount that needs to be done to bring it to 'reasonable' levels of having company seems much more reasonable. I don't think it's so much that I'm less messy, though I probably am a little bit. I think it's instead that I've gotten more comfortable with cleaning.

When I was a kid, I had way too much stuff compared to the amount of storage I had. It wasn't that I didn't have a lot of storage - I had plenty of shelves and a large desk, a dresser and trunk, even a filing cabinet. But everything was full, and I wound up with stacks of things everywhere - so even when I felt the room was ordered, my parents couldn't necessarily see that. I felt like the space wasn't effectively mine.

Now I know that (a) I have the space, for the most part, (b) I'm in control of the space, so I can choose priorities and get rid of things at will instead of when my mom is thinking about taking things to Goodwill, I can look around and know that I have control over everything in it. Sure, some of it is my wife's, but she trusts me to care for her things, to put them away as necessary.

I look around, I think that yes, it's gotten away from me... but I know I can take an hour or two while she watches the baby and get it done, too. It's a reminder to keep an eye on it, and at the same time, it's a reminder of how far I've already come.