Monday, February 26, 2007

a scare

Last night I was happily summarizing historical eras for Tim to add that "humanities" layer to his choral history research, the kids were literally running in circles chasing imaginary blue bunnies, and Tim was sound asleep. It was 3:15 am. Suddenly, I heard a knock at the door.

This wouldn't be so odd for most families in the evening. Maybe a little unusual, but not unheard of. But for us? It was 3:15 am! Who knocks on a door at 3:15 am?

I didn't want to find out, so I went to get Tim, and then he was even hesitant to go down to the door and look out the window there to see who it was. By the time any of us got courage, nobody was there. Or, rather, Nobody had gone. I figured if it was a neighbor who needed something, they would have knocked louder, and again, and stood where we could see them from upstairs. If it was the police or fire department, the same. Anyone else should probably be knocking on the door of the fire station half a block (literally) down the street, or going into the 7-11 across from the firestation, or going into the emergency room of the hospital that is, literally, half a block further.

I realize we announce we are awake because we are the only house with all the lights blazing at 3:00 am. And it was cold last night. And the Nobody knocked softly, like they were hesitant to wake us if we were asleep. But it still scared the pants off me.

So now I feel bad. The person responded like a normal person--hesitant to wake us and then went away without pushing the issue--so maybe it was someone who just needed help. But, then again, the news lately is full of stories of rape and murder and I, being pregnant, am more than mildly paranoid (and full of nighttime anxiety, which doesn't help), and there's a fire station right down the street where someone could get help who needed it......

The extra adrenalin rush made it so that Caleb had a hard time falling asleep again, despite the good work I did feeding him cold cereal before bed. At least I finally know enough to realize what happened and not panic, and not get mad at Caleb. It's not his fault.

In other news: the kids are sick again. RSV (so sorry you got it, Ari!) is going around our ward, so I imagine that's what it is. Not so dangerous once the kids are bigger, but nasty nonetheless. We missed church, since 4 of the five of us have whatever this is. Fortunately, the weather is warming up, so we should be able to get more vitamin D soon, and that should help.

The nesting instinct kicked in, and I've been cleaning and organizing my house. ME! Shocking. Part of it is that my novel feels really done this time, at least for now, and it takes a week or so for me to "shift worlds" into the next novel, so I'm not "doing anything." All our food comes in smallish squarish boxes lately, so we have an abundance of "toy bins", so it's finally possible to get organized. I've sorted the toys into bins, and put labels on them (printed on the computer, with pictures and words so everyone knows what's inside), and put them on all the bookshelves, which were always empty anyway because bookshelves are hard for kids to use, so the books were on the floor. So now the books are in crates, and the toys are in boxes on the shelves, and the kids spend more time playing than ever before. Nobody ever says they're bored, and nobody watches TV or plays the computer all day anymore. Mr. PotatoHead is a lot more fun when you can find the pieces to stick in his face.

And we're practicing picking up and putting away what we're done with. Since I have three sequential children, they appreciate this. They like having clear floor space to play on, and they like being able to carry the small box of toys to the "play spot" for the moment. I like being able to walk across the floor without slipping on someone's something.

There is only ONE way for me to clean, though, since the pregnant belly and fibromyalgia get in the way. I sweep all the junk in one area into one large pile. Then I put two boxes near me--one big one and one small one. I sit on a stool or kid's chair and pick up the stuff I can reach. Garbage goes into the big box, everything else goes into the small box. When the small box is full, I pick it up and carry it around the house, putting away everything in it. This works for me physically because it guarantees every few minutes I will have a change of physical activity--necessary for those with fibro. I don't sit so long that my back hurts, I don't have to bend over, I don't have to stand very long, and everything gets actually put away. When my small box (think just bigger than a shoebox, or it's too big to carry with one arm) gets empty again, I start over. If I were normal, I could do the whole house this way in half an hour, one small pile in each room. Since I only pick up every 3-6 months, it takes a few days to work through everything. We still have stuff on the floor from Christmas--the last time we picked up--and it's almost March.

The only hiccup to the whole thing is that Dan is at that age when he's big enough to tear stuff apart in minutes, and too small to really clean up after himself. That's not fun. But at least there's a place to put things when I want to put them away. That is really the key to the whole issue. And it can't just be any place. It has to be a place I don't have to open to get to (like not a cupboard or drawer), a place I can reach easily, preferably by tossing the offending item, and a place that is big enough that I don't have to take the toy (think lego city) apart to put it away. It's taken me five years to figure out the details on this. And I'm sure I'll continue to refine the system until the kids are gone, and then it will be a lot easier to clean up. We'll only have to do it once a year!

The big revelation for me that made all this possible actually came when we were house hunting. I realized that a house (and the entire environment we live in) should serve us, not the other way around. Instead of bemoaning what I cannot do, I adjust what's around me to fit what I can do, and try not to worry about the rest. It's taken a long time for this all to trickle down through my brain to practical applications, but it has resulted in this latest organization push, and the "clothes room" where all the laundry gets put away on shelves, and taking the TV out of my "clean room", and lots of other things. Instead of trying harder to do it "right", I just look at what stops me from doing a job and try to adjust the job to fit my personality and handicaps.

It sometimes works.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joe and I found this line particularly amusing. "Mr. PotatoHead is a lot more fun when you can find the pieces to stick in his face". That would make a really nice cross stitch:)