Friday, January 4, 2008

The Big List

The other day I was sitting in the basement tying my sneakers getting ready to workout. I don't really remember what triggered the thought. But I looked at this almost laughable shit hole of a *living space* and had this realization....

I'm in control of this.
I'm in control of myself and my decisions.
I have allowed this to happen.
I can choose to change.

So why don't I? What am I waiting for? Am I ready to change my behavior? Am I ready to do it for Me... to improve my quality of life? As Dr. Phil likes to say "How's that workin' for ya?"... well Dr. Phil... it's not... and that's the point really. It's making me feel helpless and out of control. Feelings that I subconsciously strive for to repeat my childhood. But lets face facts knowing that and changing it are two different things.

Well ever since that moment I've been making a mental list. A list of things that I truly believe would make me feel better about my life. Things I put off that tax me... sometimes in a very small way... sometimes in a big way. These are the things I want to get done.

I would like to:

Print out pictures and frame them (in the frames I bought for this purpose 6 years ago) and hang them in the stairway.

Print out and hang pictures in the Bedrooms (ie finally commit to living here!)

Discard misc. furniture from Guest Room and buy blue bedside table and dresser I saw at Ikea ($350)... actually make the room look finished and inviting and not like a storage room!

Have a clean house... which means ALL the way clean... not with misc piles of crap in the kitchen, on the table, on the floor, on the basement landing, on the floor of the coat closet, on the settee in my bedroom, etc.

Discard stuff we haven't used in one year (minus heirloom or wedding table top!... I'm not crazy)... ie get rid of enough stuff that we can actually put everything we own AWAY for once!

Get more attractive toy bin for living room.

File my paperwork.

Clean out my "cubby of shame" completely this time! Fill with toys so that I can no longer rely on having a cubby to stash weird paper hoarding evidence.

Go out with Friends.... scratch that.... Make Friends (not just on the blog!)

Have people over for dinner.

Do laundry once a week... and do all the steps... including putting it away!

Keep Baby's journal updated more regularly.

Spend more quality time with Mr F.

Get kids on a more consistent bed time.

Get more sleep.

Do more art and baking projects with Kid.

Lighten up on my perfectionist nature.

Do more craft projects.

Get the dining room chairs leather and horse hair stuffing reupholstered.

Have more special time with Kid.

When I see a pile of annoying crap pick it up instead of writing a post about it!


Robin said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!! It's like you are living my life. That's why I put Flylady on my to do's for 2008, I am happier when all that stuff is done. And I almost put on my list to make friends. I only have a few and only REALLY like one of them! I chickened out from putting it on there though.

Good luck!

Heather said...

This is an awesome, awesome, positive way to declutter -- starting from the inside out. I truly believe getting through of the superflous floating to-do list that bounces around in the brain is key to achieving mental clarity. I made a similar list around the holiday and we're working through crossing off the items. The list is staggering, but we have our little meeting and talk about the first steps to take, or what the challenges are to get started. Somehow just by talking it through it makes it more real, and my husband points out interesting perspectives that I don't see.

In conclusion, GO YOU!

Mary said...

What a great list! I have many of the same items on my mental list -- especially cleaning up clutter and making friends! (why is that so hard as we get older?) I do love the internal conflict between making lists, getting things done and avoiding perfectionism!! It's tough row to hoe, as they say. Good luck! You've inspired me to put my mental list on paper.

Gigs said...

That's an awesome list, and so similar to my own! I almost always feel overwhelmed by the things I need to do to feel happy and sane, and most of it really is that simple stuff. But it's often 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Just had a conversation with my husband last night about how we need to stay on track with things. I feel like we are always mid-project, mid-clean, mid-whatever, and it can get so frustrating. This is one of those posts that is a great kick in the pants for me, because you make me feel like it's all totally do-able, and encourage me that I'm not alone!

emmyjw said...

I have been slowly but surely purging the house of stuff that hasn't been touched in a year or more, I have to be stealthy,hubby says "but what if..." whatever, if you haven't used it in over a year it can't be that important. Good luck, I am trying to do the samr over here, and if I lived a little closer I think we would hit it off, but as funny and smart as you are I'm sure you'll have no trouble making Ann Arbor friends. I put this goal on my list a couple of years ago and joined a mom's group at church, I really don't have time for it but it has been great. I have people to talk to, lean on,laugh with etc... other than my mom which is good because I can't talk about sex or complain about my man with my mom, just not right.

katieo said...

You totally have the power Mrs. F.

(Ok, now on to the This is how we do it vid. I sat there going, "Is she nursing the baby under there? Under an electric(al) blanket?" lol!)

Heather said...

Gah! I just realized all of the videos I've missed. I just joined Youtube and sent you a friend request (the INS video, etc. is from my husband's account)...

Julie said...

Mrs F, this list speaks to many of us. Please, though, don't get overwhelmed. When the kids are a bit older, you will be able to do some of this stuff. All of this is a constant work in progress for me.

Start with the things that you can cross off quickly and get instant printing out and hanging up the photos. Don't fret or obsess over which photo is the most perfect to put in the frame. Just get it up on the wall, you can always change it later. I had pretty frames set out on a console table for years with no photos in them because i just never had the time to pick and put in the photos. Well, one day, I just put in some cute photos randomly and they are fine. I may change them later, but at least it is a start.

I have struggled with the same issues that you have--as many of us do whether we are a parent or not. I really had to learn to let go of a lot so I can enjoy my time with my kids while they are young and WANT to be with me. That said, I am pretty reliable in my occasional "i can't take it anymore" bitch fest and need to clean, organize whatever. I really feel so much better when things are organized, more in control.

Ok, i could go on and on here. And the friend thing...that i could go on about more, too. I do have a few moms that I feel like I can count on and we get together occasionally. BUT do I talk with them in the same way I do here? No. I do wish that we all lived closer:)

Amy said...


I need to "fly" too. It's all about establishing an entrusted routine. Oh...and sticking to it. Oh, and getting RIGHT back on it when you get off!

I need to make friends too. I don't feel "friendless" in the sense, but it would be nice to have more friend-nights out. Maybe I need to start a Bunco group. Monthly. Of non-flakers.

So much to do, so much to do.

Mrs. Furious said...

Oy! the friends is hard. It is even harder to come by when you a) have kids and b) don't leave the house!
No seriously this is an issue... maybe food for thought for another post....

you know I love me some "stop the insanity... and take accountability!" lists... (oh that was pretty good... I'll have to remember that for later!)

I do love the lists... the challenge... the ability to identify the small stressors and break them into potentially doable activities. Only time will tell... But I will say that instead of responding to everyone's comments right away I took 20 minutes and did a small art project with Kid. Was it monumental? no. But I did it... and that is one less thing to have floating around in my guilt-ridden head space!

P.O.M. said...

Lighten up on your perfectionist nature? But that's WHO you are :) Perfectionists rule.

And if you weren't a perfectionist, then this list wouldn't even exsist.

I just had a nice "purge" of-all-crap-day when my closet finally caved in and forced me too. But I was sad about something else and it really helped me to just get RID of so much CRAP that I didn't need/use. So maybe get depressed, then clean. It helps. Oh and have Mr. F take the kids somewhere so you can have alone cleaning time.

Mrs. Furious said...

not alone? yes! doable? not so sure.....

as funny and smart as you are I'm sure you'll have no trouble making Ann Arbor friends

you would be surprised.... I find my sarcasm isn't always properly interpreted! Also a major problem is that we don't University connections....

The real problem is that I can often not invest enough in a friendship I don't see as being a "perfect" match... I am plain too picky and then I miss out on having a fulfilling social life.

Mrs. Furious said...

no! lol.... I'm just crazy bundled up since our house is FREEZING. Baby was up in bed for a change!

yes I just got your invite. I just put up another completely ridiculous video... ENJOY (yes the donkey kick one).

Mrs. Furious said...


"And if you weren't a perfectionist, then this list wouldn't even exist."

LOL... so true....

yeah depression can really help you hit a little junk rock bottom.

when Mr F takes the girls I just end up sitting here blogging... I am weirdly more productive when I feel I am under extreme pressure (the kids definitely provide that!)

Mrs. Furious said...

"Maybe I need to start a Bunco group. Monthly. Of non-flakers."

lol.... yes I used to have a mom's night out. But once everyone starting having more kids (I was the last to cave on that) everyone started bailing. Now I would like to actually hang out with people who don't necessarily have kids my kids age (that is not really enough of a commonality to hold it together)

Mrs. Furious said...

"Don't fret or obsess over which photo is the most perfect to put in the frame."

ding ding ding... You are the winner! Exactly my problem. Even today I was still trying to talk myself into just doing it and changing them later... totally against my nature but it is what I have to do (same reason we have no wedding album)

I do wish that we all lived closer:)
same here.

I do get to meet Heather next week though!

Heather said...

Yes it's terribly exciting. I was thinking we could do a video for our audiences.

And I certainly hope you're wearing killer socks in the latest video...

But I'll have to watch at home; I forgot my headphones today.

Mrs. Furious said...

" I was thinking we could do a video for our audiences."

Yes! Who wouldn't want to watch that meeting of the minds!?!?

Mr Furious said...

Last week when I was clearing out the storage room, I threw away all of this packing material we'd been holding onto...bubblewrap dish things, newsprint, peanuts, etc. I said, "Fuck this. We're not moving."

Of course, two days later, we needed something to wrap all of our nutcrackers up to put them away...a problem easily solved by coming home from work with a newspaper.

You mean we DON't have to save all this shit just in case?

I am SO primed and ready for the purge.

Julie said...

Woah, you and Heather are meeting next week. Very did that come to be?

Feener said...

oh yes. to most if not all.

i can not even think of writing the list out - even that seems daunting. not a good sign, but i am hoping that once we are out from the sickness and back in school schedule. i can start....little by litlte.

Mrs. Furious said...

She is headed out this way for the auto show. I am super excited!

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F

I have heard it all before.

don't do it if it seems daunting. Making the list shouldn't have to be on the to-do list! Wait till you are back to normal.

moley said...

Make Friends (not just on the blog!)

Hi Mrs Furious, I've been reading your blog for a while now but been too shy to post a comment. Anyway, your wish to make friends is what finally induced me to go public! This is something I want/need to do too, but I thought that if I'm too shy to post on a blog where nobody knows who I am, how on earth can I hope to make new friends in person. So this is my first step.

Anyway, I too struggle with keeping on top of mess and spending quality time with my kids, as well as working from home. Something I've recently found helpful is using the computer to list my goals. I don't know whether you've seen it but your macbook should have come with a copy of omni outliner installed which is great for checklists. You can enter all your tasks and then break them down into manageable chunks. The best thing for me is that you can then tick them off as you go so you get some sense of achievement without feeling overwhelmed by a huge 6 month project.

In response to kid's bedwetting and your lack of wetvac, I picked up a tip from "How Clean is your House?" on TV (not sure if you get it over there!). If you've got a wet mattress or carpet etc, then fold a clean towel into 4-6 layers, place over the wet patch and then stomp around on the towel, using lots of pressure. The kids love to help with this - well mine do anyway! The water is then magically sucked up into the towel. You may need to change towels if it's really wet, but it works really well.

ps. Don't bother going to my blog - I haven't put anything in it yet!

Mrs. Furious said...

Thanks so much for your comment!!!
I really appreciate it... and it actually made me tear up a bit (the friend part not the pee soaked mattress part). Please keep commenting (now that you've outed yourself) you are more than welcome to and you shouldn't feel awkward one bit. Half of the "regular" commenters only outed themselves fairly recently too. :)

How Clean is Your House... is that a BBC show?... it rings a bell. We do get that if it is... I'll check the Tivo.

Alright I'm off to actually sort through our Xmas stuff before I put it away... and GET RID of all the hideous decorations that someone (MIL) sends us every year and stop storing them indefinitely. Project Purge has begun....

moley said...

Wow that was quick!

How Clean is Your House... is that a BBC show? I couldn't remember so I googled. It's actually on Channel 4 here in the UK, but I see it is on BBC America, so I guess your answer is no but yes!

I love it because it makes me feel so much better about my (and when I say my I actually mean my, my partner's and my kids' and dog's) mess, which is so much less messy and downright gross than the houses they show. At least we are mostly untidy but reasonably clean. Other than muddy foot prints on kitchen floor, oh and dried paint, play doh and glitter on the carpet/door frames/dining table/shower curtain etc. Oh and occasionally a cup of sour milk under one of the kid's beds :-)

If you want more tips from Kim and Aggi here's the link:
Sorry can't remember the html code to make the link so you'll have to cut and paste.

Anyway, it's after midnight here so I suppose I should go to bed as it won't be long before I'll be hearing: "Mummy is it morning yet?" or the absolutely delightful: "Mummy I've done a poo!" (in America that would be poop I think)

Mrs. Furious said...

Oh I pride myself on me near instantaneous replies (although that does reveal how much of a loser I really am...)

and I meant to thank you for the macbook tips... I don't know anything about my computer and since I never stop blogging I have never but the time in to check much (outside of the photo booth!) out. I'll make that a project for this weekend. I could really get into checklists.

do go to bed. I'm working on trying to go to bed at 12... I don't usually do that but when I can I am much better off the next morning and don't need quite as many cups of coffee.

and I can translate British... Ann Arbor is filled with Brits ;)

moley said...

do go to bed. I'm working on trying to go to bed at 12... I don't usually do that but when I can I am much better off the next morning and don't need quite as many cups of coffee.

Well I am actually in bed, but watching an episode of desperate housewives on the macbook rather than sleeping.

Coffee yuck! I'm afraid I conform to the English stereotype and only drink tea, Earl Grey at that :-)

Does kid like photobooth too? I've got a mass of weird and wonderful pics of my two! You really should check out the macbook a bit more. It's fantastic. We've been apple users since 1990! Have you played with iPhoto at all? I've finally got round to getting a baby book done for my son (whose almost 5 as I to am a perfectionist and a procrastinator). I got one printed for my mum for Christmas as well. I really like the travel theme. It's perfect for holiday photos. I'm about to get some more done as apple are currently having a 20% sale on books and calendars, so that's a good reason to stop my procrastinating.

I also meant to say: thanks for the warm welcome, it means a lot.

Mrs. Furious said...

Oh yeah the kids love the photo booth. I use iphoto all the time but haven't done anything other than upload the pics to the blogs and videos to YouTube. But haven't taken the time to try and weed through them (6000 from last year alone... yeah we're a little crazy) and organize them. It makes the 400 or so of our wedding see a lot more doable! Mr F is a designer so we've been all Mac all the time... but I've never been the one to "know" how to do anything... now that I have *my* own computer I've been trying to figure things out for myself. I've done books through Kodak before but didn't really think the quality was that great. I'll definitely check out the Apple link.

and when I drink tea I drink Lady Grey... even better than her male counterpart...

Danielle said...

I can empathize. I KNOW what needs to be done around my house...I just procrastinate a LOT. My biggest problem is that it always seems so simple in theory, but once I start to get buried, I give up. My mood is usually dependent on what my house looks like (or how well my pants fit). I need to start enlisting help from the kids. Little thugs need to start earning their keep around here! When mama ain't happy...ain't NOBODY happy.

Mrs. Furious said...

" When mama ain't happy...ain't NOBODY happy.

lol... so true... very, very, true.

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