Tuesday, May 5, 2009


It seems like more often than not lately, I have been completing tasks in an imaginary sort of way rather than in the likes of reality. Walls have been painted, projects accomplished, phone calls and e-mails returned, thank you notes written, blogs posted. Heck, I've even done imaginary exercise.
I think this is my mind's way of coping with the million and one things I have on my "to-do" list that are NOT getting done in reality. You see, I LIKE the "t0-do" list. It makes me feel productive and organized (things I cannot always call myself). More than liking the actual list, I like crossing things OFF the list. Its a feeling that bubbles up from my stomach and rushes through the tips of my fingers as the pen crosses the paper. The feeling that I did something that says I exist- that I am worth something because I DID something. It is a drug that washes over me and hooks me into marathon errand runs and late night cleaning sessions. It is also what drove me to paint almost my entire house in 5 days. Jared would get home at 7pm. We'd eat and I'd head over to the house by about 8pm and paint. One night I returned home after midnight, showered, attempted to sleep, and when I couldn't I (in my pajamas) drove back to the empty house and painted the kitchen. At 8:30am Jared called.

"We're coming over."

A few minutes later I wondered why he would bring two kids to a house filled with wet walls and paint? This was not a good idea. Why didn't I say anything? I felt guilty for not being with them.
They showed up and disaster took over. Sadie bumped her arm on a wall and got paint on herself. Not liking this, she wiped her arm on our BRAND new sofa and chair. In his attempt to stop her from spreading the paint, Jared grabbed her arm. Her feelings hurt, she burst into tears. Meanwhile, Jack's practicing his standing skills against the wall.

"Why did you come here with two kids?"
"I just wanted to help."
"You DO help...by watching the kids and keeping them out of my way so I can finish painting."
"But I want to help with my hands."

I couldn't help but feel like I had infected Jared with my obsession. I mean, there WAS something in his voice when he called to say they were coming. Something unfamiliar to his usual tone. Something rushed and almost frantic. A sort of worry when he realized I had returned to paint before the sun had come up. It was like he wanted to hurry up the process by helping me so we could return to some semblance of normalcy. He knew I had to finish. He hated that I had to finish.

But I did. I finished the kitchen, painted our bedroom, and we moved in. That was about 3 weeks ago. I crashed for a while. (I suppose if you call doing my everyday chores of being a mother, housekeeper, laundromat, cook, teacher, maid, personal shopper....etc.. crashing) I've made it a point to abstain from my drug. (for now) The "to-do" list runs wild and grows by the day. But at night; in that twilight between laying down and falling asleep, my mind wanders. And in my imaginary world everything is being crossed off the list.


Stacy Hutchinson said...

Alright new house! I remember the painting frenzy when we got our house. We had one week to paint the whole house. We would put Ayden to sleep on the floor in one of the rooms and paint during his naps and all through the night. It's worth it though, isn't it?! I wish I had your checklist power. I can't have peace until the reality list gets checked off. Kudos to you.

Lexi said...

I think you and I are creating the same elusive checklist. Every time I physically cross something off of the list, 5 more jump on to take the others place. And those darn lists keep me awake and imagining away at night too! :-)

I like to visualize getting things done as well- it makes me feel better when I'm overwhelmed.

In fact, I've heard that it's healthy to visualize an outcome if you're not able to act on it right away and it can actually soothe your mind.

Which is why it's a good anger management tool funnily enough- it's far better to imagine slapping your boss when you are cross than to in fact do so! {Not that you would ever do that!}

So imagine away- I am right there with you!

And paint on the new couch... Oy vey. Hopefully you're all done with the paint for now!

I'm glad you are getting settled in your new house- I've missed you in blog land!

Jessica said...

I am glad you got moved in. Good luck with that ever growing list...

Emily said...

Ugh!! I have felt like this before. I hate the feeling. I always like a finished to-do list, rather than starting one. Remember, if I can keep the kids for a morning or afternoon so you can get something ticked off the list- let me know. Lance and Lainey would love it. :)

Lisa & Aaron said...

So very well put! I know the feeling!

AmyB said...

We are in the process of painting our entire house as well. I am so over it put am loving the 60 percent that is done! Nice to be all moved in i am sure! Sorry about the couch. I was trying to potty train a two year-old today with a ladder, messy drop cloths in the hall blocking the bathroom today. I had paint all over my feet so i couldn't run to another bathroom that would entail crossing carpet and had to wiggle my way around the painty mess as fast as possible to avoid an accident. Not so sucessful...

aidanjordan said...

I want to see pictures! I bet the house looks fantastic!