Saturday, July 9, 2011

the pit and the pendulum

Down -- steadily down it crept. I took a frenzied pleasure in contrasting its downward with its lateral velocity.

To the right -- to the left -- far and wide -- with the shriek of a damned spirit; to my heart with the stealthy pace of the tiger!

I alternately laughed and howled as the one or the other idea grew predominant.

~Edgar Allen Poe

I am so silly! I felt all lame about my last post because all week there were zero comments, and I figured well, it had just been so long since I wrote that obviously no one was reading my blog anymore. Then today I logged in to add something to my sidebar, and saw all your comments waiting for moderation! Thank you so much! (I've turned off the moderation now. :)

I have thought and thought about the things you said, and am so grateful for the wisdom you shared. I feel better about how I'm doing. I think you're right--I do still have the most important things in the right place in my life.

You know, last year my only real goal was to enjoy my life, especially my children and my last baby during her year of babyhood. I wrote about that, as you may recall. :) I achieved that goal brilliantly--it was truly one of the best years of my life.

Unfortunately, while it is very rewarding as a mother to simply enjoy your children, it is not very good for your house. My house was *not* tidy! I started to get embarrassed at having to apologize when people came over for the same messes that were there the LAST time they had come over. I began to mull over the fact that I am raising future homeowners and parents and wonder how they will remember my homemaking skills. And, as I tripped for the umpteenth time over the pile of framed pictures waiting to be put back on the walls of the boys' room--a pile that has sat in our hallway for a year and three months now!--I made a solemn vow that my children, and especially my daughter, would certainly NOT remember their mother as such a slovenly housekeeper, even if it meant less enjoyment of my time with them!

It is a challenge to raise 3 boys and 1 girl in a 3-bedroom house of less than 1400 sq ft. Sometimes I start to bemoan my fate, then of course, I try to repent for being ungrateful. I am so inspired by my mom's parents, my Grandma and Grandpa McCleve, who raised their ten children in a 2-bedroom house with ONE bathroom. And not only lived to tell about it, but have an amazing, faithful set of posterity to show for it! I am so spoiled with my 2.5 bathrooms, etc. So yes, I know I can do it, if they could do it with less.

Our whole philosophy with the house when we bought it was to live in it for a few years (we took an adjustable-rate mortgage), then move to a bigger one. We figured that probably DC would have a new/better job by then and we would have to sell anyway. Seven years and a major recession later, we are definitely rethinking. The good news is that the adjusting rate has actually reduced our mortgage payments! (Score!) But now what do we do? The market is great for refinancing with a fixed rate, but we really feel like we are splitting at the seams. Refinance or buy bigger?

So I guess the reason I explain all that is because it shows why I am trying to glorify our house. :) We figured that if we stayed, it sure needed to be decluttered and reorganized so that we don't have to sleep on our stuff (it sounds ridiculous, but I can't help but think that's the way we're headed!). And if we sold we'd need to declutter and reorganize and decorate. I figure, if we're going to spend money on decorating to sell a house, by golly I want to enjoy it, too, not just the people buying it!

Hence the very ambitious house goal.

I have a friend whose house is always amazingly clean and beautiful and well-kept. She seems very balanced, and finds time for husband, children, calling, hobbies, staying in shape, etc. I guess I just thought I could reach for that myself. But it's not me, apparently! I think people like that require less sleep than I do. Of course there are always hidden struggles, too, for people who seem to have it all together. (I know if I ever *did* get it all together, my struggle would then be to remain humble! ha!)

So how to avoid the pit of failed goals when the pendulum starts swinging back? How do I balance enjoying the precious time with my family with taking care of their needs and having a "house of order"? I will let you know when I figure that out!

Meanwhile, instead of trying to finish that list of house projects by the end of the year, I am feeling like it would be better to keep it as a next-step list. I'll try allotting some time every day to it (at least during the summer) and just do the tortoise thing.

And regarding the waist measurement goal, I think you're right. It's too much to do 8". Maybe just to see some progress in the right direction (decreasing instead of ballooning!). Anyone have an abs routine they're in love with?

Thanks for listening. Some real catch-up posts are up next on the menu. . . .