Day 16: On the Flipside


I decided to do one of UFYH’s 20/10 thingies—20 minutes of work and 10 minutes of rest. And that led to more and more until I accomplished the following.

I cleaned the kitchen! And the living room!

I took off the ugly pink runners on the french doors in said living room and cleaned the glass (twice, because apparently Simple Green is Not Rated for glass)!

I cooked roasted dijon cream chicken for dinner! We ate it at the table without the TV on like MOTHERFUCKING ADULTS.


And then, dear Reader, I attacked the closet.

Basically, I’d let it get to a point where I couldn’t unpack without broaching the unfreakingodly mess that is our closet. I’ve basically learned to unsee it City and the City style for like six months and, well, this is the result of that FANTASTIC PLAN.


Using my 6’2 husband’s skills at Reaching Things, as well as a Brutal Ninja of Entropy Executioner approach to what to keep and what to let go of, in the space of an episode of Survivor I managed to turn that into this:

Now, it’s not done, there’s still that mess of chaos and the bones of the damned in the back there, but it’s MUCH IMPROVED, yes?

In a rush of victory I put a load of laundry in, unloaded the dishwasher, tidied up after dinner, made myself some green apple, ginger, and cucumber juice, and am now settled down to an episode of Blackadder with my lynxy kitty and two giant hounds cuddled up around me, with my clothes picked out for tomorrow and no immediate housework to do when I get up.



Unfuck All the Things

Do you remember a show called Dead Like Me? I remember Dead Like Me. What I particularly remember, other than Mandy Patinkin and reapers and all that, was a character named Dolores Herbig. As in “her big brown eyes.”

Dolores was an office manager. She was highly organized. And in her off hours she ran a webcam site called Getting Things Done with Dolores. People would watch her get things done and feel inspired to get things done themselves, or just vicariously feel their lives were more organized by proximity. It seemed profound to me. Mostly because I will never be highly organized.

That thing is this thing.

In my daily life I am a full-time writer of fiction. It is a job that allows great joy and freedom—and makes it easy to never keep normal hours, let the house get down with its baddest, messiest self, and pursue your neuroses at leisure. And in seven years of this gig, I have only the barest toolset for keeping my shit in order, and mostly I just leave those tools around wherever and let them get lost just like everything else. Given that I have ADHD and anxiety, it’s really more like I let the tools pile up, forget about them, then feel miserable because of my lack of tool-fu.

FAST FORWARD. I recently discovered a tumblr called Unfuck Your Habitat. It is brilliant, because while I was taught cleaning and being organized and responsible was important, I seem to have slept in on the day other people were taught how the fuck to do all that on the regular while holding down a job and not making yourself insane. I go to grown up people’s houses and they’re spotless; it seems like a mysterious wizard spell to me. Cast Windex 3 and cover your eyes. UFYH seems to me profound in the way of Getting Things Done with Dolores. Because we all have to do this crap, and it helps to not do it alone.

Plus I like the word unfuck. It has power. It is the opposite of the Facebook cry of FML. It is active. It is growlyrar.

It is through sheer force of will I have not emailed that poor woman every day with my most minor of victories. Therefore, I will put them here instead. Because I’ve hit a point where the way I work, sleep, keep house, eat, and arrange my time is not sustainable—if I want to keep doing all those things I need to get better at it, calmer and simultaneously more efficient, which should be no problem except of course it’s a goddamn problem.

These are the things I need to unfuck.

  • My work habits. Right now I procrastinate like whoa and then write everything in a rush. It’s worked for twelve books but it takes a heavy toll and I gotta figure out something else or I will burn out right into a catatonic stupor.
  • My house. Similar! I clean for hours and am all THIS HOUSE IS CLEAN and then I let it go for weeks and it’s a mess again and I’m so stressed out and then I marathon clean. Rinse/repeat. I can’t bear a dirty house but I hate to clean, so, awesome.
  • My sleep. I desperately want to be the kind of person that wakes up at 7 in the morning and is awesome at daytime. Right now I stay up all night for no reason and then wake up at noon and immediately feel like I’ve failed because I didn’t get up early. REASONABLE, N’EST PAS?
  • My relationship with money. I grew up poor, so obviously everything I earn must be spent immediately or else it will vanish into the ether. I’m terrified to check the bank balance because I literally think it will have vaporized while I was asleep. Or something. I’m trying to save up to buy my house. I’m making good money. I need to ride herd on my Taurus ass and get it together.
  • My weight. In the last six months, I’ve lost 30 pounds. I have about 60 left to go. I love to cook, but I need to be able to plan meals and then have enough time and energy to cook them. 
  • Probably other things. I have let myself get pretty fucked. It’s a subtle kind of fuckery. I’m functional. Life moves and I accomplish things. But I’m not happy with the functionality of my processes.

So this is where I try to shame myself into doing it by documenting it online, away from my regular blog which is too high-traffic to want to air my personal failures there. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I will be a different person, not radically different like CLEAN BY CALVIN KLEIN but different like I will have a new system. Maybe I’ll fail at this, too. It’s possible, tumblrs with one post are legion. But I feel like if I can even just keep the house clean and wake up early I will ASCEND AND BECOME GODLIKE. That is the level of my dissatisfaction.

I can’t do it all instantaneously, I get that. Obviously, I’m good at marathons but they make me sick in the soul. I want to be better. UFYH and Dolores and the tiniest hope that I can trick myself into thinking it’s fun by using a tumblr and stupid memes make me think there’s a chance.

So here I go. Getting things done with myself.

Oh, and gifs. Lots of gifs. I will indulge my forbidden love, for here on tumblr, I hear it’s ok.

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