Thursday, February 25, 2010

name that day

oh, no - I'm not doing drop-off at school today, I'm having a mental health day. I'm also not doing drop-off at preschool, nor am I baking at preschool, nor am I (for a range of reasons) reading megilla at preschool, picking up at preschool, persuading the Toddles that yes, he *must* pee and then shuttling him home, feeding and persuading him that yes, his eyes are drooping because he must! nap while I shove breakfast dishes around, argue with the idiots who didn't send us a bill for medical services but passed us to collections regardless, eat lunch (breathe) and pack a snack (breathe), then carrying a sleeping-not-quite-sleeping Toddles out the door for pickup at school.

Nope. Not me: the Man. Because, bless him, I'm finally having that mental health day. And, now that more than half of it has slid by, I'm taking stock.

What are you going to do? a friend asked. I think you should curl up with a gigantic cup of tea, and do some non-useful writing. She grinned, knowing that I would smile back. I did.

And yes, I'm doing some of that. But first, I hung hooks in the closet, organized the shelves, and did some sorting of old papers. I learned how to take apart the drain in my dishwasher, thanks to Mike, and discussed shut-off valve options with him. Preferably, non-leaking ones. Muttered while hunting for things in my tool box - okay, bag - and spent some time sorting out plumbing things that I may learn what to do with someday, and wondering what on earth this or that tool-like object actually does. For such mysteries happen when you inherit your husband's grandfather's tools. On the mental list: fix hole in wall, rehang towel bar, ask J if she knows about the oddments.

They are old, darkened wood and metal, and I wonder what the Man's grandfather used them for. He died before I met the Man, and there's a quiet blank where I'd otherwise picture him holding an odd or ment, and doing something. Calmly, relaxed and focused in ways that I think he ought to be, as the owner of these certain, poised objects. I packed them away, tetrising them back into the never big enough, locked window-seat.

It was a good morning. And now I'm tapping away, chatting with you.

As I type, one of the kids' Purim costumes (Pokemon! pirate! feathery, curling crochet!) is sitting next to me, the crochet hook stuck through. On the floor is a putty knife and some foam tube stuff that should help with the ginormous, uncaulkable cracks in the bathroom tiles, and I'll be stuffing and caulking soon. Really? the preschool director said. That's not precisely - restful - she mused, and paused. But the guy in the hardware store understood perfectly. Just got to get that done, right? He mused, and I nodded. Yep. I'll feel better for it.

A couple of days ago, I began collecting things to do on post-its. One idea was to collect and prioritize old things to do. So that they might actually get done, rather than vanishing into old day-planner pages, and resurrecting themselves at 12.30 am, when whatever it is just ain't getting done. The list stretched on and on, with things like:

* go through two boxes of memorabilia from my childhood room. Okay, one box
* finish old files in wooden box
* finish sewing a gift for a child - now well over a year past due
* finish a necklace that the Toddles designed, began, and asked me to complete.
* finish the necklace that I began and almost - almost - completed two weeks ago
* make mishloach manot food
* take measurements for work that needs doing
* hang blinds in study (note: blinds are sitting in study, waiting)
* scrub mildew in bathroom
* hang ketuba
* prep 4 things for post office run
* write 7 - no, 8? 9? - overdue emails
* call back and pester Sprint, for allowing someone to foist additional charges on our account, which we didn't ask for. wtf???
* deal with medical bills, match to EOB (explanation of benefits) and prep for MSA reimbursement
* inbox is over 1000 emails again. DO SOMETHING.
* blog. Please?
* etc

But looking at my lists, I begin to wonder. Is there a difference between a mental health day, and a clearing out of things that need to be done, but haven't yet been done day? A household maintenance day, versus a rest and think day?

What do you think?


Rachel L said...

I think there should be both a "get things done so you can sleep through the night" day... and a "rest and drink tea and read a novel and take the whole day off" day. And I think everyone should be entitled to at least one of each every week... Hmm, not entirely practical...okay, one or the other every week? every month? once a season?

persephone said...

I'm still giggling about "hang up ketubah." Because I have that on my list too, and I suspect yours is at about as overdue as mine. :D

For me, a "getting stuff done around the house" day is a completely different entity than a "crossing paperwork / phone calls / etc. off the list" day. The second is, I suppose, good for my mental health in the sense that it lifts some anxiety from my shoulders... but it's not gratifying in of itself.

But the first kind of day is. At least for me. I try to ignore it, but I'm very affected by how my house looks; clutter makes me irritable, space makes me breathe easier. Making something ugly look pretty? Even better. So when I have a few hours free I probably alternate as Rachel suggests: sometimes chilling on the sofa with a book, and sometimes running around making frenzied home improvements followed by sitting on the couch for 5 minutes admiring the results.

Jen said...

I can certainly see how some of the items on that list qualify as "mental health" activities -- the stuff you *wanted* to do but can't give priority to because of the stuff you need to do -- but chasing down medical bill errors? Um, no. You owe yourself another mental health day. And do it right this time. :->

Though I suppose if time you're in the car to pick up the kids from school counts as leisure time then you certainly did get a mental health day, even doing chores.

Still. Ew.

On the mental list: fix hole in wall, rehang towel bar, ask J if she knows about the oddments.

If you pick a day and get it on both our calendars we can get all those done while Toddles is at school. Drilling into the wall really isn't an evening activity.