Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Mid-Summer Panic

It has long been a part of my general personality to get the doldrums in July. You wait all year for glorious June and then, all of a sudden, it is freaking July. I abruptly discover the year is rushing by and all those summer plans probably are not going to materialize. Everything feels out of reach.

I come by this disposition honestly. A high school marching band career, majoring in instrumental music, which means marching band, and marrying a high school band director means, for all intents and purposes, the year is over come the second week in July for any independent goal you might have. Even though we have not been slaves to that particular schedule for over a decade, it is embedded deep in my psyche.

This summer isn't any different. I felt the first twangs of that old, familiar feeling when the children went to visit my parents and I had only gotten the living room and one small bedroom cleaned up before they left. In the middle of that week while cleaning the girls' room, I realized it would take me all week to finish and the panic arrived in earnest. I felt the promise of summer crashing around my feet. I had hoped to finish the girls' room and be well into the bonus room** before they returned home, but that bedroom took much longer than I anticipated. Isn't that the way it is? It all takes much longer than anticipated.

The week after their trip was the 4th of July so obligations outside the house limited my ability to make progress at home. This past week involved daily swimming lessons, which were excellent, but only left bits of the afternoon available to work on the bonus room. The past two weeks have been spent working on the upstairs in my least favorite way--in 45 minute chunks.

I hate that feeling of never gaining traction, where you know you have been working but the volume of stuff means no one else can really tell. Also I have been hampered by the fact the bonus room is a major thoroughfare. I cannot set up an organizational system for sorting and purging and just leave it. It has to be set up and put away every single day lest someone get trapped in a house fire.

I am also attempting some version of balanced living. I am trying to walk everyday and take the children swimming once a week. No matter how hard I try, going swimming busts the entire day. Two children have rec softball a few nights a week. But right now, balanced feels more like an opportunity to do several things badly.

This coming week, the kids will be at our parish's VBS program. I should get a long stretch of time every morning to get the bonus room finished. Maybe then I can move on to the kitchen or my bedroom. I hope to get more accomplished. History tells me I won't.

The local schools start in two and a half weeks. I am feeling the pressure to get to planning the next year, but I am not in a headspace to do it since I have been focused on housecleaning. The store displays oppress me. I am supposed to have chosen the curriculum I need for a tutorial I am assisting with next year by Monday if I want the tutorial to pay for it. Tomorrow. I guess I'll have to buy it myself whenever I get around to thinking about it. Call it a housecleaning tax.

I don't know what I will get finished. I am starting to pare down my goals. It almost certainly will not all be completed like I had hoped. The closets, except maybe my own, will probably not be touched. I want to finish the bonus room, sort and purge children's clothing, clean the kitchen, clean my room and my closet, do the paperwork, get some of the bookcases in order, plan the new school year. We will see how far down that list I get.

I will keep on working and walking and swimming, doing what I can do, while swallowing that mid-summer panic that time is up, my obligations supersede my preferences, and I am never going to be finished.

In the meantime, throwing away crap is harder than it seems. It feels so wasteful to toss that perfectly good piece of plastic that should have never existed in the first place. I have to gird myself for all the plastic crap that is going to meet my trash bag this week. And what do you do with this pile of dress-up clothes?

**I don't know what to call this room. We call it the bonus room, but that implies it is over the garage, yes? It's not. It is a long rectangular room with the upstairs bedrooms adjacent. It's like an upstairs living room. What might you call that kind of room? 


mandamum said...

I think "bonus room" is probably the right word. Sometimes it gets called something having to do with family room?

I am trying to do something similar, but my deadline is an impending baby, so I'm hampered physically as well. I figure I can start the physical sort-and-purge in the school area once I get past term, so I don't kick off labor by trying to switch out last years' books for this coming year. And this weekend, I had everyone gone, and the only thing I got done was a reading list for the 10th grader (?!?!) (and I started with a big brainstorm page of most of the books on it already - just had to pare and arrange and pare some more... surely that shouldn't have eaten 1.5 whole days???). Good for you for keeping up with your walking, and the pool (which is always exhausting)!!!

Jenny said...

That was me pregnant last summer: full of good intentions and plans, but mostly plastered to the couch.