Archive for the 'housework' Category


April 20, 2014

I bought three cotton handkerchiefs at the 5 & 10 yesterday (along with picture hooks, sponges, and a pocket mirror).  They are stiff, too stiff to use until they are washed.

This morning I was stripping my bed to wash the sheets and pillow cases, and I decided to put the folded extra blanket that usually sits at the foot of my bed on top of a trunk while I launder the linens.

The issue popped into my head of whether there was something on top of the trunk I needed to put elsewhere before I put the blanket down on top of it.  I thought, “Well, I can always pull out the box of tissues easily enough when I need it,” and went downstairs with the sheets to put them in the washer.

I’m filling the washer, and I thought, “Do I have anything to put in with this load of sheets?”  And then it hit me, that I ought to throw in the handkerchiefs.

So there was something on top of the trunk I did need to pull off before putting that blanket down on top of it.

I love when different parts of my mental apparatus interact and I feel as if I’m kind of along for the ride.


Early dinner

November 24, 2013

We ended up with Thanksgiving dinner, in a way, yesterday.  I cooked it, so I can’t claim it happened to me passively, but I didn’t plan it.

My son’s friend came over, to hang out, to enjoy our internet connection, and to help do some pruning around our yard.  He does landscaping work professionally, and my son has helped his family with things like winching up docks, so it seemed like a fair arrangement, and I let the young men know I would pay them besides.  I haven’t gotten to much of what I normally do on my own, in terms of pruning, this year because of my fiduciary duties to my father’s estate and to my mother.

I had bought a small turkey already and trimmings on Friday.  My own Thanksgiving plans are up in the air.

I decided, why not, roast the turkey and have it with Jordan and his friend.  They’d probably be hungry after yard work.  So I did roast it — stuffed it first — made the cranberry sauce, etc.

After dinner, his friend and I did the friend’s laundry.  He has recently moved into his own apartment, and this saved him a lot of logistical hassle, I think.  It’s also why he was enjoying our internet connection.

He had planned to stay the night as well, but his father called and said he wanted to have breakfast with him this morning, so he left last night.

This friend is going through a difficult patch, and he has before.  I am aware that not everyone would be open to doing what I did.  What struck me was that, while I am aware of this, it wasn’t why I did what I did — I did it because it worked out well for all concerned, myself included.

What happened flowed in a way that didn’t seem to come from me.  It felt, in a way, like following a lot of cues.  When that happens, it feels as if I am filling in a piece of a puzzle.  Sometimes it feels as if I’m participating in a reenactment of something that has happened before.  In any case, it feels “necessary.”

Sometimes these episodes that feel like reenactments or puzzle pieces are painful, but yesterday’s wasn’t.  It helped me to be in a role of asking Jordan’s friend for a favor and also then being able to do something for him that he needed.  The other parts of what happened, including the meal, elevated it above some sort of bare-bones give-and-take — there was good feeling involved.

I think I’ve wished to participate in this kind of scenario with myself in the friend’s role, but that pattern always seems to fall short of suiting everybody involved in some way.  It has often felt as if I’ve done the pruning, but there is no meal, no internet, no laundry, no desire to help in return forthcoming, so to speak.  I’m not sure what that means, but I will say that the pattern yesterday and my role in it suited me just fine — I enjoyed the day.

Big Raccoon

November 12, 2013

Last night I realized I had left a garbage can open outside.  It was full of bags of paper towel wet with cleaning solution from my having stripped the old finish off my kitchen floor, and I though ventilating ammonia was a good thing.  But then I learned it was going to rain in the early morning hours, so I intended to cover the can before I went to bed.

I forgot, until I was falling asleep, so I got up, went downstairs, and was about to step outside (I had left the can right near the back door so I could conveniently add to it as I cleaned).  Then I saw a dark thing on the back lawn.  I didn’t have my glasses on and I thought it might be the bird bath, but it moved.  Then I saw it scamper after another, smaller and much lighter critter.  I don’t think it hurt the other animal.  Anyway, the larger animal walked onto the patio and it was a very large raccoon, I mean really big.

The raccoon walked up to the backdoor and looked like he would have come in if I had opened it, but I didn’t.  I watched it until it wandered off towards the garden.

I covered the garbage can early this morning, but it was raining already.  Still, I’d rather have water in the garbage can than an encounter with a raccoon up close, especially one involving an open door to my house nearby.

There’s a tradition of thinking of ourselves as a house, with our baser characteristics as residing in the cellar, our higher selves in the attic.  I have dreams about large attic spaces I rarely use.  I once dreamed, when I was a child, of a side room I didn’t know I had, after visiting the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and being struck by the layout there.  Anyway, having an intruder try to gain access through an open chakra I don’t think is too unusual, so I can put that together with this episode if I want to.  Or I can read it as a reminder to take care of the garbage before I go to bed at night and the nocturnal animals come out.

Window cleaning

October 20, 2012

The window panes in my house sorely need to be cleaned.   I will probably at some point hire someone to help me deal with it; Jordan doesn’t believe housekeeping is necessary,* I don’t think I can do it myself (this house has, I think, something like 13 windows on the first floor, 15 on the second, 4 on the third, 5 in the basement, 3 door panels, and a stained glass window, the older windows have “issues,” and even on stools and small ladders, I have trouble reaching the tops), and Jonas is not available.

In the meantime, I have noticed that I can see more clearly through the screens.  With open spaces, residue doesn’t build up.  I like that as a metaphor for what happens with us depending on how we interface with the world.  The more open we are, the fewer unhelpful encrustations we accumulate, I think.

I sometimes have thought of these encrustations as “our human crap,” but I am working now on feeling more compassionate towards humanness, towards flaws.  It has become clearer to me that finding a balance between our ego-driven selves needed to navigate the material world and our greater selves needed to harmonize with the world at large is an important task.  I guess at this stage I would see myself trying to find what ego tools I can use which result in the least damage to my spiritual connection and to others while allowing me to deal with this world effectively.

*How much of this is depression and how much of it will respond helpfully to pressure or encouragement is not clear to me.  My sense and experience are that I can get him to do a limited number of limited tasks, but/and, if I trip the “overwhelmed” wire, which on him is rather low, he will shut down (and not just about the task but about the rest of his life, too).  So I’ve learned to try to ask for something close to what he seems able to tolerate.  Raking the back lawn with a friend of his who was visiting yesterday worked out fine, for example, although he did ask me to bring him water.

More adventures with bird droppings

June 18, 2012

I was drying my wash out in the backyard today and I decided not to take any of it in, even some things that were already dry, until I came back from my walk.

When I returned and started gathering up the clothing, I discovered that a bird had left its calling card on one of the items (on the collar of a man’s shirt I was using as a nightshirt), an item that was dry, and untainted, when I had left for my walk.

Well, that certainly effectively prevents me from using the shirt, at least until I wash it again (I sprayed it with a stain lifter, who knows whether the stain will come out).

I am thinking about the concept of not cloaking myself in a man’s garment and I am also thinking about what the stained shirt could mean in light of the bird droppings on the Buddha.

The statue doesn’t mind the droppings on the body itself, and with the shirt, the droppings are on a covering (a piece of clothing) I can remove.  But there is a contrast, and it makes the situation with the shirt remind me of witnessing my experiences and my reactions to them — the witnessed version is much easier to remove than my participatory reaction in the moment while I am engaged in the interaction.  Until, perhaps, I become as equanimous as the Buddha.