Sunday, February 18, 2007


Opportunity cost .. again

The thing is.. it seems that no matter what you do decide to do.. even if it's 'worthy'.. something or someone always makes you feel like it would have been more important to have done something else.

So, yes, I got the 'are you going for a bike ride?' pressure ... from afar. The disappointment in me is palpable, even over skype. But the thing is, there was nowhere far enough I could have ridden today that would have been of any use. There was no way I could take everybody. And after leaving the younger two at home a couple of times yesterday, I didn't feel I should be doing it again today for any significant length of time.

Meanwhile this afternoon the clean up had taken on a life of its own.. powered by Caitlin, really. And it really was something that desperately had to be tackled, because every time I walked down the stairs, through the playroom, I would all but close my eyes and shudder. It is not a good way to start the day.

This was what Zoe's 'area' in the playroom looked like. (She and Ali share a room. A not very big room. So they have desks in the playroom. And they have created sort of kingdoms around them....) I took this photo a week or so ago when I was gleefully viewing these other 'honest photos' taken by other mums with less than immaculate houses. I was going to submit them, but, much like the housework, I've just not got around to it! This is one of them.

It was as bad, if not worse by today. So, Caitlin took charge of Zoe's area. Next thing (just after I'm getting the 'I should be riding guilts') I get called up to help. She's done this:

Just about everything out of the desk and dumped on the sofa bed.

Oh god. I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon sorting it.. A few bags of garbage, and half the recycling bin full of paper later, and it was looking a bit more respectable. And as well we did a cull of books from the playroom bookshelf. I now have a pile of books to take to the school library for first refusal. And another pile for a second hand book shop. We kept a few kiddy books that they couldn't bring themselves to throw out just yet. Ones they'd enjoyed... ones I'd enjoyed reading to them. Plus most of the Aussie animal story ones. There are some lovely ones. It's very hard to part with so much of your kids' reading history - through baby and toddlerhood to early school age. (Now my last baby is 8 and a good reader for her age; so many of those books would never really get looked at again.) I had kept a few of my books from my childhood, and have learnt that they just don't cut it against all the glorious new stuff out there, so there is no point in us hanging on to them all "for their kids." Better that some other kids out there get some enjoyment out of them now.

A 'during' shot.

They got culled onto one shelf.. and the top shelf is now all for Zoe's books, leaving the tall narrow bookshelf in the bedroom for Alison.

I also now have a huge box AND a big garbage bag of stuffed toys and the like to give away. And Caitlin made Zoe a little play area 'kingdom' under the stairs... and she is under instructions that the desk is for sitting at and writing on. Not a backdrop for all the other 'worlds' that she builds.

And we have a few things like this to take to school to see if they want them for the props department:

No I didn't buy those! Alison was given them for her birthday last year, but they aren't really her style!

I ran the vacuum cleaner around, and we managed to put the sofa bed back up into sofa mode. About time. It all looks much better, though I'd still like to attack Alison's zone. And their bedroom. Wardrobe and drawers. Scary stuff still.

Maybe tomorrow I'll take some AFTER shots to help with the motivation factor. Kimberly at least will understand! In fact I can credit both her, and shishyboo's recent clean ups as inspiration.

As always, when it comes to helping around the house, it is impossible to get all three into it at once. Zoe kept creeping off into the new play zone Cait had set up for her. And Alison kept disappearing all together. Full credit to Cait this time for making it all happen. I have had to point out to her that sometimes Alison is helpful when she is not, so it all works out in the wash. And I really, really, appreciated her efforts today. Even if I didn't get out on the bike, and noone got out of the house. It's a major league and way, way overdue achievement.

And when I get up tomorrow morning and walk past it all looking so. much. better. I will feel SO uplifted, I will be inspired to get on the bike and ride, and ride and ride. In between all the other commitments tomorrow. Somehow. (I promise, Marc!)

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The big "sorting out stuff" jobs around the house are the toughest but you gain an enormous sense of achievement from them.
Also I consider housework to be "incidental exercise". it has to be damnit, i feel knackered afterwards so it must have burnt some calories.
So in my humble opinion, you've done a great job Trace.
I so want to see your after pics! I got to the bottom of the post and thought, "Hey!!" Not a very articulate thought, but there you go. =P

Thanks for the honorable mention! I feel all giggly and happy about it, actually. Congrats on tackling the mess. It's a bit overwhelming while you're in the process, but it feels absolutely luverly afterwards.
Right, you've inspired me. I'll tackle the horrible mess of paper and precious things that is my study.
Maybe I'll reveal stuff I didn't know that I had.
I might even take a before and after picture as an encouragement.

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