Monday, February 4, 2013

Make the Bed and Wash the Dishes

make the bed and wash the dishes

Poppy, this is not a picture of you making the bed or washing the dishes. No but look, I'm about to do a one-legged squat! I'm only a little bit blurry, I was actually holding this pretty well waiting for the self-timer. Anyway, the bed's already made in this picture. What I do is, I get out of bed and hop around on one foot and say "scheiss, scheiss, schiess" while I put on my sweats and socks and crocs. Then I make the bed and also pick my clothes off the floor and put them in the hamper. You know that I throw my clothes on the floor when I get undressed. Because I can. I don't know why, there's something about throwing my clothes on the floor and then picking them up later that pleases me more than just putting them into the hamper. Okay then I put on my apron, so this picture is after bed and before dishes.

The Cue

See, the cue is the apron. For doing the dishes, I mean. The cue for making the bed is getting out of bed.

 making the beddoing the dishes
locationbedroomkitchen
timeanywhere between 8:30 and 9:00 am, sometimes laterso then, anywhere between 8:45 and 9:15am, sometimes later
emotional statehalf-awakeharried
other peoplethe sweetie man periodically checks that I haven't fallen back asleep and am indeed planning to get uponce I'm up, he holes up in his room and does manly things
immediately preceding actionget out of bedput on apron

I'm not even sure that I can analyze my making the bed, I would just feel itchy and OCD if I didn't. I guess it's that I don't sleep well in rumpled sheets and the rumples set if you leave them like that, so I smooth them out as soon as I get out of bed. So the smooth sets instead, right?

I guess I started a trend of telling you horrendous things about me, so you know the fourteen years that I was with my ex-husband? I never washed the dishes. So there I was, newly single, and these dishes aren't going to wash themselves? What is the problem, Munt. The problem is, I am basically a cat. One, I will always help myself to the most comfortable seat in the room. Two, I hate getting wet. When you splash a little water on yourself washing dishes and the front of your shirt gets damp, aaghghghgh. Thus this apron, I got this red apron as a free gift with my All-Clad cookware that I thankfully bought before I realized that money was going to be a lot tighter than when I was a dink. Now I don't hate washing dishes, and I love my red apron! I still don't love coming out of the bedroom to a kitchen full of dishes, but I'm all business as soon as I tie on my apron. Except for the occasional one-legged squat.

So I think this is alluding to what to do when a habit isn't working, there's no need to vaguely hate life. There's probably some specific, silly problem that will be easy peasy to fix. It's like remember that time when you figured out what the problem was with washing dishes every time I tie on my apron.

The Routine

It will surprise you none that I sort the dishes before I wash them, right? Sometimes the sweetie man has gotten in ahead of me and already done some of the dishes, hooray fewer dishes for me. He does have a weird tic, though, he almost always never does all the dishes, he always leaves a few like how you're supposed to leave a little bit of food on your plate as a compliment to the chef. I almost never stop doing the dishes until every last dish is clean.

The Reward

What writing this is showing me is that probably in a working habit, the cue is the routine is the reward. When you're half-awake or harried, it helps to not have to think about anything right then. Your tried and true routine gives you something to do that you're reasonably sure will work out. Not having to think and having things turn out is its own reward.

But obviously, having smooth sheets to sleep on and counter space to cook on and clean dishes to eat from are also rewards. And sleeping well is a reward, and eating well is a reward.

Maybe this seems trivial, maybe you don't have tiiiiime to make your bed and wash the dishes when there's more important and fun things to do. If rumpled sheets and dirty dishes aren't impeding you from doing your more important and fun things to do, I say more power to you. But if they're ruining your life and you know this and you still can't commit to making the bed and doing the dishes because you can't bear the thought that fifteen minutes to make the bed and half an hour to wash the dishes every day adds up to eleven days of making the bed and washing the dishes every year, I'm going to tell you what I think that's about. Are you ready? Fear of mortality. So this is me not fooling myself that I'm not going to run out of time before I do everything that I can think to do, because I totally am and there's lots of things that I'm not going to get to, like get fluent in French, I totally am going to die not being able to speak French like a native, or even beyond the names of my favorite cheeses, and furthermore I am an organism that sleeps and eats, and I'd rather not find myself vaguely hating my short life just because I'm not well rested and well fed, so why don't I just make this bed and wash these dishes, and we can take it from there—

Status: ACTIVE

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