Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Prep?


I've been under a pretty tight deadline for my next three books, and as a result I've had to prioritize my non-writing world. I've found as I've gotten older I tend to live with more purpose, in other words, things I do or don't do are things I've decided to do or not do, as opposed to simply reacting, or overreacting to life events.

Some things I refuse to set aside are time with my kids, walking the dogs, some time to myself with friends, and sleep.

Parts of my life that end up suffering are my workouts and hygiene. Showering, for example, has become an every other day occurrence as opposed to every day. Oddly enough, I make that decision not to shower because it seems like a waste of twenty minutes during which I could be doing something essential. And since I don't see the point in changing from pjs into sweats, I'm not sure I've gotten out of my pjs more than twice this last week. Yes, I do take the dogs to the dog park in said pjs.

Things I give up almost entirely are haircuts, an organized life and a clean house. I've found I can get by without all of these things for extended periods of time. I get the bare minimum done, and bare minimum to me means paying the bills, vacuuming, doing dishes and cleaning toilets. The rest is all superfluous.

That is, until the holidays roll around and I'm faced with a whole lotta family coming to MY house to celebrate. That's the point at which superflous turns into vital.

So I spent some time this past weekend cleaning and I couldn't believe the layer upon layer of dust that had accumulated on things. Ick. I had conveniently not noticed how non-shiny everything had gotten inside my house. Since I do like clean surroundings, I couldn't help but wonder if the sludge may very well being weighing me down in some small way. Hanging over my head and stopping the flow of creativity.

I think there might be something to this. How do we know when the scales have tipped in our lives and our non-essentials have become essential?

What are the non-negotiables in your life? What to you give up at the drop of a hat?

Do the holidays rolling around throw you in a cleaning tizzy? Or are you one of those uber-prepared entertainers?

Now I'm going to run off and take a shower ...

Helen

18 comments:

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh Helen, I feel your pain. Every time I finish a book I have a moment where I stop, reflect, look at my house, my hair (ii was 6 months between haircuts during the writing of this last book) and i think, man, there's got to be a better way. Then I do a little purging. My closets in my office are now organized to the letter - before I could barely get anything stuffed in. My basement is not clean and organized.
It feels good to get out from under but I know for a fact that as I dive into this current book,I will reach that point where everything but a select few family priorities, will come to a complete halt and the process will start all over again.
Wish I knew the solution.

Cindy Gerard said...

Okay. typed too fast. my basement is NOW cleaned (not, not) :0)

krisgils33 said...

I must admit I have employed a cleaning service for roughly 20 years. Even when I couldn't afford it. I just can't imagine spending my weekend cleaning and I hate a dirty house. I'm not having Thanksgiving at my house (but it did get cleaned yesterday!), but I have no clue yet about Christmas (don't normal people already have that mapped out??).

catslady said...

I try to get over one major obstacle at at time but lists and things to do are always running through my head. I hate house cleaning so it's the very last thing I do because if I do it too early I only have to do it again lol (4 cats and tons of hair are the main problems lol). Coordinating all the holiday events seems to be getting harder and harder with everyone living here and there and everyone's busy schedules. I love the holidays but at the same time I'm relieved when they are over.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, Helen, dearest one, we need to get you out of the house more often. :-)

Cat Schield said...

While I'm working on a book, cleaning is a low priority for me. Cooking involves a lot of reheating of frozen things. And between books it feels good to wipe the slate clean (so to speak) and have a spotless house (at least for 30 seconds.) Someday I'd love to learn how to balance writing and everything else. (Becoming superwoman is my ten year goal.)

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Helen Brenna said...

Purging is good, Cindy. I'm already looking forward to Feb/March when I get to tackle a few projects around here!

Helen Brenna said...

Kris, you smart woman, you! I think the happiest I've ever been was when I had a cleaning service. I need to sell more books.

And, no, not everyone has Christmas mapped out. We don't!

Helen Brenna said...

Catslady - oddly enough, I like to clean. It's mindless, so I can work on characters and plot and I have something immediate to show for my efforts! I know, there's something wrong with me.

Yes, Michele, I'm going a bit stir crazy!

Helen Brenna said...

Cat, when you figure it out, make sure to let me know!

And ditto on the Happy Thanksgiving to all!

KylieBrant said...

LOL, Helen. My husband thinks he married the only woman in the world who thinks a daily shower isn't on the 'essential' list!

I'm scarily organized but the result is that I often live in a blurred fog where I can hardly remember what day it is. It seems like I work all day and then come home and tear through an endless list at night with only the occasional workout squeezed in. I'm hoping when the remodeling is done things will calm down. I ask myself what I was thinking to remodel so close to the holidays. And then I remember...we started Aug. 1. Had I known it still wouldn't be done I'd have run screaming into the night rather than undertake it.

Actually screaming into the night is on my list for this evening :)

lois greiman said...

I tend to blame my hygiene oversights on eco concern. Makes me seem trendy. Stinky, but trendy. :)

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- Sister! I totally understand this. Life can grind you down sometimes unless you're willing to be bold and slice through the things that honestly don't have to be done. 20 minutes 3 times a week is an hour of productive time.

Five minutes to select and put on clothes, socks and shoes is another half-hour a week.

I'm only half kidding. When you add all that up, it's more than a full work week of productive time.

Helen Brenna said...

Kylie, we'll scream together into the night as long as I don't have to do it naked! lol

Helen Brenna said...

Lois - Deb - great minds think alike!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I have to commit a house cleaning between books. At this point, what I really need to do is purge. I need to get rid of a couple of tons of useless stuff. But not today.

Leanne said...

Helen, GREAT blog. You're one up on me if you showered today. It's amazing how long you can wait to wash your hair if you put it up in a pony tail. I've actually become a fan of dry shampoo.:) And those PJs, mine don't always match.lol Fave deadline clothes include black yoga pants. They hide a multitude of sins.:) A cleaning fairy visits my house once per month and I try to spot clean in between. Good luck hosting Thanksgiving, sweetie. I can't fathom it.

Helen Brenna said...

Next contract I sign will not have a deadline over the holidays. Hold me to it, ladies!