Thursday, January 02 2020

nesting, folding dirty laundry, and our awful basement



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re doing well today. This morning, it feels good to get back into the swing of things - quietly sneaking downstairs to make coffee, showering, and digging clean clothes out of my laundry bin. We’ve entered into the ‘early morning nuisance’ stage of this cold, so although it’s not pleasant, it’s definitely surmountable.

Sip. Even though I’m a little tired this morning, I’m feeling pretty good. Yesterday, Marissa and I spent most of the evening attacking chores and projects. Speaking for both of us, I think we’re about 80% caught up with our chores. Looking back, January has always been kind of a cleaning & project month for us, and with new baby Miles coming in the late spring, I expect to really step it up with the help of nesting instincts. This year, we’re testing out a new three column whiteboard & index card system, and if it works out, you’ll hear more details later.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Of all times and places to kick off the new decade, our family chose 12:30 at Denny’s, and to our surprise, it was a pretty good experience. Our pancakes and coffee actually came out so quickly, we found it startling. Sitting at Denny’s, we talked through the handful of errands we had to run - Target, Hobby Lobby, Office Max, and Bed Bath and Beyond. Aided by a healthy American grand slam breakfast, we cruised through all of them and returned home in the afternoon. We fixed Rodney a pre-nap PB&J, set up our new project board, then took a short break. Marissa caught a nap on the couch while I played some Splinter Cell. The rest of the evening was leftovers, bedtime, and work.

Here’s a little moment of Zen from yesterday. Before putting Rod to bed, I noticed his backup sheets were in the hamper, so I moved his dirty laundry bin to the hallway, then changed Rodney into some pajamas. Some minutes later, we were in bed reading a story, and Marissa wandered in to see what we were doing. From the corner of my eye, I saw her folding laundry in front of Rodney’s closet. Finally after about five minutes of reading Rodney’s Bible story, I earmarked the page and looked up - “is that Rodney’s laundry?” I asked. Marissa dutifully nodded. I grimaced. “That bin in the hallway was dirty clothes,” I said. Marissa stopped mid-folding to think. “I was wondering why just some of these pants were still wet,” she said as my grimace widened. She reluctantly picked out all the soiled clothes she had put away.

Later that night, we found ourselves in the basement putting away Christmas lights. Marissa had four seasonal decoration bins total - three for Christmas and one for fall, and she insisted that all four should fit on the shelf in the back basement. I claimed only three would fit, and one would have to spend the summer on the floor, so she joined be downstairs to educate me. As she was grunting, pinning a large tupperware bin between her hip and the water heater all while her neck crooked to avoid hitting her head on a cold metal duct, I broke out in laughter. “Our basement gives me anxiety,” I said aloud, quoting something she admitted earlier in the evening while we were making home project cards. The box finally slid into place, and Marissa and I clambered through boxes, sawdust, and under the hazardous low ceiling. We passed by the washing machine, which was violently shaking and had take a lunge forward off its flimsy wheels. Marissa and I broke out into more laughter. “This is the worst basement ever,” she said. I nodded - “it’s literally a nightmare. Our house is built on a foundation of anxiety,” I pontificated as we trudged up the stairs.

Later that night, I promised to dedicate my entire journal entry to how terrible our basement was. It probably wouldn’t take an entire morning entry to get my point across, but most weeks it really does seem like all the unfinished work pools downstairs like a swamp of procrastination. There’s a fifty foot ethernet cable spooled in the corner. The washer and dryer shake and wander away from their designated position. There’s an ad hoc packaging station set up in the corner with empty card board boxes, and we’ve started referring to it as the shanty town. Marissa’s resin tent stands in the center, suspended from the ceiling with tape and string in a way that both of us have forgotten how to ever do again.

I feel hopeful for our basement. I’m hopeful for how productive we feel in January, and I’m hopeful that with the nesting instincts, together we’ll rage against our least favorite room in the house and turn it into something we’re proud of.

So that’s what I got today. In a few minutes, I’ll jump out of my room and catch a bus to work, where my new laptop is hopefully waiting. Setting up a new laptop is kind of exciting. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean, forever leaving the forgotten programs and deprectated configuration files on my old laptop. And it will feel good to wipe the slate - who doesn’t like that? I unintentionally picked a great time to start fresh, the spring cleaning vibes are strong with this month, and I hope they produce some good results.

Hope you all have a wonderful day today, and that you march into your basement, shed, garage, or whatever room gives you the most anxiety with the cleaning fury of two nesting parents.