Friday, 12 February 2010

Tomorrow I am going to stop procrastinating.

It is funny how long a mental self-image can linger, long after reality has kicked in and demonstrated its inaccuracy. Generally I consider myself to be efficient, well organised, and able to get lots and lots of things done: running the house, doing all the tidying, doing all the washing and ironing, cooking and cleaning up. Once out of bed in the morning, showered and dressed, I check on Dr P and often help with his showering and dressing, and make his bed. Once downstairs, I bring the newspaper in, put the washing on, empty the dishwasher, fix breakfast. All very routine and ordinary, doing things we all do. Then there are the classes and the lectures, the shopping, the appointments. Nothing special. When life ticks over smoothly, all is well.

Once the day is done, I like to enjoy some spare time. To sit and read, and listen to music, and sometimes to watch TV. In the late afternoon, I watch some quiz shows. I am fascinated by what people know and don't know, what they can work out, the gaps in my own knowledge and the things I don't have a clue about (mostly sport and entertainment). I contemplate the change in the nature of general knowledge. I wonder why there are so many questions about the ingredients of various cocktails, or about national flags. And why there is a lot of ignorance about geography, and how few people can work out an answer from knowledge of a language. Watching people make wild guesses is fascinating. Many people know remarkably little history, even to do with their own country.

After dinner, and having cleaned up, we retire to our various corners to amuse ourselves for the rest of the evening. It is our own time. I retire to my little sitting room, where the CD player, computer, couch and books are. It is the time of day to curl up with a book, listen to some music and do things on the computer, to read blogs if I am undisturbed. Precious time, to recharge, to relax, and to let the mind roam. Usually I go to bed late, but find increasingly I should not stay up too late, if I want to get to sleep reasonably easily. Sometimes I get busy, but mostly it is quiet time.

Some days I have an urge to get the house and its contents organised, and to dispose of anything we no longer need or want. We have too much stuff. Dr P has lots of books and journals which he is never going to read again. No one else is likely to want them either. I want to get rid of them, to have the ruthlessness to ditch them all. We both have large numbers of videotapes, which, in the nine years since I moved here, have remained in their boxes, untouched, unused, and likely to remain so. They just take up space, and should go. My own books do get culled, but I keep buying more. They leap out and beg me to buy them.

In a fit of zeal the other day I pulled the couch aside and looked in the drawers behind it. Apart from the many videotapes, I found various files, containing old insurance documents. Most of these went, but I kept various receipts for art works and furniture I bought, just in case there is ever a need to document ownership. Checking these files reminded me of lots that I had forgotten, such as storm damage to my house, and the theft of a camera while I was at a conference. If I had my life over again, I would keep many more letters. Now that our records are on computers and on line, our more recent years are better documented. There is relatively little remaining from my childhood, youth and early adulthood. Some letters, but not many, from my parents survive, but they are so hard to read. All the cards and letters received after the births of my children are still there, and I wish I had copies of the letters I sent to family and friends. When I was first married I wrote to friends and family regularly, but as the children grew, and once I got a job, we used telephones more and wrote less frequently. Years went by without many physical records, until the day of the email dawned, and written communications revived.

From time to time I investigate my stash of fabrics and wools, and wonder what to do with them. A couple of years ago my sewing machine died, and I threw it out. It is not as though I am ever going to do much sewing, but I missed having a machine, and was periodically tempted to get a new one. Recently Target had a sale, and I bought a new sewing machine for half price. It is unpacked and sitting there ready to be tested. It has been there a whole week, but so far is is untouched. There is some old curtain fabric which I will use to test it, and will make a cushion cover or two. Soon.

In the days when I did a lot of crocheting, I bought quite a lot of wool, which has been sitting around ever since. Now that I live in this disgustingly hot and humid climate, the pressing need for mohair shawls and jackets is less. Last year I succumbed to the temptation of a sale and bought some more mohair and made an attractive shawl, and I have enough bright dark blue mohair from years ago to do another one. But how many shawls do I need in this climate?
My pattern collection is quite old, old enough for some of them to come back into fashion. It has been possible to weed the pattern collection and remove some of the really horrid ones.

There are some lovely fabrics, silks, cottons, linens and woollens. The sort of clothes I envisaged having made would probably no longer suit my overwight body, but still a fantasy floats through my mind that one day I might lose some of the weight.

And what about my gardening books? Sydney is full of plants I don't recognise, and the tiny garden is very full already (although I think the awful scorching heat is killing the fuchsia). Maybe one day I might need the books again. Pigs might fly, too, and I might not be fit enough to turn the soil.

Tonight I should be filling in some forms, or reading some instruction manuals for the new phones and clock radio/CD player and iPod bit. Too hard. Instead I have been sitting here typing, deleting and editing. It all takes time. There has been a wild storm, with extremely heavy rain. When I checked downstairs, water was coming through the back door and draining through the laundry floor. I took off my shoes and all my clothes, grabbed an umbrella and went outside to check the drains. In fact they were not blocked, just not coping with the deluge. The storm is over, and all is still.

Tomorrow I will fill in the forms, but now I am treasuring the quietness of the night.


molly said...

One of the nicest things a now deceased friend did for me was to save all the letters I'd written her from our years in Belgium, and, many years later, bundle them up and send them back to me! Since that was a period in my life when the house was full of children and dogs, a cat and a few chinchillas, not to mention lizards and other [caged!] reptiles, I didn't exactly have a lot of time for writing in a journal. If not for that dear friend's thoughtfulness many of those memories I wrote her about would be long forgotten. I am a letter hoarder. It's lovely, once in a while, to sit and reread them.....

Anonymous said...

In my old bedroom at my parents' house there are still several small boxes of letters, notes, and cards. You have given me a good reason not to throw them out, as I sometimes wonder if I'm being foolish to cling to childish things.

Meggie said...

My dear mother saved lots of my letters I wrote her, after we moved to Oz. I read them with surprise, at how entertaining some of them are, and also forgetten memories are brought back! Saving them though... that is another dilemma. I feel I should just throw them away...

Pam said...

I keep letters too.

I did enjoy that little piece of your day.