Sunday, July 12, 2009

How Long Does It Take You To...? housework?! How long does it take you to do chores? Which chores do you always want to do but can't ever squeeze in or do yourself?

In five hours this weekend, with three hours of help from the kids, I:
-loaded the dishwasher (I rinsed, my daughter had to bend to put the silverware and plates in)
-washed a lot of pots and pans that had not been done (four days is my guess)
-cleaned the sink and counters
-cleaned most of the half bath and master bath (not the shower or tub)
-picked up and sorted through some papers and put away a bunch of items that needed to be put away
-dusted the furniture in three rooms, though I couldn't dust lower shelves
-put in two loads of laundry and folded at least two loads of laundry that had been sitting out
-unloaded the dishwasher again
-I managed a shower by myself (sitting down for part)
The kids also took their sheets off and cleaned the upstairs bath and put a lot of their clothes and toys away while I was doing some of this, like the pots and pans and the laundry folding. My daughter helped me load the dishwasher while my son sorted and flattened boxes for recycling and wiped several of the counters. I taught them how to clean the downstairs bathrooms while I did it so that they could do the upstairs bathroom themselves, because it goes too long between cleanings, and they don't like that either.

Can I do this all the time? No! No matter how much I really want to. The planets lined up or something. And standing a lot is not the same as walking a lot--I did a lot of standing on my right leg to keep the pressure off my left SI.

The kids prefer doing chores together periodically rather than having individually-assigned chores on a daily basis--though it's been too long since they've pitched in (my husband tends not to ask for help, doesn't like to). Everyone does what they are physically able to do.

Because I am so slow now, the list above took five hours, with help. I had to sit down for some of it, like laundry folding. I also sat down in the bathroom to work since I have a chair there. How long would these chores have taken me when the kids were small? A few hours, without help. But I'm grateful that I could do some yesterday, and I should when I can. My husband was mowing, cleaning out the mice living quarters, vacuuming, taking out the trash, and doing the grocery shopping--he could not have done these chores and the ones we did as well yesterday. There would have been a choice between them: clean the kitchen or mow?, vacuum or clean the mouse habitat? That's why we were so far behind on the house chores--choices.

I am so frustrated that there is so much more I need and want to do that I can't. Like--clean the garage. Hang up my own clothes--this is often difficult for me. Work on photo albums--I miss this! Take items to the consignment store myself. Steam clean the carpet. Vacuum the window sills and blinds. Take the light fixtures and lightbulbs down and wash them (yes, really--the light fixtures have bugs and some of the bulbs are really dusty). Repaint the baseboards--I used to regularly clean them. Raid my husband's workspace and start a massive cleanout (well, this wouldn't be appreciated...). Do more of the grocery shopping myself. We don't have a fair workload between us, and yet I feel irritation at what's not getting done (it's often a choice between bigger projects or daily tasks).

Yes, I'm paying for it with muscle pain, but the severe pain episodes for a few weeks per month have left me mostly lying down and terribly, terribly out of shape for my condition. And now things are piling up again. I'm hoping I can do more than I have been over the coming weeks. My pain cycles haven't always been so long as they've been.

I had some remission of my pain this weekend. I still can't sit long because of my hip and ischial, but my SI's would let me stand up without wishing to collapse in a heap or circling madly and unable to actually accomplish anything. Today I just managed a shower and mixing up my own pancake batter from scratch (peaches and blueberries), but that's a lot better than I've been able to do some days recently. Friday was awful! We had to turn in benefits documentation in the afternoon and had to sit three hours to do it. Between that and the dermatology appointment, that was all I could do that day--all the sitting beat me down, and I was in such pain that I could just lie down at 5:00 and otherwise couldn't move until 11:00 Saturday. And then somehow did all of that--and didn't move until 12:00 today.


yanub said...

I am somewhat astonished that you hadn't given up on your cleanliness standards earlier. The other day, I was thinking to myself how I used to do a weekly swab down of the entire kitchen, top to bottom, in order to remove any possible grease build-up. Now I just pretend that the cabinets somehow magically escape bacon grease. I'm on day two of not having actually put the sheets back on my bed or the cases on the pillows. And I've given up vacuuming long ago in favor of the carpet sweeper. On the other hand, I put a nail in the wall to hang up my magnifying mirror so I stand a chance of getting my makeup on right when I do wear any. Priorities, you know.

william Peace said...

On household stuff: yes it takes longer to do everything. I was thrilled with my son the other day. He is going to China for three weeks and leaves Saturday night. We were doing our usual Sunday clean up and he told me that Sundays were going to be a lot more time consuming for me without him present. He went on to note that "Dad, disability is no big deal but you sure do end up wasting more time doing stupid stuff than other people". And he is correct. Paralysis adds time to my day and I do not want to think about all that time I waste doing ordinary things.

FridaWrites said...

Oh, I've given up on on my standards quite a lot. We do a little bit at a time rather than all at once--vacuuming might get done one day, dusting the next, some pickup the next--it's never all pristine with that perfect, clean house feeling anymore, though with chore rotation, it's not horribly out of hand either. I just miss having a clean house all at once, having the whole thing feel just great once a week and for the first few days after.

The kitche swab down occurs about once a year now, and family helps with that and other repairs/clean ups sometimes. We've been known to just replace burner pans eventually. Those Magic Eraser things are great for removing grease and other grime without using a lot of elbow grease. I finally figured out to use the worn out ones on the underside of the toilet seat too (boys!). The stains were terrible, even when it was clean.

FridaWrites said...

I'm sure you'll miss him a lot. I also get frustrated with being slowed down or sometimes with what I can't do at all.

Katja said...

I mostly don't do chores. I have had periods of having a cleaning service, but my husband is so cranky about having anyone in to clean that it never lasts long.

The house is a mess. I have two kids home from college right now and they keep things from getting to the Augean stable level.

FridaWrites said...

A cleaning service would be lovely--maybe someday. It is frustrating to not have things done sometimes, isn't it? Glad to hear your kids are home with you this summer--it must be really nice to have them there.

Lisa Moon said...

Sorry for the late comments; still playing catch-up, I am.

Wow, I was tired just reading that list! I WISH I could have half of that done... it is just me and my 17 y/o son and, lemme tell you, he's so not into cleaning! In fact, we had an argument the other day with him claiming that I was doing nothing and that I expected him to do everything now. Oh, and also, since I was having such high pain 'what's new?'

Counting. To. 10. 20. 30. OK, letting him know just how much moms tend to do, without any acknowledgement... until we can't do it anymore.

I'm no clean freak, mind you. I'd just like the bathroom and kitchen to be reasonably clean, and everywhere else to be mostly de-cluttered. That would make me happy and also would make the house easier to navigate for those times when I'm not too stable on my feet...

As William notes, there is SO much time required doing just the 'stupid stuff' that I think most people don't relish but are able to deal with reasonably quickly and with minimal effort.