As I type that word, I can’t help but think of David Spade.


Yesterday’s long post was about housekeeping -it’s true.  In a way, I’m glad it deleted itself because after I wrote it, I thought a lot about it and came to realize something.

A few years ago, I worked as a writing tutor for a community college.  Students of all shapes and sizes would come in.  They were all different, but they all had one thing in common: they didn’t GET English.  Well, that’s not totally true.  Some of them “got” English and only came to the Writing Center for extra credit.  Smart, smart.

But back to the others: I had a lot of students complain that they hated English because there were SO many possible “right” answers when it came to writing essays and papers.  I would always light up when they said that, “I know!” I’d gush.  “Isn’t it GREAT?!”

“Why can’t English be like math,” They’d sigh, “Math only has one right answer.”

The “math” reply always left me stunned.  English?  Like Math?  Ew.  Bleck.  And no thank you.

I once had a student come in with about 40 billion note cards (source cards).  She was writing a research paper.  She had done the research -BELIEVE ME -she had done the research.  She had written every fact she felt was important on a note card and then written where she’d found it on the back of the card.  Through tears, she unloaded her English stresses on me and I listened.  Then she unloaded her family stresses on me and I listened.  Then she unloaded her health stresses on me and I listened.  When she was done crying, I made ONE suggestion that completely simplified her project.

She tilted her head in one great big “AH-HA!” moment, dried her tears, and then left with hope.

After she left, I sort of laughed a little.

“It’s not that hard,” I wanted to say to her, “You’re making it so much harder than it needs to be.”  On the other hand, she was getting advice from the girl who once wrote a research paper the night before it was due and aced it.  We’re talking 100%.  I don’t tell you this to boast over my procrastination skills -something that is hardly admirable.  I only tell you this to make a point.  (Also, I should point out that I spent hours researching my topic.  I just didn’t make any physical note cards.  I just made mental notes.)

When it comes to housekeeping, I feel exactly like 40 Billion Note Card Girl.  EXACTLY.

I’d love to burst into Martha Stewart’s office and tell her all about my housekeeping stresses.  Telling her would eventually lead to telling her about my emotional stress and I’d inevitably get around to telling her about my physical problems.  Of course, I’d be sobbing the entire time.

I doubt Martha would listen though -unless she was getting paid like I was.  I bet she’d smack me, give me a few pointers, and send me on my way.

As a Writing Tutor, I watched students come in completely tense and stressed because writing made no sense to them.  I suddenly know exactly how they feel.  I remember thinking ‘It’s not THAT big of a deal.  Just DO it!’  I think Martha would say the exact same thing to me.

I love writing.  I would never trade my ability to write for the ability to keep house better.  I wouldn’t.  I just wish I GOT housekeeping.  I wish it came easy to me.  Like 40 Billion Note Card Girl, I’ve worked harder -not smarter.  I’ve tried different avenues to get to one goal, and in doing so got hopelessly lost in the woods.

I’m going in circles now.  I know I am.  I swear I’ve walked past that SAME pile of laundry 7 times now.

A few years ago, Tia gave me a book on housekeeping.  Don’t get any wrong ideas.  She didn’t come over, see my house, and then hand me a book on housekeeping with a pity half-smile.  She looked through the book and attached sticky notes to the funny pages.  The first paragraph, for instance, is funny in a “yeah right” kind of way.  Please take into account that the book (The Art of Homemaking by Daryl V. Hoole) is absolutely inspirational.  It is full of great tips, advice, and pointers.  It was written in 1962 and I KNOW that if I were to follow the book to a T my house and home would be absolutely oozing with syrupy sweet wonderfulness.  But I also know my own limitations and gifts.  I know that if I were to follow the book to a T that I would lose parts of myself that I treasure.  My late night writer, for instance, would be maimed beyond repair.  I know this from experience, by the way.  And I HATE maiming my late night writer!  She’s funny!

I’m getting off the point.  The point is this:

Just reading that sends me into a sort of panic. No complaining?  And I need to look nice?!  All the TIME?!

As we speak, I’m still in my PJ’s.  I served baked oatmeal to my family while wearing said PJs and I even went so far as to not even look in the mirror once today (yet).  And frankly, I’m feeling pretty durn good that they got wholesome food for breakfast (if you’re not taking a close look at the sugar and butter content)!  Victory!


I fall somewhere between those two women.  Burnt toast is never on the menu, but my hair is never quite that lovely, um, ever.

This picture was me two days ago. But instead of a book in my lap, it was Lappy. And Lappy was treating me to an embarrassing amount of “Parks and Recreation” episodes. Instead of chocolates, I was eating french vanilla marshmallows that I picked up whilst visiting Sister. And despite the fact there IS no mop at my house, I did spend part of that day mopping up the flooded laundry room. It’s all better now, thanks for asking.

Anyway, I’m spending too much time talking about this. I am. But what’s new?
The bottom line is: I need housekeeping help of the hired sort. Hired Housekeeping Help. I love alliteration.
However, I don’t want to pay for it -mostly because I don’t have the money to. So for now I’m stuck, wandering in circles in the woods.

But at least I feel better about the whole situation for having talked to you about it.
40 Billion Note Card Girl


  1. This lady’s organization blog saved my life (and our house). This tip alone is worth slogging through her very cheerful and very confusing website:

    On the days I absolutely can’t look in the sink or I’ll start screaming, I set my timer for 15 minutes and then stop working after that. It’s incredible what I can accomplish in 15 minutes. See, housekeeping kicks my butt because I look at the mess and say, “It’s going to take me seven hours just to get this house looking presentable” and as soon as that thought hits, I’m like, “Why even start?” and so I don’t. Dishes pile up, projects burst forth and spill all over the house and the shower gets scummy. I mean scummier.

    But I set my oven timer for 15 minutes (the really annoying buzzy one) and all of a sudden, my sink is empty and the counters are wiped and the bed is made and I FINALLY took the garbage out and I still have 5 minutes left. I’m not kidding. This has really happened to me before.

    Here are a few other pages that helped me a ton:
    How to get started:
    How to declutter:

    You can do it. From one sloppy housekeeper to another, you can do it. Pinky swear.

  2. That book was so funny to me. :) I’m glad we’ve both got a few laughs from it.

  3. That book is AMAZING!!! Thank you for helping me to smile through a stressful morning!

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