Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I'm Not Spotless, I'm Clueless

Being a Boganville Housewife Extraordinaire supposedly means it is my job to keep the Bogan Box in a reasonable state of cleanliness and order. It's only a small house, as the word Box would suggest, so therefore you'd think it wouldn't be too difficult.

Wrong. I simply do not get housework.  Anybody who walks into my home could be forgiven for thinking that I am a lazy, feral sloth creature.  That all I do all day is sit on the computer posting boring as batshit blogs and Facebook updates.  And I would never do anything like that. Ahem. Mainly because I can't now. But that's not the point.  I do have one. I promise. I will get to it presently.

The truth is, I have tried so hard to be a Domestic Goddess. To de-clutter, organise and have everything gleaming and perfect.  Or, if not perfect, at least somewhat presentable. 
Inside the Bogan Box. This was a good day. Oh, shut up.

I have purchased all the gear. The mops, brooms, tubs of Gumption, bleach and Pledge Grab-Its.  I even purchased that awful smug book called Spotless. And the even smugger (is that a word?) Speed Cleaning, which promised I could have a spotlessly clean house in 15 minutes a day. Uh, yeah right.

 I thought I would finally find the secret answer and knowledge that everyone seems to have but me.  Apparently it's bi-carb and vinegar, according to that book.

Bi-carb and vinegar fix everything.  So I bought those too. But somehow, my house still isn't gleaming. Not even remotely. It smells really vinegary though. Sigh.

The problem is, I can't even logically work out how to go about all the tasks I need to do.  If I have say, ten things I know I need to do (it's more like 17 million on any given day, really, but I condensed it) I can't work out how to prioritise them in a completely rational, logical way as most people seem to.  I feel bewildered and over-whelmed before I even begin.

"Write a list. " Mick tells me.  I've tried that too. Lists and I don't get on.  I either forget the list, lose the list or have a lovely list of the things I failed to complete that day mocking me from the fridge door.

This picture does not accurately reflect the amount of washing
in our house, which would actually be enough to fill the Indian Ocean.
So I'll just plough in and start doing something, usually folding washing. We always have mountains of the stuff.  Something or someone ends up distracting me. It could be the phone ringing or Mick talking to me. Mainly it's the boys.  Or I'll just walk to another room to put the clothes away, become completely distracted by something that needs doing there and end up totally forgetting the piles of clothes back in the other room I still haven't put away.

This leads to Micky Blue Eyes finding the piles later, and becoming annoyed thinking that I deliberately left them there for him to put away.  I never do.  I just simply forget. The truth is I am just a very forgetful and easily distracted person, especially when it comes to housework.

On the surface it appears that I don't care about this. About the state of my home. That I am deliberately blase about cleanliness and order. Thoroughly relaxed and unconcerned. On the inside, however, this is not the case whatsoever and it actually causes me a great deal of consternation.  I've spent nights unable to sleep going over and over it. Truly. Feeling bad about myself because I don't seem to get something so seemingly simple. I mean, it's not Rocket Science is it?  These are routine, menial tasks.

To make matters worse, we never invite people over, simply because I am too ashamed.  The shame and guilt eat me alive some days.
It also appears that I am the furthest thing possible from a perfectionist.  Judging from the perpetual state of my home the idea is truly laughable and absurd, I realise. However, I struggle with the belief that I should be perfect.

Not only should I be a perfect Domestic Goddess with a gleaming home looking like something straight of a Home Beautiful magazine, but I should also be the perfect mother.  Able to cook exquisite meals which are promptly served at 6pm every night.  Have my boys into a strict routine.

 But even that's not quite enough. I think I should also be able to make time not just to get a bit of exercise, but to literally train almost to the degree of an Olympic Athlete. Oh, and since we are living in Boganville, if we wish to have any hope of making it to Boganville Heights, I really should be working outside the home and earning money. 

In addition to this, I feel I should really make time to be a creative genius with my writing.  A boring as batshit blog isn't good enough. I should have been able to have whipped up a best-selling novel, you know, by lunch time. Yesterday.

I think I see where the problem is.

I'm not a perfectionist. I'm a should-ist.  I think I should be perfect, and therefore because I fall so glaringly and pathetically short of my list of shoulds I constantly feel like a useless failure.

These feelings don't work for me.  There is no pay-off for me, in cleaning all day.  I can't seem to find any positive feeling of a job well done or pride in my home.  I just feel like I'm repeatedly failing at something that is supposedly easy or menial. So, the more I think about it, it actually makes sense that I  would eventually feel like giving up on it. It's not that I'm lazy. It's more like it just doesn't work for me, there's no pay-off, so I might as well be blowed and forget it and do something else that does work for me. Like writing this blog .Even if I feel like I should be doing something else.

After a diagnosis of Aspergers last year, I'm pretty sure it's time to let all the shoulds go.  Maybe there are some Aspergians out there who are thoroughly logical, clean and ordered. I am not one of them.

 One of the traits of Aspergers can be reduced Executive Function, which refers to a lot of the things I am talking about. Like prioritising tasks, working memory, switching attention between tasks and organisational and planning abilities. There is a lot more to it, but it's too dry and uninteresting to bang on about too much in this blog. The upshot of it is, as I heard author of The Complete Guide To Aspergers Syndrome, Prof Tony Attwood succinctly describe in an interview, a lot of us Aspies "Couldn't organise a piss-up in a Brewery."

 It's true. For me. I really can't.  And, I guess it just has to be okay. Sure, I don't want to fall into the trap of using my Aspergers as an excuse.  It doesn't mean that I can just throw my hands up in the air and say I give up, and we live in a feral pig-sty. Even though it seems like it on some days. It does mean that I accept that it won't be as perfect as I'd like. 

The fact that being an Aspie for me, means I crave order and routine in my environment and surroundings, while simultaneously being completely clueless about actually creating it for myself and my family, is just another one of those little tragic ironies of my life that I have to live with.

And the only other thing that I should do, is throw away that bloody Spotless book. See? I'm de-cluttering.

And then promptly stop using the word should.

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.

Monday, 30 July 2012

We've Only Just Begun...

It was November 11th, 1995.  I woke up vaguely aware that something important was about to happen.  Bleary eyed and dazed I sat up and realised with a start that I was back in my old bedroom at my parents house.

Then I saw it. A lacy frock.  Made my my Mum- The Legend.  Yes, it was November 11th, 1995, and I was getting married to Micky Blue Eyes today. 

Suddenly, lush harp and violin music swelled and doves cooed outside my window. No, not really.  But the sun was shining, so that was a bonus.

I would love to be able to say that I remember every detail of this momentous occasion in vivid, techni-colour detail, but, alas, I don't remember five minutes ago, I'm a space cadet and...um, what was I on about?

Oh, that's right. Our wedding.

But you should remember your wedding. It's the most important day of your life, right? Romantic books and movies would have you believe that anyway. Here's the bits I do remember.

I remember that I felt surprisingly and amazingly calm.  I didn't have a minutes doubt, cold feet or nerves or little voices in my head telling me I was making a mistake.  I took that as a good sign.  I have since been a bridesmaid twice at my brother and sister-in-laws wedding and also for my good friends, Kim and Ziggy.I was as nervous as HELL.  Go figure.

I also remember that it took an aeon to get ready.  Who knew it could take ALL DAY just to frock up and have your hair and make-up done?  But it did.  Thank God I got maried at 24. Imagine how long it would take at a more mature age to put all the spak filler into your creases.  I'd have to get Botox. That would scare me even more than the thought of actually getting married.

In the midst of all this frockery, make-up and Macca's for lunch, fetched by my Dad,  (such a classy wedding lunch, in keeping with the general classiness and elegance of the day) a huge bouquet of red roses arrived. For me!

"But who would be sending me roses?" I asked, bewildered.
"Mick, of course!" Mum insisted "Who else?"
"No, he wouldn't do that." I said. He wasn't exactly a romantic, hearts, flowers and poetry kind of guy,so for some reason I couldn't picture it.  Then I read the card.

This is the happiest day of my life. See you at the Church. Love Mick.

Oh. That is romantic. I teared up.  Just slightly. But I didn't want to ruin the make-up that had just taken two hours to put on, so I had to snap out of it quickly.

I had 3 bridesmaids and a junior bridesmaid. Once we were all frocked up, the photographer arrived. With  a name like Doug, we were expecting a rather typical Aussie bloke. However, Dougie, as we called him, had a very heavy foreign accent.  Nobody could understand a word he said.

This made things interesting. But with a lot of gesturing and pointing he managed to get us all into various positions and took some snaps.  All in all he did a pretty good job, acheiving some rather charming shots.  I am particularly fond of these ones. 

I think they have a certain charm. Don't you?

Anyhow, for some reason, which I still haven't figured out almost 17 years later, we suddenly got into a mad panic and flurry of activity when the cars arrived.  We all piled in and they sped down the motorway, arriving at the church too early.  The bride is supposed to be traditionally late!

This necessitated driving around the block and sitting there for a while to pass some time. I suppose we could have gone to Macca's drive through, but we'd already had that. Finally we made our way to the Church.

I was still calm without the the need for valium which surprised me. There were a few gawkers peering over the fence.  Then we all lined up at the Church entrance and the Wedding March began.

I know. You were expecting me to say We've Only Just Begun started weren't you?  Sigh.  I should have had a Carpenters song, but they only had organ music and I didn't think I would like it played on an organ.

The moment had arrived. I took my Dad's arm and walked down the aisle.  All that build up to that moment and it was over in seconds.  Plus, being short-sighted I couldn't really see much. It could have been anybody waiting at the altar wearing a formal suit and a silly grin. I'd decided not to wear my glasses and stupidly didn't think of getting contacts.  The thought of having to poke them onto my eyeballs kind of unnerved me.

Luckily it was Micky Blue Eyes in the suit and silly grin.  Father John said a few words. I remember him saying something like "No doubt you'll back at this day in years to come and think: We looked pretty good in those days." Spot on. Sigh.Then came the vows.

I deliberately made a supreme effort to speak louder so everyone could hear me. It worked, apparently. Next thing I knew we were officially married!  I was going to have to get used to being Mrs C.  Then came the official signing of the papers, more photos and everyone congratualting us. Overwhelming!

Another ride in the jag to the reception, then more photos. My jaw ached from smiling.  Mick got to take it easy in a few casual shots. 

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Mick's speech, when he got tongue tied trying to thank his parents and ended up thanking them for "Bringing me up under a roof that didn't leak..." Everyone cracked up.  An embarrassed Mick said "I didn't mean it to be that funny." Which cracked everyone up even more.

Then there was the stunning cake, made by my Aunty Helen. For the cutting of which, I finally got my Carpenters song.  An obscure one called "You're The One" and the bastards cut the song off half way. GRRRR.

Then we made our way to the dance floor for an awkward, clutzy 'dance' to the Honeydrippers Sea of Love, Micky's choice as I'm not sure that any Carpenters songs are remotely danceable. 

And we'd only just begun..., blissfully unaware of what the next 17 years would hold.

Linking up with Cathy from The Camera Chronicles for Flashback Friday.

What was your Wedding like? Or, if you're not married, what would be your dream Wedding? Love Weddings? Loathe them?