I’m so ADD I can’t function without a routine but also can’t construct myself a routine, so– it’s kind of a catch-22 and that’s how I live my life. Journaling is the only thing that has really helped, because I can write down the things I want, and then go back and look at them and see if I still want them, and kind of cobble together action lists out of that.
I’ve been at the farm, at work, in Canada, in Rochester, and then had Farmsister and her family visiting overnight– and so I spent my first day Off, which wasn’t either at the farm, in Canada, or in Rochester, cleaning the house enough for visitors, since she hadn’t told me she was planning to stop here on her way to Illinois so I hadn’t cleared out the guest room at all– and so yesterday was my first Day Off that wasn’t spoken for in probably months, not that I can remember, and I didn’t know what to do.
So I kind of squandered it, rereading Raksura books (which I’ve been doing in between other stuff while traveling too) and trying to teach myself tambour embroidery. I have so many projects I want to do with that, but I want to master the technique first, and it’s really. It’s not. It’s not working.
I get the idea, I can do the stitch, and it works one time in ten. The other nine times, I snag the hook either on the previous loop, the substrate fabric, or both. Every tutorial dismisses this as a non-issue– “apply backward pressure to the hook as you come through the fabric, so you can clear the hole”– but I also know that I keep forgetting to rotate the hook, so obviously, it’s related to that. I just don’t see how. You stick the hook in the fabric, loop the thread around, rotate the hook, and pull it back up through the fabric. I don’t understand why you have to rotate the hook, because it is not interfacing with the thread at the time you rotate it. It has to be facing a particular way when it comes back out of the fabric, but it can go into the fabric in any direction, so why rotate it? And it doesn’t seem to matter which direction it’s facing or how I press on the hook as I pull it back out, it just snags on the fabric or previous stitch’s loop regardless. So it must be the angle or my posture or how I’m holding the hook, and I just can’t make it work. I keep getting frustrated and ripping the fabric or breaking the thread.
Some of it is that all the tutorials say “use any fabric and any thread!” and clearly, the combo I picked was probably the worst possible. Don’t use stranded embroidery floss, because the strands separate and then your stitches don’t go through all the loops. And cotton muslin is obnoxiously tightly-woven.
So, when they say “use any fabric and any thread”, that’s just because it never occurred to them to use cotton muslin and embroidery floss. Don’t use those, you dumbshits.
Anyway. I have many things i want to make, but I don’t want to start on a finished piece because I haven’t yet found a combo of thread and fabric that doesn’t turn out to be a fucking terrible idea. I’m working on scraps, and having trouble abandoning them anyway, and that’s my weird hoarding thing, where I can’t Use The Good Whatever, and it’s fucking obnoxious.
So I was also trying to tidy the house. I made great strides on Wednesday, and cleared out the guest bedroom to cleaner than it’s been in at least five years, and cleared out the bathroom to be cleaner than it’s been in about ten years, and that’s awesome, but now I’m stalled. I want to clean the kitchen floor, which no fucking joke, hasn’t been mopped since about four years ago when I last did it and said to myself, I’m not doing that again, I’m going to see how dirty it can get before Dude notices.
Well. It’s been four years, and it’s actually horrifying, but I basically treat my kitchen floor as if it were an outdoor surface, because now I don’t know what to do– he called my bluff, so, now I know, I guess. And I want to end that now, but I don’t know where to start. [The thing that bothers me is not that he’s willing to live in utter squalor– it’s that he manages somehow to both not care in the slightest about the squalor, and bitch about it, without ever being able to be caught in the contradiction. He is helpless, you see, to improve his environment, because apparently nothing he can clean is free from the taint of my belongings, which he doesn’t want to disturb. Somehow, he cannot tell dust bunnies and dropped food scraps and actual filth from my possessions, which he would never wish to disturb, and therefore, only I can clean; he wants it to be clean, but is utterly powerless to effect this, and so is Resigned, Nobly, to living in squalor. I’m not shitting you, that’s really how it’s shaken out, and I’m so profoundly flattened by guilt that I can’t even bring it up now.]
[Here’s the other amazing thing– I used to do all our food shopping and menu planning, and he did some cooking but it was all always from plans I’d made. As I grew increasingly unwell, less and less able to compensate for the depression and attention-deficit issues I’ve always had, I was less and less able to do this (it didn’t help that I lost all hunger cues and ability to derive pleasure from food for a while there; how do you make a meal plan when you are incapable of experiencing desire or pleasure or thinking about any deeper topic than your next breath?), and he was more and more cranky about it, until finally I said, “If I am responsible for planning meals, we will henceforth eat a single baked potato apiece prepared identically every single day, because I do not have the capacity or desire for any more, so you can either take that over, or we can starve to death, I’m to the point where I honestly don’t care, death might be a sweet release actually”, and so after complaining that I needed to be medicated better, he subscribed us to Blue Apron. (Amazing kicker: he’d then read me the three options they sent and ask which one I wanted first. Every damn week. I was like, I cannot experience desire or pleasure, so I’m not capable of making any meaningful choices and it only upsets me when you ask me to; make the one you feel like making. He still wanted me to perform the token emotional labor of choosing, for some reason I can’t fathom. It was fucking incredible and to this day he does not understand why that was shitty, even though I explained to him why it was shitty.) I mostly don’t cook, now, and haven’t for years. But with me out of town so much, he had to unsubscribe from the boxed meal service. So like, last month or so, he made a grocery list and a meal plan, with my help, and then we cooperatively cooked things from the list going forward. And this is the really rich part: he seems to sincerely believe that he just invented the concept of meal planning and grocery shopping. I honestly don’t know what he thinks we did for the first entire dozen years of our relationship? I mean, he was there, wasn’t he? I made a list of meals I wanted to make, and a list of ingredients to buy, and then made those meals during the course of the week or so, and if I stretched it longer and wound up making stuff that was all canned or boxed ingredients because I couldn’t bear to go grocery shopping more often, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still using those meal plans? But he genuinely, sincerely believes that he just invented this system, and I don’t know what to say to him. Has that little plastic castle always been in the corner of our fishtank or did it just get put in? He might honestly not know. NB: W E A R E T H I R T Y - S E V E N Y E A R S O L D basic adult functions should not be a r e v e l a t i o n.]
[Best coda to this: we make the lists together, and make the choices together, and many times the meals are things he plans on making, and somehow, mysteriously, even after literally years wherein I did not cook anything, I still wind up doing the majority of the choosing and the cooking. Again! Amazing. It’s a lot closer to 50-50 than it ever was before, but it’s still not exactly.]
So. I can’t clean my house, and yes I’ve read self-help books and websites, so if you have some Miracle Idea for how I could get better at housework, please keep it to yourself.
I can’t evaluate items, categorize them, and discard them. It’s not a thing I can do. I’m trying to do an end-run about that by getting myself excited about a project I can use repurposed items for, and thereby collecting all the items I’d like to repurpose into one well-labeled box for each repurposing, and then taking one of those boxes and sitting and converting all the items into repurposable formats. I feel like that would be an important bit of progress to make, and then I would have the bonus of having converted all those items from clutter into a new item. But that’s not going super well just yet, and I’m stalled.
Still. It’s a start.