Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Attempted Relaxation

I guess I'm not very good at "leisure." I can see why one of the psychologists at the medical school said that it can take a few days of being on vacation before your brain really realizes it's on vacation and allows you to truly relax. I'm not actually on "vacation" and the things I do that feel like being at ease are really things that I'm doing for specific work purposes, but it still feels weird to just sit on the sofa and read in the afternoon. Yesterday, I got a little itchy after about fifteen minutes of that and abruptly decided that I needed to switch the ceiling fan to the "summer" setting, so I got out the stepladder and a yardstick (The ceiling is something like 15 feet at that point) to switch it. And then the fan didn't work. I tried switching it back, and the fan still wouldn't work. I guess it didn't like changing directions. The motor had been making funny noises for a while, and that must have been the last straw. That fan is essential to being able to exist in that room in the summer, and it is very likely about 26 years old, so it looks like I'll have to add "buy a new ceiling fan" to my to-do list. The real fun will be finding someone to install it, since it is so high up. My house is reaching the age when all the stuff that was built into the house is starting to fail. Of course, fiddling with the fan knocked some dust off the blades, so I decided to dust the fan and blades, but then that got clumps of dust on the floor (a fan that high up doesn't get dusted often), so I had to get out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum the living room. There went my leisurely afternoon of reading.

Anyway, finishing a book feels kind of like finishing a semester in school, where it takes a while to get used to the idea that there isn't something you're supposed to be doing. In my current situation, I'm supposed to be reading. Maybe I'd feel better if I used the stopwatch to track my working time while I was reading, but I'm not sure that I should be counting reading novels as "work." That's where the fact that my work is also something I do for fun creates blurry lines. I'm currently researching the market of a particular genre, so I'm reading all the books I can find in that genre to get an idea of what the parameters are, what's been done already and what publishers might be looking for. But it's a genre I enjoy, so it doesn't feel like work. It feels oddly like goofing off, even though I have a stack of books to read.

The antsy feeling probably also has something to do with the fact that the living portion of the house, the downstairs, is reasonably clean. I guess I'm more comfortable with a bit of clutter around, and it feels strange to just sit on the sofa and not think about all the work I need to do but don't feel like doing. I like it, but it will take getting used to. I have realized that about 90 percent of the messiness in my house is the fault of my office. Because my office is so messy and disorganized, I'm afraid to bring anything important into it, so the mail tends to pile up on the bar in the living room, and any newspaper articles I cut out for reference also tend to pile up. When I do an emergency clean for company, all the stuff in the living room gets boxed up and hidden in the office, making it even more messy and disorganized, and thus the downward spiral gets worse. Meanwhile, the mess in my bedroom and bathroom/dressing room is because of clothes that need to be put away. That doesn't happen because my closets and drawers are so crowded. I do need to do a major closet purge, but it would also help if the closets in the office were clear and accessible enough to hold the out-of-season and seldom-worn clothes.

I think the starting point of the office organization project will be to clear out and organize the filing cabinets. Then as I sort through the stuff in the office, there will be a place to put everything. I've tried a variety of office-cleaning methods. While I was distracting myself while Enchanted, Inc. was on submission and I was waiting to hear from publishers, I attempted the "Clean Sweep" method of just putting everything in boxes and emptying the room, then sorting through everything and putting it away properly. I'd put away about two boxes worth when the book sold and I was suddenly very busy. A lot of that stuff is still in boxes, but it's not one of those cases where I can just toss out the boxes because obviously I don't need that stuff because I have needed that stuff. I've just had to dig through various boxes to get to it. I think maybe the gradual inside-out method may be best. Start by creating a place for everything to go, then put things in there. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll have a clean office. Then I can decide how I want to decorate it.

1 comment:

Chicory said...

Sounds like you definitely found a way to feel busy during your vacation time. :) Ah, that end of semester feeling. I'll be having it myself in just a few weeks. One more paper to go...