Geri-Antics: The Ramblings of a Crazy Old Broad

Published 11:37 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

I’ve never been a neat freak.
Had I been, I most definitely would not have brought an Old English Sheepdog into my home. I’ve wanted a sheepdog since I was a kid watching Mary Martin as Peter Pan.
Because I’ve never had a propensity for having a spotless house, I was prepared for the long-haired beast to shed hair and pleasantly surprised to find sheepdogs do not shed. They just collect gallons of rainwater and mud in their double coat and shake furiously when you bring them into the house.
When my children were growing up, my mantra to all the other housewives obsessed with cleaning was, “I prefer to spend time with my children rather than cleaning.” It sounded noble.
The fact is, I never learned the fine art of “housewifery.” My saintly mother did it all. What I now know I’ve learned through trial and error — many errors.
After I became a full-time career woman, I morphed into a perfectionist in the office. I organized my office, my work and my surroundings obsessively, but I still wasn’t ready to go home and clean with the same vigor.
Two years ago, I retired. I always have a novel in the making. I do freelance writing for several publications. I could easily spend most of every 24-hour day at my computer, but something confounding has happened. I find household chores are now a constant source of distraction.
I might make it to my desk and even sit down in my chair when the following scenario begins to play out.
I spy a dust bunny in my peripheral vision. I immediately hop up, grab the vacuum or dust mop, and before I know it, I’ve cleaned every floor in my house.
Completing that chore might take a couple of hours, because even my distractions have distractions.
While mopping the kitchen, I might notice a coffee cup sitting in the sink, so I take the time to unload the dishwasher and reload it. Sometimes, something as simple as returning a cup to its rightful place spurs me to reorganize the entire cabinet.
Recently, when I made my bed, I discovered an extra pillowcase just lying there with no purpose, so I spent 30 minutes fashioning it into a variety of animals before settling on folding it into an envelope to hold the remote control for my TV.
There’s an art to procrastination and I’m certain there’s likely some explanation why I have replaced the compulsion to work with a new-found interest in housekeeping.
But, at the end of the day, I am meeting my writing deadlines and it sure is nice to have a clean house.
After all, isn’t that what retirement is all about? Doing things on our own time and on our own schedule?

Anne Carmicheal is a lifestyle columnist who contributes to the Jessamine Journal monthly.