Tag Archives: cleaning

Dragon Comics 115

It's the dust rhinoceroses that you really have to watch out for.

It’s the dust rhinoceroses that you really have to watch out for.

I don’t know if the weird stuffiness in my face is allergies or a sinus infection, but I do know for certain that I am a terrible housekeeper. Very little motivation to clean exists in my mind, and while I enjoy a tidy environment, the actual act of putting things away tires me, the vast majority of commercial cleaning products make me sick, and I am definitely allergic to dust. Typically, I live in chaos. But, I have guests coming, so even though my head has been threatening to explode for the last couple weeks, I felt compelled.

Between my lack of natural talent and the debilitating effects of congestion, combined with a steady diet of antihistamines and pseudoephedrine, it took me about 4 hours to do what a normal person could accomplish in less than half that time. And the house still doesn’t look especially clean. If you manage to avert your eyes from the floor, it’s passable. But the floors are pretty gross. I vacuumed (with the haunted Dyson from Dragon Comics 21) so the dust bunnies are mostly conquered, but nobody’s mopped in months. And here I am, with a thousand pounds of pressure in my skull, nowhere near bed despite the Nyquil I took 2 hours ago.

Anyway, dust bunnies. They’re disgusting.

Back in Business!

So much room for activities.

So much room for activities.

The Fox acquired some kind of book on extreme cleaning, which advises readers to throw away any material possessions that do not inspire joy, something along those lines. Amongst my many possessions are numerous items that most likely do not inspire joy in me, but letting go of them can be complicated as well. For example, I have a drawer in my office that contains nothing but letters people wrote to me in high school and college. I have another draw that houses every notebook I used in school during that same time period. Do these things inspire joy in me? Do I really need to save them?

Probably not. But maybe. What if I want them later? And even if I did toss them, first I would have to go through every single one of them to ascertain their particular contents and meaning.

It’s easier to keep them in drawers.

This is where I work now.

This is where I work now.

After many days of ignoring the problem, I finally got it together to knock my work space back into some semblance of order. It’s not perfect–there are still many things (besides the old letter and notebooks that need to be sorted–but at least it feels like an office again, and not like a precursor to an episode of Hoarders.

This layout never occurred to me in the past because I wouldn’t have my back to the window. Originally, I was going to try turning the desk the other way and pushing it up to the window, but now that I have nice curtails I can pretend the window is a wall, if need be. Plus from this vantage point, i can fully experience the joy of living in a library.

While I was putting some things on the high shelf and noted that, by the Fox’s book’s measure, I could easily part with probably 60 or 75% of my books. Individually, I no longer have an emotional connection to many of them. However, the concept of having a library does bring me joy. As long as the books are organized, they’re not any kind of burden.

Cozy reading corner.

Cozy reading corner.

By the time this is published, I’ll be at camp with the Rabbit, who is much more vested in keeping a clean house than I am. However, we can both agree that it will be lovely to come home and have this space so beautifully cleaned and laid out. There’s an excellent possibility that the rest of the house will be in worse condition than when I left, but my small oasis of creative peace should theoretically remain.

This Has to Affect Productivity

In 6 days the Rabbit and I leave for our writing camp! This is a desperately needed escape, and while I had a smashing time at my sister’s wedding in Washington state, most of what was going on did not nourish me as an artist, except in the sense that the scenery was gorgeous and I took a lot of pictures. Most of what was going on involved me nourishing other people; there was no quiet space to listen to the voices.

Before I go, there’s something I’ve been meaning to do.


My unnatural habitat

Here you can see that I haven’t cleaned up the myriad scraps from “Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express Departs Vancouver on Schedule,” nor has the wrapping paper from the Boy’s birthday been put away.

It would probably be a really nice space if it wasn't so hazardous to navigate.

It would probably be a really nice space if it wasn’t so hazardous to navigate.

In addition to the mess on the floor, here you can see that my desk is also covered and pushed into a corner where it’s scarcely accessible. I haven’t used this desk in months. I just keep stacking important things there, and the cat keeps knocking them off. You can also see the desk chair facing the wall, and the milk crate with all my tax stuff, which has been sitting there since April, because it’s difficult to get behind the desk to put it away.

At least I tried to try.

At least I tried to try.

And here you can see my first feeble attempt to tackle this mess. (Note the presence of the mystical broom.) Basically, I took everything off that one chest of drawers and the corner under the shelves, sorted it into piles, and wandered off. It’s been that way for weeks.

So ultimately, my once-awesome office is a terrible place to work. It’s not conducive to anything except distraction. Every day I promise to fix this issue, and every day I spend so long avoiding it that it’s no longer even an option.

Looking over yesterday’s comic, I feel a little disappointment. I always fuss over the script, but by the time I start drawing it’s late at night and I’m tired and the art suffers. Hundreds of people read my TSA comic (my traffic is hugely up since the Man and I have started posting links on Reddit) but maybe it would have been thousands if the pictures weren’t so slapdash and unremarkable.

Maybe, if this office were an inviting place to work, I would better honor my commitment to myself and spend more time on the visual details.

So that, along with the fact that the man and I went swimming and watched a movie after dinner and then stayed up way past his bedtime playing Words with Friends, explains why I didn’t draw a comic or paint a picture today, and why tomorrow I better either have some new art, or else a photo of a perfectly clean and organized office. This time, I really could use Matt Paxton‘s help.

Even Matt Paxton Can’t Help Me

Suddenly, I know *exactly* what Betty Friedan was talking about.

Suddenly, I know *exactly* what Betty Friedan was talking about.

I was raised in a house where you could pretty much eat off the floors. My mother used to clean the entire kitchen after dinner. She swept, she vacuumed, she made beds. Once a year she would wash all the walls. Twice a month she paid someone to do more cleaning, but first she compelled us to clean in advance of the cleaning lady. Some of you probably know what I’m talking about here.

I’m a terrible housekeeper, even without comparing myself to my mother. If there are no dishes in the sink when I go to bed, I consider the kitchen in good order. Let’s not even talk about how often that floor gets swept. I hate cleaning, and I’m terrible at it, and I have a million better things to do.

When things get overwhelming–particularly that periodic geological phenomenon to which we refer as “Mount Laundry”–I like to turn on an episode of Hoarders for inspiration. Like, no matter how bad it is, you can still actually see my floors, and I’m fairly certain there aren’t any dead kittens in here, and I can clean a room in 3 hours without the help of an extreme cleaning specialist and a psychiatrist specializing in obsessive compulsive disorders.

The Man is way better at cleaning things than I am, but he only feels the need to do so if he wants to have a party and invite people we don’t know very well.

Our regular friends don’t judge us. Or, if they do, they do it silently, because we’re the only ones with a pool, and also I’m an amazing cook.

Housework has always felt like this me. For example: you make the bed. Why? In 12 or 16 hours you’re just going to unmake it. Dishes are just endless. I frequently run the dishwasher 3 times a day. Laundry didn’t really bother me before I was married; I learned in college that if a person owns 31 pairs of panties and wears the same jeans all week, that person only has to do laundry once a month. But now I’m doing laundry for 4, and 2 of us are very conscious about how they look. But it all seems like a meaningless cycle of drudgery.

At the same time, I like it to be neat. I just don’t like that I’m the one who has to waste time and expend energy to get it that way.

In this case, I’m glad I put the futon back together, and vacuumed, and put the laundry away. While I was halfway through this comic some out of town friends pinged me and asked if they could visit and stay in the spare bedroom. So I guess the effort wasn’t completely pointless after all.