An Ordinary Day 8/29/10

 An Ordinary Day

For the first time in over six weeks, I had a free weekend.  No commitments, no travel… just time at home. What a great feeling! So this blog post won’t be the usual- it won’t be about any amazing travel adventure, filming opportunity or once in a lifetime awesome experience. It will just be about me and my two free days off. And what do I do? I look around in my house. ..  with disgust. It has been close to eight weeks since I have cleaned and I confess I am a slob.

As my life becomes more and more high profile with our book and upcoming Power of Two film, I hear so many kind compliments and words of praise like “You are amazing” or “How do you do it all?” Well, here are my truths. I do not do it all. I am a slob.  I hate cleaning with a passion. Always have and always will. I can’t afford a maid so I just wait until the mess is unbearable before I begrudgingly clean. At the rare moments that I am inspired to clean I go crazy, vacuuming so aggressively that my husband fears me.  

My house is a disaster. There is mildew growing in the bathtub, laundry piling up, old toothpaste stuck to the sink, a 2 mm layer of dust on my desk ,TV and other furniture, and worst of all… a foot long cobweb net across my window sill (inside!), with four dead bugs trapped in it. What the hell! Have I reminded you that I am immunosuppressed? For someone with a transplant, I probably live in the least clean house ever. And lets not even get started about the garden. Thankfully, my husband is so helpful with cleaning the kitchen and mopping so the floors and countertops have been clean at least.

So what did I do on my first free weekend since July 4th? I cleaned. That is, after my 7 mile hike (and nap) on Saturday and my 12 mile bike ride on Sunday.  I spent much of this “cleaning” time tidying up tons of clutter.  I don’t know how I ended up with so much stuff when I hate shopping.  As I look around my house, I am humbled and grateful that more than 65% of the items in my home are gifts from all the generous and loving people in my life.  These wonderful gifts still involve finding a place for. I spent several hours of the day just putting things away- I cleaned up my mail piles, the infamous cobweb, my file folders that were overflowing with paperwork, wedding stuff, medical stuff, my car, my gym bag. There were things in there from years ago that definitely needed to be tossed. Expired meds, rock hard old granola bars, CFRI/Heroes of Hope paperwork from 2003 and 2004, receipts from our 2008 book tour… the list goes on and on. I am learning with age that it is OK to throw things away.

At last I was able to show some appreciation for my wedding (three months ago!) and so many great gifts. I created a keepsake box of our invitations and program, brought my dress to the cleaners, finally hung some of the beautiful art that was given to me, mailed out the wedding thank you cards (finally!) and started to organize a scrapbook.

It seems like the home tasks never end. I don’t know how people do it when they have kids and/or work. If I find it hard to keep up with this, how do people who are socially/intellectually challenged manage with taxes, paying bills, keeping track of commitments, etc? Maybe my life is just more complicated because of all the other distractions I am involved in, and all the medical stuff I deal with. Most of my mail is from insurance, hospital bills, transplant/CF communities, and pharmacy, and needs to be filed for tax purposes. Most of my bookshelves are filled with folders for my charity work for CTDN, CFRI, Transplant Games, Heroes of Hope, etc .  

During this time, my husband sat and enjoyed a leisure afternoon of playing with his cards. Poor thing has to listen to me complaining all day too.  Thankfully, he did help with cooking the day’s meals, and cleaning the tub at my request (I try to avoid mildew).  I look at him with envy that he can relax and that somehow he doesn’t have nearly the STD (shit-to-do) list that I do. Someday, I’ll relax … hopefully not in the hospital.   

Some things just have to be done. Sometimes life isn’t just about the Power of Two film or book. Sometimes emails, grant writing, promotion and planning the next event, just have to be postponed to allow time for TODAY, for creating a living habitat where I can live and work without risking my life. Thank God, I have some immune system. Thank God I don’t have dust allergies!

Ok, so here is my not-so-inspiring blog post. About ordinary life, about dealing the pain in the ass things that everyone has to deal with. I finished the day with a sense of accomplishment but also a sense that there is more to be done.

On another note, today would have been Karen’s 39th birthday. As some of you may recall, she was my best friend with CF whom we wrote about in our book. She died when she was 19. I can’t believe I’ve outlived her for 20 years. So despite my complaints, at least I am alive to be able to clean my house : ) .

I admire you all for maintaining your home. Thanks for listening to my bitching and moaning. Shame on me for complaining when 5 years ago today thousands of people lost all their home belongings and homes in Hurricane Katrina… now that was a mess.

ANA STENZEL

Written by

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply