Monday, 11 April 2016

It's All Too Much!!

Find Your Inner Optimist. Embrace Positivity. Think Beautiful Thoughts.

When I started out on a career (?) of full-time fatherhood, I knew that it wasn't all going to be easy all the time. I knew there would be occasions when the boys would get sick, the house would be in chaos and I would be hankering after a cosy desk Far From the Maddening Kids. In short, I thought of nothing except my own troubles and this selfish attitude has come back to haunt me over the last couple of weeks.

My devoted readers will no doubt have realised that output from the Dolittle home has been a tad non-existent recently. "Has he lost his snap?" you were saying. "Has he given up? Lost interest? Got chronic writer's block? Dropped his laptop down the toilet?" Actually, no, and not least because I use my wife's laptop, not my own (my laptop is an ancient affair unsuited to the hurly-burly of modern life and sits unused in the attic). It is simply that life suddenly got busy - for my wife and, consequently, for me. Something called 'quarter-end' (accountancy-speak, doesn't mean much to me either but don't tell Gilly that) has struck and for a while Gilly is expecting to be working late. Long hours in the office for the wage-earning half of the sketch automatically means long hours in the home for the other 50%. Add the Easter holidays into the mix and a good bit of fine weather which meant I spent a lot of time digging with a spade in the garden as opposed to hoovering in the bedrooms and you end up with a house that isn't running quite a smoothly as I would have liked. My excuse, anyway.

It's maybe, possibly, perhaps all under control?
It is ironic therefore that today, now that Graham has returned to pre-school and I had a morning to spend with Isaac alone, also produced the biggest muddle of the entire month. It was one of those days when muddle seemed unrelenting. I put washing out on the line, with one eye on the grey clouds and hoped it wouldn't rain. It did, just enough to force me to get the washing back in again and hang it up afresh on the airer in the dining room. A friend arrived just as a chatty gentleman on the doorstep was trying to persuade me to give my non-existent wages to charity: "Just two pounds a month, for a year...". I'm all for charitable donations, but of my own choosing and not forced upon me at the front door. I declined, but offered to check out the website. A combination of friend and charity worker meant that Isaac was late for his dinner; this made Graham and me late for dinner too. By seven o'clock the house was looking, not so much as though a bomb had hit it, rather that a whole squadron of B52s had been on excercise up and down the hallway and dropping things around the kitchen. Toys littered the lounge floor, the front door was blockaded by a pram, the worktops were piled high with dirty crockery, neither child was in their pyjamas and Gilly hadn't even left work yet. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

However, I am happy to reveal that the crisis will (I think) soon (I hope) be over (possibly). Paperwork is about to hit the house. Organisation, Orderliness, Efficiency and, er, Efficiency are the new keywords around the home now. In other words, I've started making a list.

My dear wife, of course, has made many lists. She has lists for tasks at work, shopping lists, to-do lists, lists for me and lists for what to pack when we go on holiday, helpfully divided into stuff to be found upstairs and stuff to be found downstairs to make things easier. I don't have a holiday list; my packing consists simply of opening the cupboard, finding out which clothes are still clean and chucking them into the case but I will soon have my own to-do list anyway. I've had to-do lists before, when I was still working. It was colour-coded: things marked in red were urgent, purple was on-hold (or was that green) and black was on-going. Funnily enough most of the list ended up being red but it didn't seem to make things happen any faster. Ah well, there will be no red on my new model, simply a day-by-day, week-by-week tick-list of all the things I need to do on a regular basis. Simple but Brilliant. Simply Brilliant, in fact.

With this in place I confidentally expect (probably) to see a transformation (what?) in this home's tidiness and cleanliness (huh?) within days. Perfection awaits. (Yeah, right!)  


  1. Glad to see the return of Do-little's musings. The chief pleasure of to-do lists is inspecting them retrospectively and admiring the skill with which one avoided performing what seemed to be essential tasks. "Never put off until tomorrow ... what you can avoid doing altogether".

    1. Remind me to try that one out on Gilly some time...;)