Well, sitting in the garden didn't work - I have spent the best part of three weeks off of work with what appears to be a post viral syndrome. Two weeks of that I was mostly housebound - and unable to do anything that would ordinarily make that a pleasant experience - no crochet, no gardening, the barest minimum of housework before muscle fatigue set in and I sat down, tremor wracked. Even reading for long periods was impossible through the soupy haze that has been my brain.
Things are a little better and I can now leave the house without my legs collapsing under me after just a few paces - all good. But this disconcerting experience has left a lasting impression. With far too much down time to mull things over, I realized that my basic level of organization in this little house isn't good enough to carry us through periods of incapacity or extreme stress. Which is a little irksome as I had had an inkling of this before and had just begun my spring cleaning when forced idleness struck. My Beloved did his very best to corral the kids and keep on top of things, but we are still playing catch up now.
Our decluttering efforts of the past few years have worked wonders and we still regularly reassess our possessions and delete as needed. We are left however with a marked lack of beauty and coordination, which is very noticeable when you are staring at four walls for days on end. Especially the bits of wall with subtle never before noticed crayon scribbles. And the slightly chipped skirting boards...that connect to the very chipped door frame. Also that annoying frayed carpet edge that the cat keeps pulling. And what is with those CURTAINS?
In the absence of action, I have begun reading Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson - it is a fabulous book, a bit like an intensive home economics course for those who were born into a time of food technology GCSEs. Everything you need to know about keeping house is in here and whilst much of it is advanced finickety housekeeping I will never use, all the basics are covered - routine setting, cleaning, menu planning, pantry stocking and laundry techniques are all in there.
There have been bright spots too. The Kalanchoe that we were given when we discovered we were expecting 5 years ago has flowered once again - for the second time ever. I have cut it back to its base, watered it, de-aphided it, cut it back again; and finally a few months ago moved it from the dingy east facing kitchen window to the last chance saloon that is the west facing living room. It flowered last week and has earned its keep. If everything else has got on top of me, the fact that I have managed to keep a houseplant alive for five whole years - and that it sits on a windowsill amongst several other very much alive houseplants - is a symbol of my ever increasing domestication.
I bought a cyclamen to celebrate.