See these two bins full of winter coats and boots? I pulled them out of the garage more than two weeks ago, and there they have sat ever since, in our living room. I am not sure why I am having such a hard time hanging these coats in our mudroom, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I sit at our dining room table and stare at the boxes and get more and more irritated that they are cluttering up our house. I tell myself, ‘Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow I will definitely do it.’ And yet tomorrow comes and I get busy with other things and I don’t touch the bins, and those magical elves don’t come in the night and put everything neatly away like they are supposed to. And now my family is getting used to those boxes in our living room and they are starting to pile their sweatshirts and jackets on top, like that is the appropriate place for them.
It reminds me of when our poor cat Cozmo (God rest her soul in kitty heaven, may she have endless couches to scratch) used to throw up on the floor, and my family got so used to it they would step right over the puke, never once bothering to clean it up. The puke would sit there for days, staining our carpets, before I finally cursed those dam elves who, once again, didn’t do their job before finally buckling down and cleaning it myself. It’s like the bins full of coats and the cat puke becomes a permanent fixture in our house, a new piece of furniture or a nicknack, that becomes so normal no one questions why it’s even there.
My 10-year old, Kaya, has recently become obsessed with cleaning the house, and will throw a fit if all the blankets in the living room aren’t perfectly folded and the pillows aren’t just so. This is a wonderful development. I can’t express in words how amazing it is to come home at night and find the living room looking as if we were expecting the Queen of England to pay us a visit. There is one caveat, however. Kaya likes to hide things. All my papers and mail that I have carefully laid out on the dining room table to remind me to deal with them will suddenly go missing, only to be found days later in a pile on Siig’s hurricane of a desk or tucked under a chair.
My favorite sweatshirt has been missing for three weeks, so yesterday I decided to do the only thing left to ensure its safe return: I offered a reward – $5 to whoever finds it. I know it’s in one of two places: somewhere upstairs where Kaya unconsciously hid it in her flurry of tidying, or, even worse, in my bedroom, where I deal with the opposite problem – a husband who has massive piles of clothes littering our room. Drawers and closets don’t seem to work for him, so I let him have his piles. But I treat his mounds of clothing like I am fighting the Cold War. I am the United States and he is the Soviet Union and I am just trying to contain his piles so they don’t spread their evil communism to the rest of the house. We are currently in a state of detente.
If I could bring myself to open those bins stuffed with our winter coats, maybe I would find my missing sweatshirt. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kaya put it in there to get it out of the way. And yet, sometimes, procrastination just feels so dam good. Have you ever skipped going to the grocery store purely because it was the last thing in the world you wanted to do, and it felt positively luxurious? We may have nothing in the house for dinner, but dam it, driving right past the grocery store feels like a small victory. A victory against what, you ask? Responsibility. Being responsible all the time can be exhausting. And so, I fight my battles where I can, like avoiding going to the store or booking that flight or making that doctor’s appointment. Or unpacking boxes of coats.
And that’s when I realize: I am not a procrastinator. I am a warrior.
But before I go off to battle, I need to check Facebook first.