01 April 2012

A is for.... Able

Once again, I am participating in the A to Z Challenge - a yearly challenge through the month of April in which every day, you blog a letter of the alphabet.  It can be anything starting with that letter, anything at all.

I was trying to think of a theme to do - like all my geek favorites.  But planning always seems to forced to me.  I've always been a go with the flow kind of girl.  And so I'm trying to go with the flow now, working my way through the challenge by whatever catches my fancy as I write my posts (and yes, there will probably be a few preloaded, since I'm going to my Dad's for Easter and the last thing that I want to do is try to write a post on Blogger from my Kindle).  So if you want to follow my moods and methods, my brain-dropping for each letter of the alphabet, hop a board, fasten your seat belts, make sure your seats are in an upright position and hold on to the reigns.  It's gonna be an awesome ride.

Since today is the first day of April, I'm starting my month with the A word able.  I actually sat here trying to figure out what I wanted to write about.  Apples kept coming to mind, but I'm not much of an apple person.  My husband suggested I talk about everything I accomplished today.  But as I was writing it, it didn't feel right either.  He then wanted me to talk about how Teddy will grab two spoons whenever he can and be an Alakazam, making my challenge involving talking about Pokemon.  But I don't get into Pokemon as much as the males in my household do. Nothing seemed right.

Finally, I decided that I would talk about a realization that I've come to recently, a realization that I'm trying to use to change my life.  It's the realization that I'm far more able to do things than I give myself credit for.  But that I'm the only one who can do them.

I've had two problems that have plagued me - one for most of my life and the other for the last 10 years or so.  My depression and my bad back.  I allowed these two things to rob me of my responsibility and my confidence.  I let my depression look at a messy house and say, "It's too messy.  I can't do anything about it.  It will just get dirty again, so why do I try?"  I let my back tell me that I couldn't do things because of the fear that I'll hurt myself more and be out of commission for longer.  I gave up on keeping my house clean, on doing laundry, on cooking, baking and crafting.  I gave up on getting together with friends and playing with my kids.  I gave up on trying to lose weight.  Because I allowed these two afflictions to keep me from doing what I need to do to live a healthy life, I haven't really been living a life.  I've existed.

My wake up call came the other day.  I've been letting myself slip further and further into nothingness.  Letting the kids watch TV while I lay on the couch doing nothing - not even reading.  Ignoring phone calls from friends and family.  Letting dirt and clutter pile up.  Then I got a letter in my mailbox from my apartment complex telling me that they had decided to not renew our lease.  The reason?  Cleanliness.  And my heart stopped.  I own a lot of stuff - books, DVDs, CDs.  The kids have toys coming out the wazoo.  I've been meaning to weed through all these things, but two months wasn't enough time.  We'd have to come up with the money for moving into a new place, for cleaning here, for... just too many things.  My summer plans were now scuttled. And it was all my fault.

Rich, however, refused to let it stay at that.  After he got home from work that day, he went to the office and talked to the manager.  He got her to agree to look at the apartment and tell us exactly what we needed to do to get up to a level in which they would renew our lease.  We would have to agree to get it to that level and keep it there.  And she would give us a time frame for that.

I called her the next day.  She looked around and was honest about the amount of work that needed to be done.  She told us that we'd have until the end of April to get this done.  And part of me just wanted to call in a cleaning service.  It would have to be cheaper and less stressful, right?  But I really didn't have the money to have them come out.  I had to do this on my own... at most, with the help of a few friends.  I started by making a list of what chores we need to do as a family on a daily and weekly basis, then wrote down the things that need to be done in order to get the apartment in shape.  I set aside the end of last week and all of next to work on downstairs.  The kids are on spring break, so that would give me a chance to go through their toys with them.  And maybe even get a little help out of them.  My friend Becca has said she'd watch the kids (or come in and help with cleaning) so I've got that resource.

Rich has been working on the kitchen this weekend, while I've been working on the living room.  I expected the living room to take 2 or 3 days.  Maybe more.  I expected, honestly, to have my depression suck me back in and to already have no gumption to do more.  But it's not happening.  Instead, I'm finding that I'm able to do more than I'd imagined.  I still have the determination to get things done.  Because I have to.

Right now, the kitchen is 3/4s done.  The downstairs bathroom is finished except mopping the floor.  The living room only has the walls that need to be washed and the end tables to be cleared and cleaned.  I'm not ashamed to have the workmen come into the apartment to look at our A/C.  Because it's obvious that I'm making progress.

My new mantra will be that I am able to do what I want and need to do.  I'm taking my baby steps and making my way to being the person that I need... and want... to be!