Let's talk about cleaning, shall we? You're super excited -- I know. Just try to contain yourself.
(Some of you actually probably already X-ed out of this post. Apparently you don't like things to be clean.)
Why did I choose this odd topic out of all the things I could be blogging about? Well, I care about it, for one, and regardless of my work situation there never seems to be enough time, which drives me nuts. But actually the main reason is because my cleaning habits, like other things in my life, have evolved over time.
I'm the kind of person who likes clean sheets on the bed each week, bed made every morning, no clothes on the floor -- everything put away in it's "proper place," everything dusted, any sign of unwelcome life (aka bugs) removed, floors swept and mopped (especially now that dog hair is involved). and absolutely no dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter. Granted, most people enjoy all of these things, but not enough to take the time to do them on a regular basis -- mostly because they're too damn busy and don't have the time or energy. I'm not as bad as I used to be, but I'm more likely than most to stress myself out by trying to cram all of those things in -- even if they can honestly be put off for a bit. It's the OCD.
My OCD cleaning habits originated at a young age (shout out to Dorothy -- I got this from you) and grew into a monster of a problem by the time I hit college. You may be wondering how being a clean freak could pose a problem. I'll explain in a minute, but just to give you an example...........at two different points in my life I had a falling out with two separate friends related to my cleaning OCD. It was actually about much bigger issues and us not being supportive of each other's life choices at the time, but the cleaning stuff was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back and initiated the fights. Regardless, when I was younger it was fine. It just meant that my car was clean, my room was clean, and I helped around the house.
The college years...........
Freshman year of college wasn't so bad. My freaky cleaning OCD hadn't truly taken hold, and I also happened to be paired up with an equally clean roommate. The next several years got progressively worse though.
Come sophomore year I was that a-hole that wrote passive aggressive notes on our shared white board (displayed on the outside of the triple dorm room). When you're in a shared space like that, it's hard to keep your little corner clean if someone else's stuff starts to expand beyond their area. So needless to say, I was frustrated, but I was also a dick about it.
Junior year was a completely different animal. We were in an on-campus apartment and there were four of us. Fortunately we had our own rooms, but there was a living room, dining room, kitchen, and 1.5 baths that made up the common space. This was my first living situation that wasn't living at home or in a dorm, so I was really excited to have a kitchen and have that first experience of "being on my own." I wasn't really, but it was a fantastic simulation.
Anyhow, the kitchen and the smell of the apartment in general became points of contention between me and my roommates. Once a week I would deep clean the common areas and I put air fresheners in probably every outlet I could find. My friends appreciated it, but also found it super annoying and excessive. And it turns out that they were right.
The biggest sore spot was always the kitchen. I was of the OCD mindset that dishes should be done immediately and nothing was to sit in the sink overnight. Two of my roommates didn't necessarily agree, but would eventually do the dishes. One roommate I don't think had ever touched a dirty dish in her life.........or done laundry..........or unclogged a toilet.............you get the idea. Sweet girl, but man.........her parents should've made her do some chores. She was not at all prepared for real life.
There were so many fights about such stupid things, and for what? Because I thought I was teaching my roommates life lessons? Or because I couldn't just calm down instead of letting insignificant things like dirty dishes stress me out? Whatever it was, it was dumb. And fortunately my friends forgave me for being such a psycho. I mean, they did like having a clean apartment, but to them it wasn't worth it if I was going to be a nazi about everything. I learned a lot from that.
Funny side note about the air fresheners: Years later over drinks, my one roommate admitted to me that she replaced the liquid in my air fresheners with colored water. She was sensitive to them, and I wanted them cranked up to 11. We actually got in a "taping" war" with the air fresheners. She kept turning them down, so I'd turn them back up and tape them there. Then she'd remove the tape, turn them back down and tape them.
Back and forth and back and forth. Psycho.............But I about died laughing when she told me what she had done. I have to admit that that was brilliant. Props, man......props.
As I've gotten older I've calmed down when it comes to cleaning. I still like things to my OCD specifications, but I don't get my panties in a twist if things aren't done perfectly or within the time frame I had planned. I do have my occasional tornado of cleaning if things have sat for too long (or if the mood strikes me and I have time). Will stays out of my way when that happens for fear of being trampled. He tells me I move way too fast and it freaks him out. I'm being "domestic." But he has clean sheets and clean clothes, so he can't complain.
Rounding back........just like with other parts of my life -- be it body image, my outlook on life in general, my priorities, etc. -- my cleaning OCD has evolved. I have realized that other things are more important, and it's okay if something else takes precedent over making sure the house is clean. Having things clean will always be important to me, but I won't be at the level of Danny Tanner. Who has time for that?
Sometimes things get messy, and that's okay...........as long as it's cleaned up in a timely fashion. Just kidding............well, sort of.
Not that I want to keep moving around the country like a nomad, but it's really interesting to me to be able to observe the differences (and similarities) between different areas. I went from Millersport (a small, one stop light town) to Columbus (a diverse and artsy city with great suburbs), to Nashville (touristy, VERY southern, and a terrifying place to drive), back to Columbus, and now to Port Isabel/South Padre Island, Texas.
A few differences I've noticed:
1) It is the "land of mañana." I did not make up this phrase, just to be clear. I have heard this from SO many people since we've moved down here, it's ridiculous. Granted, I noticed it myself pretty quickly, but it was nice to know that it's not just me and my impatient Northern ways. But that's the thing.......everything is so "go, go, go" where I come from that it's easy to forget how to slow down. In a lot of ways it's nice to be in the "land of mañana" -- less stress. Not everything is super important and some things can wait.
However, when it comes to people scheduling things in advance, businesses keeping normal hours, and information on websites being correct -- just to name a few -- good lord........the Northerner in me wants to break things.
2) No one cares about copyright -- no one -- especially the island area. It's incredible. They name things whatever the hell they want, use trademarked images, and use songs in ways that would get them major fines if we weren't so freakin' far south that no one cares. And that's their rationale -- no one cares because we're basically in our own little island bubble. They're not wrong, but still!
Let me give you an example........there used to be a restaurant called PadreRitaVille.........but Jimmy Buffett said hell no and they had to change it. That's probably the only time anyone here has gotten caught, but they also messed with the wrong guy. Jimmy owns everything island and kitschy.
3) Wine is infinitely cheaper down here. It's fantastic. Granted, not ALL bottles are, but I've noticed a pretty significant difference in several kinds that I've bought in the past. When I was in Tennessee for grad school I was pretty broke, so in order to satiate my wine craving I would buy the double bottles of Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't judge -- it's one of the best cheap ones out there. To put it into perspective, the regular 750ml bottle in Ohio is generally $7-8. Well, a double bottle in Tennessee was $9.99. Oh yes...........And guess what? I'm in the South again, so it's $9.99 here too! Also, I found Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc for $7.99 at a nearby Target the other day. I was so excited at the register with my two bottles of wine (for less than the price of one in Ohio), that I'm fairly certain I had the kind of smile on my face my niece has when she sees chocolate. Southern state wine prices are awesome. AWESOME.
4) The weather, but that's a given. It's still in the 90s here. Beyond exercising, I have exclusively worn flip flops since we moved here back in July. I have a feeling I may be able to wear them year-round, or pretty close to it. Granted, this also means it's possible to get a sunburn around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it also means year-round outdoor pool.................so that's cool.
A few similarities I've noticed:
1) It's a small town, so there are several similarities to my old stomping grounds.
2) Columbus will forever have a special place in my heart, and one of the main reasons is because of the people. There are so many wonderful and interesting people from all over -- many Columbus residents are not originally from the area (or even Ohio). One of my favorite things about this part of Texas is that there are a ton of transplants. Every chance I get I try to find out where people are from and why they're here. I've met a few Northerners, but the main reaction I get when people find out where I'm from is, "Wow. Big move. Is it too hot for you down here?" Then I have to explain that Ohio does in fact get sun -- we just have more drastic seasons than an area like this. Maybe they think Ohio is in Canada...........who knows...........
3) Our family and friends. Turns out, that even from over 1,500 miles away, that you're still awesome. Thank you -- all of you -- for being there during this transition. I'm super excited about future visits to Ohio, but I'm even more excited for you to come and visit us. We want you to see just how beautiful and special this place is. Hell, you may never want to leave. I mean, I wouldn't hate it if you moved........
Regardless of the differences and similarities, this is where we're at now. It's an adventure, it's beautiful, and who knows.......maybe it will officially become home. Or maybe not. We'll see. :)
So it's been awhile.......
You know the whole moving over 1,500 miles, looking for a job, trying to get established as a gigging musician in a new area (where you have no connections), trying to get back on the exercise train, and all the while having a puppy under 6 months old thing? Yeah......about that.........I am going to make a real effort to write more often, but damn. Honestly, I did you a favor. If I would have forced myself to write it would been a pile of blah, meh, and buh -- you feel me?
Anyway.....I've rejoined the living, so here goes........
I've been seeing a lot of posts from that "Happiness is..." calendar -- which is a great concept -- and I love that every time I see one it makes me slow down for a second. It makes me pause to think about the simple things that make my life rich and contribute to my overall happiness. I seriously need to buy one of these calendars, because talk about a GREAT way to start your day -- a simple reminder to enjoy and appreciate what you have.
So I decided to make my own "Happiness is..." list. Here are a few examples:
Happiness is a pug
Happiness is finding something great on the sale rack
(Or in Mozzie's case, cheap new toys from Amazon.com)
He put all 3 of his new toys on the couch in a pile. It was adorable.
Happiness is a good beer after work
Yes it's a pumpkin beer. Yes I'm a white girl. It's Fall and it's delicious. Get over it.
Happiness is feeling like your work matters
Granted, we've only been in Texas for about 2 months, but I'm finally employed!!! And not only that, but I really like what I'm doing and it's incredibly satisfying. I'm contributing to a cause that helps place homeless animals with loving families. I get to climb into the kennels and play with the cats and dogs, (*cough*) I mean take pictures of them (but also play with them), and work with some really great people -- all for a great cause. It's pretty awesome.
It's part time, but it also enables me to play music, which is my first love. Guess who got herself a weekly winter spot already lined up at an island bar? This girl -- that's who.
I have this gorgeous commute to work -- that's happiness
Will has been crazy busy with school and marching band stuff, so time together is limited. BUT.......we've been really enjoying the beautiful simplicity of just being together lately. So things like cuddling on the couch (even if it's just for a little bit), taking a walk with Mozzie and talking about our day, or just being able to eat a meal together (which is a rare thing) have become more special. More time would be nice, of course, but I'm happy we're slowing down in the moments that we do have in order to appreciate them.
This is from the "Happiness is" calendar, but I really like it, so I'm using it. It really puts things into perspective. I know that there are many times where I need to be reminded that my "problems" are not that big of a deal in the scheme of things. Not taking myself too seriously is the best advice I've ever been given -- hands down. I'm not fantastic about following it, but I'm trying.
Let's be honest.....loving and being loved is one of the best things in life.
Whether it's this kind of love....
Or this kind of love....
There are so many other "happiness is" examples I could throw at you (maybe I'll do a part 2 at some point)......I'm a pretty lucky girl. So what is happiness? Well, I guess it depends on your definition.
To me, when you really get down to it, happiness is slowing down to appreciate and enjoy life. Period.
I'm an "adult," or so I've been told. I do "adult" things, I have an "adult" job, I pay bills, and I drink bourbon and wine. I have great friends and family, an amazing husband, and generally a pretty good life. I have achieved many things, yet so little at the same time. I'm in my 30s, yet I feel more clueless than when I graduated college. This is how I "adult."