The days seem to be getting longer instead of shorter this week. I know we end daylight savings time next weekend, and the days usually get shorter in the waning weeks of the year, but my days seem to be stretching beyond the expected 24 hours. Or at least it feels that way. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I can attest that when I am fully enjoying myself, a whole weekend can go by in the blink of an eye. So, I guess that means I am not enjoying myself.
If I accept that premise, then I have to look at what I’m doing that is so joyless. I have been finishing up a kitchen remodel that consisted of a new countertop, a new paintjob, new cabinet hardware, new blinds, new light fixture. Now, while I loathed the painting part, the rest of that was actually fun. I cannot stand to have a paint roller in my hand. Oh, I’m good for about three or four rolls, but then the fun wears off and I’m looking for other things that need a new coat (or at least a streak) of paint.
So it’s not that. We are having a party this weekend; which means a lot of planning and preparing. I love cooking—always have. We’re making three different kinds of chili: white chicken chili, regular old chili and my all-natural 4-alarm made-from-scratch chili. I’m not a planner. My wife is far better at it than I am. My idea of a good plan is “let’s see what happens.” If, for some strange alignment of the planets or extreme temperature dip in Hades, I have to make a plan, I get completely anal-retentive about it and I will follow the plan to the letter, come hell or high water. I have been known to cause aneurysms in those close enough to be involved in the plan. Even if something happens that makes the plan impossible, I will stick to it; sinking with the titanic while bailing with a Dixie cup.
So, that may have something to do with this stretching of the days. Of course, any time you have company coming over one thing has to happen: the cleaning. Even if the house was already clean enough to eat off the floor (and I’ll be honest—it isn’t) it is expected that a top-to-bottom cleaning is in order so that company thinks we live in a Good Housekeeping magazine. Yeah, they’ll believe that. Right. I have never been a fan of cleaning. I know there are some weird freaks of nature that think the best idea for spending an evening—heck a weekend—is scrubbing down the toilets and bathtubs with a medium bristle toothbrush while whistling “She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain.” I’m not that person.
When I was younger, I was the cliché teen who shoved everything that had been on the floor either under the bed or into a closet that would avalanche on the first hapless person to open the door. And then only if I was properly motivated (read threatened within an inch of my life) by my mother. In all fairness, my mother never actually threatened me with death. She preferred to dangle to proverbial carrot, such as if I ever wanted to see the sun again, or if I wanted to know that other people actually lived on the planet I would have to have my room clean by dinnertime. Otherwise it was consignment back into the dark, littered dungeon that was my room. You could hear the chains clinking and clanging as I dragged myself like Igor back to my cave.
Now as I look back with the aged wisdom of my (quickly accruing) advancing years, I have learned to keep the house neat and tidy. It helps to have a lovely wife who knows how to get me to clean when the time comes. But I still don’t like it. I still tend to procrastinate it until the last possible moment, then working myself into a sweat trying to get it done as fast as possible so it is finished and I can get back to doing things I actually enjoy.
Eureka! There is the temporal paradox. Time is dragging so long because I have to clean. Well, I know a simple way to fix that! But, if I were you, I would stay away from the closet when you come over.