Key in the Door…

vacuum

dust

clean bathroom

pay bills

laundry

wash bedding

This is my TO DO list this week.   Hmmmm, come to think of it, this looks very, very similar to the TO DO list from last week.  Wait, wait, wait…ah yes, here is it.  My list from February of this year (10 months ago) that I found in my coat pocket yesterday when I put on my winter parka.  Well, whaddya know…it’s identical to these other lists.  Nope, nope, “wrap birthday present” was on this February list, but other than that…IDENTICAL.  Oh my goodness!  Is my life really that predictable and monotonous? 

This dull list got me thinking about two things.  First thing: if my February and December lists were pretty much the same, then why oh why do I keep re-writing it?  Maybe I should have a master board with a master list and maybe 2 or 3 blank spaces where I can add anomalies if necessary.  This would save an invaluable amount of time as well as stacks of note paper (note:  I write my lists down, printing them on narrow note pad paper (3.5″ x 7″ or 8.9 cm x 17.8 cm).  Then again, perhaps there is some other twisted reason why I prefer to write lists.

Ok, I’ll confess.  I like being able to grab my click pen (or sharpened pencil, or 0.05 fine tip marker) and dramatically scratch off a completed item from the TO DO list.  As soon as my bed sheets are in the washing machine, I dart triumphantly upstairs, hoist my pen as if it were a sword and masterfully stroke through the words “wash bedding”.  What a feeling!  I’d compare it to winning an Iron Man marathon or being first in line at the grocery store checkout.  WINNING!  

For all you list makers out there, you understand the elation and sense of accomplishment felt when you cross items off this list of chores.  It’s like winning … at life!  You have proven that you can complete assigned tasks and goals.  And perhaps I am also not unique in adding an item to the sheet AFTER it has already been completed in order to be able to strike a line through it.  DONE!  YAY ME!  Yes, I do that…as any normal person with OCD would do.  A list chock full of crossed off words is so satisfying and rewarding!  

This brings me to my second thought, and possibly (probably) even more vital:  is my life that boring and predictable?  This regurgitated list is what I “hope” to accomplish during the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday are my days to fulfill this wish-list of chores.  Yes, they are chores.  They represent grunt work.  A task to be done and I am the self-appointed Task Master.  I know that there are many other things I do on weekends, but those never get scribbled down.  So why am I writing (re-writing) a list that isn’t even accurate?

After much deliberation, I have realized that my TO DO list is more of a may I recommend list or a maybe list.  

 Maybe I’ll vacuum if I’m not playing with the grandkids.

I would recommend washing my bed sheets, but best to toss ’em into the hamper and pull out the spare set.  That’s what the spare ones are for right?  I recommend hanging out with my aunt instead.  

I think I’ll go shopping with my sister on Saturday, so maybe I’ll get around to dusting.

I should clean my tub and sink…or maybe I’ll hop in my car and go for a nice scenic drive to visit my niece.

It was my aunt who wisely explained that the whole cleanliness is next to Godliness mantra is nice and all, but sometimes you just have to “put the key in the door and go live your life.” 

“Huh?”  I was befuddled. 

She reiterated:  “You stand outside your home.  Put your key in the door and lock up your house nice and tight.  Then turn your back to the door, head out into the wild world and go live your life.”  My aunt sauntered off ahead of me and then said calmly, “the dust will be there when you get back.” 

“Yeah, I don’t like coming back to all these chores…the dusting, the vacuuming, the mopping.  So much to do.  My house is a mess!”  I complained.

“Oh sure, I understand,” she mollified me.  “It’s better to make sure your house is clean for when the Pope comes to visit instead of using that little bit of free weekend time you have to hang out with your friends or family,” she snipped sarcastically.  My aunt then held my hands in hers, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Life is short,” she began, “one day you’ll receive news that the person you were planning to see next weekend…because this weekend you were scrubbing toilets…is now gone forever,” she said sardonically.  “Believe me, dust will always be there,” she continued, “but the people you care about might not be.”  Message received Wise(-ass) Auntie of mine.  I love her!

My home will not pass the white glove test.  If you run your fingers along the tables or ledges, you will find a thin layer of dust and a myriad of multiplying dust bunnies hanging out like gangsters in the dark corners of some rooms.  One weekday evening after work they’ll get sucked up into my supersonic vacuum cleaner.  For now, I’ll let ’em live a little since I will be doing the same thing.  

If you are driving by my house some weekend you just might find me standing outside my front door with my head slightly bent over.  I will be inserting my key into the lock and smiling contentedly as I hear my aunt’s voice in my head saying, “put the key in the door.  Go live your life.”

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