Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Abundance of Chaos

I live in an abundance of chaos. I’m not the most organized person around (okay, those of you who know me can stop laughing hysterically at that understatement now). Still, I managed pretty well before two kids with special needs, six cats, and two ill-behaved dogs. Nowadays I’m lucky if I can walk through all the rooms in my house without having to step over things, I spend half my time hunting for my keys, glasses, the book I want, or anything else, and let’s not even go into finding two matching shoes (see ‘ill-behaved dog’ and ‘teenage daughter’). My desk would be a lovely place to work if it weren’t piled high with papers, books, and everything somebody can’t find a better place for. My house is such a mess that I hate having anyone see it. Did I mention that both kids have ADD and are virtual hurricanes who constantly drop things in their paths?

Some days my inability to manage the chaos drives me nuts, and the state of the house makes me want to tear my hair out. It’s really easy to fall into thinking I’m a failure because I can’t even manage to keep my house clean. But then I look at a magnet on the refrigerator. My husband gave it to me for Christmas several years ago, and it says, “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.”

Then I remember the flip side of chaos, and for me, that’s creativity. It’s that same lack of self-discipline that sends me off into imaginary worlds populated with fascinating characters. It lets me not trip over the video games sprawled across the floor when two of my characters are having an argument in my head. It’s also why I’ve been known to make homemade brownies for dinner and serve them with rice cakes and cheese so that everybody gets a little nourishment with their chocolate. And you know something? I like having brownies for dinner!

So, all in all, I think I’ll keep my abundance of chaos. I’m sure that when I’m on my deathbed, my greatest regret in life is NOT going to be that I didn’t keep my house clean enough. Now, if I could only find that other shoe….

19 comments:

  1. You have your priorities straight, you married a guy who has HIS priorities straight, and you understand food for the soul as opposed to simple nutrition. Surely great books must follow!

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  2. I can't think among chaos, so I don't know how you do it. But I'm glad you've found comfort through creativity. I think it's link to sanity is the thread most writer's share.

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  3. My house and work have been at the center of chaos lately--try moving a library and renovating a house--and though I don't like chaos--I create away--although I have to admit, I had much more peace of mind when the dust settled at home the night before last--and it was washed away. :)

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  4. Abigail...you must be my long lost twin! I'm so like you. I don't know what happened to me though. I was organized, before the kids, or at least my house was neat, then after kids, I just can't keep up. I have a hard time throwing stuff away and I love my "things" candles, mirrors, little boxes and jars, so a lot of it is my fault. I want to become more organized because I think better. Still working on it...

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  5. Great post, Abigail! I need one of those magnets for my refrigerator too. My barn is clean, but that's about all I can say.

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  6. Love this, "...my greatest regret in life is NOT going to be that I didn’t keep my house clean enough"

    So true. So true!

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  7. Well, you made me feel better about the chaotic state of my own house. I'm glad I'm not alone! When I'm busy (which is always) that's the first thing I let slip--housework.

    Great post, Abigail!

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  8. Cute post! My desk is usually a mess and piled high with books, notes, pencils--you name it, but my house is whistle clean! Don't know what that says about me!
    Amelia

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  9. Oh, does this sound familiar. My desk is a bloody mess right now. I'm OK with a cluttered or chaotic environment (house, office, desk) up to a certain point. But when it gets on my last nerve? When it impacts my thoughts and mood? That's when I know it's time to clean and organize!

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  10. My sign is done in needlepoint, by my sister, and reads:

    A CLEAN HOUSE IS A SIGN OF A DISORDERED MIND.

    I've also got two refrigerator magnets that I love:

    DUST TEST IN PROGRESS--DISTURB NOTHING!

    MARTHA STEWART DOESN'T LIVE HERE!

    As you can probably tell, my house resembles yours, and I don't have the excuse of the livestock, either 2 or 4 footed!!

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  11. Brownies for dinner? Wow - you are the coolest mom ever! My mom has a potholder that reads: DULL WOMEN HAVE IMMACULATE HOMES. I think I'm sensing a theme here.

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  12. Now I know why you are so calm and cool tempered! I am like Ashlyn in that I need everything ordered. I work better then. I guess that is why we are a great team, huh Abigail? LOL! But if this is what it takes for your writing to be as awesome as it is then keep the mess and brownies for dinner!

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  13. My sign says a messy room is a sign of genius. We get our comfort where we can.

    The thing is, the children, the dogs, etc. will be gone one day.

    The dust and mess--it's not going anywhere.

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  14. Glad to hear so many variations on the clean house/wasted life theme!

    Grace, I'm incredibly fortunate in my husband. He even folds the laundry.

    Ashlyn, thinking among chaos a matter of survival at my house!

    Terry, your house sound like Chaos Central! I hope it improves soon. Renovating is such a stressor.

    Anita, you said it! I've never been terribly organized, but my house was tidy until I had kids. I think it's the frustration of picking up after them (even when they're trying hard to be neat) while knowing it's going to be a mess again in a few hours. If I thought I could clean it and it would stay clean, maybe I could manage.

    Cheryl, maybe I should come live in your barn!

    Lynn, it's quite possible that my greatest regret is going to be how much time I wasted feeling bad about my house being a mess. :)

    Olivia, maybe we should form a club for messy writers! It's amazing how we all assume that everybody else is managing the chaos better, isn't it?

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  15. Amelia, I envy your ability to keep your house clean. I'll never get there!

    Terry, I definitely know that meltdown point where the chaos is just overwhelming. That's usually when the trash bags come out and I start throwing away everything in sight. Scary!

    Suzy, I think I'd like your sister. I want one of those signs that says "My dust bunnies have dust bunnies." So true!

    Amanda, I admit, I rarely hear complaints about brownies for dinner, but I get even more raves for homemade chocolate pudding, which apparently is the fuel my kids run on. At least it has milk in it!

    Sharon, as you know well, I'm calm and even-tempered... except when I'm not!

    Mary Margret, you are so right. Dust and dirt are forever, and we should focus on the parts that aren't.

    Thanks for all the great comments!

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  16. You make chaos sound comfortable, which is comforting given my chaos. Thanks.

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  17. You made my smile, Abigail. Thank you.
    And I'm ALWAYS looking for that other shoe...

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  18. Another favorite:

    CREATIVE MESS IS BETTER THAN TIDY IDLENESS

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  19. I can relate. I usually refer to my house as "organized chaos". I agree with you. At the end of this wild ride, the last thing I'll regret is my messy house. I want to arrive at the pearly gates beautifully exhausted.

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