March 27, 2020. My second blog post in the Coronatimes.
We are 14 days into our Coronavirus quarantine over here and on our weekly Friday call my mom asked me if I was keeping a Coronavirus Diary. I found this interesting because, no, I’m not keeping a Coronavirus Diary. And, should I be? Is that a thing? I journal every day, but it’s not about the Coronavirus per se, just what’s going on in the new normal and the effects that it may or may not be having on me. Really just normal shit. Is that bad?
So, anyway, the coronavirus has led to me indirectly to share this tale because I’m currently not working full time…
I cleaned the house today. Mainly because we’re all here and after two weeks, there is a certain odor of life. With people in the house all the time, it never has a chance to rest, it’s always open for business. Like your pets, it loves having you home, but would really like to take a nap. So, in essence I was pampering the house and saying thank you for putting up with us 24/7 for the foreseeable future.
As I was vacuuming the front room I was struck by how I was doing it. I would go vertical for a few rows, then I would change and go horizontal for a few rows. The job didn’t leave any particularly gratifying lines in the carpet, which, to me, if it’s clean, who cares?
My ex-husband cared. A lot. In the short time that we were married, the one thing that drove him absolutely crazy was if I did not vacuum the rug in perfect, ruler-sharp lines in one certain direction. I was 21 years old, and as I was growing up, mom was lucky if I even touched a vacuum, let alone follow “rules” on how it was supposed to be done. So this was completely foreign to me.
What was the purpose of vacuuming? Was it to pick up dirt off the rug or was it to give a pleasant “feel” to the room when completed? To me, getting the dirt up seemed most important, but to Justin it was for the rug to look good, to be perfect. More than once, he told me to move away from the vacuum so he could do it the right way. Let me repeat that, he told me to move so he could vacuum the right way.
This arrogance eventually drove me to rebel in this chore. I got to the point where I stopped turning the vacuum on at all and just ran the machine across the rug, creating his perfect lines. He never noticed that the rug was getting crummy over time. As long as the lines were there, the carpet must be clean. Justin was used to being in charge and had a certain way that he liked things done. I was expected to adhere to his ways over my own. These vacuum lines just personified his personality and the way he was.
Which, in turn, means that the way I vacuum must personify my personality and the way I am. I am a get-it-done person. I want to solve the underlying issue no matter if it’s all tied up in a bow at the end or not. I’m not about show, I’m about results. I go by feel. If I want to go up and back, I will. If I want to go side to side, I will. If I want to go diagonal, I will. As long as I achieve the end result, I’m not too worried about the process in getting there.
I dare anyone to tell me how to vacuum again. Trust me, my current husband of nearly 25 years learned the hard way that if you “critique” me on how I do something, I just don’t do it anymore and it gets added to your to-do list. I am proud for standing my ground in the vacuum lines skirmish. If you believe someone when they say you’re doing a mundane task incorrectly and that you must do it their way because it’s the “right way”, that is only the beginning of losing faith in yourself and the ability to make everyday life decisions.
So, don’t sweat the small stuff and be confident in your ability to do household chores. As long as they are getting done, who cares how? I promise that confidence you have accomplishing small things will grow into strong roots that will hold you up forever.
Stay well in this pandemic my friends. And remember to Wash Your Hands! I promise not to tell you HOW to do it, as long as it gets done, it’s the right way. 🙂