Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Out of Place

At my job, I am very organized and efficient. If a task needs to get done quickly and accurately, I am often called upon to complete said task…and if asked, I am usually able to find needed documents or files at a moment’s notice.

Not so much at home.

Home is where I cut loose, where I walk in and casually throw my coat on the couch and my purse on the living room floor…and then throw my work clothes in a crumpled heap on the bedroom floor whilst I change into my comfy play clothes (which were also previously lying in a crumpled heap on the bedroom floor).

I just don’t really care too much about being neat and organized at home.

Now mind you, I’ve tried to change these bad habits. I’ve bought and read several books on organization and have followed some of the advice—but it always comes back to one simple principle: I just don’t care enough about staying neat and organized at home. At home I just want to RELAX. And somehow hanging up my coat and putting my clothes in their proper places just doesn’t seem like relaxation to me.

And in particular, one of my really bad habits is that I love to put stuff on the floor. Books, magazines, purses, water bottles…you name it, I’ll put it on the floor. I think that somehow my brain looks at the floor and thinks “There’s a big, open, clear space to put my stuff!” It’s that simple. And it really drives Iwanski crazy.

Anyway, one of the problems with being so—I like to call it “carefree”— at home (besides driving my husband nuts) is that when I have something that I really need to do—like send an e-mail to someone or sew a button on my shirt or put chicken in the refrigerator to defrost—I really need to set up a strong reminder for myself to remember to do that task…because otherwise I will totally forget.

Often, I remember these “things to do” when I happen to be working late at my office. So I’ll call home and leave myself a message on our answering machine. Or even better—if Iwanski is home, I’ll ask him to “put something out of place” to remind me to do that task. For example, if he puts our model Blues Brothers car on top of our stove, that helps me to remember that there is something that I need to do. I know, it seems pretty weird—but to me, it’s easier and quicker (not to mention more fun) than writing a note (as if writing a note is that challenging!—whatever)…it works for me.

In the past, Iwanski has put many things out of place for me—like the time that I came home and found his guitar tuner sitting on the back of the toilet. (“What is the guitar tuner doing in the bathroom? Oh yeah…I have to e-mail my Mom.”)

It’s a pretty good system, don’t you think?

So today, while working late, I called Iwanski and asked him to “put something out of place” to remind myself to send a postcard to my Grandma (I send my 95-year-old Grandma a Chicago postcard about once a week or so). Then I promptly forgot about it.

Later tonight, while exercising, I thought about it again and asked Iwanski, “Hey, what did you put out of place for me?”

“Oh, I put that bird identification book on the floor, on your yoga mat,” he replied.

“Oh,” I said. “I didn’t even realize it. It didn’t seem out of place to me.”

“Of course it didn’t!” He laughed. “I forgot, you put everything on the floor!”

We both laughed, and then he continued, “I think that for you, I’d have to put something REALLY big on the floor. I think you’d have to walk in the house and see an Alpaca standing there.”

I laughed harder.

He continued “…And there would need to be a sign around the Alpaca’s neck that says ‘I am out of place.’”

Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man? He is the funniest person I know, and I’m so grateful to have him in my life.


The Future Was Yesterday said...

Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man? He is the funniest person I know, and I’m so grateful to have him in my life.

Tell him honey - NOW, not us.

I used to use the tried and true string around my finger - then I'd walk around all day wondering why the hell that string was on my finger.:)

The floor is where it's at!!!! You outta see my apartment. Gawd....(

rosemary said...

I am miserably organized and O/C with having "stuff" in its place. I have missed a lot of life doing this. Is it too late for me?

Anita said...

I love this, he is very witty. I constantly make lists and write myself notes.


i like to declutter every thing and then let it get cluttered again, and it's a vicious circle..

Barb said...

I love this story ~ something else I didn't know about you. I can get messy at home but every so often I have to stop, straighten up and reorganize. If I remember correctly I was the same work... I guess it works for me.

Maria said...

I am famous at my house for leaving myself messages on our answering machine. I even address myself:

"Hey, Maria, it's Maria. Don't forgot to change wallets in your purses..."