I spent last weekend visiting a friend I haven't seen since we were teenagers. It was great to catch up with her, and to get to know her children a bit. She's just learning how to knit, and we spent a lot of time talking yarn and needles as she worked on a pair of striped legwarmers for her little girl.
Her house is nice. It's an old, kind of rambling place with lots of crown mouldings and built-ins, and it's almost spookily tidy. The kitchen - you should see it. Every time she does anything in there, like makes a cup of tea or gets crackers for her kids, she's wiping down the counters and Vimming the stovetop. It was awe-inspiring.
On one evening, while we were discussing her husband's thinly veiled contempt for her new pastime (but he used the word "obsession") she made a remark like this: "It's not like I sit down and knit during the day, or anything - I'd never do that."
And it all became suddenly clear to me. All I'd need to do, to have a clean house like her, is NOT KNIT during the day!!! Breakthrough!!
When I got home, it was as I feared. My place looked like a tornado hit it, per usual, and even more so when compared with my friend's house, haven of peace and rest that it was. That very evening, I started cleaning.
Yesterday was my first full day at home with no obligations, since coming back from the weekend. I spent the entire day standing up, doing stuff. It was nice for a bit - the countertops were, for once, available for use, and the girls' room looked great. Bunkbeds made, and everything.
I felt pretty good about it all, until I got to the end of the day. I was totally exhausted and irritable, with dishpan hands, and I looked around me and realised that the whole thing was WASTED! WASTED! One whole day and not a THING to show for it. I mean sure, the dishes were done, but I could JUST AS EASILY have done those next morning. And really, a clean house, though an immediately measurable outcome, isn't a lasting one. Three other people live here, none of whom pick up after themselves, which means as soon as I'm finished cleaning something, they mess it up. If I had been crafting, though, no one would have noticed the lack of Clean everywhere, and I'd have something to hold in my hands that would be a mark of time well spent.
So I won't make that mistake again. Lesson learned.
And now I'm sitting here amid the disarray (didn't get to the living room, yesterday) with the kettle on and knitting in my lap. And it feels freaking great.