Last week when I scheduled the rug cleaner to come, I didn’t realize how much preparation this task would require from me. I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning just picking up small furniture and cleaning clutter off tables. I wanted the rug cleaner to do as much of the rug as possible without things in the way as they told me he wouldn’t move furniture or anything like that.
I put all the wastebaskets and the paper shredder into the utility room. I lifted up the step stools and put them in a closet with my rolling cart that I store papers on. I finally put away all of the pictures and mom’s scrapbook that was stored on my sewing table. I didn’t actually get the pictures sorted yet, but I got them into boxes with labels on so I can just pull out one small box at a time to review and scan.
I had left dad’s retirement autograph book and cards piled on a file cabinet to remind me to scan them and then put it safely away. This sat there for almost a year. So I decided while preparing for the rug cleaner to just finish the task and get if off the file cabinet for good! I spent just over an hour photographing every page of the book and then put the book into a bag to take to dad. (And to think it took me almost a year to find that hour to do this one task!)
Wednesday noon the rug cleaner came. He said to keep everything off the floor for 24 hours until the rug is dry. That was not easy as even the kitchen chairs were out on the porch along with the throw rugs and other items.
I decided to spend Wednesday afternoon working in my home office as my office chair was one of the few chairs left for me to sit on. I began to clean up the clutter all around my computer. This included 4 months worth of receipts that I keep to track in a financial program – for myself and for dad’s expenses. I was hopelessly behind because of the months I spent on my vacation in the south. By the end of the day I had most of that sorted and entered into the computer. The next day I finally put all the furniture, etc. back where it belonged.
I was surprised to see how nice the house looked. Without planning to, I had pretty much cleaned up the clutter as well as the rug. Oh well, except for some papers still on my desk by my computer. I still have lots more for another day. Nevertheless, I had made amazing progress on a task that had looked overwhelming. I was lucky that once I got started I just kept up the incentive to get more things put away.
Now I still have plenty of things still on my “To-do” list, but I feel better just being in my house. Too much clutter really is distracting! I knew that but somehow couldn’t get past all the other immediate tasks crying to be done. Now I have to keep the clutter picked up as much as possible and not let the papers build up for months.
I brought the retirement book to dad at his assisted living facility. “Oh Wow!” he said. “Where did you find this?” I told him I had brought it home from his house last summer. I left it for him to look through. His room is small but I like him to have things to help him remember the past.
I have done so many of my “must-do” tasks since I got home last month that today was actually free to be a day for me. I had no real tasks that had to be done today. I spent the morning out at the community center where I meet with other women who sew. Some knit, some crochet and some quilt, but we all talk and share our interests in the creative crafts that we do. This afternoon I visited with my neighbor. We had both been so busy with appointments that we just passed each other on our way out the door. We finally had a chance to just sit and talk and that was nice too. I have just had too many regimented days and it was wonderful to have this day to do as I wanted!
Of course, I still have my calendar full of appointments and list full of tasks to be done, but now I am going to spread out the necessary tasks and take time for myself in between.
Dad was doing very well over the weekend and enjoyed his weekly visit with my son and my small grandson. I had brought my iPad and 2-year-old George was watching his favorite videos on iTunes. Dad asked what the source of power for the iPad was since it wasn’t plugged in. He still is aware and alert for having had Alzheimer’s for years and I am glad for that.
I picked up the “autograph book” from dad’s retirement party and showed it to my son. I asked dad to tell us about that time. He said there was a party in a restaurant with over 60 people there. He remembered who the people were that were there and where we were living at that time. He seemed like his old self yesterday, whereas just the day before he had slept through most of my visit. I love it when dad is aware and alert! (I had felt like I wasn’t doing enough on the day when he didn’t want to do much except sleep in his chair.) I really think that having his great-grandson visit keeps dad happier and healthier too.