Monday, August 10, 2015

Keepin' it Simple...

“THAT’S IT!” I said one day after I lost yet another sock. “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!”

Yup - I had had enough.

Our washer and dryer sit side-by-side in a little closet: folding closet doors hide them away. To get the washer or dryer out, say if you chose to do something odd like clean the lint and dust out from behind them, you have to take the closet doors right off their hinges then ploy one of your in-house strong men with ice-cream to come pull out the washer or dryer for you. The closet is so tiny – so perfectly measured for the average washer and dryer – that whoever built the house sure wasn’t generous with their measurements. There is JUST enough room for both machines to fit.

So when a sock, a pair of underwear or a dishcloth goes tumbling down the tiny space between the dryer and the wall, that’s it, it’s gone. The dishes will have to stay unwashed and someone will have to go sockless or commando – the later most undesirable. My arms aren’t long enough to reach down to retrieve the sock/underwear/dishcloth, and no coat hanger or yardstick can ever get the lost item up close enough for me to reach down and grab it.

But when time is of the essence and my men are too busy, the whole unhook-the-closet-door-off-its-hinges-to-pull-out-the-dryer-procedure just can’t happen right away. It’s a bit of a task and frankly, a pain in the butt. So a pile of lost items collects down the side of the dryer, safely nestled in the dust-bunnies of lint – a fire hazard, to be sure.

So one Saturday when yet another sock met its fate down the dark, narrow abyss it was the final straw. I had had enough. Waiting for someone to come available for the whole door-removal procedure was just silly. I simply couldn’t keep waiting for help and it was time to take matters into my own hands. It was time to give myself a break, and the idea that grabbed me wouldn’t let go.

So off to my home-away-from-home I went. Canadian Tire is my one-stop-shop for all things gadgety, and I knew they would be able to save me. The ‘Gotcha’ reaching tool was what I needed. An extra arm, and a LONGER arm at that, was the answer for my constant lost-laundry quandary. Able to pick up almost anything out-of-reach with a simple pull of the trigger, and I knew my life would be complete.

But as I drove home, my ‘Gotcha’ tool in the passenger seat and me dreaming about all the other things I would be able to grab with my new gadget, I realized the long-arm actually meant so much more than it actually was.

I had recently changed jobs after almost eight years of being at the same job – which I loved by the way. I had been anxious yet excited for my new world and was ready and willing for a change of pace, scene, and situation. A seven-year-itch it was not.

And as I neared the start date of my new job, a wise friend gave me some advice I would not fully realize or appreciate until I was right in the throes of my ‘change.’ Laura Tobias, author of “What Lainey Sees,” advised me to take it easy during the first few weeks of my new job and to not be so hard on myself. She said to give myself permission NOT to do any writing, or do much of anything else for that matter, and to not beat myself up over things like house chores left unattended. I was gonna be tired and overwhelmed, she said, and with my routine turned upside down, things would take a while to settle. She then again reiterated to go easy on myself – to keep things simple.

I should have listened better to my friend’s warnings. In those first two weeks of my new job I DID get overwhelmed, and I DID try to do everything and I DID get frustrated at being tired and unable to keep up with other things. I didn’t realize how much my much-needed change would become more of a change than I realized.

That Saturday at Canadian Tire was after the first two weeks of being in my new job. I was tired and overwhelmed yet anxious to get on with the chores I had let slide. I had a lot to do, and only a weekend to do it in. So as I drove home that day, anxious to put my ‘Gotcha’ to good use, I realized the handy little gadget meant much more than something to retrieve socks or underwear. It was a reminder that it was OKAY give myself a break and that it was OKAY to sometimes make things simpler. Doing so was allowed, but I had to be the one to allow it; I didn’t have to be so hard on myself. My friend’s wise words echoed in my mind and with my ‘Gotcha’ at my side – a silly little symbol of so much, and more – I knew things would get better.

Change is hard – but needed. No one likes it, but it’s inevitable. But in times of change, good or bad, I learned how important it was to let go, and to allow for hiccups along the way. There always is an easier way of doing things – why keep life more difficult than it already is?

I raced in the house, my newfound freedom and excitement at being able to pick up things urging me faster down the stairs to my laundry room. I peeked down the side of the dryer and gave the pile of socks, underwear and cloths an evil ‘gotcha’ eye. With a practice ‘click click’ of my ‘Gotcha,’ the hand-like grip at the end working perfectly, I leaned over the dryer and took aim.

The handle caught on the edge of the dryer, the space between the wall and the dryer still too narrow for the handle of the gadget to fit. The ‘claw’ of my gadget was an inch away from the top of the laundry pile down the narrow abyss and no matter what I did – no matter which way I turned the gadget – it wasn’t gonna fit.

I slumped. All that excitement for nothing. But then I remembered what I had also recently learned during all this change and transition: I had to also allow for hiccups along the way.

It was time to head to the store for ice-cream; I had three men I had to hire for some washer and dryer moving. At least I was still keeping things simple.