Monday, June 28, 2010

Not nice

I am not a nice person. There. I said it. I am not nice.

I am on a mission. One life. What, maybe 85 years with decreasing physical capability? This is serious business.

I want to maximize my time spent happy. That requires minimizing time spent on mundane aspects like subsistence and maintenance. Money buy convenience. Convenience yields time with each other to love, learn, communicate and interact. That makes me happy. So for a long time that was the whole of it - spend the time required to earn as much money as possible with my capabilities, and put systems in place to minimize the effort of household management to maximize time for happy. It was enough. Then we added two kids. And a career/life change. The household systems became more and more important. I became much more diligent and stringent.

It's easy to confuse me for a sloppy housekeeper, because my house is messy. I allow much of our household to deteriorate into low-level messiness, as long as the key cogs in my system are working. I like things the way I like them. I want things to run smoothly. I am particular.

Toys get put away with like toys, not just in any bin that's handy. Particular tools we use every day are put away in the same place. Keys on a hook at the front door. Respect for the order of the fridge and cupboards. Use the baskets provided for the various forms of detritus.

I'm not just particular about where things go. I am insistent on certain household standards and processes, as well. Tools are not toys. The milk bag is tied to the refrigerator door when we take out the last bag. The laundry on top of the dryer is clean and awaiting a basket. Clothes that are too small go on top of the dresser until I can give them away. Papers stay in piles by type, not bundled together randomly. Things on the right side of the stairs go up on the next trip. Certain dishes are always kept clean, not put in the dishwasher. Oh yes, it goes on.

I'm about as fun to live with as an efficient manager is fun to work for. But I can't care about that. Because this is how we maximize our time. I don't easily forgive anything that wastes my time.  Every second that I don't need to sell can be put to good use. 

When petty concerns muck up my systems, I feel really irritable. Now I need to spend some of my precious, precious time on fixing a mess, when it's not convenient, while figuring out how to balance everything else. My adrenaline rises.

I also, inevitably, have to let go of a hope, a long-shot at the tail end of the priority list that I might just be able to fit in if everything works the way it should. It's usually something I really, really want to do, like work out, or write. So I'm also grieving, scrambling to see if there's some way to save it today, and wishing, wishing that the system weren't broken so that I didn't have to grieve.

All that makes me mighty unpleasant. I am better at keeping a handle on it than I used to be, but I still have those feelings, very strongly, and I still have a strong desire to blame the situation on the person who created it. I feel that, and it takes me a few minutes to work it through even when I can see it. Seeing it actually makes me more frustrated by adding shame and embarrassment to the mix. I've found myself yelling, "I'm not mad at you, I'm just mad!" which isn't terrible, but I'd rather not be yelling.

I am just not nice. When I feel my time is wasted, I feel it keenly. I sometimes find myself behaving in ways I am not happy with, from freakouts to passive-aggressive comments.  Sometimes I can move past it fast, and others, I can't find it in me. There's a big part of me that feels fully justified in being upset, and isn't satisfied with just accepting the situation the way it is. I want to stop it from happening again, and that's when it's most important to be nice. Just when I'm least capable.

There are lots of other ways I'm not nice. I'll tell you about them when I can. Right now, time's a wasting.