Monday, April 09, 2012

making the painful more pleasurable

Ok, maybe cleaning out all of the crap that accumulates in my car on a weekly basis is not a "painful-painful," thing. I am exaggerating. But dudes. My car can get pretty. Damn. Messy. Shamefully so, really. This is actually a bit embarrassing to go into in public in a way, but I trust y'all won't judge me too harshly. Besides, I am just so pleased with myself for finding a way to clean out my car and be happy about doing it, that I must write about my silly little moment of triumph.

First off, let me explain how it is that my car can get so cluttered each week, and why it is such a challenge to fix it.

I do A LOT of driving, and I am in A LOT of different roles every week (sometimes each day). Each role I fulfill comes with "stuff". My life requires a whole different pile of associated crap to be hauled from thing to thing. For example, the things that I bring into a convalescent hospital are not the same things I bring to a dance class are not the same things I bring to teach knitting. Every role I fill has a bag.

Add to this a folding dog crate that gets used a few times each week, leashes, a portable water dish, and bottled water. Then there is the teenager that has clarinet stuff in there on some days of the week. And add to that the stray clothing that seems to multiply due to the strange weather we've been having for months where it's t-shirt season one day, and then thick sweater weather the next.

There is more. Because we are remodeling right now, you will often project related paperwork and supplies. For example, right now in my car is a sample cabinet door, all sorts of flooring and tile samples, glass samples for cabinet doors, paint chips, etc. Oh, and right now? A sink. (Hey! I just realized! My car has everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink! HA!!). Anyhow, it's all there for us as we go from shop to shop picking out other kitchen elements.

Also, my mail is not delivered directly to my house. It comes to a cluster of mailboxes that I make a pitstop at when I am driving home, so sometimes (ok, maybe more than sometimes) my mail stacks up in my car. Lastly, because I'm on the road so much, I tend to eat my lunch in the car. Not always while I am actually driving (although often enough), but sometimes when I am sitting for a few minutes, like after the zen center and on the way to the convalescent gig.

The car gets messy. Fast. And actually, as I type this up, it's amazing that it's isn't messier than it really truly is, because that sounds....BIG.

Alright. So. The obvious thing would be to bring everything back in the house every day, wouldn't it?
Well, yes, you say! Of course it would!

But OneLeggedChick over here (me) pulls into her garage and there is a flight of stairs to get into the house. The wheelchair I use for running errands around town stays in the trunk once I get home (it's also interesting to note that when the car is in the garage, I cant roll in the wheelchair all the way around the car anyhow, making it really hard to work on cleaning the car out even in my own garage, because I'd actually have to do the tidying while balancing on one leg and holding onto crutches!). When I leave the car and enter the house, I ascend the stairs on crutches, and then wheelchair #2 is waiting for me inside the door.

So understanding my mobility issues now, look back up at the big ol' list o' crap, and perhaps you can now see how things never make it back in the house. Sometimes I'm too tired to carry it all in. Sometimes I'm only home for a minute, to say, drop off groceries, before I'm needing to be heading right back out again. And sometimes, I just don't wanna unload the car (hrrmph!!!).

So here's the fix that ends up happening once I get sick enough of the mess (which was a fix I used to employ weekly, but with the stress of the kitchen remodel, this timeframe has begun to extend itself. When it was weekly, it never got too too bad. Fridays sucked, but then I'd have some help from my peeps on the weekend).

Ok. The fix. So what I do is I find a little free time, I find a place where I can park my car that is flat, a place where I can wheel freely all the way around my car and not get run over (important!), and a place that has a garbage can. This sort of location is almost always somewhere ugly. Like a big parking lot. Or a side parking spot at a gas station.

I park the car, open up the doors, get out the wheel chair, and go around from side to side until I whip the car into shape. I throw out any garbage or junk mail, I consolidate any peeled off sweaters or hats or scarves into one tote to bring back in the house, and I also wrangle and reorganize teaching supplies and get the things I no longer need into another tote to go back in the house.

It's fast, really. But it's a drag. And I must look like TheCrazyGimpLadyWhoLivesInHerCar, which in a way, I guess I am.

Anyhow. LOL

Today, however, I tried something new. MyFavoriteKid had his private clarinet lesson this afternoon, and I usually just sit in the car and knit and listen to an audiobook. But it was gorgeous out, and it's supposed to rain for the rest of the week, and there I was sitting in my crapped out mess of a car that I did NOT clean out this weekend while help was available to me and so....I decided to drive down the hill towards the water just so I could park there and get out of the car and get away from the messy car and get some air.

But guess what I found:

Waterfront marina parking with a gorgeous view and everything else I need to complete the messy task at hand, too. A flat parking space, room to maneuver around the car, and a garbage can that nobody cares if I use. And it's PRETTY! Birds chirping and calling, and water lapping against the rocks. Oh!! Lovely! :-)

And so here I sit now, back at home. The totes are back in the house and unloaded, the car is tidy (well, except for the kitchen stuff, and the sink I need to exchange at the appliance store tomorrow). And I had a much nicer time today that I would have had hanging out at a gas station.

Even though I am sure I still looked like TheCrazyGimpLadyAtTheMunicipalPier ;-)


Linda said...

LOVELY story and whatta view. That feeling of accomplishment, plus the clean car is so uplifting, eh?

Jen Anderson said...

As always, I'm exhausted just from reading about all the stuff you do. That's awesome that you found a nice place to clean out the car.