Wednesday, October 15, 2014

If you give a woman with ADD a sink of dirty dishes . . . (Part 2)

. . . you better give her some Ritalin to go with it!

So, now that you've read (or perhaps skimmed - don't worry; I get it!) my previous post, here goes what I originally wanted to post. The mental process and exhaustion of trying to do ONE simple task. Get ready to be bored out of your mind.

Oh, whoa. The kitchen is a mess. When did that happen? Why do we have so many dirty dishes? Some of those are from, let me think, Sunday. Today is Wednesday. What the? Well, we're in the middle of two very crazy weeks, so sometimes it gets like this. Well, I'll clean it all. Mark's got a long day at work today and it needs to be done. I'll get it done before I have to pick up Kate from work.

"Hey, Max! Can you please come to the kitchen?"


"The dishwasher needs to be unloaded. Could you help me out, please?"



I help him unload the dishwasher and then start rinsing the dirty dishes so he can help me load them. Some will need to be hand washed. Great. My hands are wet and in the dirty dishes and of course that's when I notice that the drainer, too, is full of clean dishes. I do this all the time. I wash my hands and help him put away the high stuff from the drainer. Okay, back to the dirty dishes. Wow, the sheer number of them. I guess we've had a lot of meals where we've had to run out the door quickly - Kate worked on Sunday and we were in the middle of unpacking and cleaning out the garage; Mark and I didn't get much sleep on Sunday night dealing with some issues with other people; Monday was work all day and a play date that afternoon,as well as not one, but two trips down to a neighboring county (down and back once for me and the kids, and down and back again with all of us, including Scout, for an evening with friends); Tuesday was getting Kate to her volunteer shift then another afternoon playdate, a TON of calendaring, and then back down to a neighboring county for the entire evening (so home late again); and this morning it was getting Kate to work early and apparently getting to all these dishes before I leave to pick her up again. So yeah, the dishes have piled up. It's not like we're sitting around. We're behind on our TV shows, too. We've been busy!

Halfway through washing the dishes, I run out of soap in the dispenser. It's empty, so I ask Max to help me fill it. This requires some instruction and guidance, so I stop washing dishes to help him. Back to doing dishes . . . Something stinks. Hmmm, this dish rag is getting kind of smelly. I better throw it in the washing machine. It's red. Oh yeah! We need to wash colors. Okay, so this is fine. 

I walk into the laundry room with the stinky scrubbie. Oh crap, that's right. I already have a load of laundry in the washing machine. Ummm, I can throw this in the slop sink for now. I must remember to come back here and move the washed laundry into the dryer, but not now because my hands are wet and not washed and probably now a little smelly. Where was I? Oh yeah, dishes. Back to the sink! On my way back to the sink, I see Scout who seems like she needs something. "What's up, Scout? Do you need to go potty outside?" I go to the mudroom and get her harness and she runs away as I repeatedly ask her if she needs to go outside. As I chase her around the kitchen table, I notice some things. The table hasn't been cleared off, the water bottles haven't been filled, and both of her bowls are empty. Okay, she obviously doesn't want to go out. I don't blame her. I wouldn't want to pee outside in the rain either. Maybe she just wants kibble and water.

Back to the mudroom to hang up her harness and I spot the laundry room and remember the washer and dryer both need addressing. Oh crap, the laundry! I have to move the washer stuff into the dryer, because if I forget,it will stink and have to be rewashed and I HATE that smell. I know some people who must routinely leave their laundry wet in the washer, because they always smell like old, wet laundry and it's gross. I better move it. Wait, there's stuff in the dryer? Okay, well, that's going to have to get moved first. 

Ding! (A text) 

I better check that because Kate's at work and she might need something. She usually uses someone's phone to call, but just in case . . . nope, not from her. Oh shoot. My friend's having a hard time. I immediately text her back and we text back and forth for a couple of minutes. What can I do to help her? I could have her over to dinner! Oh, but Mark's exhausted and so is Kate (and so am I!). Max is fine. He's getting sleep! But what can I do? I do this. I jump into helping people, sometimes at our own expense. I can't do that. What else can I do? Maybe dinner another night. Oh shoot, weren't we supposed to invite friends over tomorrow night? Dinner. Well, in order to have dishes upon which to eat dinner, I better get back to those dishes. But dinner. What are we going to make for dinner? It's $5 burrito night, but it's rainy and everyone's tired, so we should just do something at home. What should I cook? What was I doing? Oh yeah, dishes!

Back to the sink and I glance at the clock. Why is it taking me so long to do these dishes? These three things need to be soaked, because they've been sitting there way too long and that's pretty stuck on. I'll just fill them with hot, soapy water and set them on the counter. Oh, look! I should wipe those down. But not the ones covered in dishes. The other counters. Okay, but not now. FOCUS! Dishes! Okay, the dishwasher is all loaded and the rest needs to be hand washed. It's all here at least. Right? I always think I'm done and then, inevitably, I turn around and there are pots and pans on the stove. Better check now. Yep. A griddle and a baking sheet. I grab those and put them with the other dirty dishes, but as I lift them I notice something. Huh. Those burners good use a scrub. So could the top of the stove. I need to do that next. Oh, these items are left out. I'll just put them away really quick. Eww, this microwave cover could use a wash. I'll add it to the dirty dishes as well.

I walk back to the sink and continue with the dishes and am almost ready to relieve Max of his assisting duties when . . . Baringggg! (text - Mark's text ring tone this time). I better check that in case he needs to tell me something or has heard from Kate or whatever. Okay, good. Work's going well at the clinic. Oooh, a Facebook alert. I'll just check that really quickly. "Oh good! Hey Max, Amy made her flight with only 5 minutes to spare!"

Back to the sink again. Max has now gotten distracted.

"Hey, we're not done."

"You stopped doing the dishes!"

"I know, but that's because I needed to check Daddy's text."

"Then you were checking Facebook."

I hesitate for about half a second and decide to own it. "Yeah, you're right. I did."

Okay, now that unloading and loading is done. I can relieve Max and then hand wash the rest.

"Can I Facetime with Jack and play a game with him?"

"Sure. What do you need to do?"

"I need to connect with him on Facetime."

Away from the sink yet again to grab my phone and get the number for him to call so he can get it all set up and connected and play. Once he got on the phone, I went back to the sink but then spotted the water bottles on my way. Oh yeah, those need to be filled. I'll just grab them and, oh crap, this rug is wet. The rain must be coming in through the screen door. I better shut it. I turn around and see the table cloth on the table that needs to be shaken out, the dog's empty bowls (again - I haven't filled them yet), and the water bottles. Oh yeah, the dog's bowls. I'll do those next. Water bottles! I fill them and put them away in the fridge, but notice some leftovers that need to be arranged better in the fridge. Back to the sink and I look over and see the tablecloth that needs to be shaken out. Oh yeah. I walk over to the table and grab it, yet again noticing the dog's empty bowls. Poor thing. Let me get that. I go to the cupboard, grab the kibble and fill her bowl, and put the kibble away. Water. Let me get her water. I'll fill the "boot beer" mug and pour it in. As I go back and forth filling bowls, I notice other things that need to be done, like sweeping the floor. Also, they could probably use a wash, too.

Ding! (a continuation via text of an earlier conversation with a friend) Back to the sink, mind racing.

Oh yeah, we need to fix that mix-up on the calendar. And weren't we going to do that thing tomorrow night? I need to do that next. And oh shoot, business promotions. We haven't done this month's business promotions! And that thing for school. Okay, now that's too many things to remember. I have to write them down or text myself so I don't forget. I wash my hands and dry them and go over to my phone and text: "School Planning and House cleaning and Garage clean out and Business Promos." I notice that another text has come in with a question for me, but I don't know how to answer it yet, so I decide to wait and go back to the dishes. Why is this taking so long?!? Omigod, the constant interruptions and distractions. I spot the tablecloth. Again. Oh yeah! The tablecloth! Dammit! I walk over to grab it, look again at how wet it is outside, and decide to shake it out over the sink. After that, I notice it's dirty and needs to be washed, so back to the laundry room where I notice, ARGH, there's the laundry in both the washer AND the dryer. For the umpteenth time.  

So there's stuff in the dryer AND the dryer door is open. One item. One tablecloth. Either all at once, or over time, the dryer got emptied of all but ONE item. I better fold this so I can move the washer stuff into the dryer. I fold the tablecloth and put it away in the hutch in the dining room where I notice items out of place, so I put them away. Hmmm, it's dusty, too. The house needs to be dusted and vacuumed. Add it to the list. Okay, back to the dishes. Wait! I'm in the middle of switching the laundry. Focus, Stacy, focus! 

Oh, look at that. The kitchen table is bare now that I've moved the tablecloth, but it looks like it's wet in spots, so that needs to be washed. I go over and wipe down the entire table, scrubbing hard at any wet or greasy spots. I walk past the wet rug and look outside and see that the rain has slowed, so I open the door again for some air.

Back to the dishes and I find some bits of trash that need to be thrown out, so I go to throw it out and, you guessed it, the trash is full and needs to be taken out. But not now. I have to get these dishes done! But first, someone didn't push the garage door shut all the way. Click. There. Okay, back to the sink to finish the dishes. After another 10 minutes or so, I've overrun the dish drainer, so I pull out extra dish towels so I can lay the extra big things on them. This reminds me that I need to wipe down the counters, so I do that, too. Eventually, I really do finish all the dishes.

I sit down, marveling at how long it took and how many times I got distracted and how many extra things I got done in the process. My mind is racing. I'm mentally exhausted and feel like I shouldn't be since it's, you know, DISHES.

I think back on my conversations with my friends. I recognize the narrative that's been going on in my head. I give myself a few minutes to look at emails, Facebook, whatever, and then notice that I left the light on. Are you kidding me?!? In my head, I hear myself lecturing others in the house, "Electricity costs money. Turn off the lights!" and recognize that this time, I'm the one who left them on. Guilt consumes me and I get up and turn them off, while noticing three more things that need to be done. I do them. Then I hurry and get showered and dressed (because though I've been awake since before 7, it's after 2 and I'm only now getting dressed) just in the nick of time to go get Kate, who has called me from work to let me know she got done early, so I race over there.    

ARE YOU BORED BY THIS STORY YET?? I AM! This is the kind of stuff I think about and do on pretty much a daily basis. If it's not dishes, it's schooling. If it's not schooling, it's errands. If it's not errands, it's helping the kids with stuff. No matter what I'm doing, at least a dozen other things pop up in the middle of it and they each spawn several more tasks. It's like a big, anxiety-provoking ADD pyramid scheme! If it's not helping the kids with stuff, it's laundry. LAUNDRY! Son of a . . .

Yep. After all that, I didn't ever move the wash to the dryer. Want to know how I remembered? I didn't. We were all making dinner together (after I found a recipe, made a list, and Mark got the ingredients at the store) and he remembered the laundry and asked me, "Hey, did you switch the laundry?"

No. No, I did not.


Dr. Mark said...

Okay. Now I'm exhausted and I don't remember what I was about to do. Great insight into your racing thoughts. Living with you I have a decent idea of what you go through, but this was very illuminating.

And don't worry. I switched the laundry. But I'm pretty sure there is something else I was going to do . . .

Jimmy said...

This sounds to me like the mind of a highly functioning individual who uses their talents to help others.

Gramsy said...

You need a spa day.

Emily Foley said...

Oh my word. Exhausting. But I totally get it. I do this when I'm cleaning my house. I'll pick up the things that are Zoe's in the living room, take them to her room and realize how messy her room is, start cleaning it before I remember I was cleaning the living room first. And now I know why you got off facebook the first time! I get facebook alerts all day long, but I do not stop what I'm doing to check facebook or anything else for that matter (even a text). I'll check it when I have time, but unless the phone actually rings, if I'm doing something I do not stop to check my phone. I get lazy about switching laundry because my laundry room is so gross (the yucky dirty dog lives there and I can't bear to walk in there without shoes on and putting shoes on is a pain so I try to do the majority of laundry on Fridays when she's chained up outside and I've mopped the floors so I can walk in and out without stepping over the gate and putting on shoes). but I'll be doing dishes and notice the floor needs to be swept and the stove scrubbed and the dishrag smells bad, so I'll toss the rag on the washer, then get back to the dishes. Then I scrub counters/table/sink, then I sweep, then I'm done. This is after every dinner. I had to set rules for myself (no going to the bathroom until the kitchen is clean) to help motivate myself because that water turns on and I'm a goner, so at least I move much faster and focused that way.

Boquinha said...

Mark, right?!? And I don't think I've even scratched the surface. Thanks for switching the laundry. :)

Jimmy, you are very kind. Thank you.

Gramsy, ha!

Emily, I think any of us who do this stuff all day get it. It's physically and mentally exhausting. Oh, I don't look at every Facebook alert - I'd lose my mind (though I do get easily sucked in and try to read everything). I was checking texts (with Kate at work and all, in case she needed us) and happened to see it and then checked it. I probably needed a mental break from dishes! Also, after my 5-year FB break, I SERIOUSLY culled my list (I went from over 200 friends down to between 60 and 80 - then after adding friends I've made in the past 5 years, it went up to about 100). Trying to keep it a low, manageable number. Hilarious motivation. Is the dog not allowed in the rest of the house?

Anonymous said...

You know that thing that has been going around Facebook, about how a woman's brain is a browser with 218 tabs open at once? That's what your post reminds me of. I empathize. I've been there. It's not fun. Hey, maybe that's one reason I don't cook. No dishes and dirty pots and pans! Seriously, though, I think it's great that you guys cook and eat together multiple times every day. I wish I could figure out how to do that.

I, too, am often rewashing clothes that have been sitting in the washer a bit too long. Until very recently, I thought I was the only one. I'm learning, though, that it happens to many of us.

Boquinha said...

Hmmm, you are making a good argument for getting take out more often. :P (Although I have to admit that we really like cooking/eating at home, too).

And don't worry - you guys don't EVER smell like musty, old clothes. No worries!