Metatalktail Hour: Bad at Life October 16, 2020 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! This week, as per jessamyn's request, the topic is, "Honestly, Eyebrows, you sit in the house all day and you've been tripping over five baskets of clean laundry waiting to be sorted for the last three weeks: What is your deal?"

What things are you totally failing at in the general realm of adulting? Or in the specific realm of pandemic adulting? HOW LONG has your laundry been sitting in your living room? (Spoiler: My baskets from last week are STILL IN THE LIVING ROOM, although there's less in them because we keep wearing stuff from them.)

As always, we want to hear what's up with you in general -- not just in answer to the question! -- but we also definitely want to hear how you're a hot damn mess.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:22 PM (186 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

I only have THREE baskets in the living room now but that's because I moved two to a different room, so #winning!

Now that it's getting cold I am 100% not above dumping my laundry basket on my bed and calling it an insulation layer.

We had parent-teacher conferences this week wherein I learned one of my kids is just flatly straight-up lying about turning any distance learning work in, so clearly I'm failing at that part of adulting/parenting. And we had to talk to the music lesson teachers this week, who were like "YOUR KIDS ARE NOT FILLING OUT THEIR PRACTICE LOGS" and I was like "I DID NOT PRACTICE UNTIL I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND I WENT TO STATE AND GOT A SCHOLARSHIP SO FUCK OFF" but that's not a thing you're allowed to say as a parent so I made sympathetic parent noises and promised they'd do the practice logs so ugggggggh now I have to make them do practice logs and not, like, encourage them to lie like rugs and just get really good at sight reading.

(Fun side note: Now that we've moved back to my hometown, my kid's viola teacher was my first violin teacher from when I was his age and I feel like SHE SHOULD KNOW I never fucking practiced because God knows she had a dozen conferences with my mom wherein she scolded me about that! I literally switched instruments to bass rather than practice violin even a little.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:30 PM on October 16 [18 favorites]


I've lost my balance, in almost all things. But really, I don't blame myself at all. I still have my moral compass, it's just impossible to understand what I'm hearing and seeing or walk a straight line.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:32 PM on October 16 [11 favorites]


I think it's so cute that you have laundry from last week and you consider that a major issue. I haven't taken out the recycling since March. My living room contains a literal goddamned mountain of Amazon boxes.

I managed to break down a bunch of them so at least the mountain got smaller and there's some possibility that they will eventually make their way down to the recycling room.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:35 PM on October 16 [17 favorites]


I dont even have the laundry in baskets anymore. Clean laundry is just in a pile near a closet (not THE closet, but it's technically A closet). And that pile of laundry is why I am paranoid about my zoom background, because it is clearly visible in the background otherwise.

And yes, the Amazon mountain. I keep mine in the garage. Soon my car may not fit. I will probably have a new car before the boxes get recycled properly.
posted by cgg at 8:37 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


I’ve been driving an expired-registration car with an expired driver’s license for, um, a while. I mean, there’s two cars, but I only drive one at a time. My insurance, however, is tippy-top.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:39 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


Oh god, the recycling. The recycling!!
posted by stellaluna at 9:01 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


I drove around with a broken tail light for at least six months until last month because I was worried about how expensive or difficult it would be to replace. (Not more than $15 and fifteen minutes, as it turns out.)

I am doing even worse than usual on laundry because my apartment laundry requires quarters, and I haven't been able to get them. I found a laundromat that takes credit cards, but it's a pain to have to go to the laundromat instead of just having to go down two flights of stairs from my apartment.

There was a bad storm in August that knocked out my power for almost a week, and... I have not managed to fully clean out my fridge since then. (Everyone else in my apartment complex was cleaning out their fridges and the dumpster was full.) There is a Bad Smell. I intend to deal with the Bad Smell this weekend. I may not succeed.
posted by Jeanne at 9:06 PM on October 16 [7 favorites]


Ha, ha, ha, holy shit. We're doing the bare minimum we have to in order to avoid interaction with the authorities. From the outside, things look okay. Vacuuming, though? Ugh, the rugs cry for help. The bathroom? A biohazard at this point. Laundry? Only because our son attends school in person 4 days a week and I alone care that he wears different clothes every day. The only reason the litter boxes are somewhat clean is that the cats will excrete any and every where if they're not, and that's one line we're not willing to cross. Ask again in January, though.
posted by mollweide at 9:11 PM on October 16 [7 favorites]


Yeah, in general I am pretty bad at everything (although I am fairly good at hiding it - so maybe not that bad), but these days in the end times shit has just gotten out of control.

I actually in the past week or so decided that This Shall Not Stand, and so I tried to do some cleaning which I thought would make me feel better but in reality just made me realize how colossally behind I am.

So the good news is that I am keeping my head above water, the bad news is the constant anxiety of living like this. My wife and I talked it over and we both agreed that we are just going to move into a new apartment once "things" get better and just start totally over (so we are fortunate to have the financial security that makes this an option, which is something that should make me feel much better than it actually does).
posted by Literaryhero at 9:53 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


I could (and might just at that) crush you all at this.

+++

On the plus side... this week it came to pass that my siblings and myself no longer have to worry about our mother. A wealthier than I ever even considered grand relative left her a sizeable lifetime annuity and lawyers and accountants which means we don't have to worry about her regarding finances any longer. Grand relative evidently made some brilliant or lucky investments that their estate it taking care of her for the rest of her life and there's still expected to be a leftover balance that goes to preselected charities. I (and the rest of us) had no clue that they were *that* well off.

I'm sure there will be an Ask in there somewhere of help me ELI5 some things to my 80-ish year old mother who's now getting more money than even I made every year. I'm insanely curious to know the finer details... I'm guessing that they invested in Apple or Microsoft or something very early on. I'll have to see how much I can weasel out.

And more importantly my niece kept testing negative and she and my sister are both feeling better. Maybe an early flu? But it seems like they were just regular awful sick with something.

Oh you fickle Universe you.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:22 PM on October 16 [11 favorites]


I have lived in my apartment for one month this weekend, and I still don't have any functional furniture beyond a single chair, a dresser, and a kitchen table (technically, half of a kitchen table). The moving boxes remain in an impressively large pyramid in the living room.

I also have some lamps but I haven't plugged most of them in because I don't have any bulbs or extension cords.

I don't think I've eaten a single non-takeout cooked meal since March. Now I don't have any pots or pans so it's liable to stay that way.

I've never been to a dermatologist.

I've never had a primary care physician.

Also I have had a cavity for months now and I haven't dealt with it, though pre-pandemic I was very religious about dental care.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:12 PM on October 16 [12 favorites]


Four months ago I lost my wallet. In my apartment. It even had its own resting spot. I’ve only just recently replaced its contents.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:55 PM on October 16 [14 favorites]


Oh, god, my husband is gone for a bunch of weeks and now it’s just me and the cat for a while and things are...deteriorating. Mostly foodwise and sleepwise. And maybe also sometimes showerwise since I teach on Zoom alone in a room all day and no one is the wiser. I went to Costco and as a result had just shrimp and green grapes (and a gin and diet tonic b/c #2020) for dinner pretty much every day this week. I ran out of internet in my billing cycle for the first time ever. I take a luxurious nap after I exercise every day and then can’t sleep but can’t stop taking the naps and here we are at midnight and I haven’t had dinner yet and damn cold cocktail shrimp and grapes again for me.

In my defense it is not *zero* prep, I do rinse the grapes.

so I made sympathetic parent noises and promised they'd do the practice logs so ugggggggh now I have to make them do practice logs and not, like, encourage them to lie like rugs and just get really good at sight reading.

I lied on every practice log ever, became a monster sight reader and I AM AN ORCHESTRA TEACHER NOW, so, um, take THAT! my middle school music teachers. Frequent small assessments with immediate or near-immediate feedback! I don’t particularly care how long it takes you to make it happen, I just want you to learn the thing, there is no need to demand all my families ritually lie to me.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:44 AM on October 17 [19 favorites]


I was reading everyone’s posts thinking ah, I am good at life! I have a clean apartment and no abandoned laundry baskets! And then I remembered that mug of (now fossilized) leftover tomato soup that has been sitting in the back of the fridge for 6 months. So there you go.
posted by janepanic at 2:00 AM on October 17 [11 favorites]


I have lost stuff. In my very small and neat apartment. A pair of prescription sunglasses. A watch. So not inconsequential stuff. We have turned the place upside down, and .... gone.

The good news is I start a new job on Monday! I return to full-time work after a break of over a decade. This is good not just in that I have a job again, but it has given me the headspace to give up on a few things that I felt I 'had' to do, but don't really enjoy (like baking).
posted by Megami at 2:01 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


I overplayed my not-getting-my-shit-together-and-going-out hand and ran into a hard stop on my normal food supply, (still riding a wave of toilet paper oversupply from multiple-roommate reaction to the early lockdown shortage, fortunately) but after having to eating two tins of smoked oysters for breakfast today finally dragged myself to the store.
posted by XMLicious at 2:01 AM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I am revelling in the "*shrug*, baby" excuse. But I actually am doing so much better at noticing housework stuff now that my brain is not full of work. It's going to be hard to go back, I think.

Washing : again I had to stalk through the house in a towel to get clothes from the dining room laundry extension. We are staying on top of washing the cloth nappies. Just. The tiny human is fed, clean and clothed. We are eating cooked meals but we had hot dogs tonight.

I am just so tired. But happy.
posted by freethefeet at 2:42 AM on October 17 [10 favorites]


We had parent-teacher conferences this week wherein I learned one of my kids is just flatly straight-up lying about turning any distance learning work in, so clearly I'm failing at that part of adulting/parenting.

We are doing hybrid and had to have a highly unpleasant conversation with kiddo about turning in assignments. There was one class where literally all of the assignments were either missing or late. It was a spectacular WTF moment for all of us as kiddo had been doing the work and turning it on time without parental prompting for over two years.

But some of the assignments on the online platform are so vague! Some of the material needed to answer the assignments is in video format only, which would have driven me utterly mad as a kid.

Every time I hear another parent experience some of the same, I am relieved! I am not failing that badly after all!

The majority of the upstairs is still sitting downstairs from the carpet replacement we had done six weeks ago. I have not cleaned the bathrooms in a month and just got around to doing the towels last week. The garage looks as if a tornado hit it as spouse decided that painting the floor was more important then clearing up the upstairs detritus currently residing downstairs. The basement is the same.

But Mayhem seems to be readjusting and integrating back into the household nicely after a several weeks residence in the sunroom. The world's most ridiculous litter box (Litter Robot) has a place of honor in my office and she is actually using it and not abusing the carpets so progress!?
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:20 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


I'm usually pretty on top of stuff and enjoy cooking, tidying, and organizing. But things are slipping - like getting laundry put away. Mount Washmore. I'm sometimes leaving dishes in the sink for more than a day. This isn't that bad but it feels bad to me.

The big ones are furniture. We need more chairs for home learning and I haven't even posted the ask Metafilter question for help with choosing chairs. And some ikea furniture to help us organize stuff has been in the rooms in the boxes for months.

Is anyone else reassuring themselves that at least they haven't ruined clothes by leaving them in lasagna?
posted by medusa at 4:59 AM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Oh god. I just moved (we bought a 2 flat, in the pandemic which accomplishment! Hurrah! Then we had to move during the pandemic, which uh??) Anyway, after being spectacularly behind and the movers we hired not being able to move all our things (the furniture yes, some of our stuff, not so much) . We didn't get our of the old unit for about 15 extra days , but our landlord was like whatever thank god. We ended up leaving a chest freezer and a couple of things but ugh we are too tired to care.

So the new place is kind of looking like home but laundry is a pain as laundry mat is needed. Cats peed all over a basket of clean clothes that still need to be laundered and I'm upset about that. But laundry mat is sooo far away.

We learning about the delicate nature of old wood flooring and trying not to scuff it up. We are not learning fast enough.

Our toddler is doing outside preschool, and we really weren't prepared for the all weather requirements and are scrambling to like make sure she doesn't succumb to the elements as she grows faster than we can buy stuff. And omg wool underlayers are so expensive. Been planning to hunt through some thrift stores, but that requires going outside the home?

Also, we have a tenant in our finished basement (the previous owners sister, or maybe even the previous owner we don't even know,
it's complicated and they are holding the laundry hookup and the water heaters hostage) who appeared to ask us to turn on the utilities one theirs was turned off because they didn't pay their bills. They are not paying rent, and were not turning on the power in our names to pay for them to stay. We were going to use that space as a basement and had zero intention of renting it out as its not a legal unit. Anyway we need to evict them during the pandemic? They quiet, but we'd begged our lawyers to deal with this mess prior to closing and they didn't do that and it's a nightmare that we don't even know what to do with (well, we know what to do with but like I can't do laundry much less go file paperwork downtown and create a filing system for provided notice to vacate paperwork) . So anyway, the basement is just not ours I guess.

One day at a time.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:27 AM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I was supposed to get my car inspected in June. I figure by June 2021 I'll manage to get that taken care of. Maybe. Also pretty sure it needed an oil change. At some point.

I used to be better about laundry, but now I've definitely switched more to the "Don't put it away, just leave clean clothes out and pick through the pile of clean clothes to find something to wear" team.

I never switched out the snow tires on my car after last winter. But now it's almost snow tire season again.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:32 AM on October 17 [8 favorites]


I am Bad at Money (my preferred way of looking at my bank balance is rarely and through knitted fingers). I have two modes of dealing with customer support—“I’m so sorry to bother you and I’m sure this is my fault” and “I hope your children end up hating you and you end up with warts and no one cries when you die.” I do not iron. I have no idea how to do most simple household repairs, but instead of learning, I lean hard on things like scotch tape and thumb tacks like I’m some kind of shitty underachieving Macgyver. I am still an underacheiver. My actual resume is terrible. I theoretically do advertising for a living but I could not sell myself (in any professional capacity) to a soul, which probably accounts for why I still work for a family business. I work for a family business, which feel less like legacy and more like I gave up. I’m only ambitious for impractical things I’m doomed to fail at. I have never mowed a lawn and i never plan to. Whenever I leave the house (back in the days when I did leave the house), I still believed anything could happen, maybe even something cool, even when it never did. I’m a single woman, in her mid 40s, who has never really had anything like grown-up romantic relationship, because I mostly navigate through life like the hugely awkward, oft-bullied 14 year old I still feel like all the time even after a shitload of therapy, who is just waiting for someone make her a decent mixtape and invite her to prom.
posted by thivaia at 5:51 AM on October 17 [45 favorites]


This thread is SO COMFORTING!
(I have not dusted certain rooms in my house in months. I hate it. I’m allowing myself to hate it and ignore it. Bonus—I can track my cat’s movements.)
posted by bookmammal at 6:40 AM on October 17 [18 favorites]


Megami did you check the pockets of all your things everywhere?

So, I was going to confess that our broken old microwave/convection oven is and has been sitting practically in the middle of the kitchen floor, and is being used as a (very low) table, holding two types of potatoes and a flat of garbanzo beans from Costco. However, I cannot blame the pandemic. This machine has been in the same spot for more than a year. Could it be two years? How could I figure that out? I suppose it COULD even be more than two years but that seems less likely.

I only even thought of it because I've been considering cleaning up the kitchen so it is not such a struggle to make simple things or to find things. Doing ok with laundry - no better or worse than normal - but the floors. The floors are quite disastrous. Two large humans and two small dogs live here so.
posted by Glinn at 6:41 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


Currently sitting in the living room of another MeFite and chilling out, after a rather work-oriented part of my wander around The Hwicce and the West Country. Today is Day #52 of this particular adventure, the end of which is getting in sight (I have an arragement to return to my winter bolthole in a few weeks time).

I was continually failing at coming up with a coherent middle-future plan i.e. several months, or a year, down the line, using the pandemic as a partial excuse for this. However, several bits of good news over the last few days (some of which I only read last night as they were sitting in my spam folder for a few days) means a realistic plan for the next eighteen months has clicked into place (with, of course, the disclaimers of again the pandemic, life, health etc) over the last fifteen hours or so. I just need some luck (don't we all) for it to carry through.

It helps, as well, that after a struggle I've gotten over some significant nostalgic mental blocks that have been keeping me from looking forward. The past, it's always there; dealing with it and containing it has been something else and often a three-steps-forward, two-steps-back struggle.

My winter months are going to be seriously busy, though. Unlike last winter, I won't be spending it largely sitting in a tiny coffee shop in Stockholm chatting to the barista (who has become one of my best friends; I send her cards, she sends me her artwork and photographs). I have a lot to do. But I still have to slot, into this new plan, doing lots more walks and exercise as that's been my great failing of this last half a year or so.

Good luck, and good health, to all MeFites.
posted by Wordshore at 6:45 AM on October 17 [18 favorites]


thivaia, just because it's a family business job doesn't automatically make it terrible. Hopefully the pay is decent and it is secure? That is something! I am 51 and could have written a lot of what you wrote, even today. But somehow recently I started taking a little better care of myself, and I think it has made a big difference. Maybe you could try that, kind of like an experiment. :)
posted by Glinn at 6:51 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


We had to move during the pandemic (so much fun!) and, months later, still have a room with stacked boxes awaiting unpacking. Every weekend I think I'll work on this, but never do.

Everyone I know with kids is finding the home-schooling to be a total disaster in different ways for both kids and parents. Unless you have the resources to fully outsource the work (like creating your own learning pod with a hired teacher), it seems like a completely unworkable situation.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:06 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


The chain connecting to the flapper in my toilet tank broke two months ago. So in order to flush, I need to reach into the tank to life the flapper cap by hand. This is such a simple fix, but I just haven't gotten it together to call a plumber to fix it.
posted by sundrop at 7:10 AM on October 17 [8 favorites]


We wear dosimeters during certain experiments at work, for regulatory and safety monitoring purposes and out of an abundance of caution. We're supposed to return these via intraoffice mail when we receive a new set, which is one of my lab chores. Except a bunch of environmental safety monitoring got temporarily suspended for most of the summer and was only recently (ok, August) reinstated, and I've never really figured out how intercampus mail works so I used to just hand it off to a friendly admin in the office, or beg the radiation safety workers to take them off my hands. Which I can't do now because everyone is off site, so we now have three sets of 2020 radiation badges piled up, and I really shouldn't put this off any longer, because this is such a damn 2020 situation as I write it out.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:14 AM on October 17 [9 favorites]


My mind has turned into a sieve. Or maybe it's just harder to compensate for my general distractibility now that I work from home 90% of the time. It used to be I had 8 hours everyday in the lab to remember to do everything. And my natural tendency to work a little bit on a rotating set of tasks until they were done worked really well: someone needed something done today? Slip it into the rotation.

But now when I go in I'll get my primary task done, but the background task that can wait a little constantly slips my mind when I get an email that needs answering. I get knocked off track and just can't seem to self-correct anymore.

I need to just bite the bullet and start making checklists for my lab time. But then I have to remember to look at the checklist. The same thing tend to happen with grocery lists. I forget to bring them or lose them in my purse.

I also just generally feel like I'm working with half the picture, and I'm not quite sure why. I like splitting my time, although I wish I could spend just a little more in the lab. And working from home makes some life things easier (laundry or grocery shopping in off peak hours). But I feel like I'm constantly missing or forgetting something.

No one's noticed yet. And in fact, my boss seems happy. But I keep waiting for someone to notice I'm just a big incompetent mess and a fraud.

The only reason laundry is getting done is because the new place (we bought a condo, yay!) has a laundry room. At first, I thought I'd hate it. But now I can do all 3-4 loads at once (I go when there's no one else). And they have some industrial sized driers that finish everything in 20 minutes. What used to take all afternoon takes about a little over an hour now. I'm sure the thrill will wear off soon.
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:51 AM on October 17 [11 favorites]


Oh, also. 10/10 do recommend the move to a new place and start over if you can. The last few months at the last place we'd just given up on most everything.

It was also a tremendous help that my parents could quarantine before and after coming to help us with the move. So between her and my husband they got everything unpacked and put away (left up to me we'd still be in boxes) and we've been able to stay on top of cleaning since the move. It helps that we can actually open the windows here and get sun and fresh air, but the sun makes the dust impossible (for me, anyways) to ignore. I think the sun has also generally improved our moods. The last place was a cave and not a great place to be 24/7.
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:04 AM on October 17 [3 favorites]


My Christmas tree is still up. I actually enjoyed sitting down there coloring to the blinking lights. The kitchen floor needs mopped. I need to get out and pick the remaining peppers and tomatoes because it frosted last night. And, I just realized I need to get my drivers license because my birthday is this week.
posted by kathrynm at 8:10 AM on October 17 [10 favorites]


And, I just realized I need to get my drivers license because my birthday is this week.

I had to do this back in July and the BMV was actually damn impressive. Supposedly there's a thing whe you can set up an appointment time, but I didn't bother with that 'cause I had nothing else to do all day, so I just showed up. They had two socially-distant lines marked outside, one for auto title & registration, one for driver's license stuff, a bi-lingual staffer posted outside (masked of course) who prowled up and down both lines making sure everyone was in the right line and had the necessary documentation for whatever they needed to do, politely enforcing the social distancing and mask requirements, handing out paperwork if there was a need for it so the process inside would be faster, coordinating with the folks inside to make sure there were a limited number of people inside at all times.

Which just reinforced the extent to which so many "government is horrible!" complaints are really because we the public are the damn problem; of course getting things done takes forever when half the people have shown up with an electric bill from three apartments ago and a dead field mouse in their pocket expecting to renew the registration on their car.

(PS happy birthday.)
posted by soundguy99 at 9:07 AM on October 17 [13 favorites]


haha after 20 years of working from home and a lifetime struggle with depression (I am fine, prozac is awesome) I have long since let myself off so many hooks. I don't shower every day, I wear the same clothes for days at a time, the yard is a disaster, I never wash the dishes after dinner, I do it the next morning.

so here is what I would like to add to this conversation, for those of you new to this 'lifestyle'. you know what? IT'S OK. you are doing fine. it doesn't really matter if the laundry piles up or you live in dirty pajamas. this year has been so hard in so many ways. give yourselves some space to fail at adulting and relax into that!!
posted by supermedusa at 9:15 AM on October 17 [39 favorites]


I bought a bunch of fleishman’s yeast in March and I haven’t made a single loaf of bread with it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:21 AM on October 17 [9 favorites]


Oh, now we're talking. A snapshot:

* I don't vacuum. I have a robot vacuum. Literally, I just need to press a button. And yet.
* My kitchen is a perennial disaster, despite the fact that frequently, my dinner consists of pretzel chips with cheese melted on top.
* Showers are an infrequent occurrence. Maybe once a week? Hard to say.
* I've had "work out at home" on my to-do list since March. I've done that maaaybe 5 times.

I'm generally okay with all of this, I think. I've leaned into the idea that I don't have to be perfect, and that has been really freeing. Shit's hard. It's okay to not be doing stellar.
posted by sugarbomb at 9:28 AM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Honestly my husband and I have been doing pretty good during the pandemic, so I’ll go with our more longstanding fail: our front storm door has been broken and gradually getting more broken for *checks watch* thirteen years and we just keep... not fixing it.
posted by obfuscation at 9:33 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


Did I mention that I very much operate on the out fo sight out of mind philosophy? So my closet, yeah, it's just a giant wall of stuff. I can barely close the door. I don't fold clothes, just shove them in the drawer.

Although now, my floor is just a pile of stuff. I have this very tall, nice cat perch/cat tree by my bed. My cat stopped using it, so now I have a bunch of clothes and stuff piled on top of it.

(I'm dealing with some physical problems, so my back does not really tolerate bending down.)

Oh, more laundry related: It was too much effort to put dirty laundry in the hamper in my closet. So now I have a laundry bag that is hanging from this little clip that sticks out of my window. I shove dirty laundry in there. It's better than throwing it on the floor - which also happens sometimes.

I'm so exhausted right now that I can only stay up for a few hours at a time before i have to go back to sleep. Work has been insane, I'm in constant pain, it's just been hard. Everything is a struggle. And I live in a 2nd floor apartment, which I used to like, but now that stairs are so hard on me, I hate it. If I lived on the first floor, I could easily go outside for a few minutes of fresh air. Now, I get fresh air like once every few weeks.

The irony is I'm not really quarantining because of COVID. I just have nowhere to go, and leaving my house is so painful and something I pay for for days afterwards, so I just don't. But I miss being outside. Fall in New England is my favorite time of year...
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:39 AM on October 17 [8 favorites]


obfuscation our front door frame has been broken since we moved into our house...17.5 years ago. the handle broke and we have had a really weird "temporary solution" in place for...idk, at least 5 years now...lol
posted by supermedusa at 9:40 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


But one "bad at life" thing that worked out well in the end (with no help from me): In august, I got a jury duty summons, because why not. And of course, I couldn't deal with that, so I kept putting off responding, couldn't decide whether it was worth the effort to get a medical excuse, etc.

Finally, I got up the courage to enter my badge number online like 2 months after getting the summons, and they were all, "Your jury duty has been cancelled, thanks for your service" which is like the first truly good thing that has happened to me in months.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:42 AM on October 17 [18 favorites]


I am skipping ahead to tell everyone my victorious and hopefully-reassuring story about my Amazon-box mountain!

So I might have some mostly-contained hoarding tendencies, and I have actually consciously failed to take out my cardboard boxes, because I convinced myself that I might reuse them for a "craft project." Note: there is no craft project. I definitely did not need the boxes for a craft project. Anyway, another adulting fail of mine is lawn care. There is a spot in the front of my front lawn where a bunch of soil has eroded, and the whole thing has been taken over by weeds. So I've been reading up on what to do about it, and the easiest suggestion is to lay down a layer of cardboard in the Fall, cover it with compost, and in the Spring the weeds will be dead and I can add some top soil and plant new stuff. And guess who has a ton of cardboard, including some long, un-inked boxes that are perfect for this project? Me, that's who. I've got the area all prepped, and I'm going to put down the boxes as soon as the wind dies down.

I have a lot of bad-at-adulting things, but one of them is that I'm really anxious and avoidant about anything that has to do with money. I honestly don't understand where this comes from, and it's a little self-destructive. I put off paying bills. I always do my taxes at the very last minute. I used to think that I was forgetful, but I realize that I don't actually forget. I just get really worked up about it and decide not to think about it. And I do that even when I totally have the money in my bank account to pay whatever I need to pay. I do it even when I would receive money for doing the thing. It's another thing to put on the list of things that I need to address if and when I ever get around to seeing a therapist (another thing that I am anxious, avoidant, and bad-at-adulting about.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:10 AM on October 17 [30 favorites]


I just dropped out of online training to make calls to Minnesota voters. Like, 5 minutes ago. I genuinely wanted to be a good adult and fight like hell to get a new administration. But I have had a minor headache and tender throat all day. The throat thing is not Covid, it seems to be related to my ongoing and tedious gut problem. But anyway, that was a fail.

Two months ago I moved to a tiny space that has, no kidding, 26-inches (wide) of counter space in the kitchenette. If I don't do my dishes as soon as I eat, it piles up immediately and is a nightmare. For a week or so I was in a really good run of washing my dishes before bed every night and making my bed every morning, because it is a studio. My bed is pretty close to the kitchen counter. But I stopped four days ago and it has been a nightmare. Today I have not left the apartment (why would I? I don't know anyone, my kid is out of town, and there's a pandemic on) but I did, finally, put on a podcast and wash all the dishes.

Then I actually cooked something. Nothing fancy, but something nutritious. Now I have leftovers for tomorrow but also need to go do dishes and the pot or the hell will start all over. (Keep in mind, there is still plenty of clutter here. I am not going for clean, just clean dishes.) I do not shower every day. I do not leave my apartment every day. I have not checked my bank balance in a while, and I have not made a dental appointment but I really, really need to.

It sucks that I needed to drop out of the Zoom training for phone banking. But my ADHD brain is tired and uncooperative. I could have done this earlier in the day. Turns out the time difference is just too much for me to do it. I am going to be okay with that. I have to be okay with that, because there is literally nothing else I could do except attempt to power through some calls anyway and probably piss off some voters and/or enter information incorrectly.

So I am stepping away from my plan to be helpful in that particular way. I am helping my ill brother-in-law for three mornings in a row, starting tomorrow. So I am going to accept me being me in exactly the way I have been and expect to be right now and for the foreseeable future. Still far from perfect? Yup. Awesome in my way? Sure. Maybe a little stinkier than absolutely necessary? Could be, and what's it to you?

I love this thread so much. Thank you jessamyn and Eyebrows McGee for your joint production, which has made my weekend much better. If you're far from perfect, this is a great place to be and with plenty of company. Hugs from Sweden to anyone who wants 'em.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:42 AM on October 17 [26 favorites]


I'm so grateful that I got a robot vacuum last December, otherwise we would be buried in cat hair.

My kid also did not turn in a bunch of assignments, as we discovered last week when we got the 10-week grades. She spent this week finishing them and turning them in; yesterday we had three conferences with different teachers and she's doing much better.

I have a pile of clothes on my dresser that need to be put away that's been building since...maybe March? If and when I excavate that far down, who knows what will be on the bottom.
posted by mogget at 10:51 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


Let us know if it's a lace top buried in salmon lasagna.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:17 AM on October 17 [19 favorites]


I moved into a new house six weeks ago and still have no functional eating area except for my coffee table, due to the massive pile of un-emptied moving crates in my dining room. My closet doors are hanging open and I'm rotating through the same few clothes and dishes that I packed up in for my "survival kit" the day before moving day. All of this is making me think I should probably just get rid of about 97 percent of my possessions.

That said, I'm getting the most important things done at work, managing to keep myself and my household safe and mostly comfortable, and avoiding financial ruin while staying kind to the people I care about and maintaining basic civility to everyone else (even the rampant idiots and jerks out there).

In short, I'm doing the best I can and cutting myself some slack, and I hope all of you can do the same.
posted by rpfields at 11:38 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


I am not working. Oh, I am lucky enough to have a job and health insurance and the ability to work primarily from home, but it is a nonstop soulsucking job that has been too big for one person since I took it three years ago (it took months to fill *and* my immediate predecessor flamed out spectacularly in exactly six weeks), and all my attempts to search for a therapist on the insurer's site return inpatient rehab (?), because maybe my insurer would prefer treating a nonexistent substance abuse problem to dealing with the loss of a parent and a career stall out and a WHOLE ASS PANDEMIC, so I log into my job a little later each morning and stare hopelessly at my email trying and failing to will myself to work and settle for willing myself not to quit that day.

Also the floors need to be mopped but I cannot seem to buy a bucket. I even went to Home Depot last week for supplies to repot the aloe that used to live in my office, but did I buy a bucket? Reader, I did not.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:40 AM on October 17 [14 favorites]


The reason that I have so many boxes, Fish, fish, is that when I feel paralyzed by the fact that I forgot to buy a thing, I immediately go on my computer and order it to be sent to me. Just go to Ace Hardware or something and order a damn bucket.

Mopping floors is my most-hated household task. I've gotten better about doing it, but I truly hate it so much.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:44 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


One pile of clean laundry sits atop our dryer, underneath our sleeping cat most of the time. It's for that reason I'm unable to address that pile of laundry. Another pile of clean laundry is still in the basket I used to bring it upstairs. Dirty laundry, I shoved into my closet and closed the door.

I am much more excited about the new firepit, which we'll test out tonight. This morning, instead of addressing the aforementioned laundry, I took the advice of several and applied a coat or two of black semigloss Rustoleum (yes yes to the firepit) to keep it looking nice.

I got to play some music in front of a small crowd last night, which felt good. Unfortunately, there were more masks being worn on stage than there were being worn off stage. At least we were outdoors.
posted by emelenjr at 11:48 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


I've ordered a bunch of clothing online and it turns out nothing fits. I hate hate hate returning stuff - it's a hassle and I strongly suspect the returns end up on a landfill or worse so I kept it with the intention of giving it out to acquaintances for free
And now it's all spread out across all the chairs in my living room and I have nowhere to sit and still need a winter jacket (in a smaller size).

I also stopped using my Waterpik because it needs to be charged and for some reason charging is just Too Much.
posted by M. at 11:52 AM on October 17 [7 favorites]


This thread is a huge comfort. ((((everyone))))

We managed to remove the window ACs the day before it snowed! Go us! If the the first half of 2020 is any indication, they'll sit on the floor for the next several weeks while we play Chore Chicken.

This is just to say

I have found
the fuzzy gray sphere (probably a cabbage)
that was in
the icebox

and which
I meant
to eat
as part of a healthy meal months ago

Forgive me
it was so hard to
adult
and I had frozen pizza instead
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:08 PM on October 17 [44 favorites]


We have a robot vacuum, but it is hemmed in by all the shit I've just set on the floor - shipping boxes, pantry groceries I can't quite manage to get into the pantry for 2-3 weeks, laundry, dog beds the dogs don't like, etc. I hurt my leg this summer and really couldn't do anything but work for about 2 months, so the kitchen was a nightmare where my husband carved out a tiny space to cook the meal service I signed us up for, plus a prepared-meal service for lunches - and now THOSE are stacking up in the fridge/freezer because I occasionally feel like cooking again. I also keep forgetting to pause/skip the CSA box, which I might as well just dump straight into the green bin and not bring inside.

I managed to find a new job because the old one was killing me (yay adulting there?), and I start the day before Election Day when I'm sure my ability to concentrate will not be measurable even with a microscope. I have part of a week off between jobs, and would like to truly relax for some of that, so I am trying to get my awful office back to some kind of functional form. I've just filled a (small, but still...) laundry basket with dirty dishes, recycling, and just general shit that needs to go back to the kitchen or bathroom or some other part of the house.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:10 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I didn't intend to grow a big beard and mustache. Also, no one on Zoom knows if you've had a shower. You don't even have to fake a smile if you've got an unintentional big beard and mustache.
posted by pracowity at 12:24 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


I love you all.

As far as I'm concerned, if you've got clean laundry sitting around in baskets, hey, you've got clean laundry! That's doing pretty well.

There are currently nine cats in my house. Nine. Only four of them are supposed to be "ours." We are actually doing reasonably okay about keeping up with the litter boxes, but you can imagine the smell nonetheless. Most of the time we can't even tell any more, but if someone were to come visit...

I've been struggling daily to meet one of my most basic, simple professional responsibilities for months now. I feel like I've irrevocably sabotaged my career and my relationships with multiple colleagues, but I have no idea what else to do with my life.
posted by biogeo at 12:33 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


The battery on the smoke alarm on the ceiling of the stairs leading from kitchen to basement died months ago.
The ceiling is too high to be reached by the usual stepladder that I can use to reach the other smoke alarms in the house.
In order to reach the stairway smoke alarm, I would need to prop up a truly tall ladder. Which I'm pretty sure I have, somewhere, but I wouldn't dare climb that high without someone to keep an eye on me.
There are no other humans in the house.
So I've learned to live with the smoke alarm emitting a plaintive "chirp" at regular intervals. It's still less annoying than the neighborhood mockingbird (I regularly tell him that none of the females want to mate with him because he's too noisy but that doesn't stop him).
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 12:42 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


My spouse was going to take our kid on a spring break trip in March, and while they were gone I planned to clean the awful shower grout with ALL THE CHEMICALS. Spring break trip got obviously canceled, so I vowed to use all the chemicals sometime in the summer when we could open all the windows. Reader, the grout is pink and black now, and it snowed yesterday.

Will I have enough chemicals to even make a dent at this point? I find myself fantasizing about hiring a skilled tile person post-pandemic and replacing the entire shitty bathroom tile situation once and for all.
posted by Maarika at 1:03 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]


You know how some people really got excited about gardening this year? Building gardens and growing stuff? I had the opposite happen. I've always been an indifferent gardener, as my one neighbour is always happy to complain about to random people, but most years I can muster up the desire to throw myself into a handful of 6 to 8 hours days most months to clean it up so it doesn't look too neglected. This year? Not so much. I had put in maybe 5 hours back in May but since then? Zero. A great backyard but more a jungle currently. I convince myself its being naturalised but its more invasive plants then garden. Sigh...
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:08 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


So I've learned to live with the smoke alarm emitting a plaintive "chirp" at regular intervals. It's still less annoying than the neighborhood mockingbird (I regularly tell him that none of the females want to mate with him because he's too noisy but that doesn't stop him).

If it makes you feel better, in my Zoom teaching I have learned that there are an astonishing amount of households just living 24/7 Chirp Lyfe. At least three households I have heard it going over a period of days and days, and one all the way since since August. I’m not judging; we’re all fighting our hardest fight.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:14 PM on October 17 [21 favorites]


I've managed to address the chirping smoke alarm thing by buying some of the new ones that have built-in lithium batteries which last as long as the alarm itself does, so you never change them! And then failing to actually put them up so they're still sitting in their packaging somewhere in my house, where they've been for the last... oh god, is it over a year now?
posted by biogeo at 1:19 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


Uh, also, if anyone in the Philadelphia area wants to adopt kittens... memail me?
posted by biogeo at 1:28 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


the new ones that have built-in lithium batteries which last as long as the alarm itself does, so you never change them!
Oh, guess what about those bastards! They like to be vacuumed now and again who knew?!?!?!? So, we learned last week, they can still go off for apparently no reason and destroy your life, just like the regular ones! Fortunately, before Gator Nationals two years ago my life partner went to Harbor Freight and bought each of us a pair of those earmuff things you wear while mowing the lawn. Wearing his earmuffs, he calmly found the button that you're supposed to push to shut the thing up and pushed it and shut it up before I got there with the hammer ready to smash it to tiny bits as is my usual practice. Does everyone but me know about this vacuuming-the-smoke-alarm thing? Probably.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:58 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


I'll chip in, but I will not say I'm bad at life - I go to work full time and school full time, am neurodivergent, and also take care of an adult friend with a few social disabilities that prevent him from stable employment.

But, you guys... my yard. Trash. A pergola that was smashed by a fallen tree. Thigh high grass. Wet cardboard boxes. A broken end table. Rotted wood furniture. You name it. It is a Junk Yard. I'm finally caving after having so many plans to get it under control fall through, and having a professional take care of it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:08 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]


We had a community garden plot, and even with the main gardener in the house and available, we were so frazzled by everything that it became a terrifying overgrown jungle. At one point we harvested a cabbage the size of an infant and about 25 pounds of rhubarb. The rhubarb came with the plot and we just decided not to fight it since it was the size of a small armchair already when we got there in May. Just picked bits off every time we went over there.

Someone else apparently relieved us of our other cabbage and I don't begrudge them. It's been just a "fuck it" kind of year and now it's probably going to snow and I still have to go out there (the main gardener is out of state for school with her own new and exciting problems) and level it all into the compost or they won't let us come back next year and grow more giant neglected cabbages. I think next year I'll just plant cabbages and see what we get if we're still not feeling it. They're clearly easy to grow. (The community plots are really hard to get, but if you can get in there you can basically keep it forever.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:37 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


I can't deal with all my stuff, stacks of mail, small and large projects. I'm using the ironing board as a desk, which I learned during a stint as an organizer - cheap, fast setup, height adjustable table that fits in most cars. recommend. The actual desk needs to be moved upstairs one of these days. Every horizontal surface is full of crap. The back yard never got mown, so there are tiny trees that want to grow up and fall on the house, but I can and must mow them next year. But I got the little truck registered and inspected so I can sell it. I washed the windows inside the house, albeit not very well. I finally had a physical and got my prescriptions sorted out.

I do fine with laundry, but I am the leading contender for needing to vacuum and dust.

It's stupid hard to find motivation. I lurch from feeling okay-sh to lonely to worrying about covid (geezer + asthma) and the political situation is mind-bogging-ly awful, and, and. It's already colder and darker, winter is unavoidable, and may consist of me, my dog, my wood stove, which is great, but, for how many months. Depending on Covid, I may take a car-camping trip south of here, it's hard to think of how that might work, but I can easily sleep in the car, cook outside, and it would be a response to the isolation of Pandemic winter. Vermont and Maine have the best Covid results in the country, encouraging, and maybe I should stay put.
posted by theora55 at 2:44 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Also, I wrote 100 letters for Vote Forward, went to a Women's March today, and election season is lasting forever.
posted by theora55 at 2:46 PM on October 17 [20 favorites]


Update: mopped the kitchen floor with Minty (robot floor cleaner), and all the cats have come into the kitchen to sniff the clean floor and roll around on it. Not really sure what that means.
posted by mogget at 3:04 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


I am here for this thread.

I am managing time like one manages a paycheck from a job where ends don't actually meet, no matter what you do, so you hold it together as best you can and then sometimes you eat Taco Bell. I think collectively Mr. e and I are paying the bill for virtual school first, so to speak. After that I think it's work for both of us, and then maybe fixing reasonable food is a distant third. A lot of things don't make the list at all.

Laundry: Mr. eirias has remained great at washing it and I am supposed to fold it and I .... am several weeks behind, yep. In fairness, he stress-launders. When we were dating if I left him alone for five minutes he'd sneak off and do my laundry. I, however, do not stress-fold. Maybe I should give that a shot.

Taxes: We thought we were going to owe estimated taxes this year and we normally don't and last weekend in a panic we realized we'd blown the deadline by about a month, so had to spend three hours we hadn't budgeted for filling out a bunch of forms, only to realize we do not actually owe estimated taxes this year.

Hygiene: I have pandemic hippie hair and Mr. e is in the driveway right now awkwardly trimming his ducktail of a hairdo. Showering is a maybe (we both got one today). Only Little e has seen a dentist in the past six months. Neither of us is getting any exercise at all. We did, however, manage flu shots today.

The floors are unspeakable.
posted by eirias at 3:38 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Oh thank goodness, it's not just me. We are keeping up with dishes (husband's job), laundry and bills (my jobs), as these are the only things that each of us will do cheerfully. The rest of the house is ... bad. We've cleaned the bathrooms maybe once or twice. Mountains of paper teeter on every desk, radiator, table and good chunks of the floor; I've tripped on some of it. We had a potential flooding event back in June, brought a bunch of boxes up from the basement to the living room and they are mostly still where we tossed them up here. The top of the stove is developing quite a crust. Pantry goods get stacked on a chair in the kitchen, a few feet away from the shelf where they should be. The floors have been swept and vacuumed a few times but not mopped; I bought a Swiffer months ago that's still in the box sitting on top of a storage bin near our front door.

And it's not like we don't have time to do any of this, just... no will. I have stacks of unread books I can't seem to read and bins of yarn I can't seem to knit. No productivity, only doomscrolling. At least our youngest is passing fifth grade; small victories count this year.
posted by sencha at 4:11 PM on October 17 [18 favorites]


So it turns out it’s easy to keep up with the mopping if you just simply redefine mopping as tentatively scooting a folded damp paper towel over the floor with your foot every six weeks or so and gasping with horror at the dark square of fuzzy detritus you can pick up that way.

I love you all.
posted by mochapickle at 4:14 PM on October 17 [43 favorites]


Don Pepino, you are not the only person who didn't know that smoke detectors??? need to be vacuumed???? I don't even know how to ascertain which kind we have.

Chore Chicken
stupid hard to find motivation
for some reason charging is just Too Much


It has been super therapeutic just to read all your descriptions for the perpetual-wading-through-molasses feeling that has been 2020.

Hugs to everyone in this thread who wants them.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 4:14 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


I’m keeping my plants, and myself, and my patients alive. My laundry situation is abysmal. Thank goodness for hospital provided scrubs. (Alas, that means I still have socks and under things to launder. Currently wearing bike shorts as underwear under my scrubs today.)
posted by ocherdraco at 4:52 PM on October 17 [22 favorites]


just living 24/7 Chirp Lyfe

No. Oh hell, no. My 10-year smoke alarm gave up after two years. Just like the last several 10-year alarms. Took that chirping fucker outside and split it with an ax. Better living through sharp edges.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:56 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


I never lost my WFH job when things went nuts, for which I'm extremely grateful. But that means I haven't had any more spare time/energy than normal, and I'm an undisciplined housekeeper even at the best of times. On top of that I didn't entertain much in my little apartment even pre-pandemic, so I've had no incentive to keep up the place beyond the bare minimum. It's not filthy, and I do manage to do things like take out the garbage in a timely fashion. But things like dusting and vacuuming are exceptional events, and all manner of clutter occupies almost every level surface because I never get around to putting anything away.

I moved into this apartment almost 5 years ago. It was a last-minute thing; the deadline for getting out of the previous place was nearly up and I hadn't been able to find anything better. I grabbed this one at the very last minute, thinking it would be okay for a few months until I found something better, and didn't even finish unpacking a lot of my stuff (nowhere to put it) or doing any decorating (why bother). 5 years later, more than a dozen unpacked boxes are still "hidden" behind the couch, loosely covered with a blanket so it looks slightly less trashy, and the place remains bare of hung pictures and knick-knacks.

The only thing about apartment living that's better than living in an actual house is that I don't have to do any yardwork, thank the universe!

I can't tell you the last time I ate at the dining table. Breakfast and lunch are eaten at my desk, and dinner in my easy chair (and I've permanently stained quite a few t-shirts that way).

My couch is seemingly permanently colonized by things I Really Have Meant To Get Around To selling on Ebay, along with a bunch of empty Amazon boxes to ship them in.

Plus more empty boxes waiting to get broken down and put in the recycling bin.

My coffee table is stacked with books and DVDs I've recently read/watched, ones I intend to read/watch, and the detritus of uncompleted projects.

I haven't been camping in a year, but I've still got most of the equipment from the last time lining one wall of the hallway, waiting for me to cultivate enough mental capacity to Tetris everything back into the designated storage closet. Or until go camping again, whichever comes first.

My local grocery store shut down their bottle-return machines when the pandemic started back in March, so I've got many dozens of empty beer bottles stored in - you guessed it - even more Amazon boxes stacked up in a corner of my spare bedroom. The machines finally opened again a couple weeks ago so every grocery trip I'm hauling along 30 or so bottles in a handy basket. Maybe in a couple months I'll have caught up (and have more boxes to go in the recycling bin).

A couple years back I experimented with sleeping in a hammock; after a few weeks I went back to sleeping in a bed (with a better mattress) so the hammock and stand got put away. I intended to set it up on my little covered deck this summer, but never got around to it and now it's too late. But hey, at least I don't have to pack it up again!

I do manage to keep the, shall we say, critical parts of the bathroom acceptably clean.

Being single and a long-time WFH'er (W'erFH?), I tend to wear the same thing around the house for a couple weeks at a time (does not include clothes I've sweated in or gotten food/dirt on, I do have a dented and shabby standard or two left). My laundry needs are thus very light and easily kept up with, although I'm going to need to buy quarters soon and I'm worried I won't be able to get them anywhere...

Fortunately this apartment has a dishwasher, allowing me to avoid my most loathed household task - I'd rather clean toilets than stand at a sink washing dishes. Because I enjoy cooking, I'm good about keeping my prep areas and countertops clean...floor less so.

The kitchen in this apartment had exactly one ceiling light, perfectly situated to keep whatever you're working on in your own shadow. I quickly installed some inexpensive under-cabinet lighting which works great for 2/3 of the kitchen, but there's no cabinets over the island that houses the stove. I had a barely adequate cobbled-together lighting arrangement, but it wasn't until early this year that I more or less accidentally stumbled upon a method that (a) wasn't annoyingly expensive, and (b) didn't require any major/permanent building in that I didn't want to do to a place I'm only renting. At least now I can see what I'm cooking.

...And also the mess I'm making. Even so, only yesterday did I finally stop avoiding cleaning the stovetop. I'm a vigorous sloppy cook, and it had accumulated a pretty impressive collection of splashes and dribbles over the past I don't even know how many weeks (months? I honestly can't remember). I got it spotless again in a mere 15 or so minutes, so I don't know why I took so long to get around to it; but at least it's clean now and ready for the next round of enfoodening.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:32 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


Oh dear Lord how I love you people.

There is trash everywhere in the kitchen. Two-thirds of the dishes/pots and pans/cookware is in the living room, because several weeks ago the people downstairs had cockroaches and the kitchen (and bathroom) cabinets had to be emptied for the apartment management to spray. There are 3 full hampers of dirty laundry in the bedroom, plus at least 1 more hamper's worth spread out. The litter box is just short of a Superfund site.

Haven't been to the dentist in 4 years. Never did my taxes for 2017 or 2018. Can't find my birth certificate.

I go to work every day at a hospital that has had Covid patients since March. Technically, I had an exposure to tuberculosis this week.

I expect to be alone on Thanksgiving -- I have friends I would go to, but it will probably be too cold to eat outside. And the virus isn't tired.
posted by shiny blue object at 5:50 PM on October 17 [22 favorites]


The washing machine stopped working today.
The husband has done exploratory surgery and determined that the motor is dead.
Laundry is on hiatus until we get a new motor or a new machine.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:02 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]


Sciencegeek, the motor burning out is preferable to the lining of the tub disintegrating and causing water to flood across half of the basement at my SIL’s, where we were doing laundry while they were taking their oldest to college. It was not a fun weekend. Hope you get your washer situation sorted soon.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:16 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


My deck/steps to get to the car are broken. Some boards are just wobbly and some are partially gone and there's an actual hole in one spot. I have talked a few times about what we should do about them. Haven't done anything other than walk carefully over them yet though. Our wood floors indoors are in much better shape than that, but have developed a few snags and one board that turned into a giant splinter that I'm not sure even wood caulk can help with. We have small mats covering the worst spots. My parents were so handy I thought I would be too but it turns out I'm dreadful at wanting to do things around the house.

A lot of parents talk about how stressful it is to make sure their kids are logging on when they should and doing all their assignments. I haven't actual checked to see if my daughter is missing anything. I have no idea how often she's doing homework at the computer versus reading webcomics or metafilter and I honestly don't care. I'm basically conserving all parenting energy for talking about stuff she's interested in and trying to keep her reasonably happy in a quarantined life.

I am told that I'm excelling at birthday stuff though, so that's a nice win. My daughter had a video party and had asked if we could put up some birthday decorations. I not only managed to unearth streamers and a birthday banner, I also made a posterboard giant birthday card to hang behind her for the party. Thank you card club for all of lovely cards I used to cover it with, some if which I cut up to make her name, and even some metallic confetti to glue on. I thought it was going to be a little silly, but it turns out she loves it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:23 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


We moved into our house ... 12 years ago. There are (many) unopened, packed boxes in several rooms.

That's not the worst regarding our housekeeping, but it's all I'll admit. Actually, one of the worst things was our toilet, until I learned to use pumice a few months ago. Now the toilet brush actually keeps things clean.

I'm also not great at taking care of my physical self right now (indeed, the last 5 years). My back problems are back, and I have to have an MRI next week to see how bad it is. If I had kept up with even a moderate back exercise routine, this likely could have been avoided.

Thanks for this space. Sigh.
posted by Gorgik at 10:25 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


Uhhhh. Paying bills? That’s a pretty harmless lapse, right? It’s not that I don’t have the money to pay them, it’s just that I can’t be arsed to pick them up off the floor where they land from the mail slot. Like, it’s only when I start slipping on them when I come in from walking the dog that I feel moved to pick them up.
posted by HotToddy at 10:35 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


The kitchen killing me. I feel like I fuck with dishes all day every day and yet somehow, the dishwasher is always half-full of clean things but never the thing I am currently looking for; while the counter is always magically full of dirty dishes even if I just washed a load of dishes. I never have the right dish to eat from nor a proper utensil, like 90% of the time. I've eaten yogurt out of the container with a plastic butter knife, eaten a single serving of soup out of a 2 quart mixing bowl, and used a tupperware lid as a plate for a sandwich. I rinse and reuse takeout cups for iced tea and iced coffee and water until they fall apart because I'll be damned if I wash another fucking glass today.

We had been getting food delivery several days a week, every week, but the expense was getting ridiculous and it was never even very good for the crazy amount we were paying for it. We stopped doing that a few weeks ago to save money and the extra kitchen work is the price I pay. However, I have lost 7 pounds in the same time frame, so it does seem worthwhile to continue despite the aggravation.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:58 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


no laundry only phonebanking.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:07 PM on October 17 [19 favorites]


I don't vacuum. I have a robot vacuum. Literally, I just need to press a button. And yet.

I bought a robot vacuum a year ago. It is still in the box, never been used. Because in over a year there has never been a time when the floors in our apartment were clear enough of clutter and crap to be able to run it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:31 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


I am also living the 24/7 chirp life at the moment. There is a fire alarm in the stairwell. The alarm is on the second floor ceiling, above first floor stairs and is like 20ft up. We need to get a special long ladder or pay somebody to get that thing replaced, and if in fire code moved to a more reasonable location in the stairwell so I don't die trying to get to that thing. Wondering if the fire department would help? But that requires a phone call.

The kitchen. Our old place had a really big kitchen space with lots of kitchen cabinets and counterspace. Now we have a much smaller kitchen and we haven't learned to cope with the keeping up to be able to have room for the next meal. And we are purchasers of the kitchen things that do like one task and have no kitchen home in the smaller space. And I'm discovering my unreasonable attachment to things I haven't used in years but if I wanted to I could do the thing well.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:13 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Piles of clean laundry, hah! My washing machine had some sort of breakdown in June, leaking over the floor, and I somehow haven't got round to having anyone look at the damn thing. Now I have four bags of bedlinen waiting to be washed. There is a laundrette literally two hundred yards from my place, but somehow I haven't managed to get there yet. In fact I have been considering just buying more sheets...

There is also a lot of recycling to go out, mostly just lying on the floor, since no-one but me has been in my flat since March, although I did bag some up and get rid of it yesterday. God alone knows what is in the back of the fridge. I think the grey furry thing used to be an aubergine but I'm afraid to look too closely.
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:07 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


When this thread first went up I was expecting to come away with a sense of still being way personally grosser than any of the grossest things people confessed to in here, but I've been wildly and pleasantly delighted by everyone's grossness. For whatever fucked-up reason, my parents treated my childhood as a long-running opportunity to instill in me the belief that I'm orders of magnitude grosser by nature than any other living human being.

My dad kept the house I grew up in as though it was a show home; he was anal and obsessed; he cared more about the house being exactly the way he wanted it than about any of the feelings or preferences of anyone else who lived in the house. He would sometimes attempt to throw out mail that had been delivered that very day (addressed, of course, to people who were not him) because it "looked messy" to have a small quantity of unopened mail on the table in the front hall or on the stairs. It brings me great delight knowing the state that house is in now that my mother and sister (who, like me, are messy people by nature) have been living there without him for five years, thinking about how much it would bother him if he could see it.

He was also enough of an uptight control freak about this stuff that he wouldn't let the kids do chores, because we'd "do it wrong" and "he'd have to do it again", so I managed to leave home with wildly unreasonable ideas about how clean a home "should" be (as close to sterile as possible) and basically zero skills for keeping it that way (my earliest attempts at bathroom-cleaning when I moved out involved wiping dust off the back of the toilet with dampened toilet paper, wondering why it made the dust roll up into little dust-clusters, and wondering where dust came from and how I was supposed to deal with it, having grown up in a house that was literally never visibly dusty anywhere).

I have lots of deeply-internalised shamefeels about how gross and incompetent I innately am thanks to this messed-up programming, particularly when it comes to my living situation, including a near-constant state of background anxiety that the house is too gross and if anyone else were to see if (even when I have zero plans to have anyone over for the foreseeable future, as is true right now) they would hold me in total contempt, just like my dad did. I constantly feel like I'm failing at basic life maintenance compared to other adults, but that seems wildly untrue after hearing some of the stories in here, so thank you all for sharing.

We are a household of two adults with probably marginally less than one standard-model adult's allocation of executive function between us. He most likely has pretty bad ADHD, I most likely have autism, neither of us have diagnoses or have ever received any support because the UK school system in the 90s and 00s was just not set up to identify or accommodate that shit unless it was severe enough that it was causing disruption to other people's learning. We were fortunate enough to move to a place that has room for a dishwasher and a tumble dryer a few years ago, two appliances which between them have probably reduced our collective stress and fighting by about 60%.

Still, we have lots of dust! Even though I have dust allergies, I find it really hard to keep this under control. I haven't quite got to the point of accepting that I refuse to put the amount of effort and control into housekeeping that my dad was willing to exert, and that that means my house will never be as clean as the house I grew up in.

Our kitchen is functional but the units and flooring are heading towards end of life, the kick boards don't stay in place in one corner so I can see the grossness that lives under the cabinets, the flooring is vinyl and ripped in a bunch of places, including where the previous owners pulled out their washing machine when they moved and left a huge tear in the flooring (same people who left us with fleas, thanks guys!). There's a gap of about an inch either side of the stove where all manner of disgusting stuff falls down during cooking. I lost a dumpling down there making soup ramen yesterday and nearly cried until partner offered to fish it out and rinse it off, and I sincerely regret looking at the crap it had rolled in before it got rinsed.

Upstairs we have a few gaps in the floorboards that freak me out so much to walk over we've had to put tape around them so I can avoid them. I wish stepping in a hole in my own floor didn't immediately trigger a huge wave of shame and despair about what a bad person and crappy housekeeper I am, but unfortunately it does, so easiest to tape around and avoid. I'm also too shit-scared to pull up the carpet and see what the actual damage is just in case it's worse than I thought and likely to be expensive to fix. Just walk around the holes and ignore it and what I don't know can't hurt me, or my savings account.

We also have a whole room we can't get into right now because my old desk is blocking the doorway. And every surface is cluttered, partly because partner has wandering hands (in the form of picking random items up and then putting them down wherever, not really mentally connecting with the fact that he had anything in his hands in the first place and certainly not being mindful in any way of what the thing was or where it ought to go), and partly because we just have way more stuff than we have places to put stuff right now. We need to invest in shelving and storage, but I've made it partner's job to research that (because I find that stuff so boring it's nearly impossible to make a decision; I don't want to think about shelves, I just want to turn up and buy what I'm told to by someone else), and he's not going to get round to that until he's finished recording the album he's working on, so until then we have more stuff than we can tidily accommodate. We are two adults in a three-bed house with two sheds and an attic and we still have more stuff than we can tidily accommodate. I would love to have less stuff (a lot of it isn't mine, although more of it is mine than I was willing to admit a few years ago, and when I'm not feeling great, the not-great sensation gets amplified really easily by the feeling of drowning in clutter) but I've at least acknowledged by now that this is a many-year journey for us.

Still, this thread has been a huge wake-up call that I'm perhaps not as gross as I thought and I still have work to do on untangling the big mess of shame inside me about how gross and inadequate I still innately believe I am, both around the house and in general. Thanks again to everyone for sharing!
posted by terretu at 5:18 AM on October 18 [30 favorites]


Does anyone polish furniture anymore? When I was a girl in the 70s spraying and wiping with Lemon Pledge was A Thing You Did, and then when I had my own home I just . . . . didn't, and I think the same is true of my siblings, and my friends, and now I realize that I don't even remember the last time I heard anything about furniture polish. (Which is good, that stuff stank, lemon my ass.)
posted by JanetLand at 5:47 AM on October 18 [12 favorites]


Lemon Pledge commercial, starring the late great Rose Marie.
posted by JanetLand at 5:52 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Hmmm. This thread just showed just showed up on SNL.
posted by Stanczyk at 7:34 AM on October 18 [12 favorites]


terretu I would like to offer you a big messy hug. I'm so sorry that your father instilled such deep feelings of worthlessness in you!! I'm also very glad that this thread helps you see that you are far more normal than he was. perhaps you will be able to internalize this and come to see that your living situation is no where near as squalid as you perceive. (but if it is, that's ok too!)
posted by supermedusa at 10:13 AM on October 18 [8 favorites]


so for me, music is crucial to mood adjustment, motivation etc., of course WFH makes that easier.

when I need to get motivated for something like cleaning up the kitchen but I am having a hard time? DURAN DURAN RIO. the album. put it on. LOUD. your ass will get right in gear!
posted by supermedusa at 10:15 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


I have lots of deeply-internalised shamefeels about how gross and incompetent I innately am thanks to this messed-up programming

Me too, terretu! I joke that any surface in my mom's house is probably sterile enough for emergency surgery because this is funnier than admitting to myself that I avoid cleaning because it reminds me of cowering while my mother screams at me for Being Bad at Cleaning, and so now my sense of worth is bound up in a thing I do reluctantly and poorly, and even in the Before Times I couldn't bear to have people over because I was too ashamed to let anyone else see how I live. So that is, um, an ongoing journey.

Does anyone polish furniture anymore?
My mom could probably write ad copy for Murphy's Oil Soap.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:37 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


You guys you know what 2020 was missing, turns out? COCKROACHES.

in my SHOWER.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:38 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


in my SHOWER.

I can't bring myself to favorite cockroaches but I'm so sorry!

Hope you are able to get rid of them soon.
posted by M. at 10:57 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


I LOVE YOU ALL.

I was going to confess that our broken old microwave/convection oven is and has been sitting practically in the middle of the kitchen floor

I replaced my console humidifier (win!) and no one on my neighbor mailing list wants my old one (fair) so it's in the middle of my kitchen floor LISTING because I had to take two of its wheels off to put on the new one. Not sure I can get it out of my apartment.

I went to the laundromat (win!) but the main reason I went was to get the mud off of one of the two pairs of pants I wear because I fell in the mud at the transfer station (taking out recycling - win!) but I forgot and left those pants at home and they are still muddy. I do laundry quarterly, even in before times mostly (and wash socks/undies in sink).

My dad kept the house I grew up in as though it was a show home

Same. My parents split when I was 11 and dad's new apartment/condo stayed a show home and mom's house turned into a very comfy place with a LOT of stuff, cats, and deferred maintenance (and yet also some screaming about how messy we kids were which I now know was more about her but... wow, that was bad parenting). They're both gone now, I own both of these houses (my sister and I are selling one, long story) and wow, how am I even alive? My small apartment is a combination of HYPERTIDY and "You dropped those coffee grounds behind the trash can by mistake weeks ago and say hello to them every day on the floor, who ARE you?"

9v battery sits on the kitchen table where I ripped it out of the smoke alarm when I was making something smokey last time.

Have to pay my therapist but I'm mad at how much therapy costs.

I have a SAD lamp which has illuminated just how gross it is under my desk.

I shower weekly, I am not a strong-smelling person anyhow and "messy bun" has always been my hairstyle. My motto "If you can smell me, you're too close." I am at peace with this.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:06 AM on October 18 [32 favorites]


The three categories:
• Clean, never worn
• Worn but still clean
• Worn, stained or smells funny

If I can keep these separate, and the third one out of sight but not completely out of mind, I am doing OK. The bills, the forms, the renewals, that's just a one-day-at-a-time, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other deal.

Come to think of it, pandamnit life is not that far off from my actual life. random flyers remain under the mail slot. The vacuum cleaner stays in the middle of the room for days or weeks. But some pictures on the wall drive me nuts if they aren't completely level. I can ignore the same stain on the cabinet door for weeks, but I have to swipe certain surfaces obsessively. I think jessamyn and I have the same balance, maybe distributed slightly differently, of these tolerance levels.
posted by not_on_display at 11:15 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


pandamnit! Hah!

Does anyone polish furniture anymore?

In the spirit of the thread, me, BUT NOT LATELY. (And not Lemon Pledge, which IIRC has silicone in it and will screw up a wax finish long-term. Beeswax is delightful tho.)

There are other more important things I'm not doing even though I have almost nothing else to do. I am not okay with the level of grunge I'm now in, it is not my natural state and it's getting to the point of snowballing, of thing B being dirty only because place A wasn't clean.
posted by clew at 12:39 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]


This morning I went to church on Zoom for the first time in weeks. I dimmed the lights, lit a candle and sat myself down with the laptop on the dining room table so that the dining room bookcases would be behind me. During the service my brethren and sistren on Zoom saw me in the soft warm glow of what might have been a cozy study, looking thoughtful and prayerful.

In reality, the soft light came from the cut-through to our filthy kitchen, six feet or so to my left. The floor to my right was covered in litter pellets from the cat box. Other than the spot I cleared for the laptop, the dining room table is buried under several weeks worth of mail, Amazon boxes and assorted other crap I've been trying to put away for months. It's a wonder the candle didn't ignite something. The books on the bookshelf of the "study" are mostly Terry Pratchett, and the shelves have not been dusted in months.

I'm sure everyone else's perfect setting was legit, though. Jesus probably knows for sure but if so he hasn't ratted anyone out about it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:46 PM on October 18 [15 favorites]


I miss UFYH and its gently sweary support for getting tidier from where you are. I liked that everyone’s stuff looked nice when they had ordered it to their satisfaction.
posted by clew at 1:37 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]


I'm sure everyone else's perfect setting was legit, though. Jesus probably knows for sure but if so he hasn't ratted anyone out about it.

But Jesus said "Blessèd are the pure in heart" not the "clean of house", so I think he'd be forgiving.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:38 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


We moved a month ago. There are boxes everywhere and we haven't even really been in the finished basement because there's so much to do upstairs. One of my cousins died this week, it's the 3rd anniversary of my niece's incredibly untimely death, I'm really missing my old house, I miss my daughter terribly (she's living in Chicago), I want this pandemic to be over, I can't seem to gather any motivation to DO stuff, I'm letting things fall off at work. It's all shit right now and I know things will get better but fuck if I can be positive right now.

Tl;dr: I can't get my shit together to unpack, nor can I muster the feelings to care about it.
posted by cooker girl at 3:06 PM on October 18 [11 favorites]


Update: the floor is now speakable. The dust bunnies were Flemish Giants. The cob webs were made of actual cob. The floor nonsense separated itself into strata and I am pretty sure one of the layers was annotated in Linear B.

Also, I was today years old when I figured out what the pointy vacuum attachment is for. It’s for grimy stair creases! I said this to Mr. e and he informed me that it is his “favorite vacuum attachment.” Someone needs to invent an emoji that is halfway between 😍 and 🙄.
posted by eirias at 3:57 PM on October 18 [15 favorites]


I feel very comforted reading this thread. Even prior to the pandemic I felt quite incompetent at adulting anyway, but since it hit, that's been the end of any pretence of adulting for me. The only reason my flat is even moderately clean and tidy is that I throw money at it and have a cleaner come in once every 2 weeks while I am out and send my bedsheets out for laundering. The only reason I'm getting any vegetables in me is that I'm ordering in otherwise I'd be living on Huel and cereal. I have no idea how I am on top of the recycling other than it's become part of my Friday morning ritual. I've got a ton of home repairs that I need to sort out - the light in my bedroom's on the fritz, my cupboard is broken, my bedframe is broken - but currently I see no capacity within myself to fix those things. Why does a bedroom need a light anyway? All you do is sleep in it! Am I right?

Frankly, if I go through a day achieving what I need to at work, eating something 3 times a day and managing one out of the many household chores that pile up in the blink of an eye, I count that day a staggering success.

I'm definitely struggling with my mental health as the pandemic continues; dysfunctional work situation, a lack of emotional and social stimulation at the level I need for my emotional health, and a creeping sense of uncertainty and dread about the state of the world is really getting to me, and messing with me in all sorts of ways. But one thing I find really helpful is when other people are really honest and open about their struggles so at least I don't have to feel like the only one who's struggling with what I've been brought up to think of as really basic stuff that everyone should be able to do with no problems.
posted by unicorn chaser at 4:22 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


I think I am going to have Combos for dinner? And maybe also fruit snacks? And I spent five hours yesterday morning crying about how I will never get a job (and some other stuff). But some of the crying was in the shower, so I'm fairly clean.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:58 PM on October 18 [17 favorites]


What I have is zones in my house:

Zone 1: Kitchen area and dishes. I do those almost daily.

Zone 2: Kitty Litter scooping: Every day or every other day, cannot go beyond or beware random poops.

Zone 3: Cat food dishes. Let's lick the gravy and leave the food, sometimes crunch the dry food. Cat food gravy dishes build up to must scoop the remainders and clean all dishes.

Zone 4: Bathroom. It's getting okay, but not so gross. Someone's coming to visit (rare, these days, but I've had 2 visitors within a week). Better give it a go.

Zone 5: Laundry. Has to be done when I'm getting low on undies. And whatever flavor of bottom or top it is this week. T-shirts, capris, getting cold, I can hold off with long-sleeved tops and comfy knit bottoms, socks? Let's buy some more. Oh, okay, let's go do some laundry and sit in the car for a while. It just depends.

Zone 7: Vacuuming. I can't stand it anymore, get out the vacuum. I only have a few rugs, entry way and such, so that's not too bad, except for the around-the-bed thing, but I've managed that so far.

Zone 8: Dusting. I have a rock collection, and shelves and surfaces, but I never see the dust until I've turned on all the lamps and it's time to watch TV and I sit there and see the dust. Oh! That's dusty! I should get onto that tomorrow! I certainly will do that!

Zone 9: Into bed and reading. I should probably sort thru all of my clothes and did a few not too long ago, but now it's time for reading by the lamp, and all other things must go away.

Zone 10: I'm making coffee now, can't you see? Stop begging me for food until the coffee pot is going. Then I'll get onto my list, after I've watched some great YT videos on British people living in French chateaux's and how wonderful their life is with many volunteers to make their household work.

Zone 11: I've fed you now, why are you staring at me? I've petted you, told you how pretty you are, played with you, will you PLEASE let me drink my coffee now?

Zone 12: Goes out to check the mail box. Another 2-3 flyers and some junk mail and bills. Looks at giant pile of medical bills and junk mail. Goes back to watching YT videos about cooking until can't stand it anymore and orders a pizza from the corner store, because that's at least talking to another human being.

Zone 13: I gave you your treats, man! WTF? Why are you counter surfing? You stopped doing that a while ago and now you are doing it again! You were so cute this morning, why are you being suck a jerk now?

Zone 14: Sitting on the couch, watching McLeod's Daughters. Why the fuck did they kill off or get rid of that character now? How many iterations of bad guy comes to town or bad thing happens will I have to go thru? Getting so bored that 1980's All Creatures Great and Small looks good compared to this.

Zone 15: I want flannel sheets. But the good ones are expensive so I have to look up all other flannel sheets and reviews until I get a headache to realize that maybe I don't want flannel sheets, or maybe I want jersey sheets, or maybe I should just put the extra comforter on the bed to figure out if I really want flannel sheets and figure it out in the morning, because if they are rough and they pill, what did I really want flannel sheets for anyway?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:01 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


Marie, I got two sets of the Target sheets that were recommended by the Wirecutter and they are great. I got them in January (ish? I can't remember, but it was before...) and they are holding up nicely.
posted by mogget at 5:27 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


This should go in a FUCKING FUCK thread but here goes:

We abruptly decided to move into my partner’s apartment in Northern Westchester in March. He had never packed up and moved out so it has been a storage space with a bathroom and kitchen. We had been discussing getting out of the city for a while and this seemed like a great time to bug out. So we took what we needed and left my place as the de facto storage space.

Until last week, when we learned my partner’s cousin was badly burned in a cooking accident and her mother needed a place to stay. We offered my place because it is empty and relatively close to the hospital.

BUT... it was very, very dirty and so we spent four days doing the deepest clean I’ve done there (and I’ve lived there for over 18 years). But the place still looks so worn down and grubby. In addition, the dishwasher and oven are broken and the floor is hideously ugly and chipped and needs to be replaced, not to mention all the other deferred maintenance.

This comes on top of all the caretaking we have been doing for my partner’s mother and her husband since March. It’s been a nonstop schedule of cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking out garbage and recycling, driving them to appointments, and taking her to visit her husband in the hospital, and now hospice. Because she never liked driving, she won’t drive further afield than her normal outer suburban routes. The highway? The city? Forget it. So now we have to grapple with new chauffeuring needs and our increasing levels of burnout.

So yeah my adulting skills are fucking maxed out these days, and not even on my own stuff. I can barely keep the dishes washed and the litter box scooped.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:06 PM on October 18 [12 favorites]


I appreciate that mogget, I am looking at them now but my brain says what if, with my giant red green plaid comforter. Trust me, it's just my brain, not you.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:14 PM on October 18


Laundry. omg, the laundry. In general, the crap on every flat surface because our roommate is moving out soon and I'm waiting for him to move out to give us room to work.

My dissertation but my advisor has said if I can get done writing this fall I should graduate in the spring so this HAS GOT TO GET DONE. Ahem.

Work in general. My grading is... uh... behind.

But marriage is doing ok and my plants are alive and I wore "real" clothes all day today, so... I'll take it?
posted by joycehealy at 6:41 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]


Growing up, I always felt like I missed out on some vital lessons, like, oh, sorry, I was absent the day you covered [thing normal people are supposed to know]. It hasn't gotten much better as an adult. I think of it as some combination of LARP and cosplay as I pretend to be an adult and roll along as a trash fire sufficiently contained so as to keep things afloat.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:42 PM on October 18 [10 favorites]


I got my alcohol consumption under control and am doing more than lying around sick and tired and hating myself. My house is pretty clean although it needs mopped and I have a room full of unpacked boxes from our move in June?, July?. Kid wants a dog in a bad way and husband who is allergic to dogs has reluctantly agreed. He initially agreed on a hypoallergenic type dog but kid immediately passed go for $200 and wants very cute, regular allergenic dog and cries if she hears a tone of resistance from us. I think we’re screwed.
posted by waving at 6:42 PM on October 18 [4 favorites]


The cockroaches. After eight years in South Florida I have given up on the cockroaches. They are in here, they will always be in here, I just let them walk by and pretend not to see them. According to my pest control person it's a good thing that they are gigantic cockroaches rather than little normal-sized ones, because it means that they are the kind that live outside and sneak in, not the kind that live inside and breed here. (Why do I have gigantic cockroaches when I also have a pest control person? Don't ask me. I've given up.) Two days ago there was one in the drawer where I keep my cooking utensils and I just pulled out the spoon I was about to use and rinsed it off then used it, rather than do what a rational person would do, namely, burn down the house and move back North.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:02 PM on October 18 [20 favorites]


I keep up my house pretty well on the whole but I always have a short list of minor projects / todo items that drag out for many months:

3x3 plaster hole in my living room ceiling where a decorative post used to attach to the ceiling (18 months)

Drywall hole in my bathroom left over from a shower valve replacement (not a moisture damage risk) (6 months)

Metal housing from my left side view mirror on my car got knocked off by someone, have been driving around with exposed plastic internals and wires since (24 months)
posted by MillMan at 7:22 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


So many boxes to take out and recycle! "Hey bro, do you like boxes? I got some boxes for your boxes," I recently told my partner, who opined that he was in fact sick of boxes. Now every time I get another package I feel (humorously) guilty. Also my (card table that is a makeshift) desk has always got too much crap on it. It's never possible to see the surface! Why.
posted by ferret branca at 8:33 PM on October 18 [5 favorites]


And I was hesitant to check this thread because it would be depressing to read. Ha!
For many years I had a sign in the kitchen that said, "No one has ever gone to their grave saying, 'I wish I had done more dishes/laundry/vacuuming.' "
More hugs, less fuss.

You caught me after doing a load of dishes. Shocking, but true. Not the metal bowls, they are still soaking (no room in the dishwasher). And not the pots and skillets and... stuff... on the range top. Do I have a clean pizza cutter? Maaaybe.

Honorable Eldest Daughter came by today and did her laundry. My four baskets of clean clothes are still piled on each other on my side of the bed. But hey! I did a clothes purge a few years ago and (I think) there is room in the five-drawer dresser... if I move things to get into it.

And once again I need to put a heavy string on the toilet flapper. For now it's pull the rubber disk, let the toilet bowl drain, rinse and repeat later. At least this toilet lid is not buried behind the new drywall (different building project, another lidless toilet).
Alas, the toilet lids do not match. We got one from Habitat for Humanity. It'll do.

We've lived in this house since 1985. The kids have offered/threatened to help KonMari it. Much laughter ensued.

And my Xmas/birthday/40th wedding anniversary present is a new crown. Waaaay in the back of my teeny tiny mouth where it cannot be seen. I spend one and a half hours in the dentist chair with "Christmas Can-Can" and "This is Halloween" stuck on replay in my head. Oh, mercy.
We can send a man to the moon, but we can't make smaller dentist drills.
Still sore, but in two weeks my smile will be... the same. No caramel apples for me, please.
posted by TrishaU at 9:27 PM on October 18 [5 favorites]


I've always dealt with the mail pile occasionally, when I had some extra energy to sort through the accumulation and deal with it. I'm fairly sure that used to be once or twice a month, so I'm pretty sure I did that in January and probably even in February. I had trouble understanding why the dentist or doctor's bills would have the list of penalties for when payments were returned, because I always saw them a good month before they were due. After February, I have totally sorted through the mail, tossing all the junk, opening everything uncertain, and finding the occasional bill. Twice. I managed it in June and was somewhat horrified to find out it contained something to be paid in May. And so I wasn't going to let that happen again, I'd make sure to do this more often. Like September. This time I cared less about the bill I unearthed, just handed it off to my spouse to pay (I triage, he solves the problems I find). I'm sure the next bills will keep just fine until December or January. (Most are on autopay, so it's just the unexpected ones.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:30 PM on October 18 [4 favorites]


They are in here, they will always be in here, I just let them walk by and pretend not to see them.

Ugh I know and yet I can't help but take it personally!

I grew up scrambling to stay on top of housework because my mother couldn't, and my father would judge her on it when he came to get us or visited the house. And because my BFF's family was well-off and thought my poor-ass family was a bad influence on their kid, so I was determined to make our house above reproach.

My own homes as an adult were never perfect by any stretch because I had pets and a lack of funds, but they were always basically fine: clean dishes, clean linens, tidied up. I wanted any friend or relative who visited to feel comfortable and cared for, and to feel like they could touch any surface in my home without inwardly going "oh, gross."

But then as an adult I spent years in a relationship with someone whose childhood was marked by the cleanliness of a frustrated stay-at-home mom with plenty of money, and ended up feeling as though I had been raised by wolves and was just fundamentally incompetent at maintaining a home. And yet somehow the house we shared was never actually very clean or welcoming or friendly to guests. How could it have been? I didn't do dishes right, so I stopped doing dishes. I didn't wash the floor right, so I stopped washing the floor. Our bed was always immaculately made, though; I'll give my ex that much. I don't bother with no hospital corners in my own time.

Now I have my own home again and FFS THAT SHIT IS CLEAN, I don't even have any furniture to dust! Squeaky clean, and yet. Roaches. Gross little judges from the back of my psyche reminding me that I'm just a poor kid raised by wolves who'll never live a gracious and comfortable life.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:31 PM on October 18 [7 favorites]


I am constantly astonished by how many dishes one person can produce. I hate doing dishes normally, and I extra hate having to do it more often now that I'm at home, eating and cooking every. darn. meal.

I never thought I would need to own more than 8 forks for anything, but I'm really reconsidering.

Other than that, I'm actually doing okay? I spent a week at a very clean, very minimalist AirBnb and was reminded at how much better I feel in a clean and neat space. Granted, I was also on vacation, and I know I need to have more THINGS than basically a hotel has, but I super tidied up my bedroom and added some details I like and it's my favorite room now.

I even make my bed now. Okay, it's in view of my conference call background, but it also makes me feel 'together', okay??
posted by rachaelfaith at 10:10 PM on October 18 [5 favorites]


We've lived in this house since 1985

Holy cow! I think the longest I've ever lived in one place is maybe 5 or 6 years. I just can't even imagine what 35 years in the same place would be like...humongously massive accumulation of Stuff is my best guess.

I've always dealt with the mail pile occasionally

95% of my mail is junk (useless sales flyers and the like) , 4% is paper bills that utility companies insist on sending me even though I pay all my bills electronically, and <1% is actually interesting personal mail. The landlord for the apartment complex has fortuitously put a bin under the mailbox stand to dump junk mail in, which stays perpetually filled, and eliminates the need to carry junk mail to my apartment only to chuck it in my recycling bin. I got 99 problems but the mail ain't one.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 PM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Also: roaches are simply due to geography, NOT a personal rebuke! When I was married and lived in Florida, the house was kept very clean but roaches were simply A Fact Of Life no matter what. Don't take the little fuckers personally. Go ahead and hate them if you want to, but it's not your fault they're there.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:25 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]


Friday I got a call from the doctor's office to remind me that I'm due for a mammogram.

The last time I had a mammogram was on election day in 2016. As I sat in traffic on the way home, full of optimism, I listened over and over again to Sex on Wheels .

I could try to explain how cheesy and upbeat it is but the important part was yelling the lines "history is written by winners baby / so let's make a little of our own tonight." And we were winners and we were going to elect the first woman president and make history tonight.

I'd have never guessed that the day my breasts were palpitated by a stranger named Wendy would turn out to be the last really good day since then.

Thursday night I was supposed to be front row center at the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show. It was going to be a hurrah - either final or not - before the November election; an amazing pandemonium to prepare for what comes next.

A few days after I bought my ticket I was chatting with one of the guys who works at my liquor store and enthusing about the show. The guy checking out at the other register said "good luck with that."

The next day I got an email saying that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds had cancelled their 2020 North American tour.


RE: bad at life
I'm not good at self-care - feeding myself or cleaning the house or keeping in touch with friends and I've been convinced for a long time that it's due to low self-esteem. Recently, with my therapist, I realized that I have so much going on in my head that I'm impervious to physical discomfort, I just tune it out. It's definitely one of the imbalances in my life, I'm probably at 90% mental whirlwind and 10% aware of my own physicality. TBH, realizing this has made me feel better and a lot less guilty.
posted by bendy at 12:26 AM on October 19 [9 favorites]


While we slept, our old cat died up in his spot above the shoe rack, stretched like making one last leap or turning his smooth belly to the fire.
posted by pracowity at 1:03 AM on October 19 [21 favorites]


Oh, I’m sorry, pracowity.
posted by eirias at 3:09 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Very sorry to hear, pracowity :(
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:33 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I have no idea how to do most simple household repairs, but instead of learning, I lean hard on things like scotch tape and thumb tacks like I’m some kind of shitty underachieving Macgyver.

As a Very Handy Person who still manages to be quite the underachiever: all you need is some baling wire (or paperclips), superglue, and a pocket knife, and you've got the full First Aid for Houses kit!
posted by notsnot at 5:08 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, pracowity--the death of cats, even old ones, even when it's expected, is hard. Hugs.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:11 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


So I will eventually read everyone else's and I'm so sorry pracowity, but mine is also cat related. She has a UTI (emergency vet trip was logistically terrible for reasons pandemic and non but otherwise OK) and she is just...I'm sorry everyone...bleeding on things. She's now been on antibiotics for 2.5 days so she'll be done bleeding soon if she isn't already - she doesn't seem to be so uncomfortable this morning - but right now my apartment is DISGUSTING and I can't really just wholesale fix it. I'm after what I can with disinfectant but I will have to replace my duvet cover and possibly my duvet (luckily I am a cat servant of eight years and buy inexpensive ones), bath mat, her favourite cardboard box (which is of course sentimental only, and for her only), and my 19 year old couch has probably had it this time.

Yech.
posted by wellred at 5:33 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


I’m so very sorry, pracowity.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:48 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry for your loss, pracowity.
posted by rpfields at 6:04 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Does anyone polish furniture anymore

I grew up with a grandmother who was in the Very Old Furniture business (she was into the 18th c) and she had a lot of friends, mostly in the UK, but some in the US , who were obsessively into handcrafting furniture to replicatechairs, tables, beds etc from the 16th to early 19th centuries. They were a weird, lovable crew of mostly dudes, a generation younger than Nana, with complicated facial hair and lots of thoughts about Fairport Convention. But it’s from hanging out with them in drafty workshops in England when I was 12 years old, drinking too-strong tea and eating slightly stale Jaffa cakes, trying to figure out the music (Pentangle, prob) that I first honed in on the oddly calminf activing of applying beeswax polish to a heavy Windsor chair and “Karate Kid”-ing it until it shined like it har been worn that way by a thounsand satisfied sits by the fire.

I don’t have a lot of solid wood furnitue in the house because budget and IKEA, but i keep the beeswax polish around for rainy Sundays and moments od intense nostalgia (the smell alone...)
posted by thivaia at 6:34 AM on October 19 [9 favorites]


I made it to "inbox 1000" a few months ago. Hoping to get back to it soon, but it will be a challenge.

Since household chores are more fun than a lot of the work I'm putting off, those are going pretty well. On the other hand, it's been 20 months since my unit's heater worked. I share four walls with a big building and have pretty good windows, so the ambient temperature indoors never gets below around 60F, even with it's -20F outside. Last winter I just put on a sweater. But, I really should spend a couple of hours fixing the thing in case it's ever safe to invite guests here. I could pay someone to work on it, but it's so easy to do myself and the contractors I've met so far do such a crappy job that I hesitate to do so. But, it's never the thing that's either on fire or a fun way to procrastinate while avoiding the things that are on fire. And so it never gets done.
posted by eotvos at 7:00 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry, pracowity.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:12 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


my personal trainer recently got wind of my horrible eating routine (breakfast, starve from noon-whenever I order takeout) and suggested I try protein shakes. I got a fruity one that was kinda gross but manageable, told her a bit proudly I managed to drink some of it before our session, and she said "You should find something you actually like..." which was pretty discouraging. At this point, any food I manage to eat is good food, and damn your shoulds.

pracowity, I'm very sorry.
posted by snerson at 7:15 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


Best wishes, pracowity, to everyone who loved your cat. And, also, sympathy to wellred. (Not expressing annoyance to a cat ruining furniture through no fault of their own can be a challenge. Our elderly and leaky cat died two years ago. Little bedding from that time remains. I don't regret the endless laundry. But, it was a pain.)
posted by eotvos at 7:24 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


I've been saying "oh...honey" a lot in mournful tones.
posted by wellred at 7:29 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


I could go on for a long time here. Before 2020 I didn't think I could be more of a failure at adulting but this year has seen some new lows. Highlights include:

-still haven't transferred my health card to the new province I moved to...2 years ago. Not sure how much trouble I'll be in if I need to go to the hospital or even get a covid test. Yes, I am aware there is a pandemic on.

-the amount of work I've done all pandemic is shamefully low even compared to usual. I have no kids or other challenges (aside from - obviously - terrible executive functioning). Usually when I get far enough behind, the anxiety will kick in and make me functional, but these days it's just leading to more extreme avoidance.

-I've just completely given up on putting away laundry now and live out of the clean laundry baskets (to be fair this has been true most of my life, but now I'm not even trying to stop). Household chores in general remain the disaster they've always been

-I'm just barely clinging on to my "3x workouts per week" goal, and I can only manage to do 5-10 minutes most days, which doesn't really accomplish anything. Also eating an impressive amount of junk and candy, watching an impressive amount of tv, and (surprised pikachu) now at my heaviest and most out of shape ever

-It took me a full 6 months with no light in my bedroom to change a light bulb (with the help of AskMe) and that was my productivity highlight for like, the whole month
posted by randomnity at 7:51 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


The bokashi bin under the sink. Has gone horribly wrong. So wrong. So horribly. Providing we don't open the lid, you wouldn't know. But it lurks. It lurks and festers and I really should do something but I fear it.

And also, we only get our bin collected once a fortnight and the bin is often full by that point so there hasn't been a good point to try and dispose of the contents and also, as mentioned, I fear it.

feeeeaaaaar.
posted by halcyonday at 7:56 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Oh and also, the last time I saw my wallet was when I went to the vet back in August and I've looked for it (unsuccessfully) exactly once since then.
posted by randomnity at 8:09 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


randomnity: -I'm just barely clinging on to my "3x workouts per week" goal, and I can only manage to do 5-10 minutes most days, which doesn't really accomplish anything.

in my experience, you are doing the very important work of maintaining the habit, so that when you do have the capacity to do more than 5-10 minutes per session, you don't have to kickstart the habit again. In 2018, I defined a successful gym visit as "show up and warm up." I could leave as soon as I wanted to after that, but after I limbered up I usually felt up to some other exercise. Often not though, which was fine! I already achieved my gym goal. I think of this kind of work as maintaining the probability I'll do it again next time. And if I do it again next time, there is a possibility I may have the capacity to step it up. don't read anything into the 2018 thing. the gym I had a membership with was so nasty/dirty that I eventually stopped going.

I guess the tl;dr there is that sometimes, managing executive dysfunction is a weird odds game.

... which isn't to invalidate how you feel about it, at all. I just think your current best is pretty good! I'm proud that you are trying every week, every day even, and glad you shared. From one dysfunctionist to another, hugs and hand squeezes. We're going to make it.
posted by snerson at 8:38 AM on October 19 [10 favorites]


I love this thread! Here's my list:

-- BATHROOMS. They're disgusting. Genuinely disgusting and stinky, it's awful.
-- Also stinky: how do I need to take out the trash SO often? It's bizarre.
-- Laundry. I do it, I just don't put it away. Which is annoying, because then I have to frantically dig through it before work and also it's always all crumpled.
-- The car has had the Needs Maintenance light AND the Tire Pressure Alert light on for months and I can't get it to the shop. My boyfriend says he'll fix it for me but then that's never what we want to do when we get to spend time together, so...it just continues to be messed up. Which sucks and is probably dangerous and is a crisis waiting to happen, I'm sure. And that's on top of my car badly needing a wash.
-- Floors. I did manage to shampoo the rugs last weekend but my hope that that'll last until...forever apparently isn't happening. I need to get my robot vac programmed again.
-- I kept my plants alive and they're now looking very happy inside, which is amazing! But apparently the complex is going to do something with my balcony (paint the railings? something) and they want all my stuff off of it. My stuff includes a wrought iron dining set and lots of pots and planting supplies, so that's not happening. But I know they're going to come back and get annoyed at me for not taking everything inside somehow. So one day I'm going to come home to evidence that strangers have trooped through the house while I was gone AND a strongly worded letter telling me how I'm failing, and I'm dreading it.
-- I need to take my cat to the vet for booster shots and I need to get my dog's pet license renewed and for some reason it just seems like a lot of trouble and keeps slipping my mind.
-- My prescriptions are filled for now, but my doctor is really horrible about refusing to renew them and I'm worried about it all the time.

If only the house were clean and the errands run, I feel like I could relax so much better. Which I need to do because work has been relentless, AND I'm taking incredibly difficult professional exams, AND I'm applying to law school and sometimes I feel like I'm just going to lay down and not get up again because it's Too. Much. Work.

And I haven't written fiction for at least a month and haven't even done more than made "hmm yes" noises during writers' group meetings for at least two, and it's very sad and getting me down...but I also know that, realistically, I won't be able to do more for either my writing or the group until January or February.

But! I take my dog on long treks through the woods every day and she is slowly getting trained and is very happy, my friends and family and boyfriend are lovely, I'm halfway through knitting a sweater that I started more than a year ago and just managed to pick back up last week, I'm caught up on the Great British Bake-Off, I'm having the roast chicken and pumpkin pie that I cooked on Saturday for lunch today, there's a big stack of novels that I'm partly through patiently and happily sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to slip into them again, my poll worker training is finally happening in two days, and if I can just hold it together for like two or three more months of RELENTLESS WORK AND STRESS then I think I can actually have a breather and be happy for a minute?

How do people have time to decorate and celebrate holidays?
posted by rue72 at 8:41 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Hey everyone - I started this MetaTalk thread to help people with all nickel-and-dime problems in our shrunken lives that might have easy fixes.
posted by notsnot at 8:48 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Jesus, I can't even math correctly anymore. It's been 2 years since my niece died, not 3. Feels like both forever and just yesterday.
posted by cooker girl at 9:08 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


The last time I changed my sheets was February, and that was only because I had a visitor. (Even though he knew nothing of my sheet-changing habits, I still failed that audition. :( ) When I'm alone, I just ... don't notice that they need changing. Like jessamyn I don't smell much, so my roommate tells me, and they are nice, soft LL Bean fleece sheets, and ... it's just one more thing to do.

It's funny, because I know people who MUST change them MORE THAN once a week, because they NOTICE it. They are sensitive, I guess? Except that I'm sensitive too; I do need fleece or jersey knit sheets, and I pretty much only wear jersey knit shirts because my skin is tactically sensitive, and I notice that. But I don't notice the dead skin cells on my sheets. We're all sensitive in difference ways, I guess?

How do people have time to decorate and celebrate holidays?

HA! I just don't. I can't. It's too much of a reminder of the family that I'll never have. I always found it stressful anyway, and envied the guys who got their wives to do all the shopping. More people now understand my position now, but for a long time it was fully expected that I'd decorate and jump for joy and squeal for the holidays. Sorry, Santa. (So grateful for the pandemic now, so I can retreat even more...)
posted by sockerpup at 9:12 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


All my life I've been bad at maintenance type chores. Anything you do, and then have to do again because life. Dishes, laundry, etc. I convince myself that I'm saving time by waiting as long as possible before doing these chores, so that over my lifetime I'll do them fewer times total. So I end up with a lot of extra dishes, extra underwear, etc, so I can let it pile up to absurd heights before cleaning.

Every time I look at dishes to be done, my thought process goes "there are still clean three forks left, if I eat nothing but sandwiches off of paper towels for the rest of the week, and use a toothpick to spread mayo, I can go until Saturday before I have to do dishes. Or I could just buy a box of plastic forks and get another week of freedom. Unless the roommate uses spoons more quicly than usual, does she have icecream this week?"

Putting away clean laundy is the worst because my husband died while we were folding laundry and it just makes me so sad I often start crying while hanging things up. So usually my drawers and closet contain only out-of-season or weird stuff I never wear.

I get dressed out of two baskets of clean laundry, and the dirty laundy is piled on the floor. One tall hamper holds clean towels and sheets because I never get around to folding them. To find something to wear, I have to move things between the baskets. Everything is sad and wrinkled, and if anything touches the floor it becomes dirty and has to go in the floor pile. When one basket is empty I go through the dirty pile and pick out a load of what I need the most, and the cycle begins again.
posted by buildmyworld at 9:12 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


Our five-year old's distance learning kindergarten may destroy us all. It's just so fucking stupid, I swear he'd be better off just watching 3 hours of PBS kids programming. It takes him about 400 hours to do an "exercise" unless we sit down and do it with him, so basically it's he gets nothing done or we get nothing done.
posted by skewed at 9:27 AM on October 19 [5 favorites]


I realize there’s all kinds of basic house stuff that needs to be done and hasn’t due to my anxiety levels. I have been writing a book (it is almost finished) and distance teaching (which i am very bad at).

Like cleaning out Shackleton’s Expedition food stores. What is in the freezer? Is it from Shackleton’s Expedition? Is it Ötzi the Ice Man? Is it 20,000 year old woolly mammoth? Is it relicts of the Great Old Ones in the Mountains of Madness? I have no idea. Since I decide what the household eat for the most part, this stuff will never be eaten, but it is “wasteful” to throw it away, so it will never be thrown away either.

We did decide that a moon cake kept for a couple of years on the fruitcake principle of eternal (in)edibility (sorry, Wordshore and other Brits, US fruitcake is inedible) was no longer edible; it was not moldy or spoiled looking, but the fat or oil had turned rancid.
posted by bad grammar at 9:46 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


My husband and I were both sent home (from different jobs) on the same day mid-March. We moved into this house on January 1, and were SO looking forward to our new neighborhood, exploring, setting up house, all that jazz. Being stuck IN the house has taken a whole lot of wind out of my sails. There are still lots of boxes, still lots of chores, and most days at the end of my (not too long, full of meetings) work time, I just...can't. We have housecleaning come in every other week (for the FIRST time in my entire life), so that takes even MORE off my plate. I feel so guilty for this ennui - there are so many ways that I am very lucky, but this constant downward pressure on my spirit - my enthusiasm - is really tough. Maybe this goes in a "needs therapy" thread, not a "bad at life" thread, but I'm having a hard time separating the two right now.
posted by ersatzkat at 9:55 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


I am slowly calcifying into a chair shape. My range of motion on head-turning and arm-lifting is noticeably reduced since the turn of the year. Oh, 20 mins a day of yoga/stretching would fix that, you say? Use it or lose it, you say? OH WELL

Also, at this point my productivity at work is a fever dream, a chimera. I have a great, totally functional routine at my desk - 9-5ish - of MeFi, checking several peoples' tumblrs, doomscrolling on two news sites (headlines only, fuck an article) and other important time-wasting tactics. My deliverable goals can go hang. I am great at faking my way through a meeting, but grinding out the work is just completely beyond me in 2020.

Cooking and cleaning are acceptable activities since they need to be done and they keep me away from my desk. Yesterday I did 5 loads of laundry, made 2 beds (incl. duvet covers!!!), and accomplished a pot roast. But I had a fight with my almost 5-year-old (no chill or dignity in this house, I will yell at a kid who is yelling at me) so partner had to take over play while I nursed my disappointment with myself in another room. It's great, parenting is great.

Wishing you all well. Commenting here is another thing I am finding difficult.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:00 AM on October 19 [17 favorites]


Also: roaches are simply due to geography, NOT a personal rebuke! When I was married and lived in Florida, the house was kept very clean but roaches were simply A Fact Of Life no matter what. Don't take the little fuckers personally. Go ahead and hate them if you want to, but it's not your fault they're there.

I don't live in Florida, though. Or anywhere that roaches are an inevitability. I live in the kind of environment where you're supposed to be able to live roach-free if you're not a garbage nightmare.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:09 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Oh, apparently November is National Clean Your Home Month (NaClYoHo), which seems to be very Unfuck Your Habitat flavored. UFYH gets all the thumbs up from me, a perpetually depressed person. It is a very helpful framework for taking care of yo' shit when you feel like shit. I gently recommend it to anyone in this thread who feels up to perusing it. I find the UFYH style (firm and understanding) to be very comforting.


NaClYoHo manifesto
. Perhaps if anyone else is interested, we could have a thread for participating? It would be very interesting to hear what everybody does and what podcasts they are listening to. Not to mention - celebrating small accomplishments sounds like what a lot of us need right now.
posted by snerson at 10:14 AM on October 19 [15 favorites]


I don't live in Florida, though. Or anywhere that roaches are an inevitability.
I do, but I am nevertheless completely aware that the roaches are here because I am here with my lax, lax do-nothing ass, because
Oh, 20 mins a day of yoga/stretching would fix that, you say? Use it or lose it, you say? OH WELL
Exactly. Extrapolate to every single arena of potential maintain-a-somewhat-okay-baseline activity and there you will find me, likely half asleep watching unchallenging Netflix and slouched on a couch that I can't access without stepping over a vacuum cleaner that has been sitting there untouched for weeks. Everything is a huge challenge, so fuck it all.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:25 AM on October 19 [7 favorites]


I’m so very sorry for your loss, pracowity.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:26 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


oh, pracowity. I'm so sorry. Even when that is kind of how we wish they would go, quietly and peacefully in their own spots, it's still awful.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:29 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


I caved and bought an Amazon Echo solely because I am so scatterbrained I can't keep anything in my mind for more than 5 minutes. I use it to remind me of meetings and appointments, as well as embarrassingly simple things, like to check the coffee pot 10 minutes after I put it on, or to take my medication every morning.
posted by Stoof at 10:41 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


pracowity, I am sorry.

I'm doing that thing where I'll do the sweeping one week and then... dustpanning the stuff I sweep the next week.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:24 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


A lot of people probably think it's snowing right now here in Minnesota, but I'm looking out my window at my back yard and the hammock stand is still set up, so it's clearly not snowing yet.
posted by nickmark at 2:34 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


Pleased to report I bought a 3' extending Swiffer Duster arm at the grocery store this weekend, plus a big box of dusters, which I use because I have a lot of vaulted ceilings, shelves, and furniture with little gaps behind and SoCal is not only really cobwebby but our dust is actually tar and ash for part of the year. Then I went to the hardware store and was reminded they make 6' extending Swiffer Duster arms which is the one I actually needed. Maybe I'll use both at once, one up high and one down low, like a dusty cobwebby semaphore operator.

CW deliberate vomit/
I was woken up by a panic attack early this morning, surprisingly the first of the pandemic. I can't ever get the Mammalian Dive Reflex trick to work to stop my panic attacks, largely because none of our sinks are conducive to being filled and dunking your face properly. The only thing that works is to throw up, and that does work instantly, but it can often take an hour or longer to get to the point where my body will get on with it.

Then I slept for 3 more hours and am struggling through the start of my final week at this job pretty badly. I had every intention to not come down with senioritis this week but it's not looking good, folks.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:18 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]


House stuff is actually all right for now and I do think I'm actually getting enough exercise, but I'm really struggling to get anything done at work. And unlike a recent anon asker, I don't have a bullshit job, I like my job. It just feels utterly peripheral.
posted by tangerine at 3:35 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


> They like to be vacuumed now and again who knew?!?!?!?

One reason to vacuum smoke detectors is because they get spiders in them that keep setting them off even when the battery is fine and ask me how I know.....
posted by gingerbeer at 4:54 PM on October 19 [6 favorites]


So I was moving mail on my dresser last night and I discovered the bill for my life insurance that was due September 5th. It's clearly been sitting there since sometime in August. The only reason I found it is because I picked up my absentee ballot to fill it out. Then I freaked out about the bill and forgot about the ballot.

I keep getting texts from Walgreens about some prescription I need to refill, but I have no idea which one it is.

Once in a while I manage to get a 7 minute work out in. And I just ate 2 cookie dough balls that I froze earlier in the pandemic. My stomach is rumbling and I have fuckin clue what to eat.

Add that to a migraine and ugh.

Over the weekend I made cupcakes to take to work for my birthday tomorrow. I need the make the frosting. I think they're going to just get sprinkled with powdered sugar because I can't face washing the mixing bowl. It'll be ok. They're closer to a muffin than a cupcake (apple/carrot cake).
posted by kathrynm at 5:08 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


pracowity, wishing peace to your heart.

Gratitude to all of you who have made my abnormal life seem a bit like the rest of you.
posted by vers at 6:59 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


I found a way to fuck up cooking a Hot Pocket. I am objectively Not Doing Well.

There is nothing I can do. Nothing.
posted by Lonnrot at 7:27 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Oh phooey, Lonnrot, I hope the smoke alarm didn’t go off and you didn’t burn your mouth and you have another one. And a moment to rest and recalibrate.
posted by clew at 8:04 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


"I caved and bought an Amazon Echo solely because I am so scatterbrained I can't keep anything in my mind for more than 5 minutes."

I use mine to scold my children without getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m. I grab my phone and tell Alexa to tell them "quiet down now or I'm coming for the TV remote." #BestParent

"Or anywhere that roaches are an inevitability."

I took a class about bugs and the professor said that roaches are basically coterminus with humans because they're our perfect bug-match -- they like to eat recently-dead (but not rotting) food, they like the same temperature and humidity range we do, etc. Prior to climate control they died in cooler climates in the winter, not having tiny roach clothes to wear. But now that buildings are heated all winter to human comfort levels, roaches can live everywhere we do. Most of the time they're hiding, but they're apparently there. Everywhere humans live, roaches are now an inevitability.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:38 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


One of my housemates grew up with rats and I've been fibbing so as not to set that thousand yard stare off. I move the stove all the time just to clean, sure I do. Things would go so much better if I find it first.

We always get mice in the spring for a couple weeks. One had a really long corduroy tail and grew into it, less tail every time. The mice left. Poodle is ambivalent. Rat is a fellow mammal and is welcome to water and food if things are that bad for you -have at it- this poodle going to bed. Poodle yawns and goes upstairs. Poodle that trees bears and killed a coyote thumbs her nose at this.

I thought that it was her kid that would flip their lid if they saw a rat but she came right in the bathroom when I was sitting, turned her back and said not to tell her mom about giant rats lets just do this. Mom was traumatized when I played with a rat. Best I can do, shitus interuptus, is "Why do you think your mom was so upset?" And I get "I think she thought her mom would be really upset." Aah.

I'd like to recklessly pursue that line of generational fail but I see awful codependent issues if I even acknowledge that remark so I wipe my ass instead and kiddo says it's under the stove so we go in the kitchen and she points out the footprints and they are real flour-caked rodent footprints leading from the pantry under the stove. Part of the flour bag is under there with a chicken thigh bone and an empty 2 ounce white ceramic container not of this century. None of that was there an hour prior and the last two items are not from this house.

You get some strange alliances with unrelated kids you live with. Suddenly we were talking unfiltered about everything related to rats of all kinds and kiddo is getting blunter and blunter, drawing lucid parallels to her mom's fears and why they are not hers and what hers are. It tops the best prior conversation we ever had and the really deep stuff welling out of her is because she's trying to justify killing a rat and that spills over into everything important.

It's really fast, this rat. We've been reading UK tabloid stories and kiddo just wants to stand on the stove all night with a pistol the next week when her mom is away. If anyone could do that...I refocus her on existing holes in the basement and we plug them up with shotcrete, start upstairs to bed and the rat is coming down from the landing.

It's fully grown into it's tail now and it stops halfway down the flight to sniff the air. A fit cat that size would be 30 lbs. Kiddo is 3 steps down and I don't think rat can see her. She's got a mallet from pounding steel wool into old drains and she adeptly flips it out of her tool pocket and holds it upside down by the lanyard with three splayed fingers in an odd but intentional grip. Whipping it by the lanyard could be faster I guess but there is grit under my feet and I look down and that hole wasn't there two hours ago. Nevermind the standoff a few steps up-this was something trying to get OUT while we were plugging holes at the other end. I'm standing on cement rubble that has been clawed up and pushed behind. We should have heard that.

Baam. She did it. Rats dead on the landing. Kids fine with it. I guess I'm supposed to say something now but what? She's poking it with the hammer.

"So if you have kids?"

"Yeah?" Pokes rat.

"And they have kids..."

"I'm not going to think they are filthy if a rat gets in." Pokes rat.

I get the bag from the bin and hold it open. She pushes it off the step with the hammer and so much has been settled.

Everytime she gets perceptibly older I wish she'd stop right there. Plenty of people stop at 12. There's been an extra bed in my room for eight years and anybody could crash there if they felt like it. This kid used to sleep in it when her mom was away. Not last night. Maybe not ever again. Ouch.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:56 AM on October 20 [17 favorites]


Even before COVID, in my old small apartment, I had an area I lovingly called the "box jungle" as that was where boxes lived for weeks/months before I could find the strength to take them out to the central recycling area. We blessedly moved out of that place before Covid and into a place with actual curbside recycling, and... that is, I know, the only thing keeping me from living in an actual box maze right now.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:56 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Update: we mopped the floor for the first time in a while. It was great!

Then I dropped a 32 ounce jar of minced garlic and it erupted like a volcano, spraying garlic bits over a 20-foot swath of the kitchen and living room.

Good news: vampire protection.

Bad news: child's Halloween Dracula puppet claims immunity to garlic, sniffs around the room and laughs evilly.
posted by medusa at 8:08 PM on October 20 [7 favorites]


But now, Medusa, when you just clean up the path that the garlic created on your floor, the whole floor will still be about the same level of clean. Instead of one very obviously clean smear across a neglected floor.

I know because I’ve had a similar food eruption. More than once.

Also, breathtaking how it always feels like those spills are happening in slow motion.
posted by bilabial at 8:47 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one living with unchanged sheets, dirty laundry, non-running unregistered car, Shackleton-level stores in the fridge and freezer, BATHROOMS, stink, random unhealthy eating habits.

I'm the aggregate of all of this, subscribe to my feed.

I would add there's something growing in my sink, there are so many junk mail election postcards on my floor that I slipped on them and fell down yesterday, every time I move something on my desk something else falls off, and the entire path between my desk and my kitchen is littered with almonds.
posted by bendy at 9:11 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: littered with almonds
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:20 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah, our kitchen floor has been slightly sticky for at least a month after one of the cats knocked over a jar of home-pickled cucumbers. Which is like a one-sentence summary of how these things seem to go: we took on a new project of doing home-pickling, how adult and exciting! It went slightly wrong and now our lives are slightly more gross and we've failed to deal with it properly, we're scumbags! In fairness to us, I did actually mop the kitchen floor afterwards, it just wasn't enough.
posted by biogeo at 10:13 PM on October 20 [8 favorites]


the chirping smoke alarm thing

One of ours--fortunately one of the ones that's pretty easy to reach--started doing that recently. We can't just live with the chirp, because we both have an auditory processing thing where the loud high-pitched beep is actually physically painful. I had to replace the battery as soon as possible.

So there I was, poised under the alarm with one hand on a fold-out stepladder and one finger in my ear, trying to time the chirps so I could get up on the ladder and pull the battery out of the thing before it went off right in my ear.

...two...three...four....then THE BEEP THAT PIERCES THE HEAVENS.

I swung into action and slammed open the stepladder to lock it into place...and it immediately closed on my left middle finger because I wasn't paying attention to where I put my hand after extracting my finger from my ear. Fortunately my howls of pain and loud prolific swearing drowned out the next couple of chirps, and I was then able to complete my mission.

The blood blister and damaged spot on my fingernail are still growing out.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:55 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


So I would have had a small, barely-worth-mentioning thing to add to this thread - a small spreading water stain on our first floor ceiling that we assumed was a little leak from a second floor bathroom, which I finally decided to call someone in to fix this week, yay me for being an adult right? Only it turns out that the leak is from flexible air conditioning ducts in the attic that were never installed properly when the house was built 17 years ago, which are supposed to be suspended from the attic ceiling but have instead been resting on the attic floor, slowly deforming and collecting condensation water, soaking through the attic and much of the walls of the second floor, finally coming through to the first floor ceiling, and spreading MOLD through most of the space between the interior walls, so instead of a minor plumbing fix and repainting we are in for major demolition and reconstruction, and the "burn down the house" option has never looked better. Maybe they'll scare away the fucking cockroaches.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:42 AM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Daily Alice, I found out something similar with my apartment yesterday: a minor water related leak in some brickwork (loose mortar) lead me to ask what it would actually take to re-do my deck (there's been a squishy spot since we moved in 3 years ago... I guess that should be looked at eventually right?) which led me to find out that 1. my railings are 6" lower than code and therefore no construction firm will touch the work without signoff from both an architect and an engineer, and 2. we can't find any work permits filed with the DOB that certifies the roof under my terrace as being able support a terrace. o_O

Obviously the damn thing hasn't fallen in/it's been safe for the 30+ years there's been a terrace, but Holy Hell I was thinking "oh I need to save up to snazz up the deck eventually" not "uh this is possibly a DOB violation and may require material structural work signed off by both engineer and architects and involves work permits and a full on rebuilt, and have we mentioned that landmarks needs to be involved" So there's that. I've got 40 years of building archives to dig through to see if maybe stuff was done legally, just not filed because of whatever loophole there was in the late 80's?

To start I'm just gonna lie myself down on the (squashy) terrace and pretend I never learned this.
2020 is a bitch.
posted by larthegreat at 7:41 AM on October 21 [1 favorite]


Update: yesterday I found an intercampus mail envelope and the mail stop where are dosimeters are supposed to go and stuffed it full of 2020 radiation badges, then closed it up and placed it on the random shelf in the building loading dock where intercampus mail is sometimes picked up. During non-COVID times. Supposedly. The only indication I can see that this might be happening are a bunch of yellowing signs saying that USPS and FedEx does NOT pick up from this location, which does not exactly inspire confidence.

I'll check back later today and see if it's still there. Place your bets.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:53 AM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Thanks to you guys and this thread I worked up the will to wash the dishes that were hanging out AND I did two loads of laundry - only one of which has been folded and put away, but still more progress than I had before!!

Whether or not the dishes pile up is generally an indication of my mental health, if I'm letting them pile up, it's an indication of a slide.... so it's a little bit of sweeping for inside the noggin' to do them sometimes.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 3:08 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


I finally took the listing humidifier that was a sinking ship in the middle of my kitchen floor to the transfer station today. So long buddy.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:40 PM on October 21 [7 favorites]


UFYH has a Facebook group!
posted by delight at 5:10 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


I tried to order those sheets and it was $54 dollars shipping. Forget that. I have a big ass comforter to top my bed and guess I will try to keep warm with the little comforter and regular sheets but fucking A and B and C too. I just wanted to get some flannel sheets, not get taken.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:32 PM on October 21


I ordered a sofa! like a grownup! But then I realized that once it's here I'll have to get rid of my old armchair with my late kitty's scratches on the arms and sobbed, like a child.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:27 PM on October 21 [9 favorites]


Eh, my house is pretty clean and I do laundry (and fold it! And put it away!), but I’ve gotten really bad about cooking for myself and I can’t be arsed to go to bed and I stay up all night in a pile of dogs on the couch.
posted by brand-gnu at 7:51 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Kitty has finished her antibiotics and is doing much better. She has been switched to wet food and is a little confused but seems to enjoy it. Shortly she will have an entirely new litter box and I will have a new inexpensive comforter to replace sad duvet and duvet cover, and a new inexpensive slipcover for my ancient sofa. I just don't want to deal with replacing the sofa until pandemic is less intense here. One day.

stoned cat tax
posted by wellred at 5:42 AM on October 22 [8 favorites]


awww wellred that is one cute kitty!!
posted by supermedusa at 1:19 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


> Eh, my house is pretty clean and I do laundry (and fold it! And put it away!), but I’ve gotten really bad about cooking for myself and I can’t be arsed to go to bed and I stay up all night in a pile of dogs on the couch.

Sub in cats for dogs, and that's pretty much me.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:54 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Awakened this morning to my husband telling me that he went to pour a bowl of cereal and there were MOTHS in it. Spent the morning cleaning out the pantry, throwing away everything opened (luckily not much), and buying new airtight containers for cereal, chips, etc. I'm starting to feel like my life is a bad country song.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:47 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Victory: the air conditioners are put away for the winter!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:27 AM on October 23 [3 favorites]


Oo, I need to drain the garden hose and put insulation on the hose bibs.
posted by clew at 8:47 AM on October 23 [2 favorites]


My major struggles are keeping up on the dishes and that given any flat surface, I will accumulate sketchbooks and other art supplies there until they completely take over (I do collage and mixed media art, so there are literal piles of magazines on my floor). I am not good about tidying up because it bores me, and because I keep thinking, oh I will do [thing that needs doing] over the weekend but am doing an elimination diet that often leaves me in pretty bad shape over the weekends and don't get stuff done.

I'm fine on laundry, cat litter, trash, recycling, all of that. But doing the dishes is so easy to put off, and I keep doing exactly that.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:40 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


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