It started more or less by accident yesterday, when I was sorting out laundry. I ought to draw a critical path analysis diagram to illustrate the path of progress I took.
Step 1: Sort out a load of laundry and put it in the washing machine. Decide to tidy up my Heap of Shame in the corner.
Step 2: Pick up assorted items of clothing on the floor, sort through and either hang up or place in laundry basket. Stand back and admire empty spot where Heap of Shame previously lived. Decide to hoover the bedroom.
Step 3: Fetch hoover, realise that Mr WithaY's Heap of Shame threatens to overwhelm his half of the bedroom. Suggest* he sorts it out.
Step 4: Decide to clean window frames of black filth and mould while he sorts out the Heap. Fetch cleaning wipes from the bathroom. Clean bathroom sink, bath and shower with cleaning wipes, as they're all a bit grubby now you look at them.
Step 5: Return to bedroom. Clean all black filth from window frames. Decide to dust window ledges, as they are grey and fluffy rather than white and shiny.
Step 6: Fetch duster from study. Find furniture polish cleaning wipes in box with duster. Realise desk is very grubby. Clean with furniture polish wipes. Move dressmakers form out of study onto landing to be put back in the loft later.
Step 7: Mr WithaY, taking a break from sorting his Heap, scrambles up into the loft to put the dressmakers form away. Both stand back and admire the empty spot in the study where it used to be.
Step 8: Return to bedroom. Dust window ledges. Realise every other flat surface in the bedroom is also grey and fluffy. Dust everything else. Raise huge clouds of dust. Re-dust window ledges as a result. Finally, with Mr WithaY's Heap of Shame cleared, hoover the bedroom floor.
As you see, this endless displacement activity type of cleaning goes on in an indefinite loop, until you run out of cleaning wipes or the hoover needs emptying. In this example, it ended with Mr WithaY making us a cup of tea, thus cunningly breaking the cycle.
This morning I was planning to get all the ironing done. My ironing routine is simple, but effective. I put the TV in the bedroom on, find something fairly unchallenging to watch (Frasier, Star Trek, Big Bang Theory, as examples) and then stand there for an hour or two, turning a basket full of scrumpled tatty-looking rags into several neat piles of pressed folded clothes. It's deeply satisfying, in a low-grade way.
I was thwarted by the weather. (First world problems klaxon here.)
The satellite link to the upstairs TV is badly affected by the weather. If it rains, even a little bit, the signal breaks up and the programme becomes unwatchable. Clearly, I cannot be expected to iron without the amusing exploits of American actors to keep me occupied, so I have to put the iron back down with an exasperated sigh, and go and do something else. And here we are.
One thing I could do is go and sort out Mr WithaY's dressing table. I was browsing through a gift catalogue which arrived with a weekend newspaper, trying to find something that wasn't related to golf or coffee** and I spotted a Gentleman's Tidy. Something like this, but made in faux leather rather than wood.
I seriously considered ordering it as a Christmas present, and then I thought a bit harder about what tends to occupy Mr WithaY's dressing table.
Among the usual litter of aftershave bottles, toiletries, cufflink boxes and a clothes brush, yesterday there were:
Several pairs of clean pants, neatly folded and waiting to be put away in a drawer
A plastic fork
A huge heap of old receipts and scraps of paper, none of them necessary for tax purposes
A coin sorter (almost empty)
Cord (not the same as string)
A book about neolithic cooking
Hazelnuts, foraged and then forgotten about, in the manner of an absent-minded squirrel
I don't think there is a Gentleman's Tidy in existence which is designed to cope with that little lot.
Back to the drawing board.
Also, how do they sort out their laundry on Star Trek, eh? I've seen evidence of a bar, a barber and beauty parlour, several places to eat, even showers, but never any laundry facilities. I like to imagine that deep in the bowels of the Starship Enterprise is a dry-cleaners, manned by a grouchy Ferengi.
*Shout down stairs "Can you please come and move all your clothes, it's a pigsty up here."
**Slim pickings, I can tell you.