Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer doldrums

Post-4th-of-July is when I always seem to hit a summer slump.

This year is no exception.  Paradoxically, I feel guilty both about not doing more work and about not having more fun.  Consequently, slump time is also list-making time:

I scribbled these yesterday, in a fit of depression/ennui.  As you can see, the list of work-related things is longer than either of the other two, and is composed primarily of tasks related to getting my tenure file together.  In fact, "Fun!" had nothing on it until Tom added two items.  That's a little sad, but seems to be par for the course this year.

In between is "House," with a list of stuff we've been wanting to get done but weren't able to during the regular school year.  Somehow that list seems like the easiest to tackle, so today was spent starting to hack away at the ivy in the front yard (which is going to be a long process), and also organizing the basement.

First priority in the basement was finally putting some pegboard up over the tool bench and getting the various tools that have been scattered everywhere attached to it.  I've been wanting to do this ever since we moved into the house, but just hadn't gotten around to it.  Today was the day, though!

Inspiration for this project?  My dad's tool bench:

Not only are his tools neatly organized, but he traced the outline of each one on the board and then painted in its silhouette so that you can see exactly where each belongs.

I wasn't about to go that far...though I more than understand the impulse.

Here's a play-by-play of the process:

I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the result!  And I finally feel like I actually accomplished something concrete.  I have a feeling I'm going to need to do more of these tangible, results-oriented chores in the weeks and months to come, as the tenure process gets started and I'm working my @$$ off for a result that's both uncertain and a long ways off.

This is the song that was echoing in my brain as I worked--specifically, the lines

"Gotta get out of bed,
Get a hammer and a nail,
Learn how to use my hands.
Not just my head--
I'll think myself in a jail..."

The Indigo Girls have it right, as usual.

(Can that song really be over 20 years old?!)


Beth said...

Congrats on getting this project done! I love peg boards There's something about the potential to bring order from chaos that feeds my cluttered but OCD-filled soul.

I agree, too, that the FUN! list needs to be longer, and more of a priority. I keep saying that to myself, too, but home ownership and jobs take so much space and energy (and priority, yes?).

My mom would say, do one thing you have to do, then go play. I'm going to do try to do that today myself.

Pam said...

Dad always he outlined and painted the tools so he would know what was missing and start asking "the kids" who took whatever was missing. Terry had a pegboard over his workbench in our basement but I'm afraid it's become completely unorganized in his absence. makes me start wondering if I was the usual culprit with the unreturned tools on Dad's pegboard. (Terry always loved that board too and many times threatened to paint it like Dad's)
Put coming to OH as one of the fun things on your list, or a Clippers game...

Rosemary said...

Thanks, both of you. This was my first pegboard experience, Beth, but I can see how it could become addictive! (But I have an OCD soul, did Dad...and Terry, to a lesser degree.)

Clippers, yes! Or Mudhens, or Indians...I'm up for baseball. Beth, are you going to be traveling through C-bus anytime this summer?

Christy said...

Ok, you're too adorable for words. The pegboard and the lovely dress are a combo I won't soon forget!

Kudos to you for a job well done. John introduced pegboard into my life, and I can't imagine how I ever lived without it.

Rosemary said...

I'm proud to say, Christy, that I did the whole project in that dress--and the flip-flops. Should've had an action shot with me wielding the power drill in that getup. Ah well...probably won't be the last opportunity. :^)

Kudos to John for introducing you to the joys of pegboard.

Jane Kokernak said...

@Beth, that's great that your mom said, "do one thing.. then go play." It's like a guide to life in one sentence. Wish I'd internalized that when I was a kid. Is it too late?

@Rosemary, you're inspiring me! The day I read this, I had just look in our tool closet with dread and shame. Not sure I'll tackle it this summer, because the piles in the basement seem more pressing, but I now see pegboard in my future. My dad used it too, although not with outlines.

And I think summers will be more fun after you get through the whole tenure review prep. I have never been through that, but last summer I had a huge grant project hanging over my head -- I was like that Peanuts character Pigpen, who is always followed by a cloud, in his case dust, but in my case worry. This summer, with no grant project, I'm busy, but there is no mental overcast.

Michael said...

"Get on bikes" is fun? You *are* desperate.

Beth said...

@Jane, I don't think it is ever to late to take life less seriously.

Maybe on your pegboard you can draw a "fun" shape to remind you that life isn't all work (although I love power tools, they can be very fun).

@Rosemary, I'm not planning on it, but I will be driving up to Michigan with my Mom at the end of August, maybe on the way back to NC?

Susan said...

Rosemary - My mom, the nurse, would tell you never to do work with tools with exposed toes. Glad yours all survived!

I need you to come to my house. My house list is really long - broken garage door, bulging plaster, stained glass pulling away from solder, repainting. Oh, I think I am going to cry. I can't even figure out when to call contractors and have them come over. Anyone know any contractors that work after 8:00 pm?

Your fun probably is limited this summer. Plan some huge blowout fun thing for when your tenure file is done. (My kids suggest an indoor water park, but don't know if that's your style.)

Getting something concrete done IS satisfying. (I've just been hit with two MORE types of statistics I am supposed to pass in for two different grants/contracts. Keeping stats - talk about frustrating and non-concrete.) With a few more of these concrete projects under your belt, you'll be feeling satisfied, and your house will look great.

OK, enough rambling. As you can perhaps guess, I am procrastinating from doing a final report for one of my contracts.