I hate puzzles.
I know that “hate” is a strong word, but it’s pretty much how I feel.
I’m an intelligent person. I was high school salutatorian, and did fine in college despite having a lot of fun. But puzzles make me feel dumb.
My brain just doesn’t work that way. Looking at a ton of pieces that look pretty much exactly the same, and figuring out which two out of 1000 will actually fit together gets on my nerves. It isn’t fun.
But give me a bunch of odd shaped tiles and ask me to create a mosaic, and I’ll be happy for hours.
I mentioned earlier this week that I’m going to try to assign a weekly task to each day of the week. Tuesday is going to be bathrooms, and I think I’m going to make Thursdays mopping the kitchen.
Since we’re talking about mopping, I’m ready to share a secret. It’s something I started doing around the same time that I started the blog. Around the same time that I decided to stop making excuses and do what needs to be done.
See, just thinking about mopping used to wear me out. All of the chair-moving, bucket-finding, bucket-cleaning-out-from-the-last-time-I-mopped-and-never-washed-out-the-bucket-so-it’s-totally-gross-with-dried-on-dirt, bucket-filling, bucket-lifting, mop-squeezing, dripping, floor-drying, blah blah blah exhausted me before I even did any actual work.
So last fall, I decided to try something I’d seen my mother-in-law do. We had spent the night at her house and one of my children got disoriented in the middle of the night. He thought he had to get to the bathroom on the other side of the house rather than use the one next door to his room. He somehow peed an entire river right through the middle of her kitchen.
I saw her not get flustered over having to mop. She didn’t pull out a bucket and lift it into the sink where it barely fit and then lug it back down onto the floor, full of heavy water. She just filled the sink in her laundry room (just off of the kitchen) and stuck the mop right in there. No bucket.
I had always wanted to try this. Somehow, though, the germaphobe side of my personality worried that it was gross to use my kitchen sink as a mop bucket, since I don’t have a laundry sink like she does. So, while worrying about germs, months went by and my floors got more and more disgusting.
So finally, I just did it. And boy, does it make the mopping process easier. And when I’m done, I scrub down the sink really well, which it needs anyway. And it’s been several months and we’re all alive, so I’m guessing it’s okay.
Now back to the puzzle analogy. I had decided that Thursdays should really be mopping days. Not that I wanted to mop, but it just makes sense.
So I went into the kitchen and realized that although in my mind I had cleaned up the kitchen because I had started the dishwasher . . . in reality, I had not. There were still the big pots and pans in the sink. (I have such an amazing gift for not seeing huge objects.) And the past few days worth of clean dishes that had been set on the counter to dry were . . . still sitting there. (Again, the selective vision issue.)
Anyway, in order to justify the sink-as-a-mop-bucket technique, I really can’t let any dishes touch the mop or mopwater, clean ones or dirty ones. So I had to clean the kitchen. REALLY clean it.
See, it’s all those interlocking pieces. A puzzle isn’t done until the last piece is in place. With a mosaic, you can just spread the pieces out more if you don’t feel like finding a place for all of them. The look might be a little different, but it can have equal beauty.
I’m not saying that I need to force the creative side of my brain into a mold that makes it something it isn’t. But I need to find the joy in puzzles.
If I can simplify things, I think I can do it. I enjoy a puzzle meant for a 4 yr old. You know, one that’s beyond having the pictures painted in the slots, but still doesn’t require you to clear off a table to complete it. If I make myself employ all those tricks that puzzle people know, like taking it slowly, finding the edge and corner pieces first, grouping colors together, it can be fun.
If I can do my daily tasks consistently, then when it comes time to mop/clean bathrooms/vacuum etc, it isn’t totally overwhelming, and can actually be . . . yes . . . fun.