Everything Takes a Little Longer

While I’ve been staying at my Mom’s house, I feel like I’ve been perpetually late. Everything takes longer than I expect, or at least it did for the first week. This was partly because I didn’t know where things are kept around the house (which I haven’t lived in for over 20 years, and didn’t have anyone here to ask), and partly because there’s been a lot of cleaning and organizing to do.

Here’s the best story of things taking too long:

So I decide to do some laundry. Turns out I’d do lots of laundry during my stay, but this was the first time. Dirty laundry sits in a basket in the second floor hall, while the washer and dryer are in the (unfinished) basement. So:

  1. I go upstairs, get the laundry basket, and come downstairs.
  2. I open the door to the basement, and – oh, ick! There are cobwebs at the top of the stairs! And, it turns out, all along the path to the laundry! Most of them are a little higher than my Mom is tall, but I’m taller than she is. So I put down the basket, grab some paper towels, and spend 15 minutes clearing away cobwebs. And then wash my hands.
  3. So I take the laundry downstairs. At this point I had the impression (which turned out to be wrong) that due to her bad knee Mom hadn’t used the laundry for a while, so I decide to run the washer empty for one cycle to clean it out.
  4. Once that’s done, I separate out the colors from the basket and run them through the washer. I don’t have enough whites to do yet, so I take the basket back upstairs.
  5. When that finishes, I put the colors in the dryer, but I can’t get it to start. Once upon a time there was only one power outlet in the laundry room, and you had to switch plugs to use each one. Now there’s a power strip, and everything seems to be working. Eventually I figure out that I hadn’t closed the door all the way, and I start the dryer.
  6. When the dryer’s done, I go to get them, and realize that I don’t have a basket to bring them up in. I don’t think Mom separates whites and colors. So I go upstairs and hunt around for a while to find another basket. Eventually I find one, so I bring them upstairs.
  7. I fold the laundry, and bring it and the now-empty basket upstairs and put them away.

That was the silliest one – especially because of the “ick” factor of cleaning out the cobwebs – but there have been plenty more:

Sorting through sheets to find a set for my bed. This motivated me to get the linen closet cleaned up and organized.

Taking out the trash, then looking all over the place to figure out where the garbage bags live.

Cleaning out the toilets, which both really needed it.

Looking for paper towels, which live in an unexpected place.

Going through the kitchen to see what ingredients were on hand to bake cookies (which I took down when visiting Debbi’s family on Wednesday), and what utensils were available. (I ended up buying a new cookie sheet and a container to hold them.)

Looking for canvas bags to bring stuff down to visit Debbi’s family. Turns out they’re at the top of the stairs to the basement, but this was the day before I had my laundry adventure above.

Turning on the TV and being confronted with a screen that said, “Press MENU to watch Verizon FiOS, or turn off your television.” Pressing MENU did nothing, and I couldn’t figure it out. Eventually I unplugged both the TV and the cable box, and rebooted them, and then it worked fine.

By this past weekend I’d gotten into the routine of pretty much everything I do regularly, but it took several days. And I never did get to the point that I’m eating many meals at home (which means figuring out where to eat out when not meeting up with someone for dinner). So that takes time, too.

It’s been an interesting time. This must be what it’s like for people who house-sit for other people regularly, a week of getting oriented to each new house.

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