Progress, Not Perfection

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those critters who can best be described as a procrastinating perfectionist. You may think those two things can’t possibly go together, but I assure you they do. It’s a character defect, and one that I am working on.

The procrastinating perfectionist lives in a constant state of chaos, with select areas of organization and completion that are almost militant. For example, all of the family pictures that line the hallway in my home are organized with nearly military precision, I know instantly if one has been brushed slightly out of line. Yet at present, you have to step around a gaming chair that has lost favor with my youngest, and a crate of outgrown toys he’s sorting to hand down to his nephew to navigate said hallway. They’ve been there for days.  And the carpet needs cleaning.  20160318_071335.jpg

At any given time, I have 468 projects in progress, give or take. The procrastinating perfectionist (Moi) will wake in the morning and mentally go over Every.Single.One. in her head. As a mass, they are completely overwhelming. Instead of picking one to just start on, I will infallibly spend a ridiculous amount of time dissecting every one and finding all the reasons (I lack the time to complete, proper materials, tools, what have you) why I can’t do the task correctly, completely, perfectly, and therefore I should not begin that one. This process will be repeated 467 more times over my first two cups of coffee.

So I’m working really hard on changing this, because it drives me bat crap crazy. The past six years around here have been a struggle. I’ve known what I wanted to accomplish, but I’ve tended to concentrate more on the hurdles than the finish line. I’m trying to take the time every day to concentrate on gratitude, and progress, and small victories and recognize that those things lead to big victories and completion. It’s tough to do when you have trained yourself to think differently without even realizing it. So I’m trying to pick a project a day, and complete what I can of it in the time I have with the tools I have. Progress, not perfection.

Today’s project to start on is the front flowerbeds. They’ve been a war zone the past couple of years. They were neglected long before me…but they were once beautiful, I’m sure. There are plants and shrubs in there that were once expensive to both obtain and maintain. Both were done by a landscaping company my other half had dealings with through his business years ago.  When the business was sold, the maintenance stopped, they declined and most are now beyond repair. I detest looking at all that glorious space occupied by the skeletonized remains of shrubbery and the weeds that now occupy it. 20160318_080336.jpg

He has been steadfastly refusing to let me just yank it all out, and start over. This is what the procrastinating perfectionist in me has determined is required. He looks at it and sees the bills from ten years ago that he paid, not what it is today. “My God, woman! Do you have any idea how much putting those bushes in cost me?” He did relent last year and pull out two shrubs that would not have come back to life, EVER,  with anything short of the hand of someone with magical powers. 20160318_080303.jpg

This spring, he has finally decided that I may take it back to the ground and start again. I’m excited to get started on it, and I plan to post before and after photos when it’s complete.  I want to put in both some edibles and flowers, and the right side around the corner got its start at being herb-ville last year when everything else in it was dead and he let me till up that precious 5 x 7 spot.

Now, to figure out how to keep Sophie the free-range Houdini goat out of it.

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Planting TIME.

My honey came stumbling down the hallway a few minutes ago. Bleary eyed, pajama clad, and very, very confused. The dining room table, though rarely used for actual DINING, is covered this morning in seed packets, starting trays, a gallon sized pitcher of potting soil and the skeletonized remains of a battalion of plastic containers rescued from the recycle bin.
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“What the hell are you doing?”

“Good morning to you, too,  dear. I’m planting things. Want coffee?”

“Coffee? Erm…no. It’s 3:30 in the morning. I want sleep. What are you planting? Besides insomnia?”

He doesn’t really wait for an answer, just lights the propane heater for me, then shuffles a retreat back to the bed, grumbling to no one in particular. Because he knows. He gets me.

He knows I’m not going back to bed. These are generally the day’s most productive hours for me. It’s quiet. Even the chicks in the brooder bin in the floor behind me aren’t stupid enough to be up at this hour. My son is asleep, the inevitably oncoming day’s dose of crazy hasn’t begun yet. It’s just me, my coffee, and my project-of-the-moment. The phone won’t ring, no one is yet bellowing for reinforcements in the endless search for stray belongings, the weeks homework, or sounding the ever popular where-are-all-my-underwear battle cry.

Everybody in the house is still the picture of sleepy sweetness. I can’t NOT love them all right now. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I love them all. All the time. But…Eventually, they’ll wake up. And then they begin to speak. It’s the speaking that does it. It’s always what comes out of the faceholes that is the straw that sends me over the edge. Sometimes, this results in a temporary inability to like them much. Or for them to like me. You see, today brings the weekend.

I like weekends. Really. I like it when my family is home and we do the things and spend the time and be the normal. And sometimes, the weekends bring the guilt. Maybe you know the feeling…you know the one. The “Oh MY LORD, if you ask me one more question, expect me to entertain you one more second of this day, test me to the limits of my patience for all this damned togetherness one more instant – Jeez, is it Monday yet so you people can go back to work and school and stuff other than irritating the ever loving crap out of me….I. AM. FLIPPING. BUSY! forcryingoutloud” feeling? Because the weekend is the rush for me. Not the “work week”.  It’s a triathlon racing between the things I know I must get done, and the things I know they (and I) WANT to do.

So I guess the short answer to T’s question this morning is, I’m planting time. And patience. Planting my own sanity.  I’m crossing one of the big things on my to-do list that will rent space in my head when they want my time and company and undivided attention. I’m planting the ability to focus. Even if it’s on cuddling with a small manchild (or a big one) in fuzzy socks and giggling over some Netflix nonsense and popcorn. That’s what I’m planting. The veggies and flowers are a by-product.

Good morning everyone! And Happy Weekend!