Friday, January 16, 2015


I don't talk about challenges in the mealy-mouthed PR way, which is code for screwups.

I mean an actual challenge; a goal, an event, a tough thing I'm doing. I started my first one yesterday after much hemming and hawing, and I'll start the second one on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Super Bowl one, I'm expecting, will be the easier of the two.

I accepted a challenge from the Health Unit to quit drinking for a month. Yup. An entire month. Albeit a short one.

I am not alcoholic, and I don't think I drink too much, but I suspect I will find out that I drink a whole lot more than I think I do. The challenge is more about being aware of the role alcohol plays in my life. I'm interested because there are/were some alcoholics in my family, and also, having gotten into shape a few years ago, I'm kind of loving that feeling of being in control.

That said, I'm already staring down a tough weekend when a group of my friends is slated to visit for a ski weekend. Apres ski, I will nurse lemon water while they whoop it up. It should be ... interesting.

My other challenge is within the four walls of my American Foursquare home.

A few years ago, I discovered that if I make a look-ahead to-do list, I can find a way to stick to it. But, if my goals are hazy and nebulous, I'll sit on the couch and watch Archer on Netflix.

Like the booze thing, I don't have a problem; I can get from room to room and there are no stalactites of mould nor dog poop on the floor or anything. My house is tidy, and I can usually find what I'm looking for, but I've noticed in the last few months that I am seeing a wee layer of what can only be called grime, pretty much everywhere. At my Christmas party, I was aghast to see a large cobweb dangling over one of my guests.

While I have been noticing, I have not found the motivation or the plan that might work, short of hiring someone to clean for me, which I would love but the Presbyterian in me won't let me. At least, not yet.

One of the magazines I read suggested a 15 minutes a day cleaning routine, right down to how many seconds should be allotted to wipe down a bathroom sink veers a kitchen sink. That article spurred something in me, and I came up with my own, home grown challenge: 30 cleaning minutes a day, one room or zone in the house. Yes, I even created a chart. Yes, there are spaces on that chart for dates and check marks. (Have I ever mentioned I'm a Virgo?)

Yesterday was Day One. I figured I'd start in the kitchen. I set a timer for 30 minutes and put on an interesting podcast, and settled in to make the grime, go. Three hours later when my sweetheart came home, I had worked my way through two pairs of rubber gloves, three kettles of boiling water, killed an old toothbrush and nearly an entire bottle of Murphy's oil soap, and I wasn't even close to done.

I was shocked to find I can actually move the fridge. There was some gross crap under there, man! Also, did you know it's possible to pull that 'warming' drawer out from under the oven? Lots of gross crap there, too.

Although my nails are a mess and my wrists and hands are sore, when I left for work this morning, I took an enormous amount of satisfaction from the faint whiff of Murphy's lingering in the kitchen in spite of the curry we had for dinner last night.

All I need for today, when I tackle the home office, is new gloves and more downloads.

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