Remember that old saying, “An apple a day…”? It’s the harbinger of a whole host of helpful ideas for what to do every day. Here’s another of my odd confessions: I have a push-pull relationship with the whole idea of set habits for Every. Single. Day. BUT – Daily rituals have become important to me. I don’t mind ritual – I hate regimentation. So creating a daily habit skirts a fine line; it’s nice to have some predictable ways to get necessities done, smoothly, and with less fuss, but I’m not signing up for wagging fingers if something happens and the habit gets upended.
With that little puff of resistance pushing me the other way, it took a while to find routines that worked for me. It’s not like I didn’t know what needed to be done. Dishes and pet feeding and checking doors and water bowls and dealing with litter boxes. It all needs to get done, every day, or the back-up created is worse than the original. I tried what worked for most people, and it left me tired and cranky. Not a good thing.
The dishes are one example: I have never liked jumping up from the dinner table to do dishes. I’d much rather hang out and relax, especially if I did all the cooking. I’ll put away food and maybe rinse off the worst stuff, stack plates and silverware, and throw a sticky pan in to soak. But I don’t want to stand at the sink while I’m still digesting dinner. And if I have guests, I really don’t want to miss out on any after-dinner conversation. So, being that the dishes are the non-verbal guests at the party, they have to wait.
As a consequence, I enjoy my evenings and my usual time for doing the bulk of the dishes is in the last hour before bedtime. On a regular night, I’ve had time to relax and watch some TV, or do some reading. Because the critters all need a little pre-bed cosseting, I usually get a little bump in energy before crashing into sleep, so it’s a good time to do chores that don’t require a lot of brain power. I like getting the dishes done and knowing that when I go into the kitchen in the morning, I will have a clean slate and nothing between me and that all-important First Cup of Coffee. (Yes, it deserves caps.) Doing just enough in the evening, means I will have an easier morning – that makes it worth it.
The other chore that has migrated to the evening is cleaning the cat boxes. Having two cats who do not go out, this is a clear necessity, and one no one likes. I mean – really. I love my cats with everything in my heart. I would do anything for them. It’s still gross having to deal with poo and pee on a regular basis. Clumping litters make this less disgusting, but it can make glued-on clumps if the cats dig and create shallow spots in the boxes. I’ve been tempted to get a pry bar.
Moving that chore to the evening instead of the morning takes some literal crap out of the earliest part of the day. Being that I am not a morning person (Not A Morning Person, actually – again, it deserves the caps) it’s a relief to have one less icky thing to deal with when I’m usually rushing a bit. (Or a lot.) The unpleasant tasks are the first to go when time gets short, and putting off the box cleaning meant I came from work to a bigger mess. It gets to be a worse and worse mess in a hurry. So I’d rather deal with it in the evening when there is more time to get it done. And there is one less sh***y thing to face in the mornings.
Odd how the smallest things can have an outsized impact. I have rituals for the evening because it makes mornings more peaceful. And knowing the morning will be more peaceful – I actually sleep better. Which also makes the mornings better. And anything that makes mornings better, makes the whole day more pleasant. It makes ME more pleasant. I can get behind that. It means the people around me don’t have to hide behind things.
And that’s a difference we can all get behind.
PS. While I’m not a big rule-maker there is a corollary of the Daily Do-This, and that’s The Rules. These are the things I swear will be upheld for peace and order in the queendom; #1 is: Never (N.E.V.E.R.) run out of toilet paper. I always have one roll out and one roll in the bathroom cabinet. And the rest of a multi-roll package in the linen closet. When the next to last one goes into the cabinet, TP goes on the shopping list and I will never be caught without. As to why this is such a big deal – well, the second rule is, don’t run out of tissues…
Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!