Work Ethic

I just finished mopping the entire house, all by myself. It wasn't all at once, of course-- I broke it up into segments. I did the kitchen before C woke up, then I finished the rest of the house just now. (It's a good thing we have such a little house! lol)

C was very pleased to see that I'm feeling well enough to attempt housework again. He does worry about me, in a "non-worrying" kind of way. He cares about my well-being, let's put it that way, and it pains him to see me very ill. He also knows what pride I take in a clean house and in being productive, so he's happy that I'm happy.

It got me thinking about when I was a kid, and how much I hated housework. It wasn't that I hated cleaning, per se, it's just that Mom didn't have any sense of regularity in chores, so our home would end up looking like an episode of Hoarders (I wish I were exaggerating...) before we launched a marathon cleaning session. I remember having the fatigue issues even as a kid, so I hated those cleaning sprees. They lasted forever, they were boring, trying to make a dent was overwhelming, I didn't feel good, and what was the point anyway because none of it would even stay clean?! It got better as time went on, but I do remember those binge cleaning sessions with mixed fondness and dread. The good? We listened to the original cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera or Franki Valli and drank sweet coffee with lots of cream while we cleaned. The bad? Coffee makes me tired.

I remember one particular time that I was vacuuming around the barstools in the dining room, and Mom was in the kitchen tidying up. (This was during a routine day, not a marathon cleaning session, btw.) She gave me a tidbit that helped to shape my work ethic tremendously, which was this: However you do things now is how you will do them later. If you learn to do good work now, you will do good work later. And who knows where you'll be later? You could be vacuuming for the President of the United States, and do you want to do a bad job? No! So do it well now, and then whatever situation you end up in, you'll be prepared to do good work.

That memory flashed back to me vividly one day while I was on the outdoor work crew at SOULS. We students teamed up with the camp that our campus was located on to earn our keep a bit, and I loved working the outdoor work crew with the kinda gruff but totally lovable camp custodian R. You know, one of those white haired old men with a little bit of a limp that have a bazillion experiences fixing things with whatever's on hand, can make anything run, and have fantastic stories to boot. He used to be a teacher, actually. Anyway, I have the highest respect for him, and I loved working with him, especially when I worked hard and he acknowledged it. (It was from him that I learned how to plane logs and break trails.) One day our team was out raking pinecones, and I was raking with a will and a vengeance, because that's what we were supposed to be doing, you know? I'm not at all opposed to having fun while you work, but everyone else was kind of goofing off more than I wanted to be, so I was keeping to myself and raking. R came up to me with his own rake and asked, "Who taught you how to work?" "My mom," I replied. "Well, she did a good job of it." That was it, but it was an affirmation that I prize highly to this day.

Now that I'm not able to do everything that I used to, it's even more important for me to do what I do well. If I can only do one thing, it's going to be done to the best of my ability! The key to my sanity is realizing what is actually my best and what is an unrealistic expectation. So, no. I didn't move the couches to mop underneath them. I did move the coffee table and pick up the rugs, though. Because, I mean, who knows? Someday I may be mopping floors for the President. :P

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