Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magic Number

When I was growing up my dad used to have a "magic number." This was a mysterious number that changed constantly. This number was only invoked when we were rough housing or picking on him. At some point of four kids climbing all over him, poking him, attempting to tickle him, etc. he would say, "You are getting close to my magic number." If we were brave, we'd keep going. If we weren't we'd stop. Sometimes we actually hit the magic number and he'd retaliate. We never knew what the magic number was. Sometimes it was one and sometimes it was 51, just depended on the day.

Now that I'm older, I realize the magic number was his way of warning us he was reaching his limit. Because I've found that I have a magic number too. It's so magic that I don't always know what it is either. Sometimes it's one and sometimes it is 101. When I wake up in the morning, I don't say to myself, "Today I'm going to hit my magic number."

My dad's magic number was attached to us rough housing. My magic number is associated with cleaning. I hate cleaning. Over the years I've decided I hate cleaning because it's never done. I'm a task and achievement oriented person. That's why I loved working and why I was good at my job. First as a reporter. I could write the story and turn it in. The story would be published and eventually end up in the archive. Done. As a claims adjuster, I'd handle the investigation, collect the reports, pay the bills and close the claim. The file would eventually end up in a box in a warehouse collecting dust. Done.

Not so with cleaning. I go to bed a night and the kitchen is clean. I come downstairs in the morning and there are dishes on the sink. I mop the floor and someone spills something on it. I wash the laundry and at the end of the day there is a pile of clothes in the basket already. I make a meal and clean up. Only to start all over again in a few hours. And I do this three times a day. It's very depressing to feel like I never accomplish anything.

When I started having kids, I started having a magic number. I can only make myself pick up a Lego, step over a pair of shoes, and reassemble all the small parts to a board game so many times. One of those times I pick the hated McDonald's toy off the ground and the siren lights start going off and the bell starts dinging and the announcer says, "Congratulations, you've hit the lucky number! You're prize today is a trip to the trash can and eventually a permanent stay in the landfill."

This might happen to a toy or it might be an entire section of the house. And like I said, I might get up in the morning thinking I'm going to grocery shop and write all day. But as I'm tripping over stuff to put my groceries away....Ding, Ding, Ding

Yesterday was an incredibly lucky day, several areas of the house all hit the magic number. Even my yard hit the magic number. My writing took a back seat while I spent the day administering prizes. Below are the before and after shots.

Bikes in the yard. Along with all kinds of balls.

Now they are all back in the shed we bought to protect them from the weather.

I can't carry in the groceries without fear of breaking my neck.

Wow! We might be able to park a car in here now.

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