Friday, 21 June 2013

I'm a lonely soldier. But I like it.

I am writing this from my bedroom. I am not in bed - in fact, I am up and cleaned and dressed despite it being barely noon. But I am sitting in here to write because the rest of the house is so hideously messy and cat-hairy and in need of housework that if I go out there I will never get anything done due to the sheer, paralysing, deer-in-headlights horror of the Clean All The Things list. I won't actually clean anything, either. I'll make tea, or come across an important magazine article that needs reading, or play with the cat because it looks lonely (translation: "Wake UP, Doug. Play with me. Please?"). Only the other day I ended up doing my tax return in a supreme bout of championship-level procrastination whereby it somehow became a better option than whatever small, less complicated task I was supposed to be doing.

Procrastination and housework avoidance are just one a few of the issues I have come up against since becoming a full-time work-at-home person a month ago. Due to a very amicable redundancy, I switched from going to an office to sit at a desk (procrastinating), every day to being self-employed, doing much the same work, sitting on a cat-filled sofa (procrastinating), every day. And I have to say, on the whole, I'm enjoying it. I find that I actually get more work done in less time, as I'm more painfully aware of the tasks I need to complete every day. And while I do procrastinate wildly, I do eventually Get Shit Done, partly because I feel like I need to justify my time and prove that I'm not just stroking kittens (I am), drinking tea (I am), and wearing pyjamas (usually).

I find myself trying to fit more into every day because I'm not constrained by the 9-5. Popping out for a loaf of bread becomes a trip to Sainsbury's followed by Ikea followed by oh I might as well stop for some cake followed by Hobbycraft followed by oh well it's not that far to that nice fabric shop in Tooting I might as well do everything at once seeing as I'm oh dear it's 6pm and I haven't actually done anything of any worth. And I will have invariably forgotten the bread.

Internet social networking, which was once a horrible, dreadful time-sucking vortex of pointlessness, becomes a veritable boon for the home-worker. Deprived of water cooler moments in the office (we never actually had a water cooler. Who does, really?), my social interaction is reduced to 140 character tweets about how many cups of tea I've had or long, entertaining conversations on Facebook with fellow procrastinators about how we really should get off the internet and do some work. The world of craft is fantastic for this - Facebook is populated by dichotomous agoraphobic socialites working away on their solitary artistic pursuits, stopping to post a picture of a tangled bobbin, a cat eating their knitting, or an anecdote about the post office queue (a rare outing and one which often necessitates the first Outdoor Clothes of the day).

Then there are the more complicated issues of fending for oneself all day, alone. No longer able to run across the road for an Americano, this week I had to learn how to use the coffee grinder, something which is normally the task of the Significant Otter. This occured:

Not pictured: floor. With coffee.

Honestly, I feel like Bear Grylls in the wilderness. Only I'm not drinking my own pee. Yet.


  1. I'm relieved to hear you are learning to make your own coffee - pee doesn't sound like a good alternative...

    Thank you for this post. I now know I'm not the only person who is "working" in this way.
    My house is a tip right now. Why am I not cleaning it? well, the builders made so much mess and they'll only do it again in a month or six weeks, when the plasterers come.... and... err... my asthma has been playing up this week... erm... I have books to make - this is true actually... but I'm here, on the Internet, reading your blog and FB and other blogs and stuff...
    Procrastinating. Yes. That's it.
    But at least I know I have company.
    And at least I got washed & dressed this mornign and have been a)to the dr's for my mum's errand, b)to the paper shop on an errand for my mum, c)to the Post Office with one of the books I actually finished, d)to my mum's to make her lunch...
    Sounds like I actually Did Something today. Wonders will never cease!
    But I really think, after all that activity, that I deserve a 5 minute rest. Which I will stop in about an hour... so I can do some work... and ignore the housework a bit more.

  2. I feel rather disturbed after reading this. Now I need to get off the internet and look for those hidden cameras you have placed in my flat - because that's the only way you can be describing MY daily chores, right?

    By the way, seems like a miracle, but I actually ended up Doing Something today and am preparing to Do Some More. Right after I peruse the internet for some other highly interesting er... things I know are out there. Hah.

  3. I actually popped out to buy some fish for tea, that's Doing Something, right? And then while I was on a roll I did the hoovering. Which means that all this time I'm spending now eating this Belgian Bun and internetting is perfectly justified. Hurray for us and our productive days!

  4. Well today a friend and i took the day off and camped out on my couch - however we did still set the world to rights, we discussed kids, husbands, in-laws, moving to foreign countries, puppies (lots about puppies actually and the merits of bitches or males with bits) oh and then we solved her house renovation issues and drew new very 'accurate' plans for the new builder…. we ventured off to find some nutrients and then fetched our kids (that counts as doing something surely??) wow i've been so busy today no wonder i need an internet break and a cuppa - someone pass me the shortbread, i can't possibly get off this couch!

  5. If you drink your own pee I hope you have a handy snakeskin for it and don't forget to sort of throw it all over yourself while drinking it. I can't do the coffee machine either, I'm impressed that you tried, I look at ours longingly waiting for someone a bit techier to come home and make me coffee!

  6. Once upon a time my floors were spotless...this was due to the fact that the new Small person in my life would only drift off into the land of nod via the medium of the hoover going at full throttle, but now he falls asleep all by himself and in a dramatic turn-around, the hoover would wake him from his slumber (sorry? What was that? Vacuum whilst he's awake? Don't be ridiculous!)...However, as the advent of his mobility crawls ever closer, I find myself looking resentfully towards the cupboard under the stairs and being resigned to the fact that the daily vac will soon be's that or he learns to cough up hairballs.