Monday, March 27, 2006

The Dirty Truth

Hunky is a packrat. He also has a shopping addiction (mostly books). Add that to the fact that he doesn't know how to manage paperwork, other than to stack it all up in various piles around the house, and you have a mess.

For months now, I've been feeling like something is off. I knew it was me, but I wasn't sure what was causing it. Finally it dawned on me: I could have a perfectly fine day, but the minute I came home, I would be cranky and angry. What caused this shift in mood? The state of the house.

The house is a pigsty. And I take some responsibility for that. After all, I still have boxes I haven't unpacked from the initial move. That, though, is mostly because I am not sure where to put the stuff.

And where to put things is part of the problem with hunky as well. What he really needs are some built in bookshelves, a couple of sheds, and a file cabinet (or two). But he doesn't have this stuff, so he piles up his books and paperwork on every spare surface in the house. Even the side of his bed is piled about two feet high with magazines and books... honestly? I don't know how he gets in and out of bed every night and morning without breaking his neck.

I knew hunky wasn't a neatnik before I moved in with him. And believe me, I had no illusions that I could change his slovenly ways. But I did think that I could keep on top of the mess, and in the beginning I did. Of course, I wasn't working at the time, which made it much easier, since I actually had the time to clean.

Once I started working full time, I no longer had oodles of time to clean. Using the Flylady system, I still managed to keep on top of it for awhile... but I was away for ten hours a day, and he had ten hours a day to make a mess. And make a mess he did.

At some point, I gave up. I pretty much just attend to my bathroom, the kitchen and the family room now. And even those areas are hard to keep up with. Every morning I make sure the counters are clean; I put away the food items hunky left out the night before, I clean the counter, stack the mail. Every night I come home, it's like I never even touched the counters.

In other words, it's a losing battle.

And it's a battle I'm tired of fighting.

As I said, it's not all hunky. I have boxes of stuff, too. But that's the point: my stuff is in boxes. His is in piles all around the house. But I digress...

Once I figured out what the problem with me was, I sat down and talked to hunky about it. He was very understanding. He knows he has cleaning issues; what he didn't know was how much it was getting to me.

He told me that he is willing to throw some money at the problem. He will buy some sheds or rent a storage unit. He will pay for a California Closets-like outfit to build us some shelves and built-ins to house things. He will even spring for a few hours of consultation from a professional organizer.

However, before he spends all this money, he wants to be sure that the problem I have is really just living in mess, and not him. So, he thinks that I should move out for 30 days and live in a hotel/motel. (He's paying.)

He thinks that if I'm given a month away from him and the house, I'll be much better able to assess what the real problem is. If I'm fine once I'm not around the clutter, great. If I find that I don't miss him at all, then that's a totally different (and much more serious) problem.

Which brings me to my next item of interest, but really? That deserves a post of its own.

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