I don’t know if it’s COVID fatigue or Climate Moroseness or something else, but I’m starting to fret and frazzle about doing things rather than doing them. I realize I need to get on the roof for something and suddenly I’m apprehensive about getting on the ladder. My printer is acting up and my sink drains slow. Rats have resurrected the bowling alley in my attic and Tesla has just emailed me that my solar panels have quit. And maybe none of these things is insurmountable but if enough of them pile up together, they gather emotional lint and torpor and suddenly I feel incapable of doing any of it.
I’ve never been a real go-getter, of course. Even if I was embarking on a new project using skills I already have, I would feint at it for a while before I got moving. I make a Christmas card every year and yet I circle around it for weeks before I finally sit down and make it happen, and it always happens, and I’m always surprised.
And it’s not like I’ve ever been terribly useful around the house. Still, there are things I know how to do. I can paint. I know the techniques and I have a steady hand and I know what order to do things. I’m pretty good at it, too.
But then the other day I discovered one of the windows in our tower has rotted out at the bottom and I’ll be dogged if it doesn’t turn out the whole window needs to be replaced. Which is not cheap. And when someone came out to have a look, he noticed that all the south- and west-facing windows are looking a little vulnerable. The wood is bare in spots and just aching to rot out. No sooner had this been pointed out than it commenced to rain absolute buckets for weeks on end.
Which, to be sure, we are very happy about. But.
In the middle of the night as I listen to the pounding rain, deep into my unproductive monkey mind, I can almost hear the fungi rumbling through my windows then and there. Like, if I don’t do something about sanding and repainting them by noon the next day, my windows will sag into mush. But I have to be able to remember how to take the windows out. Set up sawhorses. Find the paint. See if any of my brushes still bend. Nothing hard, but at three a.m. it all seems too much.
Then I thought about my friend Leslie.
Leslie does everything. If there’s something at her house that needs fixing, she fixes it. She’ll spread seven yards of mulch in her garden between dinner and bedtime. She’ll clear the downspouts before winter, not during the first downpour. If she doesn’t have a tool, she knits it out of steel wool. Her to-do lists are all-done lists. Now that she’s retired, her whole neighborhood is liable to be shiny and unbollixed, just from leftover energy. She doesn’t dither. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she knows she can figure it out. She’s got skills and she’s got gumption.
And that’s when it came to me, at three a.m., in the celestial baritone voice-over of the Lord: Be the Leslie you want to see in the world! And when I woke up and had coffee, I got going.
Took the windows out. Set up sawhorses. Sanded. Primed. Painted. Repainted. Put them back in. Done. I beed the Leslie.
Of course, Leslie probably wouldn’t have accidentally used the high-gloss paint on the satin-finish window. Leslie absolutely wouldn’t have tried to put the window in backwards even though one side is white and the other side is red. And Leslie would have had it all done before breakfast. Five years ago.
But still. I beed the Leslie.
Brilliant! Sorry, can't comment longer, I've got jobs to get on with.
Oh, man, I see myself in this. I procrastinate about the damnedest things. Things that really wouldn't take that long if I Just. Did. It. I've had "touch up paint on baseboards and trim" on my to-do list for months now. Is it hard to do? No. Will it take long? No. But it seems that if I don't have a time limit to do something, it takes forever to do it. Sometimes even having a deadline is not helpful. I used to have more energy for these things. Maybe it's getting older. Maybe, as you say, it's Covid fatigue plus Climate fatigue. Anymore, my attitude is, WTF… we're all doomed anyway.
You call "for months now" procrastinating? Piker.
Anyone who hangs up tools on the wall in their proper place is made out of Leslie stuff. "Where's the hammer?" "Hanging on the floor where you left it".
Needless to say, our basement does not look at all like this.
I'm sorry your solar panels have stopped working. What a pain! I have pigeons pooping on mine. I wish I could be like Leslie. Sigh. Good for you for making the effort. I just stopped by because my cousins read your blog and told me I needed to visit. 😀
I don't even think they did quit working. I think the gateway that tells the mothership if my panels are working quit working. They DID quit working once because squirrels ate the wires. I hate squirrels.
I am not that Leslie.
"Be A Leslie."
You take the windows out? Aren't the frames sealed to the structure of the house? I'm looking at the window right in front of me here and there's no way I could take it out. That would require at least a couple of workmen with bags of tools, chisels and levers and hammers and such.
These tilt out and then you can crank 'em sideways and pluck them right out, and it's a good thing, too, if you want to be able to clean them on the outside (they're 45 feet up), which apparently I've never wanted to do in 25 years.
Wow! You did a Leslie! I thought your 3 a.m. brain was going to hire her! Please remember, anyone over 50 should NOT be going up a ladder. That's what to hire out for sure. Stunning work with all those windows! Linda in Kansas
Good heavens, FIFTY? I only just started feeling nervous about ladders. Anyway, I only did a half-Leslie, but you have to start somewhere.
Wonderful, Murr. and I couldn't help laughing out loud, albeit weakly, since I thoroughly identified.
Weakly is better than nonely.
I bees a Pre-Leslied Murr sort. Retirement is the first time in my life since infancy that I’ve had the luxury of procrastination. In my lifetime, I’ve done so many things I can’t even remember most of them. But I struggle with anxiety and guilt about my pet luxury, too. It’s a love/hate relationship, as are they all. My mother’s injunction to “throw my mind out of gear” is of use every day, and I’m always flabbergasted by how easily and quickly I get ‘er done when I hit the clutch.
Now that's a nice image. I think my mind's been in neutral for years.
I'm getting old, always been insecure and the thought of taking windows out scares me. Hopefully I should snuff it before any big jobs come to hand!
That's a bright thought!
My sainted father used to say, Bobby, beginning is half done.
I’m just commenting to see if I can….
I’m a bit of a Leslie, especially in widowhood, but I am still waiting for the men to come finish putting in the west window in MY tower (haha, two ancient longtime dinobloggers, both with towers on their houses, with rotting windows). There was a giant lift with tank treads involved, and it tore up the lawn something awful. I can deal with the lawn. Letting men deal with the giant window, the lift, the trim, etc. I honor the light in you. And I’m now subscribed on WordPress, it seems, and I didn’t have to sign over my firstborn. Huzzah! Much prefer the PNW forest to the Arsenic and Old Lace look. Well done, Murrbaby!!! Next: book contract!!
Oh I see–there’s a teeny tiny Reply thing at the top of the comment. It’s all good now.
Now, does this get further indented? Hmm. Testing. Testing.
Further testing…bum de bum bum…
Testing! Testing! I don’t think I can reply to individual comments. Must figure that out. DINOBLOGGERS!
Even backwards I’m no Leslie ( Eilsel )
You mean I can now post comments right on your page without having to remember my Google password? Win!