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Using Time Wisely (Sort Of)
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I had another big chunk of time off, and I took advantage of it to clean and paint and assemble a shelf. I reported my progress on Facebook, where a couple of friends commented on my domestic activity, and wished they had my motivation.
Part of it is guilt, part of it is having time off, another part of it (the main part) is being almost absolutely broke. Had I a thousand dollars or more to spend, I would have taken in several movies, a bunch of meals, and most certainly a road trip to Chicago. But I didn't. If I were truly dedicated, I would have been up at 8 or 9 each morning, cleaning for several hours, then calling it a day. But I didn't.
This broke-ass insomniac kept busy enough with going through a room that once resembled something straight out of Hoarders. Little by little, I picked through the toys, clothes, furniture, records, VHS tapes, books, stereo equipment, sewing supplies and paint and gave or threw a lot of it away. In order to have floor space to do anything, I had to put up shelves for the junk that was on the floor. Now, there's floor space, when before I had to climb over stuff to get into the room. It looks way better, but I'm still a long way from my “oasis” room, a combo space for exercising, relaxing and writing.
I spent about 25 percent of my time off at home, something which wouldn't have happened if I'd had money. I guess I should be thankful that I was broke, because I seriously doubt I'd have gotten as much done if I'd had some lettuce. I did manage to enter a writing contest. I cranked out a story in about an hour's time, and noticed (with some disgust) that this quickie shag of a story (I'd barely edited it) got more views in a shorter amount of time, than anything else I'd written and spent serious time on. Is this how Fifty Shades of Grey was born?
On the other hand, I saw what could easily happen if I should happen to win the lottery for some huge amount of money. There were nights where I was online for hours, only to trudge off to bed and read for another couple of hours, then finally turn off the light at 4 a.m., or later. I'd wake up in the early afternoon, read for a couple of hours, then make my way down the hallway, to sit on the couch, pull the pink down throw over my legs and write for a while, get online, and repeat the cycle for maybe two or three days, tops without leaving the house. Staying at home meant I wasn't spending any money, but I felt like some eccentric hermit, slogging around in a 3XL t-shirt and sweatpants, eating a bit of fruit before checking email, and Facebook, a short fiction site, (and Facebook) and yet another fiction site (and Facebook.) I barely exercised at all.
I did get some bookshelves built. It was a comedy of errors, using an ancient Montgomery Ward power saw in the living room to cut up some slightly warped two by almost sixes by a smidge over 92” long pieces of wood. I'd already painted them, but that was the easy part. For some reason, one of the shelves was the right length, but wouldn't sit flush against the two side pieces. I re-drilled and finally got them together, but it wasn't my finest woodworking moment. It sort of reminded me of the time I took “Home Ec” in seventh grade and had to make an apron. Mom had the sewing talent, and I'm sure she was a bit letdown over the C+ I'd earned for my effort. The shelves were probably a C-. However, I felt proud that I'd used an overlooked bit of storage space, and created about 14 feet of bookshelves where probably no one thought it could work. I guess that's why mom stored paint in the bedroom and on top of the kitchen cabinets. When you don't have a garage or a basement, you've got to get creative.
It's hard for me to get rid of stuff, because it seems like three weeks after it's gone, that's when I suddenly need that matador hat or cat figurine. I decided to consign the metal folding chairs to a local used furniture place. I don't really need the rock-solid dining room chairs my mom salvaged from Win Schuler's back in the day, but I can't bear to part with them. As I began to line them up along one wall in my spare bedroom, I thought perhaps I could install a stripper pole smack dab in the middle and put on shows. The mirrored wall is already there, all I need is some lighting and a sound system. But that's another project for another vacation. And spring break is less than two months away!