Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Paralysis: Time to Make Lists

I feel a tremendous paralysis with respect to the things that I need to get done. In short, when I have a lot to do, I feel overwhelmed by it and therefore do nothing. As a result, I live in a constant state of stress and anxiety -- and I have the ability to do something about it but don't. And this is bad. In an effort to give myself a kick in the pants (and feeling inspired by Katie's lists), I am making lists.

These are the things that are currently on my baby-related to do list (many of which are thankfully non-urgent) -- I reserve the right to add to it and/or cross things off as I accomplish them (green=in progress):

  • Hang clock in nursery
  • Hang corner shelves in nursery
  • Hang wall shelves in nursery
  • Hang quilt in nursery (figure out how to do so beforehand -- suggestions?)
  • Sort through all the presents we got at our shower, putting away what we can and putting all things requiring washing into the baby hamper -- can't put anything away, though, until the shelves are up
  • Wash everything in the baby hamper, numerous times ideally
  • Wash all cloth diapers
  • Call electrician to get new outlet put into the basement so we can get a freezer for down there for storing meals for after baby comes. (Also have them get a permit for basement work that P did and have it inspected so we can put the ceiling back up.) Need to get estimates first.
  • Alternatively clean out freezer upstairs
  • Make meals for freezing.
  • Clean (as in straighten up -- thankfully we have a cleaning service that does that actual cleaning) our entire house -- it is a sty with crap everywhere. It's seriously embarassing. Anyone have any advice on clutter? I have a serious problem with it. I hate throwing things away, especially if we might eventually need them, but we don't have room for stuff. I think I may have some sort of serious problem. I can't bring myself to get rid of old cassette tapes, or Walkmen/Discmen (the latter is probably 15 years old), or faded color paper, or fabric scraps, or picture frames we haven't used (or hung, in the case of those that have pictures in them) since we moved 3.5 years ago.
  • Clean out the cube storage unit in the family room and put baby toys in it
  • Clear off coffee table and move to basement to make room for the baby in the family room
  • Get car seat installation in new car inspected and base installed in old car (thankfully P installed the car seat in the new car last weekend -- I set up the Pack N Play, which was, I guess, another thing I did this past weekend and forgot about)
  • Buy rechargeable batteries (a ton of Ds and some AAs) and a charger
  • Decide whether MIL will be present for delivery
  • Set up an appointment with HR to get things squared away for maternity leave
  • Pick a pediatrician -- this will require scheduling interview appointments with at least a few, and I have no idea how to do this when I have to go to work every day
  • Start thinking more seriously about day care -- I'm feeling very behind on this, even though we don't need it until March
  • Get the stuff we didn't get through showers and have not yet bought ourselves -- definitely need: nursing pads, Lanisoh, outlet covers, crib pads, second changing pad cover (and possibly first -- it disappeared off our registry, but we haven't received it from anyone), additional layette items. I ordered most of the cloth diapering supplies we didn't get and will need right away yesterday. And I made us an appointment for a training session at a local cloth diapering store for next weekend; I assume we can pick up anything else we need then.
  • Acquire some sort of nursing tank or gown (or anything at all appropriate as sleepwear) to wear in hospital (though I'm happy to say I finally ordered a couple of nursing bras)
  • Pack hospital bags
  • Finish picking names, or at least have another conversation about them
  • Shower thank you notes

P has his own list of (non-baby-related) projects he has started but not finished, and this also stresses me out to no end. Here are some of them:

  • Finish rebuilding the patio that he tore up almost 2 years ago -- it's going to be a safety hazard for a baby, and I don't know when it will ever get done since it's been two years and it's less than half done as far as the finishing work goes
  • Put ceiling back up in basement so I can get the stuff that belongs in the finished section out of the unfinished section and begin organizing both areas (wow -- P did it all this weekend, even though there's still no ceiling
  • Sort through the giant pile of stuff he brought over from his mother's attic that is currently cluttering up the unfinished section of the basement -- some of the stuff (like old fireworks) is dangerous!
  • Finish weed-killing/grass-growing project begun in May -- stage 2 was supposed to be done in June, and it's August
  • Start taking some of the necessary steps to find a new job, since he hopes to get one while on parental leave

I fear that P too is paralyzed by his list. Even if he just made ten minutes of progress a day on any one thing, he would be making progress. But some projects have necessary precursor steps (like the basement ceiling, which requires getting the electric work he did permitted and approved, which requires an electrician) and others are ones he says he can't do ten minutes of at a time since he has to change into dirty clothes to do them and shower after, which hardly seem worth it for only ten minutes of productivity and others still require that we have a day or two when rain isn't in the forecast, which hasn't really happened much this summer. P is super-ambitious when it comes to taking things on -- and very handy as well, but has a tendency not to finish projects he starts (some projects for the reasons noted). And I am just not in a position to be of much help on many of these things right now (and I've been on him about the job stuff since the fall of 2004 and have clearly made no progress). And I feel like a bitch nagging him at all since he does a ton of stuff around the house at this point, including all lawn mowing, more than his share of taking the dog outside, more than his share of grocery shopping, etc. And while he never puts clothes away, resulting in most of the clutter in our room, he otherwise contributes far less to the clutter in the house than I do (which I think drives him nuts). (See above for more on my clutter issues (though I did successfully freecycle our old TV and two old radiators that were taking up space in our basement).)

So, even though I am exhausted and my hands barely seem to function these days (this is rapidly becoming the worst thing about pregnancy -- I can barely open and close my hands, and if I use them for more than a couple of minutes, especially to grip anything, they tingle until they become numb), I think tonight when I get home I'm just going to start tackling the list. As much as I'd prefer to have dinner and/or watch TV, we really have to get this stuff done, and the stress of having all of this looming is way worse than dealing with being hungry or the desire to know what happened on the Olympics would be. We are running out of time, or we will if we don't get moving.


Ms. Infertile said...

Sounds like you had a very busy weekend. It's no wonder you're tired!
Glad the shower went well for you.
And the I detect some nesting taking place? Don't stress - what needs to get done will get done.

mo*reezy said...

Oh, it's like I wrote this. I get overwhelmed and paralyzed, too. I feel like most baby prep including emotional and mental gearing up for labor has been put on hold until September 1, when my most important stuff at work is done.
I hope your lists help manage the tasks, and I know that whatever you do or don't get done will be just fine.

Jen said...

I always think that making the list means that you are halfway done already. You can do it! I love lists because it always feels so great to cross things off.

Meghan said...

I also procrastinate like nobodies business. This is a fantastic list, I just started mine and now apparently have to put a ton more on it ;)

Good luck with everything

Nicky said...

I finally broke out of my paralysis just a few days ago, after staring at my (very similar) list for many, many days without progress.

For hanging the quilt: we bought a quilt hanger here:

Easy to get the quilt down if you want to actually use it occasionally, and the shelf is perfectly sized to hold (small) stuffed animals. We love it.

niobe said...

I loooove throwing out stuff. A few months ago, I cleaned out all my brother's kitchen cabinets and it was really, really fun. (I know, I'm sick and not really that tidy otherwise -- I just enjoy tossing stuff)

Invite someone like me over and have them go through your things with you.