Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Burning down the house

Last Thursday we almost had an electrical fire. The Big Red House is right around 100 years old and is in major need of rewiring, but it was still our fault for plugging in two too many space heaters on an already questionable circuit. At 2:30 a.m. Jim started shaking me awake (because I sleep the sleep of the dead) and I realized I wasn't just dreaming about the strange smell... which was in actuality coming from the outlet next to my side of the bed.

Needless to say, neither of us slept very well for the rest of the night, even after everything was unplugged and turned off. We called our landlord first (well, maybe second) thing in the morning and then I began a feverish bout of cleaning so the house would be semi-presentable when he came to look at things. Things, as in more than one. See, we also had an ongoing drip from our bathtub faucet, a leaky pipe we hadn't been able to locate that constantly trickled across the utility room floor in the basement, and a broken cadet heater in our upstairs bathroom. All of these have been problems for months now, but we've been putting off calling the landlord until we got the house pulled together, including all those places no one usually went but us.

What surprised me was that when I broke down what needed to be done into chunks of an hour or so, and took breaks to play with the kids or do homeschool or check email, it didn't take me as long as I thought it would to do the tasks that are my least favorite (scrubbing toilets and sweeping up unnaturally large spider carcasses in the basement, anyone?) Over the past few days, as I've been enjoying my clean house, I've also been thinking about my tendency to live reactively, to get the most done when I'm (pardon the pun) "putting out fires".

Ever since October, when I joined OA, I've been understanding on increasingly deeper levels how this is the way I've always lived, in every last aspect my life: I don't make necessary changes until something going wrong forces the issue. One of the greatest blessings of recovery through the 12 Steps is I'm finally learning to scrutinize myself searchingly and honestly, yet without judgement. And while I joined OA in yet another "putting out a fire" moment, I'm glad I did it. Because now I can stop putting out fires and start intentionally burning away the chaff of those parts of myself and the way I do things that don't work for me. I so very much appreciate the ongoing inspiration and insights I'm receiving about what and how to change to create the peace and joy in my life I've always wanted.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions anymore because I don't believe in waiting until some arbitrary temporal landmark like the beginning of a new year before making a change. At the same time, it's a good feeling to know that the changes I've already set in motion make this a truly new year in my life, one that already is and will continue to be better than any before it.

1 comment:

aubrey said...

scary! i'm glad you guys and your cute house are okay. i understand what you mean about the arbitrary temporal landmark being the basis for making changes, but i still love the start of a new year and being able to make changes. i'm afraid i make changes for the fun and excitment of it, i know..i am odd.