Friday, December 07, 2007

Scattered and Tattered

I reposted my short-story, That Was a Mistake, yesterday because it was representative of what my days have been like since I got to my Mom's last Sunday evening. I often have days much like that anyway but here I am extra prone to them and to make it even more 'interesting' I am sharing the house with three others with similar propensities--my Mom, my sister and her son. My sister and her son have been officially diagnosed with ADD and she has her suspicions that both Mom and our brother have it too. One of our brother's son's was also diagnosed with it a few years ago. So it wouldn't be too surprising. If so each of us has unique ways of presenting our attention issues. But there is one thing we all have in common--hoarding and its concomitant clutter.

I have blogged before about my hoarding and clutter issues. Since August of 2001 Ed and I have been living with our cat Merlin (until we lost Gremlyn in March it was two cats) in one room in his parent's trailer home. This has served to magnify the problem and make me ultra conscious of it and I've been attempting to address it, in hopes that when we get our own place again I will not begin to turn it into what my Mother's house now is. It is a fourteen room split-level with a garage and fairly typically furnished. There is not one single surface with a clear spot big enough to lay down a single book without laying it on top of something else. Most surfaces are layered in books, papers and paraphernalia relating to projects in progress or pending.

It isn't just a chaos of things but a chaos of time and of four consciousnesses in criss-crossed communication. I find this chaos exhausting. It makes me sleepy. And anxious. And depressed. It makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and stare at the back of my eyelids.

Sensory overload is one of my issues. I can't seem to process all of the sensory info and respond to it appropriately in real time. This makes me as socially inept as my character Jan was physically clumsy in That Was a Mistake. My Mom thinks out loud. She walks into a room talking, she calls out questions from the other room. I, on the other hand, need up to thirty seconds to formulate an answer to a direct question that I was already focused on. If that question happened to interrupt another line of thought or another conversation I need much more time than that and the risk is that my mind will just freeze.

Every task takes me longer to complete here and most get stalled in the early stages because a single interruption will side-track it permanently. At home it is a challenging task to get out to the kitchen immediately after waking to make my coffee and snack but even when I have a day similar to Jan's in my story it seldom takes me longer than twenty minutes to return to my room with a hot cup of coffee to sip over whatever project I'm focusing on that day. Every morning since I got to my Mom's, I have intended to get my coffee and go back downstairs to the room I'm sharing with my sister to finish waking up and complete my morning routine and either read or write. But I never make it back down. Mom will ask me three questions in the first thirty seconds. The TV will be on. The distractions add up and I seem to have no resistance to them. I go with the flow and that flow takes me through the hours of the day and by the time I am alone with my thoughts and laptop and online around midnight each night my mind wants nothing more than to make itself as blank and white as the Blogger post creator.

I've been here five days and just today finished unpacking the materials for the various projects I hoped to work on while here. My sister finally got a workstation set up near the scanner for me to start scanning the family photos. I'm only going to be here another ten days. That project is going to be bigger than I though and I doubt I'm going to come close to finishing it this trip.

I haven't written a work of fiction since I finished with NaNo a week ago. That is the longest break I've taken since July 8 when I signed onto 70 Days of Sweat. I am seriously missing it. Worse, I have done no writing at all other than what I've posted here. That is making me feel like a stranger to myself.

The only mistakes similar to those of Jan in my story which I've committed this week was to drop the container of honey onto the slice of bread already spread with peanut butter and to almost ladle tomato soup into an upside down cup. Unless you want to count all the times I stubbed my toes on something, stepped on the cat's tail or foot and almost fell down the stairs while carrying my laptop and a bag of books.

My sister has made up for it tonight. In her attempts to appliqué a patch onto a two-inch three-cornered tear on the front of my windbreaker, she melted a spot eight to ten inches across with an iron that was too hot because she kept turning it up not realizing that it wasn't on and then when she figured that out and turned it on she forgot to turn it down. I don't know how much to blame the ADD for that as she started the project after midnight several hours past her usual bedtime. She is going to try to fix it with a larger appliqué of butterflies which she has cut out of some fabric she bought for the purpose. Her talents lie in the visual arts and music. Which is why I asked for her help with patching my jacket.

Update: Here's a picture of the windbreaker after my sister got the patch on. As you can see, it took a flock of butterflies to cover the scorched area. Not visible is the fact that the pocket under the patch is reduced in size because the layers of fabric melted together. But it turned out fine. I'm just glad I get to wear it again. I'd not been wearing it for over a year for fear of enlarging that tear.

1 tell me a story:

Ann 12/08/2007 8:48 AM  

I hope the rest of your trip goes smoother. I had a similar problem the last time I went home to visit my mom. Maybe mornings would be a little easier if you asked her to turn off the tv at least until you'd had a chance to wake up? Have a great weekend.

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