HubMob Weekly Topic: Spring Cleaning Part II So Many Parts

After writing "Spring Cleaning for the Mobility Impaired" Hub, I got my taboret and table. Somehow the clutter expanded into complete chaos, Some Assembly Required...
After writing "Spring Cleaning for the Mobility Impaired" Hub, I got my taboret and table. Somehow the clutter expanded into complete chaos, Some Assembly Required...

After Spring Cleaning, -- More Clutter!

 My room is clean. It's been cleaned. The carpet has been vacuumed and steamed by my beloved son in law, who moved all the furniture except the waterbed to get under it after I pulled everything out from under tables and off the easel. Stuff has been put back on shelves, some of it. The old broken guest chair has been taken out and the good functional armchair with casters on it brought in -- that's upper left in the photo above.

The sheer amount of clutter has expanded. Instead of just the laundry basket of stuff to be sorted and a neat square meter of stacked books and stuff to organize, all the books and magazines from a small storage shelving unit wound up stacked on the bed -- in an unstable way. Last night while I slept they all slid off and banged down the neat stacks of magazines, books and envelopes. The side trays for my table were slippery enough to lead the way, thankfully they did not break.

One of the drawer units is broken, though not from that crash because all eight of those were stacked in the chair. I don't know how that happened, I didn't even unwrap those till later today, so I sent a customer service email to Blick asking for a replacement part. The only table parts that wound up in that mess were the ones that were on the bed.

Right now I am taking a break in the middle of Some Assembly Required. My new Alvin Craftmaster II drafting table has a base. I have constructed the base using the little tools in the parts packet and it's solid. The Allen wrench had enough leverage for me to get the bolts in good and tight.

So Many Parts, So Little Body Energy

 Yesterday the packages arrived. I was having a bad morning, so I crawled into my regular chair and looked at the doorway -- and saw the big brown box. Wow! The taboret arrived. I knew the taboret would arrive. It's beautiful, it's the Americana taboret from Studio Designs and I got it on Clearance from Blick when I got fed up with not having places to put things displaced in my Spring Cleaning.

It was scheduled to arrive on the tenth. But the box looked funny. It was too tall and flat. I quailed at the thought of having to assemble the taboret and wondered if I even had to assemble the drawers -- I thought it'd be easy.

The table shipped on the 9th from the factory. I wasn't expecting it for another week, but that was the box I first saw when I got up in the morning. The taboret was in another, shorter, fatter box very neatly packed in with lots of styrofoam sheets and corner protectors. It came through perfect except that I gave it a ding on a corner getting it into my room.

This was major exertion for me. I did it mostly by tilting it and pressing with my legs, since my fibromyalgia has reduced my strength to something pathetic and right side hemi-hypoplasia makes mere walking something that takes five times the body energy it does for any symmetrical person. I get chronic fatigue in two directions -- and spent most of my life believing I was just lazy and depressed. The "depressed" came from pain levels that I wasn't even aware were different from other people's. I thought anyone who got stressed got racked with spasms and physical waves of pain that took days to go away.

So as I describe all this, remember I'm doing everything cockeyed and weird, compensating for not being able to just lift or push things the way other people would. And that bending over more than once will start throwing my scoliotic back and bad hip.

The knobs were neatly screwed in backwards inside the drawers so as to save space in shipping, so I reversed them and put them on right. Happy day! I had drawers! I took a long break for several hours in the middle of chaos and screwed on the casters. Turned it upright.

Wow. I had half the assembly done. I was so proud!

My beautiful, assembled Americana Taboret

Americana Taboret next to my laptop cart, with drawer knobs and casters added. It rolls so easy on carpet, it's great!
Americana Taboret next to my laptop cart, with drawer knobs and casters added. It rolls so easy on carpet, it's great!

Moving Furniture By Myself

 That was where I started getting a bit brainless. Filled with macho energy and confidence at having attached four casters to a small wooden piece of furniture, I got the brilliant idea that I should move the end table my printer sits on and put the taboret where it normally sat. After all, the taboret was narrower and would give a few inches more room for the glorious Alvin Craftmaster II drafting table.

So I took off the entire assortment of stuff in front of the printer and found temporary places for ashtray, coffee cup, sweetener container, Pitt artist pens, water jar for watercolors, child's ruler, et many cetera scattered into the pile of other clutter on my right side table.

I stupidly picked up the end table and carried it across the room dodging the meter square stack of books and clutter, moved two large portfolios and put it next to the bed.

I went over to the small shelving unit that used to sit next to the door and pulled all the books out. This involved many trips bending over to pull books out of shelves that were double stacked and carrying them across the room to stack them on the bed. It took three tries with hour-long rests in between just to empty that.

My son in law got up from his nap and helped move the gold armchair in and the broken armchair out at that point. I put a strip of thin bubble wrap over the end table to protect the finish and put the short shelving unit on top of the table. Aha. The shelves will be easier to get at when I reshelve those books.

This became the seed of chaos when all those books on the end of the waterbed started bouncing around when I got into my full wave waterbed last night.

My son in law got the table unpacked. I carried all the parts into my room and closed the baby gate. I called it a night -- my hip went out, my back was spasming, I was exhausted and felt like I could sleep for a week except that the pain kept me awake.

So I sat like a dummy playing Diablo 2 for several hours resting, until I got bored with that and did my daily art sketch. I might as well include yesterday's art too. I have been keeping up daily art throughout March -- last night it was a major effort to do anything. But I used oil pastels and my smallest sketchbook, the 4" x 6" one so that I wouldn't get too detailed or elaborate. Even a sketch or small study does count for my Daily Art challenge.

Grapefruit and Apple

This small still life is memorable mostly because I did it entirely from memory and imagination. "Grapefruit and Apple" by Robert A. Sloan..
This small still life is memorable mostly because I did it entirely from memory and imagination. "Grapefruit and Apple" by Robert A. Sloan..

Lazy? Not by any human definition.

A lifetime of believing I was lazy and trying to fight that laziness in order to do the things I wanted to do in life and keep up with people who have a full set of human abilities left me with way too much willpower and too little sense. Of course I stopped and rested. Of course than feverish drive to get things done and keep up with things regardless of health issues cut in.

I pushed myself hard to do that little sketch, started with a wobbly circle to represent an apple, looked at the sketch I was copying and decided I didn't like the other bloke's apple. So I drew one of the apples from our yard from memory and added a grapefruit behind it because I could remember the look of grapefruits vividly. I hate eating them without an inch of sugar on top and at least half a dozen maraschino cherries, so eating grapefruits at breakfast was one of the small tortures of my unlivable childhood.

As an adult with an unlimited supply of cherries and sugar just for the choices when grocery shopping, I got to enjoying them as long as I only had them once or twice a year -- they still aren't something I'd eat every day. So I remembered a good one, the Ruby Red kind with the blush, and beat down the flashbacks that all the back spasms and leg cramps were giving me. Childhood when everyone believed I could run, play games, hit balls, stand up straight and do all the things other children could do like make it from one classroom to the next between bells was a consistent horror. The only mitigating thing in my entire childhood was that in art classes no one bugged me to do anything else and I'd get high grades for just goofing around with art supplies.

I remembered times that my room got messy and then worse when someone came in screaming at me at two in the morning for how filthy it was and tore everything up and threw it around the room, destroying my stuff. I get flashbacks about those midnight raids to this day. I can keep my mind off it while I'm awake but when I get tired or the pain runs too high, it's hard not to remember the time in my life when everything was like that and all my schedules were set by people who had expectations way beyond what I could physically do.

So after doing the art, I goofed around blogging it and then got started writing an article for my site on Drawing from Memory. By the time that was done and posted and linked properly to the index page on Creativity Articles, it was a quarter to four in the morning and I had not lifted a finger on the continued assembly of the table.

So I slept till around eleven, woke up with my cat on my chest purring at me and asking for food while the sun stabbed my eyes. I got up and saw the chaos from the first photo. Ow ow ow. It was bad. Really bad.

I sat still for about three hours doing other things online and then started the assembly. Right now, the base of the table is constructed and I did, thanks to the Allen wrench, manage to get all the bolts in good and tight to where I'd need some help undoing them.

So I went back to the computer for another physical rest and wrote this Hub. Once it is all done, when the table is constructed and the chair moved over to it and all the books shelved if not organized and sorted, It's not that I work in my bedroom. It's that my room is an art studio that happens to also have a bed in it... and that works better for me when crossing the room too many times can throw my back.

I'm going to pay for this in bed rest but it will be worth it when it's done.

I keep telling myself that...

Success!

The completed, assembled Alvin Craftmaster II drafting table with my new chair pulled up under it -- it fits! This will work! I love it!
The completed, assembled Alvin Craftmaster II drafting table with my new chair pulled up under it -- it fits! This will work! I love it!

Assembly Complete!

 Today, this afternoon, though I was starting to fall over from chronic fatigue, I did it. I managed to get the table completely assembled.

It took four more spurts of action followed by rests to finish it. The third also took my son in law Karl's help pushing on the side of the base with his foot so that the bolts holding the ratchet mechanism to the tabletop lined up -- it apparently got a little distorted during transit and was about 3/8" off between the holes in the ratchet mechanism's attachment plate and the premounted threaded sockets the bolts screw into.

He also helped me turn it right side up after we got that done. Then I rested, got up again and put together the drawer units, snapped the sides onto the top and it's done. It is beautiful. It is inviting.

I feel like I could sleep for a week.

My Fuzzbuddy Approves of the New Chair

Ari settles perched on the back of the new chair, watching birds in the window across the room and idly giving his approval to our new studio area. He doesn't paint except to blend soft pastel paintings with his fluffy tail, but he's a good professio
Ari settles perched on the back of the new chair, watching birds in the window across the room and idly giving his approval to our new studio area. He doesn't paint except to blend soft pastel paintings with his fluffy tail, but he's a good professio

End of the Beginning, or maybe Beginning of the End

 This is not the finish for my 2009 Spring Clearing. My bed still has a lot of books piled up on the end, the meter-square stack of stuff still needs sorting and putting away, and the laundry basket of random stuff needs to be gone through and sorted too.

It is the end of the hardest part though. I can take my time with slowly moving my stuff over there into the new pristine studio area and that big empty table. It reminds me of the Serengeti or something, it's all vast unexplored territory brimming with possibilities.

I got this far, the rest of it will come into order as it does. I edited out the comment that I'd write a third in this series because I decided to add this last section to Part II -- but I might do a short one on the Sorting of the Books and final organization of all the loose stuff.

Now that there are good places to put a lot of these things, it might go a whole lot better!

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Comments 6 comments

Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

Glad to see you are making good progress. It looks nice.

Sorry the pain brings flashbacks from your childhood.


robertsloan2 profile image

robertsloan2 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

Thank you! I'm still making progress. Yesterday was the day I paid for all of the exertion. I was so tired that it felt as if I hadn't slept at all and could barely move. All I managed for art was a one minute gesture sketch of my cat.

However, I did manage to shelve the rest of the books that were on the bed and reduced that stack on the floor by about half. It is still ongoing even if I wound up with more chaos than when I started.

It's frustrating about the flashbacks. It's been almost half a century and these things still make me flinch, it bugs me that it does. I should be able to just shut down those reactions and accept that I'm adult and no one, no one can ever do that to me again.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

HI Robert. I am so very moved by your story, and how much you accomplish. Success is measured in inches, and I admire your preserverance, achieving your goals.

It is unfortunate that many adults do not understand the difficulty of others who must do things differently than they. So, that lack of understanding turns into a lack of compassion, which is and can be cruelty if they act out their frustration. It is a huge lack on their part, it is theirs alone.

Putting unhappy and harsh experiences in a mental room can be a good way to compartmentalize the past. When our thoughts and experiences have no "place" in our mind, they roam around, coming to the surface when we least expect it, causing us to dread their arrival, and walk around holding our mental breath for its sudden appearance.

If you can picture the things that bother you, the memories each time they creep up, and picture yourself wrapping it up and boxing it in, and then carry it to the mental room you build for that storage, it might help.

I used to do this exercise with foster children who had to have a place to put their memories. It was helpful for some. I hope it will be for you.

=)) I think the room is beautiful, as is the fruit, I LOVE that picture!! What a talent you posses, and do not fear the somewhat chaotic presence it brings to your surroundings, as is the case with many very talented people. Embrace your life and abilities, they are numerous.


robertsloan2 profile image

robertsloan2 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

Thanks for the tips, Marisue! That makes sense. Of course being a novelist I have a third process involved. I do save my dirty laundry, cleanr it, sort it, fold it -- and dig it out again when I'm writing a novel because no matter how rotten any memory is, I can write vividly from life while imposing it ten times worse on a protagonist!

It's a neat visualization. I've been doing a lot of that sorting lately -- and now I'm coming to the end of what has been the happiest time in my life, the best chapter, ever. With something even cooler to look forward to. We are moving to Arkansas, the whole merry gang of us.

I'm leaving a physical house that holds three years of happy memories and may run around taking a lot of pictures so that I never forget how it looked -- and slketch things too -- but I am not losing my beloved cat, my loved daughter's cat, either of their dogs (the best behaved dogs in the world), my grandkids, my daughter or my son in law.

Instead we're all merrily migrating South to a climate just comfortably midway between New Orleans (too hot in summer) and temperate Kansas with its bitter changes. I could be doubling or tripling my activity range just by this relocation and she's looking for a place where my room could be on the ground floor -- right on ground level, easy to go in and out as easily as going in the kitchen. I would love that.

I would be outside painting plein air at least once a week if I didn't have stairs in the way. I'll probably do a Hub on the move and my packing process. Had to smile at the empty, lovely table -- it is now chock full of happy art stuff and yet there's room for more of the good things to be in my reach so it's been a joy getting these things.

New Hub soon tonight or tomorrow, promise!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Ahhh I am going thru much the same, with our upcoming move to Oklahoma so I know just what you mean. There is joy and sadness both with my change, perhaps all changes are like that.

I leave 2 sons behind, but we will keep in touch via webcams and internet and phones...still it is our first major separation in distance.

One son goes with us, and we will be near his daughter, now 3. I will write, keep a garden of both vegetables and flowers, and keep house and again....WRITE. =)) ALL of which are my true loves.

and food. always cooking. =)) be well, and keep writing and painting, they are your beautiful voice.


robertsloan2 profile image

robertsloan2 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA Author

Thanks! I don't think my move is going to be as traumatic as yours. I've read your Moving hub and you have a much bigger job than I do. I've been moving between once and four times a year throughout my adult life before living here. All previous times when I didn't move within the year were horrible -- tar-pit bad situations I had trouble getting out of and was grateful to leave, like the homeless shelter.

Which means that my stuff is already pretty well filtered for "keep or not" and has been for a long time. It's stored in ways that lend themselves to "grab all of Rob's boxes and get them in the truck." With a whole month to get ready and me in better physical condition than I have been since I was in the shelter, I've got a fighting chance of doing my own packing and actually enjoying the trip, without needing to be nursemaided throughout.

It also comes at a time of year when I might be not-sick on the day of the move and really enjoy the trip. Get lots of digital photos. Carry my sketchbook and watercolor journal and do decent travel art for the first time in my life -- always wanted to, been equipped to since 1978, only recently got the skill at fast sketching that it won't all be blobs and postage-stamp sized areas of irrelevant detail like one twig and no scenery.

I should go write my Hub. Moving stories intrigue people and I've got a few zillion tips from being so nomadic all my life.

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