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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Then and Now: Thoughts on being busy (and some before/after pictures!)

Since I have moved to this new farm, I have been....in a single word....BUSY!  It is hard to describe exactly how busy I have been, because it's not the same kind of "busy" that I was when I had my patent agent job in Iowa.  That was "brain busy" whereas my current state is "hands busy."  Never in my life have I been so "hands busy" as I am now.

My former job could be very stressful and intense at times.  I was responsible for a huge biotechnology patent portfolio.  I had roughly 700 active patent applications under my direct supervision, some foreign, some domestic.  Some of the work I did myself, from the initial discussions with scientists, through drafting a patent application, prosecuting it with the US Patent Office, and eventually achieving an issued patent.  Some of the work I supervised through outside legal counsel, both in the US and in a large number of other countries.  I used my brain in very different ways.  I had to develop legal arguments to counteract patent examiners at the US Patent Office.  I had to read complex scientific articles and distill them into small nuggets of information, which I could then use to support the patent applications for which I had responsibility.  I had a lot of daily meetings with scientists and business people.  I was busy, each and every day, but I was intellectually busy.

When I used to come home from my job, I would do a little housework from time to time, but it was gentle in comparison to what I do now.  I admit that I am not the world's best housekeeper, but I never let my home descend into utter chaos and disfunctionality.  Now, instead of going somewhere else to work every day, I work at home.  It is a completely different type of work.  I don't really have to think very much about what I need to do, but I am busy, each and every day.  I am physically busy.  I am mentally stalled.

There is SO MUCH to be done here.  I have never cleaned so much in my life.  I have never organized so much in my life.  I have never had to deal with the extent of chaos that I am presently dealing with.  At the same time, I really miss the "thinking" work that I used to do, even though I am just as busy.  I'm not quite sure how to manage this conundrum right now - perhaps it will work itself out.

In any event, to demonstrate how (hands) busy I am, here are a couple of "before" pictures of my current kitchen, and a couple of "after" pictures, to show you the progress I've been making.  Keep in mind that when I acquired the home, all the previous owner's stuff (as shown in the pictures below) was still in place.  Since the owner had some health problems, he was unable to do a lot of the clean-up work, so we agreed to take the house "as-is" and deal with it ourselves.

BEFORE:  Note the....ummm...chaos!  The rather dreadfully brownish-yellow wallpaper (which was originally a white background as I discovered when removing it) was truly horrid.  I determined that it's probably due to a combination of age and smoke.  Even though the house does not smell of smoke at all (I am very sensitive to smoke), I have found old, used ashtrays.  I think that probably 5-10 years ago, both the former owner and his wife smoked heavily.  Also note how you cannot actually SEE the table in the middle of the room, just the stuff that is sitting on it.

BEFORE:  This is the view of the kitchen from the other direction.  Yes, it really was THAT chaotic.  I have never in my life seen a kitchen in such disarray.  I was overwhelmed.  You can actually see the table in this picture.  Well, a little bit of it anyway...  I encourage you to note the rather hideous "harvest gold" fridge and dishwasher.  Let me also tell you that the dishwasher actually was full of dishes, but had not been run in probably 8-10 years.  It was....well...pretty disgusting to empty it out.  The shelves were completely full of stuff that didn't belong in the kitchen, but all of which needed to be sorted and categorized, or disposed of!

BEFORE:  This was part-way towards my goal, but as you can see, the wallpaper was removed but the harvest gold appliances were still in place.  Ugh...

AFTER:  The same view, essentially, as the first picture I posted, but with the dreadful wallpaper removed, the chaos on the shelves removed, the rather pitiful stove removed, and a new stove and fridge (basic models but very serviceable) in place.  Note that in the original picture, you can barely see the woodstove pipe that shows in this picture.  It's going to be removed soon, but for now it just sits there.  My rolling butcher block shelf unit is between the two appliances, which offers additional surface space for chopping, etc.

AFTER:  This is after the harvest gold fridge was removed, and my metal shelves were put in place until we find some replacement cabinets we like.  It's not perfect, but it is a long way from where it was.  The wallpaper is gone, the chaos is gone, there is a semblance of normality.  The dishwasher was removed yesterday.  We'll have a new one installed in short order!
So, this gives you an idea of what I've been busy doing.  I feel good at the end of each day in some ways, because I can see the difference I've made.  At the same time, this is very new to me, and it's taking me a lot of time to adjust from corporate life to this "removal of chaos" life that I have chosen.  Stay tuned for progress!  This isn't the only room that has gone from chaos to (relative) normality.

16 comments:

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Ahhhh! What a mess! Wow! And that was only one room! My lady actually said, "Holy Crapola". Can she say that? Tee hee.

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Isobelle - your lady was very polite, in comparison to what I have said! I think she showed admirable restraint! Hee hee!

Pricilla said...

I can't believe they left the house like that! OY!

Crossword puzzles. They are something you can pick up, put down and will challenge your mind.

Or Suduko. Some thing.

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

It looks like you have been very busy. You're making lots of progress though, and it'a always rewarding when you can see the progress. Once you get settled in, I'm sure you'll find a way to keep your brain busy also.

Louise said...

It looks to me like you have made amazing progress. And, I bet you sleep well at night, maybe better than you did when you were dead tired from the brain work. When you're done, this house will be yours in a way it would never have been if you hadn't had to get down to brass tacks and practically start from scratch.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Is there a nice ceiling above that one that is there now? Those look like those foamy panels. My lady says the wood floor is nice!

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Amazingly the ceiling panels are wood. They are not foamy. However, we don't really like the crosshatched ceiling look, so we will likely cover it with drywall and have a flat white ceiling. The floor is nice, especially in the areas without wear. It is softwood, which is harder to keep looking nice. However, we plan to sand out the rough bits and keep it for the time being. It just needs some proper care. I am concerned about Stickley's claws....he tends to do a number on floors. My hardwood oak floors in Iowa had a lot of scratches, so on this softwood floor, he is likely to be even worse. :(

edenhills said...

It is looking so much better. I'm glad you're getting settled in. I'm guessing it's still going to be a while before you feel like it's home. Amazing that they left it in that condition.

Teresa

Split Rock Ranch said...

Just take it one room at a time. Or one corner of a room at a time. You'll get there. And your mind has most likely been extremely busy trying to figure out what to do with everything you've had to deal with! It just hasn't been in the same way as you've used your mind in the past at your job. You'll be fine!

Marigold said...

OY MY GOAT! I can't believe the before pictures! How could someone live like that? Even Boo isn't that messy. I think I would've just sat down and cried. You have done MOST admirable work!!! I kind of like the milk can in the corner - and the window over the sink. What is the sink like?

Texan said...

My first thought was oh my gosh!

My next thought was all the progess you have made is very good!

You have taken on quite the project!

When I stopped working erm well okay when I stopped earning a paycheck LOL it took me quite some time to adjust. I wasn't sure I would adjust...but I have. It just took time.

I bet once you get your new place in order and can get your wine and wool business running that will be a good business challenge!

Leontien said...

Yep i can see you have been busy allright!

Looks good though, after seeing the before and after pics!

Thanks and keep up the good work!
Leontien
www.fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre said...

Holy crapola is right. My sewing room is starting to look like that. I am turning off the computer right now and going to do some cleaning. What was your secret for getting rid of the wallpaper? I inherited a border of blue cows and horses in the kitchen that I can't ignore for much longer.

Nancy K. said...

OMG! I thought that I had it bad with having to clean out my entire house and paint and pack for moving into town. I wouldn't even know how or where to begin in what you faced...

Is anyone helping you?

Spinners End Farm said...

Hopefully, amid all the chaos that you inherited, you will find a treasure or two! :) You've always been a hard worker one way or another- I'm happy to see you reworking your life one bit of chaos at a time!

ps. That messy table made my messy table look tame! We did manage to clean ours off over the weekend too. NOW- if it would just stay that way!

Kelly said...

I think I would have done whatever I could to hire someone to do all that work for me! You've done an amazing job!