Cleaning Up My Act

Before I moved to The Cave, I was a slob.  I had piles of papers on my desk and one or two half-full bottles of water that may have been there for a while.  A basket of clothes needing to be folded and put away sometimes sat on the floor for more than a couple of days.  If the clothes basket was not on the floor and you dared to open my closet or armoire, you would have seen piles of unhung or unfolded clothes.  It was not pretty and, while I wasn’t proud of it, I also wasn’t making much of an effort to change my untidy habits.  If I were to appear in a production of The Odd Couple, I would have done both Walter Matthau and Jack Klugman proud in the role of Oscar Madison.

But not anymore.  I am starting to clean up my act.

The clean-up began in the spring.  In preparation for the renovations, I had to “gut” my bedroom and bathroom and box up most of my possessions, taking only the bare minimum to The Cave.  This was a painful process.  “Stuff” had been building up in my space for years and this was an opportunity to do a massive clean-up and start fresh.   I had to face my mess.  Oh, joy.  I cleaned a drawer here and there and then found out that the renovations in my bathroom were starting a couple of days after Memorial Day.

So, in tandem with my parents putting together shelving, setting up a nifty, makeshift clothing rack and moving items down to The Cave, I spent most of Memorial Day cleaning out the rest of the drawers, the closet and the armoire, donating or throwing out whatever I could and boxing up the rest.  It was a massive purge and I hated every moment of it.  In the interest of full disclosure, there are still bags of old paperwork in the bottom of my closet that I have yet to go through when I move back upstairs.

There is something transformational about moving into renovated rooms.  This is a first for me as an adult.  I have never had a completely new space.  Because it’s pristine, I want to honor it and keep it that way for as long as possible.  I’m not saying that I have done an complete turnaround. I am no Felix Unger and I never will be.  Thank God.  But I have done my best to keep The Cave tidy and, with the laundry room a few feet away, I have developed a new appreciation for doing laundry and have offered to do the rest of the family’s laundry as well.  Folding laundry, which I used to hate, has now become a form of meditation for me.  That sounds weird and geeky as I sit here typing it.  I can’t even fully explain the experience yet, but it’s true.

As if that wasn’t enough, this whole “cleaning up my act thing” has spilled over into another area of my life (and I am not going to apologize for phrasing it that way).  After spending that last two and a half months in this beautiful space, it became painfully obvious to me that not only did I need to clean up my surroundings, I had some major work to do on myself as well.

I once heard Oprah say, upon moving to her house in Santa Barbara, that she wanted to feel worthy of her beautiful home.  I understand that now.  I had let myself go and I did not feel worthy of my surroundings.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog, TV is just one of my addictions.  The other one is food.  I am overweight.  I will go so far as to say that I had not purchased any new clothes in a while because did not feel I deserved them.  Well, since I moved to the cave, I have improved my eating habits and I recently bought a couple of pairs of pants and some shirts.  It’s a start.

I am cleaning up my act and it feels good.

For more on my odyssey with food, tune in next week for another episode of LESSONS FROM THE CAVE.

Yours truly,

No Cows in The Cave

For years, TV was one of my drugs of choice.  My favorite magazine when I was a kid was TV Guide and I read it from cover to cover week after week.  If you wanted to know what was on TV at a specific day and time, I could tell you.  I soaked up tons of trivia about all of my favorite TV shows… Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, etc.  My TV trivia knowledge from the 1970s onward is unparalleled.  But I am not as proud of that skill as I used to be because I have come to realize I was wasting time and numbing my brain.  Living and working upstairs, I had the TV on most of the time.  I had convinced myself I needed the white noise.  I even slept with the TV on almost every night.

Well, guess what? There are no cows in The Cave.  A number of my Facebook friends will get that “Twister” reference. 😉  As much as I love TV, when I knew I was moving downstairs temporarily and that there would be no DirecTV for the duration of my stay, I was ready to meet the challenge of living without it.  Strangely, I was even excited about it.

While I will probably not stop watching TV completely, I am definitely feeling the benefits of significantly cutting down on the time I spend glued to the boob tube — an accurate description since I feel like a boob after numbing my mind for so many years:

  1. I feel more creative.
  2. I am spending more time on healthy activities like meditation, crocheting, reading, writing, and socializing with friends.
  3. I feel better about myself.
  4. Even with my addiction, I was conscientious about getting my work done.  But there is always room for improvement and I noticed that I am working more efficiently.
  5. I am more energetic and engaged in life.
  6. I feel better about myself. (That’s HUGE.)


It’s been over two months and I have only watched about four hours of DirecTV during rare trips upstairs.  One day, I tuned in to General Hospital and then watched more TV when GH was over.  I felt lousy afterward.  The saying is true: That’s time I’ll never get back.  I call that “getting sucked into the abyss” and it caused me to make a life-changing decision.  When I move back upstairs, I am having my DirecTV receiver transferred from my room to The Cave for the whole family and our guests to enjoy.  I am not completely removing temptation, but I am moving it downstairs.  That’s progress.

Having said that, I am not going to lie to you, my faithful InspiraGang.  I obviously have my computer and a stack of my favorite DVDs down here in The Cave.  But now that I am aware of the mind-numbing effects of excessive TV viewing, I have become more careful about what I watch and how much time I spend watching it.

I have a feeling that Twister will always be one of my favorite movies, even though I don’t actually own the DVD or Blu-ray and I don’t have a Netflix or Amazon subscription.  I never needed to because, as you know from my Facebook feed, it’s on TV frequently.  But now that I am somewhat TV-free, when I am borrowing books from Bernardsville Public Library, I can rent the Twister DVD from time to time when I want to treat myself to my not-so-guilty pleasure.

While I am facing my TV addiction head-on, I will probably never stop making TV references.  So…

Tune in next week for another episode of “Lessons From The Cave.”  For now, enjoy the flying cow. 😉