Wednesday, January 18, 2012


When it comes to life, I've bitten off more than I can chew.  I just do the best I can, and it doesn't help when others criticize me.  I always have to wonder about those people who do criticize me for not surrounding myself with perfection.  What kind of life do they have?  Do their only responsibilities include cleaning house?  Here's all that I've got on the burner at the moment:

1.  Trying to run a photography business.  Advertisers phone me every day asking me to advertise with them, but every time that I try to put together a black and white business card ad with a logo on it, something happens to take me away from the task and it never gets done.  This one lady calls me every few days, and I have to keep telling her I have nothing for her yet.  She must think I'm the laziest person on earth, but it's just that I'm struggling to design my own company logo and nothing is working.  I think it's time I hire someone to do it for me.  I'm a photographer and writer, not a graphics designer.  One would think the creativity would carry over, but it doesn't.

2.  Trying to finish and publish my second novel.  This task requires such an intense amount of concentration that I just had to put it on the back burner over the holidays while everyone was home.  I've tried to explain to my family that I can't write a novel and listen to them talk at the same time.

3.  Home improvement tasks, so that we can rent or sell our home.  These are endless and multiply like rabbits.

4.  Searching for a new ranch far, far away from here where I can live out my final days without someone peering in my windows.

5.  Boxing up the personal items and clutter that I don't want potential home buyers to see and trying to find a place to put it all.  Storage units around here cost as much as room and board.

6.  Daily chores of cleaning out water troughs, mucking stalls, cleaning the paddock, picking up dog poop, taking out the trash, washing dishes, doing laundry, dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, preparing meals and feeding both the animals and humans multiple times a day.  (HINT:  I'm better at consistently feeding the animals than I am at making family meals.)

7.  Trying to finish two quilts I've had in the works for years now. 

8.  Trying to make time to groom, exercise and train three horses.

9.  Trying to make the time to walk my two dogs, plus all the dogs at the animal shelter.

10.  Still trying to settle my mother's estate.  A big part of this includes collecting paperwork and forms for a tax accountant, filling in paperwork, making daily phone calls, and refinancing loans.

So, as you can see, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all that done.  My in-laws are talking about coming to visit soon and they always have some insults to toss my way regarding the lack of cleanliness in my home.  They do try to make it easier on me by meeting us in restaurants for meals instead of insisting that I prepare something for them, but just finding a couple of hours to leave my responsibilities to socialize in a restaurant is difficult for me.

I had a group of people come to my photography studio for a pet portrait yesterday, and I felt like they were ganging up on me, because they were all making fun of my property and my studio.  My husband and son have some weight lifting equipment on our back patio, and I have to walk clients past that into my studio.  Many of them make comments like, "Isn't this equipment supposed to be indoors?"

Well, if I let them see the inside of my house, they'd understand.  There's no room for the weight lifting equipment in there.  I already have a treadmill, an elliptical machine and a stationary bicycle in my den next to the TV.  Then we stepped into my studio and they asked if it is a converted garage.  Come on!  It's not that bad.  They started pointing out the poor ceiling job that my handyman did and the mismatched white paint.  Who looks up at a ceiling?  You'd be surprised as to how many different shades of white there is.  Next thing I knew, they were questioning my qualifications to be a photographer.  It's maddening.  The best I can tell people is that the proof is in the pudding.  If they love my photography, which they admitted they do, then it shouldn't matter that my studio is below par.  Also, if people would just start paying me for my services instead of requesting freebies all the time, then maybe I could afford a nicer place.

If they knew that I only made $100 in 2011 minus thousands of dollars in fixing up the studio, photography equipment, and advertising, they'd understand that I don't have the money to open a walk-in studio on the main strip.  Back in the old days, most professional photographers worked out of their garages, because they didn't make enough money to rent a business space. 

Today I've got a handyman coming in to finish our kitchen.  He'll probably be here for the rest of the week, so it's going to be uncomfortable and difficult to get all my chores done. 

When the hay farmer came, he started giving me his usual B.S., questioning me on how often I ride my horses.  He's very opinionated and feels that if a person can't ride her horses at least twice a week, then she should not own horses.  He's said this to me multiple times and I have to refrain from ripping him another... uh... never mind.  So, when he started in on that, I cut him off and told him that my mother died and settling her estate has taken priority over everything, including riding my horses.  He got a very sheepish look on his face and apologized, realizing that he was making a hard situation even harder for me by putting pressure on me to ride. 

One of my neighbors is lifelong friends with my hay farmer, and I know that she's the one who keeps telling him that I don't ride often enough.  She's also the one who runs out into the road and tries to stop me from trailering my horses out for trail rides, because she thinks it is dangerous to ride alone.  I think it's more dangerous to ride with others.  Anyway, I suspect she just likes to watch me ride at home so that she can pick me apart and gossip to all her friends about what crappy form I've got.  Hey, I may not ever be able to ride in shows, but my horses love me.

The other thing my hay farmer always brings up is these neighbors who are allowing an illegal weed to take over their property.  He keeps urging me to make them clean it up.  I have talked to them about it before, but they both work full-time and have bigger worries, so my husband and I go over there and clean up what we can.  Still the hay farmer complains.  There's no pleasing some people.

Anyway, I'm beginning to remember why I'm such a hermit.  Having people in your home and your life results in judgement and pressure to move faster and work harder and re-prioritize.  Unfortunately, because I need these people to do business with, I have to just smile and nod and bend over for the spanking.  When I was done with the photo shoot yesterday, I felt so drained that I couldn't do much beyond staring at the wall.  And now the sun is rising, and I've got hungry horses in the barn, so off I go to face another grueling day.  Wish me luck.


Crystal said...

Wow that hay farmer should come talk to me if he thinks al horses should be rode twice a week!! (it is way to cold to ride out and there is no indoor close enough to haul to when its this cold out) If he only knew we would like to ride more often and we would if there was nothing else to do. I am sure there are more people who ride irregularily like you then those who ride constantly.

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I hear ya. I've been so busy lately too. Besides the holidays, my nanny job, my writing work, my horses, and our shepherd's physical therapy appointments, our other dog has been sick with pneumonia that won't go away. It gets to be so bad sometimes that when I do have some down time, I just want to do nothing and enjoy it.

All I can say is that if it's getting so bad where you're not happy and not enjoying the things you want to be able to enjoy, you might have to reconsider how you have things prioritized (or what should even be on that list in the first place). Hiring people to do certain things for you, such as designing your logo, is a great idea -- just find someone who can take your requests and work independently, so that you don't end up spending just as much time on it as you would if you did it yourself.

fernvalley01 said...

I am seriously thinking of adding to your clutter and stress by showing up to take on the neighborhood! Now don't panic I wouldn't care about the house or stuff, just want to tell these folk to MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS

Mikey said...

Oh how I know this feeling. It's so hard to do it all and shit multiplies like crazy. There's such pressure to be busy all the time and DO something all the time. I never get it all done. I'm learning to let some things go and realize I don't have the energy I used to.
Some days I just stand here and go "Did that just really happen?" No matter how hard we try, things just get harder. It's quite amazing sometimes.
I think when you get moved, things will get way better. I'll be praying for you to catch a break.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh man! I feel for ya. With John working in Phoenix 10 days at a time and only coming home for 2-3 days, I often feel overwhelmed and stressed. We've been without a washing machine since early November and then my van broke down last week, so I've been even more stressed and full of anxiety.

What works well for me, is to turn off the phone and just tell everyone I need a rest and to leave me be, and then I go up to my room to lay down, drink some hot tea and just veg, usually on the computer or watching a little relaxing TV.

The other thing I've been doing is scheduling riding time for myself every week, so that I can get out of the house and do something just for me.
It's my saving grace for sure.

Tomorrow I'm going on a Poker Ride, something I've never done before and I'm pretty excited!


achieve1dream said...

I feel for you. Unfortunately I think society is just moving that direction. Everyone is just so busy and trying to multitask just makes it harder to get anything done. I hope things ease up for you soon.