Chip Away at Everything That Isn’t David

Sustainable Productivity is pretty much what Michelangelo says about creating a masterpiece:

You chip away at everything that isn’t David.

Let me explain.

Before a masterpiece is a masterpiece, it is a block of marble, a ball of yarn, ink or paint in a jar, dirt. Or in my case – a kitchen table piled with crap.

At least most people would call it a kitchen table. I referred to it as a dumping ground. If we ate dinner together (which was already rare), we ate in the dining room so the kitchen table did not get used very much.

Unless you had a bag when you came in the house, then it went on the kitchen table. Same thing with sport equipment, mail, tools on their way back out to the garage, or any number of things. And these items never left. At one point I had a jock strap cup on my kitchen table for DAYS.

This was not sustainable.

What I Wanted

Let me tell you what my “vision of David” was – I wanted something welcoming and inviting when I came in the door from the outside. For me this means:

  • Uncluttered spaces
  • Inviting furniture
  • Restful colors
  • Meaningful knickknacks

Instead I had the home version of a block of marble.

I had a vision of the kitchen corner equivalent of the statue of David. I just needed to chip away at all that was NOT David – like the nut cup missing its strap.

Eliminate what is not working

Instead of trying to change the behavior of My People, I just got rid of the table. We took it down Thanksgiving of 2019 to put up the Christmas tree. Then decided to live without it “for a few weeks” to see if we missed it.

During that few weeks my mom died, a massive work project went live, then the world shut down for COVID.

Add what works

Needless to say, we had quite a bit of time to plan our next steps. We decided we wanted a cozy coffee corner vibe. I went to town on Pinterest boards for couches or chairs, end tables or coffee tables, book cases or cabinets. We spent time talking about what we would do in that space – I would read a book while Bixby cooked or he could work on his computer while I cleaned up after a meal. This would be a more welcoming and comfortable space that sitting on a bar stool across the counter in the kitchen.

We decided not to shop for a couch online because we just needed to sit on some couches to decide what we wanted. After a few shopping trips in early 2021, we got the tape measure and painters tape out to help us imagine using the space how we wanted with the set up that the furniture allowed.

After we got the couch in place, we lived with it for several days talking about what else to add to the space to create the look and feel that we wanted.

We chipped away at what was not working. The first was not having a spot to put our phone or coffee cup (or Diet Coke can). The second was how sterile it looked with just empty tables. We took knick knacks from other parts of the house to make this corner look cozier.

One miss we had is assuming we knew better for everyone. What is cozier than a having your dog snoozing on her bed next to you while you read under a blanket on a rainy Sunday morning? We bought Lucille’s dog bed before we even had the couch delivered. She loves her 2 beds in other parts of the house. We were wrong about this one though.

Your Turn

Do you have an area in your home that is not working for you? What could you chip away in order to make your home more of a restful masterpiece? It does not have to be clearing a space and waiting 4 months for furniture. It could be moving photos around or resorting books stacks. Purging a shelf to give more open space. Check out the Edit Your Life podcast episode 233, ” Small Yet Powerful Home Edits” to hear about some of the ways they recently chipped away at what was not working.

By |2021-05-23T08:02:33-04:00May 25th, 2021|Environmental Surroundings|0 Comments

Garden Project – Irrigation

I have such great ideas. Then reality hits. This was a doozy, y’all. Like over ten months in the making doozy. It is like an episode of The Golden Girls when Sophia says, “Picture this! Sicily 1922...”

Last summer (and really every summer for the last 7 years or so) the garden has died because we don’t keep up with the watering. North Carolina is like the surface of the sun. Ironically it is swampy humid at times, yet the clay soil dries it out and cracks. Even cacti and succulents have died in the dried out clay in our yard. Welp, 2019 was going to be the year that I was going to change that!

It started as all things do – with a bright idea found on the internet. Homemade irrigation systems were WAY too expensive so I wanted to go the DIY route. Plus I fancy myself quite a DIY diva.

Step 1: Fall of 2018 I posted a notice that I was looking for janky hoses and social media came through!

Step 2: Put “Make drip irrigation with old hose” to my to do list and find a good website to give instructions.

Step 3: Wait for 8 months.

Step 4: Once weather turns crazy hot and I am tired of watering after 2 weeks, I try to drill holes whilst throwing the tennis ball for Lucille.

home irrigation system

Step 5: Connect drip hose (the one with holes drilled in it) to the good hose connected to the spigot. We had to use a 2nd hose because the spigot is too far from away to connect directly.

Step 6: Weave hose through garden so holes are in general vicinity of where you have plants that you want to be watered.

Step 7: Watch the wheels fall off of the project. Cry.

The old hose I got through the Nextdoor app and left in a wad in the yard through the fall and winter and most of the spring somehow got kinks in it. Weird. When I turned the water on – nada aqua. And I could not unkink the hose because someone had drilled holes in it. More weird. Then Lucille kept running through the garden with her ball trying to get me to throw it while I was getting more and more frustrated by the second.

This is not where I cried – I was still staying calm at this point. I got out a new hose and started again with the hole drilling (whilst ball throwing – there are no photos of this because I was feeling much less amused by it). The more observant of you readers will notice at this point the color of the hose turns from red to green.

Progress was made as water flowed from the early hose holes. But stopped about half way through. I moved it around, found more kinks. Used pliers to unkink. Did not work. This is where tears came in. Over a hole hose project.

Let me tell you about the self-talk that was happening at this point. I was 100% convinced I was a worthless human being because I could not get this to work. I did not want to have to ask my husband to help like a helpless female. I wanted to conquer it, yet who was I kidding with this “I can do it” nonsense.

Let me tell you what an asshole that voice is. I cannot stand her!! These old tapes are exhausting. And I know I am not the only woman (person, probably but men don’t seem to suffer this like women do) who deals with this asshole in her head. We are better than this!

During this whole second hose debacle, Paul was sitting on the porch chilling, not offering notes from the peanut gallery. Basically doing his strong, silent type schtick. But this is why he is perfect for me. Right as I was about to move to Defcon 1 and start destroying things, he wandered out to the garden and introduced me to physics. Apparently we have an incline juuuuuust enough to stop the flow. He moved the hose around, yada yada yada VICTORY!

Each red circle is a spout where water spews from.

I waited a day to make sure it was going to work like I planned, then put the mulch down to cover the hose and hold in the moisture. And mulch makes stuff look so pretty.

What garden projects are on your to do list? What self-talk do you need to nip in the bud?

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