Thursday, March 31, 2011

Self-Cleaning Ovens

What makes one day so different from the next?

Why do my reactions to things change from day to day?  My patience level?  My ability to handle change or my ability to focus on the moment?

Tonight I cleaned the oven.  Mixed together a potion of baking soda, vinegar and dish soap.  Donned my pink rubber gloves.  Put on Canada Live on CBC (k'naan was performing).  I scrubbed the oven and all of its parts. It took an hour.

Did I mention it was a self-cleaning oven?

Tonight, I just needed a mindless task to do for a while with an end result that was immediately evident.  Open the oven door and it's really damn clean in there.  Mission accomplished.

Ask me to clean the oven tomorrow and you may get a very different result.  Because normally I do not have patience for such tasks.  I hate the idea of taking on a job that takes a long time to finish.  A job that takes a long time and is finicky is even harder to tolerate. Painting a room had better take less than one day or I'm outta there.  Building a deck had better not drag on for more than one weekend or I'm fed up and don't even get me started on the idea of renovating an entire room.  Three days in and I'll be fit to be tied.  

You will never catch me knitting, sewing, painting, drawing, crocheting a rug or building a model car.

I have patience for people but not for tasks.

...well, most of the time.

Because apparently today was a good day to clean the oven.

So why are days different?  We are who we are yet our abilities to cope, to face challenges or just enjoy a moment change from day to day.

There are the easy answers: fluctuating hormone levels, amount of sleep or exercise, hunger, room temperature or blood sugar level.  There are the more complicated answers: stress level, horrible past experience with cleaning ovens or painting rooms, how our day at work went.

But it's more than that.  I can have a horrible day at work and come home in a great mood.  I can have a great day at work, come home and have no patience for the sound of the radio playing in the kitchen.

I'm pretty in tune with my body because I have to be.  I have learned that there typically is a very reasonable explanation whenever my body feels 'out of sorts'. I can recognize when my blood sugar is out of whack, when my iron is low and when my diet is missing something.  I make a change and things settle down again.

I'm trying to get better at being in tune with my emotions but I can't always figure out why I have patience one day and not the next.  Why I can tolerate background music one day and not the next.  Why it's easy to be in the moment some days and why I can't focus other days.

It would be easy if all I had to do was drink more milk or take an iron pill.  Instead, I need to get better at taking a deep breath, taking stock of the situation and understanding why it is that I feel frustrated, impatient or frazzled.

Or why today was a good day to clean the oven.

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