I’m marinating in a delightful broth of guilt and stress today. You should see the carpet right next to the fireplace–it’s lined with smashed Cheez-Its cracker crumbs. I need to vacuum. In fact, the whole family room carpet looks like a remnant you might see at a garage sale . . . after a hundred people have walked over it with filthy shoes. I need to get the carpet cleaner guy out here or rent a Rug Doctor, but neither will happen before I go.
The more I think about going, the more things I realize I ought to do. I suddenly decided that perhaps I should clean the oven. And the refrigerator. And I absolutely must get some new kitty litter and clean out the litter box.
The sun is shining today which means I have no excuse not to be out in the backyard sweeping up the litter of dead leaves that have gathered in every nook and cranny. I should pick up the scattered toys and rake the playground mulch evenly and dig up the giant dandelion that has rooted next to my three-foot square garden.
I feel preemptive guilt for leaving my family for five nights and six days. I watch my unsuspecting daughter and know how much she’ll miss me and how much I’ll miss (her musical rendition of “Jesus Loves the Little Children” in the shower, for instance). I worry that my husband will be overwhelmed by the noise, the mess, the constant demands for food. He won’t have anyone to watch “Deal or No Deal” with . . . no one who will mock him or call him Mr. Safety. I feel guilty that I won’t be cooking meals, folding laundry . . . and I feel guilty that I haven’t taught my kids to be self-sufficient.
I feel guilty about spending money on this venture. I feel guilty about devoting time to me and me alone. I feel guilty that my housekeeping is not up to par.
And then, as a distraction from the guilt, I add two more things to my list of stuff that should be done right away. The bathtub still needs to be caulked and the entryway to our house needs to be redone. Now. The outdoor carpeting must be ripped up and replaced . . . or maybe the stairs should be painted (Martha Stewart would know what to do) and flowers should be planted.
But the more I have to do and the more guilty I feel, the more I am paralyzed.