Keep Perspective

Dear FlyLady,

We just experienced a major plumbing issue in our home yesterday, and I have found myself using your mantras over and over again throughout this experience.  I am so thankful I have been reading the emails and fluttering along so that when something like this happened, I actually realized it’s a blessing.  Granted, I was exhausted with all the insurance logistics and manual labor by the end of the day, but I wasn’t overly stressed.

I discovered our entire basement was filled with several inches of water.  My DD7 screamed when she saw it!  I reassured her that everything was going to be okay, then went to close all plumbing valves in the basement (hot water heater, main supply line, sprinkler system). Well, the rushing water sound continued.  I discovered shortly with my neighbor’s help (and a plumber later confirmed) the main water supply line to my house had ruptured, and also our sump pump did not work.

Now this means no water to the house, and until the moisture sensor dried out, no air conditioning either.  I stayed calm, called who I needed to call, then went into action bringing undamaged items upstairs and wet items to the garage.  I lined them up in rows so it would be easier to photograph later for insurance.

I set my timer for 15 minutes at a time.  So many trips up and down the stairs from the basement and I needed breaks!  I would get a drink of water, spend a few minutes with my DD, collect my thoughts, then start again for another 15 minutes.  I did this basically all day.

My DH and DS9 were at scout camp with no cell service. Boy would we have a surprise for them when they returned home the next day!

The truth is that after my initial surprise at discovering all that water, I actually felt relief.  You know why?  Because for way too long I have been procrastinating decluttering that basement.  The top two floors of my home are in pretty good shape thanks to following routines as best I can, but I’ve had a real barrier to setting my timer for 15 minutes to clear out the basement.  I think it’s because it felt overwhelming with kid’s school projects I wanted to sort, toys I wanted to get rid of but my DD is still attached to, and my own uncertainty on where to put the things I wanted to keep.  Well, this sure fixed all that!

I was actually excited that I finally get to get rid of so much material without feeling guilty!  The kids will not be complaining at me if I throw something out, because it’s ruined!  And it just eliminated me having to pour through all those school papers.  It felt so good to just throw them out!  Even the stuff that’s not ruined…it’s going to have to pass a pretty high mark to earn its space back in that basement.  I explained to my DD that it’s all going to be okay because it’s just “stuff.” The “things” that are truly important have heartbeats and breathe, and those things were still all okay!!

Do I still have a lot of work ahead of me? Yes.  Do I still have some tough decisions to make?  Yes. But am I confident I can get through this 15 minutes at a time? Yes!  Today I spent 15 minutes at a time in the garage sifting through, photographing, and drying items.  It was still a long day, but I put on some fun music, enjoyed the company of my family and neighbors, and got through a lot.

Thank you for helping me keep perspective.  I am thankful this otherwise crazy experience is helping me set the clutter free!!  My neighbors are surprised that I seem so at ease about it.   Are you kidding?  I am actually thrilled!  I am trying to remember that my attitude determines my altitude!  We are even treating our trips to the neighbor’s house for showers and water like a camping trip, but we still get to sleep in our own beds.

Thank you FlyLady!!
FlyBaby T in Virginia

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