Rack 'Em and Stack 'Em!

Way long time ago (in my life, this means "before the kids were born"), Husband and I were watching a home decorating show. Don't ask me why. We obviously had time to kill. At any rate, this show was interesting because it was devoted to resolving differences of opinion between spouses/partners on how to decorate their home. This episode featured a couple who couldn't agree on how to configure their guest room. They wanted to have room for their four grandchildren to sleep over; they also wanted to be able to use the room for other purposes (perhaps as a den or office? I can't remember) when it was just the two of them.

The husband wanted to "rack 'em and stack 'em!" -- in other words, he thought bunk beds were the obvious answer. The wife preferred the day-bed-with-trundle-plus-Murphy-bed approach. The husband must've said "rack 'em and stack 'em!" fifty times in the half-hour segment.

Later in life, when Husband and I had a several things, not the least of which were children, to rack and stack, we took to calling out to each other "rack 'em and stack em!" Yes, we find humor wherever we can.

At any rate, I'm thinking of rechristening our little house the  Rack 'Em and Stack 'Em House. Because of the shortage of space here, there are many, many things which are put away on top of other things, which are put away upon other things, which are in turn put away on top... well, you get the idea. If Anyone (I won't name names) decides to, say, rearrange the fragile system of racking and stacking, we end up without a place for certain crucial objects. Such as the coffee mugs. Or the T.P.

I decided last week I need to take a similar, rack 'em and stack 'em approach to my writing life. In other words, I need to find a stack of hours for writing, and a stack of hours for other stuff like being a mom and running a household. If I don't keep the stacks separate, if I don't arrange them just right, then something loses its spot. And, of course, writing is always the thing that gets muscled out of the stacks of time.

So, starting this week, I started racking and stacking. I started three dinners on Sunday, so I wouldn't need to spend as much time in the kitchen during the week. I set aside a stack of mornings as work days. Yes, work days. I have actually spoken these words: "I can't do it on Tuesday because I work that day." I've stacked up my errands and household duties for attention on other days, at other times. This probably seems like no big deal to many of you who have been balancing work and home responsibilities for years, but since I have just recently entered the phase when parenthood doesn't require my constant attention, I am learning it anew.

In keeping with the rack 'em and stack 'em approach to life, today I took a good look at all my recent work, everything in my "Active" file. The poems I feel excited and hopeful about, I left in the "Active" stack; other poems, ones I don't really feel much energy for, I put into the "On Hold" stack; a few poems went in the "Submit" stack; several had the chance to meet the shit-can (sorry, Mom! but sometimes only the right word will do).

I've been walking around my house today proclaiming, "Rack 'em and stack em! Rack 'em and stack 'em." It feels good.

(P.S. For a beautiful reflection on the integration of writing life and family life, read Sage Cohen's post today.)

(P.S. Again: !!!WARNING!!! In case anyone in the readership (all 3 of you) is considering the wisdom of the rack 'em and stack 'em approach to sleeping arrangements, let me say this: DON'T DO IT. In another small house of mine, I was persuaded by Someone (I won't name names) to bring into our home a loft bed, which is the bunk bed's poor country cousin. Said Someone, "Rack 'em and stack 'em!" The loft bed was very annoying but minimally workable until I got sick, after which there was no earthly way for me to change the sheets when Someone was traveling for work. I pause here to remember the spectacle of my friend, the big shot lawyer, changing the loft bed while wearing a three-piece suit. Let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. Keep the beds low to the ground, Reader, low to the ground).


CitricSugar said...

I need to adopt this philosophy immediately.

As for loft beds, I think they look lovely and make keen use of floor space but the cat would hate it and I'd more than likely break my neck getting up in the middle of the night for a glass of water...

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, I love the quote, which also comes from Die Hard 2. (One of my guilty pleasures is blow 'em up movies.)

Also, cheers to you for saying, "I can't do that on Tuesday because I work that day." I've fallen down a bit on that myself.

As for loft beds, I did tumble out of mine in college when trying to get up in the middle of the night to go to the loo. Serious pain and shin injury (the shin 'slid' down the wooden ladder) that lasted for weeks. Just say NO.

My WV = 'lionsole' how cool is that?

Molly said...

CitricSugar, I'd recommend against anything a cat would hate. They have a way of making you pay, no?

And Sandy, I haven't watched the Die Hards -- not sure I want to know just exactly how rack 'em and stack 'em applies in that setting :).

Thanks for reading!