Holy Terror
My Nom De Guerre

As a small child with two younger brothers, my Grandmother Oakford considered me a holy terror. That is where I got that nom de guerre. It wasn’t so much that we fought over toys or food as much as I was running around doing a couple of things all at the same time.

As I got older, I settled down a great deal as it related to running around, but my brain was still in fourth gear. I obviously have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). While I liked the activity and ideas spinning around in my head, my problem was again not being able to focus on one issue at a time. That was until last year when I mentioned to my neurologist about having trouble staying focused. His instant retort was, “Have you ever tried Modafinil?” Since starting with my wonder drug, I am a holy terror around my house.

In the last month or so, it seems like I have inadvertently doubled my dosage from 200mg to 400mg of Modafinil. My holy terror mindset wasn’t due to overdosing of my wonder drug. It was because I had spent a month traveling to Lahore, Pakistan and then on to seeing my family in Myanmar. While that was the greatest trip of my entire life, it meant that I wasn’t addressing things around my home.

Nonetheless, I came home facing a long list of things that needed to be done. I had bills to pay, appointments with doctors for Ginger and myself, and a litany of other things to address around the house. Out of desperation, I finally compiled MMDASAPL (My Must Do As Soon As Possible List). It contained four sections: catharsis, cleanup, repair, or replace.

The catharsis items were things that I had kept around for, in some cases, decades. I literally took a load of old clothes and general stuff to Goodwill. I am not kidding. Some of the clothes were dress shirts that I had bought years ago but hadn’t worn for years. I literally went through my home piling up clothes and anything that outlived its usefulness. However, some of those items were merely put in the garbage.

My cleaning up task was started with having my carpets cleaned. However, I literally went from one room to another cleaning windows, dusting, and reorganizing pretty much everything. This is a before and after photo of my closet.

This is another before and after photo of my office.

The repairs included rewiring several electrical outlets. Additionally, I repaired the shower heads in two bathrooms. To be honest with you, I amazed myself at my ability to do either task. While much has been accomplished, I still must install two dimmer switches.

I reworked the heating ducts in two rooms along with touching up some marks on the walls with paint. I’m waiting for a new hinge for my mailbox. After nearly two decades the hinge broke. By the time you read this essay, it will be repaired.

The final item on my holy terror crusade was to replace things like sheets and towels for the bedroom and bath. Then there was an assortment of items like new soap dispenser, along with just cleaning up and organizing the sink area.

Ten days from now, I will have had a full week without any teaching. That will allow additional time to catch up with my writing, doing my taxes, and adding photos of my trip to my webpage, ad infinitum. Obviously, I have miles to go before I sleep.

What I realized was that my holy terror mindset becomes more focused when I can see my accomplishments. Seeing rooms or projects completed provides impetus to continue with tasks still in my waiting list. In addition, carrying out some of the tasks provides a sense of control over my domain, and it looks better. My Grandmother Oakford and my neurologist were both right.