Posted by: mmstanger | July 30, 2009

Thousand Thing Thursdays: Housemaid’s Knee

A week ago Sunday, I knelt down to give Nina a diaper change.  Ew, I thought.  What is that under my knee? I hoped it was a misplaced squishy toy as opposed to a bit of toxic waste escaped from Nina’s latest blueberry explosion.  Fearing the worst, I gingerly lifted my knee and found… nothing.  Nothing was under my knee.  Odd, I thought.  I swear I felt something.  Nonetheless, I carried on with changing Nina’s diaper and, then, knelt again to give the bathroom floor a disinfecting wipe down.

 Huh? What is that?  Once more, I looked beneath my knee.  Once more, there was nothing there.  Then, I realized.  It is not beneath my knee.  It is on it.  Indeed, my knee was swollen, for no apparent reason.  It was painless for the moment, but with the constant up-down-run around activity of being a mom of two toddlers, increasing discomfort set in by the end of the week.  The swelling simply was not going away, and, I sensed, would not be disappearing anytime soon.  So, off to the doctor I went to diagnose the annoying imposition to my daily work and play with the kids.

 The good news was my mysterious ailment had a name — prepatellar bursistis –and, did not, for the moment, require sticking any needles in me to drain the fluid.  (Good news for needle-phobic, me.)  The bad news was that healing would be slow and would necessitate regular rest and applications of ice.  Oh, right.  With my two? And in the mess I call ‘my home’? I knew that part of what had irritated my knee further this past week were the odd positions I placed my leg into while navigating the daily obstacle course that leads to my laundry room – barriers of toppled over excess spilling all over the basement floor. How am I ever going to find time to sit with my leg up, icing? I glanced at my daughter, who was, at that very moment, trying to scale to the top of the chair in the examination room, and thought about the scaling I needed to do myself – scaling back of stuff, that is. 

 Between my busy kids and the business of getting my house in order, how am I ever going to help this knee heal? I wondered. And, for that matter, what brought this silly condition on anyway?  How does one who has never had knee problems, despite being a cheerleader for years and once running a marathon suddenly develop a weird knee inflammation?  The doctor’s explanation that it could well have happened simply from being on the floor with my children so much was echoed by what I found in a quick Google search once I got home: “Prepatellar bursitis, also known as housemaid’s knee, is a common cause of swelling and pain on top of the kneecap. The name “housemaid’s knee” comes from the association of this condition with individuals whose work necessitates kneeling for extended periods of time.” (

 Housemaid?  I laughed. Indeed, I am often servant to my children.  As such, I am often on my knees.  But maid of my house? I cringed.  Save for clean up times with the kids and the occassional scrub of the floor, I am rarely on my knees of late to attend to the house.  Heck, perhaps if I were more of a maid to houehold organization, my knee would not be as swollen…  My mind flashed again to the clutter in my basement.  Then, I heard God’s words echoing in my mind:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

 My children are my treasures – gifts and charges that God has granted me.  Time well spent with them is, too.  The masses of stuff in my basement (and in corners and closets throughout my home) are not.  And, though, moths and decay have yet to get to these things, in a way, a thief has.  That thief is running rampant through my home.

 He steals time that should be spent counting blessings, not navigating through piles of stored stuff.  He thieves effort that I would like to make toward creating true treasures, instead of maintaining material ones.  He has even robbed me of the simplicity of the comfortable mobility I usually enjoy while going on family walks,  tromping through the woods with the kids or simply kneeling to enjoy a picnic at the waterfront.  Indeed, the twisting to get through piles of clutter, and the up-and-down of unfocused efforts to organize “stuff we might use one day” have taken their toll.  I truly believe my prepatillar bursitis has only been exacerbated by my failure to keep a clutter-free home.

Thus, let the purging begin anew!  Time to clear out the clutter with a plan I can stick to for once: Thousand Thing Thursdays. 

This plan came to me yesterday morning sometime between enjoying my morning prayers and washing potatoes with the kids: A thousand things often race through my mind.  So, a thousand things it will be that I hold myself accountable for.  With consistency,  I will purge things I should not be storing — one thing at a time — using each thing I purge as a moment of prayer, until I have reached at least 1000 things.  To keep myself on track, I will sit down for a few minutes each Thursday to tally my success – or to create some further success should I have failed to purge in a given week. 

 A simple plan is, indeed.  But, simplicity works, does it not?

 Today’s tally: 1000-1= 999.

May the twins who will be enjoying the VTECH toy my kids do not need be blessed with lots of fun learning and may their Freecycling mom treasure their giggles as they play.

Care to join me in finding your own Thousand Things to purge? Leave a comment and then link below. Thanks!

Please Note: The links below under “Categories” don’t work like those on most blogs.  They won’t take you to related posts in this blog.  So, if you are interested in related posts, please click on the links under “Categories” to the right instead of the ones below.  Sorry!  It’s a weird thing that I cannot seem to overcome.



  1. […] What a hiatus I have taken from my Thousand Things Thursdays initiative.  It’s not that I stopped sorting, pitching and giving items away.  I simply stopped […]

  2. […] the house (hand-me-downs, etc.) as I have purged from it this week, sort of negating progress on my Thousand Things Thursdays (which I have to update one of these Thursdays), I am still progressing with the decluttering. And, […]

  3. […] for Thousand Thing Thursdays.  I posted last that I was at 889.  Since then, I was keeping a paper list, since I had been […]

  4. […] errands, productivity and family time, so I was not able to post the most recent update on Thousand Things Thursdays and Order in the Home.  So, here it is, a day […]

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