Category Archives: cleaning

Be A Ghost

When Ethan is in a particular mood, on most afternoons after school, he perseverates on a certain topic.

‘You die mom?’

‘Mom, your dead. Be a ghost.’

‘Mom? Gonna die, mom?’

‘Mom? Mom. I love grandma. I love dad. I love Gabby-boy. Not you – I ‘X’ you.’

Then he makes the sound you would hear if you gave an incorrect answer on a game show.

Peals of laughter commence – only from Ethan, of course.

He goes on and on about me becoming a ghost and haunting our present house. He maintains that it will then become a ‘Spooky House’. He tells me that I am ‘old’ and ‘yucky’. He rarely expresses this about Dennis – and he is old and yucky too!

Sometimes I ignore him – to the extent that it is possible to ignore Ethan. If he chooses, he can keep this up for hours. Sometimes I respond.

‘Yes, E, we are all going to die.’

‘Yes, E, if given the opportunity I will definitely haunt you.’

‘Ethan, if I die, who is going to make the food and do the laundry?’

He says he’s going to take over. Maybe he could start that now?

He has expressed these sentiments from the time he was very young. We can come up with no good reason for this particular behavior – or so many like it. It is inexplicable – like so much about him.

It is a hobby, a habit, a compulsion. My mom is often concerned that it upsets me. It does not. I recently had a compassionate friend concerned that it is hurtful. I am not sure why it does not bother me. I don’t believe that he secretly hates me and also, a lot of what Ethan does is confounding. It is far from the most difficult facet of his quirky self.

It’s fine. I love Ethan enough for the both of us. And if it turns out that it is, in fact, possible to haunt him or become a ghost when I die – I’m in.

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“It’s how you ride the trail that counts.”

~ Dale Evans (Rogers)

Did you know that Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had a baby girl with Down Syndrome? This book is a little beauty.

What’s Up?

‘Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.’ ~ Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride

So, what’s up?

~ Hockey Season is over at Greenbrook Hockey Club. That frees up weekend time to find some weekend fun in the coming weeks. Museums, NYC and state park events are just calling us. I can make a nice, long ‘honey-do’ list for Dennis. Despite my complaining about the sheer amount of time Dennis devotes to the league, it is a fantastic place that has provided the boys with a great sport and awesome friends.

~ Homeschooling in November, for me, is always a strange place to be. Things that are not working become clear and we ditch them. Seriously – what’s better than that? Switching my brain to searching for ‘indoor’ type of field trips is a hard one – but I’m working on it now. I dream of filling these crappy, cold months with good books, great documentaries and brain-changing games. A quick trip to the basement has revealed that we have many, unopened ‘science’-types kits that are begging to be tinkered with.

~ This is the beginning of when I need to grasp tightly to a self-enforced set of routines that keep me putting one foot in front of the other. I have struggled with SAD for the last several years, with last year being particularly bad. I use multiple modalities to deal with it. My little lamp, super good vitamins, lists that keep me honest and the dreams about this place ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe there is an encore in store for us?

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I obsess over this scene. I don’t think it’s normal – at all.

~ I am working hard on getting some serious, ‘life-planning’ issues in order. I don’t know what is prompting this strong feeling, but when I feel like this, I need to take action. I would like for us to review our long-term, financial goals and revamp or life insurance policies. It is extra important for us having a child with special needs. Every one in a while, we question whether moving is an option for our family. We are in a spot where we need to do some serious fact-finding. Bring it on.

~ We are experimenting with having some help with house cleaning every few weeks. If you would have ever told me that someday we could squeeze that into the budget and that it would freak me out and cause me stress, I would have seriously protested. But it’s true. I am uncomfortable and as nice as she is, I hide from the cleaning lady at all costs – I just pack everyone up and leave. Is this totally weird? I am not ungrateful, though.

Strange, anxious, cold (as in chilly), and busy – but not ungrateful.

(Sunday Scenes was preempted by this because I forgot to take pictures on Sunday – because I’m like that.)

Sean Was an Only Child

For 63 hours last week, Sean was an ‘only child’. Dennis, Gavin and Mikey were away at Boy Scout Camp and Ethan continued in his summer school program. From 7:30 to 3:45 it was only Sean and I and we took full advantage of that.

We visited the local spraypark. Three times. We baked cookies every time he asked. Twice. We NEVER cooked dinner – grilled cheese, bowls of cereal and frozen pizza were fine for the three of us. We walked around the block, shopped in the thrift store, visited the chiropractor and played board games – each time his choice, without having to compromise with any brother ๐Ÿ™‚ He watched several ‘G’ rated movies and set up his ‘guys’ and blocks any way HE wanted to.

Ethan enjoyed a few perks as well – trip to ‘eat in’ at the pizza place and an evening at a local ‘cruise night’. We all enjoyed the slightly quieter evenings. I don’t think Dennis’ evenings were as quiet ๐Ÿ™‚

I decluttered the entire upstairs bathroom – every drawer and cabinet was emptied and wiped and restocked. I gave the the dining room closet and downstairs linen closet the same treatment. The fitted sheets were all folded – and put away properly. I culled the upstairs bookshelves and cleaned off the ever-dumped on stairs.ย  Laundry was practically non-existent, so sheets and curtains were all washed and hung. ‘Command Central’ was cleared and organized.

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Is it really just me or can cleaning your desk make you feel like all is right in the world?

I invested in two things. Sean and my house. Can’t imagine how the return on investment could be anythingย  but awesome.

Handful of Hearts

I love having a party – in my teeny, tiny house. It poses some challenges, like having to move furniture around multiple times until the space functions as it is needed and importing seating from family and friends. I like the cleaning and prepping and how everything looks right before everyone comes. I also like how everything looks right after they leave – ah, the glorious ‘wrecked-party-house’! One of my favorite, annual photos on New Year’s Eve could be entitled ‘Aftermath’. Nothing says ‘good time’ like sticky floors and confetti behind the toilet tank.

The boys and their friends asked for a poker party. Whatever you think about that, I thought the same thing. I don’t know how to play and was very uninterested in learning. Everyone gained a working knowledge of the game and the big game of the night was strangely intense. Thankfully, ‘poker teaching’ really fell to the dads and us moms were off the hook.

It was very fun combing the card game with Valentine’s Day – the ‘hearts’ theme really pulled the two together ๐Ÿ˜‰ DSC09271 DSC09270 DSC09267 DSC09259 DSC09251 DSC09249Best decoration for the party – smiley kids and friends and family eating and drinking together.

Hands down.

My camera is on it’s last legs – please forgive me. Better photos coming soon!

It’s The Little Things

The really, really little things.

I continue to battle the winter doldrums. I have found some things that are working for me and I am grateful for that. There are also tiny little joys that I am clinging to tightly in an effort to bring little snaps of happiness and comfort to my currently monotonous days.

DSC08690 DSC08685I have been bringing flowers home. Yes, me. Don’t be harsh on Dennis. He is more the ‘brought home a paycheck’, ‘got you new tires’, and ‘here’s some cash for coffee’ kind of romantic. It’s all good. Someone smart and deliriously happy suggested I get an orchid because they are beautiful and tropical. Who am I to argue when the universe brings a message to me through Facebook?

DSC08709 DSC08706 (1) DSC08522I am enjoying complicated, labor-intensive baking. This carrot cake required carrot grating and sifting of ingredients. I made a lemon curd layer cake (that I forgot to photograph) that required zesting,ย  juicing, whipping egg whites, and a double boiler. Several of my recent cakes have come out of Cake Ladies and they have turned out bakery-worthy. Try some of them. When I am doing this kind of baking I cannot think about my to-do list or personal problems. Ah, a mental break that ends in sweet treats!

DSC08661 DSC08659I’ve left up the white lights we used to decorate for New Year’s Eve. They’re just so damn festive.

DSC08658 DSC08657 DSC08656 DSC08654I hung cheap, little ‘crystals’ I bought at the craft store in my front windows. They randomly cast small, streaky rainbows on furniture and walls. I find it glorious. Really. Little. Things.

DSC08723I’m buying dreamy cleaning products. Yes, I am able to attach the word ‘dreamy’ to cleaning products. I find that wiping, washing, and organizing assuage my anxiety. Good stuff.

DSC08663 DSC08321I enjoy burning candles and incense. I love the warm, woody, sacred feeling they give to my house.

DSC08681 DSC08680The Making of The Bed Meditation.

I have not always espoused the value of bed making. But several things have caused me to rethink my stance on it. Apparently, yes, you can have a stance on bed making.

First, I have returned to Flylady.net and the SHE websites because I have been distracted and attention-challenged lately. Routines and tools from both sites are proving valuable to me right now. In the past, they have been life-savers. Flylady presents a good case for making your bed and I’m going with it.

Second, I have been reading quite a lot of Anne Lamott recently and came across this quote in Help Thanks Wow:

“When you crawl between clean sheets after a hard day, you are saved. You feel like you are the best sandwich ever. You’re being taken care of from the top and the bottom, with not a crumb or lump or a wrinkle. Wow: you can’t believe you felt so low and lonely till you thought to change the sheets.

It resonated with me the moment I read it and prompted me to search youtube for ‘How to make a hotel bed’ and ‘the right way to make a bed’. Tiny investment, big payout.

Third, I take the amount of time it takes to make my bed to be thankful and grateful. Can making your bed change the course of your day? I’m going to find out.

Sometimes focusing on minutia for me, can straighten out some of the big things. It’s like if I put the ‘little’ in order, they ‘big’ has a chance of following suit.