Category Archives: cleaning

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 🙂 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 🙂

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.  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 anything  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 😉 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,  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.

A Conversation with My Appliances

I know they’re inanimate. I swear I do. It’s just that creeping downstairs and flicking on the lights to the laundry room (that I had not been in in a couple of days) – well, it really ‘felt’ like the washer and dryer might have had something to say.

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Well, well, well, look who it is! You do know that this laundry doesn’t wash itself?!?

Yeah – I mean, of course. I’m here, aren’t I? Wow – that load in the washer stinks!!

Like I said, the clothes don’t wash themselves. You do know that you have washed the same load of laundry twice, right?!?

I do. I don’t mean to do it. I’m not any happier about it than you are!

So, exactly HOW many times will your throw that damp washcloth in here to steam the wrinkles out of this load?!?!

Oh, now you’re going to start?!

It’s just that it’s not that hard! We do all the work – you just need to spend 5 minutes folding and starting the next load. We don’t know how you are EVER going to clean up this mess!

Me neither! They make it sounds so easy! I get that this didn’t happen, really, and that the washer and dryer can’t yell at me. I was just imagining it. Do you think that is a problem? Because I know that the laundry is.

Did you know I’ve had a conversation with an imaginary bathroom inspector? True story.

A Little Mess

It’s dark and late – you know the time. The couch is calling and so are these guys. 15 hours ago I got up and got started, and at this juncture, I am soooooo ready to call it a day. I am then faced with a dilemma prompted by this scene.

It’s not terrible. A regular mess – nothing interesting. But the question looms – to clean or not to clean!
I tell myself that I can do it in the morning. I tell myself it’s time to sit down and I secretly hope that fairies will come clean it up.Then I try the experiment that I often employ when there is something I hate to do – I time it. I dislike switching laundry from the washer to the dryer and starting up a new load – I do not allow myself to put clothes into baskets, because they will stay there, so I need to fold what comes out of the dryer immediately. When I timed it, it takes under 5 minutes! Unreal, all that fretting over a few minutes. Same with unloading the dishwasher – 9 minutes. Now I know. 
This spot is really the hub of the kitchen – starting the day with a disaster puts me behind the minute I wake up. It would be such a gift if I could wake up and start fresh. So I give that gift – to myself.

Dishwasher loaded, pots washed, dried and put away, counters wiped and coffee pot filled and ready for the morning – 17 minutes. 17 minutes to a better morning, less work and a clean slate. Leave it or clean it – what do you do?