Tag Archives: cleaning

Part XLIV!

Catching your husband in the act is a gigantic smack in the face. Seeing him not want to let go of her embrace, is a sucker punch. I entered, almost willing to endure a threesome, and my husband just walked out of the room.

He left the two of us behind to battle it out. Richie, champion that he is, non-chalently went into the living room and turned on the TV. I wasted no time getting the bitch off my kitchen table.

“Alexa, off!”, I demanded.

Defending their behavior, I heard a distant, “Leave her alone.”

Still not understanding the madness, I walked to our threshold and reasonably stated, “You’re watching TV now, you don’t need her to play you love songs.”

Having an answer for his torrid behavior, Richie defended, “She was playing background music.”

I had killed the mood. This round was a knockout. I went back to my corner and my affair with Mr. Clean.

<Refer to the acceptance of our Alexa relationship here.>

Hint, Hint

Just found this in my drafts from early 2016:

My mother-in-law is the sweetest and most generous woman.

The only problem is that she’s also the mother of my husband.

What does it mean when she gifts me a housekeeping book?

Cooking 101

Our married motto for the last ten years has been the common “I cook – you clean”, mainly because I don’t cook anymore and he doesn’t clean. It’s important to a good marriage to understand these basics! It’s also key to spend time apart once in awhile. 

Now with Richie out of town, I had to cook and clean. By cook I mean, open a box. From my secret stash for such occasions. I made an ambitious attempt to make my own dinner. I cooked the macaroni to perfection – not al dente and not too soft. As it drained, I went back to the pan on the stove to create a sauce. I reached into the refrigerator, that’s alongside the stove, and threw in half a stick of butter. It quickly started to melt and snap as it hit the bottom of the sauce pan. Trying to be faster than the heat, I reached in the ‘frig again for the milk jug, and without measuring, poured in my idea of 1/4 cup. The jug label on the counter mocked an explanation as to why my sauce was now brown. I’d used the cider jug!

Gratefully, I was still hungry and ate it anyway. It was a taste of fall as I fell from grace. Luckily Richie was away. It helped a good marriage last a little longer.

There’s a Part III ?!?!

Yes, there is. My last entry was meant to be a one part sequel. However, our summer downsizing project seems to be on the upswing. Baby girl helped Dad clean his bedroom closet!  The cleaning follow-up post-it notes  have been irritating but getting him to toss items makes her the queen of motivational cleaning!!

She knows exactly how to coerce and manage him. It was clear from the first note that she got his buy-in to approach the not-in-a-million-years project:

photo 1-20

I was still the one to lug them away and make the drop-off but I did it with a spring in my step and the spirit of Santa Claus.  I also have a documented audit trail so there can be no backlash!

The next note I reacted to with the same enthusiasm:

photo 2-22

I couldn’t take the trash out to the garage fast enough!

Of course I still inherited work from their labor…

photo 3-16

…but it’s nice to know they think I’m the entrepreneur of the family.

photo 5-3

It was also sweet to learn my daughter wants to wear an old camouflage sweater from Dad’s younger days.

What I had a problem with was when I saw they had questioned my decorating skills:

 photo 4-17

No, we are not getting rid of my two Currier prints in the antique frames with the original bubble glass.

No, we are not getting rid of my inspiring Soyer print.

No, we are not getting rid of great uncle Harrison’s heirloom.

I’ll bow to the queen for helping us clean a closet but I am not her court jester.

Awesome Kid

One daughter is working away from home near campus and one is home with us for the summer. I miss campus daughter quite a bit. Home daughter is underfoot and not missing a beat.

She is taking this house organizing to the next level.

I posted about the mantle incident a couple of weeks ago. She either thought she was a comedianne or effective. Probably both.

The method is still effective but not so funny anymore:

– We tend to donate or resell clothes but no longer, evidently, verbally communicate about it. I came home to a pile of clothes with the “I need a new home” note on top. I like the downsizing, I just wish she’d drop them in a bin on her way to work at this point. The directives when I get home are more work than work at the office.

– It’s more than just the clothes. Part of the cleaning and downsizing are the decisions you make along the way. We don’t get credit for those. It only counts when we execute on the decision. We’d decided to bring a fan and computer to the local electronics drive this weekend. We brought the fan down from upstairs:

photo 4

It got moved to the bottom of the stairs and the next day, closer to the back door. That wasn’t our best and certainly not good enough.

– My husband gets them too. She helped him clean his office and we also have a clean kitchen table every night now. To make sure neither is compromised, she leaves him notes like this:

photo 2-17 Evidently, he can’t keep a crossword puzzle and book in the living room.

– the really frustrating one was when I went to my desk in the hall to check the days mail. There was a pile forming but only because the tuition bills are due and there’s a stack of various paperwork that needs to be signed, posted to the internet or mailed. I’m really not the bad guy in all this. photo 3-1-1– there was a post-it on the computer we decided to give to Recycle Day also. That note was in our bedroom – along with the computer and speakers. I think she was speaking her peace by saying she was tired of looking at it in the living room? I hadn’t thought to save that first memento.

I don’t think I thought it was cute until I pictured her writing all the notes. I started to save the Gretel slips when I realized she thought I was some sort of wicked witch that lived in the woods in a non-OCD house.

She does make me laugh. She does think of me when I’m at work. I wonder if she also thinks about visiting her sister one of these weekends?


Note to fellow bloggers: I’m not sure why the red sofa shows in The Reader. I did read a post with that picture and had forwarded the link to my niece on Facebook.  My official entry on my page includes the referenced “new home” image.

Weekend Warrior

My long weekend wasn’t just sad because we honored fallen family members at the cemetery. It was also somber because a dumpster full of crap came out of our house. It’s very humbling to admit that within the walls of our rustic colonial we had all this shit.  It wasn’t hiding either. It was visible to the naked eye. It just didn’t seem to be a problem to me until I started to make a list of what to throw out. When you run out of ink, you realize it’s a long list.

When I was a kid we went to the dump every Saturday. My Dad brought our trash and every other battery operated old radio or Mercurachrome infested bandage. Nowadays it’s curbside pickup where you pay by the bag and get one bucket for your recyclables. The process doesn’t allow you to toss bigger items or appliances.

I give to Goodwill and Salvation Army but after several trips, I realized it was bigger than me.  We were going to have to spend money to make any real headway. That’s hard for a native Yankee cheap-ass woman to admit. I made the call to rent a dumpster and we readied to say goodbye to all this in our life:

– a stand up deep freeze that was given to us by another family member. In its most recent working past, the only way we used it was to enable us to freeze 20 boxes of Girl Scout cookies at a time.  It was most functional when we’d stock piled meats for the winter. At its fullest we had an ice storm and lost power for 17 days. After a few days, we tried to salvage the frozen food along with our sanity.  One night was all we needed to realize we couldn’t just leave it all in the frozen ice and snow. There are large animals in these woods. So, even though it broke seven years ago, and we’ve known for two years that the utility company won’t even cart it away, we decided to throw the deep freeze into the dumpster first.

– the old carpeting from our daughter’s bedroom. We could have let the installers take it away with them but that would’ve cost an extra $50. My husband’s plan had been to cut it in three-foot strips, someday, and slowly get rid of it. I didn’t want to rush him on the project, so I tried to enjoy driving around it on my side of the garage for the last ten months. It was very therapeutic for our relationship to toss that into the dumpster.

– some old, wet drywall that was on my side of the garage. I’m not sure what project that was leftover from?

– the old dog house on the hill.  Losing a pet is a process. There’s a lot of letting go. I said good-bye to the roof. My husband parted with the walls he’d insulated for Shadow. The squirrels got rid of their acorn pantry.  It’s been ten years since our dog died. It was time to let go.

– the upside down rotting picnic table also on the hill.  My husband built a new one to replace it: three years ago.

– The paint cans I pulled out of the cellar last spring to ‘dry out’ were added.  We decided they no longer needed to decorate the back of our foundation.

– a desk chair. I’d replaced my daughter’s broken desk chair several weeks ago. Even though I found another black one, this time with a nice rush seat, we hadn’t tossed the old. It too went into the dumpster, spindle by spindle.

– more chairs. I had ventured into the cellar to see what else we could possibly purge to fill this huge dumpster?! It seemed reasonable to also toss a few of the chairs from our original kitchen set. They were well worn but sitting around an old arts & crafts table in the cellar.  It was great therapy to smash them in the driveway. Gone girl!

– skis from the 80’s. I don’t think they’d even allow us on the mountain with them. I tossed in the downhill skis and 50 pound boots. I didn’t have the heart to throw away the cross country skis. Those get used in these woods. However, the boots left a lot to be desired when I realized they were starting some type of disintegration process. When we start skiing again, we can update the boots.

– coats. I’ve donated multiple coats to the Boy Scouts every recent fall that I can remember. Despite that, we seemed to have some type of coat petri dish in our basement. The dumpster ate some fleece and waterproof material. Along with them, some junior high boots. Our girls are currently in college!

– craft items. The arts and crafts table I mentioned earlier hadn’t seen a good sized project since we were all in Girl Scouts. I tossed pins, styrofoam, old spice jars, glass, glue, poster paint, clay and beads into the green monster.

– a lamp. I admitted to a bad auction bid and tossed it on the heap.

– many items worth minimal amounts that I’d “set aside” for my antique booth.

– a changing table in the basement. It had been transformed into a storage unit over the years. I decided that needed to go too. It was rickety at best, not a family piece and wouldn’t be missed.

– the Beanie Babies wouldn’t be missed either. I sent an entire zoo to its death.

By now I was willing to admit I was a large part of the problem and also threw away all my public accounting interview literature from 1988!

In my disgust with myself, I couldn’t stay in the dwindling basement any longer. I went out to the garage to blame someone else for whatever clutter was still in there. One of the most obvious items was the ten basketballs on our old bookshelf. The excess was leaving little room for our washer fluid, extra oil and snow scrapers. We all agreed the basketballs could be donated to the local teen center. After all, there were still a half dozen more in the basement I just left. Dad wanted to save those from his coaching days.

In those same years we spent a lot of time at the ballfields. My husband took pride in finding many a baseball or softball in the parking lots and surrounding areas.  We had a full bucket of baseballs and a full bucket of softballs.  My husband could have been recruited by Harry Potter to play quidditch as a seeker. Don’t be a snitch but I put them in the donate pile.

We walked our property, basement and garage again to seek out other things to throw away. Items past their prime or long forgotten were tossed. A bike in the woods?!, old towels and linens, broken lawn decorations, the old toy box in the garage that had moved there to hold other sports equipment – – – that’s when I screamed like I was in a horror film.

When you have an old tent that hasn’t been used in years, evidently the field mice decide they can camp out. They had been picnicking on the cardboard box until they could plan an escape from their plastic cage. Since willies had quickly grown on my arms and legs, my husband got mice duty. They ran back in the woods and the toy box was dismantled into five flat pieces for the dumpster.

I went back in the house after that and decided to look in closets and drawers to see what else could be thrown out. The dumpster was near full but I was getting my monies worth!

Items that settled into the crevices were:

  • Enough playing cards to start a casino
  •  A curling iron from I don’t even know when…?
  • An electronic facial scrubber? Did we ever even use that? It looked like it could’ve buffed the halls of M.I.T.?!
  • Admittedly, some unsold toys and toy parts.
  • Broken frames, notebooks and a lantern
  • Penny loafers
  • An old wooden file cabinet we broke into pieces

The ironic ‘piece de resistance’ also got tossed in: a tin illustrating the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”?

My point is, if you’ve lived in a house for over 25 years, you have to purge more often than that. I am ready for a minimalist lifestyle and renewed focus on my life.  I have said goodbye to all the forgotten junk. I am not ready to move out but I am ready to move on.