Tag Archives: cleaning

My Husband Is A Junk Drawer Junkie (Shhh…So Am I)

This morning Jim put the silverware away. Go, Jim, go!

Oh no.
Ut oh.
Gosh darn it.
Golly Gee.

This isn’t right, but it does explain a few other things around here. We have a problem with closets and cabinetry that has doors, slides shut, or can be closed in any imaginable way. Problems as in, we fill them to maximum capacity and then quickly shove the door closed before anything falls out, gets stuck, or gets squished.

If I was smarter I’d have the shower scene music from the movie Psycho playing in the background for the next two photos. I am not that smart though, so you’ll just have to use your wily imaginations:

The Desk: Exhibit A

Yes, that is a pink, stuffed poodle chair on the top of my desk and to the left. Lucy (the dog) kept sitting in it and making Tiny-Small cry and scream. This prompted me to throw it atop the pile and exclaim, “If you can’t share then nobody gets to sit in it!” Tiny-Small is tired of having four legged sisters. I am tired of not being able to use my desk for what it was intended for. All you Type-A types out there, go ahead and feel smug and superior right now. You are vastly superior to me in every possible way (except I would win if the contest was for “Most Disorganized” because, well, I am obviously an expert in that department). Also, feel free to contact me if the urge to come and organize me, my family, or my closet becomes so strong that you can no longer ignore it. I will welcome you with open arms. Seriously: I will hug you, kiss you, and make you totally uncomfortable with my gratitude.

The hall closet: Exhibit B
So, that is why doors were invented!

I clean the closet out every two weeks and two weeks later it’s back to it’s old ways. I blame the gremlins that live under the stairs. Jim blames the lack of closets in the master bedroom. Tiny-Small thinks it is an amusement park and rubs her hands together while squealing, “Goody, goody, goody!” anytime the door gets left open. It’s a jungle in there! Coat hangers beware! Watch out for falling kitchen appliances. It may also be raining cats and dogs in there, but that is another story all together.

Finally, I cleaned off and cleaned out my desk (just don’t look in the closet located in our office/library). It was a catch-all for all of the junk that needed to be stored someplace…anyplace. I am sitting at it right now, happily typing away. It feels good to have space. Luxurious, empty space.

So, not sure what the point of this exercise in exhibitionism was, except to say Jim can’t be trusted to put the silverware away in the correct slots, but nobody is really complaining because everybody hates silverware duty. Actually, I am complaining loudly, but nobody seems to be able to hear me. There seems to be some type of contagious deafness epidemic affecting our family at the moment. Either that, or I have some rare form of laryngitis that prohibits others from hearing me, but allows me to still hear my own voice when I speak.

Obviously, I can’t be trusted to keep my desk neat or to use it correctly and intentionally (who wants to pay bills?) and the closet, well, who to blame for the closet disaster remains a little, family mystery. At least, that is what we like to tell ourselves around here. It makes it a little easier to get along. Also, we apparently have an urge to air our “dirty laundry” publicly and on the Internet. Or, at least I do. I am sure Jim wants no part in this one.

Hopefully, when I apply for a job in the future and list “well organized” and “impeccable attention to details” on my resume or job application my future employers won’t Google me and discover this atrocious representation of my so-called skills. Fingers crossed here. I may have to assume an alternative identity if I ever want to work in this town again.

If you ever come to my house please don’t open any doors, cabinets, or drawers. It might be hazardous to your health to do so. Things often fall from the sky, land on your head, and explode at your feet. I wish I were kidding, but you have seen the pictures. Don’t tell me you weren’t warned.

When Did I Become The Maid?

I woke up this morning, came down the stairs and looked around. It was like I had just been born and could see everything with fresh, brand new eyes. At some point over the past two years I went from hot wife and cool mom to glorified maid. It’s true and I don’t think I like it.
When did I become the maid?
When did I become the maid?

I went to college. I worked. I was a professional and people respected me. I had friends. I was fun and cute and friendly. Then I signed up for wife and mother and I was busy and happy and funny. Then, out of the blue things took a turn for the worst. I became Cinderella except instead of two mean step sisters and a bossy, cranky step mother I have three dogs shedding (and none of them know how to work the vacuum), a toddler that obviously got her training from a school based on the life and times of the Tasmanian Devil, and a husband who knocks over potted plants and leaves the dirt in a pile on the floor for three days until I clean it up.  One day recently, I came in from the backyard (I had run outside to get something which required a 3 minute absence tops) and  there, in the hallway were two dog bowls filled with dog food and one bowl that was empty.  The contents of the empty bowl were all over the floor in multiple piles with pieces scattered in every direction. I almost just turned around, shut the door and drove off into the sunset. Instead, I marched into the house and complained that Tiny-Small was driving me crazy and needed to be kept away from the dog food at all times. Jim said nothing. It wasn’t until two days later that he finally confessed that he had, in fact, spilled the dog food all over the floor and left it for me to clean up. He actually said those words, “I left it for you to clean up.” I wasn’t sure what to do with that. It did make me insanely furious though. How did I allow this to happen? When did I become the maid?

 

 

I wonder if this happened to Cinderella too? Did she marry Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset only to find herself once again living the life of a scullery maid? I sat at the kitchen table this morning and looked down at my hands which are raw and chapped due to a ridiculous amount of hand washing, cleaning, gardening, and of course painting. My haircut has been overgrown for two months now and I am probably wearing clothes that are at least 10 years old. I don’t get enough exercise and I don’t get enough sleep and somehow deep down I know this is all my own doing. I am becoming some kind of living martyr or worse a beaten down, dumpy housewife. The kind of woman I so desperately did not want to become. These moment of clarity can be very stunning when they come to you in the quiet of the morning. Solutions to these problems are often elusive and impossible to formulate during the fog of fairly new motherhood. I don’t want the role of scullery maid. I want to have time for things that don’t involve cleaning. I want to have glossy hair, shiny eyes, and skin that doesn’t flake off in the wind. I look in the mirror and wonder how I became the person staring back at me?

 

Here I sit contemplating my present status of mom and maid to all, determined to make some changes. I’m not willing to accept this as my life sentence, but how do I navigate my way to a solution that can be satisfying to all involved? Do I just give up cleaning up after other people (especially adults) and live in squalor? Do I become a nag who is militant about structure and neatness? Do I hire someone to come in and clean the house once a week to lessen the burden? That might be the best and easiest solution. I cleaned houses to put myself through college and one of my customers told me that she and her husband were fighting all of the time about household chores. They finally went to counseling and the therapist said, “If this is what you fight about all the time why not hire someone to come in and clean your house?” So, she hired me. She said I saved her marriage! At the time I just thought she was nuts, but now that I am home struggling to keep everything running smoothly and living with two people who think I was born to be a personal butler I am reconsidering. It seems ridiculous to hire a cleaning crew when you are home all day and SHOULD be able to do it all yourself. I can’t do it all by myself though. I can’t be a mother, wife, maid, handyman, gardener, accountant, and cook simultaneously for 24 hours a day and still keep my sanity or feel even remotely healthy or look even slightly attractive. I need help. I am learning my limits. The saying, “If Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy” wasn’t said on accident. Who ever said that really knew what they were talking about. On the other hand asking for help or paying for help makes me feel guilty because I truly believe I should be able to do it all, do it all by myself and do it all well. My thinking is obviously quite faulty because one quick look around provides enough evidence for any logical person to determine that I am not doing it all nor doing it all well.

 

It’s time for me to make some decisions and stop being afraid to ask for help. I need childcare, a cleaning crew, a yard maintenance worker or some combination of all three. At least until Tiny-Small is big enough to help or not get into mortal danger while I am pruning some shrubbery. Time and energy are finite. At some point I have to start putting my needs into the equation. I say better sooner than later and also better late than never! It’s time to set some boundaries and be a good role model to my daughter. I need to teach her that there are ways to take care of and love your family without having to give yourself up entirely in the process, but first I have to teach this to myself!

Life With a Toddler

 

There I was with peanut butter on my pants, gel medium on my phone, and a permanent slice of very old banana permanently affixed to my linoleum floor. That was the moment I realized my life had become one big, sticky mess. Life with a toddler can be summed up in one word: messy. Maybe two words would be better: super messy. No, it’s three words: Super, Sticky, Messy. There is just no avoiding it no matter how hard you try to.

Sometimes, however, I do like to keep score. For example, it is 1:30pm and so far my daughter has worn three different outfits and I am not even dressed yet. When I do manage to get dressed and out of the door I find jelly hand prints on the back of my pants or marker drawings down the arm of my jacket. Toddler win; motherhood fail.

Life With a Toddler

Her hair is combed and styled in a cute little ponytail and mine…well…mine is a disaster. Speaking of hair, my hairdresser suggested that I blow my hair out and style it once every three days. I should just wake up on the non-styling-days, spritz it with a little water, and go. She obviously does not live with a toddler. Most days I end up with oatmeal, dog water, or some other food related item in my hair. It has to be washed every single day and I usually don’t have time to style it in any flattering way. My daughter, however, is dressed and coiffed beautifully every morning!

My daughter helps me clean up her spills by dragging a paper towel through the puddle on the floor while yelling joyfully, “Messy! Messy! Mess!” Then she usually rolls around in it, walks through it, or tries to eat it. On the other hand, I have washed the floor several times and it still looks like a barrel of monkeys has taken up residence in my kitchen. Two points for team-toddler and zero for team-mommy.

 

In this game of mommy versus toddler, my daughter is on a winning streak. She is a champion at this game and I will never score enough points to catch up. One thing I have learned from my messy life with a toddler is that banana is stronger than Gorilla glue and Crazy glue combined. It is stuck to my floor and it is not coming off anytime soon. I’m thinking of marketing it as an all-natural, organic alternative to the glues available in stores now. Anyone interested in buying some? It might even come with a free piece of linoleum stuck to it.