Monthly Archives: August 2013

Never Thought I’d Get Here?

I sent my friend, the editor, a note this a.m. saying I can probably deliver the memoir file to her next month. When I told her September originally, I thought I was being hopelessly optimistic, but knew I needed a deadline for myself, if not for anyone else.

But I wrote what I think was the last “diary” entry this morning. Now, as always in my life, there’s just clean up to do! Well, it’s the theme of my life, what can I say? You have way too much crap, then you have to wade through it. I mean as a metaphor it works, maybe that’s why the house got so bad to begin with?

I don’t know, and I don’t care, just is.

I’ve got stuff to take to the booths, things to sell, stuff to get rid of today.

I’m off!

Fishing Stars Out of the Grass and Other Unexpected Events

I’ve been working on finishing things, using what I’ve got and trying to get organized. So…..

I’ve been spray painting the LARGE collection of tins  bought to organize various bits & pieces. I’d always intended to paint them so they would be functional and look good. I’ve got too many of them, of course.

They look great! Being me, I’ve been storing things in them, since I don’t see any point in storing them empty?

Yesterday,  carrying a stack of tins across the lawn to the makeshift table where I’m painting — I tripped. The tin that popped open happened to contain fairies/angels in the making. Including the gold stars I use for fairy wands.

I wound up, for an HOUR (!) trying to find tiny mylar stars in the grass. If I knew I could just buy more, I would have left them as a puzzle for future archeologists. (I left a patch of them, the mosquitoes were just too fierce!) But I don’t know if I can buy more, so I spent the time picking them out of the grass.

Today, I picked up a few more.

We have a Sunday breakfast tradition: pancakes or waffles which DH makes.  It was so beautiful outside, we decided to cart the food out to the lawn and eat there. An overturned galvanized bucket is our usual temporary table. DH brought out food, I’d moved the chairs into the shade. He sat down. I sat down . . .

and screamed!

Unknown to us, a bee hive had been built,  in the lawn, probably in an old chipmunk den, and I’d moved my chair and left foot almost on top of it!

foot just swellingswollen foot3

After a bit we found the hive and managed to retrieve breakfast and ate indoors. DH grabbed the can of stinging insect spray we had, and put it on top of the snow blower shelter before we ate.

When we went out again, me to take the second pic of my poor feet and so he could spray the hive, he realized  he’d put the can of stuff almost right on top of a actively being built wasp’s nest!

snowblower shelter wasp2

We managed to get the can without disturbing the wasps, DH tried to use it on the hive, but the stuff just dribbled out. He’s allergic to stinging insects, so we can’t leave either the wasp nest or the hive.

I started to itch. Then I had hives everywhere, my foot was swelling and redder. I’d taken an over the counter allergy medicine, but apparently needed more. Rather than just pop pills indiscriminately, we wound up in the emergency room. (There isn’t a walk-in clinic less than about an hour from here.)

They gave me more meds and after a while we left. Got allergy drugs  and came home. I slept the rest of the day.

So today was eventful, but not very productive!

Cleaning Underway, Clutter . . . ?

isn’t covered by my cleaning scheme — on purpose. I know I have problems with clutter/stuff removal, so I didn’t include it, as I knew it would sabotage the effort at the beginning.

I managed to find a way to approach cleaning the house such that it doesn’t create guilt or stress. I wonder if I can do the same with the clutter? I don’t really need or want all this stuff. I can’t store it forever, can’t use what I’ve got because I can’t find it, and it’s in the way.

So, what to do?

What I’m doing with the cleaning is dividing the job into component pieces and then figuring how much minimally I want to do in a week say. I’ve been doing some of that. I sold my first paperback last week at the new booth. All of a sudden, I’m cataloging books for the spinner again. Not many, but since I hadn’t done ANY for quite some time, it counts.

I have three customers looking for collectible books, which has helped too. I might be able to sell some of the better stuff, instead of simply storing it forever.

And I guess my attitude IS different than it used to be. I went to put a mug away last night after doing the dishes and there wasn’t room. I immediately started thinking, “Okay, do I get rid of this one or another?”

I’ve been working on rug #3 and I have a plan to use up the bits & pieces left over after making the rug yarn, so that all won’t be stored forever either. My attitude is different than it used to be, but it’s not getting done fast enough I guess?


This is an unsolved problem. I’ll work on it!


The First Step in My New Cleaning Plan

I figured the minimum I  have to do.

It’s 4 things:

  • dishes
  • food
  • toilet
  • bath counter.

I’m not talking about  throughly CLEANING all of that every day, but the maintenance required for health and to avoid more work down the road (see below).

The dishes have to be at least scraped and rinsed daily.Waste food needs to be dealt with and other food needs to be put away every day.

The bathroom jobs are because I know I don’t mind running a brush around the toilet once or twice a day, but hate scrubbing it when I don’t.

We have a lot of iron scale in our water, if I don’t clean the sinks, etc. often they then start growing “rocks”which take NASTY chemicals and much elbow grease to remove. I run my soapy hand around the bathroom sink and rinse it off as I rinse my hands off because it feels nasty if I don’t, due to the sediment.

The sink chrome gets a 20 second rub down about once a day with a tissue or rag — a necessity because if it gets wet, it looks awful, because of the scale again. If I didn’t do the two or three second wipe down at least daily, it looks like I never clean it OR I have to fight it as mentioned above.

I’ve added two other things: the cat box and the kitchen counters since I started, both of them I’m still struggling to get done every day. I’m doing better, but I’m not there yet! The cat’s old and scatters cat litter around and I have a tendency to straighten up and leave stuff on the counters rather than taking what doesn’t belong off. As I said, I’m still working on those two.

It seemed to me that organizing cleaning tasks like there’s  only separate rooms in your home and you visit them one at a time was stupid. It also seemed  that the notion of doing types of chores on a certain day each week would make me bored and overwhelmed, and so I wouldn’t do it (washday Wednesday, for example).

I’m the daughter and wife of engineers. I decided to approach the problem the same way I would if someone wanted me to help them solve any other problem. The first step is almost always some variation of:  What HAS to occur? What are the required steps/outcomes? The four things satisfy that.

I had two main ideas when I started thinking about this: 1) That the house get cleaned often enough in enough small ways that it’s always as clean as I could reasonably make it and 2) Getting it there and keeping it there needed to be as low stress as possible, no spring cleaning or other seasonal cleaning, no calendar cleaning, no assigned days of the week when x or y or z had to happen.

The only daily MUST DO is the 4 things.

And even I, as disorganized and ADD or with bad habits or . .. (whatever) can do four short, simple tasks every day, or most days. That was another thing. I can’t use this as a way to beat myself up if I don’t do it, because that adds stress.

I wrote it down in an old teacher’s attendance notebook I had. I put an x when I do something and do just the minimum and a * when I take the time to clean something (the difference between scrubbing the toilet with the brush only and adding cleanser, for example). I try and star each of 3 things every week, at least once. (Excepting food.) I haven’t always made it. I don’t care. The house is getting cleaner. I’m not perfect, I’m learning new habits, I’m going to backslide, fail, and stumble, and that’s okay, as long as I don’t quit!

I have to say that I hate

most cleaning schedules I find. They assign tasks to a given day, week or month. I don’t want to do that, there’s too much stress when I get behind. Then I can’t catch up, so I quit  altogether.

My new schedule has only 4 things I need to do daily. The rest are weekly, monthly, quarterly, every now and then, or whatever is appropriate for the task. If I don’t get to something in a given day or week, I just do it the next time. Because there’s no hard & fast rules about what has to be done on a given day,  I’m actually doing it, or more so than any other cleaning schedule I’ve ever tried. I like looking at what has/hasn’t been done and picking one to do.

Most cleaning schedules to me feel like a guilt list — I know I won’t do them, so it’s just a list of what I’ll feel guilty about, later. This way I don’t have that!

Maybe this means I have no discipline, but mostly I think it means I’ve had bad habits. 😀

I learned a long time ago to use what works for me, and it’s working!

New Cleaning Schedule

is working and it’s not.

It’s working in that I’m not stressed about cleaning. It’s not working in that I’m not doing my daily minimum.

The dishes are the only piece which seem to get done pretty much no matter what else is going on. After that, laundry gets done. Beyond that? I’ve got to cultivate my new habits, still.

I do like my recording system. I like seeing how the events around me change what/how I get done, on paper. And I like not having a “TO DO” list, which always makes my stomach an acid ball.

I’ll work on it. What is it you need 60 days to set a habit? In 60 days it will be October. My “last chance” for the year to do the massive book purge is Columbus Day, the beginning of October. I hope to be done before that!

I can  “feel” the house now without the stuff. I do need to do some more changes: more curtains or blinds, rugs, painting, and moving things around mostly.

I hope I make it!

Oh. The larger antique booth opened last weekend. I’ve already sold enough stuff to pay for the booth for 1 period. The smaller booth has also had more sales than usual and it has generated sales of up to 75% of the monthly rent.

Also, we *finally* have a date for our home improvement loan — yeah! So we’ll have a new roof this winter thank God.

Like I said a couple of posts ago, lots going on!

For as long as I can remember

I’ve had this thing, I called it the “emotional function.” It was a vestige of the abuse and shame. It was invoked when I was in pain. When something hurt me, it was “proof” that I was worthless. This is the mantra acc. to the abuser. God, my family, the world in general saw me as useless, unlovable, subpar, subhuman and the proof was that they didn’t care that I was hurting. So every time my family invoked some kind of teacher-student, “I’m older than you,” or other statement where the baseline position is one of superiority, it invoked this. My dad wasn’t a total snob, but he was a snob to some extent about his field. And, like all folks, tended to judge others based on what he knew. That’s what he taught all of us.

I was 10+ years younger than everyone, smaller, female, and not inclined towards intellectualism or financial dealings — I’m an English major sort of person, but not all that fond of literature either. I’m more of an athlete than my obese, asthmatic, diabetic family too. So I didn’t fit the standard in many ways. Every time I didn’t, this emotional function thing would run and it reinforced the “fact” that I was worthless, less than scum, valueless and generally subhuman. Some of this is the vestige of abuse, the feelng is a common in abused folk, like Dave Pelzer’s Child Called It and others, including me.

When something hurt, it ran. This was the catch in the back of my throat I could not get rid of, the pain that was always present.

Except, it did!

About 2-3 weeks ago. I had a crisis, the details don’t matter, but two people very close to me each made an effort to do something for me. Their efforts  validated my feelings and  made a point that I was worthy of paying attention to: they cared enough to make an effort to help. And that catch in the back of my throat? It  vanished.

Now it’s like the PTSD flashback — I can remember/feel what it was like, but it isn’t present all the time. Oh yes, it might return in some way shape or form once in a  blue moon down the road, but the piece that absolutely was never touched no matter how much work I did is gone.

I did a flowchart of what it was like last year. It’s below.

function bad guyAs you can see, there’s no way out.

But I am!

Change indeed.