Category Archives: cleaning

Do NOT Keep Up with the Joneses

We have one neighbor who has 3 kids. The kids are grown and have left home, but show up periodically to help Mom and Dad do things around the house, build a deck and rebuilding their entry stairs most recently.

These people have a house which always looks great. Except that they spend all their spare time, both of them,  working on their home: weeding, mowing, planting, fertilizing, washing their cars. Their home is really nice.

At various times, I have adopted the attitude that I wanted our home to be as neat and tidy as theirs. Except I can’t. DH mows the lawn and occasionally helps me bag leaves, but the yard work is up to me. DH keeps his workshop up and will do day-to-day maintenance: dishwashing, laundry, catbox, etc. but the rest is up to me. I do not have 3 kids and their significant others or siblings or parents all of which my neatnik neighbors do. And all of whom come and help.

So there’s no way. As a pie in the sky standard? Yep, that’s fine. But I was doing yard work today and our yard is still largely unraked. The bulb bed is raked out, but only about 1/2 the leaves have made it to the dump. (The neatnik neighbors have a hill they can put leaves down; we don’t.) About 40% or less of our yard is raked. Less than 1/2 those leaves have been bagged up and taken to the dump. I had a cold, DH has one. It was pouring rain, etc. It will get done, but it gets done slowly here.

Makes me want to plant a lot more pine trees and get rid of some of the oaks! I have made the lawn smaller, put gravel in the walkways, so that it doesn’t have to be replaced so often. The bulb bed has mulch in it to help keep the weeds down, and I’m slowly but surely replacing the regular lawn with no mow grass.

But I am aging faster than the lower maintenance yard is taking hold. I need to do things more quickly. One thing we’ve talked about for a while and hopefully will do this year is gravel the driveway. That will make keeping the weeds out of it easier AND will help keep the dust down, which will keep the house cleaner.

We’ve already agreed we’ll paint the kitchen this year. It’s a lot of work, same process as painting the living room 3 years ago: lightly sand the wood walls, seal the knots, caulk, primer, sand, primer, sand, primer touch up, and paint.

We’ll probably paint the laundry room at the same time; it’s tiny and it’s wallboard, easy peasy compared to the varnished log walls!

The living room needs some touch up and the baseboards painted. We finally agreed on the baseboard paint last fall, and we’ll use it throughout the house.

scott-webb-120552-unsplash

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

My office needs to be cleared out and painted too. But that will be easier than the kitchen because that room isn’t used all the time.

The attic clean out needs to be finished. We’ve agreed we’re going to put in knee walls and finish the space. I imagine this will probably be the unfinished piece this year. We have to clear out a huge space to do this, because everything has to come out of the attic. There’s nowhere to put the stuff in the house now, so it can’t happen yet.

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The Gamble

I’m hoping that we sell enough stuff at the flea market that we can either

  1. Downsize the storage unit (again!) or
  2. Eliminate it altogether. And it would be nice of course to pay for the venue, etc.

The limiting factor of course, is how much stuff we get outta here. And, since right now it’s in 2 places, the storage and the house, that’s not at all intuiative.

I think it’s unlikely because I stopped putting items for sale in the storage when I had no room AND I stopped pulling things here for sale when I had no place left to put them segregated from the things I’d like to keep.

And, since I’ve been struck down by both the PTSD-induced fog of nonproductiveness and a bad cold for the past 2 weeks, I haven’t done the reorganization I wanted. I can’t estimate what I have ready/how much space it takes up.

boxes

(Photo isn’t mine. It probably came from images.google.com. I’ve used it before.)

We’ll see!

Backslid

I had a fire in my belly. It’s gone, or dampened anyway.

A bad night coupled with speaking out loud where I was ? 

 I described that being able to write the memoir as well as I had changed things:

I had done it, survived, figured out what I did well and royally screwed up. I’d written it down for others to judge. I’d written my defense, vindication, apology, and the narrative of my healing (and not). It is time to move on.

The house cleaning has to be done before I can move on. I can’t do whatever else it is that I do, even if it’s just try to make pie crust or can veggies, or anything else. The excess stuff is in the way, and it’s a symptom that isn’t real any more. In many ways, I have no idea how to be whoever it is that lives without the camoflauge or need for it. I have no idea who this person is, but apparently I need room and less clutter to find out.

And DH who enabled 4 decades of growth and change? He needs and deserves a cleaner house. It’s not much of a thank you, but it’s something concrete and now I can do it, where I couldn’t before.


Well, there you go, stopped me cold.

The PTSD person is a total wimp. Anything which looks like it will make me more visible or actually is movement towards healing? — it’s suspect! (hissed)

Makes me really *MAD*. It’s damned near impossible to get anything finished. It’s hard to get anything even 1/2 way done without slamming into that wall.

I do what I just did. Have a bad night. Think Okay, that was terrible.

Then have an okay night. Think, Fine, we go on.

And somehow, for some reason, or many reasons, or I just forget or I have sudden onset ADD… time goes by and the project(s) are dropped and I’m doing other things.

More time goes on, and then one day I realize that the chart I had filled out religiously for 2 months hasn’t been touched for 30 days, and so on. It’s like I enter a cloud of “forgetfulness fog” and become an amoeba. Makes me nutty when I realize I’ve done this, again.

And I just did.

Believe me, I KNOW why vets with PTSD drink. Yes, what they went through was horrific and certainly should not to be diminished. But dealing with the demon which is PTSD is just not fun.

paper piles
The image isn’t mine, I’ve used it here before. But it is a great symbol for being overwhelmed, disorganized, and with a huge amount of work ahead before things are cleared out!
J

Amazing

Years ago when I was writing regular articles about retail stores, I would be writing about a certain kind of shop on a given road or in a certain area. I’d walk into a shop and say, “Tell me why you’re different. Tell me what’s different in your shop from the shop down the road?” And almost always, the owners or managers would tell me exactly the same thing. (To the point that I would tell them NOT to say exactly that after I’d been doing it a while.) I never knew how to clearly state why it mattered  that they distinguish themselves from other stores in the area selling similar merchandise.

Today? Today I was looking for commercial cleaning proposal templates I could print. I wanted to: 1) Perhaps generate commentary or something to talk about here. 2) See what commercial cleaners do differently than the housework books I have. 3) Try to locate the number I found once about how much more a certain commercial cleaner charged for each piece of furniture in a room,  I wanted to look at the house and see what it would cost. . . .

While researching, I found a discussion about why a business has to know why they’re different. A discussion by Simon Sinek, it’s an 18 minute video, but it starts with WHY, when most businesses talk about WHAT or HOW. Even the short version, in the write up here, makes the point. (The video is available from the link too, I can’t get the share to work here, sorry!)

I wish I’d known about Sinek before, would have saved me a lot of trying to get people to see that it didn’t matter how long they’d been there, how much merchandise they had, how diverse it was, etc. NONE of that is the real selling point, esp. if your competition says exactly the same thing!

I stopped being able to sell books easily when I lost the fire in my belly about books. I lost that because they were no longer the only place I didn’t hurt, they were pleasant diversions, but not necessary for sanity. I lost my passion, the why I loved books so much, and my ability to sell them easily, simultaneously.

In the same way, I lost my entertainment “muscle.” I used to be a superior hostess and was known for it. But I was continually on stage — felt like I was a performing seal. When I stopped being hypervigilant and immersed in the life PTSD had left me, I stopped the dog-and-pony show. Somehow I just can’t get it in my brain again that I need to be able to be entertaining: tell stories or do schtick occasionally.

There are people who put up with my low energy, non-performing self. And I’m not exhausted all the time, which is wonderful! Somehow, I just can’t summon the care to go back. I lost my WHY there too. I thought I had to be a performing seal or I had nothing to offer. Again, it was necessary for my survival.

I regret these changes every now and then, but not often. It’s weird not being able to do things you had done easily, but I just don’t have the goad, the terror shoving me over and over any more. I sure don’t regret that.


Weird blog, ‘eh? Cleaning proposals to business acumen to PTSD to what’s lost with healing. Not an arc I would have thought would work at all. I guess you, the reader, get to decide if it works or not?

j

 

Lazy Day

I am supposed to be clearing the other side of our kitchen area, right? Except that I have like NO inclination to do so, at all. I have been putzing around all morning, doing not much! We’ll see if that changes this afternoon.

It may or may not. I refuse to beat myself up about it. I have been going to bed tired and achy all week and been hard at it, so taking a day off doesn’t mean I’m done forever, it just means I’m taking a day off. Apparently, I’m taking at least a 1/2 day off!


At least some progress, even if no one else can tell! I grabbed the little vac this afternoon to vac under the edge of the bed. Previously, under the bed became awash with dust rabbits, books, stray socks, etc. Not this time! There were a few things there yes, but nothing like the accumulation I’ve found before. A pair of slippers (mine) and two pairs of DH’s shoes and some socks, that’s it. A little dust, nothing like the previous accumulations. Progress! No one else will ever know; I don’t care! (The dust bunny image isn’t mine, but I don’t remember where I got it. Sorry!)

dust bunny from google images

♥️

Emptied the shred bucket: 7 manila folders and a grocery bag full of papers to shred. Hooray! More progress! Again, no one else will ever know . . . .

♥️


Hm. I figured out what my problem was! I didn’t know how to deal with the stuff because I had no room to sort it. I came up with a plan, and I’ve been at it for the past hour or so. Found some old shop references. Stopped to ask a friend if he wanted them? If he says not, I’ll offer them to someone else!

So, Wednesday, ‘eh?

Today my new dining room rugs came. This meant that I had to:

  • ✔️Take the table apart so it could be cleaned throughly.
  • ✔️Clean the chairs throughly.
  • ✔️ Move the rug which was under the table. (It fills the room, the other 1/2 of it has still to be moved.)
  • ✔️ Unpacked the rugs when they came. They are different lengths. One of my money-saving strategies is that I buy runners or smaller rugs and lay them side by side. This doesn’t work when the rugs aren’t the same size. (I called the company, they are shipping me 2 more rugs and return labels for the two which came today.)
  • Oh yeah. I also cleaned the oven. Or rather I had the oven clean the oven!
  • And I made sausage/veggie soup for dinner.

DH, bless him, loaded the dishwasher after dinner.

This doesn’t sound like all that much, but it was a lot. The dining room is one isolated spot in the part of the kitchen which is storage. Boxes stacked 4 or 5 high.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow, so I can get the old rug outta there? I have to go through the boxes, etc. still on it. Then remove it.

The plan is to then put the rug into the attic. Which, you might have guessed, is full of boxes — mostly boxes of books. (Surprised? Well, no.)

 

The Way It Seems to Work

What have I done today?


#1 – Sweep the laundry room floor, after removing all the undone laundry, and put down a rug which previously had been there? Was somewhere else? I don’t know, but it fits, so for the moment, it’s staying.

The above has generated these action items:

A) Put away the clean laundry on top of the washer/dryer.

B) Wash the laundry which was on the floor. Still in process the next day. 3/27/19

First loads of clean clothes and of household “linens” (dishtowels, etc.) ready to put away. (10:12 a.m.)


#2 – Packed a box of books going out, but not sorted, researched, etc.

Which has generated these action items:

A) Pack a box or two of books to keep without homes. 3 4 so far today.

B) Clear the asst. books which got piled on the bed off the bed. Done by 3 p.m.


#3 – Work on organizing the living room bookcase.

Which has generated these action items:

A) Go through the stacks of books of various categories. Are there dupes to cull? Those I think I’ll never use, aren’t those also culls? This made a huge mess. I dealt with some of it, didn’t with other pieces of it. I just don’t have enough book shelving for all the books I want to keep and it’s a continual problem. Considering who I am, there are really only 4 bookcases in this house, not anywhere near enough!

B) Try to get the annuals organized so you can see any dupes. This at least got finished.

C) Clean the shelving as it’s revealed. IT NEVER GOT REVEALED! This isn’t done.


It’s 9:15 a.m, and doing all of this will keep me plenty busy today! Fortunately, I can run the laundry while doing the other things. I’ll annotate the list above as I get things done!