Can Open, Worms All Over

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic.  Let me rephrase the title.  Closet opened, contents everywhere.

I’ve been working on projects for about 100 years now (you’ll get used to the dramatic strain).  Yesterday I was converting two old sets of waterbed sheets into one half used set.  The bottom sheet wears out, but the top sheet is usually still okay.  Waterbed sheets are extremely pricey (in my eyes), starting around $90, last time I checked.  Several years ago I found flat sheets on clearance.  I bought enough to make four sets of sheets.  Good thing I did, because they were being clearanced to make way for the new trend of selling sheets in sets only, and making a set of waterbed sheets works best with two flat sheets.

I spent a couple hours making one flat sheet into a new bottom sheet.  You have to cut two sides to fit the mattress, then use the excess to make pockets to fit over the corners.  All that was left was attaching the top and bottom sheets.  I looked in the linen closet for the top sheet from the other old set, and pulled out a bottom sheet.  This led to emptying the closet to find the saved top sheet.

Mission accomplished, newish sheets on the bed, other newish set in the laundry.  Then I had to deal with the closet.  This closet has been on my list of things to do, I just hadn’t planned on dealing with it yesterday.

I found several sheets whose elastic fell apart when I stretched corners, one of which was also covered in pill balls.  I found a small stack of towels with ragged edges.  I found a stack of pillow cases which no longer had sheet sets to go with.  I’ve thrown the bottom sheets out.  That hurt.  It feels so wasteful, even though they’re worn out.  I saved the top sheets and added another project to the sewing list: shopping bags which will hopefully fold into a pocket.  The towels will go to our local animal shelter, and I’ll see if they can also use the flannel pillow cases for the animals to lay on.

More organizing needs to be done in this closet, but I need to make a trip to the dollar store to see what kind of containers I can find for cleaners and toiletries.

It’s just as well that I had to pull this closet apart.  It’s been a few years since the last clean out.  Next should be my bedroom closet.  The kitchen pantry and lazy susan both need to be deep cleaned as well.  Our pantry is too deep for a good pantry, so things end up at the back and get forgotten.  I really have to push myself for these projects.

The sewing list is plugging along.  The two sets of waterbed sheets have been made out of the old four sets.  When these start to get holes I’m going to push for the new bed.  We’ve been talking about replacing this bed for five years.  It’s time to actually do it.  The bed we really want isn’t in the budget yet, and may have to wait until the kids are out of college, but we can get a new mattress and I found a frame to set it on which will put the mattress at the correct height, is actually two twin size frames which hook together, and it folds up when you aren’t using it.  That will be wonderful to have on hand when we some day have grandchildren visiting and need extra places to sleep.

I just finished a hand sewing/beading project for my oldest daughter.  Last year I made several beaded butterflies out of felt for DD2’s open house.  DD1 wanted DD2 to give some of said butterflies over.  (Does it ever end?)  I stepped in and offered to make separate butterflies for DD1.  It only took ten months to get that one done!

There is much more sewing and cleaning and organizing to be accomplished.  Little by little, it will be done.  As hard as I try to avoid taking on new projects, they throw themselves into my face and will not be ignored.  My mother has said many times that she needs projects to do.  I don’t think I’ll ever be at a loss for things to do.  If that day comes, it might be a nice change.


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A Step Forward

DD2 has decided to give college a try!!!!  We’ll need to schedule visits to two local schools and find some things out first, but this is huge for her.  She and I are hoping that she can start slowly – one or two classes at first to slip into the routines.  Transition is difficult for her.  The problem comes in the fact that creative writing is her biggest interest right now.

She’s a good writer, but understands that very few people make a living as a full time author.  I’m so glad she knows she can’t just focus on being an author!  She used to want to be a veterinarian, but her year long vet science class showed her that clinical work isn’t what she really loves.  If she could just take care of animals without the needles, she’d be perfect.  We’ll see what time brings.  First she needs to make it through a college class with some measure of success.

College is not the optimal route for every person.  If this isn’t the path for DD2, that’s okay.  The victory here is that she’s ready to try a college class and explore options.  As I’ve stated before, life and growing up are very scary for her.  I’m thrilled that she feels ready to give classes a try – without her father and I badgering her into it.

One of the hardest things about parenting DD2’s sensory processing disorder and the anxiety that comes with it, is the need for so much patience.  She can’t follow the same pace as the established norm.  She has to come to things in her own time, and sometimes that’s difficult to accept.  Life would be easier if she had her driver’s license right now, but she’s not ready.  A job would help her to develop a feeling of capability and independence, but she’s not ready.  She wasn’t ready for college this past fall.

Hurrah for the small writing class that let her dip her toes in the water!

Baby steps still lead somewhere.  Maybe that needs to be my new motto.

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She Sheds – I See the Light

I am on the tail end of a nasty cold and D-Day hit Saturday when DH came down with it.  Any female who is/was married likely knows how men can be when they are sick.  I practically run and hide.  I’m scrambling to think of any errands to go run while he’s home today with a sick day.  I’ve already been to the grocery store.  I’ll come up with something else this afternoon.

Don’t get me wrong.  DH has my sympathy.  I just went through this one and it knocks you flat on your butt.  I’m so thankful that my kids are old enough to fix themselves food when the thought of standing up is just too exhausting.  The issues with DH begin with the long, lock me in the eye, pity me stares.  The statements of “I’m dying”, which supposedly are for humor.  The taking over of the living room while ear pods are in and lap top on, but no one can use the only tv (located in this room) because it will disturb him.

Let’s contrast this scene with a blast from the past.  We only had our two girls, and they were quite young.  I had recently nursed DD2 through a rough, fevered sickness and we had then gotten together with my parents and my sister’s family to celebrate my parent’s 40th anniversary.  On the two hour drive home, I became quite ill.  It was August, yet I wrapped myself in a blanket and slept the majority of the way home.  Once home, I crawled into bed and quickly fell back asleep.  Two hours later, DH is waking me.  It was difficult to open my eyes, but did to be met with the statement, “I need you not to be sick anymore”.  He wasn’t ill himself or in need of doing anything in particular, he just didn’t want to have to watch the kids anymore.

So.  Yeah.  That one clearly still gets me a bit.  My theory is that women handle sickness better/differently from men because we have to.  Laundry still needs to be washed, dinner still needs to be made (although why the family really wants my cooking when I’m sick, I can’t imagine), and kids have to be cared for, etc.

Moms don’t get true sick days.  I spent a weekend in the hospital a couple of years ago.  Before going, the dishwasher was emptied, dinner served and cleaned up.  When I got back home there were two loads of dirty dishes waiting for me on the counter and sundry other tasks waiting.

This is why I have no patience when DH gets sick.  For you Big Bang Theory fans, it’s like getting the ‘code milky green’ signal with Sheldon.

DH being camped out today makes me think forward to his retirement years, which he hopes will be in about twelve years.  At least one of the kids will be moved out by then, so I’m going to start planning my she shed-like takeover of one of their bedrooms.  It will need to be done with care so that a bed is still available when they come to visit.  It’s clear that I’m going to need a space all my own with a comfy chair and footstool, tv – a small size that I’m happy with, my sewing machine and craft supplies, and a spot just for the cats.

I’ve got some planning to do.


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Writing Class

My middle child, DD2, is taking an informal creative writing class.  Tonight is the third of four classes.  She’s been doing pretty well, wearing her worry stone to a nib and bouncing her knee a good share of the two hour classes, but she’s getting through.  She may even have her writing assignment finished for tonight.  I’m trying to keep any interference/reminding/checking up on to a minimum.

This is a difficult thing for her.  So many of her contemporaries headed off to college this fall.  This girl was petrified just to fill out paperwork to register to vote.  This class is about stretching herself and testing the waters.  It’s about getting a taste of working with a class and seeing if she wants to apply to take classes at a local college.  It’s about facing some fears head on.

The first class involved reading their writing out loud.  Twice.  Talk about the ultimate in fear for this girl.  She did it though, and her writing was well received.  I actually got to hear the second piece as I had arrived early to pick her up (she’s too scared to get her driver’s license yet).  She’s got quite a voice and I was so glad I was early to hear it.

This class is small – less than ten people – all of whom are women.  My daughter is the youngest and it ranges up to age 81.  They’ve given her good feed back, and my girl needs to hear positive things about herself.  Much like her brother, it takes a LOT of praise before anything is going to go to her head.

DH is in a hurry for this child to be ready to spread her wings.  His personality just has a hard time dealing with her sensory processing disorder.  It’s a long, rough process and it can wear me down, too.  I just have more hands on experience with working with DD2 and trying to help her to work through her issues.  This is her life long reality and it’s not always easy (as a parent) to feel that progress just doesn’t always seem to be there.  You wonder if your child will ever be able to function on their own.  She’s afraid of driving, the idea of getting a job, the idea of school, crowds, and so much more.

You can’t just tell this child to suck it up and deal with it, because it doesn’t work that way.  Her fears aren’t the jittery fears we all get.  She gets immobilizing fears.  I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to her.  I only see the outward result of the fears.

So we have to celebrate the baby steps, like being able to read her writing out loud to a group of strangers, and hope the baby steps keep coming.  Small steps still get you where you’re going.  It just takes longer.


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Taken Care Of

My son is now out of welding.  It took an unanswered email, an unanswered phone message, a couple of attempts to call the counselor (he never picks up his phone), and then a visit to the school.

That was interesting.

When I showed up in person, without an appointment (how could I make an appointment when he never picks up the phone or answers messages?), I was met with smiles.  Oh, he had been speaking with the administration and with the ladies who work in the media center and was going to call my son in for a meeting next week.  My son was all set to drop welding and spend the time in the library instead.

He said he was glad I had come in and saved him a meeting next week.

I’m not stupid.  I am, however, glad to have everything settled.

This wasn’t about my son not receiving the grade I felt he ought to.  It was about the fact that he wasn’t able to keep up and finish all of the tasks, even with attending the weekly work time after school.  This kid, if praised every waking minute of a month, would still be making “yeah, but…” statements to attribute the good things elsewhere.  I struggled with dropping this class, but ultimately it was about what was best for DS.

Thankfully the school made it painful.

This district has been terrible with communication since the kids began kindergarten.  I can’t wait for graduation.

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A Good Start

Today I entered my closet and came out with a bag of clothing, a pair of shoes, and two pair of slippers to pitch.  I’ll admit that I took the buttons off of the shirts.  They were just too old for anyone else to want them (about thirty years!  Yikes!) so there wasn’t any point for donation.


I know that there are methods out there which would have told me to put every item of clothing on the bed and touch every piece. (I’ve been enjoying watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.)  That’s too much for me.  I tackle sections, drawers, small designated areas at a time.  True, my house will never be wonderfully purged all at once, but slow and steady works better for me.  I’m pleased with a full garbage bag in the trash bin.

Recently I had my daughter look through her closet and pull out items which didn’t fit.  It’s not a large pile, but it’s something.  I’m slowly tackling my son’s room.  I decided that there are just too many issues I have to speak with him about.  We’ve talked about the room often enough, and he’s heard that we just may take it over, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.  Trust me, this is not a win for him.  If I ask for a hanger to put his shirt on while it awaits ironing, the door opens just far enough for him to thread the hanger out to me.  He hates it when I go in his room.  Actually, I don’t enjoy it much, either.  I usually end up stepping on something and hurting my feet.

I started my son’s room with vacuuming and flipping his mattress, washing a bunch of his blankets and changing the sheets.  Of course, I put the blankets on in the wrong order and he had to correct it.

I don’t plan to throw my son’s things out unless they are obvious bits of trash.  I think a lot can be done just by putting books on the shelves, straightening the storage areas, etc.  He’s got some outgrown clothing which he can’t bear to part with, so I plan to wash those items and put them into a storage bag to get them out of the general clothing area.  Maybe he’ll jump in at some point and help, but I’m not planning to make a big deal of this.  He’s a great kid and I don’t want to feel as if every day holds a nag session for him.

The semester is ending and my son will be dropping welding.  It just hasn’t been a good experience.  It’s not that I needed him to get an A, but he was in the 40% range until recently and there have been days when he comes out of the class with zero self esteem left.  He attends the extra work time allotted once a week, but just can’t finish all of the projects.  Since the class isn’t needed (he took the optional hour this year on top of the regular school day), this class can and should be dropped.

Wanting to be a good parent and encourage independence, I had my son email his counselor to request that the class be dropped and he be given a study period in its place.  The reply was: “We do not have a study hall during the day.  Thanks.”  That was the entire email.  I have copied it verbatim.  That struck me as a “go away kid, you bother me” response.  I followed up with an email of my own and have yet to hear back.  It’s been nearly a week.  I tried calling yesterday but apparently all the counselors were at a conference.  The Monday before the end of the semester.  I had planned to go park my butt at the school until he spoke with me today, but weather caused a closure.  Tomorrow will have to do.

My husband thinks that he should go with me as I won’t stay strong.  Really?  I pointed out to him that I had to fight to get him into a physical history class this year instead of the on-line survey of history class which the school seemed to think acceptable.  When a regular class is involved, I don’t feel a virtual version is appropriate for students attending a physical school.  If you’re home schooled, that’s different.  If you want to explore a class which is out of the norm, that’s different.

When it comes to my kids and school, I don’t back down.  My son won’t have welding next semester.  The school just doesn’t realize it yet.

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As always, I’m working on tidying my house.  I have yet to achieve my desired state of tidiness, but to me it’s most important that I simply keep working toward the goal.  After all, even if I reach my ideal house cleanliness/tidiness, there will be other members of the family who will quickly take advantage of the new flat surfaces exposed.  No need to stress myself out, but as new piles keep forming it’s best to keep attacking them.

This weekend I made another flannel scrap blanket.  This is number six, so each of the kids now has two baby/toddler blankets stashed away for them that are made out of their old pajamas and nightgown scraps.  Two of my kids get very attached to clothing, so this will be meaningful to them.  I bought a clear tub for each of the kids and will keep working with the flannel until it’s gone.  My oldest only has enough scraps left for some burp cloths, but the younger two were more addicted to the home made jammies and I can easily make another blanket for each of them.

The purpose here is to use up scraps in a useful way while having something home made to pass down to my kids/future grandkids.  I’m not terminally ill nor overly morbid.  My sister died at the age of fifty and none of us are promised a certain number of days.  DH has teased me a little with this project, but I will continue.

I’ve been doing well at staying out of  JoAnn’s and Michael’s, and the few times I’ve broken down and browsed, have not come out with new project materials.  I admit that I’m rather addicted to needlecrafts and have an overflowing stack of projects waiting for my time and attention.  I have a long list of sewing projects alone and need to devote some serious time to completing a good many of them.

My list of projects is included in my tidying frame of mind because the materials take up physical space and the list is in my head as well as on paper.  I’m often finding new crafts I’d like to try, and would like to feel free to give them time.  A looming list is not a good thing to carry around.

Later this week I’ll be helping DD2 to begin tidying her room.  It’s fairly neat, but full.  This a child who can’t let go of things, even when outgrown.  We’ll have to move section by section, and I plan to start with the clothes hanging in her closet.  The rod is packed tight, and I know that not everything still fits.  I’ll need to go in sections to help keep her from becoming overwhelmed.

My son was supposedly cleaning his room over Christmas break, but I only found a bit of trash in the waste can.  Today I found a stash of dirty clothes half under his bed.  Sigh.  This boy does not value a neat space at all.  I’ve never asked perfection of my children, but I’d like to be able to get the vacuum in the door once in a while.

Last year I pulled everything out of his room that was on the floor and put it in his sister’s room (then at college).  He had to tackle the mess, going through everything before finding a home for it back in his room.  I really don’t want to do that again.  I’m not sure what tack I’ll take this time, but something has to happen.

I hate having to hound him about his room.  I can’t wait for the day that I don’t have this fight on my hands any more, though I’m not rushing him out the door.  Can I keep him and just ship his mess off?  I feel as if I’m constantly on his back.  Three of his grades have slipped, so I’ve had to be on him about that, we’re working on his writing skills, and his room is constantly a sty.  This kid needs building up and I don’t like having to be the adult and address these other issues when he needs a LOT of positive reinforcement.  Some people get puffed up with too much praise, but my son is not one of those people.

Being a parent is a tough balancing act.

I digress.

Today I went through Christmas stuff.  The bow box had miscellaneous items which were no longer needed.  The box of wrapping paper had small pieces which got banged up instead of used.  Tags and bags had become scattered into three separate locations.  Having them in one place will keep me from thinking I’m lacking something and purchasing new items before the old are gone.  It felt good to get things organized.

Yesterday was milder than normal, so even though I didn’t feel wonderful, I got the outdoor lights down.  Today is colder and snowier.  So glad I listened to the inner voice!  Today, hearing the cats mess with the Christmas tree lights spurred me to get those put away as well.  The ornaments came down a few days ago.  Un-decorating is tough when I’m fighting a cold, but I spread it out and sit down a lot.

Ever forward.  That’s how I need to go with tidying.  A drawer here, a closet there, my son’s room forever… I may never get to the place I’d like my house to be, but it’s better to keep working toward a goal than to give up on it.

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