Cleaning

A few friends of mine are on missions of purging in their homes, and it got me looking around the house a bit more critically.  Things are a bit torn up right now with remodeling, but still I have seen much to be improved upon.

We are a family who reads.  A lot.  Any of you who read know that leads to the bookshelves being at maximum capacity, then horizontal stacks of books on top of the books which are properly stored.  We have two built in bookcases in our living room, which is wonderful yet those excess stacks make it look messy.  I’ve relocated several of my books to the bookcase in my bedroom.  Yes, I’ve started a row in front of the normal row, but it’s a bedroom and visitors do not see it.  I also went through the cabinet below the living room bookcase (where home school books are stored) and pulled out several for donation/give away to make room to put other books away.  This school year’s books need to be stowed, thus needing space cleared for them.

We had a dozen video games sitting loose in the entertainment area, so I pulled DVD’s out of the cabinet to make room.  Those DVDs are now packed away in the kid’s boxes.  These boxes contain special items which have been outgrown, but which they want to keep.  Those items will leave the house when the kids each move out.

I found a large box which should have been recycled two years ago.  I threw out light bulbs from the light fixtures we’ve replaced in recent months.  I’ve been fighting clutter of all kinds.

DH does not often like it when I get in these moods to tidy.  He had a few boxes on my bookcase which I moved.  I organized his puzzle books which sit beside his recliner.  He has yet to notice that I put his atlas in the cupboard where it’s supposed to sit.

How did my house get to this point of junkiness?  Simple.  DH would say it’s the kids, but the truth is that he doesn’t like to put things away either.  It feels as if every time I work hard and tidy a space, he brings in something new to fill it.  Every time I put something away, he leaves something new out.  Combine the general attitude of ‘don’t care’ with my recent months of fatigue, and the many tasks I juggle on a daily basis, and I end up becoming just as messy as anyone else.

I am not aiming for a spotless home, but I would like to feel at ease with drop in guests.

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Back to Writing

My eldest is not likely to get a summer job at this point, unless it falls out of the sky and into her lap.  She submitted four applications, indicating that she preferred not to work weekends, and to my knowledge has only checked in on three of them – once.  Thank Heaven she has full tuition and a job to pay room and board next year!

We had begun a children’s picture book last year, and last night I finally finished the story.  DD1 is excited about getting started on the rough sketches for our mock up, and asked me to start writing the stories for two other ideas we have.  I would, however, like to see her starting her sketching.  Right now she’s curled up with a book on the couch.  Hopefully I won’t have to prompt her to sketch.  After all, she’s been home two and a half weeks and has been bored the majority of that time.

My fiction book is currently on hold.  Too many other things needed my attention, and at this point I want to focus on catching up on other projects.  The story can marinate in my head in the mean time.

My son had a cold last week, passed it to DD1, and after the open house was over, I ended up with it too.  There’s just never a good time to be sick.  Right now, DH is working on tearing out flooring and I’m in no shape to help.  That bothers me, but I want to get better as soon as possible, and I do have basic house work which needs to be done each day.  I didn’t cook last night, but rather told my crew it was leftovers or make your own.  There are definite advantages to the kids being teens!

It just stinks that when you’re sick, keeping towels and surfaces clean is more important than ever, yet you don’t really have the energy to do the work.  Sigh.  Just had to whine a little.

Maybe this afternoon I’ll head to the sewing desk.  That’s usually a good activity to move forward with projects without expending tons of energy.  Then again, the recliner just may host a good nap.

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Just Tired

The open house is over and now recovery begins.  The turnout was light, but for my anxiety child that was a positive thing.  A friend of hers came toward the end and they just chatted the last of the time away.  Again, it was light so I didn’t have to pull her away.  She went to ‘hide’ a couple of times before her friend came, but just took a couple minutes each time, so it was fully acceptable.  We had talked about ‘hiding’ before yesterday so she knew I was fine with it.  From my perspective it was far better to let her know she could step out now and then rather than let her feel that she was trapped with a room full of people focusing on her.  She told me a while back that when she gets married, she wants it to be very small.

Most of the open house items are put away.  The dishes are washed.  The church’s laundry is half finished with the other half getting done this afternoon.  There’s a wedding shower tonight, so we left a bunch of our leftover fruits and veggies to be put out for that (our showers are always pot luck with the church providing dessert).  Yes, wedding and baby showers are church-wide affairs too.  We’re a great big social ‘family’ who like to spend time together.

I’m glad we chose an early date.  Yes, attendance was lower than usual, but again that was a positive for our gal.  What I hadn’t thought about at the time we chose the date is that now my gal can relax and not worry about the EVENT.  She was becoming a ball of nerves and I was starting to wonder if I’d made a mistake in pushing for her to have the open house at all.

My gal needs a gentle push now and then, and the tough part is to recognize when the push is appropriate and when it’s just too much for her to handle.  I pushed this time because she’s home schooled while her siblings are public schooled.  This girl will only have the graduation service at church, which the other two will also have.  I know she doesn’t like the spotlight, but I don’t want her to miss the special events, either.  I didn’t want to skip the open house then have her regret missing it later.  Thankfully it worked out.

Parenting can be a real guessing game and you hope and pray that you’re getting more right than wrong.

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Open House

This weekend is the open house for DD2, and baking has begun.  I had forgotten how much work it takes to make rolls for an open house.  It takes forever.  This is the first open house for our church this year, and I don’t really know how many people to expect.  People aren’t in graduation mode yet, and the annual list of open houses hasn’t been put into the bulletin.  Then again, open houses are a huge social affair in our church and this is the first one, so people may come in droves and stay for a long time.  We just won’t know until Saturday.

My oldest child’s open house was on the same day as at least seven other open houses with ties to our church, so people didn’t stay long and didn’t eat much.  We were farming out the leftovers heavily.  I’ve scaled back this year, but it’s still a lot of work.  I’m already tired and looking forward to 8pm Saturday night when I’ll be collapsed into the recliner from which I’m currently writing.

Our house is still a work zone.  I had to rein DH in a bit, making it clear that my focus is on open house prep this week.  Over the weekend we tore out the dining room carpet and padding, then four of us got all of the staples out of the plywood.  The plywood was then liberally sprinkled with baking soda, which was brushed in and left over night.  We vacuumed that up the next day and DH painted the plywood.  This is all to rid the room of the smell of cat urine so our next cats don’t take up the habit.  The drywall that was behind the baseboards needs some paint as well, and flooring has been ordered for this room.  DH wants to tear up the adjacent room flooring as well, but that is where I put the brakes on.  We have company coming this weekend and have a canvas drop cloth under our table.

Last week I was up to my eyeballs in doctor visits.  Blood tests, an MRI, and a short time of worry.  Thankfully the worst fears were for nothing, but the symptoms which led to all of this are still unexplained and still present.  Yay.  Back to square one.  I really don’t need this with everything else going on.

Part of the issue is fatigue, and there is the open house, remodeling, the whole house needs cleaning (okay, that’s perpetual), and on and on.

This morning is the honors program for my son’s grade, and the first year in which he did not make the cut.  It makes me sad because he’s fully capable, but a lot of his lowered grades was due to not getting assignments turned in.  Hopefully next year I’ll be getting a sore behind on the bleachers again, waiting for that 10 second walk across the gym to get his certificate.

Time to roll out the crescent rolls and get them rising.

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Navigating the Waters

The waters of anxiety which springs from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  My middle is a high school senior and carries a lot of worry and fear on her shoulders.  I’m doing my best to be a supportive parent, yet don’t always know how to do that, or if I’m helping at all.

She is home schooled (see above anxiety coupled with a teacher who dragged her), and math can seize her up into a weeping ball.  She’s had two years of algebra and a year of geometry, so this year we’ve done business math.  She finished that textbook along with two supplemental books on everyday financial matters.  Now we’re finishing the year with everyday practical math/home economics.  We’ve worked on menu planning and creating a shopping list form that plan, cutting recipes in half (for when she’s cooking just for herself), and tomorrow she’ll go to the grocery store with me and price out her list.  She’s anxious about that, even though she’ll be with me.

The point of all of this is that my sensory gal needs to practice/experience things before they lose their scariness.  Some things never lose the ability to scare her, but hopefully shopping, cooking, etc. will become easy and familiar.  She’s been heating her lunch on the stove for several years now and that was once daunting for her (hot burners and pans).  She’s gotten to the point where she use the oven – even scarier than the stove top!  Now I need to pull her into the kitchen to practice making dishes which she likes.  My kids are usually holed up in their rooms while I’m cooking, so it’s going to take some effort to remember to call her down, and then to have patience and take longer to make dinner.

Senior year brings a lot of uncertainty to kids.  Even those who know they’re going to college (and already have their acceptance letters) worry about doing well there.  For thirteen years, kids know exactly where they’ll be the following year: school of one kind or another, and it’s most often a familiar place or has friends already established there.  With the end of high school, as also with college, a lot of unknowns loom on the horizon.  I think the fact that DD2 is going to take a year or two to work and figure out what she wants is a good plan, but she doesn’t have a job yet.  Vet assistants need to be 18 in our state, and she won’t be there for a few months yet.  If she wants to become a vet tech., she needs to go to college and face algebra, her nemesis.

I hope I’m doing enough to help her.  I hope I’m not doing too much and keeping her from venturing on her own steam.  I hope she’ll be okay during her open house and not need to disappear into a hiding place.  I hope she’ll be okay getting her diploma in front of the church family and being with the other grads.  I hope, I hope, I hope.

I trust that she’ll keep learning to live with SPD and its anxieties.  I trust that her love of animals will overcome her fears of job searching, interviewing, and learning new routines.  I trust that she will believe in herself more days than she will doubt herself.

I trust that one day she’ll be ready to let go of me and fly on her own strength.

 

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Hunkered Down

It’s April 15 and church was cancelled due to winter weather.  Spring will never come.  We’ve been working to keep everything charged in case of power outage.  The internet was down most of yesterday.

So, yesterday DH put up the curtain rods in the two rooms being remodeled.  We have curtains!  They look awesome, and DH even switched out one of the register covers.  When the roads are decent we’ll be off to pick out carpet and baseboards.  It is looking so good!  End tables and lamps for the front room will come later.  The piano went out last week.  Of course we both know that we’ll be wanting to finish redoing the carpet in the whole house.  It’s all the same age and is all buckling and dirty.  We’ll have to redo the stairs and second story hall as one of the cats also peed on the lower level landing.  That means more popcorn ceiling to fall, too.  At least that will be the last of the cat remodel.

The butterflies for DD2’s open house are finished and today she’ll hang them on the tree.  Ironically, the Pier 1 inspired butterflies will hang on an ornament tree that I bought on clearance at Pier 1.  The open house is only three weeks away.  That hasn’t fully sunk in yet.  Neither has the fact that I’ll be moving DD1 home in a week and a half.

I think the timing of the open house will be good for DD2.  She gets anxious, and there will be about a month between her open house and the church graduation service, where she’ll get her diploma from our pastor.  I don’t want her to get too overwhelmed.  Of course, that could happen no matter what.

Today we continue to burrow in our home and avoid the weather.  I think this afternoon will be spent at the sewing machine.  As long as we still have power, that is.

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Slowly but Surely

The remodeling is marching forward.  It’s got a slow pace, but I’m keeping my patience.  My DH’s time has been needed in several different directions and I like him to take time to relax as well.  He needs it just as much as the rest of us.  Painting was difficult.  He primed the ceiling and walls, yet after two coats of the main color the walls still looked streaked and awful.  DH did some digging and found out that paint formulas have changed for environmental reasons.  A third coat (fourth overall) with a much thicker roller has done the trick.

The second room needs another (fourth) coat of paint now, but the front room has its new switchplate and outlet covers.  We upgraded and got dark metal ones to match our new chandelier.  DH painted a new cold air return cover to match and it looks snazzy.

DH knows that I was content with the house before remodeling began, but he also knows that I’m really liking the results of his work.  He is, too.  Soon he’ll get the new curtains hung, which will really be wonderful.  We had nasty off-white fabric vertical blinds.  We lived in apartments for several years before buying this house (all blinds, everything off white) and quickly started replacing the blinds, which were on every window.  Budget has dictated how much gets done at any given time, but these are the last two rooms which had blinds and white walls.

DD2’s open house is quickly approaching.  I’m much more relaxed about this one, having hosted one just last June.  I’m sewing two last beaded butterflies, then I’ll set the butterfly tree up here at home on top of a garbage bag.  This way the branches will have time to settle (the tree is still in its box) and I can pull the bag up to over the bag for transport.  Doing it this way will also cut down on set up time.

This afternoon I went through the items we’ve got ready to go and made a list of purchases still needed.  I told the kids that they would all have clear cups and silverware, and white foam plates.  This way I can pass left overs down to the next graduation party.  One more after this one.  The girls have been easy to decorate for, my son could prove challenging.  He and I would have fun with a Dr. Who theme, but DH would not be pleased.  I don’t worry about school colors.  DD1 hated her high school colors and DD2 is home schooled.  Anyway, it’s their party so they should have some say.

I finished sewing the covers for DD1’s throw pillows.  It was a challenging project as I needed to enlarge the school logos using graph paper, put it on the adhesive paper and iron it to the fabric.  The one logo had thin lines and I moved the iron and messed up the end of one line.  Years ago, my mom volunteered at a hospital sewing group and I would tag along with her in the summer.   The ladies would outline animal shaped pillows using the button hole stitch, so I decided to use this stitch to finish the edges of the logos.  I haven’t done this in over thirty years, and it wasn’t the most beautiful job back then.  Fortunately, it came out great and I hope she’ll love her pillows.

This past weekend was siblings weekend, so DH and I stayed at a hotel local to the university and did a lot of waiting.  DD1 didn’t have a room for DS to stay in, so he needed to stay with us.  DH and I did a lot of shopping.  We found a cool little shop with creative toys, and I found a building set like I hadn’t seen before.  I don’t recall the name of it, but the pieces were small, uniform, and look a bit like puzzle pieces which are all squared off.  I loved it and got some for my cousin’s daughter, who will be six when Christmas rolls around.  I’m always on the lookout for Christmas gifts.

The clerk told me something profoundly sad.  He said that the age of six is about the last year that kids are playing with toys these days.  Are you kidding me?  My teenage kids would be thrilled to get this cool building toy!  They aren’t going to see it before my cousin opens it in order to keep it safe from them.  (They wouldn’t actually take it – just pester for some of their own.)

I’m begging you if you are a parent of young children, or kids are yet in your future.  Computers, phones, and all other screens are fun and have a place, but make sure the young ones use their imaginations as much as possible.  It scares me to think of a world in which no one knows how to think creatively anymore.  Don’t count on the schools to provide the experiences for creativity.  Creativity joins with scholarly learning to invent the things which change our lives.  That’s how smart phones came about in the first place.

I’d better stop.  Happy thoughts…happy thoughts…

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