Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Whenever someone asks me how I’m doing, how the baby’s room’s coming and how ready we are, I tell them how overwhelmed I am by the mess we have going, how unprepared we are and how out of control everything is. And almost 100% of the time, they’ll say, “You’re nesting!”


I always thought nesting meant cleaning out the clutter and getting ready for a new addition. That is not what is happening at our house, even with less than 4 weeks (!) to go until our bambino arrives. Provided this kid doesn’t take after the mailman and get here early.

But if they mean nesting in the sense that a bird will sometimes create a nest made out of any scrap of garbage it can find blowing around, then I can see the similarities.

There are piles of paper strewn all over the place. Yes, they are 99.9% mine. I realize I have a problem. I just can’t seem to throw it all blindly away. Something may need my attention, for goodness’ sake.

Our dining room is an offsite warehouse for Babies R Us right now. We can’t really do anything with all the great stuff everyone has so kindly given to us until the crib is put together. Rick couldn’t put it together because we were missing hardware. Hopefully, it will come together this weekend.

And he’s probably forgotten, but he also needs to put our rocker and ottoman together, too.

Even though my office has been officially cleared and can now accurately be called the nursery (!), as a result, our spare bedroom looks like someone stepped on a land mine.

I’ve spent much of this morning ironing clothes in there. I still have about 28 more things to press, but needed to take a water break and put my feet up for awhile. Since the heat has started to settle over Cincinnati, my ankles are swelling and I don’t much care for it.

Then, I feel like I need to clean up all the crap in our living room before Rick gets home from the airport in about an hour. It’s not like I haven’t been doing anything (writing thank you notes, laundry, cleaning up our dinner dishes from a few nights ago), but I always feel badly when he comes home to either the same or a bigger mess than what he left.

*sigh* Guess break’s over…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Our Own Private Filling Station

We have a half bath in our basement. To say it was disgusting is an understatement. I hardly would ever use it and I sure as hell would never sit on the toilet. I always thought of it as our own private gas station bathroom, it was that gross.

Since it’s in Rick’s man area and he’s the one who uses it regularly, it was his responsibility to clean it. That never happened.

Here, he would argue that he did clean it. And in the over two and half years we’ve lived in this house, he did clean it. Once. Whore’s bath. Didn’t count, in my humble opinion.

So I nagged and nagged and nagged and nagged. Still no real cleaning. Then I moved onto threats, “If I have to clean this bathroom, I’m going to go buy myself something. Expensive.”

Still nothing.

When my friends told me they were coming over a couple of weeks ago to help me transform my office into the nursery, I decided the time had come for me to clean it. Really. All the way.

I figured since we’d be moving stuff into the basement, chances were good someone might actually want to use it. The Friday night before they were coming over, I spent a couple of hours on it.

Scrubbing the toilet. Cleaning the cobwebs. Mopping and re-mopping the floor. Cleaning the sink. I spent so much time in that bathroom, I totally neglected the main bathroom upstairs, near the room we were working on. Oops.

Suffice it to say, I now use our gas station bathroom on a regular basis. I’m not afraid to go in there anymore. I’m no longer disgusted by it. I actually enjoy using those particular facilities. And I even feel good about my accomplishment and plan to keep it clean, no matter what Rick does.

But don’t worry. I still plan on hitting Tiffany’s.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

20 Mules And A Shine

I never heard of Borax before I purchased the book Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean. Funny how a person like myself – not very skilled in the arts of home management – is still always intrigued by the ideas, philosophies and methodologies of others on the subject. Guess I’m the eternal optimist in this respect, always hoping it will rub off on me.

The Queen’s book covers many topics, very few of which I have actually tried and even fewer I have incorporated, through memory, into my cleaning ‘routine.’ But there is one thing I learned from her book early on that I adopted right away. Using Borax to clean our porcelain tub.

This stuff is amazing. You can buy it in the laundry detergent aisle. It’s a laundry booster, though I’ve never used it in this capacity, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness. But I can tell you that in the tub, it works wonders.

[This is a before photo of our dirty tub; it's kind of difficult to see.]
First, you wet down your tub. I simply turn on the showerhead for a few seconds. Then sprinkle the amazing Borax powder along the bottom. You really don’t need that much, though I always use way more than I should because a while ago, I got the Borax box wet, so all the powder clumped together. Try to avoid doing this yourself if you can. It is a big waste of Borax.

Then you wet a Dobie pad, another cleaning implement I had never heard of until my former landlord’s wife told me about it. It’s a non-abrasive yet powerful scrubbing tool you can use that won’t scratch. You use this to create a paste with the Borax that ultimately scrubs your tub clean. It is truly amazing.

[This is an after shot; still difficult, but can't you see the shine?]
Our tub, after it’s been cleaned, is the shiniest thing in our house. I remember one time when my friend Merrick was visiting in the old apartment, she asked me how I got the tub so clean. No small compliment as Merrick is one of the neatest freaks I know.

So give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.