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.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Strange Mentality

I crack myself up. Really. Here I am, four and a half weeks into my six weeks of C-section recovery and I’m going crazy not being able to do much around the house. You know, hang window treatments. Re-stain the trim. Completely overhaul our landscaping.

Yeah, right. As if any of that stuff would happen under the best of circumstances.

But this is how my mind works and it always has. I get motivated at a time when there is absolutely no way I could take myself up on it. Like two o’clock in the morning. Waiting at the airport. In the middle of church.

Does it ever hit me at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning? No, but it may at 9 a.m. on my way into the office.

Does it ever strike me on a random day off? No, but it could when I’m a thousand miles away on vacation.

Does it ever occur to me when Rick is out of town and I have the whole place to myself? No, but it’s likely to when we’re expecting company and I wind up having to throw everything in bags into the closet.

I’m not sure whether it’s part of God’s sick sense of humor or my own internal mechanism kicking in to maintain into the whole ‘fear of failure/fear of success’ neurosis I’ve got going. Either way, it’s a very real problem.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks

If I said I was always on the look out for a faster, better way to do things, I’d be lying. That would require effort, which everyone knows by now I’m rarely willing to exert. But if one happens to fall in my lap, I’m all for it – and happy to share.

So today I’m going to impart a few of the wisdoms I’ve recently picked up here and there.

During my parents’ visit, they had occasion to go to the grocery store without me. Generally speaking, I like to get paper bags. I feel they’re more environmentally friendly (probably wishful thinking) and I use them as a convenient means to store our recyclables inside before moving them to our outside bins.

My parents, however, get plastic. Once the groceries were unpacked, I did what I always do when I forget to ask for paper and threw all the bags in the garbage. They don’t recycle them within the city limits and I have no other use for them or the plastic produce bags. Or so I thought.

Long story long, my mom suggested I use the plastic grocery bags to dispose of dirty diapers near the bassinet. Makes sense. But the really clever idea: my mom uses the produce bags in her wastebaskets. This never would have occurred to me, but darned if they don’t fit perfectly into our bathroom garbage, without all the unsightly overhang the mini bags I buy from Sam’s creates. Plus, they’re free! Good idea, Mom. Thanks for the tip.

In the kitchen, I’ve got a ‘make it from scratch’ attitude when it comes to most things. However, my friend and faithful reader, Jean, turned me on to something I had no idea even existed – frozen chopped onions. What a brilliant idea! You don’t have to get your hands stinky and your eyes watery or watch your leftover onion halves rot in your fridge if too much time passes between home cooked meals. Smart thinking, Jean.

While watching Michael Cucaracha (Chiarello?) on Fine Living (now that I’m home all day, I’m continually finding new channels I never knew we had), I learned to chop up a potato and throw it into oil you’ve used to fry fish to get the fishy taste out so you can use it again. Clever, though I admit I can’t remember how long you leave it in there and whether or not you keep the fryer plugged in and hot while you’re doing it. Oh, well. Half a suggestion is better than none at all, right?

I know I had more tidbits to share, but can’t think of them right now. Guess I’ll take Mickey Goldmill’s advice and save something for the sequel.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It’s No Mystery

If I ever wondered how my house could be such a mess, it became crystal clear during my parents’ recent visit. They were kind enough to spend 10 days with us immediately following the end of Rick’s time off after the birth of our son.

It was a blessing in so many ways.

Not only did they help me with the baby – something I know little to nothing about – but they also did more around our house in those 10 days than we’ve probably done in the almost 3 years we’ve lived here.

My mom cooked, cleaned (including the bathrooms – yikes!), did laundry, changed diapers and more. My dad trimmed hedges (they’re more like overgrown weeds along our fence line), vacuumed our basement, put no-slip grips on the basement stairs (thank goodness as I fell down them twice while pregnant) and more.

They both went grocery shopping for us, washed dishes and mopped the kitchen floor. And despite all their efforts, the kitchen floor always looked in need of mopping, the dust continued to pile up, the dishes constantly needed doing, etc.

So if these two retired workaholics could hardly keep up with the cleaning needs of my small household when they had all day to do it, it’s no wonder I couldn’t do it working full time.

Granted, both Rick and I could make a heck of a better effort than we’ve been, but still. It’s just a little depressing. I guess the first step will be decluttering. This will have to wait since I’m supposed to be taking it easy for another 2 weeks or so while I recover from my C-section. Until then, I’ll just keep watching How Clean Is Your House to make me feel better about the state of my own.

Monday, July 23, 2007


It occurred to me recently that I never did share the semi-final results of operation nursery. I say ‘semi’ because since we wound up having a boy (a super-cutie named Ian born on June 27 at 2:03 p.m., weighing in at 8 pounds on the dot and measuring 21 inches long), Rick is dead set on repainting the room. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. (Breath holding is not recommended.)

But in the meantime, in the interest of accentuating the positive, check out these before and after pix of the nursery. I’m pretty pleased with the results, and if you ask me, I don’t think the room needs to be painted. Just because there’s pink in there doesn’t mean we couldn’t use a bedding set that would masculine it up. It’s not going to turn Ian gay.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Besides, I worked long and hard on the paint job for my office and as you can see by the before pix, I never did get to enjoy it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Taking Our Show On The Road

As Rick and I always like to say, no one can trash a hotel room like we can. It’s quite amazing, really. One of those phenomena that you’d like to have documented with a hidden camera. You know how on nature channels they’ll show a flower from seed to bloom using time lapsed photography. It would be interesting to see just how it happens. Maybe one day…

In the meantime, I feel the need to share with everyone the fact that we’ve taken our destructive abilities to a new (lower?) level. As we found out recently during the birth of our first child, we can trash a hospital room with the best of them.

This should be no surprise to me. I’ve trashed rooms as nice as those found at the Venetian in Vegas to the guest rooms of loved ones across the country. Besides, I packed enough stuff as if I were going on a weeklong vacation. Which it kind of turned out to be if you call 36 hours of hard labor and 96 hours of c-section recovery time a vacation.

Something did feel a little wrong about trashing a hospital room. But at the same time, I guess it’s just as well for our son to see what he was born into as soon as possible.