Tag Archives: home
I’m horrified to see how much stuff I’ve put in the garbage bin already, and the trash pack is full a week and a half before collection. Of course, there is a fair amount of garden waste in the trash pack.
The back shed is calling me. There are approximately 10 boxes of doom waiting in there for me to fight spiders and pull out ‘treasures’. I did find some very old fanzines that I will keep, and EVEN MORE books. Seriously, how many books does a person really, really need? I figure if I haven’t needed those books which DH put in the shed, then they can go.
I have boxes of books to donate to the Lifeline Book Fair. There are 4 garbage bags of clothes and knick-knacks and kitchen goods to go to a local charity shop. Anything that is not of saleable quality has gone into the rubbish.
I am very grateful for my mother-in-law’s help. She is helping letting people in for cleaning etc as part of the house preparation. This is wearing me out more than I thought it would. I was rather worried this morning, feeling a pain where my gastric band is, and wondering if I had lifted a box that was too heavy. Here’s hoping it’s not serious.
Our ancient tabby cat seems fine after worrying me about her eye. So what was going on? Who knows.
Our builders have left for the day. We now have a back deck that looks rather nice and the front deck, well, it is a work in progress. Things have been rather delayed due to the builder having an accident. Anyway, here’s hoping that he will continue to have good health and that he will have an uneventful time now.
DD and I made a butter cake and it has been extravagantly decorated with cachoux and pink and white sprinkles.
That would be my slogan if I had to advertise how good it is to share housework with your spouse or partner or kids. Many hands make light work, for starters.
But I should add that I’m not advocating that people have to do everything at once. Some things you’re great at, other things you can train your partner to do, oops, I mean encourage your partner. I’m not keen on dusting or vacuum cleaning so those were DH’s jobs. (Yeah, I have to do that all now.) His extra height and vested interest in a dust-free house because of sinusitis and allergies meant he did a far better job than I did.
Nothing new in the new book Spousanomics, then. I am already cringing at the title. I mean, Freakanomics was pretty awful, Parentonomics slightly better, but Spousanomics turns me off at the cutesy, let’s-jump-on-a-bandwagon title. Ah, the economics side is stressed by using a love heart turned into a pie chart – OMG I can barely bear it.
The authors, Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson, cite comparative advantage as a reason to not split chores 50/50 with one’s partner. Basically, you take on the household chores at which you are relatively better than your spouse, rather than taking on all chores that you’re good at. So if you’re both good at emptying the dishwasher, the one with the superlative skill will get the job. The better one while use their time more advantageously while producing a better result.
If you have kids, you’ll need to re-negotiate. Trade-offs, all that sort of thing. And work out which battles are worth it.
OK, go and buy the book, or get it from your local library. If you find a heap of better arguments in it, please post them here.
How do socks end up without their pairs? I put two in the wash, and somehow only one makes it to the clothesline, or only one makes it from the clothesline back into the house.
The other day I found that I had only washed one of each of the pairs of socks. Somehow there were naughty socks playing hooky in the bottom of the clothes basket in the laundry, hiding from me by sneaking behind the woollen jumper which I should have washed in December (oops! It’s January 28!).
DD’s socks do the same thing. I’ve got one bright pink Barbie sock. Now honestly, the second sock can’t be hiding with that sort of colour. Mind you, DD has a tendency to take off her socks at school or childcare and I don’t find out there’s a missing sock until we get out of the car at home.
Much as I work on my own organisational skills, I know DD needs some skills of her own. It’s a long, long path.
When I went to the clothesline to put out the washing this morning, there was a dead rat underneath it. This is the first time I’ve seen a rat at this house. Maybe our ancient kitty (may he rest in peace) used to keep them under control without letting me know, and now the little rodents are having a great time in this verdant spring.
Anyway, I called our tabby cat over to see if she was interested in the rat. No way. She simply demanded scritches and head butted me, completely ignoring the dead rat. I decided I’d pull on some disposable gloves, wrap up the rat in some newspaper and put it in the bin. (It’s bin night tomorrow night.)
Oh oh. I hadn’t counted on DD. She saw the rat and was very interested. She announced, “Mummy, you can’t put the rat in paper and into the bin.”
I asked her why not. She said “Rats aren’t things for putting in bins. Even if they’re dead.”
Upon being asked what she thought I should do with the rat, she said “Leave it there.”
We then had a bit of a talk about how animals don’t stay the same after they die, there is decay and there were already a few ants rustling around the rat’s body. DD didn’t look convinced.
After she went inside, I quickly put the rat in the bin and hoped she’d forget during the day.
No such thing. As soon as we came home late this afternoon after her swimming lesson, DD announced “Where’s the rat? I hope you didn’t move it.” Yikes. I said it had to go away and wasn’t allowed to stay under the clothe
I ironed pillowcases today. No biggie for many people. After all, why else would manufacturers make pillowcases that crumple like fine notepaper? But you should know that I am not keen on ironing either for myself or for others. I can’t remember the last time I ironed pillowcases.
The only person I did that for was me, and I am slowly remembering that while I honour my guests when they visit, I don’t probably honour myself sometimes. To show myself the same respect. So today’s big efforts were (1) iron pillowcases so that I have something nice to look forward to the next time I change the bed linen, (2) iron the supposedly-non-iron work shirts so I look more professional, (3) scrub the toilets rather than just cleaning them, (4) cook brownies which deserves a paragraph of its own, and (5) have homestyle linguine tricolore con pesto for dinner.
Now, family members would point out that having pasta on its own for an evening meal doesn’t count – after all, it’s a primo, not a secondo, but honestly, I went to the effort of making sure the pesto was carefully blended with some of the water from cooking the pasta, and stirred con moto. Delicious, and DD even ate it. (Hope she likes the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.)
I have to admit that this effort doesn’t come easily to me on a work day when my energy levels have been sapped well before 5 pm and my pain levels are ramping up rapidly. Today was a public holiday and I had spent my 60 minutes decluttering earlier that day while DD had some play time. We also planted some snapdragons which are in my top 10 list of favourite flowers, watered the pot plants on the patio and all the roses, willing the fertiliser to break down into the soil and decrease the lingering pong, and tipped lots of vegie peelings into the compost heap. The rubbish bin is nearly full and there are lots of old papers that have gone into the recycling bin.
That’s the feeling of the past weekend.
With help, I have gone through one of the garden sheds. The trash pack and the rubbish bin are now full and there are bags beside the trash pack. Way to go! I was horrified to see what was sitting on the shelves of the shed. Paint tins that dated back maybe 8 years. An oil can that had rusted out on the bottom. And, oh horrors, a redback spider that DD pointed out to me. Thank goodness she doesn’t like spiders and didn’t touch it.
One shed up the back is meant to be a children’s play house. It was used by DH to store some of his weather-proof things. Those have been taken away by his fellow hobbyists. Now there appear to be some aluminium shelving struts and so on there. I will phone the recycling company to see if they will take it for recycling. No sense in wasting metal. Besides, that will save me some space in the trash pack.
The lawn looks very neat. The gardener came on Friday and did an excellent job mowing the lawn and trimming the edges. When the strong wind abates, I think I’ll go out wearing protective gear and use glyphosphate on the leafy weeds that refuse to get a clue. Some are very resistant to my skills with a daisy weeder. We also have an invasion of sticky weed, blasted stuff. It’s in all the corners of the garden so I guess that the winter rains and wind and sweet spring sunshine have been exactly what that weed wanted.
There are two white irises blooming now. The blue ones are being shy. The tulips have shown foliage but no blooms. We have lots of star flowers and some brilliant daffodils. One lavender bush is in full bloom and it won’t be long before I can harvest it.
Or at least its Canberra equivalent.
It rained overnight. There is a flood warning for the Molongolo River. I suspect Sullivan’s Creek and Ginninderra Creek will fill quickly, too.
When I went outside in my japara, I fully expected to find the cats building an ark. I found a new puddle right in front of the garbage and recycling bins (approx. 5 cm deep, i.e. enough to get my shoes wet). I do not own gumboots. Bother. The Canberra Times is saturated thanks to the silly way they seal it in plastic. Sure enough, the water seeped through the seams and now the bit below the fold is impossible to read.
The cats have announced that they wish to spend the weekend in the back shed, preferably with meals delivered. I understand.
Now off to the hall cupboard to see what I have in store for a rainy day for DD so that she can have some fun this afternoon after her dance lesson.
There is a BabyCenter article here that I’m going to read. I sometimes agree and sometimes disagree with articles that I read on the BabyCenter website (and boy oh boy am I sick of all those darn coupons and offers both on the site and in e-mails – hellooooooo! I’m in Australia and can’t use any of them!).
So, back to the article. Best thing, it starts with the Basics. So important that I will give it a capital letter.
1. Commit to change.
Yes, I have, but my commitment sometimes wavers. I get tired, I work in an office, I have to find time to exercise, and so on. So I need to re-commit to change, and to believe in it.
2. Take it slow.
Yes, I’m doing that. I teach DD new things that will help us eventually be more organised re time and activities (e.g. most recently we’ve been working on how she can make sandwiches). The teaching takes up time, but I accept that this is actually an investment of time, both in the initial teaching and in supervising practice. It paid off with potty training.
3. Keep it simple.
Thank you, dear writers, for reminding me. Now and then when I was doing initial decluttering, I was tempted by home TV programs that I need certain container systems, or clothing racks, or bookshelves of a certain size, or cabinets …. OMG! Stop that! It is only now that I’m part way through that I can see the floor and see what sorts of things would work. Sometimes being slow is an advantage.
4. Sort and purge.
Go back to the article. Read this. Can you honestly say that you could purge your wardrobe or kitchen cupboards or bookshelves? This is worth quoting:
A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used something in a year, chuck it. If you just can’t bring yourself to do that, box it up and stash it in the basement — if another year goes by and you still haven’t used it, get rid of it. And rather than holding on to every item with sentimental value, pick a few representative pieces to save …
5. Store things sensibly.
OK, this is something that is in flux in my household and because I don’t always store things sensibly, it comes back and bites me in the ass. Picture me dashing round trying to find the Telstra bill, or wondering where I put the receipt for the purse that now has a broken zipper, or looking for DD’s library book that is now overdue.*
6. Build organisation into your daily routine.
Yes, very keen on that, and working to regain what organisation in my daily routine may have disappeared after DH’s death and the subsequent chaos of my life. Part of the desire for routine is my OCD, but I also have strong examples from my mother who is very organised. I know what time we need to leave in the morning to ensure that we are at work and childcare on time. I know when we need to leave to get to a swimming lesson or to a ballet lesson. All these things are vital to cut down on anxiety.
7. Help kids get with the program.
Yes, doing that bit by bit. DD is having an “interesting” time at the moment – more grief working itself out in tantrums, rebelliousness, cheekiness and rudeness – but occasionally the beautiful DD comes out and I am so very grateful for those moments. (If I were a better or more Christian mother, I suspect I would be grateful for her rude periods and see it as a time of testing grace or something. But apparently I’m not and I’ll have to get over it. )
OK, I’m going to print off that article so I have a copy in the kitchen. One day when I feel very brave, I’ll post photos of the two most frightening rooms in my house so you can see my progress.
*1. I found the bill. 2. No receipt, so I am out $29 for a purse that absolutely is useless for my purposes. 3. The library book ended up at the bottom of DD’s toy box and I had to pay a library fine.