Tag Archives: housekeeping

Avoidance and chores

Have other bloggers noticed that if you let a few too many days go by, it can be hard to step back in? Right now, I’m procrastinating.

I should be putting my recently printed manuscript into a binder for ease of editing. Instead, I vacuumed. To finish properly, I had to pull a big jam out of the tubing using forceps. Found a bic pen lodged in there (– perhaps a symbol about getting down to business today?) Then I knocked over a Christmas cactus and had to clean that up.

I rearranged papers under the desk to make room for my soothing noise maker, because leaf blowing season is upon us again. “I must be ready!” she said.

Then there was a little candle lighting (my brother hasn’t been feeling well; D lives in Boulder — AND IS OKAY — but shops at that grocery store).

Then, because it’s lovely today, I opened a bunch of windows and got a couple of fans going and in the process kept losing the cup of coffee which any writer can tell you is an essential element of GETTING ONE’s ASS BACK IN THE CHAIR. One screen got stuck. Par for the course.

It occurs to me that if one had a practice of praying for all the victims of gunfire in this country, and their families, there’d be little time for anything else.

It also occurs to me that keeping a catalogue of the sickening and vast difference in how Black and white bodies are treated by cops could be a full time job.

On that note, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s historical tidbit (think: a trump-corrupted CDC playing down the Covid numbers).

And now, off to work!

tornado-back-litA section of the Global Warming quilt backlit reveals layering that won’t necessarily be visible when the quilt is hung on a wall. I like to know the layers are there anyway. I am surprised and pleased by how much the stitching is making the piece cohere — even with all that pattern and color.
Once back home from the Cape, I took advantage of the boys’ absence to really clean their rooms. An earwig invasion in C’s room (above) further inspired action. When I cleared out the basement freezer in order to be able to freeze one of D’s pillows, look at what a prize awaited me!! Freezing, by the way, kills dust mites and their eggs (which D may or may not be allergic to).
freeze-clean-outI discovered during our brief but idyllic sojourn on the Cape that I truly need quiet. It’s not something I’m cooking up. And it’s a real thing, quiet. I thought maybe I was just turning into that cranky old lady who screams at the neighbor-kids to get out of her flowerbeds (and I may be), but I am thinking about it all differently, now. Being away in such a beautiful AND QUIET place was a gift.

The second gift was discovering upon our return that our road (which the city had been threatening to grind and pave for weeks) was ground and paved in our absence. Oh my goodness, this almost gave me religion.
hammock“How much can you need quiet if you sullied it with cellphone talk?!” you ask. Well, it was a quick call to one of the boys, and the only spoken communique during the whole week, so I won’t make excuses for myself — or did I just?

Jack is panting harder today, but continues to eat well and relish his treats.

chipped white; frayed ecru

hemI had to laugh at myself yesterday.  For a few days, I have been traveling up and down our staircase with a yogurt-container filled with Oyster Bisque paint, happily covering over chipped paint, smears, and — horror of horrors – even dirt that could have been removed with a little elbow grease.

Then it hit me.  I’m whitening the stairs.

After months, and more months, of wanting to do this, planning to do this, hoping to do this, and NOT doing this, the exploration of white* just let it happen.  One stair at a time.

As for the shrunken and distressed muslin curtains, which I made when we first moved in here, I no longer feel compelled to replace them (with curtains made with PRE-WASHED fabric). I am loving that gap. Look how it allows the light to glow through! I am loving the darkened rim of the hem. And I am especially loving the holes where daily life and sun have worn the fabric through.

I am not even trying to understand why I love the worn curtains and am not loving the chipped off paint on treads and balusters. I don’t have to be consistent in these matters, do I?

*in the ‘What-If’ online class over at Spirit Cloth

P.S. This is my 500th post.  Am I supposed to celebrate?!  500th post, and second EVER, from my laptop.

Freak outs, Interruptions, Mandala

Computer freak over the weekend.  I am NOT a PDA owner, I have an ordinary phone, I’ve sent perhaps six text messages so far and two never made it because I pressed the wrong button, I can go on vacation and not look at a screen — but this weekend, when a virus made our whole system go ga-ga, I panicked.  A little.  (And, probably only a little because I have such faith in my husband’s ability to fix these things).

And Ken DID fix it over the weekend — two days re-whatevering, and it seemed fixed — but yesterday, the weird pop ups popped up again.  And again.  Oh, GOD AND AGAIN!

So, if I disappear for awhile, you’ll know why.

And then, there are the interruptions.  The interruptions associated with having a recently disabled sister in need of lots of help (yes, she’s getting better, but housing? work? benefits? — the list is substantial)…  as well as the tasks associated with having two teenage children —

trips to the dermatologist, the dentist, the orthodontist, attending track meets, ordinary pick ups and drop offs, homework review, homework nag, computer supervision, computer nag, cooking, shopping, making lunch, making breakfast, cleaning up from breakfast, making dinner, making snacks before dinner, washing clothes, folding clothes, hunting for things like a particular sweatshirt or the mate to a ski glove,

and other jobs —

hunting for the source of stink in the fridge, cleaning the containers that held the stink in the fridge, cleaning out a closet now and then, stripping beds (I’ll never admit how ‘now and then’ THAT gets done), scrubbing tubs and toilets, unearthing the dining room table, looking for a summer cottage for 14, vacuuming up dog hair, walking the dog, asking other people to walk the dog, bathing the dog, cleaning up after my sister’s cat, feeding the cat, getting the car in for brake-fix, putting shit away, hanging up wet towels (Oh, wait a minute that last item belongs up with having two teenage boys in the house), putting more shit away…

all these things have a way of taking up time without necessarily granting me (or anyone?) the sense of having ‘done’ anything…

This is not a complaint, truly, not a complaint, but an observation that (I believe for cultural reasons having to do with gender), I have to keep making over and over.  I have to keep noticing over and over how my time is ‘not my own’ — not only because I forget, but because in forgetting, the accumulated pile of things not-done have a way of starting to criticize me.

And then, of course, there are the queries (upheld by various practices that I needn’t go into) —

why does anything attain the status of ‘interruption’?  Why is anything deemed unimportant?  Why can’t I see that things unfold as they should…

Ahhhhhhh.  There’s the rub.

Above, a mid-winter mandala that I don’t know what to do with — not a pillow, not a wall-hanging — don’t know.  But it cheers me up to look at its hot, bright colors.

In the Upper Field with Jack this morning (Bowen/Thompsonville field, not Heaven!), the light spoke straight to my heart about spring.  Snow squalls on the way this afternoon, frigid temps returning this weekend, I know, I know, but the light does not lie… the oaks ringing the field were awash in a lemony-rose color that tickled my chest in a way that only people who live in wintry climes understand.

Rant #1 — A Persistent Stink

A persistent stink in our fridge is beginning to feel like a haunting.  What IS that smell?! K. and I have doggedly taken turns wiping down and emptying shelves and containers.  I drained the veggie swamp from the lower bin.  More than one green fuzzy lump has made its way down the disposer (“was that meat or potatoes” one wonders idly watching the grinding matter, hoping none of it will generate spit-back in the face).  So, where’s the stink?  Oh, I suppose there are a few mystery containers left.

Given my habits of attention (HA!), it is very possible that all 6-7 of those yogurt containers are, in fact, yogurt.  And here’s another thing.  What do you bet that all 6-7 are vanilla? You can’t imagine the number of times that I have gone to whip up a simple cucumber salad only to discover that every single tub of yogurt crowding my fridge is VANILLA!!  That means I get no points whatsoever for having fresh and appealing dill at the ready.

Conclusions about the stink are running in two directions.  One is downright scary — what if it’s coming from the freezer?  What mass of what decomposing grotesquerie would it have to be if even its frozen state it is capable of perfuming our kitchen with a rancid blossom of stink?  I think of the new movie, “The Unborn” to reach the right level of disgust.

The other direction is old — (and here you have permission to use Andy Rooney’s voice) — Why aren’t fridges wider than they are deep?  I’ve seen them out there, in the glossy magazines, so I know someone’s thought of this.  Wouldn’t it be great if no shelf were deeper than one or two containers’ worth?  I call a good 60% of our Maytag “the back forty”. It often seems to me that the only purpose of the distant reaches of the fridge is to house the shit that will prop up the triple-stacked stuff in the usable, visible real estate of the front.  Alas!

This is why I love the days before I grocery shop, for as the fridge declutters, it gets brighter in there and my sense of calm grows.  Today the stresses of having nothing to eat/nothing to feed teenage boys/nothing on deck for dinner will compete with the satisfaction of having an increasingly empty, increasingly illuminated fridge.  It is amazing how resourceful my putting off grocery shopping makes me in the kitchen!