Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Housework Lists

Mark is gone on travel this week, so Burgundy, Holden and I are throwing parties and living the high life in the absence of his sobering aspect. Last night, Burgundy and I played Ghost Parcheezi. It's where you put all the colors on the board, and each player gets an extra set of players to manipulate. When we have three players, everyone takes turns manipulating the one ghost player. It can get wicked and quickly.

After Ghost Parcheezi, Hannah and Christi came over, and we engaged in yarny arts while hanging out. Burgundy studied for her Chemistry test. Holden had naked time and refrained from assaulting anyone with his urine.

This morning, I had an appointment with the doctor, and I stopped into the firm where we do our retirement investing. I still need to rollover my Roth 401K from the last job into my Roth IRA. Now Holden is napping, and I'm trying to decide whether to nap myself or do some more housework. I feel as though I will never catch up on the housework; ironically, it makes me even more determined at least to maintain what I've done so far. Happily, with school being out after next week, Burgundy is a little more able to help. A good thing, all in all.

I think that for today, I'll finish the diapers and start another load. I'll clean the Kitchen and do the Half-hour Housework Maintenance (H3M). I'll sort the mail and spend some time, maybe 10 minutes, on my desk. And somewhere in there, I'll take a nap. Oh, and I'll call the exterminators, because the darned fleas are here.


  • H3M: Both bathrooms cleaned
  • H3M: Both bathrooms + kitchen swept
  • H3M: Spot cleaned kitchen floor
  • Kitchen clean-up: Emptied recycling, cleaned up trash everywhere, moved all dirty dishes to the sink, put away food
  • Mail sorted
  • Diapers washed
  • Change sheets and make bed (Holden barfed on the sheets I had just changed following his decision to pee on my pillow the other day)
  • Wash dishes and put away clean dishes
To-do (and here I thought I'd done so much already:
  • 10 minutes on desk
  • Vacuum carpets
  • Sweep living room and hallways
  • 2 minutes on crap-magnet
  • Grocery shopping

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Monday

This morning, I've enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee - a vanilla latte that I made myself at home - and spent some time gazing out the kitchen window into my awfully overrun backyard and garden. Holden sat in his Bumbo seat for a time, staring with me and chewing on his teddy bears. He tired quickly, though, so I transferred him to his swing. He graciously played in the swing for a few minutes, really just long enough for me to work up the desire to start a post. Now he's crying in earnest and beating the toy bar on the swing with fat, enraged, impotent little fists. I guess I'll go change his diaper.

Well that was an adventure in parenting self-confidence. First of all, Holden's diaper contained a considerable amount of poop. I mean, I'm pretty sure an adult male gorilla could have produced more, but I wouldn't actually lay a wager on it. So the poor kid had to sit in a diaper full of poop and wail and beat his fists against his swing in true furious despair to drag my attention away from the admittedly fascinating sight of my backyard. I mean, I've only lived here for seven years. Something in the backyard might have changed last night, and I needed to stare at it to know for sure.

Then, as I sweet-talked to him and wiped the poo off his poor little butt, I realized he wasn't cooing back. I glanced up to see him peeing into his mouth. Yes. I allowed my son to pee into his own mouth.

Yes, thank you all for voting for me for parent of the year. I'm so proud to have been selected and to stand as an example for all pa... what? You were voting me out of the running? Automatic disqualification?

I kinda feel like I should explain or make it better somehow. I mean, it all happened very fast. I don't think he got more than a couple of swallows. But then I realized that you know? It doesn't really matter how much or little urine was involved. My son just peed into his own mouth. I am both horrified and a little proud.

I had planned for this post to be a happy discussion of how I am coming along in the organization and planning, improving little by little. I think instead I'll go make another latte, but this time I'm adding liquor.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It feels great to get back into the swing of things. I enjoy setting my own agenda and managing my day, accomplishing the goals I set to improve my home.

I didn't finish out my list yesterday, and it's tempting to feel like I'm behind. However, once I started on the game cabinet yesterday, I knew I wouldn't finish most of the rest of my stuff. I really wish I had taken a "before" picture. About halfway through the job, I wanted nothing more than to stuff everything back into the cabinet and shut the doors and lock them. I stayed with it, though, and it paid off. First, the pile of games for the garage sale Saturday:
Yeah, we buy games at garage sales.
Yes, that is three copies of Phase 10 you see there. And TCM Sceneit, Harry Potter Sceneit, the original Sceneit, and another Sceneit just because. And yes, that's a VCR and video cassette rewinder. So glad we're getting rid of those. We still have a DVD player that isn't even hooked up, but I'm not going to push my luck with that. I think the hardest thing for me to part with is the rubber band tommy gun made of pencils that's front and center in the photo. I've held on to it for a loooong time. Irrationally long time. But we all agreed: even though every child needs a rubber band tommy gun and twister and trouble, Holden won't be ready for them for some years yet, and we're not going to store this crap for years on the off chance he'll be interested in a few years. Removing all this stuff made the cabinet so much more accessible for the games we do play (and we play a number of games).
Yep, that's Axis and Allies - the original game with an
expansion pack - and Risk (also original).
You can see our projector on the top shelf. I sold my television to my parents for a hundred bucks in 1994 (I needed party money), and I've never looked back. Five or so years ago, we acknowledged that it would be nice to be able to watch movies at the house, so we bought the projector. The clear, relatively empty space below it is where we put the laptops for playing Netflix or DVDs, and it also houses the Wii. It's the perfect set up for our family. The Netflix account means that Burgundy and Mark watch more TV than I would like, but it still amounts to only 3-4 hours a week. And they enjoy it, so I just make sure to go to bed early. Besides, very soon, Holden and I can start watching Veggie Tales. Yay Netflix!

Last night Burgundy's band put on its Spring Concert. As always, they did a great job. Mark took video of it on his Flip camera (Christmas present), and I took a short video of four-month-old Holden staring enthralled at the stage, totally in awe of the music. Burgundy loaned her friend V a pair of my shoes, and they took Holden's picture in them. Personally, I think a boy with a big sister has more to fear than a girl with big brothers. I hope I can get the video downloaded and trimmed to their final piece, which was from Pirates of the Caribbean. Their director wore PotC Mickey Mouse ears complete with a pirate sash and an earring.

That's all for now! I'm tired from yesterday's work, but today's still must be done.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 18: To Do

Things I obviously don't want to do:

  • Call Samsung about phone repair
  • Put notes about Samsung call in Evernote
Yesterday's Leftover Tasks:
  • Laundry: diapers - fold - put away
  • Strike zone: Clean the front door
  • Call Dr. Moran re: Clear Brook transfer Called yesterday - off campus. Called 9:50 AM today; he will have to call me back per Pam, his secretary.
  • Repair the crib
  • List bread machine on craigslist
  • 10 minutes on finances
  • Put away tools in garage
Today's Tasks
  • Morning Routine: Make bed; potty pass; breakfast; dishes; process mail
  • Laundry: diapers - wash - dry - fold - put away
  • Laundry: towels - wash - dry - fold - put away
  • Call Comcast (CRITICAL)
  • List garage sale on Craigslist
  • Process one box in garage for garage sale
  • 5 minutes on desk (sorting)
  • 5 minutes on desk (actually doing tasks)
  • Write a real blog post
Parking Lot:
  • Get curtain rod from Lowes/Home Depot/Wherever
  • Hang curtains in the craft room

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 17: To-Do

Okay, so I don't want this to get in the way of posting regular stuff, you know, about my family and all, so I'll go ahead and post tomorrow's to-do list separately.
This is where I'll concentrate my time in the living room;
it should actually complete the work! Yay!

Leftover Tasks from Yesterday

  • Fold and put away blue jeans
  • Call Samsung about phone repair
  • Put notes about Samsung call in Evernote
  • Dry towels (YES! I did an extra load!)
  • Fold and put away towels

Today's Tasks:
  • Morning Routine: Make bed; potty pass; make breakfast; put away dishes; clean up from breakfast; load of laundry; 2 minutes on the crap-magnet; process the mail
  • Laundry: white clothes - wash - dry - fold - put away (supposed to have been Burgundy's colored laundry, but she didn't sort it.)
  • Laundry: diapers - wash - dry - fold - put away
  • Strike zone: Clean the front door
  • 10 minutes in the living room (oh my God, it will be done!)
  • Call Dr. Moran re: Clear Brook transfer
  • Pick up Grandma Margie to help with Holden
  • Errands: Lowe's or Home Depot - Curtain rod for craft room; hardware to fix the crib Did not get the curtain rod. I'm not going to get the curtains hung today anyway, and it's an extra cost. I'm waiting.
  • Hem Burgundy's dress for band performance
  • Repair the crib
  • Hang curtains in the craft room
  • Clean out game cabinet
  • List bread machine on craigslist
  • 5 minutes on desk (sorting)
  • 5 minutes on desk (actually doing tasks)
  • 10 minutes on finances
  • Put away tools in garage
  • Process one box in garage for garage sale

Monday is Half-Hour Housework Day!

But I haven't started yet. I feel like I always will be behind, and even though I know the best way to defeat that feeling is to just do something - anything - I have trouble making myself follow through. I've had a productive day, though. Before leaving the house this morning, I folded and put away a load of diapers and a load of towels. I put another load of diapers in the machine to pre-rinse, and early this morning, I had already done a load of dishes and made breakfast.

Around mid-morning, I went to have bloodwork drawn to see if I'm anemic. It would explain a lot of the symptoms I've had lately. I can't seem to recover from a low-grade cough and sore throat (could be allergies). I'm exhausted all the time. My period was over a week late (so glad I wasn't pregnant). And so on. If I were a better housewife, I would have bought a liver at the farmer's market on Saturday and prepared it for myself and my husband. In some fancy french way. Alas, I'm not, so I didn't.

I don't know why I'm so put off by the idea of preparing and eating organ meats. Let's think about it from an emotionless standpoint. Why am I willing to eat a cow's buttcheek or shoulder, a pig's cured belly, or a chicken's chest muscles, but I'm not willing to eat a piece of liver? Or heart? These are supposed to be some of the healthiest meats I could eat, especially while breastfeeding. Why so hesitant? Cow's ass vs. cow's liver: Why is the liver the unappetizing option?

Photo courtesy of foodpeoplewant.com
And before you say it tastes funny, I have the power of Julia Child in my kitchen. I have faith that her many menus for preparing liver will provide me with a delicious option. In fact, I know for certain I am inhibited by squeamishness, not flavor: Last month, my lovely sister-in-law insisted that I try barbacoa (basically a cooked cow's head). I did so under duress, making clear that I did not want to. And once I did, I had to admit that I could not tell the difference between it and other shredded, marinated cow meats in a tortilla. It tasted great. And one still can not pay me to buy barbacoa on my own, much less to consider cooking it. Sorry. Still too squeamish. So yeah, I should buy and cook a liver. It's still a long way from cow head, but not too far away from cow butt.

So yeah, I had my blood drawn, then I ate breakfast and returned a book. I came home again and put the diapers on a wash cycle after laying Holden down to sleep. I still need to make my bed, wipe down the toilets, spend 2 minutes on a crap magnet, and do my weekly bit of half-assed housework. It's half-assed because the point is not to be thorough. The point to the floors vacuumed, bathrooms scrubbed, and kitchen floor cleaned in one half-hour sweep. Efficiency of completeness.

After that, I want to spend 10 minutes throwing away trash in the living room and 10 minutes putting away clutter in the same room. And then I'm going to use that room as a staging area for the garage sale I plan to have this weekend. Finally, my goal is to put up one craigslist ad per day for stuff in our home that we're not using. Each add takes me about 20 minutes including taking and uploading photos, so one a day is kinda ambitious. So yeah, today's checklist:

  • Get bloodwork done
  • Return book to Borders
  • Fold diapers (yesterday's load)
  • Fold towels (yesterday's load)
  • Wash diapers 
  • Dry diapers 
  • Wash blue jeans
  • Fold and put away diapers
  • Dry blue jeans
  • Fold and put away blue jeans
  • Call dentist about refund
  • Put notes about dentist call in Evernote
  • Call Samsung about phone repair
  • Put notes about Samsung call in Evernote
  • Check for Burgundy's Science National Honor Society paperwork
  • Deliver Science NHS paperwork to school if necessary  Not necessary, as it turns out. Due next Friday.
  • Morning Routine: Make bed, potty pass, 2 minutes crap-magnet, sort mail, 1 load laundry, 1 load dishes
  • Housework Half hour
  • 10 minutes pick-up
  • 10 minutes trash toss
I'm so pleased with how well my work paid off
in the living room today!
I'll update as I get stuff done, I guess. Tomorrow, my MIL will come over to watch the baby, so I need to plan this evening what I want to accomplish with her here. I slept last week. Don't want to "waste" that time again by resting. Jeez, what am I, a new mom?

Update at 1:45 PM: I finished the half-hour of housework with 2 minutes to spare just as the baby started to cry. I cussed all the way through it, but it's done, and that's a first since Holden's birth. Now I just have to repeat that every week.

Update at 6:51 PM: Holy cow! I've done everything on my list except folding jeans and calling Samsung, and I even made dinner! I'm sore all over, though. My back is killing me! I hate PMS.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This One's for the Children

First, I haven't spoken of my beloved firstborn in far too long. Burgundy continues to amaze and impress at every turn. This year's science fair project compared bacterial growth on pasteurized milk, to see how fat content affected bacterial growth. She won fourth place at her high school science fair and progressed to the district fair, where she took second. In early April, she went to the Houston-wide science fair for the second year in a row.

She attended the Military Ball again this year with Ben, whom she'd been dating for about a year when they went. They're on hiatus right now, which probably is best. Both of them were mildly interested in other kids, so they took a break.

She was inducted into the National Honor Society two weeks ago, and she received an invitation to the Science National Honor Society. Here she's posing with her Honoree, her 7th grade English teacher, Ms. B.

Just two days ago, Burgundy ordered her letterman jacket for her high school. She already has three letters: two for science fair and one for band. I still giggle inside every time I consider the fact that she lettered for science fair as a freshman. We could not afford to go all out on the package; even though the school pays for the jacket itself, we have to pay for all the patches and to have them sewn on. We paid for one letter, her graduation year, having her last name embroidered on the front, a huge (4" tall) script patch of her first name on the back, and a nickname embroidered into the first-name patch on back.

Burgundy's the first family finance decision consisted of ordering the letter jacket. We explained that the jacket would come out of family money. We could pay or the full package ($199), a partial package ($140), or a very basic package ($110). Each option affected the family budget in different ways. If we paid for a full package, there would be other things we wouldn't be able to pay for later. If we split the cost with her, it would make a different kind of impact. We let her look at the family financial situation and the options and then make the decision herself. She went with the partial package, and we are paying for all of it. I will have to sew the additional letters onto the jacket, but I think that's okay. I'm willing.

And speaking of Burgundy's intelligence with money, she finished saving and paying for her trip to Orlando, Universal Studios, and Disney World, then saved an additional $250 in spending money. She went in early April, and she had such a great time. She bought a wand at Ollivander's in Harry Potter World, and when I asked her if it was made of real wood, she said, "Pff. No. I paid thirty-eight dollars for a plastic stick." She cracks. me. up.

Holden is four months old. Maybe four and a half. He's made so many changes; it seems he does something new every few days. He laughed, really laughed, for the first time on April 30. He smiles quite often, and just in the last three or four days, he's begun giving kisses. Last night, he grabbed his toes for the first time while I changed his diaper. He loves naked time now, and his favorite game is pat-a-cake.

I think he is not much of an adventurer. He enjoys swinging backward in my arms, but he does not enjoy being upside down, sudden movements, or big surprises. Burgundy loved all those things, but Holden's eyes widen, and he actually grimaces. His lower lip pulls away from his mouth like a [ set on its back, and he flares his nostrils.

We just finished a six-week Kindermusic class, which he seemed to enjoy. He began to smile when we play peek-a-boo while at Kindermusic two weeks ago, and I could swear that I caught him holding up a hand as if to wave last week.

Just this week, he found his tongue, and he has been sticking it out with his mouth wide open, as if to relish the experience of air moving over his tongue. He has a very expressive face, and his most familiar face is "anxious." I fear he inherited Daddy's anxiety levels. We'll have to do what it takes to ensure he feels secure in his home as he grows.

He started teething in earnest last week, and now experiences most of his teething pain in the evening. We still can't see any teeth beneath the gums, but when we pull out the Orajel tube, he goes from crying to cooing immediately.

It won't rain here for any significant period. Yesterday there were thunderstorm warnings all over the place. It was a light spring rain and lasted less than an hour. I feel like a dried-out husk.

I have made my bed today, and I've run numerous errands. I met with the principal at Burgundy's school,  returned a book, went to half-price books and Lowe's. I picked up my MIL for her help with Holden, dried a load of diapers and washed a load of colors. I made my bed and sorted the mail. I still need to do the potty pass and two minutes on the crap-magnet. And I'm sick, so I really just want to go to bed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Living the Dream

So it turns out that being a stay-at-home mom really is a dream-come-true. I have to admit, I was afraid that I would be home for a couple of months, then realize I was bored stiff and hated it. That has not happened; anything but.

Here's an ironic thing: I never thought I would derive a sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment from having clean toilets. I never dreamed that it would hurt me is my husband didn't notice said clean toilets.

Back when I started this blog, I wrote about my housework routines. Well, I'm back at them. During the pregnancy, I was so sick that I could barely function, much less keep up the house. I was surprised and pleased at how easy it was to get back into the swing of things once Holden was born and I didn't feel terrible all the time. Previously, I made sure to make my bed, wipe down the toilet, open and sort the mail, wash, dry, fold and put away one load of laundry, and wash, dry fold, and put away one load of dishes. I've been doing most of these things most days, and I added washing a load of diapers every day.

So far today, I've

  • Made the bed
  • Washed dishes and emptied the dishwasher
  • Folded and put away diapers, started another load of diapers, and washed and dried a load of dark clothes
  • Wiped down the toilets in both bathrooms
  • Checked and updated the grocery list, planning for tonight's dinner.

With a wee baby, it takes me the better part of the day to accomplish these few things, but it's getting better and better. I'm starting to add other routines, weekly things and projects. So today, I'm going to spend 20 minutes decluttering my living room; it's still full of tools, etc, from JB's last visit. He insulated the attic over our bedroom, by the way. Thank goodness!

Right now though, it's time to change a cranky baby's diaper, make my lunch, take us grocery shopping, and go to our Kindermusic class.

Oh my goodness. Poor little guy. I almost feel bad about waking him up to take him out of the bouncer.