Archive for the ‘House Stuff’ Category

Compliments, Oh I Get Compliments

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’m trying out this 30 Days of Truth thing. Today is day 11. You can see where it started here.

Day 11 — Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Hands down: my organizational skills. What’s funny is this is also something that can very easily be flipped into a major flaw. Just ask the people who live with me. :-) As with anything else in my life, I tend to go to extremes with this. I’m not sure if I necessarily have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, but I can definitely see a lot of myself in that classification. I can also see where this trait stems from two big character defects: perfectionism & control. Those two seem to go hand in hand for me a lot. Somewhere in my psyche, I believe that if I can organize every item I own and every piece of information that crosses my path, things will be okay. Everything will be in control, and somehow perfect. Intellectually, I know this is a fallacy. I know perfection is an illusion; there’s no such thing. Yet, I still strive and yearn for it on a lot of days. The other downside to having this asset is that I can use it against myself when I’m not being particularly organized. “You’re such a sham. You’re not really organized – you just pretend to be.” The voices in my head don’t tend to be very gentle most of the time, apparently. :-)

The truth is – I am organized. For the most part. I naturally tend towards neatness. I like things orderly. I get stressed out and have a very hard time concentrating when I’m surrounded by clutter. I feel peace when everything is in its place. That’s just who I am. Living with a husband and two teenage boys has really taught me a lot of tolerance and I’ve eased quite a bit in my fastidiousness over the years. My spices are no longer in alphabetical order, for example. However, I do dream about the day when the boys are gone and I can “have my house back”. Allspice, basil, cumin, and dill – I haven’t forgotten about you.

I’ve actually even proposed a barter with a massage therapist friend of mine who has a hard time staying organized. I would come to her house & help her get organized, room-by-room and with her paperwork and computer files, etc., and in return, she’d give me massages. I think in the end she wasn’t really ready to be organized as she didn’t take me up on the offer. It’s something I might consider doing as a side job, though – because I think I’m pretty good at it. Aside from walking into chaos & clutter at the start of each job, I think it’s something I’d really enjoy doing. Wonder how big of a market there is for something like this?

The Case of the Robin Family

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Mama Robin and babies

Mama Robin and babies

Last year a robin family built a nest in a bush right next to our front door. The mama robin laid eggs and we got to see the babies every day when they hatched. It was one of the highlights of our spring.

Last week the robin family came back and built up the nest they left behind and laid 4 eggs in it. Every day I’d wake up and look out the door or window and smile to see the mama robin sitting on the eggs. I’d do the same when I got home from work, watching the mama fly away as I got close to the bush to walk in the door. I was getting super excited about the birth of 4 little robins!

Two days ago I came home from work and noticed a few robins in the side yard, but no mama was in the nest. I sensed that the robins in the yard were in distress, but I thought they were just warning the mama that I’d be getting close to the nest. When I walked up to the bush and looked into the nest, though, I saw that all four eggs were gone. I was horrified and saddened.

I went back and checked the nest and area a few times, trying to discern what happened. I saw a few very small pieces of the egg shell in the nest and on the ground, but not much at all really. Definitely nothing incriminating or tell-tale. If it was my first look in the nest, I would have assumed the mama had yet to lay her eggs.

When I got home from work yesterday, I noticed my front yard was filled with feathers. It looked like a major fight had gone down right on my front lawn. I stood there, once again horrified, thinking that if I stood there long enough, I’d get a vision of what happened while I was at work. Of course that didn’t happen and I was left to wonder what sort of drama is going on with the wildlife outside my front door while I’m 38 miles away each day.

Some might say I’m putting way too much thought and energy into this whole thing, but I seriously considered going to poll the neighbors about suspicious wildlife activity in our yard. I feel like putting all the detecting skills I’ve collected from reading mysteries my entire life to good use and tracking down the killer of my robin family. I saw no robins at all in my yard when I came home today. I’m not sure if the whole lot of them up and left for safer nesting grounds or if they’re just keeping a low profile after the family massacre or what. Either case is distressing to me.

I know this is nature and its survival of the fittest and all that, but I’m still upset about the loss of my baby robins and most likely at least one adult member of their family, too.

Right now our prime suspect is a hawk since we have quite a few of them in the area. Are there any bird and/or wildlife specialists out there who’d like to weigh in with their opinion? I need to direct my mean thoughts accordingly.

Great Weekend

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

We had a nice family-centric weekend. I love when that happens.

Yesterday was a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. My mom arranged for it to be held in the gymnasium of their church. Mom and I had a good time running around getting all of the stuff before the party and being as clandestine as possible. We could have done a better job at the latter, though, because my dad had a slight suspicion about the party when he drove to the church. Oh well, he had no idea up until that moment, so that was good. The party was great, and that’s all that really matters.

Here are some photos – click through to see the full set on Flickr.

Dad's Party Mosaic

Today we spent some time cleaning the inside of the house – but not too much. We spent the majority of our efforts raking and bagging leaves. All told, we ended up with 12 yard-size bags of leaves and we’ve still got two trees with quite a few leaves left on them. It’s going to be so nice to not track in 50 million leaves when we come in the house – at least for a little while.

While the kids recuperated from doing manual labor, Rob and I took Grace to a local dog park that recently opened. I’d been following the news about the park’s progress and have wanted to go for a little while now, so I was quite excited to be taking the trip. The park is about 5 miles from our house which is pretty awesome.

Grace had the best time at the park. She ran in and greeted all of the people before even acknowledging any of the dogs when we first got there. That cracked me up. It was fun to watch her interact with the other dogs once she got going, though. Turns out Grace is quite the peacemaker. Every time there was even a hint of a scuffle, Grace came running through, right smack in the middle of the crowd of dogs, tail wagging, tongue hanging, with a huge grin on her goofy face.

We’ve heard narry a peep out of Grace since coming home and it’s been over 4 hours now. She is completely wiped out. Rob and I are enjoying her tiredness; it’s like when infants and toddlers go down for a nap and parents breathe a sigh of relief. The silence and stillness is a welcome change.

And now – it’s time for some Eagles football! Kickoff is right this second. My parents are at the game, so hopefully the birds don’t disappoint.

Green Thumb To Be

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

I’ve long had a dream to live on a farm, totally old-school style the way my great grandmother lived her entire life. The circumstances of my life have prevented that, but today I took the first step towards my dream. It’s a tiny step, sure, but it’s more than what I’ve done in the past.

Garden This might not look like much, but that right there is our humble beginnings of a garden. Planted are two beefsteak tomato plants, two red bell pepper plants, and a big container of cucumber plants. Let’s hope I don’t kill them all. Next year I want to start earlier and plant a whole bunch more stuff. Ideally, I’d like to have potatoes, yams, red & green bell peppers, hot peppers of some sort, cucumbers, carrots, and corn at the very least next season. But, let’s just see how this season goes first.

I also signed up to participate in the One Local Summer challenge which began this week. I didn’t have a full meal that consisted of all local food, unfortunately. I hope to do that as the summer goes on. Funds are tight, though, so it will just depend on how much local chicken/turkey costs. I need to do some more research. The start of this challenge came up on me faster than expected. Summer isn’t for another few weeks, after all. :-)

In my dream world, I’d have chickens and all sorts of foods from the garden that I cultivate and can, thereby keeping our kitchen stocked with extremely local food. The idea of knowing exactly what is in the majority of my food, where it all comes from, and the cost savings alone are enough to make me salivate without even beginning to take into account how delicious all of it would be. Maybe some day.

Here’s to a fruitful harvest!

Taking Shoes Off at the Door – Practical or Pretentious?

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Growing up, we always had wall-to-wall carpeting in our house. With the exception of the kitchen/dining room combo, the two bathrooms, and the garage, our entire house was carpeted. Then when I was 9, I became best friends with someone whose entire house was hardwood floors. They weren’t the cleanliest people, and so I grew up thinking that having hardwood floors meant that whenever you walked around in bare feet, you’d get stuff stuck to your soles. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized my friend’s parents were slobs and that having hardwood floors doesn’t necessarily equal getting heebed out every time you walk around sock- and shoe-less.

A few years ago, we had family members who required us to take our shoes off every time we entered – they didn’t want us tracking in stuff all over the house. It kind of annoyed me because it wasn’t a rule I grew up with, and it certainly wasn’t one we enforced at our own house. I figured cleaning the floors were just part and parcel of household tasks and they were being a bit pretentious by not allowing us to keep our shoes on.

Fast forward to today. The majority of our main floor is hardwood and tile, our living room being the only exception. Yesterday the boys swept all of the floors – there was quite a bit of debris. And today? Today, in the fifteen minutes between the time I got out of the shower and got dressed, my feet felt like they did when I was a young girl at my friend’s house. I was so grossed out that I swept before I left for work, even though I was running late. I swept up all of this:

Dirt

How gross, huh? So now I’m rethinking my stance on mandatory shoe removal in the foyer. We are obviously tracking in way more dirt than I thought we ever could. And I definitely don’t want to sweep every single day this winter. By the way, isn’t my snowman cute? It’s a holiday Wallflower from Bath & Body Works.

So what say you? Is asking everyone who enters to take their shoes off pretentious or practical? I’m thinking even if it is pretentious, we might be enforcing the rule anyway. Who wants to spend all winter sweeping and vacuuming? Not me, that’s for sure.