Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Whirlwind

The house is strangely silent.  After 5 days of 5 adults sharing the house, and 7 more people joining us the past day and half, it's suddenly silent.  Everybody is on the way back to their own homes.  I will admit that at 12:23 am last night, as I stuffed the pillow over my head to block out the raucous laughter of 4 young adults partying in the kitchen just below my bedroom, I was longing for silence, now that everyone has gone, it feels too quiet!

Younger Son and his fiance were the first to arrive from Los Angeles on Monday.  On Tuesday Elder Son joined us.  Yesterday my sister, her husband and her teenaged children arrived, as did my cousin, her husband, and one of her adult children.  It is such a pleasure to have the "kids" all together  although the kids are in their early 30's.  WHERE DID THE TIME GO???  It was just yesterday that they were all chattering like magpies at the kids' table on Thanksgiving.  This year the "adults" were at the kitchen table, while the under 35's were at the big table in the dining room!

I am exhausted from the week of preparation -- opening up bedrooms, dusting and vacuuming rooms that get little use nowadays, and wiping cobwebs from corners of the living room and dining room ceilings.  I was awake at 3:30 am Thanksgiving morning, and finally up for the day at 4:15.  The bird was in the oven at 6 am.  I marshaled the troops as they awoke, getting out the good china and silver, rinsing stemware and filling cut glass salts for the nuts we crack.  Everything went perfectly. Out came the bird at 12:45 pm, in went the sides, and we sat down to eat at 1:30, half an hour earlier than I had expected.  It was so much fun visiting with my cousin and her family, with my sister and her family.  It was almost like Thanksgivings of my childhood with lots of folks perched on folding
chairs, hassocks, and the floor after dinner.

It's so worth the exhaustion!

I am thankful.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Clean House . . . Not!

I have never claimed that I was a good housekeeper as far as cleaning.  I am a good cook, I manage the household (and business!) accounts well, we always have clean clothes and clean dishes.  My pets get fed, and their homes get spruced up at least occasionally.  My houseplants are the kind that thrive on very occasional watering, annual trips outside during the summer, and then benign neglect most of the rest of the time.  My kitchen and main bath are probably the most tended to parts of the house, in no small part due to the fact that I hire someone to do the kitchen and bath once a week.

I grew up in a house where my mom was always busy cleaning something . . . it just never stayed neat and tidy because there were 5 of us always running around.  But my mom had a routine, and she put us to work at an early age to help keep up with the routine.  Every week the living room and dining room was dusted and vacuumed.  I used to complain about in one of the houses we lived in that neither of those rooms needed cleaning because we hadn't used them since the last time the dusting and vacuuming had been done.  We had a family room that we lived in, and an eat-in kitchen where we ate almsot all our meals.  But every week that chore got done.  Every night one of us had to sweep the kitchen floor.  Mom took care of sweeping after breakfast and lunch, at least during the school year.    Every Saturday we were required to change the sheets on our bed and clean our bedrooms  --- putting toys and books away, dusting the bureau, vacuuming.  And every Saturday we helped clean bathrooms and do other chores like the ironing.    None of liked these chores, and I'm sure my mother didn't like them either.  But they got done.

I somehow lost that discipline of daily/weekly chores.  I think I mostly blame the fact that aside from approximately 2 years, I have never been a stay-at-home wife or mother.  When our first child was born, I quit my job to stay home.  At the same time, my husband started his own business and before you could blink I was working again, albeit from home most of the time, or at times when he could be home.  Our 2nd child was born 15 months later, and when he was 2, I started working part-time in the office instead of at home.  All that is my rationale for why I fell out of housecleaning discipline.  With two children less than 2 years apart and a family business, it was hard to find consistent time to do all of the chores that I'd been raised to do.  Some jobs just had to be done --- clean laundry, clean kitchen and a clean bathroom were the essential chores after cooking.  Vacuuming??? Dusting??? Not so much.  Both my husband and I were working more than 40 hours a week at times; our kids accompanied us to the office.  On weekends we often traveled 3 hours to take the kids to visit their grandparents.  So when there was some down time, instead of cleaning, we'd collapse!

And it doesn't help that both my husband and I are pack rats, collectors, and people that see flat surfaces as filing cabinets.

All of these goes to say that I am still not a good housekeeper as far as a neat and tidy house.  If you drop in unexpectedly you'll find several pairs of shoes around the house, the kitchen table stacked with mail, magazines, our pills, and the newspapers.

 My counters are full of small appliances, jars of utensils, a spice corral, and various things that didn't fit in the catchall drawer(s).  If you go into our living room, or dining room, or just about any room, you can usually write your name in the dust on flat surfaces.  My dining room table which is used only on holidays has become my husband's filing cabinet for the business.
If you come on Tuesdays, the kitchen will sparkle, as will the main bathroom.  ONe gift of having a regular cleaner come in, is that my counters and bathroom vanity are 90% less cluttered than they used to be.  On Monday nights I scurry around actually putting things away where they belong.

If I know you're coming ---- like for Thanksgiving---- ah!  Then I actually get some major work done.  All of the unused guest bedrooms have had fresh bedding put on, the cobwebs in the corners of ceiling are gone, the bureaus shine, the windows are clean, and they are vacuumed within an inch of their lives.  The hallways also have been dusted and vacuumed, and the dining room and living room look at least like the before pictures in those house decorating magazines.  (With our odd collection of cast-off furniture, they'll never even make the shabby chic category!)  So the answer probably is to have company early and often.

We will be moving soon (I hope!) into a downsized house.  It will be a big change.  We are going from a 100+ year old rambling house with 5 bedrooms to a 2 bedroom open concept cape.  We're transitioning to open, clean, contemporary styling from our heavy mostly Victorian furniture.  We will actually have an office for the office.  But I am making a huge promise to myself.  There will be no clutter.  THere will be no mail on the table for longer than it takes to read it and dispose of it.  My  counters (in an open concept great room) will be clear.  I have designed the kitchen area with lots of storage for small appliances,a pantry, a spice drawer, a wine rack.  And soon after we move, I will be retiring.  I WILL establish a cleaning routine, so that I'm not exhausting myself trying to clean the house for company!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday Five on a Saturday

Yesterday's Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals asks us to consider being in the middle:

1.  I teach in a MIDDLE school - grade 6.

2.  People tell me that I have a gift for being able to seeing all  sides of an argument or discussion.  They tell me they like having me IN THE MIDDLE because I am able to articulate what each party is saying.  (I have to admit that that gift seems to appear more in places like committee meetings, disputes with colleagues, etc.  Not so much in family discussions!!

3.  I am in the MIDDLE of a middle school novel called I Represent Sean Rosen by Jeff Baron.  It's very funny, and I am sure that a number of my students will love it.

4. Oh, I just realized my classroom is in the MIDDLE of my wing.

5.  I am in the MIDDLE of my Saturday morningchores -- laundry, making beds, making grocery lists,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Scattered Saturday

In no particular order of importance:

1.  It's a gorgeous fall day, milder than it should be for Nov. 2.  Wish I could spend it out doors, but there's too much indoor work.

2.  Actually slept for 10 hours last night!  Went to bed at 9 pm, woke up once to use the bathroom, and slept until 7 am.  It's amazing how energetic I feel when I've slept well.  Doesn't happen often.

3. I'm taking a break from trying to deep clean my living room.  Actually before I can clean, I have to declutter.  I've filled 2 garbage bags with debris . . . don't ask, but the debris includes the contents of 2 wastebaskets that have long needed emptying, lots of yarn scraps that have accumulated under the sofa, in odd corners, a number of catalogs and newspapers, an empty chip bag, and lots of clumps of cat hair.  I don't vacuum in there as much as I need to.  I am not someone who cleans her house very often.  But company is coming for Thanksgiving, and it's reached a point where even I am embarrassed to enter.

4.  I'm making a big pot of soup --- it's my usual cabbage soup base, but I've also cleaned out the refrigerator so there are the pot roast leftovers in it, half a jar of left over Prego tomato sauce, a bunch of kale, carrots, onions, and the dregs of a bottle of wine.    Smells wonderful.

5. I am knitting the Umaro blanket by Jared Flood.  I have 2 more repeats to go.