Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's a dirty Job

Many people mistakenly believe that the opposite of clean is dirty. I, however, am about to prove to you that they are one in the same. Stay with me.

There are several factors that can constitute a house that isn't perfectly clean. These factors, however, can't make a house dirty. For example; if the pictures on the wall are all crooked and the table isn't straight and the chairs aren't pushed in, the rug has a wrinkle, the couch cushions are all in one corner and the trash should have been taken out a few hours ago, then clearly, no housewife would look around and say “Ahhhh, a clean house!”

However, that's not dirty. That's just messy. Messy is also toys left out, jackets not hung up, clean dishes on the counter, and things like that. Messy isn't a health hazard, and it can usually go away within a few minutes.

Crumby is another story. I once had a friend with a broken vacuum. I loved her dearly, but instead of buying a $40 vacuum, she just swept the carpet and there were crumbs everywhere. I have another friend whose dishwasher liked to leave a layer of crumbs on everything, so instead of rinsing better, she'd just put the crumbs away with the dishes. In one case, the crumbs were clean, in another case the crumbs were dirty. Either way, crumbs are in the “dirty” family. However, a clean house that has a few crumbs is, in fact, not clean, is it? Is it dirty?

Stickiness is another something we moms have to deal with. Sure, I know people whose kids always have their hands wiped when they get down from the table. The only one I can think of is a family with 2 kids and a full time nanny. The fact is, kids can be sticky little people and sometimes you might not notice where they put their sticky little hand until you walk in the door one day and a gust of wind adheres every speck of dust in the county to the ten thousand jelly hand prints your toddler left behind. A house can look completely clean today, but when that little wind comes through, it's definitely dirty.

Dusty is another mess factor in just about every home. Some areas have it worse than others. If you're a mom in Lancaster, California you are hereby excused from dusting because, admit it, it doesn't help anyway. Everyone else, learn this one fact; kids like to dust.

If you can tear them away from the idea of a feather duster, get yourself a Costco sized box of swiffer floor cleaning pads and write their name on one with a sharpie marker. Every now and then, announce (with glee) that it's swiffer time and put on some funky song.

Here's ours; only instead of saying Hammer time, we say Swiffer time. In case you wondered.

Fingerprinted is another situation. That jelly-handed kid comes through after eating some greasy french fries and touches walls, windows, table, cabinet doors, light switches, curtains. All these surfaces require a different kind of cleaning. A different rag, a different chemical or sponge. Chances are, you'll notice them at different times. That's just how these things work. However, does this mean your house hasn't been clean since the day he ate those fries, of course not.

The hardest obstacle on my personal path to clean is disarray. Like the first example, where chairs were crooked and tables weren't centered, pictures were off center, I've got a far worse brand of disarray going on. I'm not a knick-knack person so my shelves have books on them, however with 6 homeschooled kids and a work-at-home writer mom, we use a lot of books. I don't mean to say that we have a lot of books, I mean that we're using a lot. There are always stacks of books out in different areas for current projects, plus there are the groups of books from forgotten projects, books we keep meaning to read and books we haven't read yet but don't plan to. There are stacks of books we mean to get rid of, books we intend to return to the library and this is all times five because there are basically five of us with enough literacy skills and complicated projects to warrant all these separate stacks of books. For the rest, there are bathroom newspapers, coloring books, and bedtime stories. Not to mention family photo albums and cookbooks that don't really belong to anyone.

And yes, there are fingerprints on some of them.

So if the house is clean and it has a few crumbs, is it no longer clean? Does a little sticky handprint, or greasy prints on the window make it a dirty house? Is a house that is otherwise free from all those other messes, but in a state of disarray a mess? Do a few dishes on the counter or in the sink make the house a mess? Nahhh, plain and simple, there's no such thing.

The only way the house can really not be clean is if it's dirty, and dirty is just a combination of all those other things, so if you've got sticky and greasy hand prints, dust, food more than a day old anywhere in the house, dishes that are more than a day old (unless it's that pan that won't quite fit into the dishwasher) and crumbs and mess and disarray in every room, THEN the house is officially dirty.

I've known a lot of moms in my day, some with houses on the clean side and some with houses on the dirty side. The cleanest-housed-lady I know has a linen closet that's folded every which way, and poisons her dandelions. The messiest housed lady I know eats entirely organic and none of her 5 kids has ever had a cavity. So whether you're the clean type, the messy type or the dirty type, it's all good. It's all relative. It's all the same, isn't it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What home?

Such a lag in posts to this blog, I intended to be posting right about now with new and exciting decorative things we've done at the new house, but that's not happening. In fact, we might not even be moving right now. There's nothing I hate more than uncertainty. I am not generally a control freak, I am pretty relaxed and mellow about things, I just want to know my address, y'know. Should I unpack? The up-in-the-air-ness of all of this is really killing me. I was given a task "Find us a house to move into while I'm out of town" so I did, I spent about $400 in gas, fast food & hotels driving over to the other side of the state to find a house. I loved the house. i wasn't kidding myself about the neighborhood, I was willing to take the trade off for a house in a less-than-desirable neighborhood so that we could be close to the Art School, the museums and the theater and the library, all the important downtown things we LOVE about the city. My husband's friend is freaking out, though and now we might be opening this restaurant again and I really hate this uncertainty. I'm trying to be cool about it, but our stuff has been packed up into boxes for almost a month now and I am really sick of this garbage. Get me the heck out of this nasty little town, I hate it here. I hate this town. I've said goodbye to my friends, I've made some new friends and researched the new neighborhood and I don't give a crap what your friend says about the neighborhood. Sure, I'd never UY a house there, but we're RENTING and it's close to everything. I hate this. I really really hate this. positivity is hard to come by at the moment. I think I should stop writing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

House Hunting

Yes, we are house hunting. Actually, I am house hunting because Mr H is working on a film on the other side of the Mountains. Right after we did the county fair, he takes off to go shoot the movie for 20 days. As soon as he returns, we have to move. Like within days. So here I am, working full time from home, homeschooling 6 kids, trying to get everyone back and forth to different clubs and classes and rehearsals and meetings and auditions and other kid-things, while house hunting in an area 3 hours from my house and packing, too. Wow. I feel like Superwoman.

I didn't realize how picky I was about a house. I want the following
-a big yard
-4 bedrooms or
-3 bedrooms and a living/family room and formal/informal dining. We can always turn one of those into a home office or another bedroom if we need to.
-RV access for our catering trailer
-mature landscaping
-a big backyard (I said that already- I really mean it)
-a garage 9attached or detached, I don't care
-no mold

You know how hard it is to find a house when you have 6 kids, a dog, a bankruptcy, a foreclosure and you're self-employed? Honestly, if they look at our bank balances we might be OK. But do they? It should help that our Bankruptcy is from business debt and not from consumer credit. Anyways, I found a few lease-to-own companies that are looking promising. We'll see. What a crazy month this will be.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Master Bedroom

The first two pictures show what this room looked like when we first started to remodel. We had a friend of ours helping out and he began to rip out the ceiling tiles. All sorts of dust & cap came raining down upon him while he worked, and he just kept on, like a trooper. My husband didn't tell him until afterward that it was rat poop. In fact, we still call it the rat poop room. We didn't get to the remodel on this room until we'd lived in the house for a year or so. We just kind of shut the door and pretended it wasn't there.

When we did end up remodeling, we ripped out the entire bathroom, built a closet (in the after picture you just see the frame of the closet door, not the doors or organizer) put in a stall shower and transformed the under-the-stairs closet into a built in entertainment center.

One thing about a basement room- no matter how hot the summer gets, this room is always cool, and those windows face Southeast, so they get the morning sunshine, it's a great way to wake up.

AND- no rats- the house had been abandoned for like a year before we moved in, the rats moved away.

Dining Room

In the first picture, the walls and floor are covered in dust, sanded and ready to paint (after we vacuum it up) and the several boxes of floor planks (what are they really called?) for the living room & upstairs bedrooms are stacked up in the middle of the floor ready to be put down.

In the second picture, most of the floor tiles are down, he's probably out cutting the edge pieces right now.

In the last picture, the room is done with the exception of the crown moulding and window frames, which might not get done, save it for the next owner.

Upstairs bedroom

I wish I had a before-before picture of this room. It is kind of long, like 22 ft long, and 11 ft wide- and when we got the house, the bedroom was covered in wood paneling and had a brown linoleum floor. We removed the wood paneling, replaced several sheets of drywall- some had been sprayed by a cat (why do they call it spray and not piss- it's quite disgusting and I don't know why anyone would want one of those nasty creatures pissing on their walls. There was also plywood instead of drywall on some of the walls, so those of course had to be replaced, too. We went with a moss green, it's relaxing and it matched my comforter.

Livng Room Remodel

When we bought the house it had wood paneling on the walls and green linoleum. In this first picture, Mr H is taking a break from working on the drywall. The floor is covered in drywall dust and nothing of course has been painted. In the second picture, you can see that we went with a golden yellow color for the walls, The room was so sunny and we wanted a color that would mesh well with the nature outside the window. The yellow is just light enough that it doesn't make the room hotter in the summer, it's bright & cheerful, and in the winter it really feels sun-shiny. Plus, it goes well with our furniture

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spend $10 get $20

Yep- clip the coupon at the top of page 22 (left side) and buy 10 tubes of crest toothpaste for $10 and you'll get a $20 register reward to use on your next purchase. I don't think it will roll, otherwise I'd tell you to then do it again and again and again. Have fun. You know the store- if you've been reading me long enough you know what I"m talking about. newcomers, speak up or search the archives. What's my new favorite store?

Monday, April 28, 2008

I moved

M bedroom, that is. The bedroom MrH was building in the basement is finally finished and last night we moved our bed and a dresser into it. Hooray, it was so nice to finally sleep in here. Now I have my work cut out for me rearranging the kids' bedrooms and everything, I am sure I will get no "paid" work done today, which sucks because I didn't yesterday either. Or the day before. Whatever- they don't approve them right away anyways, I fear that whatever I've done over the past week will sit in limbo for months. Anyway- I took a few pictures of the finished room, I'm working on 3 different computers right now, so once I get into the one that has the before pictures, I'll post the befores and afters together.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dust & More Remodeling.

We're ripping out more basement walls, the painting in that bedroom is finished, and the bathroom is finished- I just need grout for the floor tiles. But before we put the carpet into the bedroom, we want to have the walls in the "kid cave" finished and painted. It's going to look so nice down there- I wish I had taken a before picture. I wish I could believe that the after picture would have pretty furniture. Anyhow, the dust from ripped out walls is driving me nuts. It is absolutely disgusting. And the bottom part of the wall has mold on it, so we've been spritzing it with bleach but really, it's just so icky. What to do, what to do?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eating Popcorn in the Living Room

Why are kids so into this? Don't they understand about greasy fingers? Crumbs?

yeah, they have no clue why it's such a big deal for us and the reason is because dammit I don't want to clean it up. So I found a solution.

Throw a picnic blanket (old King Size sheet) on the Living room floor and allow them to eat their snacks on the blanket. It will be easier to clean up the mess just by bunching up the sheet and shaking it on the back lawn. Any spilled popcorn will become bird food, or melt away whenever it gets wet.

Have fun on your Family Film Festival

Saturday, March 29, 2008

And Garden

I think I have to rename this blog mrs Hannigan's Home & Garden because otherwise I'd have no place to share my garden excitement (Didn't think of that in the middle of Winter)

Here's the current excitement:

-Yesterday's snow didn't freeze the ground
-Bulb flowers in front are up & I see a bud on one of the daffodils
-Our lawn is so green
-Roses I trimmed are looking great, I better do the backyard soon.
-Family friend has started bush beans & tomatoes in her greenhouse & offered us some once they're ready. Yippee, G1 will be so excited.
-I should start something
-MrH has done some yardwork fixing planters and clearing the playground / treehouse area of dangerous things to step on, now we need to lay some sod down or something, because we have a hill of dirt and the kids keep coming in the house filthy.
-I left some snapdragons and daisies in the ground and they have new growth.
-Peonies are coming up, too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kitchen/ Dining room Floor Tile (cool pattern)

Ok so it isn't truly a before picture because you can see there's no wood paneling on the walls, and the house is covered in drywall dust. That's OK, though, because it isn't truly an after picture either because some of the edge tiles aren't done. Notice, though, how we took an ordinary looking tile (boring, plain, white) and made it extraordinary by staggering it in a diagonal pattern. The walls (it's an old house) aren't perfectly straight along the floor and putting the tiles at an angle helps disguise that. Also, by staggering them, we can avoid the criss crossing of grout that makes my head spin. We ended up using a very light cream colored grout and a spray-on sealer. The grout color is great, it looked wonderful for 2 whole weeks. The spray sealer sucks dirt, I do not recommend it. We took a shortcut & now we regret it because it loks like we used a dark grout, exactly the contrast I didn't want. whatever, we get compliments on it all the time, the pattern is really cool. Now we just need moulding. I think the entire project was around $800 for 600 sq ft.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

We have a play room

Part of our basement remodel has been to create a little "kids living room" where they can sit down and read a book or watch TV and store their toys. When I was a kid our rooms were always such messes because we stored our toys there and policing the space was impossible. My goal is that no toys (save for a small shelf of sentimental items or recent gifts) be stored in their rooms. So this rec room space we've made is mostly a playroom. Their computer is down there, too. Reclaiming my living room has been nice.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hidden Bookcase Door

OK so MrH is supposed to be remodeling our basement because we want to sell our house. And because we have 6 kids in a 1200 square foot house with another 1200 feet of unused basement space. You can see how far he's gotten with everything in the background. However, he's giving a lot of love to the door. Yes, that's right the door of my new bedroom. The one that was supposed to be finished before E2 was born.

You've gotta love a guy who makes the door a secret hidden bookshelf.

All you do is pull out a certain secret book and it opens up. This is what my husband does with a long weekend. I can't wait till the pretty new door blends in with the pretty new walls around it. I'll keep you posted.

I had a productive weekend, too. I trimmed the roses, pulled out last year's broccoli- all but one because it looks like it is growing back or something, it's my experiment. I emptied out all my kitchen cabinets and cleaned them out, even wiped down the bottles of stuff and mopped and swept. I removed everything dead from all of my outdoor planters and flowerbeds.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Bathroom remodel

My bathroom is so ugly, I plan to remodel it before we sell the house (this spring or summer) Maybe I can make enough money blogging to finance the remodel.

Back in the old days (Um, like last week when my travel blog was rejected) you used to have to have 20 posts in a blog that was at least 90 days old. SO I decided to pay attention to that little blog, and make a few other ones, since my pagerank on my original blog sucks, I figured they could build off of each other and maybe one day, when google updates their pageranking system (which I hear is like very 90 days) then maybe my original blog will be worth something, and then maybe I can grow these other blogs, too and Mwa hahaaha rule the mom blogging world, like Dooce and Amalah.

But now, they have changed the rules, so that any blog that has ten posts and is 30 days old will qualify.

I think it's a stupid mistake. There's already too many of us scrambling like vultures to grab the few opportunities that are available for new bloggers. They pay $20 for posting when you sign up, just to announce that you've done it. So they'll have all these people signing up and getting paid for making their first post announcing that they've signed up and then their system will be overloaded because all these people will be trying to get paid posts all the time. It isn't easy hitting the refresh button ten thousand times a day hoping a new one will come up. And sometimes the verification words are long and complicated. Like "Renoir $285,837.20" and things like that. It's not a lifestyle everyone is cut out for. If you think you might be the one who can handle it, then click the purple image below and they will help you register for paid blogging. I don't think you can handle it, though. I am just warning you.

You should do it fast because I don't know if they'll stay in business like this for long. Hopefully you're someone with a blog that has a higher page rank than mine, so that you won't be taking opportunities that I could be using to feed my kids. My six kids. Seriously.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sometimes you just need to be hassled

Hassle me is a silly new website where you program in how often you want to be reminded of something, and what that something is, and they automatically send you little notes, hassling you. Examples they give are- calling your mother every 7 days, going to the gym every 4 days, eating fruit, practice the piano, walk in the park... I think you get the picture. Neat service, funny service. No thanks.

It does remind me of flylady, though. Her program is for hardcore junk addicts, packrats, etc whose house gets thrashed in 5 minutes or something, they send you reminders all day constantly and you have to keep these detailed notebooks. It just always seemed like more work than actually just cleaning the house, though. Understanding her practices, though is a good idea for keeping things organized in your head.

The underlying wisdom of Flylady, though is "don't go to bed with a dirty sink." And it's so true, waking up to dirty dishes kind of makes the whole daya littl emore hectic, doesn't it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

De-cluttering in one day

This cool website helps you learn how to De-clutteryour house in ONE DAY. Imagine that. She's got a 56 day guarantee, too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Helpful kids.

It's so hard to decide whether having kids help with chores is a parenting issue or a Home Care Issue. I have decided it is both. You can read about the wonderful new system I have devised for getting the kids to pull their weight around the house.