Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Weekend:

Saturday we headed down to Cobo Hall for the North American International Auto Show. It was fun. The kids enjoyed themselves and we did too. People were very kind, not pushy or rude (which I've come to expect with large numbers of people). The guy who took our tickets warned me against the high prices of the food inside.

The people-watching was incredible. All walks of life, all countries, lots of kids, tired moms & dads, dreaming teenagers. We sat down in a side hallway to share a bottle of water ($3!!!!) and a protein bar (between the 5 of us). This guy came up & said "I wish I had a camera - this is what life is about! Everyone sharing. What a beautiful picture." So nice.


Ugh. my arms/fingers are asleep/tingly this morning. Guess I carried M too long on my shoulders yesterday. (Large groups of people + an interested 4 year old = frantic mom-state.) it was easier for my heart to keep her up on my shoulders. (We did write our cell phone numbers on all three kids with a permanent marker in case we got separated. A & M loved their "tattoos".)

Cirque de Soleil (Saltimbanco) was delightful. I had the most fun watching M & A watch the show. We were on the main floor, in the back row, so the dancers/acrobats (I'm not sure what to call them) walked by us often. One in a pink dress patted M's hair for about 30 seconds or so. M was in heaven! Then C's coat had fallen off the back of the chair & another clown came up & put it over his head. Good for another couple of giggles from my kids. L was on the other side of C, so I didn't see his reaction to most of it, but M & A were all over my lap, and their two chairs. I was thankful we didn't have anyone behind us.

Gee, I am so lucky. We have had a tremendous weekend. I really do love my family, even if they aren't exactly sure where dirty dishes go... (that silver thing, with the water spout, in the kitchen? It would be the sink, kids.)

They were excellent travelers for the 3 hour round trips (both days!) And we only watched one DVD.

The blight of downtown Detroit makes me sad. (at least what we could see from the highway) So many burned out buildings, boarded up houses, closed down stores. A lot of fanciful names though: The Victory Social Club; The Pentacostal (sic) Church in Christ (founder, Samantha Bullet); my favorite building - I've never been in - King's Used Books. (OK, so that last one wasn't very fanciful, but when I see it, I know I'm close to Joe Louis Arena.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Day After...

OK, so really it's the day after the day after, but why be picky?

The organizer wasn't as scary as I'd anticipated. She was oh-so-helpful (really) and very calm & collected about the whole house.

J (the organizer) handed me a pad of paper & a pen and we started walking through the house. She gave me ideas about how to tackle each closet and room. (Move this clothes-bar, install hooks for the kids, move the boots to this side, take off the door) And ideas of where to purchase the needed items. She also noted empty bookshelves and dressers and where they could be used elsewhere in the house. (who knew I had 3 empty dressers and 4 bookshelves to play with?) I followed with my pen & paper, taking copious notes and explaining my "organizational style". (those who know me well realize that I don't really have an organizational style...)

J gave me ideas for games to play with the kids to get them to do their part in the cleanup of the house, and a structure to do so. (Choose a time an hour before bed, set the timer for 20 minutes, give everyone a basket for their stuff & yell "go!" Race to get everything off the floor and PUT AWAY IN IT'S PROPER PLACE before the timer goes off. ) I mean, gee, that's a great idea, why can't I think of these things? I can think of 50 different things to make out of popsicle sticks, but I can't think of a way to get kids to pick up their socks. Sigh.

She also looked at my huge storage area (i.e. the basement!) and gave me ideas for that too. Then we tackled the room in the basement that could be a game room, but needed all the toys off of the floor first. While we were cleaning that room, we found two of the ORGANIZER's business cards - I had picked them up a different times thinking I'd call her - and a book at the very bottom of all the toys entitled Confessions of an Organized Homemaker.

Well now, most of my books are on shelves (oh so pretty!) and the games are on their own shelves, and there's space on the floor, and we found the loveseat. I have a plan for each room, and ideas of how to attack them. Now if only I could find some way to live on 4 hours of sleep...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The organizer is coming! The organizer is coming!

OH SH*T, the organizer is coming.

I am approaching this with joy, and reservation. I crave order, simplicity, starkness; but I am afraid. Not of her judging me, because I know no one is harsher than I am about that! I'm afraid of what I'll learn about myself. Can I let the "stuff" go? What will happen to me once it's gone?
Will I be able to maintain? How many hours beyond the 3 1/2 I'm alloted will she have to be here?

She said not to clean before she comes. She needs to see how we use & don't use the space. I'm all aflutter. Since she said not to clean, I've had the biggest cleaning jones. Is that all I need? Someone to tell me not to do something, so I'll do it. The Reverse-Psychology Institute.

So, since she told me not to clean, I've been playing this week. On Monday, at the MSU Surplus I found a stack of vinyl records in the "free" pile. I took them home (yeah, I know, I am trying to git rid of stuff!) and looked up info on the web about making bowls from records. 200 degrees in the oven for 5-10 minutes, then form over whatever shape you like. Oh my. They look terrific and it is so fun! I've made some trays, some shallow bowls, some plant-pot-covers, and the beginnings of a purse. Now I have to figure out how to seal the labels, and sew in a lining in the purse - well, and a handle.

I also gave away 3 pieces of fabric from my stash.

Maybe getting rid of all this stuff will help get the rest of my life going. What-ever-it-is I'm doing next. I can only hope. and clean. and prepare for it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cleaning and the New Year

L went to a friend's house for a birthday party today. I drove him over, went up to the door like a good mom, and peeked in the house. Oh my. My resolution this year is to be happy with what I have. I should have waited to make that resolution.

The walk was shoveled, they had Christmas decorations outside. The door opened to reveal a foyer, with halls on both sides of the wide staircase, The dining room table was dust-free, and shining. The thing that struck me was There was nothing on the stairs or the floors. This place was beautiful, and clean, and everything had a place. Obviously, they don't have pets, or children under 10. But oh, how I long for a room without stuff on the floor.

We have too much stuff. Too many books, too many toys, too many clothes. I know that. I know that I buy too much as well. Last year I gave 20 bags of stuff to Goodwill. I have two boxes of books ready to go in the next shipment. Oh, it is so hard to get rid of books. Like a junkie, I get a little shaky at the thought of fewer books around me. I haven't read every one, and I probably won't. So what's with this irrational desire to keep them, stroke them, need them? Oh Buddha mind, don't fail me now! I need to keep the lesson of impermance up front & centered.

And still, that siren Amazon calls.(well, emails at any rate) And the local bookstore (Schuler's) and I'm swayed by the call of QPB (free books!) and the emails from Barnes & Noble's. Somehow, I can't say no. This is my year of enough! I shall use the library, I shall get rid of 2 books for every one I bring in.

I do have an appointment with a personal organizer. I cannot wait. Somedays I just want to call for a dumpster. I get bogged down with the idea that I should be a steward for some of this stuff - preserve it for future generations, or at least my brothers, or cousins, or children. And then the headaches set in, and the clenched teeth & aching jaws.

What I need is an older sister to come in and clean up. C gets upset because I don't put things away; well, sometimes they don't have a place. Sometimes I get tired of being the designated place-finder. Sometimes I'm just too tired from cleaning up messes that other people make, that I just can't find the energy.

Today I was going to change my name. If I heard "Maaaammaaa" ONE.MORE.TIME. I was going to scream. How hard is it to walk around and find me? I haven't left the kitchen for more that 10 mintues today, and that was to either go to the laundry room or the rest room. Grrrr.

Wow. Time for some tea, methinks. Relax those jaw muscles, put my feet up, watch some brainless TV. (of course, there are dishes in the sink, dirt on the floor, laundry to fold...) sigh.

I am reading Kate Maloy's Every Last Cuckoo and enjoying it immensely!