Category Archives: Housekeeping – Maintenance

Closet Purge/Reorganization Project Finished

I have now finished going through my closet with my hot weather clothes, all my shoes, purses, scarves, etc. For me, this is good. Before, my shoes were all over the floor, for example. To the right of the shelves you can see my scarves and a hint of my purses.

 

My shoes are actually in the shelves for shoes now!

 

Casual tops are on the top. Dressier (as far as I GET dressier) on the bottom.)

I’ve tried everything on and have brought a LOT of stuff downstairs and dumped it in the foyer corner until I start listing and bagging things for donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. THAT’S for another day, though.

I’m going to go put my feet up and dive into another book. :0)

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Filed under Challenges, giving, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Smiling Fish

I bought an aquarium vacuum quite some time ago, but didn’t use it until yesterday. It’s a siphon-type apparatus. You sink the main part, getting it full of water, then turn and bump it up and down a few times to get the siphon action going. (This proved to need two of us yesterday, though I think one person is supposed to be able to do it by themself.)

Once we got it siphoning, it did a good job of sucking up the gravel and separating the debris from it, sucking it out through the tube and into the sink.

 

I then added the decorations, new filter cartridge, etc, and topped it off with the fish. They’ve been smiling ever since, and the water is nice and clear today.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Project for the Day

I got six of these fabric bins so that I could do a better job of storing Afghans, blankets, throws, and quilts. I have shelves upstairs, but I want these to stay clean. Living up on top of a ridge line means that whenever doors are opened (50+ times a day letting doggies, cats, or people in and out) dust blows in. No matter what I do, I’m always finding dust all over everything. I refuse to dust and vacuum more than a couple of times a week, so we live with both dust and animal hair.

These bins seem like a good way to store my extras dust-free. They have zippered tops and open up nice and wide. They have a plastic ‘stripe’ down the front so you can easily see what is inside. I’m hopeful that these will be at least part of a solution to my storage challenges.

 

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Bug Busting

 

I told you yesterday that a scorpion casually waltzed up from the drain hole in the sink and mooned me night before last while I was sleepily washing my face getting ready for bed.

I won’t have it! Today I’m concentrating on the second floor, getting stuff up off the floor, vacuuming thoroughly, and then spraying all around the baseboards, windows and doorways with our good bug sprayer. One of the bug companies years ago said, “The only good bug is a dead bug.” I basically agree – emotionally – since I know that bugs are good for something in our ecology. I just don’t want them to be good for the ecology in my house!

We’re in the awkward stage for the commercial bug sprayers to come back here. They spray, and for two weeks afterwards, if you see a live bug, you call and they’ll come back and spray again at no extra charge. We’re about halfway between the no charge respray and them coming again for the contracted quarterly treatment. I’m trying not to have to pay an extra charge, if I can knock these out myself in-between.

So far, I’ve finished our master bedroom and the master bath, plus our two closets. I’ll rest a bit and then go up and tackle the next section.  Hopefully, I’ll finish the second floor before the end of the day.

I hope it’s not buggy where you are.

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance

I’ve Earned my Salt Today

“To be ‘worth one’s salt’ is to be worth one’s pay. Our word salary derives from the Latin salarium, (sal is the Latin word for salt). There is some debate over the origin of the word salarium, but most scholars accept that it was the money allowed to Roman soldiers for the purchase of salt. Roman soldiers weren’t actually paid in salt, as some suggest. They were obliged to buy their own food, weapons etc. and had the cost of these deducted from their wages in advance.”

I learned this phrase from my parents and just now realized I had no idea where the phrase came from or if I were using it correctly. (My parents meant “earning your food and upkeep.”)

I’ve been working most of the afternoon – inside – because it’s way too hot to be working outside at least until it’s almost dark.

amazing-creature.blogspot.com

The main thing I accomplished today was cleaning the floors on our first floor. I vacuumed the tiles and then mopped. (Pantry, kitchen, dining area, entryway to living room, two half-baths, and the utility room.)

I then vacuumed the carpeted flooring (office, foyer, and living room.)

We’re much better than we were, though it’s never all clean at the same time. I feel much better about things, though, and that’s good for the day.

I’m feeling as limp as the sweet puppy above, so I think I’ll get a bottle of water and go put my feet up awhile.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

The Insanity Continues

coolanimalspics.blogspot.com

Yesterday we had a pop-up shower in the afternoon. Apparently, this energized my husband because the rest of the afternoon into the evening was filled with outside work.

  • He announced that he had unplugged the hummingbird bird bath we made, saying it wasn’t working; no hummingbirds – or ANY birds – used it; and that it was making a mess on the deck. The fact that all of these things were true didn’t help with the disappointment when starting to dismantle it. I took the decorative stuff, bricks and rocks out of it, then unplugged the hose that attached to it. My husband then helped me dismantle the whole thing, saving what was reusable and putting the rest of the stuff into the burn barrel. He started the fire that got rid of the rest of the bird bath parts. Meanwhile, I decided to leave the ‘table’ we made for the bird bath and will put a large, low, round planter with saucer on it. I got a bag of potting soil from our stash and wheelbarrowed it over to the steps of the deck. I heaved the bag out onto a step and was bringing the wheelbarrow back to its place when I saw my husband looking into the trees on one side of our property. (I should have known.)  I continued the bird bath project, intending to trade out the good hose that went to the bird bath for the ratty one that hangs on the bricks beside the nook planter. I wasn’t making any progress, so I went to ask for my husband’s help.
  • He was standing with the chain saw in his hand, wanting ME to come help HIM. There was a tall, dead tree he had decided should come down. I pointed out that the tree would fall on the electric wires that run to the shop. He was unimpressed and undeterred. He was trying to cut a wedge in the tree, but the chainsaw blades seemed to be dull. We spent the next half hour or so changing out the blade and the blade holder in the hot shop. Then we went back out. When the wedge had been cut, I got on the back side of the tree and prepared to push. This came quickly, with the tree coming right down on the wires, but thankfully bouncing off without taking them down.

How is it that the person you love most in the world is also the person you consider killing from time to time?

I was hostile, but he was standing there, looking SMUG, saying, “I told you it wouldn’t be a problem.” This was only the beginning, since we needed to cut the whole tree up and drag it to our growing wood pile that we’ll burn ‘sometime when it’s safer.’ It took us another two hours for my husband to chain saw the tree into pieces and me to drag all the pieces and heave them onto the pile.

We limped back to the house, shed our yucky clothes directly into the washing machine and took showers. It took me a bottle of water, shower, and resting for about an hour before I felt human again.

Needless to say, the bird bath project remains unfinished. I do have plans to use some of the decorative stuff I took out of the bird bath in the aquarium next cleaning. I’ll enlist my husband’s help when we get back from the Breakfast Bunch to help me with the hose and the potting soil for the planter. I hope to plant some pretty flowers in it today.

And GUESS WHAT! – we have MORE rain in the forecast for this afternoon and evening…

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Are Fish ‘Affectionate?’

I’ve been told that goldfish are ‘dirtier’ than most aquarium fish and take  a lot more care in keeping their bowl or aquarium clean. I’ll have to agree that it seems I need to completely change the water every week or so, even with a good filter with a cartridge I change twice as often as the box suggests.

My husband keeps suggesting that the fish are too much work, that they don’t ‘love’ us, aren’t affectionate, don’t do tricks or anything – just make more work for us. I just look at him when he starts this. He finally shrugs and gives up. I’M the one who is doing the work, after all.

My fish don’t have names. To be honest I can’t tell the three more regular goldfish apart. I have a white one with a gold spot who could have a name, but I don’t want to treat that one any differently than the others.

I don’t know if my fishies are ‘affectionate,’ or not. The only thing they do that melts my heart is that when I come up to the glass to feed them twice a day, they see me, bunch up in the top right corner of the aquarium and wriggle their little bodies as fast as they can go, mouths opening and closing.  I don’t really know why I find that ‘sweet,’  but I do.

 

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It’s Official

household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com

We now have clean, repaired gutters with screen covers, plus no more huge dead tree limbs hanging down over the driveway, ready to fall on us as we pass!

Yesterday Ryan Edwards and his partner from Edwards Gutter Cleaning, 479-462-2663, spent 4 hours in 97 degree (heat index 108) heat, getting us fixed up. I provided bottles of cold water and a bathroom, and they handled everything else. Surprisingly, we actually HAD screens in part of the guttering! He repaired one end of the guttering in the back, where it was drooping at the wrong angle, replaced some of the screens that weren’t tight, cleaning everything out and making sure all was working well. They took a ‘break’ at one point, cutting down the dead branches from the mimosa tree at the bottom of the driveway, then came back up to continue work on the gutters. They found almost nothing in the guttering that is the closest to the few large trees we have around the house. Mostly they found tiny gravel from the shingles.

We had agreed on a price for the guttering and branch removal, but he cut the price due to the fact we already had screens in part of the gutters!

When he finished, I told him and his partner how much I appreciated them. I stressed that I was pleased that he did what he said he would do. He called to keep me informed of when he would be here. When he was delayed, he called to tell me that. He treated us like real people who might have a life and plans that didn’t include waiting around for service. He did a beautiful job, leaving everything clean. I told him that I had already written about him on my blog and that I would do so again. He was really happy about that. :0)

Ryan Edwards is an honest, hard-working man you can depend on. He doesn’t try to gouge you on prices. He doesn’t pressure you. He listens carefully when you’re explaining what you would like estimates for, and gives them straightforwardly. He doesn’t try to sell you anything you don’t want. He takes pride in a job well done. I recommend him highly and will call him whenever I have outside handyman type work. I hit the jackpot on great companies!

 

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Filed under Great Companies Who Deserve Your Business, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Hard-Working Guys

deckerhomerepairs.com

The gutter cleaning guys called and said they were delayed, and that they would be here around 2 pm. They got here as promised, and started work.  I received an estimate from the owner for cutting the broken branch off the mimosa tree at the bottom of the driveway, so they’re going to do that, too.

I showed them the garage fridge which has bottles of cold water, as well as where a bathroom was before they started. I just went to check on them, because it is SUPER hot out there. They seem to be doing fine. They were at the back of the house, trying to realign and support the end of the gutter run that is drooping. They’re cleaning the gutters, too.

One surprise – on the front of the house, one end of the house already has ‘screens’ on the guttering! They’ve been up there some 30 years or so, and WE haven’t had any interest in climbing up a two-story ladder to check things if we aren’t having problems, so I was really surprised. So was my husband!

I don’t know if they’ll change the estimate because of part of the guttering already having screens or not, but I’m inclined to pay them the full amount. The heat index is 108 this afternoon. I made sure they had cold water. They’re taking breaks every once in a while, sitting in the car a/c. I still feel bad it’s SOOO hot while they’re trying to work for us.

jaxstorm.realverse.us

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This Never Happens

MommyGoneViral-www.pinterest.com

We were scheduled to have our gutters cleaned out, one part repaired, and then gutter covers installed – plus an estimate to cut down a tree branch that broke during the last storm – this afternoon at 4 pm. I had told the man that we need to leave at 7:30 this evening, and he said if they didn’t finish, they would be back tomorrow.

Then the phone rang this morning. I thought, “Oh, great. They aren’t coming.”

To my surprise, he asked if it was ‘okay’ if they come at 12:45 this afternoon since they were running ahead of schedule. I GRACIOUSLY said, “That would be GREAT!” and then did a happy dance after I hung up. :0)

So far, I’m really impressed with this guy. His name is Ryan and his company is Edwards Gutter Cleaning.  479-462-2663. He does all kinds of outside handyman work. I found him through HomeAdvisor.com.

He has called when he said he would; called to give me updates or to check on things; came and checked what we needed carefully, and will now come sooner than scheduled. This never happens, but it’s such a beautiful thing when our luck with contractors is less than stellar.

Now if his work is good, I will put his card in my ‘dependable people’ file and call him first for outside handyman type jobs in the future.

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Lunacy

workingtruckworld.com

Recently I told you that we found a wonderful guy who is coming tomorrow afternoon to clean out our gutters, install covers, PLUS give us an estimate for taking down parts of two trees. He’ll have his chainsaw in the back of his vehicle so he can do the tree work while he’s here if we like the estimate.

Yesterday I was sitting in my comfortable chair in the living room reading when I heard a strange sound in the back yard. I looked out to see our truck backed up toward the evergreen tree that has a huge dead place in the middle of it due to the power company clearing things for their lines, cutting stuff down in a really careless way.  My husband was up on a ladder, precariously balanced on the slope that runs down to the actual tree trunk, trying to tie a nylon rope to the dead part of the tree.

I screeched silently, grabbed my sweatband and sunglasses and ran out to the truck. I held onto the ladder while my husband got the line tied. The other end of the line was on the trailer hitch on the back of the truck. Amber was in the back of the truck, looking delighted.

We tried the technique several times before we finally pulled the largest dead branch off the tree. We untied it and rolled the whole branch into the easement behind the evergreen, across from the greenhouse and the ham radio tower. We were then able to use another tool to grab another large piece of dead stuff and pull it down.  We couldn’t get all of the dead stuff, but it looks a lot better than it did.  We’re all still alive and no one was hurt.

We still have the mimosa at the bottom of the driveway that suffered a broken branch. It’s hanging down halfway onto the driveway. I’m picturing the two of us tackling THAT, too, today, ahead of the handyman coming tomorrow.  To do this, my husband will have to stand in the back of the truck and try to use the chain saw on the branch. I’ll be in the truck – positioning it as closely as possible – and then dragging the branches across the road as they’re cut and tossing them down into the ravine on the other side of the road from us.

I’m thinking that this is a pride thing, where it’s better to kill ourselves than have to admit to someone else we’re too old to do it…

Please wish us luck.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Amber’s Pool is Clean-ER

Our yellow lab ‘puppy’ is now is almost 16 months old. She weighs 92 pounds (officially on the vet’s scales) and to say that she loves water is the understatement of all time.

I try to clean her pool every 3 days or so, and I have to say, it’s a big job. When it’s half full, as it is in this picture, neither my husband nor I can lift the edge to try to empty it. We tried it together, with both of us on one side, and still can’t do it.

What we’ve finally come up with is to push down on one side, in effect, crumpling the plastic, pushing down hard as the water flows out. Then I take the car broom (long handled and really soft brush) and scrub it out with the rest of the old water. Then I crumple the side some more, getting as much water out as possible. THEN I’m barely able to lift one side as the rest of the water goes out.

When empty, it’s a simple thing of using a cleaner spray, scrubbing with the broom again, and then lots of rinsing. When the pool is clean, we put the hose on full blast with the thingie on the end that keeps the water flowing whether you’re holding it or not and put it in the pool with two bricks on top. When the pool is about half full, the job is done.

Today my husband wanted to help and insisted we bring Amber. He immediately figured out that wearing his socks and sandals wasn’t the best for dealing with LOTS of water, so he stood back.

Amber took my messing with her pool to mean it was play time and she kept trying to get into the pool with the yucky water. As I got the water out, it of course forms mud all around the pool, since the place my husband wants the pool now is in the shade and out of the way of the mower. Amber thought it was great fun to play in the mud – laying down in it at several points, and then trying again to get into the pool.

I finally got the pool half full. My husband got Amber to sit and I hosed her off – with her trying to bite the spray from the hose.

She jumped into the pool as we hung the hose back up on the end of the house, probably putting a bunch of mud into the freshly cleaned pool. I just ignored it, not wanting to see the damage so soon.

At least the water in the pool is clean-ER and cool now. I won’t cringe – at least for awhile, when Amber drinks it as she walks around the inside of the pool before plopping down in it.

  • Addendum – just now she barked at the garage door wanting to come in. I got her toweled off enough finally that I could let her in. She headed straight for the big dog bed in the living room for a well-earned nap.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Gutter Covers – The Estimate Game

Trying to get estimates for things you need done is not for sissies. I’ve never liked situations where you ‘bargain’ for things, and I’m not very good at fielding estimates, either.

We wanted gutter covers, thinking that this is a good idea as we’re too long in the tooth to be climbing up two-story ladders and trying to do anything these days. We don’t have much guttering, but I would like to take care of what we have the best way we can.

I went to HomeAdvisor.com and filled out a form about gutter cover estimates. Within a few minutes two of three people accessed had called me and arranged to come to the house to give us estimates. I now know, due to the estimates, that we have approximately 68 feet of guttering. It’s along the 2nd floor in the front, and part of the first floor in the back. We only put up the minimum, and it has worked well for us. In fact, when we doubled the size of our shop, we had them remove the guttering on the older part and have been happy with our decision.

The first estimate was $1020. Nice young guys. Good manners.

The second was $670, but no written estimate until I called him back, telling him we would do it, and it HAD to be done the next day.  To be honest, I was wary about this one.

My husband and I decided that each of these would cost more than we were willing to spend for this job. I started over today with estimates for just CLEANING the existing guttering and downspouts and adding a support to the end of the run at the back of the house.

This time there were apparently two available services, one of which said, “No available bookings” (whatever that means) beside their name.

Within 5 minutes the available company called me back. He was here to give us an estimate this afternoon. He said he also installs covers, so I asked him to give us an estimate on that, as well. He lists himself as a handyman, too, so that opens up a whole host of future activity with him if we’re happy.

He gave us an estimate for cleaning, repairing the one part of the guttering end on the back, AND the covers, of $300. SOLD!  He said he would call me back about whether they could do the job on Saturday or Monday. He called back in a couple of hours, and we’ve settled on Monday afternoon.

While he was here, I was griping that my husband and I are going to have to chain saw parts of two trees – an evergreen tree that the local power company savaged while they were making sure their lines were clear. They cut it off in a terrible fashion and we now have an unsightly and dangerous hunk of dead evergreen hanging from the top. A mimosa tree at the bottom of our driveway had one of its huge branches break off in the last big storm. It’s hanging at half mast, threatening to come down into the driveway, hopefully not on a vehicle under it at the time.

When the man called back about the guttering the way he promised, I asked him to give us a bid on cutting down the parts of both trees and hauling the debris away. He said he’ll put his chain saw in his truck Monday and he’ll give us an estimate then. If we like it, he’ll do it Monday while they’re here. If not, that’s fine.

I feel we’ve won the lottery on good sources and good people. I will continue to use HomeAdvisor.com for the odd jobs we need, and I will get and keep the handyman’s card in my ‘wonderful people’ file and we’ll probably give him several more jobs in the near future.

We came out pretty well for someone who doesn’t know anything about dealing with estimates…

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Shock and Awe

We have a Dyson Animal Vacuum Cleaner. Mine doesn’t have as much purple as the one in this picture, but it’s a wonderful vacuum. I’ve told you that I’m a slob – and that a sparkling clean, perfectly ordered home is not high on my list of priorities.

Lately, though, since we have two dogs and two cats, all of whom seem to be shedding hair as a main priority of their days – as well as 4 goldfish who thankfully DON’T shed, I’ve been vacuuming at least every 3 days, if not more, trying to keep up.

I started the vacuum today and my husband said, “Why are you vacuuming? You just finished.” I explained to him that it was the day before yesterday when I vacuumed the first floor. He shrugged, saying, “I don’t think it needs it.”

When I finished, having vacuumed the carpet in the office, foyer and living room, and the tile in the dining area, kitchen, pantry, utility room and two half-baths, I emptied the canister and brought the trashcan to my husband. He looked down and said, “UGH! Where did all that come from?” His face told the story. He looked a combination of shocked/disgusted/impressed, with an “euwwww!” set to his lips.

I kindly took the trash can away remarking that it was amazing how much the vacuum got up when “you didn’t think it needs it.”

I’m just really glad we have a great vacuum cleaner. I just wish that it were a bit less graphic about what was on our floors before I started….

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Gutter Covers?

LeafFilter Guard

The first of two people coming to give us estimates for covering our gutters is coming today.

As I’ve told you before, we have a two-story home. The guttering, of course, is along the edges of the 2nd floor roof. (Imagine that! :0) )  We are definitely too long in the tooth to be cleaning out the guttering – balancing on the two-story ladder, cleaning out the gutter, and then climbing down, moving the ladder a couple of feet over, then climbing up again….

We’ve seen the ads for the nice gutter covers on TV. I went to their website and they said their service wasn’t available in my area yet. I was disappointed, but decided that we could just continue to ignore our gutters.

Suddenly, two people called to talk about gutter covers! I found out later than they had been referred to us by HomeAdvisor.com. I didn’t remember going there, but I must have in my quest to find someone in our area.

Our information was given to three companies, two of which called and made appointments to come out and give us an estimate. The first one is coming this morning and the second is coming tomorrow afternoon. The second one asked me for an estimate of the number of feet of guttering we had. After I finished laughing, I told him I didn’t have a clue.

I’ll make sure I have an apples-to-apples comparison of the cost of this, including cleaning out the gutters, sealing the gutters (whatever that means – but it was in the ad on TV), warranty information (the ad said, “Lifetime warranty.” OUR life? The installer’s life? The gutter covers life? What does that MEAN?), clean up of all debris, cost of the project, and when they could do it.

I’m afraid, since I would really like to do this, we can’t afford it.

As my husband says, “Soon we will know.”

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Estimates

We saw some commercials about LeafGuard gutter covers and decided to check it out.

We live in a two-story home. We don’t have many gutters, but the ones we have are important. My husband and I agree that we’re too old to get up on a two-story ladder and try to clean our gutters out, and we’ve never even gotten estimates on getting our cleaned out.

I filled out an online form on the LeafGuard Website, got all finished and hit “Get a free estimate” and then a pop-up said “There is no service available in your area.” Shoot!

I messed around, looking for other avenues and all of a sudden the phone rang. It was a guy from North Little Rock asking me about coming for an estimate for gutter covers! That’s a little scary! I talked to him and he’s scheduled to come Monday morning. I found out that he found ME through HomeAdvisor.com – a place I’d gone a week or so ago to see if there was anyone in our area who could help us. I got another call from a second company about an hour ago. He’s scheduled to come Tuesday after 3pm. There is a third place that was listed on the HomeAdvisor site, so we may get another call today.

We’ll see what happens. It will be interesting to see if they all agree as to the state of our current guttering, whether they try to sell us more, how many feet of guttering they say we have, whether they charge or not for cleaning out the gutters before they would install the covers, what the warranty is, what they would charge, etc.

When we have the written estimates in hand, we’ll go back online to see the reviews, get Better Business Bureau ratings, etc.

This sounds like such a good thing to do that we probably can’t afford it, but it’s good to dream…

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Happy Fish

My goldfish seem happier with the new filter. Even though the filter itself is smaller, the design of the pump with a tube basically sucking the water through the pump seems to be working well.

 

The fish didn’t actually SAY anything, but they’re swimming around with great enthusiasm. Can fish smile?

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Ammo and Clothes Washer Pump

We order lots of things online, but we don’t usually get such an interesting combination in one delivery. Today the Fedex guy delivered 9mm ammunition and a replacement pump for our clothes washer.  Amber greeted him in the driveway having just gotten out of her pool. She jumped into the truck with him, making him laugh, even though she was dripping copiously.

We got a really good deal on 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo.

 

We didn’t get a great deal on the replacement clothes washer pump, but we needed it. Our washer has been sending us terse messages for the past couple of weeks saying it was unhappy. We got an “F02” which meant we should check the drain hose to see if were kinked or clogged, and a “SUD” which indicated that there were still suds in the rinse water.

We made sure the hose was fine. I figured out how to go ahead and use the washer, bypassing the error messages until the new pump arrived. It was delivered this morning, so when we got home from Lunch Bunch, we tackled replacing the pump. My husband found a video online that showed him at least the idea of what was required and how to attack it. In half an hour, he had the old pump off and the new pump on.

The old pump had a long screw and a penny in there which my husband thinks caused the clog to form. We don’t know when that happened, but the washer and dryer combo are 13 years old. We really don’t know how the washer was able to function at ALL with as much ‘stuff’ as it had in it. The washer is running happily now, free of clogs. It’s GOOD to have a husband who is good at diagnosing and fixing things.

Now I won’t have to shoot him with my new ammo! :0)

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Romaine Harvest and Yard Work

All of my romaine lettuce plants are bolting in the heat. That means that the plants which used to be fat and lush, suddenly shoot up into the air, looking like miniature trees. I tasted some of the leaves on the ‘trees’ and they tasted fine, so I cut off all the bolting parts of the plants, harvested the leaves and brought them in.

I couldn’t know less about what I’m doing, but the rest of each plant still looked pretty good, so I’m hoping there are good leaves to harvest later. Time will tell.

I brought in a big basket of the best leaves, dumped them into the sink so I could get them clean, and then stored them in gallon bags and put them in the fridge. We’ll have some in our salad with dinner this evening.

The sun is so hot I was really shot when I brought the leaves in. I let them soak in the sink while I rested and gulped water. I cooled off and then washed and stored the leaves, then rested again!

I just came in from scrubbing and refilling Amber’s pool. I use my husband’s car washing broom. It works just fine to clean without hurting the plastic of the pool. I loosen everything, drain about half the water out, then use the broom again, then dump the rest of the water out. Then I spray the pool out and leave the hose in the pool, held down by two bricks, to fill it.

When it was about half full, Amber came bounding around the house, looked at me, and then jumped right into the pool. She walked around, drank some of the water, then laid down full length in the water. I could almost hear her say, “Ahhhh!” as she gave me a very satisfied look. She got out, shook water all over me, then started barking at the hose. When I laughed, she jumped into the pool again and luxuriated some more. I finally finished filling the pool and put everything away. Amber is snoring on her bed in the living room now.

At dusk, my husband and I will do our first pass at cutting back the greenery on the sides of the driveway. I’ll put our battery-powered weed eater in the back and my sunglasses that wrap around, and my gloves, so that when we get to the bottom, we can do some weed whacking and pruning. Then we’ll go slowly up the other side of the driveway, cutting things back as we go, and we’ll be finished for the day. Our driveway is long and steep – about 650 feet, so this will take several passes to get it the way it should be.

I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day, too.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, holidays, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Weekend of Playing in the Dirt

stayathomeeducator.com via sites.psu.edu

 

This weekend we’ll be in and out, trying to get as much accomplished in the yard as we can – while living to tell the tale.

The weather looks like typical July or August for us – lots of bright sun, 90’s – 100+ temperatures and little, if any, chance of rain. The problem is that it’s only May!  We have doors and windows open most of the morning and then have to close up to run a/c for the afternoon and early evening, opening up again when if/when possible.

  • The bright sunshine after rain last week is causing our grass to grow as we watch, so mowing and weed-whacking will be one thing we need to do this weekend.
  • I need to scrub out and refill Amber’s kiddie pool. She doesn’t ‘swim’ in it a whole lot, but she rarely goes out during the day without running through it, drinking a bit of it, and maybe lying down in it enough to cool herself off a bit. (She is 14 months old now and weighs 93 lbs. To say it’s a ‘challenge’ for us to keep up with her is a laughable understatement. :0)
  • The rain and sunshine are causing the trees – and other ‘stuff’ on both sides of our long, steep driveway – to attempt to grow together, blocking anyone from coming up or going down. I’ll drive the truck slowly up and down the driveway – my husband with loppers and a ladder in the back – cutting things back. We’ll need to do this several times before it will be reasonable again. We also need to cut down things at the bottom of the driveway. Our robot is almost surrounded by greenery!
  • My raised bed square foot garden needs a lot of work. Yesterday we got some lettucy-type plants, broccoli ‘stir-fry’ plants, and some cantaloupe plants at the co-op. I got them planted, but need to harvest, prune, pull-up, and otherwise get the garden under better control. My bolted lettuce plants need to be pulled, chopped up, and added to our compost barrel.

And the list goes on. We’ll do as much as we can – resting between sessions and drinking boatloads of water.  Assuming we can do most of this by the end of the weekend, we’ll go to our local nursery next week to find some flowers for the deck and yard.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

 

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Filed under Gardening, holidays, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Joke on Us

gettyimages.ae

I started mowing the lawn yesterday, in a rush because we were going to have thunderstorms in the afternoon. My husband came out and took over when I had finished about half of the yard. I drank some water and then went out to run the leaf blower to clean up the front porch, sidewalks front and back and the garage pad of all the grass and dirt.

We both came in breathing pretty heavily and drank water again and rested.

Can you hear Mother Nature giggling? She has a cruel sense of humor sometimes. I think she loves seeing us rush around and then NOT send the rain…

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Filed under Funny Signs - Humor, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Mother Nature

Latest Decluttering Project

I’m going through the last group of books I brought into the office from the entertainment center in the living room. I’m listing some of them for sale on Amazon and bagging up the rest for a donation to our local library tomorrow to be sold at their next fundraiser.

It has taken most of 2 days to go through the shelves, bring the books in here, sort them, and then clean the living room.

 

I made my husband stop what he was doing and come in and look at the CLEAN and much better organized living room.

 

I’ve promised myself that I’m NOT going to take 30 years to declutter what it has taken us a bit over 30 years to accumulate!

 

As I finish each phase of this once-in-30-years declutter/give away, throw away/reorganize/cleaning long-term project I feel freer. We have been weighed down by too much ‘stuff’ for far too long. Since neither my husband nor I are great housekeepers or throw-awayers, things had gotten well out of hand when I started this in January.

Thus far we’ve made 7 trips with donations to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith, and tomorrow we should be able to make our 3rd trip to the local library to donate books. We definitely have a good start now, and I’ll continue tackling one area at a time, making pass after pass until it feels really good.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

A Little Progress

BuzzFeed

I’ve told you I’m a lousy housekeeper, and that almost anything takes priority in my day. Yesterday and today, though, I was determined to get our screened back porch cleaned up after the long winter, lots of wind and rain, and even more dust and pollen. When I took Amber’s kiddie pool off the porch, I was choking from all the ‘stuff’ I stirred up!

Yesterday I cleaned off the table, then cleaned each thing on the floor as I piled it on the table. I then swept. I dragged the garden hose onto the porch and hosed everything down, then scrubbed the floor.

Mohkam_Mopping-commons.wikimedia.org

Today I swept again, and then used a mop and combination cleaner and shine stuff to finish the floor. The porch actually looks pretty good right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look quickly!  The wind is blowing and we have a chance for rain tonight, so this won’t last.  I’m planning for us to enjoy our lunch there today.

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Entertainment Center Purge Project

Yesterday I started a new cleaning/purging/give away/throw away/reorganize project – the entertainment center in our living room.  The shelves cover the wall at the end of the room and are brimming over with DVDs, books, gadgets, throws, afghans, ‘fru-fru’s’ (as my husband calls them, and more.

This project is fraught with peril because my husband doesn’t want me to do away with any of his DVDs or books. I will simply see if I can reorganize them a bit and clean thoroughly (yesterday I did a first pass and choked on the dust.)

He has an idea about using the computer to record all of our DVDs onto the computer, rather than having the physical DVDs. I’M the one dragging feet about that. I told him that he can do that with his DVDs, but I wanted him to leave MINE alone.  :0)

I’m am going to seriously go through MY books and the other things in the shelves, seeing which I can sell on Amazon or donate to the local library for their next fund-raising sale. I’ll need to get up on a ladder to reach the back of each shelf, and that may be the extent of my exercise today.

This will be a several day project, with my trying to get more and more ruthless with each pass. (I’m starting with the large shovel ….)

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Ooh, Look!

Title Wave with Sue Fitzmaurice via Cathy Ruggiero

Actually, it isn’t QUITE as bad as this, but it’s a close thing. :0)

Today’s plans involve three things, now that our errands for the day have been done:

THING ONE: put our produce in the new mesh bags I ordered YESTERDAY from Amazon. They came today! I have no clue how they do that, but I love it. The Nutrisystem plans have you eating 4 servings of veggies per day, along with the other stuff. We love salads (and I’m growing two kinds of lettuce in our raised bed, square foot garden – ready to start harvesting). I also have some broccoli I bought from the store. (Later, I hope we can harvest from our broccoli plants.)  A “serving” of veggies is one cup raw veggies or 1/2 cup cooked veggies, as a general rule of thumb.

An article on the website suggests that we use mesh bags to store our produce – that they keep the produce fresher and they last longer. I thought it was worth a try. I’ll move our stuff into the new bags later this morning.  I bought these

The set includes 3 sizes of bags with drawstring tops. They seem to be well made. They are machine washable.

THING TWO:  Our deck is still in winter mode. It finally quit raining and the sun is out! I’m planning to start uncovering pots, emptying or filling pots, as necessary, to prepare for our buying mandevilla for the 4 large pots, and a combination of favorites for the rest of the pots on the deck. I’ll also start figuring out how to get our hummingbird birdbath going. This is a pretty large project, but I’ll take pics as things come together.

 

THING THREE:  We have a wall of built-in shelves on one end of our living room. We use it as an entertainment center, housing speakers, DVDs, books, TV, etc. I’ve been ignoring the fact that this area needs some purging, as well as re-arranging and cleaning. I’m going to try to at least get a good start on that today.

I hope you have a fun and/or productive day planned. Our weather is so nice right now we just opened the front and back doors to air the house out. :0)

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Good Day

Yesterday I was really good.

I scrubbed our kitchen within an inch of its life, moving everything, wiping it all down, scrubbing the stove and running its parts through the dishwasher, scrubbing the dining table and its lazy susan, the go-out table, the buffet, etc. and finishing up by vacuuming the pantry, kitchen, dining area, hallway, utility room and two half baths.

Later on, I listed the office supplies we were donating to the Veterans Thrift Store and bagged them up to take to Fort Smith today. I also continued reading the articles on the Nutrisystem site in an effort to know all I can before we start.

I’ve made up for my efforts yesterday by basically being a slug today. I haven’t accomplished much at all and even took a nap after we ate a late lunch.

The sun is finally shining after several days of really dark days with some good rain, so I’m feeling my spirits raise, as well. I hope you’ve had a good day today.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, giving, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

SERIOUS ‘Un-Filing’

tedlilyfanclub.blogspot.com

 

I just love this picture, so I had to put on MY serious face in order to tackle – and FINISH – going through the last 4-drawer file cabinet in our office this afternoon.

 

I’ve told you before that I’m a lousy housekeeper. I’m in the process on decluttering/purging/donating/throwing away over 30 years of ‘stuff’. I’ve finished PHASE I (with the exception of the basement, garage, and shop, because I foresee some REALLY serious discussions about what stays and what goes with my husband. These are on the ‘ignore’ list for now.

PHASE II started with going through our office again, this time concentrating on the drawers and shelves not done last time, plus the file cabinets (we have two 4-drawer file cabinets, one 2-drawer cabinet, and two file drawers in my desk.

The picture above shows you the obsolete files I removed from the file cabinet. It doesn’t show you the pile of hanging files, file folders, labels, etc. that also are out of there.

  • I’ll run this pile of ‘stuff’ through the shredder.
  • I’ll make a list and bag up what we’re donating to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith.

Other than the computer switch we’re suffering through right now, we’re pretty well fixed in the office now!

My husband is working on writing programs that will make backups of each of our computers, storing the backups for mine on his computer and vice versa. We still have the MAC to my left on the counter, waiting to be wiped and sold, the tower for my new system on the counter to my right, waiting to be moved under my counter and all the wiring rerouted and neatened up, and then another computer he’s working on in the corner that goes with his ham radio set up. When we get all this organized, the office clean-out project can be considered finished (except for HIS shelves, which are on the ‘ignore’ list. :0)

Progess is being made in the Lewis house!

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Nose Art

Each week (schedules allowing) we take our good friends bowling in Fort Smith.

Since Amber loves to go in the “CAR!” we now prepare for bowling night by vacuuming the back seats and the floor of our vehicle, plus wash the back side windows and back window due to Amber’s exuberant enjoyment of what wonderful things are outside. We have “nose art” all over the windows except for the one evening we go bowling. (We also clean off the cat paw prints all over the windshield.)

We exhibit her art on our front storm door, too. Since I’m a lousy housekeeper, I only ‘notice’ it when it gets pretty bad or when we’re expecting company and then do something about it.

Our friends and visitors like animals, but carrying the dog hair around on their clothes or having to look through nose art while trying to see out the windows of the truck are asking a bit too much…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Favorite Quotes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Purging Project Continues

There are two main areas in our house where things go IN, but never come OUT:  file cabinets and freezers.

FILE CABINETS– Recently I finished cleaning out a four-drawer file cabinet and two file drawers in my desk. I’m trying to get motivated to go through the other 4-drawer file cabinet in the office, but it has been low priority. I’ll attack it soon.

 

FREEZERS-  Since we’re on top of a ridge line outside the small town of Greenwood, Arkansas, we have always tried to prepare for bad weather, bad events, bad luck, etc. To this end we have backups on a lot of things, like a generator to start up when the power goes out, well water if the public water isn’t available, a fire place to warm us if we can’t use the heat (like when the generator is providing power) etc.

Since food is far too important for us, we have a fridge in the kitchen, another in the pantry, a third in the garage, plus a chest-type freezer in the garage. Since I’m also lazy, food has been put only in freezer bags and put in the various freezers, rather than using my vacuum sealer all the time, labeling and dating things that go in. The end result is a hodge podge of ‘stuff’ in the freezers, comforting in general, but pretty pathetic if actually used, since a lot of the items in there have freezer burn, are mystery items, or have been in there since 1492….

My efforts to purge/clean out/donate/throw away/clean/reorganize centered on the freezers the past week or so. I finally finished most of what I’m going to do in Phase I of the project this morning.

We have FIVE 39-gallon trash bags full of ‘stuff’ for the good trash people to pick up this week. We’ll put it down at the bottom of the driveway tonight on the way to pick up our good friends for an evening of fun, exercise, bowling and ice cream.

I have now promised myself that I won’t let this happen again. I have a nice vacuum sealer readily available in the pantry. From now on I WILL USE IT so I won’t have any more mystery items. I’ll be sure to label and date each thing and come up with a system for getting rid of things that have been in the freezers too long in the future.

*So promises the lady who religiously cleans every 30 years without fail!*

It DOES feel good to be able to open freezer doors and actually have space available……

 

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Office Clean Out – Phase 2 Finished

Molly doesn’t enjoy having her picture taken, but my efforts to take pictures of the office woke her up. I finally finished Phase 2 of the office clean out/purge/declutter project late this afternoon. I went through all the drawers and shelves, reorganizing, putting things in the donation pile, throwing things away, cleaning. The above is the office supplies/dog toys/dog bed area.

 

The supply area is now clean and mostly organized. I gathered a 39 gallon leaf bag of trash.

 

These shelves are between my desk to the left and the file cabinets and my computer area to the right. I went through all the file cabinets, too, except for the one on the other side of the room. We have two four-drawer file cabinets, one 2-drawer, and then my desk has a file drawer on either side.

 

I went through all the drawers in my desk recently, so catching up on filing was all that was needed here.

 

This is my computer area. I cleaned out the drawers on the left of the chair and the shelves to the right of the chair. The only things left are to put the new PC tower under the counter and reroute the wiring, plus wipe the MAC to the left of the monitors and box it for sale.

Even my husband, who is pretty oblivious to disarray, noticed the difference!

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering

Decluttering – Phase 2 Begins

Frugal and Thriving

I’m still a slob. There is almost anything that I put ahead of cleaning. At the beginning of the year I made myself a promise that I would go through things in my house religiously – once every 30 years or so – and REALLY make a difference. I also promised myself (yes, I talk to myself a lot) that I would make every effort to make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans, aka The Veterans Thrift Town in Fort Smith, plus our local library, once a month all year long until all was under control.

To date, we’ve made 6 donations to the Vets and 2 to the library – a mixed success rate, to say the least.

I took a break, but now I’m starting with Phase 2 of my decluttering/purging/reorganizing/cleaning promise.  The biggest areas of concern were tackled in Phase I. Large areas needing help from my husband remain our basement, garage, and the shop. The problem is that basically, he would like to throw away MY stuff and vice versa.  So I’ve put these on hold to ‘discuss’ another day.

Pinterest

Today I started on Phase 2 of our Office clean-up. I tackled a 4-drawer file cabinet that I discovered was a repository of old records from my website, Creative Artworks. I shut down the website last June. All the records were obsolete, just taking up space. So, I –

  • took almost everything out of the drawers
  • saved manila file folders that were still usable
  • gave away hanging file folders whose colors were really annoying (yuck green, even yuckier dirty mustard color) saving the many I still had whose colors are good (purple, a really nice shade of blue, bright yellow, etc.)
  • I put the things I could use back on the office shelves
  • put the hanging folders that were good, but that I didn’t want, in the ‘donation’ area,
  • threw away a large trash bag of obsolete ‘stuff’ that will go out for pickup tonight to be whisked away by the good trash people tomorrow.

The next step will be to relocate stuff that I can now store neatly in the file cabinet that have been looking for a home. I’ll clean out the office shelves more in the process and then clean when all is where it should be (assuming it gets that way.)

I’m making definite progress on my promise, even though I’m one-and-a-half donations behind to the local library. They collect books to sell to the public in order to raise money twice a year. They either just had a sale or are going to have one very soon; so as soon as that is done, I’ll get more serious about finding books around here that can be donated.

I still don’t like cleaning that much, but PURGING is beginning to feel really good!

 

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering