Category Archives: Housekeeping – Maintenance

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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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

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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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

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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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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Yet Another Challenge

If I were superstitious, I might believe in the Rule of Threes – where you have to endure three things going wrong before things get back to normal. But what we’ve been experiencing lately goes FARRRRR beyond this rule. It seems that every day we have at least one thing not working properly and needing to be fixed or replaced. I’ve been gritching about this stuff to you lately, and today we just dealt with another one!

This time, it was when I was doing the laundry. I put the first load in the dryer and started the 2nd load in the washer and then took the doggies out, who were telling me they would explode if I didn’t take them out NOW! (They lied. They got distracted and didn’t pee until we had been out about 10 minutes.

Duet Washer and Dryer Combo

(This pic shows the combo we have, but ours is several years old, and our utility room is not nearly as spacious and pretty as this one.)

My husband joined us in the front yard, saying, “Something is wrong with the dryer.” When we discussed it, the problem was that the utility room was getting hot. The dryer was running, but it usually doesn’t heat up the utility room noticeably.

We had to move a BUNCH of things out before we could even isolate the problem. I moved all the stuff on top of the washer and dryer out into the dining area. Then I moved the humongous dog bed we have in there for Amber. THEN we inched the washer out from the wall until we could see behind the dryer. The large flexible vent hose had come loose from the dryer and was lying on the floor, allowing hot hair directly from the dryer to come into the utility room.

We moved the washer out further so that my husband could get behind it. He decided that he could make things hold together the way they should if he wired the two parts of the hose together. Once that was done, I did the appalling job of cleaning the floor behind the washer and dryer and sweeping the things that had collected under the big dog bed.

We got the dryer and then the washer back where they were supposed to be and then I started moving everything I had moved OUT back IN again. We’re back to what passes for normal around here now, but it’s interesting to try to figure out what will go on strike next….

Thank goodness my husband can fix most things!

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Delighted and Appalled

Dyson Animal Ball Series

This is the later version of the Dyson vacuum I have. I’ve had it for several years now. Each time I use it, I’m delighted – and appalled – at all that I empty out of the cannister.

I KNOW I should probably vacuum every day, particularly since we have two shedding dogs and two shedding cats (the fish don’t shed, thank goodness). The truth is that almost everything takes precedence over house cleaning.

I’ve been noticing that our carpeted stairs were needing attention. Today was the day. I used the battery-powered portable Dyson that hangs in its charging center in the pantry. I can use the top, along with a couple of attachments, to clean the stairway. There was a bunch of matted hair in the stair creases (is there a name for this, other than crease?).

I first used the whisk broom, vigorously attacking the creases. It worked well. Dog and cat hair was flying off the stairs onto the foyer carpet.

Amber was in the office, but noticed me when she heard the sound of the whisk broom. She came running and saw furballs flying in the air. She snapped one out of the air and ate it. She thought it was a FINE game and smiled at me, wagging her tail. I kept her amused the whole time I did the first part of the stair cleaning. I have no clue how many furballs she ate…

I’ve now finished vacuuming with the hand-held Dyson and the crevice tool, plus the stairs tool, and then the foyer and living room with the Animal Dyson. It looks much better now.

I’m still delighted at the way the vacuums work. Dyson makes really good products. But, I have to tell you, when I empty the cannisters, I’m also appalled at all the dust, dirt, furballs, etc. that were on our carpet before I started. I know I’m a lousy housekeeper. I’ve told you I’m a slob. But this is powerful evidence that I speak the truth. Thank goodness I have good equipment when I finally bestir myself to use it!

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

Spent

FunnyPlanet

A wonderful combination of too much pulling, hauling and digging on the irrigation system with my husband yesterday and a night where I seemed to be looking at the clock each hour until right before the alarm went off are making me pretty worthless today.  I tried to curl up under my throw in my recliner after breakfast and initial chores were done, but aches and pains made me get up and take some Ibuprofen. “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” as Bette Davis wisely said.

Since I was up, I again noticed that the aquarium was still looking pretty sad. The too-large filter pump was in and working, but the top wouldn’t fit on the aquarium with that pump and the water looked cloudy. I decided that it was past time to do something about that.

 

An hour or so later, the aquarium is back together again . I took everything out, including the fish, siphoned all but an inch of the water out, scrubbed everything, put in the new, smaller filter pump with a new filter in it, put all the ‘stuff’ back in and then filled it up with specially treated water. Finally the fish were carefully scooped up, one by one, and put carefully back into the aquarium. The new filter is working nicely, the top now fits on the aquarium again, and the water is nice and clear Happy fish!

 

 

I stored the too-large pump and the filters that go with it, in case of another disaster. Keeping the sweet fish alive is the first priority.

 

 

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Irrigation System Makes Us Thirsty

article from Buzz Feed Partner

We just came in from two sessions of repairing our irrigation system in the front yard. My husband created a system from PVC pipes, elbows, and knees :0)  and hoses with clamps. When we turn the system on – on a timer once we start watering every day – the water comes through drilled holes in the PVC pipe. We used to spend almost an hour with hand-held hoses, trying to give our poor, thirsty plants enough water to keep them alive. We lost a lot of plants before we came up with the system we use now.

As with anything out in the sun, the hoses become brittle or break from a kink, develop leaks, etc. Today we fixed the two worst parts of our system. We’ll probably find places where hoses have burst, connections come loose, etc., when we turn it on, but we KNEW these two areas needed basically to be redone.

I was going to work out in my greenhouse, but when I saw what my husband had started, I dropped my plans and played ‘helper’ and ‘go-fer’ instead. I was also planning to change the filter pump in the aquarium and clean the whole thing out – since we got the new pump and filter inserts today at Wal-Mart, but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

While we were out getting parts and running other errands, we got some lunch to bring home. We also brought home a rotisserie chicken, so all I’ll have to do tonight is reheat that and make a salad. Wonderful!

I’m going to go drink a bottle of water and rest a bit now, since we worked for about three hours outside today, not counting the errands. A good day for old folks. :0)

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More Purging Progress

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After our last donation of ‘stuff’ from my art room, I came up with more – about half a 39-gallon trash bag full, and the bag sitting in our foyer, waiting.

Today I enlisted my husband’s help. We went through some really big bins in the basement that were filled with coats, jackets, rain gear, vests, etc. that weren’t worn all this fall or winter. We are going to donate a good half or more of what we went through, freeing up two large bins and one small bin downstairs. We’ll plan to make a trip to Fort Smith sometime in the coming week with a donation to the Veterans Thrift Store.

 

My next reorganization project will be my greenhouse.  These are pics from BEFORE I started deciding what belonged out there. This will actually be an ‘organization,‘ – rather than ‘re,’ – because all I’ve done since my husband and I built the greenhouse is take stuff out there and stash it, waiting for spring. This will be my first time trying to make sense of the space I have out there. I want to set up a planting area, a supplies area, and then have kind of a staging area for when the seeds start to make actual plants and before they’re ready to go out in the garden.

I need to do something about the floor out there because the black weed barrier you see here has torn in several places. We have some leftover rolls of carpet that I’ll probably spread out in walkways as an interim measure. I’m planning to use some of the bricks we’ll have when we take down the two damaged planters we have now and replace them.  I’ve never tried to make walkways with bricks before, but this seems like a good thing to try.

As I get rid of things I’m feeling better and better. I’m happy that I’m finding lots of things that others might like to use. I feel good that I’m throwing what isn’t good away. It feels good to have LESS. And it feels GREAT to have what I KEEP more organized.  As I go around the house, I see more and more things that need to be gone through, more that needs to be given away or thrown away. Purging and reorganizing seems to be good for the soul.

 

 

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“Have-to’s,” “Need-to’s,” and “Should’s”

ShangralaFamilyFun.com

Yesterday was a much-needed day of sloth for me.

Our good plumber had a guy call us regarding putting a snake into our clean-out pipe in the front. He came about 3pm and was gone 15 minutes, our problem fixed. The last time we needed this was in 2015 (my husband checked his log). We had to pay a fortune because we – and the guy – had to FIND the clean-out pipe. It wasn’t where we thought it was, and was buried after many years of things moving, shifting, and settling around here. After finding it, we added to the pipe so it sticks up out of our gravel. Some people might call this ‘ugly,’ but ugly is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Since our bill was about 1/3 of what it was last time, we call it, ‘beautiful.’

The only other significant thing I did was gather books and take a donation to our local library.

We are hopefully having our last day of rain and drizzles – looking forward to two or THREE days of sunshine! (THANKS to those of you who were still doing a rain dance for STOPPING!)

Since I’m not planning on diving into another purge/clean-out project today, I’m going to concentrate on getting back to my regular exercising regimen – walking, the elliptical trainer, and stretching via yoga. With all the cleaning, I haven’t done this and my poor old body is feeling it. I’m hoping that getting into my usual rhythm will loosen me up and ease my old woman’s pains.

‘Have-to’s’ and’ need-to’s,’ as well as ‘should’s’ have accumulated while my attention was elsewhere, so I’ll use today to see how many of those I can check off my list.

I wish you a happy, productive day – or give yourself permission for a wonderful day of sloth.

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The Art Room Reorganization Project is Finished!

BEFORE:

To refresh your memory a bit, this what my art room looked like before the purge/clean-up/reorganizing. This had gotten to the point there was hardly anywhere to sit down and no clear surface on which to work. Finding something was an awful prospect. NINE+ 39-gallon leaf bags of donation and FIVE 39-gallon leaf bags of trash later, things look a bit better.

HALLWAY OUTSIDE ART ROOM:

The shelves on the left WERE full of art supplies – glassware, gourds….. Now this is where quilts, Afghans, comforters, etc. are stored. The super-large Ziploc bags will keep the dust off and you can see what’s what. The fabric curtain at the right of the picture keeps dust off sheets, etc.

ART ROOM CLOSET:

This is a combination gift wrapping center, some finished artwork and mainly paint. This is also the entrance to our attic; hence, the ladder.

 

 

MAIN ART ROOM:

This area is set up for drawing (I’m trying to work my way through “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”) and the use of alcohol inks – a fun, messy art form I’m really enjoying.

 

This is my drafting table that was completely buried in the before pics. I paint note cards, thank you notes, stationery, etc. here. The drafting table is protected by a sheet of black and white vinyl, and then there is a thick piece of glass on which I put the work to paint.

 

This is the area where I tie ribbon on my stationery and note cards. I also do a bit of jewelry making.

 

Paper supplies, craft envelopes, etc.

 

I HOPE that you can see a difference. It will never be completely ‘tidy,’ because this is my play room. I could stack things neatly and finally have it ready for some enterprising person to photograph it for a magazine (in my dreams) but then I wouldn’t want to go in here because I didn’t want to mess it up. :0)

Now I feel free to go up there in the next few days and get started with a new idea I have for a line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes, and greeting cards. I’ve been dreaming about it for a couple of weeks now, so I’m itching to get started!

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Treasure is in the Eye of the Beholder

National Treasure Film Set-Wikipedia

Somehow the ancient, old, chaotic feel of this photo reminds me of my art room right now. I’ve pretty much finished gathering things for donation, though I’ve started another bag. I’m down to the nitty-gritty of going through things carefully, getting ruthless about whether I actually plan to USE whatever it is, and then deciding its fate.

This is harder because I’m finding lots of things, like pictures torn from magazines, that get my juices flowing. I’ve decided to pare these down to about 1/4 or less of what I currently have. I’ll make files of what I keep so that I might actually be able to find them later.

I’m finding ‘treasures’ though – things I’ve had for years that have been buried. I’m loving this – but the finding of wonderful things makes it harder to make significant progress on my efforts to purge/give away/throw away/clean and reorganize.

I did finally uncover a chair, so I can sit in the middle of the chaos and go through things. I put in two sessions yesterday and will do at least that much today. I’m hoping to be able to share pics with you soon.

In the meantime, who knows what treasures I’ll find today!

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Feeling Lighter

arts-kids

We just got back from taking another donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. We took 9 large leaf bags, so my art room is definitely feeling lighter. It’ll feel even lighter when we take the two large bags of trash I added to our regular tonight!

Now that the decks are cleared a bit more, I can concentrate on starting to put things where they will live. I’ll probably shed more, but the majority of the give-away or throw-away portion of the purge and clean-up is done.

Yesterday I finished reorganizing the hallway outside the art room. Quilts, afghans and comforters are now all bagged up and on the shelves that formerly held art supplies. The sheets are kept behind a shower curtain across the shelves to keep the dust down.

I’m excited about finally getting to reorganize some things because that means I’m at least one day closer to being able to actually USING the art room to make something!

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Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Garrett’s Moving & Storage

This isn’t my art room, but I guess it COULD be.  My husband came in last night, hoping to see a good amount of progress. However, this is one of those projects that looks worse until it’s completely finished.  He looked shocked, and then, trying to say something tactful, managed, “I guess it’s got to look like an explosion to show you’re doing something.” (He’s sill alive, so I guess it worked.)

I’ve centralized our quilts and comforters storage, pulling things from our bedroom, the guest room, and two cedar chests. I should finish the reorganization of my linen closet area in the hallway today. I’m reorganizing the art room closet, as well as the main room, so things that come out of there are going

  • into a donation bag
  • into the trash
  • onto a table in the main room until I make a place to put it

I also took everything out of a drawer in the drafting table. I was looking for a key for the cedar chest under an art room table. I didn’t find one, but when things go back in the drawer, it’ll be much nicer. :0)  It turned out that I didn’t NEED the key for the cedar chest! I pulled it out laboriously (the thing really seems to weigh a TON). I found that you push IN the area of the keyhole and lift up on the lid at the same time. Wallah! It was filled with ‘stuff’ of all types. UGH. It is now empty, pushed back under the art room table, with a FEW large things that need to be flat on top – at least for the moment.

The plans are to bring the bags of trash down to be put out tomorrow night, AND to bring down the donation bags that we’re planning to take to the Veterans Thrift Store Monday or Tuesday.  Those two things will clear the decks for more rearranging of the stuff remaining in the room….

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That Awkward Stage…

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I have several shelves inside the art room, inside the adjoining closet, and outside the art room in the hallway completely cleared now. The result, after 8 leaf bags of donations and two of trash, is that the art room – right now – looks worse than when I started  ( if that’s possible.)  It certainly looks as if a bomb hand landed when you open the door…

I’m telling myself firmly that I AM making progress.

Today I’m going to start putting some things away in the place they’re going to live. That should clear the decks – if only a bit – to make it so I can find a chair to sit and rest on from time to time.

One weird problem I didn’t foresee – I have a cedar chest that has a cushion top that I got from my mom. It weighs a TON, more or less. I don’t want to get rid of it, so I put it under one of the tables in the art room. It eventually was buried beneath lots of wonderful sheets of posterboard, large frame mats, and other stuff over the years. I uncovered it yesterday. I then proceeded to pull it out from the wall a bit and open it. I couldn’t! It’s locked. I have no clue where a key is. I’ll look around today, but I’ve already talked to my husband, asking him to use his nefarious lock-picking skills, to open it for me. It may be completely empty OR stuffed. I don’t have any idea which. Today the mystery will hopefully be solved.

You won’t see pics until I can at least get around in there without falling on my rear. I’m still hopeful that the project will be substantially, if not completely, finished by the end of the weekend.

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And the Clean-out of the Art Room Continues

Mairtown Kindergarten-Ephemeral Art

I love this photo.

Yesterday I told you that I thought I had maybe two more leaf bags of things to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store and then I could begin cleaning and organizing. I filled both bags and am still going – if not STRONG – still going.

Something nice is happening, though, as I go through things.

For awhile I was sad because I seemed to be shedding ‘who I was,’ as well as ‘stuff.’  It was hard for me to give anything away. I might need it for something….

Now I’m actually making some good decisions on what I really enjoy doing, and would like to continue doing. An example of this is painting glassware. I’m thinking of new things to do, new designs to try. We have a sand blaster in the shop and I’m looking forward to ‘frosting’ some designs I cut out, plus I find I really enjoy trying to etch the glass with my little dremel tool.  I would like to watch some YouTube videos of someone who knows what they’re doing and then see what I can do.

Once I decide that I no longer really need to do an art form, I find lots of supplies and tools to give away. I’m actually feeling freer – eager to get things organized so I can play again.  I’m hoping to gather the last of the donations from the art room finished by the end of the week, if not before, so I can then figure out where I want to put things. Meanwhile, I have several fun ideas rattling around in my head – giving me motivation to keep on keepin’ on!

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Seeing the Light at the End?

artandcreativity.blogspot.com

I’m going back upstairs to do another session in my art room clean up project. We took 6 large leaf bags of donations to the Veterans Thrift Store this week and I have 4 more filled. I think maybe one or two more bags of donations and then I’ll concentrate on continuing to throw away while I clean and reorganize.

The shelve in the hall are emptying of the supplies I’m donating, so I’m going to include those shelves in the reorganization project – using them for longer term storage for linen closet type stuff. This will centralize things from our master bedroom and the guest room. I have some large bags to put quilts and blankets in. I’ll cover up comforters we’re not using now, too.  I really hadn’t thought about the new use for the shelves, but things evolved as I began to get rid of things.

I’m hoping to finish the art room decluttering/purge/reorganization project by the end of this week. I’ll take pics to show you. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to starting to create some ideas that have popped up while trying to go through piles and piles of ‘stuff.’ :0)

 

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Little by Little…

 

I’m feeling somewhat like “The Little Engine That Could” today. I keep saying the equivalent of, “I think I can. I think I can” while trying to clean out my art room.

 

The art room is an accumulation of about 20 years, rather than 30, as some of the rest of my clean-out projects have been, but it’s harder for me because of the emotional attachment and illusions of ‘some day.’  I have a good start now. I feel even better because after filling 6 large leaf bags full of things I think others might enjoy playing with, we took the donation yesterday. (These were all lined up in the foyer downstairs). Now the decks have been cleared and I’m ready to start another session. :0)

As I’m cleaning, I’m making decisions about what I want to continue to do after the clean-out is finished. I’m starting to feel less sad that I’m not going to do some things anymore because I can concentrate on what I still love to do. I’ll have more room to organize the things I need for each type of art or craft.

(My husband, who sometimes wears the hat of “Balloon Pricker in Chief,” continues to ask if I’ve started cleaning things out yet. He finally quit doing that – at least for the moment – when he helped load the truck and then UNload it at the Veterans Thrift Store yesterday…)

As I also clean out supply shelves my husband put up for me in the hallway upstairs outside the actual art room, I’m seeing them as being more useful as added linen closet type space – an option I didn’t have before!

I AM feeling better as I do this. I’ve given away a LOT of things. I’ve thrown away a LOT of things. I’ve reorganized what’s left in each area so that I know what we have and where it is (mostly).  When my art room is cleaned and better organized, I look forward to starting actually USING it to start trying to create the ideas that have been rattling around in my head.  :0)

 

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Thoughts on The Art Room Project

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I’ve made more progress today on cleaning out my art room. I have a total of FOUR 39 gallon leaf bags full of stuff to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store soon.

The thing I didn’t expect was that this project would make me so emotionally tired, too.

I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to create things, paint things, decorate stuff – to sell on my former website, Creative Artworks. Last year I closed the website down, shifting my work to Etsy  and  ArtFire.

Now I’m trying to pare down what I’m trying to create and the materials I need to make them. This is surprisingly hard, in that I’m closing some doors. I’ll feel better once this is finished and I have more room to spread out and start trying to make ideas rattling around in my head come to fruition, but I have to talk to myself, pushing myself to admit I no longer want to make something and actually gather the materials to give to others. I’m happy to provide materials for others who might love making use of them, it’s just hard to make my creative world a bit smaller.

So now I’m trying to picture my art room looking clean and spacious, trying to gather motivation to continue this needed project. Some things are more difficult to go through. It was much easier when it was pots and pans…

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