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Act I – Rosy-fingered Dawn

I awoke this morning to a tongue wash. Harper has a curious habit of licking me all over from the neck up. This isn’t limited to just the cheeks or the nape of the neck but all over, including the scalp and hair. She doesn’t do this to Someone. We are bewildered why she does this only to me. Someone and I use the same soap and shampoo so that isn’t it. Perhaps I am just that more tasty. I’ve been accused of rubbing behind the ears with raw cutlets but this is mere slander. It is rather sweet that she does it, but I am rawther grungy afterwards and need a good rinse.  Anyway, it was my wake up call to not only get clean but clean up in general. There is work to be done.

Act II – Morning 

I  just sat down from cleaning the kitchen and I am simply exhausted.  That’s too bad as there is plenty more to do. I put my foot down this week to close all the windows and turn on the AC to keep out the high-pollution pollen-saturated Arizona air. Now that contagion is no longer blowing in at a constant clip I can dust etc. without feeling it is futile as shoveling snow during a Chicago blizzard.  I must pace myself lest I pull a muscle.  Someone is leaving me ‘Home Alone’ all day today so I have plenty of time to tidy up. I am not a germaphobe but I like to regularly change the sheets and towels maybe once a week if I remember to do so. The washer and dryer are going allegro no troppo as are the dishwasher and ironing board.

Like Cinderella or Snow White I like to clean to music. I will wait until after Someone leaves to turn up the tunes especially the ones he doesn’t like.  Podcasts are iffy as background noise for I either don’t listen well or vice versa and do a bad mop job. Hate when that happens. 

Act III – Bedknobs and Broomsticks 

Last week Someone moved the beds around. Pay attention now as this rivals the description of a Jospeh Conrad short story.  When The Lovely Neighbor moved away she gave us her king-size-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown bed which we erected in the master bedroom. The queen-size bed was disassembled and piled up in pieces in The Blue Room (thus making the room untenable).  Someone recently erected the Blue Room nee Master Bedroom queen-size bed into the Dragon Room, thus displacing the brass twin bed to wonder around the house looking for an opening. The brass bed settled into The Blue Room. I don’t know what happened to the futon that was originally in the Blue Room. I think it stayed there under the queen bed before all the beds started moving about. He  states he took the futon apart and put it somewhere.  I hope today to find it.  

The bedroom farce certainly generated upheaval and lots of dust. All sorts of items were discovered lurking under the beds. They are now ON the beds and in desperate need of attention.  It will be a long tidy-up day indeed. Bets are on I will fall into one of them by afternoon for a well needed snooze.

 

 

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Last night we got an email from good Mr. Dunn, the Wizard of Taxes did the deed: we are getting a sizeable tax return – much to my surprise as it was the first year filing as a married man and I was a stingy bastard last year who didn’t donate much to anyone – or so I thought. Apparently neither was true – or true enough to make a difference. The tax return looks about the same as in times past.

This bean bonanza makes for a good reason to sit down with Someone and discuss what to do with the booty. There is no lack of things about the house that need attention. Some are in desperate need of fixing. We have developed a slovenly habit if something breaks down we don’t attend it  but just let it sit.  The 2001 Honda (may it rest in peace) sits in the garage untenable. It makes me feel white trashy viz. seeing old vehicles rusting away on lawns.  Oh the embarrassment.

Getting a new jalopy is high on the list of things wanting attention but the AC may take precedent. Summer is coming to paraphrase ‘Game of Thrones’. The 37C temperatures combined with the high pollen of April are already making sleeping a miserable experience.

What else wants doing? The outside electric lights haven’t worked for some time. Do let’s call in the Electrician (or someone like him).  Perhaps we should hire a Hercules-like handyman for the myriad labors like sanding and shellacking the patio furniture and hauling away the dead plants (of which we have plenty).

If there is anything left, there are summer plans to make still. The one travel necessity is tickets to MI this August for Step-nephew’s wedding. I may put my foot down (both of them) and persuade ourselves to hire a proper maid service to remove all the dog hair dust bunnies.

The Bad Idea Bears (in league with The Skanks) suggest I buy rather a fancy piece of art for the alcove off the guest room. It’s been empty for ages; it seems to scream ‘fill me with a statue or glassware”. Fat chance of that!  ADHD buying and/or impulsive Archetypes are no match for the limits and structure of Someone.  The dear !

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Harper had a bawth this evening. Now her fur feels light and fluffy and she smells like baby shampoo. It is rather sweet, particularly after a week where I have waken up to the redolence of dog. “You need a bath” I told her this morning. She blinked a few times as if to communicate she finds my opinion on the matter childlike and unamusing.  She suffered her bath with quiet dignity but afterwards she perked right up with a good towel rub and a treat and all is good. Temporarily.

Last weekend I walked into the bathroom and looked around at the grimy vanities splattered with gunge and at the telltale dust bunnies of dog hair and decided things had gone too far and one more step we would end up living in cardboard boxes and eating out of paper bags.  I canceled going to the gym and postponed the usual Saturday morning there’s-work-to-be-done chores for a much needed bathroom tidy up loo included.

It took hours. I don’t think this is due to the depth of the dirt but from my lack of experience. I’ve never been taught how to tidy-up with efficacy and timeliness.  I’ve learned to start at the top with the dusting and end with the moping. I suspect certain cleaning supplies work best for particular surfaces, but when in doubt Windex seems to be the panacea for all cleaning purposes.  It makes the room smell clean anyway.

As is my wont, when I tidy up I wonder where on earth does all the dust and grime come from. I know the answers: the dust is from the open windows and the grime (I am told) is the result of continuous epithelial discard AKA dead skin. Sweeping under the vanities always reveals several dropped pills from the weekly ritual of filling the pill boxes.  Harper watches me in quiet puzzlement, apparently waiting for me to discover something edible.  She tends to quickly vanish when I get out the vacuum cleaner. May I say here I have yet to run the damned thing without running over its own cord or getting the curtain strings tangled up in the roller?

I suppose I would be a more proficient housecleaner if I cleaned things more regularly or had someone teach me how to do it.  I think the hours it takes to do it myself may  not be worth it; I could get someone who knows what she is doing for a fraction of my own hourly rate.

All the same there is a quiet satisfaction of having tidied up a mess even if the effort is half-baked. Next time I will try not to forget to include the bathtub and shower stall.

house-cleaning-11688-570x403I woke this morning to realize the house is a mess. The proverbial laundry list of things wanting desperate attention is a long as the actual laundry list. The kitchen is a horror-show; it resembles something seen in expose documentaries when they break into homes of hoarders or into kitten-mill trailers. I fear we are only one step away going off the cliff towards living in cardboard boxes and eating out of brown paper bags. Oh the embarrassment. Needless to say the three day weekend welcoming the new year will consist of a tidy-up of mammoth proportion, worthy of a Latina madre on a Saturday morning.*

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There is nothing like a healthy purge of el polvo to make one feel better, or at least Urs Truly. I plan to gather up the uneaten Christmas sweets and bring them to work where the goats can get’em. The refrigerator continues to accumulate leftovers with dubious expiration dates; these are “Toss city” too.

I’ve taken a tip from Hair Furor: I’ve banned the Cup Fairies and their coteries, hoping keys, cups, and wearing apparel stop being moved about.

In this Arizona/Aegean stables project I want to find a certain Spo-shirt that has gone a-missing. Alas, alas! One of my favorites can’t be located. I have a terrible intuition I forgot it in some hotel during my 2017 travels. If so, it is my first loss of such. It is hoped the combination of tidy-up and the new year resolution to not lose things ascertain this disaster doesn’t repeat itself.

It seems to me I have done this all before viz. vows of poverty, obedience, and clean counters made each January only to have it all slacken by spring time. Oh well, keep trying is my motto. I can at least take satisfaction to the temporary orderliness before it all goes to pot.

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*Someone (if he should read this) would strongly disagree with the severity of the situation and he would be rawther embarrassed I revealed our slattern ways to all the internet. Please don’t write in.

Spo-fans (the brazen ones) are asking about ‘The Blue Room”. Oh the embarrassment.  I wonder why on earth anybody would be interested reading about a room of rubbish but I don’t have any better idea at the moment so here it is.

Few homes in Phoenix have an upstairs and almost none have a basement. This makes it hard to store things Christmas decorations and precious heirlooms you keep out of guilt.  Most garages have room for two or three cars but drive by any open garage and you will see inside heaps of hoardings.  Our garage is no exception yet it is not capacious enough for storage.
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One of the rooms is called The Blue Room,  a precise if not too imaginable name for the walls are painted blue. It was originally Someone’s office. Over the years The Blue Room has slowly accumulated things I can’t get Someone to throw out. Earlier this year when we got the kingsize bed from The Lovely Neighbor Someone disassembled the old bed and put it all into the Blue Room. This is not the first time the Blue Room has accepted something because Someone is not willing to toss it or we never seem to get it hauled to the dump. By now The Blue Room resembles King Tut’s tomb but no prettier. Oh the pain. I keep the door closed as it is an eyesore as well as an embarrassment.

The Blue Room has drawn to it all the old books, which are piled up in corners and overflowing the closet shelves. As it is nearly impossible to enter the Blue Room (let alone find anything) I am tempted to buy another copy of a book than try to find the original.

Nagging Someone to call “We-haul-it-away” or somebody like them has been a feckless endeavor.  I’ve volunteered to haul away the books myself Grinch-like to the top of Mount Krumpet to dump-it but he wants to take inventory for a possible sale at a used book store. Ha. Fat chance of that. I’ve learned not to throw out his things even if they haven’t been used in ages. All I can do is nibble away at ‘my things’ and hope he follows by example.

I think I will have to do something drastic in the new year for I can’t stand the thought of another year of material atherosclerosis. Perhaps I can have it hauled way without his noticing anything. Maybe it’s finally time to fulfill my fantasy to set fire to a public building.  I may have myself a mammoth garage sale. The dog isn’t for sale but everything else is.

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house-cleaning-11688-570x403My life has more loose ends than a macramé class.

The office finally has its new walls and door, but they remain unpainted; I feel I shouldn’t put the place back together until this is done. I love The Boss-man, but getting him to finish things quick and timely is near impossible (he is Cuban and takes the ‘manana manana’ approach while my Swiss-German genetics wants things done in a timely way. Oh the pain.)

Home is worse.  Last weekend I started a list of things about the place that want finishing  but I stopped became I grew despondent around the tenth item.  I won’t bore you with the list. They fall into three broad categories:

These need to be done.

These would be nice to be done.

These must be done right now I can’t wait or I will go into hysterics.

Someone is a little like The Boss-man he doesn’t feels angst-ridden to repair things right away. He is at ease (and content) to sit and watch Law & Order while I go bouncing about the place looking for things in disarray to fix and tidy. Alas, he is better at repairs than I, so if I do anything (especially in #3 category) it won’t as good as if he had done it.
Asking said spouse to call the termite inspector while said spouse is content at sitting still is a ticklish and politic maneuver. Sometimes my indirect speech acts fall on deaf ears and I have to move into place cat-like in front of the screen to inquire when are we going to get the AC repair addressed etc. We haven’t had guests over in ages but I am scheming to ask a few over which usually gets our lead-butts moving lest there is talk.
I have sent an email to The Boss-man inquiring when will the walls be painted and if the answer is ‘in another two years’ or something I may get it painted myself. I was thinking of Prussian Blue.

house-cleaning-11688-570x403I am in a pensive mood. This is probably the result of being ‘post-holiday’ and it is the end of August. Spo-fans know I often get a bit of SAD (seasonal affective depression) about now, so there may be some of that as well.  I think I am mostly depressed by matters of the nation, which I won’t go into right now, as it just makes my mood worse. My “Cancer” traits are showing: I want some reliable parental figure to assure me everything will be OK.

I am a bit cheered by my industry for I’ve cleaned the luggage.

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MCR: cleaned        DAW: not cleaned

The suitcases are over a decade old (if not more). They came back from Georgia looking quite schumtig. I was ready to take them to a luggage/shoe store and have someone clean them at any cost. Someone (always the rationalist) suggested I try cleaning them myself. A simple solution of warm soapy water applied with a Doby sponge looks to have done some good – and at no cost and the quiet satisfaction of an autodidact.  The two sets have three pieces each, so I have five more to do.

Other than the laundry I’ve done precious little on this lackluster Saturday.  I’m presently putting all my torn-out recipes into some sort of taxonomy. They now cover the dining room table in discrete piles labeled with green post-its. If I live to be one hundred I could not make all I’ve gathered – and there are more to do!  The pile labeled ‘Chicken” is the highest stack, closely followed by “Pasta”, so you know what floats my boat.  I suspect I have torn out the same recipe several times, so that will help narrow them down a bit. When they are edited they all go into brown accordion files.

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Putting things in order (and throwing out some in the process) is something I do when I am feeling down or helpless or angry.  There is no lack of things to do around the Spo-house, so I should have a rather purging Saturday night today.

There’s work to be done and it starts in the kitchen. Would I could call me woodland friends to come to help me tidy up. Alas, I probably would reenact that scene in “Enchanted” and conjure forth only roof rats, scorpions, and a useless javelina or two. I must do it all myself.

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No cleaning is complete without a Dobie, and I don’t mean the co-dependent elf from the Harry Potter books. They are probably not ‘green’ but sometimes it is just not humanely possible, especially is one is tackling intransigent black morass under the sink.

The spuds bin is in desperate need of disposal. I like my vegetable gardens to grow outdoors, not inside. 2.jpg

Every time Blue Apron sends us a meal with garlic as an ingredient, they send an entire head from which we only need one or two cloves. I am now up to my ears in garlic. Anyone know of a recipe that needs two dozen cloves?

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The Lovely Neighbor is moving so she gave us all her booze. This is being combined with our own stash – and everyone else’s donations we’ve received whenever someone moves away. I got them all out today to take inventory.

Oh the embarrassment.  It is particularly poignant as neither one of us is imbibing at the moment.

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As a consequence of being the neighborhood drop-box for unwanted liquors we now have four bottles of Kahlua.  Neither one of us drinks Kahlua. I wonder if it makes good substitute for fabric softener.

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Finally, I have this handsome fellow. It was the teapot of the The Lovely Neighbor’s late mother.  Her mother Merle was married to a foreign diplomat; they lived all over the world. She had a mysterious collection of the most exotic of items. I thought I was getting some faraway teapot only to discover it comes from Pier 1.  Page 71 !!

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Despite having multiple goals and tasks my hummingbird brain decided to flit about more than usual this week. As a consequence I’ve been less focused than usual, which is saying something.  Little has been accomplished. Today I am determined to ‘stay on task’ and get things done – although I am taking time off to write this entry.

“Can I make a suggestion?” Someone says whenever I am not too well organized or am doing something half-baked. His expurgated expression always makes me smile, for he is advice is always sensible and I always take it. I’ve told him many times he needn’t be some polite and roundabout – just tell me what to do. He doesn’t want to sound too bossy so he never does.

Whenever I have too many bats in my belfry it helps me to make a list. I find this ritual quite beneficial viz. extract all the tasks from my mind and get them down on paper. There they become more clear and manageable. Sometimes I lose the list which is both ironical and feckless. Today’s eutrepismus is as long as a winter’s night in Moscow and no prettier. I don’t think today there are any evening concerts or tickets to the theatre, so I should tackle most of my list if I stay focused. There is nothing so satisfactory as drawing a line through a task and marking it complete.*

I’ve often wondered how people go through Saturdays just sitting still or doing leisure activities. I suppose I am unique having charts to do but don’t the mere mortals have (as I do) laundry and ironing and household projects etc.?

All this task-doing is counterpointed by Harper, who spends her Saturdays between sleeping on the bed or in her house. It’s a dog’s life. Sometimes if I am tired I lie down next to her around 2PM for a half-hour reboot. ** There is nothing so sublime as choosing to relegate virtuous industry for indolence.  When in doubt, get horizontal, even if the dord still needs cleaning.

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*Someone made the suggestion I make these lists on my phone as I am less likely to lose them this way. For once I will decline his sensible idea. A fluorescent marker (pink, preferably) painted across “Clean the dord” is far more satisfactory than merely deleting it. And it’s jolly good fun!

 

**On the bed, not in her house.

I have just returned from boxing up a collection of cookbooks; it is a ponderous parcel. The Lovely Neighbor (who is in the process of preparing her house for a move) gave me a pile of cookbooks the size to rival Fafner’s hoard. I did not have the heart to refuse her. In the same week Someone cleaned the pantry. This left my cookbook collection overflowing their shelves and TLN’s donations piled up on the dining room table. It was time to take action.

OzkyU_8n  I recently listened to an interview of a Japanese lady who is apparently The High Priestess of tidy up and organization. She inspired me to tidy up my tomes. Her approach rests upon the axiom one’s possessions should elicit joy and anything else ought to be discarded.

It was not easy applying this philosophy to old books, especially cookbooks. I’ve kept a lot of them out of guilt that someday I will use them, yet I haven’t and I doubt I ever will. Many I had forgotten they were even there. I took this sage’s advice to express gratitude toward each book as I put it on the ‘out-it-goes’ pile. Indeed, while many I never used, nearly all of them had given pleasure at their purchase. Some cookbooks have memories of trips when I bought them. Her approach made tidy-up and letting go a bit easier. My messy shelves are now organized and stream-lined to the ones I cherish. I threw out the many “Oriental” cookbooks from The Lovely Neighbor as there were nearly a dozen. I now have only two or three, which is enough.

Ironically I am working on making my own cookbook, a collection of Spo-recipes which are my favorites. They are not exquisite but the ones I use over and over. I think it convenient to have them all in one volume. I am separating the sheep-dips from the goat-cheeses to only include the recipes I find delicious, memorable, and worth repeating, like my men.

The end point: a shelf of cookbooks few but useful, along with my own. I am keeping The Cooks Illustrated magazines and the plastic filing-box of TV-recipe cards. Any additional recipes I need in life is covered by the Betty Crocker, Epicurious, and NYT Cooking apps.

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This vision bring me joy indeed.

The Japanese lady would be proud of me.

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