Scamp has feline leukemia and FIV. He's not expected to make it through the weekend. If by chance he does, Husband has an appointment to have him put to sleep Monday morning.
My cats are the closest things I have to children. Scamp's only four. The others are 12, 13 and 13. I thought I'd be losing them first. I thought we'd have Scamp with us for many years yet. He's the Big Guy, the giant, the one who might be part Maine Coon. When we took him to get fixed (when he was a year old), the vet tech picked up his carrier and exclaimed, "My god, what do you feed him, small cattle?" He was 14 pounds before this past week. At the vet, he was only 9 pounds.
This is my first experience with losing a close pet. I had a mouse in college who died, but that didn't really affect me. The cat I had as a kid died, but she wasn't around for it. She just went for a walk one day when she was 11 or 12, and never came home. I wasn't around for it, either; I'd moved to Ohio by that point, and didn't think she'd make the move well. My parents' dog was put down a few years ago, but she'd been getting old and wasn't quite right after she ran into the parked car a few years before that. I wasn't close to the cats and dogs at my in-laws' place who passed away while I was just dating my husband.
Scamp was a fighter, though. We were always patching him up after his bouts with other neighborhood toms. I shouldn't be surprised he caught either/both. I'm glad I already had Monday off, but this is going to put a funky wrinkle in my doctor's appointment.
I'm trying to get a good picture of him, but the room is darker than the flash sensor and the kiddo keeps closing his pretty green eyes. :-P
Husband got a medication for Scamp that should let him rest easier. I just....I don't know how I'm going to handle it until it happens.
"This first doll in this exciting commemorative collection will be JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS Special Edition Doll: HOLLYWOOD JEM, one of the most requested animated-based looks. This doll will be available for purchase at the HasbroToyShop booth #3329 during Comic-Con International in San Diego at an approximate retail price of $125 and following the convention, at www.HasbroToyShop.com."
ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS?????? *dies* See? This is why I'm not in the hobby anymore. I love the look of the doll, I love that she has an articulated body, but I just can NOT justify spending over a day's wages on a doll. Looking over Integrity Toys' site, I guess they don't make playline-priced dolls anymore.
Wow. From a high of "OMG I love her, I want her!" to a low of "Holy shit, really, Integrity and Hasbro? Really?" in less than five minutes.
I'm still going to watch the line, though. I've love to see the designs for the other Holograms, the Misfits, and the Stingers.
Integrity's site: http://integritytoys.com/
2. We've been in this house for nearly three years. I just plugged in my sewing machine last night. I've sewn two things: a cool tie (neck chiller) and a pillow filled with the same polymer crystals.
3. I'm amazed that a tablespoon of polymer crystals expands enough to fill a 12"x5" pillow.
4. I've completely fallen off the FlyLady wagon. Her mails got annoying; they were more product advertisements than encouragement. Even the pure testimonials to the method had a link back to the FlyShop.
5. I don't care for most of her "Rubba" line of tools. I like the bottle brush, the mop, and the purple rags. Those I'd recommend. Everything else, not so much.
6. My kitchen is a horrible mess and I just don't have the energy to deal with it. I look at it, think about it, and go hide in the bedroom instead.
1. When the kitchen is cleaned nightly, there's less to do every night. Dishes don't pile up; food doesn't dry onto them, requiring mega, arm-killing scrubbing.
2. When the kitchen is cleaned nightly, I know there's a clear counter to place grocery bags when we come back from the store.
3. When the kitchen is cleaned nightly, I'm more apt to want to make dinner, rather than foist it off on Matt (who doesn't want to do it, either) or beg to stop for something on the way home.
4. When the kitchen is cleaned nightly, I know the burner pans won't catch fire when I'm cooking.
5. When I set out my clothes nightly, I can get ready faster, in the dark, while Matt continues to rest.
6. When I swish and swipe the bathroom nightly, the mirror doesn't get loaded with water spots.
7. When I swish and swipe the bathroom nightly, the toilet doesn't turn pink. (Seriously. Pink. If I don't clean it for 3 days, it turns PINK. Why pink??)
8. When I program the coffee pot nightly, I have fresh, hot coffee waiting for me when I get up.
9. When I do my nightly routines, I have less to do in the morning, allowing me more time to enjoy my coffee, check my e-mail and Facebook, and I'm more likely to get out of the house on time.
10. When I get up and get dressed to shoes first thing, it's easier to go get the newspaper from the driveway on Wednesdays and Sundays (we cut our subscription down to those two days for the ads and coupons). I don't have to worry about being seen by neighbors or stepping on rocks or glass in the driveway.
I'm still reading most of the e-mails. I delete the ones having to do with kids right off, since they don't apply. I just scan over the ones raving about the tools: I bought 2 of the rubba scrubbas, the rubba sweepa, the mop and the calendar. I use one of the rubba scrubbas just for the cats in the den. There's a small learning curve with some of these tools, a breaking-in period. I like the sweepa; Matt hates it. The mop, with its reusable microfiber cloths, will take a little getting used to, especially getting the cloth seated on the mophead. The calendar is nice and big, but part of me keeps pointing out that Matt and I have the same schedule. We don't have mega outside activities that need to be logged. I'm going to use it for keeping track of bill due dates, though. I need to get more involved with the family finances. When we got married, I was perfectly happy to dump all that responsibility on Matt. I figured I'd proved time and time again, when single, that I wasn't responsible enough for that. Well, it's been pointed out that I should know how to pay the bills, in case something happens to Matt.
We're still decluttering; we went through the linen closet and got rid of a bunch of sheets, then went through the utensil drawers and tossed/donated a bunch of those, as well. We seriously pared down our knives. Since we have the Rada set, and since I'm more-or-less keeping those clean and usable, we could get rid of all the old, not-so-great knives we'd accumulated. Melted or broken spoons, turners, and other things got pitched.
I have a new timeline to work on. Ellen's coming for a visit in May. I have a small list of big things I want accomplished by then. I'm going to put that list in my control journal, and see about tackling one bigger project each weekend. I'll use the timer, work 15 minutes at a time, and get things done.
I just wanted to post about some small benefits I've noticed since I've started this.
1. Tools I like but barely used are getting used more.
Since I started doing the dishes nightly, I've started using my non-dishwasher-safe tools more, like the knife set my mother-in-law gave us, and my cast iron skillet. They get washed when they're used and put away to be used again, instead of sitting on the counter for weeks or months at a time, waiting for me to get the energy to do a sinkfull or more of dishes.
2. I'm cooking and baking more.
With the kitchen counters cleaned every night, I'm more apt to take on a larger cooking or baking project on a whim. I know the tools and the space I need are ready for me to use them. I don't have to wheedle and bargain with Matt, "If you clean off the counter for me, I'll make cookies for you." The counter IS cleaned off, and my mixing bowls and tools are clean and waiting.
3. I can keep track of what I have.
I decluttered my mugs. Now, they all fit on the shelf and I know if I'm missing any.
There are more benefits, but I have to get to work, so I should be making a longer post later.
Two weeks ago, we started going to the stores Thursday and Friday evenings on our way home from work. We usually hit Frys, Safeway and Fresh and Easy on Thursday (those are the closer stores, actually on the way home), and hit the northern stores (Smart and Final, Sprouts, Trader Joes, Albertsons, Bashas, and WalMart) on Friday. Yesterday, though, since Bashas had a one-day special on deli meat that was enticing, we instead hit Bashas, Fresh and Easy, and Frys. Safeway and Albertsons had nothing of interest in their ads, we didn't need anything from the other northern stores (other than WalMart, but there's one on the way home), so other than a stop at WalMart tonight for dishwasher detergent, our grocery shopping is done for the week. That's always a good feeling.
One of the things we picked up this trip were a few tubes of cinnamon rolls that were on markdown. I can't eat them, but Matt can, and since I usually get up before he does, and he's been making breakfast for me, I figured I could make these for him when I get up. I actually set my alarm for 5:30 this morning (and was actually awake-ish when it went off, due to putting the book down and turning off the light at 10 pm), and when it went off, I gathered up the clothes I put out the night before, my shoes, and my water bottle, got dressed in the bathroom, preheated the oven, started the coffee and put the cinnamon rolls in the oven.
They had to bake for 15 minutes. Remembering FlyLady's statement, "You can do anything for 15 minutes," I set the timer on my phone for 14 minutes and went to work in the little bathroom.
The main bathroom has been under control since the shelves went into the medicine cabinet. However, I don't think I've cleaned the guest bathroom since our last guest left...in April. It didn't look bad, to a casual look, but I could see some areas that needed work. I grabbed the window cleaner and a microfiber towel, and went to work.
The mirror still has some hard water spots that I'll have to go over with a vinegar-water mix, and the floor still needs some work, but I got all the soap scum and cat prints off the counter, and some of the worst spots off the floor. Plus, the toilet's been swished with some wiping around the seat area, so it's better than it was.
Yes, I staged the towel. It's about the color I want to paint in there.
Again, not shown: cat who likes to sleep in the sink. Usually Scamp or Patch.
No more black spots on the tile in front of the toilet!
I finished up with 3 minutes to spare, so I made sure the computer was on and Firefox was loading, then went to pour my coffee, take the rolls out of the oven, and drizzle the icing over them.
Today's BabyStep is to include laundry in your daily routine. Well, It's just Matt and me, so we don't have enough to do laundry every day. Having gotten the kitchen under control, I don't have to slog through a counter-load of dirty dishes on the weekends anymore. We've had our laundry-sorting hampers in place for a few years, and Matt understands the difference between "darks" and "colors" now, so I don't have more than 4 loads by Saturday, anyway. I preflight the whites (the largest load) on Friday night, taking it from the hamper to an easier-to-maneuver basket. Then, when I wake up on Saturday, dress, and make the bed, I can just grab the basket and get that first load started while I make breakfast. I also put a stain-stick on my dresser, by the hampers, so if I've dropped something on my shirt or pants during the day, I can pretreat it right before it goes into the hamper, while I'm still thinking about it. That's helped on many occasions. It even got out the washed-in stain from the purple lip balm I made. No trace of it on that white shirt anymore. Good stuff.
I may have to set aside another basket for my microfiber towels, since they're not supposed to be washed with fabric softener, and I use one a day in the main bathroom. I can wash them with the regular towels (again, no fabric softener), but I need a spot to put the dirty ones.
Last week was a good progress week for FLYing. Over the weekend, I cleaned out my closet and my dresser, throwing away anything ripped, stained, or overly-worn-out (t-shirts with the graphics all cracked and peeling, for example), and gathering for Goodwill anything that didn't fit or wasn't flattering. I made exceptions for some things with memories attached, like the Todd Eldredge-autographed shirt, but I ended up with three kitchen-bags full of clothing headed for Goodwill.
Last Friday, we stopped at Hobby Lobby and found 2 nice pieces of basswood that made replacement shelves for the medicine cabinet. Since we moved in, I've only been able to store a few things in there, due to the lack of shelves. All the pill bottles, cough syrup, cotton swabs, etc., had to live on the counter. Not anymore!
I also went through the pills, consolidating some partial bottles and boxes, and throwing out anything expired. Getting all that off the counter made it easier to then wipe up the counter and clean off the mirrors. Now, I can easily wipe down the counter in the evening after brushing my teeth.
Not pictured: cat who likes to sleep in the sink.
Yes, I realize now that the shower curtain rod is crooked. And yes, it does now bother me.
Babystep-wise, I've added making the bed to the morning routine, and reading the FLYLady e-mails and testimonials have been added. Earlier this week, it was "set a bed time and stick to it." Right now, I don't have a specific one, just "between 10 and 10:30." I'm aiming for 10, as I read somewhere that the human body gets the best rest between 10 pm and 6 am. I don't remember where I read that, but since 6 am is the alarm time, 10 pm is a good bedtime. I added "check on the cats in the back room" to my morning routine, since I sometimes forget.
I'm reading the Flight Plans, and sometimes doing the missions. Yesterday, after gathering the trash, I swept the bathroom floor, then took one of the microfiber cloths ($5 for 8 at Walmart, auto department), wet it down, and cleaned up the tile around the toilet, the edge and front of the bathtub, got the lizard blood off the floor (thanks, Scamp), some of the mystery yellow streaks off the walls, and wiped down the baseboards. It's a little tricky to get the floor near the toilet and the wall near the tub/shower clean, as it looks like there's adhesive around the base of the toilet and the edge of the tub that wasn't applied with care.
My arm is still giving me troubles; the hand and fingers are stiff and don't like to bend in the mornings. I haven't found a doctor yet, mainly because I haven't had the energy to sit at my computer and search through all the sites, then make all the calls. My kitchen sink is still shiny; we do the large dishes every night, drying and putting away. In fact, my dish drainer now lives in the garage. I haven't had to set it up in two weeks.
Matt's been working on the boxes still in the garage. Those are mostly books and his wolf statues. Some of these things have been in boxes since we moved to Arizona almost five years ago. The wolves, because we've never had anyplace he could set them up. The books...well, I'm thinking it may be time for me to let go. A number of them were HMTL or web design books I picked up on discounts, or writing guides I'd kept from my classes. The computer books are now all out of date, and the writing guides haven't been opened in years. Most of those are probably out of date, as well.
This weekend is designated for me to work on my craft room. I'll be using the timer on my phone to take it in 15-minute increments, do a little at a time, and get things put away where I can find them. Then, maybe I can think about getting it painted, getting the work table I want, and having a little place I can retreat to.
It occurs to me, though, that the only thing that desk really gets used for as of now is a clutter-catcher. The drawers get used for storage, but again, how much of that is useful and how much is actually cluttery stuff that can be thrown out, I don't know offhand. Once Matt gets his storage unit for his computer stuff, maybe we'll go through the drawers and decide if we really need that desk or not. Or at least, if we need it in HERE. It could possibly go into the guest room. Something to think about.
Upon getting home, Matt started dinner, and I started working on today's Babystep: "You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes." She suggests setting the timer for 15 minutes, and gathering trash. Then, when that goes off, setting it for 15, and sitting down, feet up, with a magazine. Instead, I set the timer for 15 minutes and worked on the craft room. I had some things in there that went into the Donate box, some things that got thrown away, and a few piles sorted out into different areas. When the timer went off, I stood up and walked away. I need to go back in tonight, though, and grab the "bathroom" pile and the "office" pile. Then I set the timer for 15 minutes and got on my computer, chatted with a friend, took one of those receipt surveys, and with 4 minutes left, Matt came to let me know dinner was ready.
After dinner, I packed lunches with the leftovers, did the dishes, wiped off the counters and stovetop, programmed the coffee, and shined out the sink. All that's left to do on the before-bed routine is to set out tomorrow's clothes, shower, and brush my teeth.
Tomorrow's BabyStep is to add an Inspirational Page to my control journal. In FlyLady's words:
- On this page I want you to spend 15 minutes writing down some of your favorite inspirational phrases. Some of mine are; You can do anything for 15 minutes, Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family and You can’t organize clutter; you can only get rid of it. I know you have others that you love. Use this page as a place to write them down when you see something that touches your heart.
Yesterday, I identified something that derails my routine. After dinner, Matt and I took our dessert into the den to watch something we recorded. When that show ended, we happened to find Blazing Saddles on AMC. Before we knew it, it was 10 pm, the dishes weren't done, leftovers weren't put away, nothing in my before-bed routine was done. We quickly finished loading the dishwasher, set it to running, packed lunches, did dishes, set up the coffee pot, and wiped out the sink and counters. I brushed my teeth, set out my clothes, and fell into bed not long before 11.
New rule: no television until the dishes are done and put away.
Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.
I know I had planned that when I woke up, I'd get up and start my day, but three-thirty am was just too early. Plus, my arm wasn't in the best shape to start doing dishes or anything like that. I don't really remember what I did; I know I went to Facebook, and logged into the chat portion of my game, hoping someone would be on who could offer sympathy. I also looked up my doctor's information again, so I could call and schedule an appointment.
My brain was still tired from Thursday. My body was still tired. I couldn't make the effort. Around five am, I crawled back into bed, hoping I could get another hour of sleep before having to get up. I don't think I actually slept. When the alarm went off, my body felt like lead. Matt got up, washed the pans, put away the fryer, and made chili for lunch. I could barely pull myself out of bed, get dressed, and put my shoes on. Luckily, with the coffee already programmed, I could get that on my way out the door. The coffee was working on me by the time I got to work, which was good, as I was asked to start an hour early. I asked to wait until after 8, so I could make my doctor's appointment.
I got a rude surprise: after fighting the IVR and finally getting a live person, I found out that not only did my doctor MOVE, his hours are now totally while I'm at work. I can't afford to lose time from work to see the doctor, so that's his final straw. It's time to start researching doctors again. Luckily, the arm settled down during the day, and I was actually functional.
We went to Ikea after work, to get a new end table for the den so I can have my plastic storage drawers back. Dinner there. We also went to Office Max, where I got a binder pocket for my control journal, more Tul pens as the last ones I bought were running out, and the Tul mechanical pencils I've been lusting after for years. Yes, I am an office supply nerd.
When we got home, I don't really remember what we did. I think I may have organized the morning dishes and at least wiped out the sink. Started the dishwasher. Shower, and bed.
Saturday morning, I got up, and no, did not get dressed to shoes. I hadn't set out my clothing, and I wasn't sure what I was going to wear to the movies, so I figured shoes could wait. I did at least put on a bra tank top and some shorts. I washed the dishes, emptied the dishwasher and started laundry. By then, Matt was up...and I talked him into making waffles. I clipped last week's coupons while he was waffling, getting them into the organizer. The coupon organizer is now in the tray by the microwave (the book goes into the bedroom now), as well as a pair of scissors I got as part of a homemade sewing kit when I was less than 10 years old. We ate breakfast at the table, washed those dishes, then got ready and went to the movies (Cowboys and Aliens).
After the movies, we went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, looking for shelves for the medicine cabinet. When we were moving, we noticed the cabinet had no shelves. We tried to take the shelves from the old house, but they didn't quite fit (which we found odd, given that the houses were built at the same time by the same builders). I'd remembered a big stack of shelves one of the last times we went there (like, over a year ago), but this time, no shelves. The cabinets they had for sale didn't have shelves, either! So, that was fruitless. There was a nice couch set there, but no price on it, so it was probably already sold, and we couldn't have afforded it this week anyway. A stop at WalMart, where I got some small canning jars on clearance (to use for lotions and other assorted bath stuffs), and we came home.
Matt built the new end table, which is actually a nightstand. The eventual plan is store a few microfiber cloths, a can of the Pledge multisurface spray, the cat brushes and the cat nail clippers in the top drawer. I searched online for replacement shelves, only finding one place that sells them, and they're not the right kind. The new plan is to visit a hobby store and look for balsa wood we can cut to size.
I really want those shelves. Having shelves in there would get all the pills and other medicine stuff off the counter and reduce a lot of the clutter, making the morning swipe a lot easier (Once I get to that stage of the cleaning--it's BabyStep 24).
We made pizza for dinner, and ate in the den while watching some things we'd recorded. One thing with the evening routines, we don't watch as much television as we used to. Well, the routines and Matt's new video game. He's more interested in playing that than watching something. We eat at the table most nights instead of in the den. But Saturday night, we ate in the den, and when we were done, I just shuffled into bed.
Sunday: I woke up thinking about all the things I didn't do Saturday. I didn't finish the laundry. I didn't do the dishes or shine the sink. I didn't shower. I didn't, I didn't, I didn't. Those would be the negative thoughts creeping in, the ones telling me I never finish what I start, that I burn out, I lose interest, I flit around from project to project like a drunken bumblebee. The voices reminding me of my past failures, that I won't ever amount to anything because I can never finish anything.
I got up. I did the dishes. I took the laundry from the drier into the bedroom and put the laundry in the washer into the dryer. I wiped down the counters; I made coffee. I got the newspaper from outside, got the coupons from it, and put the rest in the recycle bin. I went through the coupons, clipped the ones I wanted, put them in the organizer, and put the scraps in the recycle bin. I could tell my negative voices things...or I could show them. Actions speaking louder than words. They. Would. Not. Win.
I'm on day 8 of BabySteps. The day I officially create my Control Journal. I'm pleased with it: a purple 3-ring binder, just a plain, Avery 3-ring binder, with 5-Star reinforced 3-hole paper, a sheet protector in the front for my calendar, and the purple-and-black binder pocket, with purple-handled scissors in the big zippered pocket, one of the Tul pens and one of the Tul pencils in the pencil loops, and an eraser and purple paperclips in the small mesh zippered pocket (yes, I like purple! My new water bottle is ALSO purple!). It's kind of like prepping for back-to-school, which I can tell you, is a lot more fun on the student side than it is on the office supply retailer side. Imagine that!
Tomorrow is Day 9: Declutter a few minutes at a time. She calls it a Five-Minute Room Rescue, and it's added to the morning routine.
- Spend just 5 minutes clearing a path in your worst room. You know this area of your home: the place you would never allow anyone to see. Just 5 minutes a day for the next 27 days and you will have a place that you can be proud to take anyone!
Now to do my evening routine, and start Monday fresh.
One of FlyLady's mantras is "You are not behind!" So, I'm not behind. I'll get the pans tomorrow, get the fryer put away, and figure out something for lunch.
No picture tonight. And no nagging negative voices in my head today, either. I think I was either zen'ed out or just too tired to think negatively. Tomorrow's BabyStep is Hot Spots. I worked on the one; I'd left yesterday's newspaper on top of the microwave. Tossed it in the recycle bin when we got home tonight. Saturday's BabyStep is to start laying out clothes. Sunday's is to put looseleaf paper in a three-ring binder. Binder is ready, and I started putting out clothes two nights ago.
Time to shower and crash.
"Well, you can get part of it done tonight. Most of the stuff in front of it needs to go into the trash, anyway," he suggested. This made sense. However, I'd forgotten the heat. This is Arizona. The thermometers we passed on the way home all read around 114 degrees. The garage is not air-conditioned. He left the car in the driveway and the garage door up, and also opened the door from the garage to the kitchen.
I worked on gathering the trash from in front of the shelves. Then I emptied the cans, and noticed how filthy they were. So I decided to scrub them. And scrub them again. Then let them soak.
The door to the kitchen has fake-grass carpeting in front of it, all shredded up near the door where Scamp would dig at it the nights he was locked in the garage. Under the trash-can area, it was all linty and eggshelly and onion-skinny. I tried sweeping it with the broom. Nothing really came free. I looked over at Matt, "If this wasn't glued down, I'd just want to roll it up."
"It's not glued down. Roll it up and shake it?"
"No. Roll it up and TOSS it." So it got tossed. The area in front of the door looks much better now, without the fake grass. I might pick up an entryway mat at some time, something smaller and easier to clean than a giant swath of astroturf.
By this time, I was beat. Hundred-plus temperatures can sap you pretty quick. Luckily, dinner was done, so I washed my hands and sat down.
The downside of the impromptu garage work was that I didn't get to my desk until after dinner and dishes were done, when I was already wiped out. But I persevered, and got most of it cleaned off. I still need to take care of the stuff atop my tower, but the main desk section is done.
Day Four kitchen pictures:
New scrubby; the last one was used for the trash and recycle cans. Once I get the appliance rack resettled, the toaster's going to live there.
Lunchbags on the left, there. I found the shorter one in the garage, scrubbed it out, so Matt can use that one rather than an old grocery bag. My drink's still on the right there; I thought it was out of frame, but I missed.
Day five's task is to "write down what you hear." If I hear any nasty negative internal voices today, I'm to write down what they're saying, and combat them with saying something nice and positive about myself. I haven't heard any yet, just the tired and grumpy voices. I think the pain in my arm is overriding them.
That's something that's ramped up this week. Since 10th grade trig, I've had pain in my elbow. That's when I started being able to "crack" it. The pressure would build up, and when it got to a certain point, I would stretch out my arm and twist. You'd hear a hollow popping sound, and the pressure would dissipate. Around college, the wrist started aching. The doctor at campus health said RSI, and to take 4 ibuprofin at a time (equal to one prescription-strength). Now, I'm waking up with my middle and ring finger numb. I dug out my old carpal tunnel glove, and wearing it during the day seems to help. I may have to try wearing it at night, too, to see if it helps.
Also, my left heel is tender to walk on. I'm definitely getting new shoes and inserts this weekend.
SMART stands for "Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely," and is meant to help you set reachable goals. I measured my first two goals against these guidelines, and found them satisfactory.
SMART Goal #1:
Have my evening routine finished between 7 and 7:30 pm each night.
- Specific: Yes, very.
- Measureable: Yes. If it hits 7:30 and I'm not done, I'm not hitting my goal.
- Attainable: Yes, so far I've managed it 2 nights in a row. We'll have to see if there are more evening things on the way in FlyLady's BabySteps.
- Realistic: Yes.
- Timely: N/A
Within the month, start doing half an hour of WiiFit FreeStep after my evening routine and before my shower, Monday through Friday.
- Specific: Yes
- Measureable: Yes, WiiFit tracks when I did exercises.
- Attainable: Yes. Half an hour isn't much, and if I'm consistently hitting goal #1, I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to work on goal #2.
- Realistic: Yes. I'm just setting a time limit on exercise. That's it. Half an hour a night, five nights a week. It doesn't have to be vigorous, just consistent.
- Timely: Yes, there's a time limit. By August 31st, I should be doing this consistently.
This isn't a list of things I want to do each night. This is a list of things to get done each night. Matt did a lot of it last night. He started the laundry (and switched it to the dryer; I brought it in and we both folded and put away before bed); he finished processing the meat (breaking up the big packs into individual meal portions, wrapping and freezing); and did most of the grunt work on the spices. I was working on dinner (spaghetti with tomato-zucchini sauce), and I did the dishes, programmed the coffee, packed my lunch and shined the sink.
Day Three. The coffee is prepped for the morning, and in a bout of inspiration, I washed the coffee grinder (outside, too), refilled the small sugar container, and put both grinder and sugar up into the cabinet when I was done.
And guess what?
The other side of the kitchen is clean, too! I mentioned to Matt that something I'd like to happen every day is for the electric griddle (that he cooks breakfast and sometimes dinner on) to be cleaned and put away. It usually sits out to the right of the stove, greasy and gritty, taking up space and being an eyesore. He did so, then later that evening grumbled good-naturedly, "I sure am doing a lot of stuff for this FlyLady thing." Everything on the list (including my shower!) was finished by 8 pm, giving me an hour and a half in my game.
Today is BabyStep 4: "Write it down." You're supposed to write down what you've been doing ("Shine sink," "Get dressed to shoes") on post-it notes and put them over the sink and on the bathroom mirror. While I can see the logic behind this, I'm not so sure I'll be doing it. For one thing, having post-it notes on my mirror and kitchen blinds will bother me. For another, I don't know if I have any post-its at home.
I did sort of skip ahead last night, though. I'm not sure what BabyStep it is, but as we folded clothes last night, I set out the clothes to wear today. This step will be helpful, as I'm usually getting dressed in the dark. One of the other things I've started doing is getting up when I wake up. The alarm, as mentioned yesterday, is set for 6 am. Most mornings, though, I wake up between 5:30 and 5:50. Instead of rolling around, tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable for those last few minutes in bed, I've decided to just get up, go to the bathroom, and start my morning.
Another skip-ahead (sort of) I've been doing is finding and taming the "clutter hot-spots." I saw them mentioned in the weekly sneak peek FlyLady e-mail, and decided on my own to do something with them. One of the biggies was beside the microwave. I used to just deposit the mail there. I kept meaning to get better at that, and I did start throwing the junk mail in the recycle bin before even coming inside, but everything else just got dumped there. It was also where I kept my purse, and it was getting precarious. Sunday evening, I went through the pile, making 3 stacks: throw away, shred, keep. I threw away the obvious trash (old grocery ads, empty envelopes, old catalogues), then got Matt to double-check my shred and keep stacks. Final result?
A nice clean tray for my purse, my Pepcid, a pack of gum, and whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. I just finished one, so one's not there at the moment. The other hot spot I took care of Monday night, while Matt was making dinner. That was the tops of the dressers. One thing I need is a different jewelry box. I need one with taller hooks, as most of my necklaces are long, and space to store all my velvet jewelry boxes. Those things are a pain to dust, but I don't want to get rid of them yet.
As for the "slight obsession:" I tried to shine the sink in the breakroom at work yesterday on my lunch break. It's only a few months old, and already has limescale buildup. I didn't have time for more than a quick wipe-down with Windex, though, so it's still scaly.
This morning: up at 5:30. Dressed to shoes. Started the coffee (the program doesn't kick on until 5:50, so I just hit the button). Started a batch of quinoa for Matt's lunch. Had a bowl of cereal, fixed my cup of coffee, fed the cats, got the plates and forks from the office, and sat down to read e-mail and post this. My book for today is by my purse, my lunchbag is in the fridge, my water bottle is filled, and it's only 6:42.
This BabyStep won't be hard on the weekdays, as I have to get dressed for work, but on the weekends, it just might be torture. The reasoning behind it is that if you're dressed to shoes, you'll be in the mindset of working more. Lace-up shoes rather than sandals or slip-ons, because it takes a little more work to take them off, therefore, you're more likely to think, "Oh wait, there's one more thing I can do," before you take off your shoes.
My sink is still shiny:
I moved the knife block off its former perch atop the microwave, over to the counter. I actually had to shine out the sink three times yesterday: after doing dishes and thinking I was "done" for the night; after Matt rewashed the wok because despite my best efforts, it still had a film of sauce on it; and after tipping the dish drainer into the sink to drain it. This is the final effort. At this point, the leftover sweet and sour chicken and rice is divided up for lunch portions in the fridge, my water bottle is filled and in the fridge, dishes are done and put away, and the coffee pot is prepped and programmed for the morning. I then took my shower (not washing hair, it was just washed the night before), brushed my hair and teeth, and collapsed into bed. It was close to 10:30
While doing dishes, I thought for a while about my paternal grandmother. My mom trained me, when at Grandma's, to offer to help with the dishes after meals. Grandma always accepted the help, but in later years, the helpers would be relegated to drying and putting away, as she liked washing. The hot water helped with the arthritis pains in her hands. I remembered some of the things she talked about, like her brother's Army friend teaching her how to do dishes: silverware in to soak first, then glasses, plates, bowls. By then, the silverware would have soaked long enough and could be washed easier. Always work from less dirty to more dirty. I remembered when she'd first have the sink filled with hot, soapy water, one of us would be sent to gather eyeglasses from anyone who wanted them washed. I remember how warm the glasses always were when I'd put them back on. And I remembered something she told me that had nothing to do with dishes, but she told me the story in the kitchen. One day, when my dad was about three, she was sifting cake flour. She'd just finished, when my dad took a deep breath...and blew cake flour all over the place.
Lying in bed after the long day, I kept thinking about time. My basic schedule is this:
6 am: up
7 am: leave for work
7:40 am: drop Matt off at his work, continue on to mine
8 am: read in breakroom
9 am: clock in for my shift
4:30 pm: clock out
4:50 pm: pick up Matt
6 pm: get home
9:30 pm: bed
In the hour between 6 am and 7 am, I have to get up, get dressed, make coffee (if I forgot to program it the night before), pack my lunch, check e-mail, eat breakfast, and get out the door. Between 6pm and 9:30 pm, I have to make dinner, eat dinner, program coffee maker, do dishes, shine sink, shower, brush teeth. Those are the "have-to-dos." I also need to budget in the "want-to-dos:" Facebook, LiveJournal, Galaxies, tv, reading, exercise, other cleaning. I'm hoping once I get deep into the FlyLady system, that the rest of the cleaning will start to fall in line, and won't take up so much time. I only have five months left to play Galaxies, so I'd like some good gaming time. If I don't get beckoned in to work early, I can get an hour and a half of reading time at work (hour before my shift, lunch break). I never feel like there's enough time to get everything done. Then again, between back pain and my arm dropping numb periodically, I can say I'm doing the best I can.
Today's BabyStep: keep doing what you've already done. I got up when I woke up (around 5:30) and got dressed to shoes after I peed. I packed my lunch and put it in the car. I gathered the trash in the bathroom and den, since they needed it. Coffee was programmed last night, so I got my coffee, and sat down to check e-mail and post this. I still have half an hour before we have to leave. Matt's up and making breakfast. So far, so good.
I have horrible housekeeping habits. Everything my mother taught me went out the window once I was living on my own. Washing dishes? Once a month. Laundry? When I ran out of underwear. Vacuum? Uh, maybe yearly, if I remembered and could find the floor before I forgot. Once I got married, I had to step up my game. Dishes? Weekly...sometimes. Laundry? Weekly, or week and a half, or two weeks...unless Matt got tired and did it himself. Vacuum? Yeah, that got delegated to Matt.
In the last month or so, though, something happened. Some switch got flipped. I don't know the trigger, but Matt and I started working on the kitchen. We'd had it cleaned before we went back East for Jeff's wedding, but within a week of being home, the counters were filled with pots, pans, mixing bowls, and other items too big for the dishwasher. Then one weekend, we pushed our way through getting all the dishes DONE. Done and put away. The counters were clear. I started doing the big dishes, if not nightly, then every other or every third night. There were no pile-ups.
Then we started working on the living/dining room. One wall was lined with boxes, from when we moved in a year and a half ago. We'd come home, make and eat dinner, then tackle a box or two. Unpack, sort, put away, throw away. Within a week, the boxes were cleared. The kitchen counters were staying clear, and the living/dining room was clear, table and floor.
It was time for the hard part. Keeping things that way. And that's where FlyLady comes in.
I first heard about FlyLady on the Starsider forums. Two of the women there mentioned it, and it intrigued me. They talked about doing FlyLady routines, spending 15 minutes on one part of the house, then moving to another part when the 15 minutes were up, no matter if you were done or not. This intrigued me, as when it comes to cleaning, I can have the attention span of a gnat on speed. I kept forgetting to look it up, though, until today.
I read through parts of it, and decided to sign up for the mailing list. I read the first mail, which had the weekly task list, and thought, "I can do this! This...isn't bad." So, I went back to the site to find the "BabySteps" section. 31 days of simple tasks to get you used to the FlyLady system.
First task: shine your sink. I read the directions, wrote them down, and after doing the handful of dishes on the counter, set to it.
I wish I'd gotten a picture of the sinks after the first step, soaking in hot water with bleach for an hour. There was a white precipitate on the bottom of both sinks. I don't know if that was the bleach reacting with the minerals in the water, or something else, but it was kind of cool. I did get pictures of the final product, though:
Even the drain rings are shining.
The whole countertop. Yes, we like flavored syrups. Problem?
Now, Matt noticed a few streaks in one basin, but I can live with those for now. Besides, my hand and arm were starting to give out, so I was content to get as far as I did. I haven't looked ahead to see what Day 2's task is, but I'm ready for it.
When I got this LJ, I used it for ranting, decompressing, and letting the crazy out. At the time, I needed that outlet. But in the last four years, two things have made big changes in my life that have seriously calmed me down.
1. I got a job where I don't have to deal with the general public.
2. I went gluten-free.
Now, I've seen conflicting reports as to whether or not a gluten-free diet actually helps with behaviour problems. Anecdotal reports say yes. Scientific reports say "reply hazy, try again." I just know that in the four years I've been gluten-free, I've been much more stable.
However, going gluten-free has brought its own set of trials. I used to bake. A LOT. I had to relearn everything I knew. I had to learn about new flours, binders, gums, ratios, and techniques. But I've gotten a handle on most of it.
I had to learn to go without old comfort foods, or learn how to make them gluten-free. I had to seriously adjust my grocery budget to fit the new foods. And I had to get used to the fact that sometimes, I'd spend my money just to find the food I bought was terrible.
That last point was a sticking point. Gluten-free foods are so much more expensive than their wheat-based counterparts, and I hate when I spend money on something just to find out it's terrible.
So, this journal is going to convert from my place to rant about the world, to my place to review the new gluten-free products I pick up and recipes I try. Most of the mainstream grocery stores around here are adding gluten-free food sections, with some brands I've seen, and some I haven't. A number of mainstream brands are adding gluten-free versions of their products. My plan is to review based on look, texture, taste, and value. Obviously, I can't compare value against the wheat-based counterparts, but look, texture and taste I can (with Matt helping in the taste category if it's something I haven't had wheat-based before). My goal is to review two products a week.
If I'd thought about it earlier, I had four new gluten-free products this week. Three of them were very good; the third was a "meh." The review efforts start in earnest Monday. So, be on the lookout.
I don't drink often. One, alcohol is expensive. Two, it doesn't take much to make me tipsy, maybe 1 beer or a glass of wine. Three, when I get tipsy, I get really giggly. Four, it also makes me very very tired, so after a second beer or glass of wine, I tend to fall asleep.
So Matt has no incentive to get me drunk, it doesn't make me looser or friskier or anything, just gigglier and sleepier. But I ended up staying later than usual at work today and had to do rather tedious piece-work stuff most of the second half (and spent the first half unjamming the printer every 300 impressions it seemed), so when I came home, I wanted wine.
So I'm having wine. Wink white zinfandel, about $4 at Fresh and Easy. It's not bad. I'm no connoisseur, I just drink what I like. Plus I like playing with my special corkscrew. The "magic" corkscrew. That's another story in and of itself.
But while I'm sipping at this glass, I keep thinking that I haven't slept well all week, and keep thinking about the Excedrin PM in the other room, and wondering just how bad it would be to take two of those when I've already got alcohol in my system. Or maybe I should just put saran wrap over the remaining 3/4 glass, get a big cup of water and chug it with the Excedrin.
I think that might be the best idea, honestly. I've already lost interest in the wine.
It wasn't the old zombie nightmares, or anything worthy of a horror movie. No, this was something a lot more personal and a lot closer to home.
In the nightmare, I'd agreed to work the retail section of the print shop for a day, to help out. In the agreement, I wasn't supposed to work the counter or the register, just run the machines, which was why I'd agreed to help. That, and in my dream, my dad was the supervisor, and I was helping him out.
So. I walked into the main area, and this woman at the counter immediately spotted me and hailed me. "Excuse me," she said, in a snotty-haughty-I'm-better-than-you-
No one else was moving to help this woman, so I gritted my teeth, pasted on my best fake retail smile, and brightly answered, "That's not exactly how I'd phrase it, but how may I help you?"
She proceeded to go through this overly long and needlessly complex list of instructions that I summarized as, "So, you need three sets of this, in color?" I remembered my retail training, upselling, offering her binding or stapling. She went for the stapling, and I was feeling semi-okay at that point. Then she handed me the payment...a large handful of coins, mostly pennies. I knew she was waiting for me to have to count them all out to make sure it was right. I was shaking. Luckily, since I wasn't supposed to work the register, I just handed all the coins to Dad, who apparently had a change counter installed on the register just for smart-ass customers like that. I took the thick sheaf of papers and looked for the color copier.
And that's when I realized the color copier was a tabletop version. Flatbed. No feeder. No stacker. No stapler. I was going to have to hand-scan, then hand-collate, that job. I turned slowly to look at the self-serve area. The self-serve color copier was what I'd expected to find: feeder, stacker, stapler. But that woman was still at the counter, and I knew, I just knew, that if I took her copies to the self-serve area, she'd throw a fit.
That must have been the straw that broke me, because that's where I woke up, that woman's voice and words still in my head. I haven't had to work retail/customer service in three years now. But the six years I did work it have left me scarred. I've had people fling handfuls of change, mostly pennies, at me as payment, sneering, "You count it," while their children look at them, horrified by the manners their parents aren't displaying. I've had people point me out to their kids, "See, this is why you go to school, so you don't end up like her." Little do they know, I have a B.A. Fat lot of good it did me. People looked at me, saw the polo shirt and name tag, and treated me like something scraped off the bottom of their shoe. Treated me like a disposable person, like someone not worthy of respect or civility. And all I was allowed to do in return was paste on that fake smile and pretend like it didn't bother me.
Going by last night's mental blockbuster, I still have a ways to go.