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Archive for the ‘House Muse’ Category

I have a teeny tiny problem with perfectionism. If I can’t do it perfectly, (I tell myself) I can’t do it. So projects pile up, clutter collects and my life goes from order to disorder in a blink. I have journal entries dating back to 1997 that say the same thing: why can’t I get my crap together? What’s wrong with me? Do I need a professional organizer? Should I pay someone else to clean my house? Why does life feel so hard for me??? (Haven’t I written this blog entry before…)

I’ve tried all kinds of house systems and ordered all kinds of de-clutter organizing books. I joined Flylady.com and bought a Bubble Planner. I’ve asked everyone I know: what works for you? How do you manage kids/house/stuff? Because I seem to suck at it. Even just as recently as last week, I went on an info spree and spent 5 hours (over the span of a few days) on the internet researching organization and productivity and housekeeping. Oh. and how to stop procrastinating. Years and years have gone by while I have tried to find the answer.

I was watching Kung Fu Panda with Sadie when I had my aha moment. Po’s dad finally reveals the secret to his best-selling noodle soup: ‘there is no secret ingredient.’ Then it dawned on me: I have everything that I need within me already. I haven’t been trusting myself. I’ve been beating myself up for not ‘succeeding.’ But what does success even mean? For me, doing something is better than the overwhelmed NOTHING I have been doing. So I decided to change my expectations of myself. Instead of a job well done, I’m going to settle for a job done half-assed. At least it’s done.

So I came up with a Plan for Half-Assed Success. I will add one or two things to my schedule and do them every day until I don’t notice I’m doing them anymore. I will write said one or two things in my planner every day and then highlight them when I’ve completed them. So last week I put in my planner: ‘make bed as soon as you get up,’ and ‘unload the dishes while Sadie eats breakfast.’ I was already doing these things sporadically–so it wasn’t earth-shattering to add them into my life. By the way,  I’m using the words ‘planner’ and ‘schedule’ loosely– I started using a planner at the beginning of January (a cheapy one from Walmart), and by ‘schedule’ I mean ‘the random stuff I do at random times in my life.’ So I did it. I wrote those two things down every day and highlighted them when I finished them. So YAY me! I will celebrate the small successes along the way: I now have unloaded the dishes AND made my bed all of last week and today.

My mom used to say ‘you don’t get praised for stuff you should already be doing…’ but I’m going to disagree with her. I made my bed and I ROCK! (I love you, Mom :))

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Quick update…

Three families are looking at our house today. At least one of the three is so interested they are going to the bank, and may have an offer for us. We leave in 5.4 days. Talk about the 11th hour.

Thanks, dear ones, for praying. Now I must speed to make the house BEAUTIFUL…

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Well, first of all, the Nibblers made an offer on another house. We were next in line if the sellers rejected their offer, but alas, offer accepted. We have now lowered our price and are hoping that will make a difference. We’ll be okay even if we don’t sell before we leave, but life would be a teensy bit easier if we sold it. Or at least had a contract on it.

I cleaned my house today in preparation for all of the traffic we’re hoping to get. I’m getting to be a real pro, by the way. Today I didn’t even realize I was cleaning. I totally tricked myself. WHAT did I DO before I had my ipod? Oh yeah. Nothing. At present, we have spatulas, knives and other kitchen essentials in the garage, and everything else (except my coffeemaker) that used to grace our counter tops now live in Dan’s car. This could get dicey since I need the canister of Splenda for my coffee…but you do whatcha gotta do.

11 days and counting.

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So we had the Big Open House on Sunday. Here is the number of people who came to see the house: ZERO. Even with the balloons and the ad in the newspaper and the big sign at the end of our street. BUT, all is not lost. I didn’t clean the closet doors with a toothbrush (actually it is more like a dish washing brush, but you get the idea…) or wash down the baseboards for nothing. Yesterday we got a call at 4:30 from our Realtor saying that someone in her office wanted to show our house in fifteen minutes–could we be ready?

Why yes, we could! Because we spent hours and hours scouring the house for Sunday, it would only take about 10 minutes to whip it back into ship showing shape. I was at the library at the time with Sadie and her friend, Taylor, so I called Dan and he was on it in a flash. (I knew there was NO WAY I was going to get there in time–one 5 year old is slow enough–just imagine TWO of them who really think it’s funny to hide from me then run away when I say it is time to go…I needed at least 30 minutes to get them out of the library and into the car…)

A quick side note: yesterday morning (before I had any knowledge that someone would want to see the house later in the day and only give us 15 minutes notice to get it ready) I had the urge to vacuum. What?! I know! Sadie had been eating Cheetos in the living room, and I happened to notice. This is QUITE unusual for me. Normally I just let the orange crumbs lie until they start sticking annoyingly to my feet. But I thought, oh, since we already vacuumed the whole house, all I need is three minutes to make the living room look really nice again. Painless, really. Also, I made Sadie’s bed. Again, unusual. I normally just close her door and not think about it until she’s ready to go to bed again, and then I remember that I should be training HER to be making her own bed, but it’s too late since it’s bedtime, so I just throw it together so her covers can be right when she sleeps. Providential? I think so.

I don’t know what the young couple thought of our house, but as Dan keeps saying during this entire MADDENING process “It only takes one buyer.”

We shall see.

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Here’s what I should be doing: getting my house ready for our Big Open House tomorrow. Even after two cups of coffee and a lovely stroll around the neighborhood garage sales, I still can’t seem to gather up my motivation. SO MUCH needs to be done. Over and above  the normal stuff that already makes me cranky (i.e.  unloading the dishwasher…) It is just so painful. You’d think someone was making me staple my tongue.

I feel all this pressure, like if everything is NOT perfect, it will be my fault that the house doesn’t sell. This is irrational, like most thoughts that run through my head. And with a little effort, we can achieve a state of house bliss, but I must say, this house selling thing is getting old. I’m just tired of it.

I’m boring myself with my complaints. Bleh.

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So we’ve been having open houses and applying for loans and having cleaning frenzies, not to mention just having returned from NY where we put an offer on a house, and NOW is the time that Sadie gets the Chicken Pox?! Not that I’m complaining THAT much…at least she’s getting it over with. Here’s my question: what good is getting your kid a CHICKEN POX VACCINE if she still gets anyway??? People say that her case may not be as bad because she had the shot, but I’d like to say that my friend who’s daughter DIDN’T get the shot seems to have a milder case. The two girls are having a pox party as I write this. Since they both have it, her mom and I thought they might as well keep each other company. So they are in an oatmeal bath right now. Poor Sadie was up every two hours last night so uncomfortable. I’m hoping she doesn’t get it as bad as I had it…there wasn’t one ounce of skin showing. I was all pox. I’m talking pox on top of pox. It was hideous.

Anyway, I have a few minutes before I have to clean the house AGAIN. I’m telling you, living in a ‘ready-at-anytime-to show’ house is MADDENING. I’m already domestically challenged as it is (having gone 6 months at a time between bathroom cleanings, and no, I’m not exaggerating!) And now I have to watch EVERY crumb that falls out of the toaster. Though I will say that it’s teaching me some new habits–I’d really like to become the kind of person who notices the squalor I’m living in, and has the motivation to DO something about it. I don’t want to bring my pigpen ways to my new house. Which we will close on at the beginning of June by the way. But more about that later.

We’re showing the house tomorrow, and having an open house on Sunday, and Sadie and Taryn ate blueberry muffins WILLY NILLY at the table and you should see the mess. At least I CARE now. 🙂

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Since I’m beyond remembering what was significant about the post I lost, I’ll just move on. I haven’t been posting for awhile because 1) I’ve been wheezy sick. If I laugh a little bit, I sound like I’ve been smoking for 100 years (and I don’t smoke, except for that one time in college when we were around the campfire and the guys were smoking old-man pipes and reading poetry and being all literary and I took teeny puff–awful putrid stuff–but the guys thought they were so cool at the time…) ANYWAY, I looked up symptoms of pneumonia but as is customary for me, I’m jumping to the worst possible conclusion and really what I have is a lingering cold/cough that half of my town has, so I just should get over myself and stop worrying about the fact that I’ve never been able to spit. I’m serious. I couldn’t hork to save my life. I think it has to do with my irrational fear of throwing up. It is kind of in that same category to me. And I’ve heard that if you have pneumonia, you have to get all that gunk out of your lungs somehow and I’ve been wondering what on earth I’m going to do. I know this is totally gross, and isn’t your body supposed to know how to get the stuff out? Maybe it’s because I didn’t have brothers or something, but every time I try to work up to spitting, my throat closes and I swallow automatically.  Sorry. I hope you weren’t eating.

The number 2) reason I haven’t posted in a while is because it’s spring  break around here, and for this family, that means House Project Time! We have our tax refund money and are in the process of repainting, reflooring and DE-cluttering. In the past two days, Dan has painted the entire living room, dining room, entryway, and main hallway. Including primer and two colors: a lovely cafe latte/cream combo. Thanks to Trish over at Simple Pink for her mad consulting skills, we are on our way to a brand new space. Seriously. She could run one of those shows where the experts go in and look at your space and find stuff somewhere else in your house and make these simple suggestions that you would have NEVER thought of in your life, and BAM. Your house is amazing on a budget. I have long despised my hideous couch, and Trish suggested to switch it out for the cool-looking futon that we have in our spare bedroom. Why didn’t I think of that? It looks incredible in the living room. So we’re really on a roll. And the computer has been down so Dan can paint, and now since he’s done, we’re up and running again. Oh, and also, Trish found a great little computer desk in our garage. Dan had all of his oil changing stuff on this old wooden thing that we’ve had forever, and she said “hey, that would be a great little computer desk.” Oh. MY. Word. It changes the whole look of the living room. She’s amazing, that one.  Thanks again, Trish!!

So to sum up: wheezing, obsessing and redecorating.

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