Saturday, August 19, 2006

Snowballs and Sequences

It all started with making the bed.

I came home from a perfectly lovely day of sewing and visiting with dear friends. Elise went down immediately for a nap, leaving me free to tackle some domestic chores that were left undone this morning. I decided to make the bed. I try to make the bed every day. I just really enjoy getting into a clean, fresh, neat bed after a long day, so even when tonight is closer than last night, I still make an effort to make the bed. And that's what started it all.

While making the bed, I thought it would be nice to put a different blanket at the end of the bed than the one that is usually there. I chose a pretty patchwork quilt. When I went to put it on the bed, though, I noticed that it smelled a bit musty, so I decided to wash it. Down to the laundry room we went. Drat, there were already clothes in the washing machine that needed to be washed. I started the machine. Then I noticed that there was a pile of items waiting to be washed. These were things like blankets, a coat that Elise has outgrown, a couple of bright red articles that demand their own special washing machine time. In other words, things that didn't make it into the normal line-up of things that must be cleaned in order to carry on with civilized life. So I decided to just clean them and be done with it. As I was separating them into their respective loads, I saw that the floor of the laundry room was quite dusty. The ventilation in the room isn't great, and the lint from the dryer causes a light, dusty film to develop on most surfaces. So I decided to sweep the floor. Then I realized that it wouldn't do a lot of good to sweep the floor so long as the other surfaces were still dusty, so I decided to clean them. During this thought process, the washing machine finished its cycle and I transferred the clothes into the dryer - finally getting my blanket into the washer. I cleaned the lint filter on the dryer, and when I went to throw the lint into the garbage can, I noticed that the garbage can was getting quite full. So I decided to empty it. Up the stairs I went, meaning to empty the garbage can and get the broom and dustpan. Unfortunately, the kitchen garbage can (into which I meant to dump the laundry room garbage) was full. So I emptied it. Then I emptied the laundry room garbage can, and then I noticed that it was quite dirty. So I decided to clean it out. I took it to the kitchen sink and found the sink to be full of dishes. Now, I didn't see any point in moving the dishes to the counter just to be moved into the dishwasher later, so I decided to put them straight into the dishwasher. Only the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. Oh, well. I emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it with the dirty dishes. Well, once the dishes are cleared away, I might as well clean the rest of the kitchen - so I did. Once that was done, I finally began to work my way back down my chain of events. I cleaned out the garbage can (sidetracking momentarily to clean out the kitchen garbage can as well). I brought the broom and dustpan downstairs, washed the washer and dryer surfaces, washed the other surfaces in the room, and swept the floor. The quilt was transferred to the dryer.

So now I have a clean kitchen, two clean and disinfected garbage cans, a clean laundry room, a bunch of clean assorted articles of clothing and linens...and a clean patchwork quilt at the end of my bed. There are some benefits to being easily distracted.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I really appreciate our garbage service men. There is something so satisfying about having garbage taken away. To know that every Friday morning, two big bins of stuff that I don't need are going to be emptied into the giant, smelly trucks, and then returned, empty, to's wonderful. It somehow gives me a great sense of order and tidiness. I actually enjoy opening the cabinet under our kitchen sink and finding an empty trash can. I like knowing that that clean white plastic bag will, over the next couple of days, contain for us all of the unpleasant, unwanted, and unnecessary leftovers of our daily life, and that at the end of the week, the dutiful employees of Allied Waste will come to take our collection of filled plastic bags away from us forever. Thank you, Allied Waste.

Yeah, I know, I'm weird.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Flower's Garden

A few weeks ago, my parents-in-law were here for an afternoon. We were in our back yard playing with the baby, and I was embarrassed about the state of our yard. The grass was tidy and short, but the many areas in our yard that have been purposefully set aside as garden space or flower beds were full of weeds. We did not plant a garden this year, and only managed to plant a few flowers in the front yard. My parents-in-law, on the other hand, have a back yard that could be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and a vegetable garden that could feed a small nation. So I was embarrassed.

Then my mother-in-law, in her humble, hospitable way, said the most wonderful thing. And she didn't even take credit for it. She said, "Well, my mom always said, you can't have flowers outside your home when you're raising flowers inside your home." Grandma Carpenter, a wise woman whom I did not have the honor of meeting, was referring of course to parenting. It seems she has passed her wisdom along to her daughter.


It is so much fun watching Elise grow up. There are new delights every day. The other day she picked up a stuffed toy dog (Chiwak, for those of you who know us well) and said, "oof! oof!" She breaks out into this huge grin every time I start to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", and now she tries to do the hand motions. This morning at the breakfast table, she was drinking out of her sippy cup and, miracle of miracles, she gently placed the cup back on the table when she was finished! Now, I realize that this seems insignificant. To me it is huge. When finished with her cup, Elise usually just lets go of it, allowing it to fall to the ground or, even better, upside-down on her lap in the highchair or carseat. We have been working on this for a while now. She'll drop her cup on the floor - usually carelessly, more from the will of gravity than the will of Elise, although sometimes most deliberately, and these times result in a more stern reprimand - and I will pick it up, place it properly on the table, and explain for the umpteenth time that we do not drop our cups on the floor. This morning, when she carefully placed the cup on the table, right side up, and then looked at me for approval, I melted. All of the sticky messes in her seats, her soggy clothes, the frequent surprise of stepping into a small puddle of milk on the floor - they were all worth the effort, because today she got it. Sigh. I love her.