Monday, January 19, 2015

How to Sweep the Panty Floor in 18 Easy Steps

I'm certain I've blogged about this problem before.
My inability to start a task and finish it.
Maybe it comes from 2 decades of raising kids---you seldom, if ever, get to finish a task you've started without being interrupted by a child needing your assistance.

Today, it was the pantry floor that started the whole spiral of odd jobs that ultimately led back to the pantry floor.
One thing I'll never understand is how dirt, hay, crumbs and other debris end up on my pantry floor.
You'd think that the door would keep most of that stuff out.
Of course, that would assume that the door is closed all the time.
We all know what assumptions do, right?

Moving on.

In order to properly sweep the pantry floor,  I remove all the stuff on the floor.
No problem except for one item.
The step stool (needed to reach stuff in tall, thin pantry).
The step stool was my undoing. 

Mandy is hoping I'll find a stray dog treat on the floor of the "magic closet" of food.
It was a grimy, dog hair covered mess.
Are people stepping on this stool with dirty shoes? Dirty feet?
Does it even matter?
Here's how the rest of "Sweeping the Pantry Floor" devolved.

1. Take step stool into laundry room to squirt the steps with soap.  Place outside.
2. While in laundry room, notice that cat feeding area is a nasty mess.
3. Remove and wash sticky widget that keeps cat dishes in place.
4. Remove and leave cat bowls in deep sink to soak.
5. Remove and toss tiny rug that keeps his Majesty the Hobbes hinny from having to sit on the cold counter while he eats, in the washing machine.
6. Go outside to begin scrubbing the step stool.
7. Decide that I don't want to hook up the garden hose (it's in cold weather storage) and decide to use rain water instead.
8. Figure since I'm going to pollute the rainwater with soap, I'd better use some of the water to water houseplants before I do so.
9. Decide one of my house plants needs a good long drink and a bath.
10. Haul houseplant outside and cross my fingers that this drink doesn't kill it (it's a succulent). 
11. Finally scrub the step stool. Rinse with rainwater and leave in sunshine to dry.
12. Realize I've just emptied the last of the rainwater in rinsing the stool and have to take the scrub brush back in to the deep sink to rinse it properly.
13. Rinse brush and toss outside to dry.   
14. Bring plant indoors and again cross my fingers that this drink doesn't kill it.
15. Go back to deep sink and wash and dry cat bowls.
16. Clean off counter/walls in cat feeding area.
17. Wipe down cabinets and top of washing machine and dryer since I'm already wiping things.
18. FINALLY go to sweep up the pantry floor.

While some folks may view this as amazing multi-tasking, mostly it's just maddening.
Yes, I got a several things taken care of, but I'm not certain it's the easiest way to go about cleaning my house. Sometimes I fail to complete the job of origin---because I get sidetracked. 
Lucky for me, and my pantry floor.
It is now clean(ish).
At least it is free from obvious debris.
For now.
Better go close the door.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Remember Those Days

The sleepless nights.
The days and nights of desperation.
Bargaining with God. 
Bargaining with my child.
"Please, please, just 2 hours of sleep in a row!"

Somehow, Katie and Preston seem to avoided all the wailing and nashing of teeth.
They seem so much more natural at the business of caring for a baby than I was.

Eric and I were both the youngest of our siblings by quite a few years.
Neither one of us had any experience with babies.
Friends and family and baby books told us that babies don't sleep on a schedule (day/night).
However, they didn't warn us how crushing the lack of sleep can be.
"Sleep when the baby sleeps" was the advice we were given.
Looking back, it makes sense.
In the throes of it, I chose to do laundry and shower and vacuum and make dinner.
I thought I should be able to just go on with my life as normal.
I'd sleep at night when the baby slept.
Preston took this with his cell phone.  It came to me with "My two girls" texted below it. 
 By the time I had my last, Quinn, I had learned that sleeping while the baby sleeps is a mantra to live by.  
It should be drilled into everyone's head.
It should be taught at schools.
It should be quilted and cross-stitched onto throw pillows.
It should be graffitied onto the sides of buildings.
It should be OKAY to stop what you are doing and sleep when the baby sleeps.
We expect young parents to bring a tiny creature into this world with no language skills and no understanding of 'schedule'; and then want those same young parents to go on with their lives as though nothing has changed.
Obviously, Preston and Katie are bucking the norm.
They sleep when the baby sleeps.
Not always, but sometimes.
It may be that they don't set out to do it.
It may be that they lie down for a moment to help Evie drift off to sleep and then drift off themselves.
Either way, they're supporting one another and bonding with this tiny gift as they sleep.

As a woman, far, far away from this stage in my life, I can look at these photos and just feel love.
The memory of being dog tired is faint and fuzzy.
The new memories forming are of love and pride at the great job my son and daughter-in-love are doing with this new phase in their lives.
Katie took this.  It came to me with "Your baby with his baby" texted below it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

First, we must address the cliche' of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines".
Obviously, making/cutting/gathering hay must only be done when the sun is shining and has been shining for some time.
Otherwise, you end up with a ghastly, moldy mess unfit for animals.
It was first recorded on paper in 1546.
Read more about it HERE.

Moving on.
Sunday, a cold front came through.
Cold for us anyway.
23* overnight.

It was cold and windy, but sunny!
Sun makes all the difference.

I had chores to do.
Manure called. 
So did the chicken coop.
Every now and then I am fascinated by the fact that I spend a portion of every day moving poop.

 The chickens are thrilled that I move manure from one place to another.
The manure pile is full of snacks, both large and small.
It also must be much warmer than wandering my pastures looking for seeds and stray bugs.

 Eric and I knew that it would get plenty cold before our barn was erected.
Here you see the edge of the tent we put up for the boys to get out of the north wind and rain.
I clean it every day as well. 
I added more shavings, different shavings for them to lie on at night.
A bit more of something between them and the cold ground.
They weren't sure the new shavings didn't have monsters in them.
They ate their hay while standing half in-half out.
Just in case.

While it was barely 30* outdoors, the sun assured me he could make it worth my while to stay out a bit longer.
I did. 
It was.

I sat down in the sun when my chores were done and found all the itchy places on the donkeys.
Did you know my boys like to have their bellies scratched?

Marie and Amelia, the Buttercup sisters were waiting, just out of donkey reach for a chance to sit in my lap.
Marie chose my shoulder instead (see top picture).
I stayed outside, all bundled up in the sun for 2 hours.
It made me so happy!
I was sad when the sun began slipping beyond the horizon.
Time to go in.

Does the sun call to you, even when it's cold?