Category Archives: cleaning

Company’s Coming!

Come on, people! Let’s get crackin!

Ever tried to accomplish a giant task while you have company?  I’m facing that …oh, what’s the word… ‘excitement’ now as I have a book deal for a rather lengthy manuscript on an extremely tight deadline.

So.  My father is turning 80.  On the same day, his brother is turning 82.  On the same day (no, this is not a typo) my daughter is turning 13.
October 9 is a popular day to birth babies in our gene pool.  Relatives are flying in from the four corners of the earth to celebrate.

What with me being in menopause and having the five kids under 18 and all, I’m feeling a tad stressed. However, I am nothing if not organized and I love to delegate.  So, I’m thinking I’m going to ask for a little help.  They say it’s one of the hardest things a person can do, this asking for help business.  To that, I say, “Heeeeeeellllllllllllppppppppp!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, grandpa is turning 80.  Big whoop.  He can make the spaghetti.  Aunt and Uncle are clean freaks, they can tackle the pantry.  My cousin and her daughters are creative and love to talk/tell stories.  I’m passing out plot cards when they walk through the door and sending them off to enjoy some quiet time and a jolly good writing exercise.  We can discuss character arc at the party, and goal, motivation and conflict over dessert.  After the gifts are open, everyone will get a party favor pencil and go to work.  Scenes for the kids, chapters for the adults.

That oughtta gitter done.  By the time I have to take them to the airport, I should be able to swing by the post office and mail the completed manuscript, therefore giving two birds the old one/two punch with one stone.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, cleaning, company, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, romance novels, Writing

Fish tragedy, a three hanky tale

Don’t they look like angels when they sleep?…wait…they ARE angels!

Luckily, my mother does not read this blog so I can add my fish tale to Wendy’s aquarium misery.  Plus, it’s been two years and we’ve managed to recover nicely.

Number One Son really, really, really, really wanted a pet fish.

I said, “But honey, you know you are only ten-years-old and won’t take care of it and the poor little fishy will die of starvation.”

“No way, Mom!!  I’ll feed it and change its water and play with it and everything.”

“If I let you have a fish, you must realize that I don’t want it, and its life will be in your hands, got that?”

After he pledged allegiance to the fish, we went to Wal-mart.  Price of fish?  10 cents.  Price of bowl, rocks, food, fish net, special chemistry set to keep the bowl from rotting, exotic housing units and plastic trees and kelp in unnatural neon colors?  $89.50.

Day one was glorious:  Son diligently set up bowl, named fish Alice, fed Alice 3 squares, checked chemical balance, dragged family and friends in to admire how clever Alice was whenever she swam through neon cave and, before bed that night, told Alice bedtime story.

Day two:  Son invited to sleepover at neighbor’s house.  Forgot Alice existed.

Day five: Alice failing.

Day eight:  Alice, near death, discovered by eldest teenage daughter.  “Mom, I’m going to take over Alice’s health care.  Brother is going to be my
co-owner.”

A shame-faced brother agreed to the arrangement and within days, Alice was her spunky old self.  Daughter taught brother that the best way to clean Alice’s bowl was to transfer Alice to a salad bowl and run her regular stuff through the dishwasher to sterilize it from time to time.

Unfortunately, daughter and son neglected to tell Grandma their bowl cleaning method.  And—because my mother is one of those people who cannot stop cleaning for 5 minutes—when she came over for dinner, Alice was inadvertently tossed into the garbage disposal and whirled into the great beyond as my mother hummed Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

We all stared at each other in horror, as Alice had become a rather cherished member of the family.  However, we also knew that Grandma would never forgive herself and would inundate us with replacement fish for the rest of our lives and so, choked back the tears.  Needless to say, dinner was a tad subdued that night.  Now and then, a family member would pause at the disposal and murmur their respects down the drain.

Wendy, hurry.  Invite my mother over for dinner next time you clean Bluestar’s bowl.  Grandma, without fail, will leap up from the dinner table and begin tackling the dishes.  Rest in peace, Bluestar.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, Children, cleaning, Cooking, Cussing, Death, Health, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Pet fish

Sliding Doors

Steady...steady now...

On the 4th of July, we had the kind of company you want to impress.  (My agent and her family).  Yet, my hard-working hubby saw the day off as an opportunity to strip the house of every interior door to patch, prime and paint.  I’m sure the bizarre impact of no bathroom or closet doors  didn’t occur to him when he hatched this amazing scheme.  Isn’t the closet where you cram everything when company comes?  The bathroom problem is self-evident.  Anyway, as you can imagine, what with 7 people and 3 dogs at our house, our doors can get pretty shabby looking.

He has a clever way of spreading a giant tarp over the driveway and arranging the doors (think dominos) vertically with supports holding them at the top.  In the past, on a windless day, this has worked beautifully.

Because of the barbecue, he only had enough time to get the doors in domino stance, then he had to go to work for me.  (I love this man).  After the fireworks, we all had a great night’s sleep, but woke to find that the doors had toppled.  Some broken.

Yet, my intrepid hubby (after some pithy verbiage and a moment to sulk in my arms) strode back outside to face the door dragon.  Thankfully, only 2 of the doors were damaged.  He spent the day patching them and putting them back up with reinforcements. Then, off to work to make a living the next day.

While the kids were splashing in the pool, the first row crashed.  The kids started screaming.  “Mom!  THE DOORS!”  They thrashed out of the pool and raced to the driveway only to arrive in time to watch the second row fall.  My thirteen-year-old daughter burst into tears.  “Poor, Dad!”  The boys, (including one of their classmates) all looked on morosely.  “Man, that bites!”  The older girls were mad and verbal.

“Come on, you guys!  Grab a door, let’s get this cleaned up before Dad gets home.”

In no time, the doors were stacked and sorted (only 2 more broken this time) and it was up to me to make the scary phone call.

Stony silence followed by expletives deleted.  Yet, he came home, figured out a new way to arrange the doors (like tables with short legs) sprayed them, flipped them, sprayed them again and now…taaaa…daa…I have beautiful, shiny, amazing doors in my house.

Thank you, sweetheart.  You are awesome.

Carolyn

PS:  If you haven’t seen Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s fascinating.

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, Children, cleaning, Cussing, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Writing

My carpet is disgusting

Wendy!  Get Rich Quick Scheme number 197,322!!!

I am thinking of calling it Nature’s Carpet, a revolutionary new flooring manufactured with the family in mind.  Envision this in your
own home.  Orange cat?  Nature’s Carpet will incorporate random tufts of orange hair into the weave!  Have a baby?   Imagine haphazard patches of mustard yellow and baby burp white!  For you dog owners, muddy paw prints in chocolate and caramel brown and some ‘oopsie’ spots for the puppy years.  I’m thinking the ketchup and pizza stain pattern is a must for a rumpus room.  And every guy will clamor for the barf and beer stain look for his man room.

Husbands?  Go ahead and take that motorcycle apart in the living room.  She won’t care.  Not with Nature’s Carpet’s “Garage Floor Stain” pattern.

Get that new carpet smell with the user-friendly feel.  No more need to chase that wet pet through the house.  Screaming at the kids over muddy boots is a thing of the past.  Peace and tranquility abound as you ‘go green’ with our bark dust, rabbit droppings and moss chunks pattern.

Your friend’s will turn puce with envy!

Wendy, my family will easily be able to do all of the design work.  You look into the patent deal.  I’m thinkin’ we’re on to something big this time.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, cleaning, Cooking, Cussing, Death, Dogs, Geroge Clooney, Humor, kids messy rooms, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, parenthood