Monthly Archives: August 2009

waste not

This is my husband. Also a vortex for TP. We’ve run out twice since I bought the damned tissue  holder, which, surprise, still hasn’t been installed. It’s sitting in a box next to the toilet, for my total convenience.

And when I say we ran out, I don’t mean just the roll. I mean, there was not a scrap of tissue in the entire house. We buy paper products in bulk but still have the “what happened to the  paper towels I just bought” conversation on what feels like a daily basis.

This bugs me on more than one level. I was pro-conservation even before it was fashionable, and more than ever since becoming a homeowner. Seeing the amount of waste we make every week (more bags of trash than there are people in the household) gives my conscience a guilty twinge.

I’m no fanatic. I recycle everything I can and I compost, but I still buy double-ply, guilt be damned. Joe, however, is an anti-conservationist. He runs the dishwasher or does a load of laundry for three items. He uses paper towels when rags would suffice. And lately he’s been throwing recyclables in the trash, which to me, is a household sin.

I just don’t get it. To me, it’s such a small amount of effort for such a great payoff. But then, this is the same guy who cannot even put a new roll of TP on the back of the tank when he’s used the last of it.



cleaning house, continued

Of course, my definition of clean varies greatly from Joe’s. I just wanted to see the floor in the living room again, and get the tools and fishing tackle out of there and into the garage or shed where they belong.

He, on the other hand, had to go through every bedroom with white-gloved precision. In the process, he dumped everything that didn’t have a home into the living room, thus making even more of a mess of the one area I wanted to clean.

We worked up until 10 p.m. Sunday night and still didn’t finish the job. The biggest projects left are the explosion of papers in my office (nothing I consider urgent now that I have an office door I can close) and the boxes of crap in the living room. Still. Joe’s solution was to pile them in the corners of the room rather than the center of the floor.

But at least the cat can puke with abandon now. So someone’s happy.


cleaning house

With my nephew getting near potty-training age, I recently got into a discussion with Joe’s dad about the age at which this is usually done. He recalled that Joe was peeing on his own by 2, although mastering number two took a bit longer. “We had a lot of trouble getting him to go,” he said.

I KNEW it! I married a classic Freudian anal retentive, and have been paying for it ever since. The man never lets anything go, not poop, not fights, and certainly not any of the useless junk cluttering up the house. It’s the primary reason the place is as much of a mess as it was when we moved in five months ago.

Besides being unhygienic and obstructive (anytime you navigate the living room, you have to be prepared to twist an ankle), it’s starting to give me a reputation as a slob. So I went on the warpath and designated this Clean-o-Rama weekend.

Just in time, too. When I got home Friday night I discovered that the cat, lacking any floor space on which to puke, had turned to our only lamp instead. It’s going to be a long weekend.


vacation, schmacation

I’m sure I am the only person in the universe who has actually been psyched about sanding wood in 90+ degree heat, but that was the good part of my vacation. I took Monday and Tuesday off so Joe’s dad and I could finish the boards for my closet system.

But things went awry Sunday when we discovered that Izabelle had a raging case of head lice. I had this myself as a kid (don’t all kids?), and I don’t remember it being so completely awful. But then, I wasn’t doing the laundry.

Still, even with all the house cleaning, laundry sanitizing (that’s actually what the two-hour-long washing machine setting is called), and literal nit-picking I had to do, we still managed to get all eight boards sanded and stained, and even slapped on the first coat of polyurethane.

It wasn’t much of a vacation, but the house is clean and I am one step closer to corralling the chaos that I’ve been living in.


Pandora’s boxes

It is just one design dilemma after another around here. The current one: Now that we have shelves in the front hall closet, I need some kind of system to stash all the crap that goes on them. This is especially important as we probably won’t have closet doors for some time.

Joe is partial to baskets and I don’t mind them, but I’m worried that too many will make it look like someone threw up a Pottery Barn catalog. So I’m obsessing over my options. Ideally, I’d like to mix and match a few different styles.



Clockwise from top left: an open-weave seagrass (matches my hamper); water hyacinth, a funky rattan and steel combo (though it’s darker than I’d like), and banana leaf … ooh, exotic. Of course, any of these options means I have to make my own cloth liner, but I already found a pattern. Alternately, there’s …

Cloth:clothClockwise from top left: Whitney canvas bin with contrasting trim; the Reisenthel HomeBox, made by a German company is pricey but I may have to splurge; eyelet totes; and the BagSmith canvas cube appeals to my nerdy, label-loving side—but no handles.

I also kind of like these metal bins, but Joe would never let me get them:

metal bins

So, what do you think (besides “she’s crazy!”)? Any other suggestions? How do you organize your crap?


oh happy day!

Just when I think I’ve run out of dumb things to get excited about … my toilet tissue holder came!

Also, I finally found totes to start organizing.

And it isn’t raining for once so I can cut the grass.

It’s the little things, people.


leaks and bounds

Sunday afternoon, I am reading a friend’s facebook update: J_____ is so sick of this rain! I, too am disgusted by this summer of thunderstorms, so wet that our backyard is sprouting mushrooms and we can never get anything done around the house.

Only today, we’re about to clean the gutters—I just don’t know that yet.

It starts when Joe shouts that Belle’s window is leaking water. As usual, he defaults to extreme panic mode, grabbing a roll of paper towels. Used to him overreacting, I follow calmly with a few towels, anticipating a trickle.

Then I see Niagara Falls gushing over Belle’s windowsill and down the wall.

At first, I’m still calm, analytic, trying to figure out how so much water could be getting in with the window shut. But after 30 seconds of watching it pour over the woodwork we painstakingly finished and soak the drywall it took us months to hang, I abandon careful analysis in favor of furious mopping.

Joe has already figured it out anyway. It’s the rain gutters—we never cleaned them. He’s going to go out and do it. “Are you crazy?” I scream. This is not just a downpour but an all-out electrical storm. We literally had a tornado warning in eastern PA. And my husband wants to take a metal ladder outside in it.

But Belle and I are too busy sopping up the falls to stop him. We’re succeeding about as well as we would using a washcloth on Niagara, and the pile of soaked terrycloth is piling up around us. Panic has won.

Then I see the ladder through the window, with Joe ascending, already soaked. A second later, he hurls a wet clump to the ground and it’s like a valve is shut off. The water stops pouring in.

An hour later, Belle’s room is dry, but every towel in house is dirty and soaked, along with Joe’s clothes. Muddy tracks cover the kitchen floor. Our flowerbeds are gouged from the ladder feet, and mulch and gutter debris is spattered everywhere. The ladder is tipped on its side on the lawn.

For most people, a storm means canceling a picnic, a rain delay, another game of Monopoly. For us, it means a downpour in the bedroom and cleaning gutters in a lightning storm. There is no status update appropriate for how I feel right now.