Friday, November 10, 2017

Pin THIS! Vol. 2

Hope springs eternal, as they say, and it does so in particular ways in my life as a mother.  I don't just mean the way I hope my three-year-old will stop yelling at unsuspecting strangers in the grocery store, "WELL, I DON'T LIKE YOU!" or even the way I hope they don't realize her unsolicited anger was directed at them.

No, I certainly do have those kinds of hopes, but the most naive of my eternally-springing hopes come in the realm of housekeeping.

The amount of work involved in just living each day is incredible.  It really is.  The mountains of laundry around here are pretty unbelievable.  I've been reading the Little House books aloud to the girls, and I keep telling myself that if the Ingalls family could do truly everything for themselves from scratch, I ought to be able to keep a household running with a modern oven and refrigerator, a washer and dryer, even a robot vacuum at my disposal!  Shouldn't this be somehow easy?

Every morning I rise with the certainty that this will be the day.  Surely today I will get caught up on the laundry.  How hard can it be?  Today is the day I'll finally list those pairs of jeans I don't wear anymore on eBay and get them out of my house.  Today I'll tidy our master bedroom and get it looking presentable.  Today I'll really clean out the girls' closets.  Today I'll organize the sized seasonal bins of clothing in the basement and make sure everything is put away properly.  And so on and so forth.

As the day unfolds -- and I'm sure this is no great plot twist to any other mothers of young children out there -- I get approximately 25% of my lofty goals accomplished on a given day, if that.  Mostly I keep the children alive and fed and cared for, clothed and taken outside for fresh air and read to and snuggled with and all the other imperative things.

I'm lucky if I can stay on top of the basics of meals and dishes and then maybe throw one load of laundry into the washer.  I certainly don't go above and beyond with any massive organizational projects most days, much as I need to.  But even so, hope springs eternal, and I tell myself with honest fervor that tonight, tonight, when the girls are finally in bed and my hands are free and I don't have a fussy baby in a carrier strapped to my chest, well, at last I'll be able to do all those things.

And of course, five whole seconds after everyone is asleep I look around the house, assess the serious situation at hand, and can barely find the energy to do the bare minimum.  Clear the dinner table.  Do at least a majority of the dishes.  Pick up the glaringly obvious messes.  Collapse in exhaustion.

Tell myself, of course, that I'll do it all tomorrow.

* * *

I recently remembered an old blog post from about three years ago wherein I tried to make light of all the chaos that was in our home and life at the time.  Looking back at it gave me a good laugh, and inspired me to find the humor in our life in the here and now, as well.  (It was noteworthy to me that the spaces that looked so disastrous three years ago actually are all unbelievably improved, so much so that you'd never recognize them!  We've eliminated those problem areas and moved on to new ones, apparently...)

We'll start with the entryway, as any good home tour ought to do.   Welcoming you to our humble abode we have a lovely dead chrysanthemum.  It is the tangible representation of my soul, you might say, crushed and withered by the obligations and responsibilities of life.

I'll continue our home tour with a shot of Nathan's home office desk.  He's up to his eyeballs in paperwork, poor guy, particularly as I snapped this picture just as he was finishing up our taxes for the year.  But of course, you also never know when you'll need a few tubs of grout.  It may come in handy... perhaps to repair the arm of your office chair that is leaking old yellow foam?

Lest you think I'm just throwing my husband under the bus here, we'll move on to a picture of our kitchen in all its glory.  I must have made a meal or two on the day I took this lovely photo, and as you can see, everything piles up quickly.  I'd be hiding my head in shame, but what you may not realize is that there's a bright spot in this space: a new-to-us (thanks, Craigslist!) range with a double oven, which almost satisfies the desires of my heart, except that I am really tired of trying to clean around and behind my sink and I'm pining for an under mount sink someday.  Really, why aren't all sinks under mount sinks?  Are the people who design the ones like mine just morons?  Serious question.  But back to the double oven, the best part about it is that the spring that holds the door shut actually works, unlike our previous one, so the outside doesn't get heated up to dangerous temperatures just in time for my poor sweet children to burn themselves.

(In my defense, my kitchen is usually reasonably clean when I go to bed and when I first wake up in the morning.  And it rarely looks this disastrous.  Which is what made this particular moment so very photo-worthy, in a truly terrible way.)

Over here on a side kitchen counter we have a delightful display of mouth-watering Dove chocolates.  Help yourself.  If you'd like to wash them down with a swig of furniture cleaner, we do keep it handy, as you can see.  Also handy are an array of earplugs, a large flashlight, a tape measure, safety glasses, and other man items the purposes of which I cannot discern.

The children seem to take a cue from their mother's {dismal} housekeeping abilities, and their own play kitchen thereby sometimes looks like this:

Next up we have our dining room table.  Some days the chairs just stay that way after I've run the vacuum under the table.  It seems like a lot of effort to put them all back down again only to put them back up, you know?

Another day, another view of the dining room table, another scenic tablescape of tools piled on it for your viewing pleasure:

Now, did I mention the laundry is insane around here?  This is evidenced here by the fact that I've needed to expand our laundry receptacle collection, and now in addition to the three white plastic laundry hampers I use, I'm also using any empty bin I can find in the basement for the purposes of carrying and sorting laundry.

There's so much laundry the hampers can't keep it all down.

Our guest bedroom is currently home to a toilet.  Unfortunately, it's not hooked up to any plumbing (although that would be convenient for guests, wouldn't it?)... it's just perched there, waiting for its day in the sun when it can finally be reinstalled in our downstairs bath, which is currently under major renovations.  By which I mean Nathan tore it down to the studs and has been rebuilding it in its entirety!  Pretty exciting.  The toilet can hardly wait for its new home, I'm sure.  In fact, it's so excited that we have to hold it down with - you guessed it - another hamper of laundry.

Why do we have so much laundry?  I would venture a guess that it has something to do with the scenarios depicted in the following photos.

Ahhhhh yes, it would appear that certain residents of the house get dressed every morning only to promptly discard their everyday clothes in favor of ballerina tutus of every variety.  The wrinkled clothing is later found with remnants of breakfast or some other delight already on it, and is often thereby replaced with a new outfit -- in between the hours of twirling in tutus, of course.

And I suppose the laundry situation is highly influenced by this charming lady, as well.

A lot of laundry, yes, but a lot of debris in my life as well.  This is how much our robot vacuum picks up about every other day, and that's just in the downstairs.  Poor Cinderella!  She's choking up on the dirt and debris and general shame of it all!

But getting back to the guest bedroom, which is really more of a catch-all room than a guest room at the moment... 

What's a toilet without a sink to go with it? And what's a renovation project without several chests full of tools?

Oh silly me, I almost forgot a view of the bed!  So cozy and inviting:

Next we'll take a peek in the family room.  The family room was formerly our master bedroom, but early in my third pregnancy I very rationally decided that the whole house needed to be reimagined and rearranged.  We moved our master bedroom into the now-finished attic, which is quite cozy, and turned the space into a family room where kids' stuff can be stored, we can read together curled up on a comfy couch, and Nathan and I can occasionally watch TV together in the evenings.  We particularly enjoy the aesthetic of the off-center wall hangings over the television.  They were originally quite nicely centered over our master bed.  Obviously we require more than a year and a half to rectify the situation and re-center them over the current room's landscape.

Here's that comfortable family room couch I mentioned.  It's really quite perfect for relaxing, reading, or TV-watching -- well, if you can find a spot to sit.  The girls do make frequent use of this space for all their daily playing needs, as you can see.  But if you need help climbing over the rubble, Nathan has left a ladder handy in the background there, just leaning up against the curtains.  So convenient.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the baby's nursery it would appear that it's time to do laundry again.  Cloth diapers!

In the side alleyway coming toward our back stairs you can see all manner of remnants of the bathroom renovation project, so if you're looking for some valuable copper piping to steal, you know where to come.  

Naturally, we wouldn't dream of letting the side of our house steal the show, so our front yard is even more sublime.  Here we have a bin full of paint, topped with rain water and fallen leaves.  The previous homeowners left gallons and gallons of old paint in the garage, and eventually Nathan reached a level of annoyance that caused him to empty all of it into one bin so it could "dry out" and be properly disposed of.  Clearly that process is moving along swimmingly. {no pun intended}

Since I keep mentioning the bathroom renovation, I suppose I ought to show you some pictures.

Nathan started the demo the day after last Christmas, as I recall.

Here's what it looked like a couple of weeks ago...

And here's what it looks like today!

As you can see, things are moving along nicely, although the toilet isn't hooked up to any plumbing yet of course - the tile floor needs to go in first.

That's ok, because we have house guests coming next weekend, and I'm sure they'll appreciate the nice homey feeling afforded by having a toilet still sitting on the carpeted floor of the guest room.

* * *

Well, there you have it.  This concludes our home tour.  If your life is perfect and pinteresty, this may not be your style.  But if you too have a proverbial toilet - or perhaps even a real one - sitting in your guest room, welcome.  You are not alone.  This is real life, and sometimes it is quite messy.  But it can also be pretty good, even in the midst of the mess... just be careful not to trip.

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