Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A place for baseball belts, and baseball belts in their place!

I found my son's baseball belt just a few minutes ago. Yep, it was in the corner of the bathroom downstairs, just in the sort of place my husband suggested it might be last night while helping my son get ready for practice at the last minute. I heard him say something like, "I just saw it the other day where it wasn't supposed to be. It's probably wherever you took it off when you got home the other day. Go look in the bathrooms."

Now these few short sentences sum up our entire family dynamic. Mr. Engineer, aka Captain Trash, is frustrated with the rest of his family's lack of engineeriness (that is so a word) and our inability to find a "place for everything and everything...blah, blah, blah." While our 9-year-old son, aka The One Whose Head Resides in the Clouds, is assuring us that there is no such thing as a baseball belt, so he couldn't possibly have lost one. And I am thinking, "Oh yeah, I saw that belt in a strange place, too. It's probably in the bathroom downstairs and I should go -- look, something shiny!" While our girls are downstairs coloring on paper with markers on the one patch of carpet that doesn't look as if it has been herded over by muddy elephants. Yep, that's us.

I have told you before about my stellar housekeeping skills, and I am sure you must be bored of it by now, but there's a reason I've brought this dead horse up to beat again. A lovely author whose blog I follow, Joshilyn Jackson, and four of her just as lovely friends are running a Spring Cleaning contest over at Five Full Plates. No, there is no fabulous Dyson vacuum cleaner up for grabs. The only thing you'll be getting out of this contest is bragging rights and possibly a freshly cleaned house. The first contest they did was a 10-week weight loss challenge that I failed at, but at the same time won. The goal was to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. I lost about 6 pounds, so technically I failed. But, I started actually and truly exercising at least once a week and at least thinking about what I shoved in my pie hole before I shoved it and am now healthier and my jeans are too big, so that is totally a win for me. I am sure it will be the same with this contest. If I just manage to get one closet cleaned and make a dent in my bonus room, it will be an EPIC WIN for me. I may, if I get up the nerve, post before and after pictures. Do not hold your breath.

Now I did not see any rules posted for this contest, except for the fact that we are in no uncertain terms not to mention the Flylady to her ever, so I am so totally going to cheat. I have a friend who has recently become a professional organizer, and I plan to call her. Yes, I have used organizers in the past and my house still looks like a pack of hoarders up and moved in, but like the Apostle Paul, I will press on through my failures! Speaking of Paul, after the last few months of the metaphorical cleaning I've been doing in my life, I should feel refreshed in doing just housecleaning. (That was last week's post, and I am just too lazy to make another link to myself.)

Anyway, have I mentioned I broke down and got myself a cleaning lady that comes every two weeks? Now some of you are probably giving me the evil eye right now wondering why I'm complaining about a dirty house when I have a house cleaner, but friends the cleaning lady brings out a whole other can of worms, and she certainly doesn't help with the underlying whole organization thing. I finally hired her because I didn't want my wonderful, awesome, did I mention hot? husband leaving me with three children clinging to my Depression-era skirts, because my house occasionally looks ready to be condemned. (Am I the only one now singing "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille..."?)

God bless Mr. Engineer's heart, he loves a freshly scrubbed and organized house, and I am genetically unable to make a house either sparkly or organized, so I decided to cut out lattes that come in cups with a pretty green logo and stay out of the fabric and craft stores for a while and get myself some shiny and sparkly. The problem is, I hired the sparkly before I hired the organization. Now I spend every Wednesday marshaling the troops to "pick up all the crap off the floor, because the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow!" And then I spend an inordinate amount of time running around and trying to put things up and generally working myself into a tizzy, just so my toilets and sinks will shine like the stars every other week and my lovely cherry desk will reflect my surprised face when I look at it. What's that you say? You can see your reflection in your desk!?! Why yes, I did. So that means that all of the papers that had been piled on my desk for the last three, four, five? years, are now in boxes residing beside my desk. Yep, you heard me. She cleaned off my desk. (Insert mild expletive here.)

This, of course, had to happen right before tax time, which is my absolute favorite time to be married to Mr. Engineer. This is when he starts asking me dreadful, hateful, nasty questions such as "Where are the receipts for the inventory you bought? And where are your receipts for what you sold? And how about those sales tax forms that show you paid your taxes this year? You did pay your sales tax this year, right?" And this is where my heart feels all panicky in my too-small chest and my armpits start to sweat, and I try really hard not to shout, "How the *&^% should I know? And LEAVE ME ALONE!" I refrain from shouting this because I know that he is only doing our family a favor by keeping the IRS off our backs, and seriously, I should know these things. I am a grownup, and I have had this embroidery business for at least 4 or 5 years now, and I know that the Tax Man cometh every April. I should really know where all that crap is. And I usually have a vague idea of where it is piled up on my desk, written on backs of envelopes and folded and put in the special "tax" places on my desk. But remember, I hired out some sparkly and shiny, and that is what I got. I just didn't realize I'd get a big freaking headache to go along with it.

Anyway, the whole point of this rambling post is that I'm trying to get this pit I call a house in order, because I've got some things I'd like to do that require a little organization. My goal is to tackle some particularly nasty organizational task every week for four weeks. Anyone willing to join me? I meant join me in organizing your own house, not coming over to help in mind. But if you are up for that sort of thing, I certainly won't stop you. Just bring some water, flashlights and emergency food packs. Who knows how long we'll be buried in my closets...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back, ahem, again...

Hi old friends, did you miss me?

"Who are you?" you say. "We do not know you. Who could you possibly be, calling us friends?"

Aww now, don't be that way. I know I up and left on a three-month hiatus without so much as a "see you later" but I didn't mean to.

*Looks at freshly painted hot pink toenails, chagrinned*

Forgive me? Please? Pretty please with sprinkles on top? What about if I pinky swear and spit and promise never to do it again? Okay? Thanks! You guys are the best. And I am so sorry that some of you (make that two of you) have been checking back every few days to see if I had showed back up again. And I hadn't. I don't even know what to tell you. It's not as if my life has been any busier than normal the last few months, other than the holidays of course, which are busy for everybody. After the holidays it might not even have been as busy as usual. (Like my stellar sentence structure, there? I know that's why you've been coming back day after day looking for me.)

I guess you could just say I've been in a place. I've been doing lots of looking in and trying to figure things out in my life. I've been doing a Bible study these past few months on abiding, based on John 15:1-5. It's the "vine" analogy on how Jesus is the vine, God is the vinedresser, and we are the branches who are unable to accomplish anything apart from him. He says that the branches that do nothing will be cut off and those that bear a little fruit will be pruned, so they will bear more fruit.

Pruning, it's not something I've thought about much, and frankly, it's not very fun to think about. I feel like my eyes have been opened to all the pruning that is necessary in my life, and have mercy! It is not a pretty picture. Literally, in a span of a week or two God showed me every thing in my life that needed to be cut away -- every sort of sin and wrong-thinking (I'm sure that's a word) that needed to be taken care of. It was tough. I asked him, in a respectful way of course, did He really have to show me every single thing that was wrong with me in one week?

Apparently, yes. It was an ordeal just to "see" it all, much less try to deal with it. But there you have it. Now that I know better, I must do better. And it's not all that easy, but I'm getting there, and I know I will be much better for it in the end. I've made some progress in some areas, and not so much in others. But suffice it to say, that's one of the reasons I've been busy.

Another reason is guilt! After feeling guilty about not posting for a while, and then thinking of things I could post, but not getting around to it, and then feeling more guilt, I didn't feel like writing because I felt guilty. How ridiculous is that! It's not like you people (all three or four, okay seven of you) are paying me to write this. These are just the ramblings in my head that I feel the crazy need to let spill out onto the screen for all the world to see. I'm not trying for the Pulitzer here. Heck, I'm not even trying to get paid, so why on Earth should I feel guilty? It's ridiculous. But, guilt is just a part of who I am.

Also, this blog thing is time consuming. I write and write, and then revise and revise, and then write some more which is ludicrous, too. (See above note about the Pulitzer and payment.) Dear readers, you all know that once upon a time I was a writer, and I do have a degree in communications which should prove that I am somewhat familiar with the rules of grammar and even the AP stylebook, and if I can't follow those rules and guidelines flawlessly at every sitting, it's because my brain has turned mushy after reading Green Eggs and Ham and watching Dora the Explorer for the last nine years!

I know -- and I hope by now that you know -- that I have a decent understanding of grammar, and a not-too-shoddy way with words, and if that doesn't come out in every single blog post I write, the world will not come to an end, right? Mind you, this is coming from the woman who will edit an e-mail reply for 20 minutes before sending it back to a friend.

*Hi, my name is Lori, and I'm an editing addict.*

But no more! I think I'll use this to blog to work my steps and get over it. In fact, I may only read through my posts three or four times before posting which would be a major step. Because, my theory is that if it takes me less than an hour to write and edit a post, then maybe I'll write one more than every three months.

And let's face it. I edit endlessly to look more clever and smart and pretty and likeable, or something like that. It's the people pleaser in me. I want you all to like me, really like me and not just me, but my writing -- especially my writing -- which is something else I probably need to work out in therapy. But sense some of you have been kind enough to call and say, "Hey, when are you ever going to blog again, because dang it, I miss it!" then I should realize at least two of you do really like me, so I should just get over myself and write and not work myself up so much. So that's what I've decided to do. I'm done trying so hard, okay? You'll still like me, right? *Okay, so I'm still working on that one.*

And last but not least, I'm going to try really, really, REALLY hard not to write massively long blogs. *Don't laugh! I heard you laughing.* Seriously, it has occured to me that maybe, just maybe, if I don't write several thousand words at one sitting, I might just want to sit down and write more often? Makes sense, huh?

I also want a prettier, fancier blog, and I basically want to be the Pioneer Woman, but I don't see that happening any time soon, so you'll just have to live with my new color...white! It's so original, don't you think? And you can also look for a crafty blog coming from me soon. Yes, I can hear you thinking, "She can't keep up with one blog, so why would she write two?" In the real world I know that this makes no sense, but in the world inside my head, it makes perfect sense. Scary, huh? Just be glad you don't live there.

Did I mention it feels great to be back? Thanks for waiting on me.