The Big Picture Edition
of the Nitty Gritty1. Painting
We're taking advantage of Dan's being home to take care of some house projects. He's already replaced the flooring and a bit of bad wall in the bathroom. And, now that Paul's here, we're ramping up the construction zone. We have a doorway in the kitchen that we built over last year -- or, gee... was it the year before last that we knocked out the wall between the living room and dining room and built the arch? Anyway, we're (I should say they're, Paul and Dan are...) finishing the drywall to cover that old door in the kitchen and utilizing the new space by adding countertop and storage. The plan is to finally get new flooring in the kitchen, too... but, first, everything needs a new coat of paint.
And that will be my job. Mine and the girls. The boys do the building; we do the finish work. Now, painting. I have a love/hate relationship with painting. I dread the idea of it. In fact everything about the concept of painting a room strikes terror into my heart: the removal of all movable objects -- to be put directly underfoot somewhere else; the taping around windows; the plasticking over non-movable objects; and then, the distracting of small children from the painting zone -- the most daunting prospect of all! There's nothing a five-year-old likes better than "helping" with painting. Bless 'em.
That said, though, I don't actually mind the process once I get into it. There is something cathartic about painting -- if one is left alone to the task, I mean. And I love the results. A fresh coat of paint makes everything new. Like snow. Clean and pure.
2. And Speaking of Snow
We've had it off and on for the last several days, adding up to a couple inches still on the ground. It snows a little, then the temps rise to the forties and it melts. Then it snows a little more. And, with that comes the mud. I think I'd rather it just snowed a good snow and stayed frozen until about April, then melted in one big mudslide. Mopping up after the constant mud is making me crazy. Though I'm getting sick of the white stuff, I'll take it over the alternative right now.
St. Therese the Little Flower loved the snow so I could do worse than preferring it, I guess -- though her preference was for spiritual housekeeping symbolism rather than practical housekeeping reality. She prayed for it to snow on the day of her profession to symbolize her purity of intent and I imagine she was thrilled, but not surprised when God granted her wish. Here's a poem written by St. Therese with the theme of snow included:
All the earth with snow is covered,
Everywhere the white frosts reign;
Winter and his gloomy courtiers
Hold their court on earth again.
But for you has bloomed the Flower
Of the fields, Who comes to earth
From the fatherland of heaven,
Where eternal spring has birth.
Near the Rose of Christmas, Sister!
In the lowly grasses hide,
And be like the humble flowerets, --
Of heaven’s King the lowly bride!
3. On the Subject of Simplifying
Simplifying is a good thing. No designers here, of course, though we're creative in our own way. And we're collectors. Compilers. Not hoarders, but save-just-in-casers. You just never know when you're going to need more baby clothes (especially if you're us), or when you're going to need that little scrap of insulation, or that old kitchen sink, or that wimmididdle or that thingamobob or those thousands of books... Because of the huge numbers of things and people around here, we are (to oldest-son, Paul's chagrin) somewhat organizationally challenged and not always paragons of tidiness. But we do try. In order to keep complete chaos from lapping at our doors, we have loosely scheduled weekly, monthly, and quarterly cleanup projects that help keep the house and property from falling totally apart -- or being buried.
For instance: Once a week, the children's rooms all get a good cleaning. Though I "wipe down" the downstairs (most used) bathroom every day, it gets a thorough cleaning once a week. The Fridge (note this is one of the venerable appliances that gets a capital letter...) gets a good clearing out about once a month, as does the small kitchen pantry and the laundry room. The cellar gets a going-over about once a quarter, as do the garages and outbuildings during the warm months when they tend to fall apart faster. And about once a year we clean out our gigantic quanset hut, the repository of all the flostam and jetsam that makes it out of the house but not to the dumpster. This is the project we took on last week, in between the bathroom floor and the kitchen walls.
I am proud to announce that we have donated twenty garden-sized trashbags full of clothing to the needy -- and have made a dent in the mess in our Q. Hut in the process. Gone are: 1) All miscellaneous baby and toddler clothes up to age four, except for the special or very nice ones we'll want to pass on to our grandbabies; 2) Anything that was duplicated exponentially, like size 12 boys' jeans; 3) All dated ("unfashionable") fashions like pearl-button cowboy shirts and cropped sweaters and anything that the girls curled their lip up at as soon as I pulled it out of a bin; 4) All the old college and twenty-something clothes that I was saving -- I don't know why... Even if they ever fit again, I wouldn't wear them.
I had to close my eyes and bite my lip when I threw them in the trashbag, but it feels good to be getting a little lighter on our feet!
(Next we go through the book bins. That's going to be harder!)
4. Speaking of Lighter
I'm afraid I'm not getting any. Lighter that is. Even though you'd think I should be -- with it being Lent and all, I think it's harder to lose weight when I'm fasting than at any other time. It's a mental thing. I think I make up all the calories I elimate with the two light meals and lack of snacks by pigging out at the main meal every day. It's a survival instinct, I think. I'm more mentally hungry by that main meal than I am physically hungry, but instead of feeding the mental deficit with firm resolve, I fill my plate with second helpings. =sigh= Working on it, though. I'm thinking it's not really in the Lenten spirit to be pigging out at all. (Man, but I'm a weak instrument.)