The no toys follow up.

Did you notice in the post about my boys room that there was no toy organizer? No giant shelf to put all the crappy toys in?  Because after the Great Toy Confiscation of 2012, I never went back.

I took all their toys away and put them in plastic bags and they just didn't seem to care.  And I realized that they just don't need that many toys.   So did I get rid of them all?  Nope.  They stayed tied up in their huge black garbage bags for about a month.  It took that long for me to be prepared to really face getting rid of them.

So I took those garbage bags and sorted.  Without my kids around, cuz you know every broken toy they've never shown the least interest in is suddenly their favorite if you want to get rid of it.  I sorted out the stuff they never play with or the toys that drive me crazy.  It was hard, cuz I have the toys I like, you know, which they may not care that much about.  I weeded out about half of the toys.  Then I had to run them by my husband, because he really hates getting rid of stuff, and he wanted to verify that I wasn't throwing too many memories away.  Even so, I know he thinks I am cold-hearted because I don't get sentimental about stuff the way he does.

I got rid of the throw aways and put the rest in tubs and left those in my room for another month.

The beauty of this process is that getting rid of toys doesn't have to mean Getting Rid of ALl Your Kid's Toys.  You don't have to get rid of anything.  Just take them out of the picture for a little while.  Or a long while.  As long as you want.  If  you can't bring yourself to get rid of your kid's toys, then don't.  Just hide them in the garage for a couple of months and then see how you feel about it.

I finally paired it all down to two tubs.  One tub with toys that they just don't play with much, but I couldn't quite bring myself to get rid of, and I stuck them in the attic.  The other tub would be their very favorites, but after a couple months of no toys, with them never asking for one of them, it was a little hard to decide.   That tub gets shut away someone they can't get to, but is really easy to pull out whenever we want.  Most of the time it just stays in their closet.


So now it is several months later, and I haven't looked back.  I LOVE not picking up toys.  My house is cleaner, their is more peace.  A few toys have managed to surface over time and they are just kept in a drawer in the living room where they can get to whenever they want.  And they still pull those out and leave them on the floor, but there just aren't that many, so it isn't a big deal.

I wish I could tell you that my children have a greater appreciation for what they have, and are more grateful for what I give them, and more respectful of our things, but none of those things is true.  I think that all required more wisdom and skill as a mother than I possess.  There really is no discernible difference in my children now, and my children when they were wading through toys up to their ankles.   So if there is no difference, what the heck did I buy all those toys for?

The real difference is me.  There are no more toys to make me crazy.  The messes are always manageable so telling my kids to pick up their toys doesn't overwhelm them.


Sleeping Dogs Lie

Sometimes what they show on TV or in the movies isn't real.  Did you know that?  Sorry to drop a bomb on you like that, but it's better that you knew.  Things just don't always work out like they do in the movies.  You know, like when the CSI lab gets their results back in just a few hours because a hot field agent asked for it.  Or when they show hot field agents working in a CSI lab.   Or when girls who have been stranded on a desert island, or who are traveling through the wilderness always seem to have beautiful hair no matter what they have to go through.

Or when they show people sleeping like this:


Just pretend like her hair is cascading beautifully down the pillow and she isn't suffering from balloon head and see how peacefully they are sleeping mere inches from each other faces?

FALSE!

That sleeping position is a lie perpetrated by the media!

Maybe it is just me, but in my relationship, that DOES NOT HAPPEN.  I don't like breathing reconstituted air.  I don't like hot air blowing in my face.

And mostly, my husband and I don't want to smell each other's face wind.

They show couples sleeping that way, so sweetly all night long, waking up in that position to smile lovingly at each other, and then maybe kiss oh so chastely (that is the kind of shows I watch, ok) but in reality, even if a couple managed to stay in that position all night (not in a million years), that little pocket of air between them would be like a cloud of toxic fumes.

It seems like the older I get, the worse my morning breath gets.  These days my breath in the morning is like a weapon.  I could incapacitate an enemy at 10 paces just by blowing them a kiss.  Which I guess could come in handy sometimes.  Maybe that is my super power.  A blessing and a curse.

Remember when you were a kid and your breath and your armpits always smelled sweet?  (not to mention the way your body DIDN'T hurt all the time) I knew getting older was going to be rough, but I just never bargained for this.  If my breath is this bad NOW, what is it going to be like when I am 80?  I'm only 34.  That is like 50 more years of stink collecting in the back of my throat!

And once again I feel it necessary to remind you that I really am quite a lovely person, despite the breath threat.  Just don't sleep in my face.  Something bad might happen to you.

The Living Room

I'm supposed to be cleaning my kitchen.  But I sat down in front of my computer and I can't get up again.  It is just as well though, because I'm sure you are all dying to know what is up with my living room floor.  So I'm gonna tell you.  But let's start at the beginning, shall we?  Come with me on a Journey in Pictures, while we watch this room grow from a tiny bud into the great big ol' blossom of a room that it is now.  You should maybe turn on some Kenny G. or something.

Here is the living room before we bought the house.  And that is my husband checking for a body, or very large rodents:

Then after buying the house the living room was filled with lots of junk for a while:

and one very depressed plant.

Then we cleared it out.  And I got lots of dust in my camera.

We tore out the ceiling so we could run the wiring:

and then removed the wallpaper, the chimney and then the carpet.

 After putting drywall up and patching all the plaster

we painted the walls and finished the floor.

And then we filled it up with furniture.

That picture was taken in 2005.  And besides a few minor changes, that is how the room stayed until labor day weekend, 2012

when the floor came flying right out of the room!

And at this point you may be asking Why?  Why did you tear out your floor?  Was it really on the whim of a deranged lazy woman who just didn't want to clean it?  Or was it something more?

Well folks, I'll tell you, since you asked.  But please don't call me deranged again.  1) the floor that we spent so much time sanding down, staining and finishing, while pretty, was only ever meant to be a subfloor, and the wood was just too soft.  It dinged and scratched like nobody's business.  2) the joists holding the floor up were rotting and falling apart.  A Minor detail maybe, but my husband was concerned, so I humored him.    3) to more easily insulate the heat ducts (as seen above) and install the very fancy new piece my husband built out of sheet metal for the air return.  This is the best picture I got of it

Which doesn't even show you that it bends backwards under the floor in a tricky L shape and we never could have gotten it in with the floor there.  This picture just doesn't do it justice.  My husband is a flipping genius.

4) As a bonus, after tearing up the floor we found this joist that had secretly quit its job as floor-holder-upper  and was just hanging out in arcades and stuff.  I think the duct work was the only thing holding it up at this point:

 Can you see?  See how it is just floating there?  Fun Stuff.

Finally, we got the new floor down.  And by new floor I don't mean flooring, I just mean floor, that we can walk on and stand on and not fall through.

And here is how the room looks today:

Ah.  Breath taking.  There is something about pink flowers paired with orange stripes that just resonates with me, you know?  Wait.  I don't think resonates is the right word.  More like. . . nauseates.  yeah.  That is more like it.  This room is the perfect example of how certain pieces combined with other certain peices just don't work.

I have a very clear picture in my mind of how I want this room to look.  But I find I have no idea how to make it happen.  Even with different furniture, I can't figure out how to use the stuff I have that I like and create the room I want.  Do I have to throw everything out and start over?  That sounds pretty expensive.  What is a cheapskate to do?

Fish My Wish!



That's Right! We tore out the floor!

Except the joke is on me because now there is dirt EVERYWHERE.