random domesticity

“Noooooooooooooo!”  I screamed.  Time slowed down- as I – with Matrix like Mom- moves- spun and dove for the toilet paper. I had to rescue the earth from toilet paper extinction.  The last roll of toilet paper (here, anyways) was being sucked at the speed of light into the evil vacuum cleaner.  (Gotta love a Dyson) The sound of the roll, still attached to the holder, spinning like a gangsta’s wheels, was deafening.   Sheet after sheet was eaten by the Dyson monster, before the carnage even registered in my brain.  I had to act fast.

I just went in there to clean the floor- not save the world’s toilet paper supply.  But- alas- I was called upon to serve- and serve I did.  I have no reason why it didn’t cross my mind to shut off the vacuum… I just remember feeling… so much…  At that moment- I felt betrayed by my long time, trusted friend- I feared that evil entities were dwelling inside…hiding behind the pink and grey plastic.  I knew I had to move fast- to rescue- then later,  I would consider conquering the enemy.  That- or my brain froze like an over heated lap-top and all I could do was grab at the toilet papaer as it flew off the roll.  Either way.  I win the prize for domestic dufus;)

I will not yell at the vacuum. Out loud. Any more. Today, anyways… We will work through the boys and the beagles’  new fear of vacuum cleaners this afternoon… I think the trauma of my tortured screams can be healed, with time and love….

 So- let’s talk about my knitting- now that you’ve been assured of my psychotic break.  Bird in Hand Mittens and Hemlock Rings BlanketApparently I was wrong—Hemlock isn’t just a poison.. and it totally IS contagious!  Fortunately- unlike most virus’ you CAN catch this one repeatedly;) At least when you’re knitting…The Hemlock Ring Blanket, that is;)

This is the third Hemlock Ring Blanket, (pattern recipe found at BrooklynTweed). that I’ve finished…. It’s in Moda Dea Silk n Wool. (Joann’s)  It’s about 65″ across.  A nice lap blanket size.  I knit it for the new living room sofa/loveseat that I don’t own yet…it’s my motivation to save up $ for it;)

Then there have been mittens.  These are called “Bird In Hand” by Kate Gilbert.  Being knit in Berrocco’s Ultra Alpaca in Navy and Natural.  US size 2 DPNs. They are basically turning out HUGE. (I firmly believe they are in cahoots with the vacuum, but I digress) I am going to finish them anyway— because I think they will be adorable- tied together and hung on my front door!

 I have to thank Kasiaiscarly and Kat for nominating me for this:

you make my day award
AWWWWW ;) Thnx ladies….
And now— for just a few of the (Way more than this) people who make my day:
Iris– who inspires everyone who clicks…
Cara – who makes me laugh and who’s header makes me click.. repeatedly
Kaymac- even if she hasn’t posted in forever
and Heather- who’s courage and grace is awe inspiring!
And of course- Kasiaiscarly and Kat as well;) (links above)
The internet- a great place for people to make your day…(even when you lose a battle with toilet paper and a vacuum cleaner) who ‘da thunk it?
PS- going to do laundry- if you don’t hear from me in 48 hours- send in the Marines…..I may be going after missing socks in the dryer….
The holidays will be here in no time… I don’t mean the season of the holidays… I mean the holiday party! 
I mean Christmas Eve.  It will be HERE.  At my house.  In no time.   Oh. my word.

For me- this equates to a month of  furious cleaning- and touching up and wishing my kitchen floor would renew itself over night.  (That good old cheap vinyl flooring— so shiny nice until the dirt gets ground in and no manner of cleaning will improve it.  You have no idea how dirty a kitchen floor can get when 3 men in hunting boots repeatedly tromp through it- regardless of a Mother’s tormented screams! ) Is there a limit as to how many throw rugs one can have in any given room????  (Currently the solution to my worn flooring- is to cover spots with throw rugs;)

So- I’m cleaning.  And clearing.  And de-cluttering.  Too much yarn.   It must go.  Baby items?  Ummmm, I’m 39, my oldest is going to college in the fall, and the youngest will be entering first grade.  I don’t exactly have a need for baby items, cute as they may be.   In addition- my tubes are tied (TMI- but true) …I think it’s safe to give away the “baby stuff” ;) There are boxes from when we moved 8 years ago- that haven’t been opened…..I’m sure there are things in there that I no longer need.  (Or, have a clue what they could be;)

To be honest- I’ve also had a bag of clothes in my bedroom ready to be given away for months.  I also have a box of books, ready to go.  In my bedroom.  Now- as I daily focus on an area to clean… I’m finding all kinds of useful (for others- not so much for us) stuff.  Coats out-grown, shoes (who BUYS all these shoes, anyways?) too small, past season, stuff never opened- and no longer needed- or won’t be missed. 

Thus far- I’ve done pretty well at  getting things ready to give away—but actually doing it?  Well- that’s another story.  (See the box of books and the bag of clothes mentioned above. )  Until now. 

I’ve found Free-cycle signed up for a local group, and now, all I have to do is send an e-mail – see who can use what I have- set up a time for pick-up and put it on the porch.**  Voila.  What once was clutter- is now someone’s treasure.

I’ll admit- it’s much easier than loading up the truck- toting stuff all over trying to find a place to donate it, and ending up at an undisclosed shopping location with new stuff in bags to bring home…..(that’s a bit counter productive, wouldn’t you say?)

Free-cycle is a mom’s best friend- eliminates the waste of tossing usable items, meets the needs of those locally, and provides an easy OUT for the stuff that needs to go gracefully from our homes.

I’ll admit- however- that my first pick-up has been a little stressful.  I was flooded with requests for the offer, and hated to have to say it was already spoken for.  There are also some pretty serious needs posted- and I could see one being quickly overwhelmed or feeling like you have to help everyone…..which is just plain not possible.

The key will be remembering the legend of the starfish, and knowing that you make a difference to each one you help.

Are you cleaning like a maniac?  As you get ready for the holiday season- do you recognize how blessed you are- and want an avenue to help others?  Do you have the “mom-rule” of cleaning out – giving away old toys before new ones can come in?  I highly recommend Freecycle as a way to bless others with what you no longer need, or,  with whatever you can cheerfully and generously give
** if preferred- you can arrange other methods of delivery- I just like the ease of porch pick up.
For me- generosity and giving- is all about Jesus and loving His people.  Each one.

Dear Jesus- As we go through our holidays- and everyday- help us to find ways to make a difference one person at a time. I love you Lord- amen-

EDITED- To add- WordPress is being stubborn and weird today-(like not allowing spacing between paragraphs and putting EVEYRYTHING in italics)  I apologize about the formatting issues- Will try to fix later- I have meetings this afternoon;)

molly and her cohortsIt’s just one of the many things I am culinarilary (just made that word up- I like it)  dependant on. 

It takes up my counter space and requires constant cleaning.  (Why can’t ANYONE put paper-towel or a napkin over what they are cooking????  Including me:()

Like a magic black box- (sometimes considerably brighter than me) it heats everything from spaghettios to cold coffee-it has faithfullyu served.

In addition- as a SAHM- it is one of my few and much trusted friends/co-workers. The microwave- has just been so close to me- being in the kitchen and all— where I spend so much of my waking LIFE!) (along of- course, with the washer-dryer, the  stove, dishwasher and fridge- we also chat- but they tend to be more reserved.)

At least- it was. Until Sunday night.

When my microwave gave up the ghost. 

We (ok- maybe it was just me)  quickly went through all the phases of grief:

Shock- (WHAT? Something is wrong with my microwave?)

Denial- (It’s just a fuse- it’ll be fine) 

Bargaining- (Maybe, if I clean it- it will work…)

Guilt- (maybe I worked it too hard…I should have cleaned the vent more often.. it’s all my fault.)

Anger- (I can’t believe I ever bought such a piece of crap!)

Depression- (I have no microwave. *sniff* )

Acceptance/hope- (I can get another microwave… maybe it will even be better!  I CAN live without a microwave!)

By Monday night- I could stand it no more.  There was no popcorn… I am incapable of cooking vegetables on the stove-top and I had a pile of pans with burnt spaghettios begging to be cleaned (that part isn’t true- I swear FlyLady!- but sounded funny) …so I trudged off to Walmart- in search of a replacement.

I stood in the microwave aisle like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic.  I had no idea there would be so many demands on me so soon after my grief.  Overwhelmed, I looked from shiny microwave to shiny microwave. 

There were: White ones.  Black ones. Stainless steel ones.  Microwaves the size of my first car.  Microwaves barely big enough to make a bag of popcorn.  Microwaves with grilling capabilities and microwaves with more buttons and options and computer memory than my laptop.

I settled on a (cheap) stainless/black model with a grilling capability.  (Which I will probably never use- but- my kids (probably to bring green army men to a painfilled, melting doom) will.

As you can see in the pic above- she now proudly sits on the countertop.  Maybe, a little too proudly.  Although, she’s already proved competent in the cooking of last nights green beans, I have a concern.  She seems to be glaring at the toaster and cavorting with the coffeepot.  I think she is unhappy with the cultural diversity on the countertop. 

Apparently the toaster is not of their “ethnicity”.  White plastic is frowned upon by the much  prejudiced stainless crew.  Too bad.   It’s my house.

I like cultural diversity.

I think I need to get out more.

Instead- I’ll distract you with my  shiny pretty current knit:

flowerbasket shawl zephyr wool/silkIn a fit of unoriginal hat overload  rebellion- I cast on a new piece of lace that I plan on wering for Christmas. 

 It’s the Flower Basket Shawl- from Fibertrends/ interweave press. A very simple 10 row repeat.  I love the yarn- Zephyr silk/wool laceweight- 2 strands held together- Ruby and Garnet.  I’m knitting on US size 5 Addi Turbo Lace Needles.

Maybe this will calm my Christmas cleaning- shopping nerves…. more pics are on flickr.

Personally- I think it’s mis-named.  To me- it looks like angels with their wings raised over their heads…. like this-  but then- I think I need to get out more— or maybe use less fumey cleaning supplies;)

And now- to work on painting the trim where the bad cat has scratched away the wood AND the paint….

bad dog SamiMy SP 11 has requested to have visual confirmation of the bad beagle who resides within our hallowed walls.

 Bad Beagle?  Only kind of I suppose. Let’s just say Beagle have “issues”.

1) Beagles chew.  (apparently only expensive DPNS, and Cracker Barrel Rockers…and shoes, and toys…) Though- honestly- she’s not a pup anymore- so there are fewer and  less frequent chew-tastrophes… just the occasional head or appendage chewed off of an action figure..

2) Beagles Bark.  At the dark.  At the deer target in the backyard.  At critters- real and imagined.  At people they know- at people they don’t know.  They also bay/bugle but not too often;) (on a side note- I can mimic a psycho beagle bark quite well. )

3) Beagles run.  Away- after things.  To things… to no where.  And- if when you run off to get her- and your children accidently leave the patio door open… then upon returning- they let her run into the house— she will promptly run back out the backdoor- laughing all the way.

4) Beagle chase.  Rabbits.  Cats. Kids.  Bugs.  If it moves- it’s  game.

5) Beagles sniff/snort and beg for- food. Enough said- SOMEONE around here shares his food with her quite willingly.  When confronted about germs— his reply is “She doesn’t mind”. 

Beagles are also- sweet, loving, tender with a little guy and GREAT foot warmers….not to mention cutests dogs evah.   A little beagle tip:  If you fatten them up quite a bit… they can’t run as fast;)

beagle kisses

Beagles also make wonderful buddies for little guys, though sometimes they believe little guys to be edible.

As for our weekend…. well- Friday night was date night… which ended in my husband’s cell phone disappearing… which led to a furious hunt which resulted in nada- which led to an insurance claim and much aggravation. 

Saturday- was a well planned day.  In theory.  The older guys all went hunting.  The little guy and mommy had a  jammie/ movie night.  Everything was wonderful (including 2 sundaes for the little guy) until his head mysteriously met with the edge of the coffee table.  (dancing and or karate were involved…) black-eyed boy

This led to frantic dressing, (can’t go to the ER in my jammes)  icing and finally yet another set of “head injury” cautions posted on the fridge.  (there were no stitches… just a rather large “goose-egg” right between the eyes and a small cut.  Looks like the world’s cutest boxer.  Also- as the swelling is right between the eyes- so he has a bit of a black eye thing going on and looks a little cross-eyed. Poor kid.  However- it didn’t actually make him blurry- that was my camera;)

Told ya.  It was quite a weekend.

On the upside- a detective called- they had a lead on my Hubby’s missing tom-tom.… some pawn-shop…. they’ll call back if they found it.   (fingers crossed and prayers offered)  New phone should arrive today.  We won’t be responsible for calls made while it was missing. (and he couldn’t be interrupted on the phone all weekend… it wasn’t entirely bad ;)

As for knitting…….well- still working on the mitered squares blanket.  I made a quick chart on graph paper and figured out a pattern for the squares and a count for how many squares I’ll need.  I’m pretty visual- so I used colored pencils- and a pattern typically used in quilting.  

I’m getting 3 squares per skein of Debbie Mumm Traditions Yarn. So I’ll use 16  (17 of one) squares of each of three colors. Red, Green and Brown.  I’m also using the Brown for the mitered garter stitch border.   mitered square update

And that. is the weekend in review.  Looking forward to a better week;)

punkin gridHalloween is a bit controversial- I know- if you want to read a bit of my persepctive on it- you can visit my last post at Laced with Grace .

Although things are festive- they don’t get too scary around here- with the exception of  my personal re-enactment of the prom scene from “Carrie”.

I died my roots.  As you may have guessed by now- I am not exactly a natural redhead.  EVERY single time I am in the shower rinsing out the burgundy goopy dye— I think about the prom scene……gross.

That was random- sorry- too much sugar.

Wonder if I can balance that out with caffeine?

For dinner- The older men had Sushi- that’s too scary for me.  I passed and had grocery store middleastern food;)  Tabbouleh, hummous, pita and falafel.  ;)

Noah was his traditional “Spiderman” I asked him if he was sure he wanted to be spiderman AGAIN this year- and he said – “Mom, I AM Spiderman.” Enough said.

The second most scary thing about Halloween around here- is Pumpkin carving.  Mostly because of the smell. An interesting (or not so much) tid-bit about me- is that since a nose job at 16- I don’t really have much of a sense of smell…. but Pumpkin guts?  That,  I can smell.  AND I HATE IT.  Instead of actually carving- I read this book aloud- The Pumpkin Gospel.  It glows in the dark- So we also read it in the bathroom, with the door closed.  (darkest place we could find) Umm- I suppose the boys/men around here- start their bathroom reading habits young.

I thought about wearing a clothespin on my nose- but that seemed a bit un-festive. So I was in charge of pictures.   Daddy really came thru- Noah desperately wanted the “Pirate ship” Pumpkin… Which is usually WAY beyond our pumpkin skill set— but Daddy took his time- and actually DID IT!  Score another one for Dad.

The older two did finally get off of “Runescape” long enough to go out- (hey there is free candy involved- they aren’t too old for that…) The oldest- wore his full camo hunt suit.  ANd the Middle- was “The Guitar Hero” Complete with guitar…. because he IS the Guitar hero- Matt is unbelievable on that game.  I, however- stink.  BTW- Guitar Hero III?  It well- it rocks.

While the rest play- Noah and I dance.  That,  we can do.

Noah has a bit of croup- so he didn’yt hit as many houses as he normally would… but he seems to be quite happy with his “haul.”

Tomorrow I plan to post a tutoriAL FOR PLAnning your Mitered Square blanket— stay tuned!

peeking “Help me Mommmmmy!  I’m twapped!”

I heard the little panicked cry from the living- room.   To be entirely honest- I didn’t exactly run from the bathroom to his rescue.

Like the little boy who cried wolf, we’ve been here before- not all Noah crisis’ are real.  Most are imagined.  (Like standing in the pantry screaming to be rescued when all he has to do is push the door open.)  I learned a long time ago not to freak.

 I finished my lip-liner and gloss before I went on my rescue mission.

 OOPS.  This time it was true.  I found him lying in front of the armoire that holds the TV in the livingroom.  His left arm -up to just above the elbow- was mostly out of view.   It was pinned under the armoire.  

The armoire is a pretty typical 7  feet tall and thousand pounds of oak, particle board and media equipment with flashing clocks.   If you toss in an additional 10 pounds of accumulated dust – (somebody really SHOULD clean that) you’ve got the picture.  

I tried to pull it out. No go.  He screamed. 

I tried the “wiggle method.”  Nada.

I thought about butter- then, thought about the beige carpet.  “Not that desperate, yet.” I thought.

I pulled again- He screamed. Again.  Louder.

“Stop screaming- I can’t think” I yelled. (volume helps? right? ) I was starting to freak- just a little. 

I thought about all those news stories I’ve heard- about parents suddenly being able to lift cars off of their pinned children.  I tried to move the armoire.  Nothing. (it was worth a shot.)   Incredible Hulk Mom- I am not.

The thought of having to call the fire department to free my child from the monster armoire was not appealing.  I looked at my watch- (the flashing clocks are useless) I wondered if I could keep him busy playing one handed gameboy until my teenagers came.  They are pretty strong- I was convinced the three of us could lift it.

 “What were you doing?” I asked him.  More to kill time, than to get an answer.   “I had to get my TOY!”  My mind instantly went to all the stories about monkeys with their hands in coconuts  “Are you still HOLDING it?”  I asked. 

“I have to get it” He said.  Sheesh.  A classic. I live in a monkey house. No doubt about it.

It took some convincing- and the locating of an implement to prove that I would fish the toy out as soon as his ARM and BODY were out of the way.

He finally relaxed his grip- we bent his elbow and he was free.  Just a few red marks  and that faded pretty quick.  No permanent damage or butter messes.  What a relief.

“I love you mommy, thanks for rescuing me” He said. 

I had to laugh.  I didn’t exactly “rescue” him….. he just let go of the toy.  

Funny- I’m pretty sure that from God’s perspective I’ve had my arm stuck for a while- too.  Holding onto something, refusing to let it go and but not able to hold on and make it work.  

 I wonder what would happen if I just let it go?  Would he be able to rescue the thing I love?  Would He fish it out and hand it to me?

 It just might be worth a try.

Matthew 16:24-25
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

“Dear Jesus- help me not be stubborn- trying to rescue myself or hold onto and grab for things on my own that you want to freely give me- I love you Lord- please help me to stop bein a Monkey mom- amen. Oh- and thnx for helping me figure out how to free the boy….the butter would have been a bad idea.”

I walked in lugging 100 pounds of dirty, sopping wet laundry. I was NOT happy.

My washer (less than 1 yr old front loader…under warranty waiting for repair) croaked. It just stopped draining. It left a huge load of dripping wet back to school laundry. Sears can’t make it out to repair it until September 10th!!!! That’s a week of no laundry for a family of 5.

That’s not gonna work- I do laundry every day. So I headed for the first trip to the laundro-mat before the clothes turned musty. I went straight for the biggest machines I could find. I figured I ‘d do fewer loads and get out of there asap. Maybe, maybe not.

A few things I learned at the laundro-mat:

1) Only the pinkest- laciest or racey-est underwear will fall on the floor at the laundromat. The granny panties and size xl boxer briefs will stay neatly in the basket.

2) The washing machines are just tall enough to make you stand on a stool to reach the detergent dispenser- this is to make you fall down in public. Don’t fall for it- stand your ground. Use the normal washers- they’re safer, although- you will have to do more loads. It’s worth it- trust me.

3) The dryers lie. The sign says .25 what it doesn’t tell you is that it will cost you 1000 x .25 to dry your towels. (well- something like that) about the cost of a new washer- I think.

4) Bring dryer sheets- I never did figure out how to add fabric softner.

5) Men at laundro-mats are there for more than laundering purposes. Wear your i-pod and look pmsy- alternatively- wave your husband’s huge boxer-briefs like a flag- they’ll look at you funny- but they’ll leave you be.

6) There are lots of lonely elderly people at the laundro-mat- smile and talk to them- even if they can’t hear you over the noise– at least they get to see a smiling friendly face.

7) Bring fluids- the heat will kill you.

I think I’ll see if calling Sears as a crying lunatic mother of three who’s leaving for vacation in a few days will get them here faster. If not- I’m thinking about picketing. Or suing. Or I suppose- heading back to the laundro-mat- at least now I’ll be prepared.

DO you have any laundro-mat tips or tricks? Put em in the comments;)

Lord know’s I need all the help I can get.

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