Category Archives: Manual Labor

Hello, I’m Not Dead.

images-3I’m here, I’m here! I haven’t contracted the Bubonic plague or fallen off the Brooklyn Bridge (I did walk across the Brooklyn Bridge once so it could have happened). Nothing earth-shattering occurred to cause me to stop writing and communicating to all of you. I swear it.

So, what DID happen to me, then? I mean, it has been nearly a lifetime since I’ve last published a post (in case you are dying to know, that lifetime ago was August 8th).

I’m going to be straight with you, you know, shoot from the hip (do we know what that even means?):

I cannot chew gum and walk at the same time

That’s about it. After I went back to work full-time, I swear it was like someone took a sledge hammer to my life.

Or the proverbial Mac Truck drove right down the middle of me. Leaving my guts all over the sidewalk.

On that sidewalk are also dirty toilets, a sink full of dishes and two weeks’ worth of laundry. Never mind what that thing is growing inside my refrigerator. I suppose it could be The Kid’s science project, but I’m afraid to ask. Because I have a sneaking suspicion it isn’t. Call it intuition.

When I get home from work, and after I make dinner (yes, I do that. It takes the last hair of energy I have left but we do have to eat and take-out every night will only put about 50 pounds on me a minute. And besides they say it is bad for you and I can’t do that to my family. Although, so is my cooking, so…), I leave enough DNA on the couch I can actually be cloned. (Not a bad idea. I hope she does windows.)

June CleaverI have a lot of respect for women who can do it all…raise a family, keep the house in order, all that crap…while working at the same time. You are rock stars and make the rest of us look like slugs. Thank you for that.

I am here to say I have started to peel myself off the leather davenport, so worry no more. It took a couple of months, but I’ve devised a plan to get myself back among the living and do what I love most — write.

Who am I kidding? I’m not a planner. There is no plan. How about I just refer to it as “I’m Getting Off My Lazy Ass and Doing Something?” Works for me.

Writ'ers Block

Maybe this has been my problem all along?

I’m back and I’m on a mission. As soon as the blood finds it’s way to my brain and I actually know what I’m going to write about. I suppose I have also been in Writer’s Block Hell. It’s a place.

Next, I’ll tackle the toilets. Maybe. So what shall I name her? You know, my clone?

Really Stupid Post About Why Today Kinda Sucked For Me

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What’s left of my next best thing to a “Cronut”

I had a really off day today. Actually, it was more than just “off.” It was downright B.A.D. I don’t know if it’s the weather, the fact that Christmas is 2 weeks away and I’m not ready for it or if my PMS is working double-time.

Every-freaking-thing is annoying me. Ev-er-y-thing. From the sound of human voices to the oil man in my driveway giving us $23,000-an-ounce liquid so we don’t freeze our asses off during this ridiculous winter that technically hasn’t even started yet.

What else is pissing me off, you ask? Let me tell you…

  • The fact that I have 100 Christmas cards sitting in Costco waiting to be picked up so I can spend an entire day (note the exaggeration there?) addressing and licking envelopes to send out to people. Some people who we haven’t seen or heard from in 22 years. People who will most likely take the card I spent 2 hours making sure was perfect and just throw it in the trash on January 1st (guilty).
  • The fact that I signed up for a cookie exchange and I committed to making 8 dozen cookies. Do you know what that involves? Shopping for ingredients like almond extract that I will use an 8th of a teaspoon for and then never use again. Not to mention a full day standing on my feet baking. Can’t I just go and drink wine and eat? I’m really good at drinking wine and eating. I am. You can ask anyone.
  • The fact that I have to get down on my ever-loving hands and knees to water a Christmas tree that, no matter how much aspirin or TLC we put into it, seems to die 2 days after putting it up. Have you seen a 47 year old woman with bad knees try to extricate herself from under a pine tree that is in a house and then proceed to try to get up from a half lying position on the floor? It ain’t graceful, I can promise you that.
  • The fact that I had 2 thousand phone calls to make today. I don’t want to make phone calls. I hate making phone calls. Why in the hell are there always phone calls to make? Does someone have an answer to that one? Because I’d like to know.
  • The fact that I have three loads of folded laundry waiting to be put away and just as many loads waiting to be washed.
  • The fact that 2 of the 3 toilets in my house need a scrubbing. Rugs that need to be vacuumed. A coffee table that needs dusting.
  • The fact that I sat in my PJ’s all day long, didn’t pick up my 100 Christmas cards at Costco, didn’t make but 1/2 a phone call. Or did the laundry. Or any of the above.

Do you know what I did do today?

When The Kid got home from school, it looked like she was having a bad day too. So, instead of saying, “it’s okay, shake it off, have an apple.” I say, “freak this, let’s go get french fries. And when we’re done with that, let’s get some of those new croissant donut things at Dunkin’ Donuts.” So we did.

Except DD didn’t have any croissant donut things left so I freaked and almost died right there in the drive-up lane. All I can say is that it’s a darn good thing they sell other flavors.

Now I’m pissed that I didn’t have the willpower to say, “let’s have an apple.” You know, as I watch my muffin top grow larger with every bite.

Oh freak that, no I’m not. I’m not pissed. Not at all. I enjoyed every minute. And The Kid and I laughed so hard during our little jaunt. We both needed it. Even if at the cost of a pound or two. Eh, maybe three (for me, not her).

(Yes, that’s me eating a donut in slo-mo, because why not?)

Yes, I appreciate my life. Yes, I’m grateful for our health and safety. Yes, I love Christmas. Still, I’m allowed to have a bad day.

So, I’m going back to bed. And starting over. Tomorrow. I hope.

If I’m lucky Dunkin’ Donuts will burn to the ground while I sleep. But then I will never get my Cronut. Looks like I may have a problem, Houston.

Confessions of a Slob

I have a confession to make.  I am a slob.  A pig.  I really, really am.

When you come into my home and I say to you, “excuse my dirty house.” I’m not lying. I’m not saying that to fish for compliments. It is dirty. Well, to the naked eye, it may not appear to be. But people, I promise you if you get too close, you will see what I’m talking about.

If you’ve been to my house, you have said, “Mo, your house is so clean all the time.” No. No, it’s not. Do not come over here with your white glove because you will be sorely disappointed. Also, you better call first and not do one of those “I was in the area” kind of things because you will totally catch me and feel like our friendship has been a complete sham.

I had a conversation with a friend recently. We were talking about cleaning and how much we hate it. I commented to her that I haven’t cleaned my house, like really, really cleaned it in quite some time. She’s been to my house. I had to go retrieve the shovel out of her garage to pick up her jaw.

I have a secret weapon. Actually, I have 2 secret weapons. Secret Weapon #1 is DH. He abhors clutter. He is always “straightening” up. Picking up crap that I or The Kid have left all over the house because I don’t care what. If it’s been a long day and I come into the house with crap, I will drop that crap right wherever I am standing and worry about it later. Like way later. Like, if I didn’t have DH, it would still be there, later.

Secret Weapon #2 are those cute little Lysol wipes that you can buy in Costco in a three pack. Here’s how it goes: My phone rings, “ring, ring.”  “Hello,” says me.  “Hey Mo, it’s Justin Timberlake. I feel like I want to pop on by. Are you free?” “Hells yes, JT. I’m always free for you.” I’m all panicky inside for a moment. But not to worry because I have SW2 (Secret Weapon #2) sitting in just about every closet in my house.

 

Look, JT is all "damn girl, your house is clean."

Look, JT is all “damn girl, your house is cleeeeen. Yeah.”

I whip out a canister and go to town. I wipe down the counters, the bathroom sinks, the heating baseboard thingies, I even stick my hand in the toilet and wipe clean those unsightly, nasty rings in there. Why does that happen? It’s so gross. But don’t worry I wash my hand real good before I make you a ham sandwich.

Oh wait, my rug. Damn, that foyer runner gets dirt and paper lint and whoknowswhatelse all over it. But have no fear! I have the cutest little vacuum cleaner that doesn’t even need to be plugged in that hubby bought back some time ago.

I go retrieve that from the little mud room and VOILA! It’s super powerful and super fast and I don’t have to worry about unwinding the cord and finding an outlet and tripping all over it and then winding that bad boy back up and then shoving it back into a closet that has so much crap in there that it’s nearly impossible to close the door.

I guess I really have 3 Secret Weapons. Okay, sorry about that.

So, by the time JT gets here, my house not only sparkles, but it smells clean too. Even if he is just at the corner, I have literally cleaned my house in 37 seconds. But the trick is to not give him a tour of the ranch. I make sure the upstairs is off limits. You know, make up some little white lie like “we’re having the master bathroom renovated and there is just dust everywhere. I’m telling you. Those damn bathroom renovator guys are so sloppy.”

Here’s the thing:  life is too short for cleaning all the time. I can’t see a reason to be on top of it.  So what?  I’m pretty sure no one has actually died from having a less than perfectly clean house. I mean I never actually did any research on that subject, but I’ll bet I’m right.

When I was first married, I was really good at keeping the house clean. Once a week no matter what, I’d clean the house from top to bottom. Even when The Kid was born. I would strap that baby to the front of me in one of those fake Baby Bjorn things and go to town.

And then DH asked me what I wanted for my birthday one year. “A housecleaner” came out of my mouth without thinking about it twice. This was when I went back to work as a temp so it was justified. It was heaven on earth. Every other week this house would get a scrub-down. And on the other every other week? Eh. Why bother? The housecleaner was coming in 7 days.

Then I lost my job. And DH and I thought it was an expense that we didn’t need to have especially since I had all this new free time. Now? Well, I just told you. The end.

Wanna come over? JT will be here any minute. Oh, wait. He didn’t really call, did he? Never mind, you can’t come over. The house is a mess.

Growing Up Too Fast

“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone.  Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am?  Because The Kid was flying the coop.  Spreading her wings.  Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week.  Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps.  All for the good of humanity.

It will be a great experience.  But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me.  Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.

Sure, there are chaperones going.  One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still.  I won’t be there to remind her about stuff.  You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.

I won’t be there.  Period.  I am relinquishing control.  I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready.  What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?

I guess DH and I did good.  She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been.  She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.

So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry.  I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her.  My baby is growing up.  In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.

This one will do just fine.

This one will do just fine.

Snow Day Fun In a Handbasket

When did I start to hate snow?  Like really, really hate it?  Probably yesterday.  Seriously.  I complain about the stuff, but secretly I enjoy a good snow day.  I mean, if I don’t have to go anywhere.  Or shovel it.  Or play in it.  Or stand outside.  Or touch it.

All was fine and dandy with the world, until DH had the bright idea to help him shovel the 200,000 pounds of snow off of the deck.  Some crap about the weight blah blah collapsing blah blah blah.  If you’ve been to my house and had the pleasure of enjoying a margarita on my deck when it is a balmy summer evening, then you know that my deck is just about as big as the smallest island of Hawaii.  What’s it called?  Kahoolawe?  Yeah, I just looked that up.  And I am exaggerating a little.  Obviously.  But it is big.  My deck.

A teeny of the deck from hell BEFORE the big lift

A teeny portion of the deck from hell BEFORE the big lift

You know that expression that you bit off more than you can chew?  Yeah, well, I just took a huge chunk out of Antarctica.  And it wasn’t going down.  DH was helping me.  Then he left to rake snow off the roof so we didn’t have another episode of ice damming.  And he raked the snow off the boat.  And he snow blowed the driveway.  And he snow blowed the walkway.  And shoveled the front stoop.  In other words, he was busy.

When I realized I was probably going to have to finish the job alone, I started to cry.  Not the “I’m sad because my goldfish just died” kind of cry.  It was the “holy freaking hell, this is the most frustratingly awful thing ever and I want to just throw myself over the edge of this deck and put myself out of total and complete misery now this very minute” kind of cry.  And I was dropping the “F” bomb every 30 seconds.  I might have to go to confession to wash my soul.

This wasn’t fluffy, fun, nice, sweet angel snow.  This was something the devil sent.  The top 5 inches was ice.  And a shovelful of snow felt like I was lifting half a car.  Every muscle in my arms were screaming.  My back felt like it was going to split.  And both my knees were starting to crack under the pressure.  Yeah, my good knee too.  And when I looked around, I felt like I hadn’t accomplished a thing.  Not a damn-friggin’ thing.  True story.

To make matters worse, I realized half way through it (at about hour #2) that I never stocked up on wine.  I had no wine.  Not that I NEEDED wine.  But  I WANTED wine.  And I deserved it dammit.  So, it was at that moment that I was going to brave those deadly snow plows and ice balls and crazy wind-blown tree branches and walk my butt down to my neighbor’s house to borrow some (I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for some wine today).  The walk there and back is probably close to a half a mile.  I didn’t care.  And I knew she had it because they are prepared for an apocalypse.  Or in this case, Snow-mageddon.

I was dripping wet.  Not from sweat although there was plenty of that as well.  But it was sleeting/raining/snowing and my parka was not keeping me dry.  My hair was a mass of frozen icicles and my nose…well, let’s just say it’s hard to tell what is coming out of your nose holes when your face is suffering from hypothermia.  Remember the cart attendant at Shop Rite?  Yeah, that.

That teeny portion AFTer the big lift

That teeny portion AFTER the big lift

So, now I was down to a smallish but biggish ovally mound.  As I was standing there staring at it because I did not have one bit of energy left in my little biceps to lift one more smidgeon of freaking snow off of that deck, DH came around the corner and had mercy on me.

My leftover mound

My leftover mound

It was then that I realized I could not take another step.  Even if it was to get some red medicine that can only be opened with a cork screw.  So, I sat my wet ass in my car and literally slid down the road.  I stood on my neighbor’s front step and eagerly accepted her gift.  Not one, but two bottles of wine.  Thank you.  You are my savior.

When I got home, I took a 150 degree shower, poured that very well-deserved glass of wine, sat on the couch and fell into a deep, dreamless coma.  That is what I did on our snow day.  The End.

snow wine

My borrowed reward

A Pointless Blog Posting About My Closet

I am a self diagnosed slob.  It’s not just me who agrees with that diagnosis.  DH thinks I should get a prize for it.  So, I’m a little on the lazy side.  But who doesn’t just stare at that wadded up grocery list that somehow managed to work its way into the corner of the kitchen floor every time they walk by it?  It takes some serious energy bending down to that level at our age.  Or any age really.  Please.

My “office” space makes Oscar look like Martha Stewart (Oscar the Grouch or Oscar Madison?  It could go either way.).  Every time I eat, something inevitably ends up on my shirt.  One of the things on my ever growing “to do” list is to buy stock in OxyClean.  And my closet?  That’s a whole different story.  I actually haven’t really entered my closet, like really entered it, in a while.  My summer clothes are kept in a drawer and so are my jeans.  My closet also contains clothes that are predominately to be worn in an office setting and since I can’t find a job in an office setting, they have been hanging there pretty much collecting everything but my dry skin for years.

I decided to venture into my closet, I would say about 17 days ago, because DH and I were going to go out to dinner.  It was a chilly evening and I thought a cute sweater with some jeans would be good.  My closet is not nice.  The Kid has a huge walk in closet.  I don’t know who designed this house, but they got it wrong and it pisses me off.  Really pisses me off.  I have the type of closet that is about 2 feet deep by 6 feet long with bi-level doors.  Is that what they are called?  Bi-level?  I don’t even know.  But the type where when you pull on the knob, they fold in half.  Hey, I never claimed to be a closet OR door aficionado so get off my back.

Well, when I opened my little bi-level doors, I was smacked in the face with a major mess.  The shelf at the top is spilling over with pocketbooks I’ve had since the Bush administration.  The first Bush.  Lingerie that I will never, ever wear because they were my mothers (there’s a very good explanation) and shoes that have sentimental value to me.  Including caked-on-dried-up-mud-on-the-heels wedding shoes from 1992.

photo

98% of my tops are hanging from wire hangers.  And anything that has not been worn since my first temp job at a now-defunct pharmaceutical company seems to have a slight layer of dust on them.  Okay, so maybe a bit more than “slight.”  It seems that a very wet cloth is in order.  And forget about the floor.  I have shoes that fell out of style when The Fanny Pack came into style.  And dust bunnies that have grown into full grown rabbits.  Big ass mean rabbits with fangs.

          No Wire Hangers!

No Wire Hangers!

Since I was trying to get ready to go out to dinner with DH, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about going out to dinner that evening not next Tuesday, I had to pick something and get out.  Quick.  But there was another problem.  I soon discovered that nothing fit.  Nothing.

So, I need to clean out my closet.  Not only because it is the pig sty from hell but because what is the point of allowing clothes that do not fit take up perfectly good real estate.  I thought for sure that that would be a project I would do while recuperating from my surgery.  But it turns out that I can’t stand for more than a few minutes without it feeling like a big rubber band has wrapped itself around the middle of my leg.  

And anyway, I really hate projects.  What will happen is I will be all enthusiastic and start tossing clothes into a heap.  Then I will look at this heap and it will suddenly feel overwhelming.  And then I am going to want to do everything BUT clean up that heap.  Like go pour myself a glass of wine or try to run around the block with my broken knee because that pain would probably be better than the pain of cleaning up a mess that I willingly created all on my own without anyone telling me to.

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and start on Project Closet regardless of what my knee felt like.  I pulled on the little knobs and opened the doors.  I started to the right by grabbing a fistful of hangers with dresses on them.  I stared at these dresses for a minute.  Placed them back and closed the doors.  Then cursed in my mind.  Well, actually I cursed out loud but no one was there to hear me so it’s basically the same thing.  Then went downstairs and watched reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” before they killed off Dr. McSteamy.  Damn.  I miss that man.  And maybe I’ll clean my closet tomorrow.  Maybe.

Multi-Tasking Is Over-Rated

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Such bull-crap

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t been posting much.  When I started out, I was posting once a day.  Now?  Twice a month if I’m lucky.  What gives?  I’ll tell you what gives.

I got a job.  It’s a little retail job.  A little freaking retail job.  Sometimes I put in 20 hours a week sometimes I put in 39.  Still, I can’t figure it all out.  Work and exercise have been put near the top of my priority list.  My house?  Holy Crudola.  Please don’t come here unannounced.  Because if you do, I’m not responsible for what you may contract.  Like Malaria.  Or something nasty along those lines.  I have dust so thick I could probably knit a blanket.  Christmas is 5 months away.  I’m taking orders now.

But I wasn’t talking about not cleaning my house.  I was talking about not writing.  My problem is…here goes:  I Cannot Multi-Task.  There I said it.  I cannot multi-task. Is there a support group for this problem?  “Multi-taskless Women?”  I know.  I’m putting our name to shame.  I think I used to be able to do it.  Maybe not.  Maybe I’ve pretended all these years.  Yes.  I think I’ve been living a lie.

So, at this late stage in the game, I’m trying to figure it out.  Cooking, shopping, cleaning, exercising, working, running around one child, one little child, writing, returning phone calls and projects that have been waiting to get done for months.  Some of them years.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I’ve lost touch with reality.  I’ve come so far on so many levels, but can’t seem to fit in the time to write and clean.

What do I do?  Stay up until 1am to write.  So what if I can’t stand at work?  I don’t think they’ll notice.  And my house?  I may have some time in September.  All guests welcome then.  Oh, wait.  I think you should call first.  I’ll meet you in the yard.  Just bring a chair.

That Sink-ing Feeling

I spent 5 hours cleaning the first floor of my house this past Monday.  No, I don’t clean my house like this every week.  It’s just that I hadn’t cleaned my house since before Christmas.  As you all know from this post — Manual Labor Was Invented by the Devil — I am not a fan.  But it was getting pretty nasty in here so if I didn’t want a divorce, I figured I should probably do something about the dust monsters under the couch and the Christmas tree needles, well….everywhere.

You know that feeling when you have completed the task of scrubbing down your house?  It feels really good.  But if anyone comes in here and walks around on the floor or messes up the soap dish, you want to kill them.

Every Monday night I get together with some friends.  I know.  It’s great.  I highly recommend it.  I left at 7:30 and got home at around midnight.  It was pretty late, so I went straight to bed.  When I came downstairs to help the kid with breakfast the next morning, this is what greets me:

photoLet’s see…I was gone 4.5 hours.  When I left, there were 2 people in this house and 0 items in the sink.  There are now 2 plates, 2 bowls, 6 glasses/cups, 1 pot, 1 spoon, 2 forks, 2 knives, 1 measuring cup, 1 wooden spoon, 1 rubber spatula, 1 serving spoon, 1 strainer, 1 pan from the toaster oven and 1 sink strainer basket that has mac & cheese, tomato pieces and strawberries in it.

There is actually an allergy to dishwashing machines.  Yup.  I looked it up.   Apparently it has struck 2 of the 3 people living here.  Hmmm.  I guess I shouldn’t complain.  These DID make it into the sink.  And that counts for something, right?  RIGHT?

Manual Labor was Invented by the Devil

I absolutely abhor manual labor.  I know I speak for many.  I can almost hear the collective headshakes.  Honestly, if it’s cleaning day and Satan calls with an opportunity to sit in hell for all of eternity instead, I’d take it.  Anything to get out of housework.  When my DH wants me to help him rake the yard, I feign The Black Plague just to get out of it.

Laundry.  There are 3 people living in this house.  There should be no more than MAYBE a load a day and that is still too much.  But no, it’s more like 3-4 loads PER DAY!  I do believe I have one of those magic laundry baskets because as soon as I empty it, it fills up within seconds.  No I mean it…literally seconds.  Like I said, 3 humans live in this house.  THREE.  I know, I don’t get it either.

And my all time fave — Grocery shopping.  I wake up with stomach cramps and the sweats on grocery day.  I’m sorry, unless you go to the store at midnight, it seems that every day is senior day.  I love the seniors, I will be one myself sooner than I care to speak about, but come on.  I don’t mind walking slowly when I’m sauntering down the beach with a margarita.  How about when the little buggers stop in the middle of the isle to talk to their old cronies about which fiber supplement they use?  It took all the energy I had just to get there…please move along people.

My motto:  Life is short, why do anything when it will still be there tomorrow?  Well, it’s not tomorrow yet.  This is what was on my Christmas list:  a maid, a cook (oh right, I really don’t like cooking either), and/or a laundress.  I didn’t get any of the above.  And for the record, I never even asked for a magic laundry basket.  Thanks a lot Santa.