Cleaning Up


I know you guys have been worried about how unorganized this blog (and frankly my writing for PJ and other things) have been this last month and a half or so. I know because some of you have pinged me by various means to make sure I was okay.

I am okay.  I’ve been caught up in a cycle of cleaning/repairing and doing home improvement projects.  It started with my “having had enough” of the cat pee problem in our basement and taking a black light to the walls of that bathroom.  I realized every one of them were marked, and honestly probably by the former owners’ cat whom they used to lock up in the master’s bath.  Because that wall had never been painted, since the original builder’s pain, I killzed the wall up to two feet (no, our cats aren’t that tall, but the wall wicks moisture) and then painted the whole bathroom.  That was a day, but then other things happened.  The pantry into which we’d just thrown stuff on moving got on my nerves enough that I just HAD to organize it.  That took an entire day. Then there was preparing the downstairs apartment to be a fully independent place (because having older son eat with us every day and simply have a tiny counter at which he can make coffee and a bar sink big enough to wash cups at is okay, but I refuse to have newlyweds actually LIVE with us and that’s on the plans soon enough — guys, I need dates, and what I’m supposed to do! — so, there must be a functional (enough) kitchen down there.  The entrance is already independent, though I wouldn’t advise the side-steps in winter.)

Then I cleaned and organized my closet, which was still cluttered with moving boxes.  Weirdly some of the clothes I was ready to donate as too small when we moved in fit me again (yay) so not all is lost.

Anyway, in the middle of that there was buying wood for two rooms on the bottom floor, which will need to be done, and yesterday “finding the pee spot that is stinking up the entire house” and neutralizing it as well as fall cleaning of the downstairs.

There are still all the floors to redo in wood (no asthmatic — even if it’s been in remission — should live in a house with carpet floors.) and the guest bathroom to get the same treatment as the master bathroom for the same reason (except there it’s been painted and the walls are purple.  BRIGHT purple.  It’s a tiny bathroom.  I’d ask what the former owners were thinking, but I don’t think they were.)

I know, half of you are rubbing your heads and wondering if this is writers’ block.  I’ll be honest, I wondered the same, but I don’t think so.  Or not anymore, anyway.

I think I know what this is.  For the last twenty years I’ve been hypothyroidal.  For the last five years before two years ago (so, seven years) the hypothyroidism has been critical. Which meant among other things that everything was let go.  Two years ago I started being treated, but the dose was nowhere near right till this February. (MIGHT still be on the low side.)

This feels like waking up.  When you’ve been severely depressed, the first emotion that comes back is anger (and that happened with thyroid treatment too, btw) and apparently for me recovery means cleaning and organizing.  Which makes perfect sense.

That this is on the borderline of a transition to “just us two” is also part of it. Because if things are organized, I can actually be MORE productive.  I.e. with “just us two” it doesn’t take much to keep an organized/finished house clean.

The thing is, though, that I didn’t realize that was what I was doing, or that the net result has been EXPONENTIALLY more clean and organized.  Why didn’t I notice it?

Well, because when you start projects like this, it gets way worse before it gets better.  Particularly when the project is “house improvement” it’s like your entire house becomes a construction zone.  (When we had a bathroom built adjacent the master bedroom at a former house, we slept with a bucket of cement and discards next to our bed for three months.  It seemed permanent.)

So to me this has been “riding the edge of crisis till they resolve.”  And things seemed to get exponentially worse until they got sort of okay.  By that time I didn’t remember the previous state of things, so I just felt they were “sort of okay” when done.

Then older son came back after two months away and kept commenting on how clean and organized everything was.  which was a bit of shock, because that’s not how I thought of  it.  I just thought of it as “For some reason I find myself creating these messes that take me forever to clear and leave me exhausted.”

But he’s right.  And when he said it, I blinked and suddenly saw how much more organized/cleaner/easier life was becoming.

The thing is that in most big projects, you make a bigger mess on the way to cleaning it up.

Please keep that in mind when it seems like the world is coming apart at the seams.

Actually what’s happening is that, the left’s lock on the news being broken, people who don’t agree with Marxism no longer feel alone and isolated.  I.e. we’ve woken up, and we’re aware of the need to clean society of this corroding philosophy.

They of course are reacting with madness to losing what they thought was a locked-in position of power.  And cleaning this up and bringing that portion of the country into marginal contact with reality is going to take forever.  And it will probably look worse before it looks marginally okay.  Also, because the left exerted a monopolistic control on media, entertainment and education for about 100 years, most of us don’t even remember what the previous state looked like, so we might not realize when its improving.

But the thing is even the mess is a sign we’re starting to clean up.

Be not afraid.  Go and clean.




222 thoughts on “Cleaning Up

  1. I don’t think the Left believes that they’ve lost. Sure, Felonia “No more Civility” von Pantsuit is grumbling, but that’s just grandstanding and signaling.

    When the Left thinks they’ve really lost, things will really start blowing up… literally. Because terrorism is what the left does when it can’t get it’s way through normal means (see Weather Underground)

      1. I think you’re right. They had no Plan B for the 2016 election, so they screamed. They had no Plan B for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, so they screamed.

        I hope that the midterms will elicit more hysterical screaming.

        1. A was Hillary winning. B was the house and senate, by hook or crook. Then all this talk of “fixing” the electoral and stacking the court, to ensure they could never lose again.
          How dare we say “Not just no, but hell no!”

          1. One thing Obama got right (mostly, at least on the surface) was running on “hope” and a positive message. A whole lot of what he did was counter to that, and if you were paying attention you’d notice how often he set people against each other, but his official stand was hope and change and forward looking. I can’t even remember what Hillary’s slogan was now beyond “I’m with Her.” What was her slogan? Bernie Bro’s Suck? Now she’s out there openly calling for incivility?

            So Michelle the other day said really nice, uplifting, forward looking things about how we ought to treat each other. It makes me wonder if she really is going to try running for office. Or maybe it means that she’s not?

            1. (Bill) Clinton’s motto was “hope and change.” I was surprised nobody remembered that during Zero’s campaign…

                1. I think the official slogan was actually “Forward” which of course was the name of the Communist Party’s newspaper among other things, and was absolutely intended to signal the the far left that Hillary was one of them.

                1. I’m just stocked with guns, ammo, and knives….shiny, pointy, sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp knives. A couple rusty knives, just in case there’s somebody…forget this thought. (Magic sign here.)

          2. I think Plan A was Clinton winning. Plan B was the seditious conspiracy by Dem operatives at the FBI and DOJ to use their previously faked “evidence” they used to wiretap the Trump campaign to break his administration.

        2. Let me get a fresh packet of earplugs when that happens, ‘kay?

          BTW, Sarah – I feel the house renovation pain. We have a five-year plan to fix up my little cottage, which will, as a commenter pointed out – mean living in the middle of a construction zone over the next few years.

      2. Thing is, whenever nutters are allowed to act out unconstrained no honest citizen is safe on the streets or even in their own homes.
        That arrow of theirs keeps missing the target, and each time it does their answer is to double down with increasingly uncivil disobedience, bullying of the opposition and their families, and violent demonstrations of mob rule.
        Their last great hope is this proverbial blue wave they keep going on about. Should that fail to materialize in just over three weeks, one can only imagine to what lengths the left will resort to express their anger and frustration.

        1. I predict that following the good drubbing to come in November, the paid-activist faction of the left will morph into something like the IRA, and begin bombing civilian targets in earnest. Which might be all to the good as their true colors become undeniably obvious, and ever easier to compare to various historical brownshirts.

          Of course, they’ll confine their activities to locales where they’re already used to getting away with it… wouldn’t work so well here in flyover country.

          1. Frankly, I’ve been surprised they haven’t already indulged in terrorist attacks.

            And remember, Trump is NOT Nixon. Watergate gave the Dems a decade-long life extension.

            1. Thus far, random street violence hasn’t yet lead to consequences. When we get the equivalent of Kent State, expect many to be scared off, and others to erupt

            1. Orvan you can remove the FORE portion. The dems cant cope with anyone that uses thought. They’re pure unmitigated feelz which is all you have when there is no objective truth.

          2. As I recall, the Weather Underground’s most notable explosion laminated some of their number all over the walls of the basement they were working in.

            I suppose they might have picked up a few pointers from the terrorists they’ve been playing Radical Chic footsie with, but the Left does not impress me as technically competent.

            In any case, I will stay out of areas they control for the forseeable future.


            1. There are paid terrorists on the left– remember the “cops threw a grenade at us” pipeline protester? She’d been rigging bombs out of the little propane light containers for years before one bounced back and got her.

              They just usually pick targets folks don’t care about.

    1. You’re right, of course. Right now, they’re “just” frustrated, because people are no longer bending over and grabbing their ankles whenever the Left makes demands. The “waking up” part is still mostly on the right side of the spectrum, although there have been some cases of some of the less moonbatty lefties waking up recently, too.

    2. I keep wondering when they’ll go as crazy as they did back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s (Kent State, UW-Madison bombing, etc.) and then make almost everyone go, “Alright, WTF is going on?” and not just the “right” (as painted – there are MANY small-L libertarian types who would readily as ‘liberal’ if that word meant what it did in the Jefferson & Franklin & such sense. Pro-Individual Liberty rather than Gramscian Groupthink. {in the case of Hollywood, would it be GropeThink?}). It’s that I wish to see shootings and bombings, but if it’s going to go that far, let’s get done with it sooner rather than later. Better that sanity prevails first. Sanity… does not seem the way to bet, alas.

        1. As fondly as we might all wish that to be true, peace is simply not the natural order of things. As long as there is inequality of outcome, which shall last so long as the race remains human, there shall be turmoil and strife amongst peoples. The best we can hope for is islands of relative calm created and maintained by a preponderance of force.
          And this of course is anathema to every tenant of the left’s philosophy.
          Oh, they’re all for a preponderance of force, but when they achieve anything of that nature they attempt to use it to bludgeon people into roles the human species isn’t designed for.

          1. I’m ok with calling those periods where strife is largely limited to this professionals who have chosen to take up that burden, like the US between the late ’70’s and 2001, peace.

    3. It’s a good thing that a Democrat said that there should be no civility until they regain power. If a Republican said that, it would be Literally Hitler time.

      1. They’ve overplayed that card. I think even THEY are beginning to realize it. I haven’t seen a fresh reference to Trump=Hitler for weeks.

        Or have I just grown deaf to them?

          1. Oh, it’s played out. Comparing a Populist American to the despicable Austrian doesn’t convince anybody who isn’t already a True Believer. The MSM shows us a clip of some deranged dip shrieking about Trump being ‘literally Hitler’ and the only real effect I can see it having is to convince a few long-term liberal Jews like my Stepmother-in-law to vote Republican for the first time in their lives.

            But the Left doesn’t realize it’s played out, because they have convinced themselves that anybody who disagrees with them, ever, is EVIL! So they never ask themselves ‘Gee, so-and-so has deserted us over something we said; I wonder if we’ve gone too far?’.

            1. Have your stepmother-in-law look up how FDR’s administration treated Jewish refugees. Bearing in mind they were still allowing people from Japan and Germany into the country at the time…

  2. Dealing with Dad’s horde (Great Depression baby), I think that was exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thanks.

  3. I tripped on the way out the house this morning. Just a stumble. Because 90% of the tools needed and some of the goods to roof the house reside in the porch. the other 10% of tools are split between “oops I brought this in accidently” and “I’ll set this in the garage for now”
    The upstairs rooms are still suffering from replacing 4 windows.

    1. I had to buy solar panels now instead of next spring, so I no longer have the free space to do some of the desired work in the barn. $2K+ worth of glass panels tends to accentuate “don’t drop anything. OTOH, some of that barn work has to happen before winter, so it’s going to be fun, for various levels of pain.

      1. When your home starts looking more like a space station, then you’re leaving the Science Fiction dream.

        1. This weekend, I will start disassembling the small CNC milling machine in the computer room and hauling it out to the workshop…

          Well, hey. It had a computer, it was logical for it to be in the computer room, right?

          “Stuff” comes in via the Feral Excess or the Brown Truck of Happiness, thence to the computer room for gloating, then out to the shop when space becomes critical.

          Mrs. TRX suggested the six-foot bar of 4140 steel might go out to the shop too. Yeah. Amazing how you can overlook something that’s been leaning in a corner long enough…

          1. Shhhh. There’s a box of replacement dishes that has been in the living room corner for over a year. I’m still waiting for instructions as to where to store them.

            1. IRt would take a dragon to swing it. The dragon would end up calling it ‘knight-cleaver’ or something.

            2. 1-1/2″ round 4140. Eventually to become various bolt action rifle receivers.

              All the parts and material for the bolt action .500 Nitro Express and .235 Ultraspeed-Express are here, but things got delayed slightly when I decided to buy a brand new lathe and milling machine, a bunch of tooling, and a mini-split air conditioner for the shop. Of course the machine tools must be disassembled to their component pieces-parts, cleaned, and aligned on reassembly…

              I cheated and bought the barrel blanks from PacNor and the reamers from Pacific Tool & Die, though. I’m still collecting the bits for gundrilling and rifling, but I figured I’d expedite things a bit while funds allowed.

        2. I just saw the county planning department. They wanted a site plan because reasons ($87.00 worth, at least), and I had to locate all the official structures and septic on the land. I don’t have to count the greenhouse; it’s not officially fixed in place. Still, I had a lot of structures to locate on an odd piece of property. Qcad is now my friend, once I figured out enough of the quirks.

          The land-use lady was happy with the results, so now I need a quote from the contractor. That’s dependent on finding somebody able to do the whacking great holes. (Small array, but it’s still 10 yards of concrete in 6 holes.) When that’s done, it’s up to me. Solar systems are kind of fun, but there’s a lot of bits and pieces. I’m trying to minimize what’s sitting in the barn. OTOH, the pumphouse has room…

    1. Especially when “Hey, let’s get this window to open” becomes “Well, nothing for it. I need to replace that right now.”×4+1

      Should have expected that for the small ones some moron put right on the shingle line, no flashing. (Whodathunk they’d rot?)

        1. Guy who fixed a leak the day before a hurricane says the flashing on our roof was poorly done. I will be distinctly annoyed if we have to replace it several years earlier than estimated, and I do intend to get a second opinion and cost estimate for the replacement — but the skylight hasn’t fallen into the kitchen (nor resumed dripping), so he did something right.

        2. I doubt there was on mine, but then they put “stucco” over the existing siding, and covered the window trim when they did it. When replacing the windows, I had to cut the trim along the concrete opening to get the frame out. Vinyl trim is/will be siliconed in to seal matters. There was flashing over the roof, but it was also stuccoed over, and the small windows over the roof are breaks in that flashing. This is a pair of 9 in 12 pitch roofs. Will word on it tonight some. I guess I should do a post so y’all can see what I am ranting about.

            1. Just don’t put a ladder through a window like I did Wednesday while putting tarp over the leaky spot in the roof prior to Michael’s (thankfully!) brief and (here) glancing visit.

              No, I’m not kidding. Laurel and Hardy couldn’t have done it better. One 1×2 inch x8 foot through the screen, one ladder breaking (I think) both panes of glass, and a folded 40 foot x 20 foot tarp, twice (once per helper). Ladder got away from me; helpers tried to throw new tarp onto roof from ground; finally they went to the back deck where the roof was closer. Same screen and same sash of the window, so only two items needed to repair. (I need to call the hardware store back, come to think of it.) Got some plastic off a friend’s roll to cover the hole. Considering we had less than two inches of rain and oh, 20 mph winds (again, on my side of the state), putting the tarp on roof was almost certainly a net loss.

              1. Sorry.
                I laughed.
                not good for karma, no?
                I have seen people putting up plywood for a storm, break the window intended for protection. More than once.
                iirc one of those times the storm missed us (I used to live in the New Orleans area)

                  1. no broken windows today, but when I went to put down the underlayment to dry in the roof, I shot out of roofing nails and my box with only one roll missing is also missing. realized quickly that hunting was killing daylight so I headed across the river to Menards (because it is a few hundred yards closer than Harbor Fright), had a guy let me go ahead of him, and after thanking profusely, I rushed back to finish the job, because it is supposed to rain tonight.
                    Ran out of light while doing the last few feet of the last row of underlayment.
                    I’m using the FT brand (silver).

                    Very sore, rather hungry (breakfast was cold pizza and nothing was ate all the day long), and dead tired.

            2. I went with custom cut metal roofing (13′ 6″ long over 75%, the remaining a 10’x17′ porch @ 3in12 into 12’x17 of the old 9in12 over the kitchen portion of the house), and it came on a 20′ long “pallet” that was 11 20′ long 2x4s, and the trim was in a “box” that is 16′ 2x6s. I made a sorta pole scaffolding from that and added more lumber as needed.
              With that, a safety harness and anchors I am able to get it done. if slowly as I am working alone. The “oh carp, need windows” ate far more of my funds than I wanted, as did a small soft spot that became a very large replaced section of the porch roof. I had hoped to have this done this summer, but I only ordered the roofing early July. It has gotten to the point, roofing HAS to be done. Waiting to rebuild the savings to pay others would likely cause even more work needing to be done and drive the price over what is saved up.
              Costs up here are high on that, even with “I know A guy” handyman labor.

    2. I long ago learned the folly of the following statement: “This place looks good; I don’t have to do anything with it.” God comes up with a nasty chuckle for that one.

      The last time I uttered that, I ended up having to replace two exterior walls and replumbing a third of the house. The time before that, it was a gut-to-the-studs and redo.

      1. Peter and I specifically looked for a house that was move-in ready, and then we got OldNFO and LawDog to recommend a local contractor, to do all the “But we want this instead / to fix this” bits before we moved in. This has saved us a world of headache and living in a construction zone..

        It didn’t last, of course, and now my main bathroom has the shower stall out of commission with a great gaping hole in the wall where the piping to the showerhead decided to have a containment failure. (I know my limits. When it comes to brazing copper near a flammable stud, I call a plumber!)

        I really need to get off my butt, rewatch youtube on patching drywall to get back up to speed, and then get it done. (It’s in a location that requires more stretching, twisting, and bending than Peter’s spine will manage. My darling husband offered to try to fix it, and I was reminded of my father’s wise advice on home projects: “Emergency rooms are about a thousand bucks an hour.”)

        1. We have a cadre of contractors who’ve done the stuff I won’t or can’t do. I can do a lot (less as I age, but the pumphouse building was all mine), but specialty stuff is a no. I’m not fond of plumbing, and a well setup was beyond my level.The plumbers and an electrical guy did the 350′ runs to the main connections, but most of the rest was me.

          The solar project is similar. I had to get the mount designed by an engineering firm, and the soils and winds combined to require a really heavy anchor. That meant a contractor. They were absurdly busy, but the local economy had its first good summer since the Spotted Owl issues in the early aughts, so it’s only now that he’s free. If we can get the mount done before winter, I can start on the rest right away. I did a similar system on a trailer a couple years ago, so this version should have minimal disasters. Maybe.

          1. Local contractors here have been insanely busy. To the point they’ve been required to turn down work because they can’t get the workers. This last summer tour of homes had 8 houses. That’s about 1/3 the normal, because they can’t keep housing on the market; it is selling that quickly. Last mini-upswing, and they weren’t this busy was mid-’90’s, after the housing slump of the mid/late-’80’s due to the spotted owls.

            We’d love to “down size”, actually about same square footage, but different layout, & single story. We could sell fairly quickly for about what we’d pay for the new house, but our property taxes would triple or quadruple, just about anywhere we’d go. I’m to the point where we enlarge the master bathroom, put in a Jack/Jill between the two bedrooms, change the main hall bathroom into a powder room, & split the upstairs into smaller family room, & nice Jr. Suite for the kid (we’re going to be living with him eventually anyway) get rid of the carpet throughout the house, & stay put … been watching too much HGTV.

            Making the changes isn’t likely to happen (*), but staying put is highly likely.

            (*) well if I win a lottery, maybe, but I’d have to play the lottery, so not happening.

        2. > brazing

          Next time, just thumbtack a couple of layers of aluminum foil over anything that might get scorched and use one of those torch accessories that wraps the flame around the pipe. You’ll only have the flame in the area for a few moments.

          The big thing is making sure you clean the area you’re soldering.

          > patching drywall

          Drywall is a loathsome product no matter what you’re doing with it. My hatred of drywall dust borders on pathological.

          Faced with a drywall hole in the shower, I’d opt for the plastic shower insert…

          1. I have a small shield (might have bought it from Home Depot) that does the job. Haven’t had to solder pipe since we left California, but my loathing for lead-free solder continues.

            Plastic shower inserts work well; you can get one that adjusts to fit your opening and go from there. OTOH, the last shower I did, everything went down to the (mercifully intact) studs, and I did a water barrier and cement-based Wonderboard for the walls and ceiling. It was a claustrophobia-inducing enclosure, so tiling the ceiling wasn’t that hard. Of course, once I was done, I noticed the soap dish and shelf that I forgot to install… Saved by a chrome shower tree.

  4. It’s not writer’s block. It’s research and LARP for the next Darcy Dare Murder Mystery!

      1. Argh. 3 months after reading and now I’m misremembering. Good thing I didn’t go to any beer parties in the 1980s.

          1. Oh, I don’t know. Having Diane Feinstein slandering me would actually put a smile on my face.

          1. I keep mis-remembering ’em as Ditzy Dare. Which probably says something about how I view the main character… but they’re fun!

  5. I’m finally getting a new toilet (something that will fit my body better i.e. full-sized). I didn’t realize that these apartment buildings were equipped with small toilets (child-sized is my guess) until I had to use them. Anyway– I ended up on a cleaning spree in the bathroom. I threw away a lot of pieces of paper that I had stuffed in drawers. Don’t ask– I don’t know why.

    Plus anything that was old — like old makeup. I’m pleased to say that it looks rather nice in there. I’m getting the toilet this afternoon yeah. Now I am looking at other parts of my house and wondering why I have been decorating in bits of paper.

    The more I clean– the more time I seem to have to write. Funny, that?

    1. Builders love the small toilets; they’re a few bucks cheaper than standard ones, and there’s nothing like squeezing an extra twenty bucks out of a fifty thousand dollar profit margin…

      Doesn’t matter if you’re short; as you get older and your knees go, it can be a long way down (and back up!) from one of those mini-toilets. Which is why the “senior citizen” and “handicap” models often incorporate what are essentially booster seats.

      Then they try to promote the “round bowl” toilets with “gives more space in the bathroom.” Which might be technically true, but not necessarily useful. It’s not just males who curse them…

      1. Speaking of toilet sizes, they’re also upping the “efficiency” game. It’s no longer enough to be down to 1.6 gallons/flush; now you need to have one that’s 1.28.

        I swear these people won’t be happy until we’re all pooping in outhouses again.

        1. Thanks to modern low-flush toilets, about once a week I have to run a full bathtub of water down the drain, for the sole purpose of flushing out the sewer line so the Great Roto-rootering doesn’t become an annual event. Yeah, saves lots of water, that.

        2. So far, the 1.28 gallon toilet with the bad-knee height design has done a wonderful job. It’s as good as the slightly older 1.6 gallon with the same configuration.

          There were corners cut in doing our house, but the installers got the drain system down right. OTOH, the original toilets were quite horrible.

      2. That’s one of my pet peeves. Many of those short toilets don’t have enough clearance between the seat & the water for a male’s dangly bits to stay dry – at least not in warm weather – and I reside in Florida.
        You would think that the (mostly male) builders would take that into consideration.

        1. > You would think that the (mostly male) builders would take that into consideration.

          They do. They have a garage full of the full flush toilets in “slightly used” condition in case their breaks. Or for a friend or highest bidder.

          1. A plumber I knew swore that the 3.5 gallon toilet was close to perfection. Older than that, I ran into trouble. The worst were some 50 year old ones with tanks hanging on the wall. Not the really high ones, so you didn’t get the advantage of the tidal wave effect.

        2. Many of those short toilets don’t have enough clearance between the seat & the water for a male’s dangly bits to stay dry – at least not in warm weather – and I reside in Florida.

          *looks horrified on behalf of husband*

          I think that is something I will definitely have to take into consideration when we have a house of our own. I’ve been mostly focusing on the depth of the bath-tub (a lot are too shallow for even my short-arsed self to sink into without bending my legs, to the point that I’ve been wanting to look at the deeper Japanese style baths that keep the water hot – and yes, full cleaning shower before the bath.)

      3. “We’d like to re-do the bathroom. Everything can be changed – except the toilet. That stays. It’s an old design. Saves water – only needs to be flushed once.”

    2. We got the contractor to put in full-height, non-water-saving toilets before we moved in. It has been a blessing, and well worth the money!

      I am hoping I get to that stage of finding more time to write as I clean more. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

  6. “This feels like waking up.”

    That was a very ominous statement. A chill ran down my spine and I shuddered. Would the next statement from Sarah be that she was registering as a Democrat? 19 days to Halloween and I’d evidently stepped into a horror movie! I read a bit farther and with a loudly uttered, “Whew!” of relief, I wiped the sweat from my brow, and realized she was merely relating that her health was improving.

    I have to show my wife this post about house cleaning-reorganizing and the fact that it does look worse before it looks better.

    The only people who really have any concept of what the country was like before the rise of Marxist thought are those who read the older history books, and do a considerable amount of digging for the reality. Today’s history books written by those with a progressive agenda certainly don’t read anywhere like the history books I read when growing up.

      1. *snork* Well, now you know why way-back-when I yammered at you to get your damn thyroid checked. I swear there’s something in being hypothyroid that makes its sufferers *resist* getting treated… yet it’s literally life vs lingering death.

        1. The problem is I was having it checked EVERY YEAR. Because it’s an auto immune thing, and I’m PRODUCING the right precursors, I was told I was FINE. Sometimes twice a year because I was OBVIOUSLY, PATENTLY ragingly hypothyroidal and ever doctor I went to saw it.
          It took one of my fans who happens to be an obesity specialist (one of my first fans, too. He sent me a fan letter just before entering medschool) to look at me and go “Oh, dear Lord, you’re hypothyroidal” Me”Get a test often. Perfectly normal” Him, squinting: You know, you’re also auto-immune. Sometimes autoimmune people take t3 and make rt3. Let’s do a comprehensive test.
          YEP. RT3 through the roof. He’s been treating it ever since, though I should probably have him talk to my regular doc.
          So I wasn’t resisting. I was kind of peeved because I WAS GETTING TESTED and they told me it was normal.

          1. Not all people with an MD after their name actually know what they’re doing all the time. Look at all the PhDs who are brilliant idiots.

            1. In five years of hanging arounf the Homewood (undergraduate) campus of Johns Hopkins, I met two pre-meds I would allow to touch me with a stethoscope. Two. The vast majority of the remainder, I condidered malpractice cases waiting to happen.

              Of course it didn’t help my opinion that at least half of the pre-meds firmly believed that THEY were going to be exceptions to the rule that Johns Hopkins Med School does not take students from Johns Hopkins pre-med.

              FIRMLY convinced that their excrement lacked odor.

              1. Um… Why won’t Johns Hopkins medical school take Johns Hopkins premed students? And, that being the case, why would anyone else?

                1. I’ve encountered a few universities that have placed restrictions on undergrad-to-grad school, and some that have restrictions on hiring their own graduates as faculty. The only explanations I’ve heard have involved phrases like “spreading the knowledge” and “avoiding intellectual inbreeding.”

                2. They want cross-pollination, so to speak. I gather there are instances of Medical school from the past becoming so intellectual inbred that they didn’t keep up with emerging techniques and became notorious examples bad teaching.

                  In this day and age of intellectual incest throughout Higher Education, it’s a throwback to a higher standard of scholarship.

                  1. Academic in-breeding really is “a thing.” Flat-State U would not hire its own PhD graduates unless 1) you did your MA and BA elsewhere, or 2) you’d been out in the world so long that the university specific stuff had worn off.

          2. Y’know, Sarah, they checked on my thyroid again whilst I was in hospital – both before and after the c-section. Still normal, I’m told. What’s RT3, so I can ask my doc for that blood test? Or do I just ask for a comprehensive thyroid blood test?

            I mean, I’m getting vampired for blood every 3 days for my INR levels anyway; what’s another few vials? (Answer: a trip to Burger King for a couple of BBQ cheeseburgers.)

            1. I know rT3 is the medical shorthand for ” reverse T3″, and I know it binds to the T3 receptors but doesn’t work, so you get all the symptoms of no thyroid hormonal goodness at all. (If I understand correctly, the normal thyroid test doesn’t distinguish between normal T3 and reverse T3, so the level in the blood can look good, even though it’s all stuff that you can’t actually use.) Beyond that, talk to someone, anyone who isn’t me, preferably someone with a clue! 😛

      1. Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness. As one 40-year-old American Indian in Oklahoma said in his focus group, according to the report:

        It seems like everyday you wake up something has changed … Do you say Jew? Or Jewish? Is it a black guy? African-American? … You are on your toes because you never know what to say. So political correctness in that sense is scary.

        That quote was publishable only because that came from one of the few groups that could probably get away with saying such a thing, I bet.

        1. No doubt you’re right about who can say that.

          I’ve concluded that the ever changing rules have an important and singular purpose. They *sort* people by who pays enough attention to keep up to date and who doesn’t. If the rules stayed the same everyone would eventually catch up, and then there’d be no way to tell who actually cared or not, to take that extra and continuous effort.

          That many profoundly good hearted people don’t have the *spoons* (as they say) and that many other profoundly good hearted people are scrambling to manage just the normal things of life isn’t as important as keeping that revolving answer-set fresh.

          1. They *sort* people by who pays enough attention to keep up to date and who doesn’t.

            Which is why ultimately, the whole ‘woke’ insanity of identity politics and the increasing shrill demands of politically correct castes (and their power struggles to get more of the imagined entitled reparations and ‘denied’ rights and privileges) is a house of cards that will not be tolerated anywhere outside of the West or any other Western civilized society. Firstly, the average person is concerned with their own survival and those of their kith and kin – the basics thereof, namely roof over their head and food in belly, clothes for self and family, etc. The average person hasn’t got time to deal with what is ultimately an imagined first-world problem, and even in the West the few screeching idiots aided and abetted by a compliant media it’s seen as the timewasting nonsense of rich idiots with no day jobs, or is the day job of the idiots in question. Said idiots rely very, very heavily on the rules of civilization to not be killed outright in mass executions to keep destroying the very bedrock of the society that allowed them to essentially be lazy, pampered spoiled children playing games well into their adulthood and all the way to their dotage, with peoples’ lives and livelihoods at stake. People are getting very tired with the constant outrage and tantrums demanding that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!111eleventy.

            I ‘d like to think that these fools have overplayed their hand with Kavanaugh but I’m cynical enough to think “Not yet.” It’s a waiting game to see what erodes away and collapses into the ocean of ‘fuck this noise, I’m hoisting the black flag’ – Civilization, or the average person’s patience and restraint.

  7. I’ve been in organization mode off-and-on for the last year. It is better, although it’s hard to see sometimes. Living with other people makes the process harder, as the things that drive you crazy, they don’t even notice.
    And, vice-versa.
    I’m hampered at the moment in my writing, as I’ve been picking up extra sub jobs (I’m so close to getting another qualifying year, it’s painful. I just have to book enough now, so the shorter teaching months of November and December don’t leave me short.).
    BTW, I put some short stories up on Smashwords – FREE! The link to the stories is here.

    1. Off Topic (surprise factor: zero?)
      The bit “lfox” reads to me as ‘low frequency ox” (Alright, it would be ‘LF ox’…) and now I wonder about LF and VLF radio. I’m almost certain there was nothing of that intended.

          1. She is, but she’s still there because she still has some breathing issues, so they don’t want to let her go home until she can maintain an O2 saturation of 95% and up – especially given my history. So far, it just seems that she needs to ‘mature more.’ She’s in the special care unit of the NICU, where the babies who ‘mostly need to just grow more’ are, as well as those who have graduated out of the NICU proper to being healthy enough to be in the SCU.

            So I go every day to spend a few hours with her, bring expressed milk.

  8. The thing is that in most big projects, you make a bigger mess on the way to cleaning it up.

    I’ve run into this.

    I let my apartment go, badly. Clutter just built up, and things accumulated. A while ago, I finally decided to start doing something about it. After a few very large trash bags full of what turned out to mostly be paper ended up in the apartment dumpster, things really didn’t look any better.

    But that was really just the preparatory phase. Or part of it. To get things cleaned up, you have to put things where they go. And if you’ve never really had a spot for them, then you have to find one. And that frequently means pulling something else off of the shelf so that you can put the other item in its place. And sometimes that something else immediately goes to a new location. But more frequently it seems to sit there for a bit while I try and figure out where to put it. Sometimes that place to put it is the trash, though that doesn’t happen nearly as often as it probably ought to.

    But slowly, bit by bit, the clutter is getting dealt with.

    1. Exactly! I can put things away, but when I pick up something that’s been sitting on the counter for three weeks, I usually have to ask my darling man, “Does this have an away to be put?”

      Once we find the away, then keeping it put away is trivial. The garage is mostly out of moving boxes, but still full of piles of things patiently waiting their away.

  9. Of all the awful things that “women’s lib” managed to do, scoffing and mocking the concept of purposeful homemaking, “a place for everything and everything in its place”, has probably led to more misery than we can even imagine. *Particularly* for anyone who’s any variety of ADD. Yeah, sure, I’m salty about it, but it’s true. I have this vision of people who are naturally good at organizing things pushing this nonsense about how horrible it is to teach women how to keep house because what do they care? For anyone else standing with an item in hand and looking at the clutter in the house and thinking… but where does it GO… it’s not even a bit funny. Heck, I’d hire help except that I’m the one who’d have to tell them where stuff went, and if I knew I wouldn’t have a problem!

    (And obviously, for idiots out there, guys living alone and men with partners of any sort need to know how to do this TOO, but the push wasn’t to share the tasks, it was to abandon the tasks.)

    1. I have a place for everything. Admittedly, sometimes the place is “somewhere in THIS room not THAT room”. Organization!

    2. Cleaning house with my husband is sheer agony. 90% of it is stuff that is either his, or I’m not sure about– because if it isn’t, I already got it put away. 😀

      But he wants to have a pile, and attack it into two piles, throw away and keep. And then “eventually” do something with the keep pile.

      I finally lost my temper and dragged him into helping me sort a pile of the “keep” stuff into somewhat useful order– “garage,” “kids’,” “keep because it’s important papers,” “keep because it’s memories papers”, “keep but can be stored away for years without mattering”, “donate” and “why the hell did we keep this last time? TOSS IT!”

      Went from half of our bedroom being simi-random piles to one wall being simi-random piles. Now we have room to fix the pile of “mommy, fix it! Daddy, it doesn’t work!” stuff.

      1. I have a hard enough time throwing away my own stuff. I can’t really throw away his stuff. I can, however, tell him to put it in *his* room, since he’s got a room.

        Some things, though, I’ve started throwing out. I went around our bedroom starting in his corner (and never quite making it to my corner) and tossed three big black garbage bags of empty electronics boxes (and without asking if I could) and bunches of old clothes and sheets and shoes. (Four small clear plastic bags of “thrift store” donations.) Lots of shoes. Comes garbage day and he’s like… wow, three big bags of garbage, where did it come from? I’m like… from our bedroom!

        And I didn’t even get all the way around the room.

        1. Thta’s something I want in the floor plan for hubby should we build our own house. A proper room for *his* stuff; not a ‘man cave’ (it implies retreating from everyone else and that the husband isn’t part of the household) but ‘Dad’s space’; similar to my workspace – part of the house, but organized in a way that makes sense only to me, and not necessarily accommodating the order needed for ‘common spaces’ like kitchen, library, etc.

          1. I’m fully in favor of a door that closes! Call it a “cave” or call it something else. 😉

          2. I don’t have a problem with the term, “man cave”. I don’t see it as implying that the husband isn’t part of the household, just a term for a place that the “man of the house” can retreat to in order to get a break. Used to be called a “Den”, at least in the U.S.

            1. It’s one of those dueling pissing contests things where innocent bystanders, and the language, get dragged into marriage spats.

              Some guys justify demanding a man cave because the wife gets to have “everything else in the house” the way he wants it; some of them have that view because they refuse to do any sort of work in the house…and I found this out via complaints about the wife not being maid service in the place she wasn’t supposed to touch because it was guys only.


              In contrast, my grandmother REALLY WAS in absolute control of everything in the house, and papa’s shop was definitely all his, to the point where he was totally OK with her sending him out to get his mug if he drank coffee out there and forgot it.

              At what I think is a happy medium:
              I’m “in control” of the house in as much as I do the upkeep work unless I ask Elf for help, if either of us have a strong view they’re generally the only one and we’ll work together to fix it, and he’s got the dang-near walk in closet for all of his stuff that is “for love of Pete, don’t touch!”
              I’ll go into the closet to 1) get hangars, 2) hang up clothes, and 3) borrow the good super glue. (It goes right back where it was– the stuff is three times as expensive as the stuff I use for normal household use.)


              I think the issue boils down to what your social circle implies with “man cave.” If it means “man-child,” of course it’s going to be…disfavored.

              1. …and I found this out via complaints about the wife not being maid service in the place she wasn’t supposed to touch because it was guys only.

                Ugh. Yes, if you’re going to have your own space, you should be the one to keep it up.

                1. Ooh, I forgot what I was going to say!

                  We like “den” if it’s an all-in-one grownup spot (…we’re geeks. Girl and boy is kinda secondary to geek) or “library” and “shop” if it’s not.

                  Yes, we are dreaming of having the library be something besides a corner of the livingroom– which was the upgrade from stacked in boxes– but there’s no way it could be secure enough to include the “kids are only there when supervised” element.

                  1. Yeah, the den was grown-ups, no-kids-go zone, especially with the younger ones. Dad’s den back in Bonn had his Playboys, liquor, and political books, WW2 books, his stash of Hersheys that we kids were to leave alone, etc there; I reckon if Dad gamed, that’s where the rulebooks, etc, would be.

                    But the kids’ rumpus room was accessible only by going through it; which I guess made some sense because an adult in the den could keep an eye on the kids, sort of, and be available to stop things if they got out of hand.

                    The no-go part was smudgy though, since that was where we kept the puzzle that the family would occasionally get together to put together (one of the sidewalk-picked-up tables was large enough to put it on, and Dad had claimed it for something and, well…) and he’d occasionally find one of us kids there, curled up on the couch, reading one of our own books (it was in the basement. It was cool in the summer.)

            2. I’ve noticed a tendency for man caves these days to be external to the house proper – at least here, down under, that isn’t the workshop either- mostly from what I’ve seen in terms of house design and decorating, floor planning, etc. Dens were more the ‘grown-ups only’ retreat that leaned more to being somewhat ‘Dad’s space.’ These days, the den has become more of a ‘games room.’

              I’ve also seen a lot of derisive attitudes towards the man cave – which should be unsurprisingly, treating the idea that a man should have his own space as ‘childish’ or ‘secretive’ or ‘exclusionary’, while at best tolerated only because it is outside of the house and does not interfere with the rest of the house’s aesthetics or the woman’s organization of ‘her’ household. That’s probably why I’m not so fond of it – because of the attitude associated with it.

      2. My wife is mad for sorting. But since she never throws anything away, it just results in moving a pile of trash from one place to another place.

      3. I have three or four boxes and crates of stuff in the tatami room that I don’t want to just throw away because they could be useful to someone. Else, not me. Books I’ve read and have no desire to reread (or that I couldn’t finish), clothes that no longer fit or were never worn in the first place, dishes I don’t use, DVDs I don’t watch, etc. I tell myself I’ll put it on one of those “Neighborhood sales” facebook pages, but I know that won’t happen. Add to that the extreme sorting of refuse Japan does, and the fact that I don’t have a vehicle (and the thrift store on base is open for about six hours a week and has massive restrictions on donations. No books written before 1985!) means it’s just going to sit there until I either move back, or actually get off my duff and put it up on the site.

          1. I *do* plan to come down your way, not next year but the year following. Not year I’m going to go see the Webers, the Butchers, Laurell K Hamilton, and Eric Flint all at once at SpikeCon. It”s going to be awesome.

        1. You can sometimes sucker folks in– I mean, get folks to buy stuff– by sorting it into themed boxes, and having a price like “$5 a box if you take the whole thing, $20 a plastic bag if you sort through it.”

    3. The problem My Lady and I had with organization was they she liked to create systems, and I wouldn’t understand them. This was particularly bad in the kitchen, which is MY domain. I eventually got her to stop messing up the systems I would evolve naturally in the kitchen efore they could jell, and now I can pretty much put my hands on any cooking tool I need…unless it’s been used for something outside the kitchen.

      That last is why,mwhen she was still making jewelry, I put my foot down over her thinking about getting into plating. We aren’t good about keeping bowls seperate, and I could just see us dying of cyanide poisoning.

      Seriously, she got an instruction manual on plating and of (I think ) 36 pages, the first nine were health warnings. Things like “Always work with a buddy, and practice administering the antidote, because even if you live next to the Hospital, the ambulance will not get there in time.”


      NOT. IN. MY. HOUSE! Not while we are two slobs.

      1. *Shudder*

        If she ever gets back into it, look into some of those lovely little paint-on metals instead.

        You can do even cooler stuff, unless your goal is something like “turn leaves into jewelry.”

        1. There were two problems with the jewelry;

          1) She tended to get involved in ‘isn’t this a neat technique’ rather than actually using her artistic vision to make something that only she could do


          2) Her breathing problems got to the point that even with the good, expensive dust masks, she was clearly killing herself every time she polished anything.

          1. My husband is the first one of those, so much! He loves the *tools* and learning about things. Making things? Not so much. So I have had to come to a place of peace and acceptance that he actually IS getting what he most enjoys from his hobbies, even if I never get pretty creations out of his hobby. *shrug* It’s his hobby so what he enjoys about it is the most important part.

  10. How well does this Killz stuff work? We have to move into Mom’s place which has been abused by cats for decades and we don’t want our cats to pick up the bad habit. We know we’ll need a professional for the floors, but will the Killz leave zero odor, even to cats?

    1. Pretty well. Do two coats, then paint over it.
      On floors, we removed carpet, killzed the floor and are now putting up wood with two coats of polyurethane. Because geriatric cats always go wherever, and our youngest is 9.

      1. We’re getting the floor done professionally, because only pros should try to deodorize wood floors that have been soaked for 50 years 0_o. What type of walls do you have? Do you or others think we would need both the two layers AND the kennel stuff if they’re old fashioned plaster walls? The most important thing is our boys not spraying.

      2. No cats in the household, so I don’t know. Would pee enzyme help before using Kilz?

        We’ve had luck with the occasional dog pee accidents (Our older dog is 14, and pees in her crate at night and does her best elsewhere, but things can happen. Rarely, so far.)

      3. I wonder if they have an Australian equivalent to this stuff. Apparently the house we’re in was a Crazy Cat Lady house, and … *sigh* It’s a rental and there isn’t much we can do until we move again, but … just in case. For the future.

    2. When we pulled the carpet out of our living room it involved pulling out and replacing the sub-floor. We had young adult offspring to do the destruction parts. Putting the new sub-floor down was actually not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

    3. A good step between washing and the Killz is to wash / rinse with KOE Kennel Odor Eliminator, available from the maker, or from some vets and commercial cleaning supply places. It is like Febreez for urine odors, and our cats have not fouled the treated areas.
      Good luck with your cleaning.
      We are in the middle of renovating a rent house we bought 3 weeks ago, while cleaning and packing our house to sell, as we are planning to move onto a boat on the east coast of Florida 3 months ago.
      JPDev John Sage

      1. We use a product called “Out!”, found at the pet store. Works well on freshly found dog pee. Can’t evaluate cat pee; $SPOUSE is allergic and the dogs hate the (feral) cats who eat our mice, so I tell them to deal.

  11. I’ve been cleaning at work, reorganizing file stacks and generally grouching about random boxes of random crap from 10 years ago that just got shoved onto a shelf. It’s really rather funny because I have a reputation at work for being organized. I’m not. I suck at it so badly. But I also have a very high level of frustration every time I have to search the entire building because no one has any notion where anything is (usually in three different places as the “old” stuff gets shoved “there” and the “new” stuff filed “here” for convenience, and then the new old stuff and the new new stuff get the same treatment.) It’s taken me several years to figure out what most of it even is, so at least I can now say “Ah Hah! I know what this is! I can put it with the other stuff!”

    But my office is only normally cluttered with no more than a couple “to do” piles, not disorganized. I couldn’t work if it was a mess. So why, really WHY, would I figure that I could work at home in my “home office” without putting it in order?

  12. I have spent 65 years collecting MY STUFF. I Bought it or found it and it is MINE! I may never USE it, I don’t plan to sell it. But I WANT IT!
    Never having a Wife (I bet you didn’t guess THAT), I only have to please myself. So I DO plan on getting everything in it’s place but first I need to prepare that Place. I WILL do it. Sometime.

    1. My problem is that most of this is stuff I NEED to use rapidly, like books or spices. IF I can’t find it, I waste money buying more of it, etc. So, organized it gets.

          1. Where’s $THING?

            ::looks everywhere, can’t find $THING::

            ::goes and buys new $THING::

            You know what, $PLACE would be perfect for $THING.

            ::goes to $PLACE::

            Oh, there’s $OLDTHING.

      1. I realized how bad that had gotten for us when we moved recently. The lost money is irritating, but the real problem is things like our pantry filling up with 12 containers of cornstarch because we need some and can’t find any of the previous 11.

      2. May I respectfully suggest The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up? It really improved my life. And being manga, it’s a pretty quick read, no real investment. You can always go to the original book if you like the manga and want more, as I did.

  13. . I’ve been caught up in a cycle of cleaning/repairing and doing home improvement projects. It started with …That was a day … The pantry … I just HAD to organize it. That took an entire day. Then there was…

    *snickers* Sounds like me when I have HAD ENOUGH of this JUNK I cannot control, so by goodness these things that I can actually take control of WILL BE CONTROLLED.

    There is a great satisfaction in getting something fixed, even if it hurt getting there and you’re not sure it was the right investment of time.

    *holds up thumb* Like the weeding I did.
    I even wore leather gloves, but the goatheads and this grass that is like mutant goatheads got me anyways. I thought I’d cracked my thumb-bone or something…no, had an inch long sliver that had the pointy end hitting bone.
    Which I figured out when I was putting two dozen moss roses into the front rock patch before the rain REALLY started coming down. Then I spent the next hour clipping skin off until I could actually see the puss-pocket around the dang sliver.
    But interspaced with digging similar slivers out of the kids’ feet, because “DO NOT GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SHOES” means “wear the shoes out the door, then ditch them.”

  14. I’ve got a whole list of projects too but at 71 they aren’t going to get done in a sudden frenzy. Have at it. Will engage with you when this is past.

    1. A person has to look at the bright (purple) sides of things. She could be like me and never change or fix anything because it’s easier to just pretend that it’s not there by not looking at it. But since she decorates, it’s entirely possible that she’ll paint it again someday, some other color. Particularly if you remember to say nice things like, “I really like how you’re always fixing or changing things to keep the house looking so fresh.”

      1. RCMom loves pink, so whenever her bathroom got redone, pink it was. OTOH, one replaced black tile. In a shower/bath. Not sure which was worse.

        On the gripping hand, I looked at old pics of the bathroom I redid in 1982. That tile pattern didn’t age well. Oops.

        1. Our house has an upper level that I think is a Mother-In-Law cottage, but placed on top of the rest of the house as a huge bedroom with a master bath, and then a smaller bedroom across the hall.

          Definitely mother in law, NOT in-law.

          Rose (with an accent) pink carpet. Coral pink tinted walls (they repainted before selling, thank goodness, but you can find spots they missed.) Mottled rose pink bathroom tiles, the sink is shot through with dusty pink. A sort of light puce for all the doors and frames. (they used it down stairs, too, I don’t get it)

        2. Black was definitely worse, if only because the albedo of pink is so much higher that it takes it a lot easier to see in the bathroom without putting in Super High Power lights.

  15. *looks at four boxes of woolens* Yep. Tomorrow and Sunday are “switch out summer work and fancy for winter work and fancy.” Which also involves “this can go away, this needs to be mended, I thought that had gone away, what [rude word] idiot labeled this as a size [larger than the actual fit]” interspersed around grading papers. And the cat will hide from the mess.

  16. I’m in rather the same boat. Termite damage (exterminator looked at it, wants $1400…then I get to pay to fix it). Plus some plumbing that needs to be fixed. I’m not a happy homeowner at the moment.

  17. Fatigue and inability to function definitely sucks. I unfortunately have to deal with similar issues (different cause-Multiple Sclerosis), and I hope things get better for you Sarah on the health front.

  18. I have been, ever so slowly it feels, “committing a neatness” (one of the better M*A*S*H lines). Things are progressing, but I suspect I won’t be truly happy with even one room (not counting bathrooms – those get High Priority on the “Must Not Scare Wakko Warner”* scale) until Spring.

  19. That’s great news! Glad to hear you’re getting organized! I cannot imagine what you’ve had to go through…

  20. Over the years I have read a book-case full of organizing books. There have been only two really useful ideas that have made sense.
    (1) shoot the spouse, kids, and pets (obviously a non-starter);
    (2) if you don’t have a place for everything yet, at least don’t put it in the WRONG place (no tools in the Kitchen; no clothes in the Office; no toys in the Front Parlour; and on down to the micro-storage level as far as can be done).
    It endures that there are places that you don’t have to look in for some missing item.
    Now all I have to do is implement the Plan more rigourously, and put things away after they’ve been out of place more than 2 weeks.

    (Now in month 3 of a 2 week-end bedroom renovation; who knew it took so long to paint when you only could work on it for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week?)

    1. A third useful idea is: Cleaning can be a process, as well as an event. If you do a little every day, then the huge cleaning events are a lot smaller and faster. So taking the five minutes of downtime to put away three things, and the “I’m headed to that room, so I’ll just pick up and carry $Thing that needs to go there on the way” as a habit will allow a lot of micro-cleaning to sneak in without having to be something you really stop and take time for.

      I often get a counter wiped down, or a couple things on the kitchen counters put away, while waiting for the microwave to finish or the tea kettle to boil. I’m there, I have the time, and it keeps me from staring at something that won’t move any faster!

      …sadly, this still doesn’t help me get the big stuff like mopping done.

      1. Aye, this I need to get into the habit of doing. The ongoing project is “Committing a neatness” and it’s going to be weeks – but the couple hours today did make some progress (years worth of accumulation… some is trash, some is not — and I’m not always the one who can tell which). A thing here, a thing there in DE-accumulation would have served well.

    2. We’ve got tubs inside of the garage, and at the top of the stairs, and the bottom of the stairs.
      If you know it goes up, down, or in the garage, but you don’t have time, drop it in the box.

  21. “no asthmatic — even if it’s been in remission — should live in a house with carpet floors.”

    Wood floors are good for more folks than just asthmatics. Here in South Texas the air fills with allergens (oak and juniper) in several annual waves. We replaced ALL the wall-to-wall carpet two years back with hardwood, and our allergy problems all but vanished. A side benefit was the prep: several thousand books, stacks of old magazines, and crate after crate of files had to be removed to provide access. The keepers were boxed and palleted under cover, but half the stuff went straight to the dumpster. Obviously, putting the stuff back was only half as much work! Net result was organized paperwork, more room (some empty shelf space!!), and all those books alphabetized for the first time this century.

    This year I’m still recuperating from another bout of The Organizations. My tiny garage workshop had metastasized into a Black Hole Junkroom; I put stuff in, but could never find anything to take it back out. Stuck with The Urge and a vision, I spent about 40 hours and $50 to build shelves and work benches from recycled material. The result is a for-real workshop with room to walk around, do some real work, and find stuff fast.

    Best of all, now that I don’t have junk and clutter in my face every day, I have fewer distractions and more time for my (paid) teaching and writing. So go for it, Sarah!

  22. Mom is a bit of a packrat and horder (nothing like her sister, but there’s collections here of stuff). Every once in a while, the moon comes out, the hair grows, and the house gets a massive cleaning and purge and other work done.

    I know that when we had to paint and clean my sister’s room (stomach issues that stuck her in the hospital for a week), that triggered the last bout of major cleaning. I went through my room as well, and did a massive purge of stuff that probably gave me about an additional four square feet in my bedroom.

    And, the difference in my sister’s room after the massive cleaning and painting is astonishing. We got her TV up on a stand on the wall, purged about three large trash bags worth of old clothing, reorganized her closet (I wish we had time and opportunity to clean it completely out and paint in there as well, oh well), and probably killed dust bunnies that were developing language skills. It smells a lot better as well, no faint odors left over as we vacuumed and washed the carpet.

    Oh, and the purge of old books and DVDs gave me about…$30 at Half Price Books for when I hit conventions last time.

    Massive cleanings like that, if you plan them right, are great for getting yourself back on track. I know that when I cleaned out my storage locker and organized everything, I was able to get rid of a lot of crap that had followed me at least one move. It made space in my life to do other things.

    1. Lets see.

      Dad’s mother passes away ’87. Everyone converges to clean out house. Most stuff went to charity, except a few things. We pulled stashed fabric from actual swatches, through old clothing. Depression marriage. Even tho they had the homestead properties to rent & she was married to a working engineer, their blankets were what is called “patch quilts”. She continued to make them until the year she died. She also made afghans. She had fabric & yarn …. EVERYWHERE.

      Everyone went home & did decluttering … That’s 12 families, kids & married grandkids …

      FIL passes away, ’89. Spent the summer helping MIL (well with a newborn, just along for the ride) cleaning out his & her stuff (she sold house & had to be out in 30 days) because she was moving into semi-assisted living apartment. Better quality of stuff, but same concept. Only they had backups for their backups.

      Everyone went home & did decluttering … Only 4 families, because the grandkids still minors.

      My grandparents pass away ’07. Everyone converges to clean out their relatively small house … these were the hoarders (we were told they were amateurs … but OMG!), in an non-insulated home, filled with dead mice, rats, & snakes; under heavy furniture …

      Everyone went home and aggressively decluttered. This time 8 families, kids, & married grandkids & great-grandkids (first great-great-grandchild had been born 12 weeks before).

      So, by my count we’ve been through 5 declutterings counting the 2 moves after we started accumulating “stuff”. Everything is organized to specific locations both in the house, garage, & shed. Hubby wants to put in another shed for just camping gear to get it out of the garage. If he insulates it properly we can get the gear out of the utility room (specialized cabinets I can claim for other stuff, now stored in shelves in spare room) & utility closet. Then I can put a bed in the spare room …

  23. our house in CA got far away from us,,, my cat was congested and wheezing… she got better within three days of leaving, even tho she was cooped up in the car all day

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