Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 4: Office and Foyer

I was going to say that this is another week of having crashed and burned, but then I thought of the story about falling and getting up again:
Another brother asked Abba Sisoes, 'I have fallen, Abba; what shall I do?' The old main said to him, 'Get up again.' The brother said, 'I have gotten up again, but again have I fallen.' The old man said, 'Get up again and again.' So the brother asked, 'How many times?' The old man replied, 'Until you are taken up either in virtue or in sin. For a man presents himself to judgment in that state in which he is found.'
 Or, what I wasn't think of but found first:
Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times'—that is, repeatedly throughout his life—'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16]. —John of Karpathos
So I have not so much as filed a single paper this week; in fact, I've added to the in-piles... in how many they are as well as how high they are.

I haven't put pictures on the USB sticks my mother sent me (to send back to her) ... more than a year's worth since I've printed any pictures for her or for me (or at all).

We had to do the tax preparation two weeks ago, so that doesn't really count, even though I put it specifically on the list for this week.

I did contact the post office about the lost boxes of books, and basically nothing can be done.  (My mother asked me to follow up.)

I did manage to get clothing for Pascha and Holy Week ... if not everything I'd wanted to get, at least something possible for myself and the children.  Evidently TG likes vests and ties ... and barrettes.  How come the child I decide to put barrettes on pulls them out and the child I don't think to put barrettes on asks for them?  (Oh, well, at least her hair is growing longer so I can sometimes tuck it behind her ear.)

I figured out what kind of basket to get for TG (red, wheeled, saying "Radio Flyer" on the side, which I haven't gotten yet), and have some LMcQ pool slippers to put in it.  I even found a fun little egg-related craft to surprise my husband with via Pinterest.  No clue what to do about Paschal candles ... again.

What else has happened?  I've aged a year (25 now).

I've still not gotten the NSP newsletter out.  Although it was drafted by the 16th, it's been in the proofreading-and-approval state (and still is), so nothing has been printed, and it's supposed to be received before Pascha.

On Saturday, TG did an amazing job at our Irish dancing performance, dancing better than he's ever done, even though there were people looking at him.

I learned of the cancer and death of my friend's mother, all in one week.  I am grateful that my friend was able to travel from Niger to be with her family before her mother passed away, but hurt and angry at the death of this beautiful lady, who has epitomized and imaged what motherhood is for me from my childhood. Please pray for the repose of the servant of God, Anne.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 3: Living Room and Sunroom

Haha.  So my specific goals for last week included:

  • sorting books
  • clearing husband's desk
  • donate some lamps 
I sorted through the children's books and culled a few (maybe 20?).  Our parish has a lovely lady who wants us  (as a parish) to be more involved in the community, so she organized a clothing drive and bake-off this past Saturday and Sunday.  I'd told her earlier that I was going to participate in a consignment event with the kids' clothing, and she told me that I should just donate the clothes to the clothing drive.

So I did get an entire trunkful of clothes out of the house, and that's without going through the adult clothes in drawers or any of Teddy's things.  So I have lots and lots of space in our closet (and fewer back-up plans, since I got rid of clothes that fit but I didn't actually like), but that means that I have to actually go and buy something to wear for Pascha, for me as well as for the kidlets.  And there aren't clothes scattered all over LC's floor!  Okay, there are, but those are only socks, shoes, hats, and other accessory-like things, because she took them out of the bag and ... decorated.  Everything else is sorted by size and in bins (too large and too small) and drawers (hooray! clothes that fit her and are seasonal are accessible!)

Today we had a clergy guest, so I basically just grabbed things all over the living room and put them in a couple of bags.  The floor is dirty, but all the things are encapsulated.  Now I just have to sort through them and put them away.  (And I found a box where I'd done that ... a few months ago.)  Oh, and we removed a piece of furniture which used to hold our TV.  (I think it was originally intended to hold a record player and records.)  So now we have to figure out how to get that thing out of the garage (even more in the way than it was in the living room, but we don't have to look at it as much) and over to Goodwill.  I feel really good about the living room.

This past weekend, our air conditioner went out, a little before close of business on Friday, of course.  We did what we could by cooling the house, opening things at night and going out during the late afternoon.  This morning we found out that the coolant is much too low, and a preliminary leak-check didn't provide any information.  *sigh*  We put in a new air conditioner when we moved here.

The NSP newsletter, hopefully my last, is in the proofing stage.  I helped finish folding and stickering the parish newsletter this noon, and I'm hoping that one of the ladies from the mailing committee will help me fold my newsletter, too.  Ancient Faith Radio still has a couple of podcasts that I've been assigned to transcribe, so I'm hoping to squeeze in even a few minutes a day.  I kinda wish I could transcribe all day, but part of the unwritten "lenten cleaning plan" is to be more attentive to the children.

This coming week is an assorted assignment: desk and office kinds of things (send pictures to my mother, make sure I'm registered to vote), the foyer area, and getting clothes and things for Pascha.  And I might try to make a non-dairy cheesecake for my birthday on Wednesday to share after Presanctified.  Or I might chicken out and go with banana bread again.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 2: Master Bedroom

Well, this past week was mostly a failure.  There was a lot going on with deadlines and services and ubiquitous children.  (I thought there were only two, but how can they be everywhere?)

Nonetheless, I did work on a project that I hadn't started, but meant to, for several years: looking at the 8mm tapes with my father's video camera.  The unlabeled tapes, which might or might not have footage of our wedding.  There were several things in the duffle bag besides the camera and the five 8mm tapes: a wedding favor and program, a sock, camera stuff, three tapes that don't go with this camera (smaller than 8mm: one is an Irish session and the others haven't been opened yet).

One of the tapes was labeled, and has my grandmother talking about some genealogy and family stories.

One of the tapes has some Houston rodeo footage.

One of the tapes has footage of my father going through the house to catalogue things like books and music ... and lots of boxes.  There's even proof of the "great deal" on a cello he bought (broken, and nobody we knew knew how to play).

One of the tapes has my nephew in an elementary-school concert involving recorders.

And one of the tapes has the last part of my wedding reception, the part where my godbrother walked around asking for "advice for the bride and groom."  Some people refused to give advice.  Some people gave advice: "He's always wrong" or "She's always right" (funny, because it's really "He's always right, but it's still his fault" in our house).  Some people gave advice: "Don't take any wooden nickles."

And then my best friend from childhood (now in Niger) walked up to the cameraman and told him to just get footage of people, of the guestbook, of the children running around happily.  After she'd collected her thoughts, she told him she was ready to say something to the camera, and gave a beautiful discourse on how love in marriage should be based on forgiveness.

So even though I didn't get much more done than keeping the bathroom and laundry room mostly clean and attempting to stay on top of the laundry, I did manage to unearth a seven-and-a-half-year-old treasure.

My mother says she probably threw out all the other unlabeled 8mm tapes, and the man who had professionally videotaped our wedding (for free; nephew of the priest) hadn't given us more than a now-broken link to the first half.  What I wish is that I had my father's speech at the beginning of the reception, the one that made me cry so much I couldn't hear most of what he was saying.

I'm trying to let go of these might-have-beens.  I know what he was saying.  I know what his fingers said on his deathbed: I love you.  I just have to remember that I don't need all this junk to tell me that.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 1: Bathrooms

In my Lenten cleaning schedule (almost completely copied from here, with a few alterations), the first week was bathrooms.  And then I realized that the linen closet and the laundry room sort of fit in with the things that were already in the bathrooms and the things that needed to be taken out of the bathrooms.  Either that, or I got carried away and the laundry room was really bothering me.

So did I "clean"?  Haha.  Well, a little.  But there were a lot of other things to take care of first.  I'm sorry if you think less of me for revealing these, but I'm proud of myself for finally doing them.

  • Disposed of expired medicine (as far back as 1998) which had been waiting around for disposal for several months in a closed plastic tub in our bathroom
  • Had my husband rinse the baptismal cloths which had been waiting around in a box for several months on top of the washing machine ... and the towels I'd lent for a young man's baptism last Sunday (he'd said he'd do it after LC's baptism last June, so I left them there for him...
  • Folded and put away three laundry baskets of clothing and towels (and then kept up with the laundry for the week, mostly)
  • Moved the drying racks into the sunroom because the master bath is so much friendlier without them that it makes my husband happy enough to remark on it
    • Started calling the erstwhile "Florida room" the sunroom because it sounds grand and I'm continuing copying Mat. Emily
  • Emptied the canister for both vacuums and washed the filter for the older which didn't work as well
    • This was The First Time the filter had been washed in the older vacuum which my husband had had since before our marriage 7-1/2 years ago.
    • The older vacuum still didn't work all that well, so my husband was involved later in the week and pulled out a plastic bag.  Voila!  Two working vacuums!  And neither smells that horrible old-dog smell!
  • Reorganized the laundry room (hey! there's the top of a washing machine in there! I can open the door all the way! TG has a place to put on his shoes without tripping the rest of the family!)
  • Took care (with husband) of two issues on our home insurance
  • Remade all the soap slivers into a single bar of soap, with inspiration from a friend (and more specific details from the internet)
  • Ordered, from credit card rewards, a Home Depot gift card for future projects, including installing some "sink front trays" (which a childhood friend had done three years ago, and I haven't forgotten the facebook photo) as well as some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers which will help TG get his crayons back (requirement: remove drawings from wall and door, window, and TV)
  • Cleaned out pipe before the U-bend (which I couldn't remove to clean) in husband's bathroom sink so that it would drain better
    • Oh.  Gross.
  • Washed car seat covers and vacuumed car (and emptied the full vacuum canister again)
  • Cleaned most of the master bathroom (everything except the shower), including dusting and reorganizing the bookcase, and reorganizing the drawers and counter
  • Took "after" photos:

Things I didn't do but meant to:
  • Take "before" photos
  • Clean the shower in the master bath
  • Clean anything in the guest/children's bathroom
  • Cull the bath/beach toys and towels in the linen closet
We also made it to all of the church services for the past week.  My husband has upped the services schedule to once-a-day during Lent (slowly acclimating the parish, which didn't have Saturday night vespers before), and the first week of Lent has plenty services anyhow (even if we don't do the Great Canon).

On Saturday morning, there wasn't a chanter, so I stepped in.  LC was crawling on the solea and screamed when she reached a socket cover.  I was confused, but chalked it up to her being picked up by Mr. Spiro.  Then, later in the service, TG touched it and started crying.  Mr. Spiro told me that he'd gotten shocked by it, too.  Between responses, I said we should cover it, and prevented him from moving a metal (augh!) planter over it; he got the bishop's mat instead.

After service, my husband grounded himself and got pliers and pulled out the prong of the plug for the light of the chant stand which had been missing for months and was completing the circuit for the metal socket cover.  So I relaxed my guard.  And that was bad, because there was a votive candle under an icon, right at ground level.  And, of course, since it looked like a cup, LC tried to drink it.  Fortunately, she's not all that good at it, and only spilled hot wax all down her front and her bare foot (which we cooled with some frozen prosforon, which is what we had).

Nonetheless, when on Sunday morning I lost TG after the procession of the icons* and went from church to hall to church to hall to church, and found my (tall) husband who found him showing his icon (which I'd told him to take back to the chapel where we'd gotten it) to a lovely Romanian lady.

*Does everyone else automatically remember things that happen on a yearly basis?  We happened to have some paper icons in the diaper bag, but do other priests' wives need to be reminded of these things?  Other converts?  Or is it just me?  Holy Week is also a huge blank: I know lots of things happen, but can never remember, year to year, on what day.

Oh, and later he was attempting to run into the street when cars were leaving, so I was freaking out properly, but at the wrong time.  *sigh*

So, regarding this whole "Lenten cleaning" idea, I like that there's a definite ending point, in total and for each section.  I like that I'm allowing myself to step outside the "zone" and clean whatever I like (sometimes I avoid cleaning things that aren't in the "zone" even though they need to be done).  I also like that I have two presentable rooms in my house.  I'd just have to blindfold any guests for the rest of it.  Another thing that I liked was that I could tackle things partially: I had about a day and a half in which I did nothing at all, and for the past four days, I've read a book a day.

And, most importantly, I'm reconnecting with TG in our bedtime reading.  We cuddle and I linger and ask if he wants water or a song or just me.  I did this one night and focused on how much I love my little boy (which I've been having problems with), and the next day his behavior and my attitude were enormously improved.

This week will be the master bedroom, which will be interesting because it received the swimming things from the laundry room, a generous armful (or two) of books and magazines from the bathroom bookcase, and the "usual" mess, which includes old projects (seeing what's on my father's old video camera tapes, which may include our wedding which no one has seen yet), bad habits (I used to use drawers, but now clothes are just folded and piled up on a dresser or chest or suitcase), and good intentions (about a third of our closet is already-culled clothes which should be given away).