Category Archives: housekeeping



I spent a good portion of last weekend cleaning my house. It needed to be done, and it always feels great having order restored, however temporary that order may be. But, when I found myself house-bound with a sick child both Monday and Tuesday, I was sort of at a loss for what to do. I could have folded the three loads of laundry that are sitting in a basket on my couch, but for whatever reason, I just can’t quite bring myself to deal with that. I did my normal avoidance routine, consisting of screwing around online, and binge watching yet another show (Mom this time, on Hulu- if you haven’t watched it, check it out. It’s pretty hilarious.). Eventually, though, I had to do something else, something productive, and I knew it was time. Time to deal with The Closet.

The Closet is in the hall, four doors, two on the bottom, two on the top, and I have been avoiding it for three years. Well, three years in March. That’s when I moved into this house, and that’s when I shoved The Closet full of bags and boxes of paperwork and keepsakes and God only knows what else, and left it to rot. I was still getting loaded when I moved into this place, and to be honest, I’ve been a little afraid of what I might find if I went poking around in there.

But on Monday, I put my big girl pants on and started digging- one bag and box at a time. There was a lot of junk, sure…things I should have thrown out eons ago. Printer cartridges for printers I don’t own anymore, file folders full of bills that no longer exist, insurance information for cars I no longer own. I filled up my recycle bin in the space of a few hours. I didn’t find anything to be ashamed of, though, and certainly nothing that put my recovery in danger. So that was a relief.

And then…and then I found some other stuff. I’ve kept boxes for each of my children- those fancy, pretty banker boxes- not the plain brown kind, but the ones you can buy at Marshall’s or Target with the beautiful designs on them? I’ve kept them for my kids and for myself for quite some time. I never really thought about how long I’ve kept them, and I don’t know if I’ve every thoroughly, soberly, gone through them since I started, but…I’m really glad I did.

Although I am working hard on my opinion of myself as a mother today, in the present, my opinion of the kind of mother I have been in the past has become rather concrete. I was a horrible mother, I decided, with no redeemable qualities, and my daughter would have been better off with anyone else. I was heartless and unloving and drug addicted, and I can rarely think of a time when I didn’t suck, heartily, at the task of parenting my eldest child. But her box of mementos tells a different story. I have every art project, every note to Santa and the Tooth Fairy, every report card and hand-made note she ever made for me- so many that I might need a bigger box. This “horrible mother” wrote things my daughter said to me on sticky notes and kept them, all these years. There are pictures of us that I had forgotten about, and we are laughing and playing, and clinging onto one another with love. My mind, my awful, lying mind told me a story and I believed it, and I have carried it around with me for all these years, without question. The things in this box tells me that maybe there is more to that story, more that I need to remember.

In my own box, I found cards and letters- real, hand written letters- from people whom I love, and who love ME. Letters from my best friend Grace, and letters and cards from my grandparents and mom, and a whole bunch of letters from Joe, my friend who died in August. You can’t imagine, you really can’t begin to imagine, how much that meant to me. Reading through all of those words from people who cared so much about me, not just when I was clean, but throughout the worst parts of my life, reminded me that I still had value, I was still worth so much, even when I believed myself to be worthless. I may not have been well, but I was loved, and I was worth something to all these people.

It blows my mind that living the crazy, chaotic life that I lived for so long, having lost nearly everything I owned on more occasions than I can remember, I managed to save these amazing items. I lost households of furniture and closets of clothes, but I have the discharge papers from my daughter’s birth in 1997, and all the cards from the people who visited me at the hospital. I lost everything, except the most important things of all- the slips of paper, the glossy cards, the letters that could fill in for me the memories I lost along the way. The story of a girl who wasn’t all dark, who always had a little light, a little more worth, than I could have remembered on my own.

The Closet is nearly done now- just one more shelf to go, and it will be neat as a pin. I put those boxes away after shedding a few tears, and I sat down on the couch full of wonder and feeling so much lighter. I am not exactly who I thought I was, and for once, I was so glad to be wrong…and anytime I start to forget, or start listening to the lying voice in my head, I know I can just pull one of those boxes down out of that closet, and find all the evidence I need that I’m not all bad. That there was something worth saving in me all along.


15 Minutes, 3 Things



I am giving myself 15 minutes to complete this blog, starting right…now!


I just wanted to share three things I have done this week so far that have made me feel pretty great:

1.) I finally went online and cancelled all fifty thousand of my magazine subscriptions. I am not kidding you, no matter how many piles I give away, throw out, donate, and sadly, save “for later” (I WISH I had time to sit and read even one of them), I always have piles of them cluttering up my life. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t remember ordering any of them (this means nothing. I have been known to do strange things online when it’s early in the morning, like subscribe to fifteen magazines) and I never recalled paying for any of them, yet still they arrived. Apparently, it was some sort of free gift (from hell) for something else I don’t remember signing up for, according to the website associated with my (Many) account numbers. It took me five minutes to put an end to the madness. Five minutes I could have spent a year ago, and saved a few trees. Sigh. Progress, not perfection, right?

2.) What the hell was number two again? Dammit, the clock is ticking over here…Oh YEAH! I cleaned out my email inbox. I had it all squared away a few months ago, but it got out of hand again- I think I was up around the 4000 mark. Yuck. I realized today that my Yahoo inbox is basically one big spam holder. All my good stuff is over at Gmail. On the upside, Yahoo FINALLY made it easier to delete emails, so that was great! I have only 11 left in there, and it took me maybe 15 minutes.

3.) Last but not least, I took my awesome dog, Lucy, for a walk in the rain today. I didn’t want to go, but Lucy reminded me that I was neither the Wicked Witch of the West, nor made of chalk, and that I probably wouldn’t dissolve if I ventured outside. It was awesome! It wasn’t pouring, just falling down gently, and the air smelled of the rain, and  saltwater from the ocean, and wood smoke from peoples chimneys. I felt like a new person by the time I got home.

Today has been LONG, but this blog sure isn’t. I’m out! I’ll be back tomorrow with something a little longer. I made it with 4 minutes and 40 seconds to spare!

Cleaning House. I mean, Literally.


I spent a good portion of my day, yesterday, in my pajamas, on the couch, snoozing. Before that, I spent a good chunk of time back in bed, snoozing some more (and watching TV). Before that, a good friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in years came by, and we drank coffee and chain smoked on the front step, which is also really bad- the chain smoking, not the coffee. (Don’t you dare judge me, quitting smoking is the hardest, most unpleasant thing I have ever tried quitting. And trust me, I have quit a lot of stuff. Baby steps, man.)

At around two o’clock yesterday afternoon, I was so disgusted with my pajama clad body, horizontally sprawled on various cushioned surfaces, blearily staring at the tv, or the insides of my eyelids. I was so filled with self loathing at my sweaty self just left moldering in the nastiness of my filthy, garbage filled home…I just didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew what I SHOULD do, but what I didn’t know was how to get myself upright, and actually DO it. I had no energy. I felt angry, disgusted, and frustrated with myself.

Well, I figured out the “BIG SECRET”. It’s pretty simple, actually, though harder than it sounds. Are you ready for me to lay it on you?  Okay, here goes: You simply get the fuck up, and do what you need to do. That is it. Like the Nike slogan from years gone by- JUST DO IT. Just get up off your lazy ass, and start handling your business. Isn’t there some law of physics that says “A body at rest tends to stay at rest unless someone forces it to move it’s slovenly self?” Well, here’s the bad news- it has to be you, the operator of this big machine of skin and bone, that does the forcing. I mean, unless you are independently wealthy, in which case, you can just call Molly Maids, or whatever, and have them come do it for you. If that is the case, I don’t know why you are up so early, reading my blog. I would suggest you go back to bed until it’s time for your pedicure and massage, princess.

Seriously. though, it took me four hours- it could have taken me a lot less time, had I cut corners like I normally do. Doing a half ass job takes half as much time, of course, but the end result sure isn’t as satisfying. I let no dishes “soak” this time, I washed them, dried them, and put (most) of them away. I removed all my “neatly stacked” piles of mail that I am still so resistant to opening- ( hey, I am a work in progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day). I actually did a very good job.

It made me grouchy, for a little while- the first hour was hard, and I did it grudgingly, even with the awesome music blaring from my stereo. The second and third hour, I was just in numbed out cleaning mode. The final hour, I was pretty tired, but I could see the results of my hard work, and it kept me pushing through. I will confess to you right now that the bathroom did not get finished, but the truth is, I wasn’t going to do it at all until I saw how filthy the tub I was about to put my kid in was. So I went ahead and washed out the tub and the sink, while I was at it. And also, the top of my dresser in my bedroom did get overlooked. I will try to get to that today.

However, even with those two little things, I woke up this morning and was treated to the sight and feel of walking through a clean, clear, organized home. I go back to work today after a pretty long stretch of time off, and it feels good to have given myself this gift- a clean home to wake up in and start my day, and a clean home to come back to tonight. As much as I didn’t want to start on it yesterday, I was so glad I made myself do it last night, and I am even more grateful this morning.

So, there you have it- the secret to cleaning your home when you are a lazy, lazy woman. Go spread the word, lazy brethren and sistren (is there no female equivalent for brethren?!) . Go share it with the masses. I mean, if you can get up off the couch, that it. Hahaha!

Have a reasonable Monday (it should help that Monday is happening on a Tuesday this week. There is always that. 🙂 )