Thursday, April 29, 2010

BabyStep 6: Hot Spots!

Believe it or not, I was mildly productive today.  When I got home from work I allowed myself a late lunch and an hour nap to help get rid of the headache from Hades, but after that I actually got a few things done. 

I put a few dishes in the dishwasher and ran it; started a load of laundry (that reminds me, I need to go switch it over to the dryer- OK, done.); and tackled today's BabyStep 6:  Hot Spots.

FlyLady's definition of a Hot Spot is an area that will take over the house if not dealt with on a constant basis.  She uses the analogy of a forest fire that if not put out right away, will burn up an entire forest.  The same idea happens in our homes; these small areas can expand to take over an entire room making it look unsightly.

With this description in mind, I set out to identify some hot spots in my home.  It didn't take me long to find them, either.

Exhibit A:

My end table.  I am a big pop drinker, but not so big on putting the empty cans in the recycle bin in a timely manner.  Also pictured is the empty bowl of what had been Ramen Noodles (yum!) from my late lunch, a box of cookies that has been sitting there for about 2 days, a can of cat treats, and some manicure supplies that have been there at least 2 weeks.  Oy.

Exhibit B:

The dishwasher.  In this apartment the dishwasher is freestanding and must be rolled over and hooked up to the kitchen sink to run.  Doing so blocks the entry into the bathroom, so the rest of the time it gets put in the only corner large enough on the other end of the kitchen.  It also happens to make a convenient dumping ground for stuff when my roommate and I come home.  Pictured here are my purse and his backpack, my pop can (been there for at least 2 days...), my iPhone, my cigarettes (Yes, I am a smoker.  Don't judge me!), a dust rag, and a battery charger.  Ugh. 

The assignment was to set a timer for 2 minutes and start clearing a hot spot.  We didn't have to finish, just do whatever could be done in 2 minutes.  I chose my end table.  When the timer went off I wasn't quite done, but I finished it anyway because leaving it incomplete just seemed dumb and would have driven me nuts.  Here is the after pic:

All done!  The only thing sitting there is the pop I am currently drinking.  It looks sooo much better.  Incidentally, I cleared off the top of the dishwasher too.  I had to before I rolled it over to the sink, so I am counting this as extra credit.

I am so glad today's BabyStep actually involved some cleaning.  I was getting a little sick of the steps that left no visible progress in my home.  I'm sure my roommate appreciates it too.

I just hope I can stay motivated to finish my tasks for the night.  I will still have a load of laundry to put away, a dishwasher to empty, a litter box to scoop, and a sink to shine before I go to bed.  And my headache is coming back.  Waaaah.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BabyStep 5: The Voices In My Head

I should have written this post yesterday, but my blog had other ideas.  A friend of mine notified me that she was having trouble commenting on a post, so I looked into what that problem could be.  (Incidentally, this is the same friend who introduced me to FlyLady years ago.  Her name is Kat from The Burb Blog.  Like the shameless plug?)  It seems to have been a problem with the template I had been using, so I started tinkering around with the HTML code trying to figure it out.  This was a mistake.

Let's just say I couldn't find the source of the problem within the miles of nonsense code, and the more I tried to fix it, the worse the problem became.  I ended up spending 8 hours trying to get the blog back up and running using the original template, but finally I had to admit my defeat.  This wasn't a case of my perfectionism getting in the way- the blog really was unreadable.  I designed a new background to look like the old template and went back to using good ol' Blogger Minima, with some adjustments.

Anyway, yesterday's BabyStep 5 was as to write down what the "nagging negative voices" in my head were saying, then turn those words around and say something nice to myself.

Um, hello?  Does anyone else get the impression that FlyLady thinks we are nuts?  I think it's the phrase "voices in your head" that does it for me.  I mean sure, sometimes the voices in my head tell me to burn things, but that doesn't mean I'm crazy!  Does it? 

Shut up. 

No, you shut up!  

Just kidding.

I do wish she had been a little more specific in her instructions.  Am I supposed to focus on the negative things I think about myself pertaining to the FlyLady program?  Or negative things in general?  Am I putting too much thought into this?  Here goes:

The Voices In My Head Say:

1.  I'm lazy.  It doesn't take much effort to do the things that need to be done, and yet, I still don't do them.

2.  I'm not good enough, overall.

I think that pretty much covers it, especially #2.  Now to put a positive spin on these inner demons:

1.  I'm not really lazy (most of the time).  I just feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, resulting in nothing getting done.  (Can you tell I have done FlyLady before?)  The other times, when I really am being lazy, it's OK.  Nobody has to be on the ball at all times,  and no one is going to die if the laundry isn't put away RIGHT NOW.  Or tomorrow.  Or next week...

2.  Yeah, this one gives me some trouble.  This is an issue I deal with on a daily basis, and have for years.  I basically feel like in every instance of my life- my looks, my personality, my relationships, my work, etc., I could have always been better than I am.  I don't even feel that this is being too hard on myself, because as much as others tell me that I did fine, I KNOW in my core that I could have tried harder or done better, but I just didn't want to.  And this makes me feel like crap.  I don't even know exactly how to negate this as per FlyLady's instructions.  I guess I could do the whole self-help mantra of "You are perfect just the way you are", but I personally think that's a cop out.  I mean, it can't possibly be true.  Imagine Hitler telling himself this and accepting it as being true.  Those of us on the outside can clearly see that it is a bunch of crap!  Not that I'm comparing myself to a Nazi dictator, but I hope you get my point...

OK, I think I have had enough of this bloggy baring of the soul.  I  feel all squirmy and uncomfortable now.  Thanks Flylady.


Monday, April 26, 2010

BabyStep 4: Attack Of The Post-Its

As you may have noticed, I decided to use Post-It Notes as a design element for this FlyLady blog, and BabyStep 4 is a perfect example as to why. FlyLady is all about the Post-Its. Today I was instructed to write down everything I am already doing (shining the sink, getting dressed to shoes, and reading the FlyLady group messages on, and writing this all down on Post-Its which will hang above my kitchen sink and bathroom mirror. Ugh.

I can't even tell you how much I detest these Post-Its. I can remember the first time I tried FlyLady, how cute I thought they were. There they were, my little badges of honor hanging up for everyone to see, proof I was doing something to better myself. Then something shifted, and they started to annoy me.

For one thing, I think they look tacky. Nothing says class like yellow Post-Its hanging everywhere. Second, I got tired of explaining them to people.

"What's this note hanging above the sink?"

"Well, there is this lady called FlyLady, and she teaches you how to get rid of CHAOS by implementing a Control Journal and teaches you how to FLY."

"Say what now?"

But, for the sake of the project and this blog, I begrudgingly eagerly wrote out two new notes and attached them securely above the sink and bathroom mirror:

We'll just see how long they last there. I came across an iPhone app called Stick It, which is a handy (and cute!) little app that allows you to create digital sticky notes and place them as wallpaper on your iPhone.

I actually use the free version which limits the amount of available note designs and backgrounds, but it does the job and is great if you just want to try it out. My plan is to phase out the real Post-Its and just get my reminders from my Stick It app. And believe me, I look at my phone a lot more than I look at the sink or mirror.

And, for a little accountability, let's pan down from the first picture and check out how I'm doing with keeping my sink shiny:

Oh yeah, that's right, it's still looking good! We'll just see how long that lasts, too...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

BabyStep 3: Deja Vu

Day 3 of FlyLady's Beginner BabySteps is an easy one- doing what we have already done on days 1 and 2.  Either she thinks that practice will make perfect, or she is lulling us into a false sense of  security.  All I have to do is do what I have already done?  This is easy!  Heh heh, nice try FlyLady.  I know this is just the calm before the storm...

I will say that I did better with the getting dressed to lace up shoes thing this morning than I did yesterday.  It's my day off, so I didn't set an alarm, but as soon as I got up I started getting ready for the rest of the day instead of sitting around in my jammies.  The only glitch was that today I planned on making crock pot chili for dinner, which needed to be started right away or we were going to be mighty hungry come meal time!  I got dinner going, and then showered, dressed, brushed teeth,  applied my spackle makeup, etc. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to give a shout  out to my roommate.  On Day 1 I explained to him that in my previous FlyLady attempts I felt frustrated with the shiny sink rule.  I would do my darnedest to keep that thing clean, but with others living in the house it became nearly impossible unless they cooperated and did the same.  I can't tell you how many times I would walk into my kitchen and find a spotty sink with dirty dishes sitting in it.  And this made me maaaaaaad.   And it made me think "Why bother?!", which led me to giving up.  I know this is only Day 3, but so far my current roommate has been very helpful keeping the sink shiny.  In fact, every time he wipes it out, he shouts "I'm shining the siiiink!" across the apartment.  He thinks that his notification system will start to annoy me soon.  I told him it won't- it's music to my ears.

For those of you who may be interested, here is a link to the Crock Pot Chili I am making today.  When made exactly as the recipe is written, even I find it to be a little lacking in the spice department, and I'm not exactly what you would call a spice-lover.  To crank it up a notch I have been doubling the spices listed, adding 1 Tsp. of ground red pepper, and about 1/8 cup of Louisiana Hot Sauce.  This actually cranks it up a few notches, making it too spicy for me, but perfect for my 9-1-1 Hot Wings-ordering roommate.  I need to play with the measurements a little more to find a happy middle ground.  Oh, I normally make it with the ground beef as listed, but today we are trying it with some deer venison we had in the freezer:


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 2: Take 2

After my epic fail of BabyStep 2 yesterday, I decided to repeat the attempt today instead of moving on to the next step.  Today I slept in until 9:00, and managed to get myself dressed and ready to go before noon.  Not bad considering yesterday's attempt, but I could have done better.  I allowed myself a little computer time before I got moving, and I didn't exactly have a fire lit under my bum the as I was getting ready either.  Tomorrow I need to work a little harder on streamlining the process and not allowing myself to dilly dally. 

I broke a FlyLady rule and sneaked a peek at tomorrow's task, and it's basically practicing doing what we have already done.  This is good, because there is definitely room for improvement. 


Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 2: Epic Fail

OK, so today I was supposed to do Day 2 of FlyLady's BabySteps.  My instructions were to get dressed, fix my hair and makeup, etc.  as soon as I got out of bed.  This is supposed to help you be motivated to keep moving and get things done throughout the day. 

This sooooo did not happen!  As soon as I got up I began working on my new blog layout and header.  I don't have to work until 5:15 tonight, so it was really easy to just keep working away on the computer than to bother getting dressed.  And here I am, still working on the computer, in my bathrobe.  I really do need to go get dressed now, my real job will be starting soon.  I'll try again tomorrow.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 1: BabySteps

Well, I actually did it- I shined my sink.  For those of you not in the know, shining your sink is the first of FlyLady's Beginner Baby Steps to getting out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome).   I know, when trying to tackle a messy home, shining your sink is probably the last on most people's priority list.  Doing the dishes? Sure.  Eliminating mountains of laundry?  Of course!  Shining the sink so you can see your face in it?  Not so much.

Apparently, shining the sink was the first thing FlyLady did when she began her own climb from CHAOS, so she has enforced implemented this as the first step in her system.  Her explanation is that by shining our sinks, we will feel a sense of accomplishment and have a smile on our face.  It's her way of giving us a gift/hug/pat on the back, and letting us know she is very proud of us.
There you have it. For the third time in my life, I set forth to do as FlyLady commanded by shining my sink. Here is what the sink looked like before I began:

Not a pretty picture, is it? Next I looked up FlyLady's own Shiny Sink 101 instructions.  The first step was to take all the dishes out of the sink.  Not a problem:

Next you are supposed to fill up the sink with scalding hot water and bleach and let it soak for an hour. Now we have a problem. We don't have any bleach in the house. I searched through the cleaning cabinet, and pulled out some options:

I figured I could make up for the lack of real bleach by using the Clorox Clean-Up that contains bleach.  I used this first, mainly as a disinfectant.  (I assume that is the whole point of the original bleach-bath in the original instructions.)  Step 2- Done.

I rinsed the sink as instructed in Step 3, then moved on to scrubbing the sink with a cleanser.  For this I chose the Lysol 4in1 Bathroom Cleaner.  I rinsed again, then followed up with my beloved Mr.Clean Magic Eraser for good measure.  I even got out a knife and scraped away the grime caught around the sink edge.

Last but not least, I finished the job off by wiping the whole sink down with Windex.  The hard part done, I leaned forward, peered into my sink to revel in seeing my reflection in it's shiny surface and saw... a sink.

What a let down! Sure, the sink is clean, but shiny? No.  Did I do something wrong?  Did I just not try hard enough?  Is the bleach-bath really that important? I don't think so.  In my two previous FlyLady attempts I followed the instructions to the letter, and honestly, the results were about the same.  I don't think it's for lack of trying either.  I just don't honestly believe it is possible to make an old sink look brand-new again, no matter how much elbow-grease you use.   (FlyLady has an answer to this too- you can try using car wax, lemon oil, or olive oil to spruce it up.  Of which I also have none in the house.)  I could also use an SOS pad to buff the finish since it's a stainless steel sink, but (once again) I don't have one, and I have done this before and (once again) the result really didn't differ. 

Sigh.  I guess I won't be beaming from ear to ear when I look at my reflection in my sink in the morning. Though, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that my sink is clean enough to perform surgery in.  I'm giving myself an A for effort, but only a C+ for the final result.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I will not begin this blog by singing the praises of the housekeeping guru that is FlyLady, nor will I go into much detail about who/what she is.  If you stumbled upon this blog though a search engine, chances are you already know these things.  Instead, I will tell my story regarding FlyLady, and how it has affected me.  The good, and the bad.

My experience with FlyLady began about 2 years ago, maybe even three.  I believe I heard about her from a friend, but it's been so long I'm not even sure about that.  What I am sure of, is that like everything else that is new and interesting to me, I dove in head first with a vengeance.  I have a tendency to go overboard with such interests- I obsess over them, really, and FlyLady was no different.  I had the control journal, the feather duster, the car duster, the cling, the car magnet, the water bottle, and the book.  Heck, I even had have the licence plate frame.  I lived FlyLady, I breathed FlyLady, I preached FlyLady.  And (as I always do), I burned out.

I gave it another go sometime in the next year, but it was only a half-hearted attempt.  Even though my home was cleaner than it had ever been while on the program, there was just something about it that kept me from sticking with it long-term.  Or maybe the problem was (gulp)- me.  I really don't know, but it is one of the questions that will be pondered more in depth later in this blog. 

So, my mission is this:  To once again begin baby-stepping my way through the FlyLady program and record my progress/failures here.  And I fully expect to fail.  Maybe the third time will be the charm, but I doubt it.  After all, I am a two-time FlyLady Flunky.  I will start Day 1 (shine the sink) tomorrow.  Maybe...