Monday, May 31, 2010

Holiday Housework

Since I was gone all of Saturday and most of Sunday I had some catching up to do.  I'm not saying the house went to pot while I was gone, but there were a few things that I had to do (like scooping the litter box) when I got home.  My roommate did a good job keeping things tidy as well as feeding my cats, for which I was appreciative.

I didn't have any Memorial Day plans, nor did I mind not having plans.  I actually could have gone somewhere today, but actually preferred staying home to get caught up.  I really didn't want to feel behind before the work week started.  I did my usual routine, plus did a couple extras that really needed doing but don't really fall into my WHB or Zone work.  One of these extras was turning this nasty window fan:

Into this:

The whole job took only about 1/2 an hour because my roommate actually -wait for it- OFFERED TO HELP!  Gasp!  A man offering to help clean!  Bring me my smelling salts, I think I shall faint!  I had been planning to wash the outer screen parts in the bathtub, but my roommate said he had a garden hose and would I rather do it that way?  I said yes, a hose would save me from having to clean the tub when I was done, and then he TOOK THE SCREENS OUTSIDE AND DID IT FOR ME!  I think I'm still in shock.


Friday, May 28, 2010

End Of Week Wrap-Up and Surprise Comments!

No BabyStep tonight (I know, you were sooo looking forward to it.  I'm sorry.), but I did want to do a quick end of week wrap-up before I head over to my parents' house tomorrow morning.  It's not for anything fun, like Memorial Day festivities.  No, my car lease is ending next week so I have to go with my Dad to get that process started and figure out what I am going to do about a car come June 9th.  It's going to be a long day/weekend of decisions, number crunching and paperwork.  Can't you just feel the joy oozing from my pores? (That was my attempt at sarcasm, by the way.)

Wrap-up Topic #1:  The Battle Against the Ants has ended (I hope), and I won!  Thanks to those who left comments with suggestions on how to get rid of them, and although it wasn't actually one of your suggestions that did the job, one of them did lead me to something that worked. 

This morning I was reading the suggestions and decided to start  with sweet-smelling dish soap set out near the spot the ants were coming into the house.  Apparently after a few days the ants are supposed to be attracted to the smell and will climb in the soap, only to drown in the grease-fighting goodness.  Interesting.  My roommate has some pink-grapefruit liquid dish soap sitting by the sink, so I set a saucer of that out on the balcony.  Not one to just take advice and run with it, my Google-holic self started searching the Internet for others who have gone this route to see what success they had with it.  While getting blissfully lost in Internet-land, I found myself on a website that had several ant repelling/killing methods, including the soap.  As I scrolled down the page another method caught my eye: plain 'ol black pepper.  Hmmmmm.  Supposedly putting a line of this along the doorway would repel the ants.  I had this too!  Two ant-killing/repelling strategies must be better than one!  I grabbed the pepper and poured some in front of the door, balcony side.

Now, for the last few days I have come home to find ants all over the apartment and my cats going ape-*hit trying to chase them down.  Today I walked in and found:  nothing.  Not a single ant.  I looked out on the balcony and couldn't see any there either.  So far so good!  I checked the soap-dish and there weren't any downing victims there, so I have a good feeling it was the black pepper that did the trick.  I know I'm a little weird, but I actually feel kind of bad the soap-trick didn't have a chance to work! So, thank you to whoever suggested it, but I'm sorry I didn't set up my experiment in a professional manner to find out if it worked or not!  Moving on...

Wrap-up Topic #2:  I had an interesting and exciting commenter today!  Apparently NikkiStarr, producer of FlyLady's radio show reads my blog!  My blog!  She left me a message on an older post, and here's what she had to say:

"I live 2 doors down from The FlyLady, and I promise, she is far from perfect and she openly admits it. It's part of the reason I listen to her advice. I can't take advice from someone who is perfect because I'll never be. I also have the privilege of producing her radio show. She is the kindest person I have ever met in real life. She has never called herself a guru, and her only mission is to help others. If tough love is needed she does provide it, but always in a very kind way. She's never been angry at anyone on the air. She doesn't tolerate whining and she NEVER whines herself. Also, the What Part of Baby Steps don't you get tweet was a serious question as we're always striving to make sure we communicate correctly. We should have included a ? at the end. We often post the No Whining picture if we've received a lot of whining posts or emails. Just a reminder that you can do anything for 15 minutes. Most of the time I whine longer than it takes me to just do what I'm whining about. That might just be me though. I struggle to embrace the "Do it now" principle. Thankfully, there is no perfect in this system.

I have been enjoying your blog and wish you the best on this journey. I can't wait for you to have your own home! No matter how these baby steps turn out that will be the best! I hope it happens soon. I'll keep reading and hoping it does! <3"

My first thought was "Someone who actually knows FlyLady reads my blog! Holy crap!"

My second thought was "Someone who actually knows FlyLady reads my blog... Holy. Crap..."  

I mean, this woman speaks to FlyLady on a regular basis.  Has she mentioned my blog to her?  Does FlyLady know I exist?  Does she know about some of the more tongue-in-cheek things I have said on my whiny days?  Does FlyLady know I whine?  Oh God, FlyLady knows I'm a whiner and  that I write about her.  FlyLady is coming after me, I just know it!

I kid, I kid.  Seriously Nikki, it's great to know that you follow my blog and I appreciate your comments!  I hope you continue reading what I have to say and take the snarky (I love that word) things I say in the manner they were intended.  Which would be snarky, but lighthearted. ;)  Now please, tell FlyLady not to hurt me!

Gotta go finish my BBR, see ya on the flip-side!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

BabyStep 21: Ask FlyLady, And Attack of the Giant Ants!

This is going to be a quickie post, it's already 9:00 PM and I try to start my Before Bed Routine around 9:30 so I get everything done before my 11:30 bedtime.  Whoa. I totally sound like I drank the Purple Kool-Aid, don't I?

Today I moved on to BabyStep 21: Check Out Ask FlyLady.  This is a section on her website where she answers a question from other Purple Kool Aid drinkers her followers once per day.  Today's question and answer was about FlyLady's Swish and Swipe habit, but since this is also an upcoming BabyStep I'm not really going to say anything about it right now.  I read it, that's what's important.

In more important (to me) news, our apartment has been taken over by an army of ants!  These aren't little buggers either; my roommate says they are Carpenter Ants that are more interested in eating wood than they are in stealing any picnic food we have laying around.  We live in a historic home, so there is plenty of woodwork in this place for them to munch on!

Roommate also said that this happened last year too, and nothing he did got rid of them.  I used to get ants every summer in my last apartment and had luck with pouring white vinegar along the area where they were getting in. This ALWAYS worked in the past, so of course I tried it first here.  I assumed I would pour the vinegar along the doorway to the balcony (current portal of access), and poof!  they would be gone, leaving me to bask in my all-natural-remedy glory and gloat (just a little) to my roommate. Boy, was I wrong!

These ants must be tempered in nuclear-waste or something, because they pretty much laughed in the face of my vinegar acid-bath.

"What?  You think you can stop US with your pathetic white vinegar?  Muwahahahaha!  We laugh in the face of vinegar!" Bum bum, bum bum, bum bum bum... Nom nom nom... (That was the sound of the ants marching on and eating more wood.)

Never has vinegar failed me when it comes to ants, so I was pretty shocked.  All we can do now is step on them to keep the numbers down until we find something that will annihilate these little devils. It's really gross too; some of them are so big juice goes squirting out of them when I squish them. Sometimes we see live ants carrying away the dead bodies of their fallen comrades.  It reminds me of the scene in Forrest Gump where he carries all the injured soldiers out of the jungle.   

These are all the ants my roommate killed in about a 30-second period.  Blech.  Oh, just so I don't sound totally callous, I would like to add that if I see an ant that didn't die with the first squish and is still squirming around, I do go back and give it a mercy squash to put it out of it's misery. Any suggestions as to what might actually kill these things?

P.S. I made it within my time-limit, it's 9:29 now.  Time to drink more Purple Kool-Aid.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Is Wrong With Me?

Kill.  Me.  Now.  Please?  I don't know what's wrong with me.  Yesterday I did great with my routines,  did 15 minutes of Zone work, a 10 minute Weekly Home Blessing chore, drank water for the first time in forever (I'm a total pop-aholic) and did some unexpected laundry (cat threw up on the bathroom rugs I had just washed the day before, grrrr).  With all that visible progress, one would think that I would be filled with some sense of satisfaction. 

But nooooo.  Instead I felt two things:

1.  OMG, even with all I did today, there is still sooo much more to do!  (Yeah yeah, I know.  BabySteps.  Whatever.)

2.  OMG, I did so much today, and this is what it's going to be like EVERY DAY FROM NOW ON!  I feel like all I did today was clean!  Sure I took breaks, but never did I get to sit down and just watch a TV show.  Today I turned on my DVRed episode of "The View" as usual when I got home from work, but I had to keep pausing it so I could go change the laundry over, or call my bank before I forgot, or enter some other random yet responsible thing that popped up here.  After being home for 3 1/2 hours, I had only made it through 27 minutes of the show, which included fast forwarding through commercials.  Is this what my life is going to be like every day if I keep going with the FlyLady routines?  I don't even have kids!

It just seems like all I do now is clean/FlyLady stuff.  Even with using my timer and taking breaks, it seems like FlyLady has sucked my life out of my life. (Not that I had much of a life to begin with.)  I thought doing this program was supposed to help me get out of CHAOS so I would have more time to live my life, but right now it feels like the opposite is happening. 

 "No sorry, I can't do (enter random activity here), I have to go do my Zone work or FlyLady will somehow find out I didn't and yell at me.  No, trust me, she KNOWS."

Yesterday I actually told my roommate that I would only go outside and play Cornhole with him if we went RIGHT NOW, because I still had my Weekly Home Blessing, Zone Work, and Before Bed Routine to do.  I was rushing through a fun activity so I could go and clean to avoid going to bed with a guilty conscience.  What's up with that?

My only theory to this crappy feeling is that right now it seems like so much because I haven't had a cleaning routine for so long, my cleaning "muscle" is out of shape.  I'm not used to doing these things on a regular basis, and therefore my internal routine of sitting around and watching TV after work is still inside me screaming "Hellloooo?  What are you doing?  Oprah is on!".  Hopefully the cleaning routine will replace the TV routine and doing all these things everyday will become the new "normal".  Or am I being too optimistic and it will always feel like a struggle?  Comments please!


Monday, May 24, 2010

BabyStep 20: Airing My Dirty Laundry

Sort, wash, dry, fold, put away, wear, sort, wash, dry, fold, put away, wear, sort, wash, dry, fold... you get the point. Laundry: it's a vicious cycle, isn't it? It's also something that almost everyone has in common, unless you are wealthy (and ridiculous) enough to be able to wear something once, get rid of it, and buy something new. (Psst: If there really are any people like that out there, I'm open to the idea of being adopted...)

FlyLady wants me to make doing the laundry part of my routines. If you peruse her site you will find pearls of wisdom such as "A load a day keeps CHAOS away!", and "Tackle Mt. Washmore!" The idea behind this is that it will prevent the laundry from piling up and becoming the big tedious project that we all know and detest. Nothin' says love like clean underwear!

She suggests making laundry part of my morning and evening routines, but that's not going to happen.
In my last apartment I was lucky enough to have a laundry room right inside my unit, so it was no problem to start my daily load before I went to work and then throw it in the dryer when I got home in the afternoon. I trained myself to put the load away as soon as it came out of the dryer so I wouldn't be living out of a laundry basket, and the whole system worked great.

Unfortunately things have since changed. The house I now live in is an old home that was converted into 4 apartments, 3 of which are currently rented including ours, with 2 people living in each unit. This makes total 6 people living here. 6 people who all share 1 washer and dryer. I don't like this math.

If I were to start a load in the morning now I would run a high risk of someone else coming along wanting to use the laundry room while I was still at work, and that wouldn't be very neighborly of me. I also encounter times when I am all geared up and ready to put a load in only to find that someone has gotten there before me. All I can really do is be flexible and do my laundry in the afternoons.

Oh, how I miss having my own laundry room. Not only could I do laundry whenever I wanted, but now "throwing in a load" is more akin to taking a trek to Outer Mongolia. First, I go into the bathroom where I keep my dirty laundry basket:

(Ignore the book, I read in the tub. So cliché.)  Then I walk through the kitchen...

...and around the corner to the apartment's door:

Outside the apartment door I find myself in the hallway, where I then have to carry the basket down the stairs to the first floor:

(This is the part that sucks if it's raining.)  Once I am downstairs I go out the door onto the front porch, turn to the right, then have to walk around to the back of the house:

At the back of the house I find myself at another doorway leading to the dungeon basement stairs:

After I carefully maneuver the stairs, I wind up in this little gem of a laundry room:

It's damp, smelly, and home to plenty of bugs.  Charming. 

I hope you enjoyed this little tour, but I'd better get back to my Zone work and Weekly Home Blessing or FlyLady's gonna have my hide...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

BabyStep 19: My Own Bed And Breakfast

Last night's benefit dinner at work is over- thank you all that is sweet and holy!  I can't remember when I have been ready to go to bed hours before my bedtime just because I am so physically tired.  Even when I have had "busy" days at work before I would still find myself staying up way too late at night because I just didn't feel ready for sleep.  This week gave me a taste of  true domestically-related physical labor (it's not like I was working outside plowing a field or anything!), and it left me truly tired yet satisfied at the end of the day.

I just worked 7 days in a row with today being my only day off before we get back to the grind, but I find myself looking forward to going back tomorrow so I can enjoy my freshly cleaned "history house" and prolong that feeling by implementing some of my FlyLady habits to keep it that way.  I'm planning on making a routine schedule to help me keep up with all the cobwebs, dust bunnies and soot a historical home seems to accumulate everyday, not to mention the grit tracked in by all the visitors. 

Moving on to the actual BabyStep this post is supposed to be about:  Today's assignment was to read a testimonial a FlyBaby had written which wound up being published in FlyLady's first book Sink Reflections.  It was about a woman who has done so well with her FlyLady-ing that her home now feels like a quaint little B&B.  One could say I am jealous.  Here's why:

I've written before about how I struggle with my current living situation.  I have noticed that as much as I clean, organize or declutter around here I still don't feel the deep-rooted sense of satisfaction I used to obtain from doing FlyLady.  I think it's because none of this really mine.  I am basically working hard to clean someone else's apartment and the martyr in me balks at that from time to time, especially if my roommate doesn't even notice. 

I also have issues with the fact that even if I cleaned this apartment top to bottom, it will never feel like my own bed and breakfast.  No matter what I do, it will always be a small apartment where the kitchen gets close to 90 degrees whenever we use the oven, the dishwasher must be rolled across the kitchen to the sink to be run, sports are always on the TV, towels are used in lieu of real curtains, and I sleep on a couch.  This place just will most likely never feel like a "home" to me, let alone a B&B.

There is where my work "home" comes in.  There is just something about that house that instills that "homey" feeling in me.  Although I have no actual ownership of the building I feel as though it is "my" house.  This actually occurs with  a lot of the employees there, and I guess when you work in a particular site long enough it is bound to happen.  However, the sense that it is "mine" goes beyond being territorial.  I actually take pride in that house.  When I clean the butcher block table in the dairy kitchen after a long day of churning butter, I feel as though I am cleaning "my" table.  When a light a fire in the cast iron stove, I feel as though I am lighting "my" stove.  If I run out of time at the end of the day and can't get everything tidied before I have to leave, I feel bad that I left "my" house messy.  I try to respect that house and treat it as though it really were a home and not a museum show-piece.  Being that it really was a home for over 100 years, I would hope that the previous owners appreciate this!  Here is a view of my work home from the front:

A view of my front "sitting room", similar to a modern living room.

The house is quite large with 4 upstairs bedrooms, 2 kitchens, a sitting room, a parlor, a "sick room" and a cellar. That's a lot for one person to try and maintain everyday, especially with all the foot traffic that comes through there and no vacuums! By implementing my FlyLady teachings into caring for "my" house, maybe I will have an easier time maintaining it and be able to enjoy having a "home" of my own even more, even it's only for 5 hours a day.


Friday, May 21, 2010

BabyStep 18: The Lord Has Spoken

Today's BabyStep: Read FlyLady's 11 Commandments and put them in my Control Journal.  Done and done.  However, I feel the need to comment on one of these Commandments:

Commandment #2 is a reminder to get dressed every morning, including lace-up shoes.  FlyLady is very big about lace-up shoes, but for a reason.  She says that if you are wearing shoes that lace-up it will be harder for you to just slip them off whenever you feel like it, which in turn makes it easier for you to keep your "Frannie" moving and get things done during the day. 

Well, I have a little confession to make: I do not even own a pair of lace up shoes anymore.  These are my everyday shoes, my "sneakers" if you will:
These are called "Alice" and were made by Crocs.  I say "were" because I'm pretty sure they no longer sell them, which is sad because I love these shoes.  I have had my pair for 2 years and have worn them every day.  I'm not kidding.  Summer, winter, what-have-you, I have worn these shoes.  Personally I can't stand don't care for the look of regular Crocs (the clog style with all the holes), but I thought this Mary-Jane style was pretty cute!  They are easy to care for too:  if they get dirty I hose them off in the sink and let them dry for 1/2 an hour.  Done.  I like to wear them with fun socks:

(From the look of this picture, me thinks it's time to hose them off again!)  Despite these not being lace-up shoes I am doing very well with keeping my shoes on my feet during the day.

Oy, is it time for bed yet?  I'm so tired.  It's been a helluva week at work.  Today was the last day I had to prepare for the big benefit dinner taking place tomorrow, so I had a lot of 1845-house cleaning to do in between talking to school groups.  Seriously, my "breaks" were when I was doing my spiel for a group and got to sit down while we churned butter.  Otherwise I was busting hump trying to clean the parlor carpet with a broom (how I longed for a Hoover!) and dusting cobwebs out of corners.  Cobwebs that I removed from the same corners just two days ago.  Those spiders are quick!  The kicker in all this is:  the forecast for tomorrow is rain, which means that the dinner guests might not even get to venture out into the village where "my" house is to see all the hard work I have done, and it will have all been for nothing!  Well, not nothing, because the house looks very nice and I will get to reap that benefit come Monday, but still.  I want to show it off. 

Speaking of where I work, here is a picture taken a couple days ago of me washing some of the butter I churned.  I know there is one reader out there who will appreciate it!


Lee said:  "If you get to use a real wooden butter mold I'm just going to die with jealousy.  Spoken as a true history geek here lol."

Well Lee, I hope you have your headstone picked out, because it just so happens I do mold the butter using wooden molds after I am done churning:

Taken with my cell phone last fall.  This is one of two designs I can mold with.

And by the way, I washed my shoes.  :)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bedtime Follow-Up and Happy News

Monday night was my first night with my new set bedtime of 11:30 P.M.  With my current work schedule this gets me about 8 hours of rest, depending on how long it takes me to fall asleep.

I actually did get in bed on time that night even though I didn't have to be at work the next day until 10:30, a little past an hour later than what is normal.  I figured I might as well start the habit on a night where I had a little leeway in the morning in case it took me awhile to fall asleep and I didn't get much rest.  I informed my roommate that he must vacate the living room/my bedroom at that time, which should only be an issue when there is a late night sporting event he wants to watch.  He will just have to deal with it.

I had previously decided that until my work schedule changes once the school-group season at work ends and switches over to the regular public summer season, any days that I have to go in later than normal will still have the same bedtime/wake up time.  Any extra time I have in the morning will be just that- extra time. 

I'm so glad I made that decision, because sure enough Tuesday morning I awoke to find that one of my cats was sick.  I was able to use my extra time to monitor her symptoms and devise a game plan concerning taking her to the vet.  If I had given myself the "gift" of going to bed/getting up later I would not have had time to  do all this and possible not even noticed that something was even wrong. 

I would like to apologize for the lame-ish post here, but I am just soooo tired right now!  There is a big benefit dinner at work this coming Saturday night and I have been so busy at work doing things like detail-cleaning the 1845 house I work in and churning 3 lbs. of butter a day to serve at the dinner, in addition to speaking to the usual  15+ school groups we get per day.  I don't have time to so much as sit down or eat anything the entire time I am there, there is just so much to do!

On an entirely different topic, my friend Kat from The Burb Blog had her baby this morning!  I met Kat about 4 years ago when we both played the same Internet game, The Sims Online.  (Oh, how I miss that game!)  Our avatars became roommates within the game, only to discover afterwards that we were both from he same real life city.  We eventually met face to face and became friends.  I had to move away last year when I lost my job, but we have kept in touch.  She got pregnant with her first child a few months after that, so I have missed her entire pregnancy (which was quite the ordeal- freak blood loss, blood pressure issues and months of bed rest), but all that came to an end at 9:20 this morning when she delivered her 7 lb. 13 oz. baby girl Lucy! (Lulu for short.)  Welcome to the world baby! (Look at those cheeks!)


Monday, May 17, 2010

BabyStep 17: Go To Bed!

OK, confession time:  I totally lied to you in yesterday's post.  Well, maybe not lied because that would be an intentional act.  Let's call this "speaking too soon", shall we?  See, I stated that I hadn't gotten around to doing BabyStep 17 which involves setting a specific bedtime and sticking to it.  I swore that I was going to do it last night, but it just didn't happen.  By the time I finished writing that post it was already pretty late, and I still had my Before Bed Routine do to.  I did the routine and got in bed, but by this point I was only going to get about 6 hours of sleep.  I've gone with less, but I prefer more. 

Fast forward to this morning- I slept through my alarm!  Actually, I slept through 4 of them!  I always set multiple alarms because I have a history of shutting them off in my sleep if my body is too tired.  I never remember doing it; in fact, I once had an entire conversation with my boyfriend when he tried to wake me up because he saw me turn my alarm off and go back to sleep.  He asked why I wasn't getting up, and I told him my boss had called the night before and told me I didn't need to go in that day, so naturally he let me go back to sleep.  None of that was true- I was talking in my sleep and he thought I was wide awake! I don't remember any of this, and it's safe to say I was late to work that  morning and my boss was NOT happy...

Anyway, I slept through all my alarms this morning and woke up 10 minutes before I was supposed to be walking out the door.  I usually get up at least an hour before I am supposed to leave.  Thank goodness I had done my routine the night before!  Doing this allowed me to only have to put my clothes on, feed the cats, and take care of bathroom necessities.  I wasn't scrambling around to pack food, look for my keys, etc.  Everything was where it needed to be already and I managed to get out the door right on time.  Phew!

I'm still having a little trouble figuring out how to set my bedtime.  First off, what is the recommended amount of sleep for adults these days?  8 hours?  7?  According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between 7-9 hours per night.  Should I choose the middle ground, or play with it a little and see what works best for me?  And what do I do on days where I don't work?  What do I do on days when my work schedule strays from the norm a bit?   Stay with the bedtime, or let it vary? Am I over thinking this? Ugh. 

With my current work schedule I need to be getting up around 7:30. This means to get enough sleep I need to go to bed at 11:30.  Totally doable, but there's something about putting a number on it that seems so limiting. We'll see how this goes.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Odds and Ends and Poofy Hair

I have a little catching up to do!  I have not moved on to the next BabyStep yet, as it involves setting a specific bedtime and I did not want to do that on the weekend where I was free to stay up late/sleep in a bit.  I start back to my regular work week tomorrow so I will be establishing the bedtime starting tonight and will report back on this tomorrow.

In other news:

1.)  I fell a little behind with my routines over the weekend.  I am noticing this is becoming a pattern.  It's just a lot harder to complete my morning routine when I don't have a certain time I need to have it completed by.  When I am working I find it easy to set myself to task and get it all done before I leave the house in the morning.  On my days off there isn't that cut-off point, and I tend to get lax and not do everything.  I could create a self-imposed deadline, but I just don't wanna.

I did get right back on track last night, and I realized how much smoother things go now that these routines are taking shape.  I no longer have to worry that I'm forgetting to take something I need with me to work, because now it was pre-packed the night before.  I no longer have to sit on my couch/bed with the sheets all a muss because I made it that morning.  I'm finally seeing enough improvement around here to feel a little more motivated to do my routines regularly. 

2.)  Although I haven't officially begun Zone work yet, I did feel a little ambitious the other day and took a crack at the bathroom.  Since I moved in this apartment the shower curtains have been driving me batty; they were covered in soap scum that rubbed off on my hands anytime I touched them.  They belong to my roommate so I couldn't just toss them and buy new ones, so instead I decided to wash them in the washing machine. 

Before I did so I Googled around for info, and found that people have actually had good luck with washing plastic shower curtains in the washer and have used several methods to do so.  Some use hot water (theory being it relaxes the plastic so it doesn't shred in the machine), some use cold (they are afraid hot will melt the plastic.)  Some used bleach, some used white vinegar, and some used plain old laundry detergent.  Some combined these one way or another.

I ended up using warm water with laundry detergent and bleach. I also threw in some some white kitchen towels and washcloths to act as "scrubbers". There was no damage to the curtain, and it came out looking a million times better.  Here is the before:

Yuck.  Soap scum city.  Now here is the after:

Much better!

3.)  This has absolutely nothing to do with FlyLady or housekeeping, but I want to share anyway.  I work for a living history museum, which means I dress in 19th Century Costumes and portray life in Ohio for that era.  Mainly I do the Civil War (1860's), sometimes the Ohio pioneer era (1815ish), and only a few times have I done late Victorian (1890's.)  Today I had to do 1890s for a Victorian Tea we hosted, which meant I had to put my hair up into what is called a "Gibson Girl" style.  This is not easy, as my hair is only just past chin length.  I practiced for hours yesterday trying to get it right, and it still took me over an hour to do it again this morning.  Luckily, I found a hairspray that made this all possible, called Freeze It.

To give you an idea of the look I was going for, here are a few pics of an original Gibson Girl, Evelyn Nesbit:

There are many variations to this style, but the key factor is the poof, or "cloud" of hair piled on top of your head.  This is my problem; some of my hair at the nape of my neck isn't even long enough to each that far up the back of my head to be gathered into the knot on top.  The Freeze It took care of that no problem and just held it in place with no bobby pins or anything.  It also has "brighteners" in it that actually made my hair look healthier than it really is instead of giving me that hairspray-dulled look.  I actually found this by accident at WalMart while I was looking for something else, and almost passed it up.  It comes in a gold can and only cost $3.00, so I figured it couldn't be much good.  Luckily I pulled out my iPhone and looked up some reviews, and everyone said they loved it.  I agree!  For this amount of hold and the low price, it can't be beat.  I go through a lot of hairspray doing my hair for work and this will not only get the job done, but not break my budget as well.  I beats the expensive salon spray I used to use for over $10.00 a can!  Here's a pic:

FYI: This shows the Original formula, but I am using the Mega Hold version.  To wrap this up, here are some pics of me with the Gibson Girl hairstyle.  The back loops were done partially with my own hair, and only one small hairpiece.  Sorry for the yuck quality on most of these, they were taken with cell phones:

Setting out the lemonade.

Working with the cast iron stove.

Being silly and wearing a gentleman's hat on top my my Gibson Girl hair poof.

12 hours and a hard day's work later, the hair hasn't moved! (God, I look tired!)

The back.  I'm sorry I have to go brush this out now!  Good night!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

BabyStep 16: Rolling My Eyes

Seriously?  This is today's BabyStep?  Haven't we been reading the messages since the very beginning?  (Well, technically, we have been instructed to go to Big Tent and read them, which I already described my annoyance with here, but I digress.)

Are these just "filler" BabySteps?  Are they meant to buy us time so we can practice what we are already doing without adding new steps?  If so, why doesn't she just say so like she did in BabyStep 3: "Do what we have already done"?  I don't get it.

Personally I think the whole month-long BabyStep system needs to be re-hashed a bit.  Some of these steps are just a tad redundant.  That's all  have to say about that, I'm outta here. 


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BabyStep 15: Between The Sheets

My mission:  Make the bed and add this step to my Morning Routine.  Did I do it? Yes!  Not that it took much of an effort, cause, I sleep on a couch, and um, yeah, there is no way to really make that look pretty.  Plus, I was supposed to do it as soon as my feet hit the floor, and that is so not gonna happen.

It goes more like this: Wake up, go to the bathroom, feed the cats, go outside and have my morning smoke (don't judge me!) while I read my morning messages from FlyLady on my iPhone, then come back in and make the bed.  These things must happen first.  (I am really all about italics in this post, aren't I?)

Anyway, here is the before pic I took last night of my couch/bed:

Blech.  I used to take the sheets off every morning and leave them folded up on a chair until I went to bed that night.  This got to be a pain really quick.  It was like having to change your sheets  Eventually my roommate and I decided that the couch actually looked better with my bedding left on (it's an ugly couch), so it stayed.  But, it only looked nice if it was actually made.  Otherwise, it looked like the above picture- a mess.  By the way-the striped pillow is totally my roommate's, it's one of his "living room pillows for naps." It totally annoys me how it clashes with my nice-ish bedding. I would also like to point out that the towels and blankets being used as curtains in the background are also the bane of my existence and not my doing.  I live with a boy.  Enough said? Ugh.  Now for the after pic:

Better! (Except for the "curtains"...)  Notice how I am trying to hide the striped pillow? I realize that yes, this is just a couch with sheets and a coverlet thrown over it, but it's really the best I can do.  I didn't "win" my bed in my breakup (it was a mutual purchase), and even if I had there is no place for me to put it in this apartment.  It was such a nice bed too...

It had book shelves down the sides...

And storage space underneath...

It was even prettier in my last apartment with my robin's-egg-blue walls.  These were taken when we lost our jobs and had to move in with my parents.  Sigh.  I miss my bed.  I got more satisfaction out of making it.  Am I whining?  Too bad.  I sleep on a couch. 


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BabyStep 14: Pencil Me In (Plus Some Gossip!)

Guess what?


It's that time again!

(What time would that be?)

The time where I tell you what BabyStep I am on and what it was all about!

(Oh, goody!)

Sorry, I just got a little sick of starting of my posts the same way all the time. Thought I'd stick my neck out and show my dorky side. (Not that it doesn't show most of the time as it is.) Anyway, yesterday's assignment was BabyStep 14: Read an essay that Kelly wrote. It was all about using calendars.

Personally, this is one thing that has actually stuck with me since my first go-round with FlyLady. I tried using a wall calendar so my then-boyfriend could see it too, and I got all fancy using different colored pens for different event types. (Red for bills, green for paydays, blue for personal events, you get the picture.) I loved the color coding, but not the hard-copy situation. I didn't like not being able to access my calendar from work, and hated having to use White-Out when plans changed. Since my then-boyfriend didn't seem to be checking the calendar anyway, I moved on to a digital format.

Enter Google Calendar. I loooooove Google Calendar. I spent so much time searching for and trying different online calendaring systems, I think I fried my brain. But, I found the one that works perfectly for me, so brain cells be darned!

The main reason I like it so much is the color-coding system it uses on the month view. I like to be able to glance at the month and just SEE what is going on. My fried-brain just took to it naturally. Now that I have the iPhone I can access my Google Calendar on the phone's browser, but the month view just isn't the same:

Ahhhh! No color coding!  No one glance planning!  With this, I have to click around on each day to see if there is an event or not.  I can switch over to the desktop view, which looks like this:

Ah.  Much better.  I can see what's going on.  Trouble is, the interface for adding/editing events in this desktop view doesn't fly so well on the phone.  There are third-party iPhone apps that have created calendars that look and behave like the Google Calendar, and can sync with it as well.  I'm just not paying $7.00+  for them when that is the exact amount I currently have in my checking account.  (I so wish I was kidding about that.)  I just wonder why Google can't do what these app guys have done- make the mobile-month view look like the desktop-month view, but have the interface more streamlined for the iPhone.  Puhleeese do this Google.  I live for the month view.

I will now apologize to those readers who are not iPhone users for my above ramblings.  It's my new toy.  I'm sure I'll bore of it eventually and stop talking about it.

OK, complete change of topic- who saw FlyLady getting a little, um, crabby with her FlyBabies today?  I was checking my Twitter updates and came across this:

What the...?  Anyone else take at least the tiniest bit of offence to her tone?  But wait, we're not done.  There was another Tweet with a link to her Facebook page that landed here:

Oooook.  I think FlyLady is just a bit grumpy today.  Actually, this is one of the things that turned me off to her before.  I used to listen to her Blogtalk radio show back when it was brand new, and there were times when I could just hear her wanting to strangle some of the callers.  If you know FlyLady, then you are aware of her no whining/don't be a martyr rule, but give me a break. Even though the program itself is free, I'm pretty sure she makes plenty of money from all those timers and scrubber things she sells.  Shouldn't she try a little harder to disguise her irritation?  First she tells us not to strive for perfection, but then gnashes her fangs at us in a very passive-aggressive way when we can't live up to her own personal level of perfection.  Sheeesh.

Am I the only one who wonders if one day she will just totally loose it and flip out, ending that which we know as the FlyLady Empire?