Tag Archives: cleaning

My Saturday Plans

15 Sep
Obi Haan Kenobi grout kit

The great Obi Haan Kenobi sent me some gear to prepare for the arrival of Ma Jaracz.


(sung to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”)


You better not shout

You better clean up

You better scrub grout

And wash all of those cups

Ma Jaracz is coming to town


She’ll walk through the house

To tell if it looks nice

Though she can’t really see

She’ll know if there are mice

Ma Jaracz is coming to town


She sees the books are dusty

She knows you don’t wash walls

She’ll run her finger over the shelf

And she’ll really be appalled


You better not shout

You better clean up

You better scrub grout

And wash all of those cups

Ma Jaracz is coming to town

Q1’s Domestic Goddess Move

24 Apr

Domestic goddess I am not, probably much to Ma Jaracz’ chagrin. I can tidy up OK, and if I have time to lean, I know I have time to clean–though you could come over right now and say, “Been busy, huh, Jill? How’s your Candy Crush Saga going?”

“Oh, I’m stuck at level XXX [I actually don’t know what level I’m on], and it’s one of those stupid ones where you’ve got to bring down the ingredients and there are bombs and there’s–”


And I’d be forced to admit you have a point and that you’ve astutely noticed that I have issues with paper and books and putting away the laundry in a timely fashion, so I will scuttle off and take care of some of that right now.

Since I am not much of a domestic goddess, my idea of “spring cleaning” is also pretty minimal. Today though, my big move for this quarter of the year is tackling the coat situation. I’m declaring winter officially over, and we are not to wear the big, heavy coats again until late fall. I don’t care if we have a run of frigid weather around here. Layer up the fleeces and throw a lightweight coat over it. We’ll manage.

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Bag Lady 2015

19 Feb

Are you doing the “40 Bags in 40 Days” challenge? This is the one where you clean out one area of your house a day and get rid of a bag of stuff that you don’t need anymore and are puzzled as to why you’ve held onto it in the first place. Wondering what to get the person who has everything? Look around your house because you’re probably that person and others asked that about you.

At any rate, I know I have to declutter. A lot. While I’m not a big shopper, I enjoy paper. A lot of paper. So much so that I’m sure my desk could be classified as a hoarder zone (we’ll call that an HZ). In fact, there are quite a few HZ’s around our place, and I’m responsible for a lot of them.

Since too much stuff can be draining, I’m going to hop onto this challenge and use it as an incentive to clean out and tackle some spring cleaning (even though if I look out the window, spring doesn’t seem like it will come anytime soon). Ann Marie over at White House Black Shutters even has a handy chart to help plan it. She’s done the challenge since 2011, which made me wonder how you accumulate 40 bags of stuff that you can get rid of over the course of one year, and then I saw, oh, four kids.

I do have a beef with how this challenge is presented–the title and the graphic both make it sound like you need to be getting rid of a lot of stuff–FILL 40 TRASH BAGS WITH YOUR CRAP AND GET IT OUT OF YOUR HOUSE NOW! C’mon, Americans! Let’s compete over how much stuff we can get rid of! That’s kind of overwhelming. To be fair, Ann Marie stresses over and over that the number is just a number. You could have more, you could have less. The important thing is to focus on a small area and pare it down to only what you need. That’s how I’m trying to visualize it. 40 places in 40 days — that’s what I want to clean out. Whether I get rid of a sandwich bag of stuff (which was yesterday) or I throw out a trash bag, it doesn’t matter. I’ll take it one tiny HZ at a time–drawer by drawer and shelf by shelf.. Wait, I’ve got a lot of drawers and shelves….this has potential to take longer than 40 days. That’s OK! CHALLENGE x 2!

If you’re doing the challenge, I’d love to hear how it’s going. I’ll try to report back along the way and fill you in on the latest shameful thing I’ve somehow managed to hold onto.

Report on National Readathon (and/or Cleanathon) Day

29 Jan

I apologize for the Blizzard of 2015 getting in the way of letting you know whether or not Future Jill’s predictions on National Readathon Day were accurate. You can get off your pins and needles today, though, because here’s the full story:

National Readathon Day was supposed to take place on Saturday. Noon to 4, me and the couch and some reading material. A tortilla chip thwarted those plans.

Saturday morning, I was in the kitchen, and I noticed a tortilla chip on the floor, so I bent over to pick it up and noticed some other floor junk by a corner of the stove. I’d been cooking and baking a fair amount recently, so maybe some other piece of food had fallen and needed to be picked up.

Or maybe it was a dead mouse.

A dead mouse in the kitchen causes a chain of events:

I say, “There’s a mouse!”

The Boy, who’s sitting at the kitchen table, quickly lifts up his feet and cries, “Where?!”

“It’s dead. It’s here by the stove.”

The Boy comes over to the stove to assess the situation, pronounces that the mouse is indeed dead (because it’s certainly not still sleeping on its side during all this commotion, unless it is one mellow mouse) and proceeds to dispose of it. This involves sweeping it into a dustpan, which [GORE ALERT] leaves a tiny trail of mouse guts and blood on our kitchen floor, and throwing it away.

When he comes back into the house, the proclamation is made: We have to clean up this kitchen.


And suddenly National Readathon Day becomes National Cleanathon Day.

We scrubbed everything–cabinets, windows, oven, garbage cans, refrigerator, and our personal nemesis, the floor. Now, we have a very nice white tile floor that’s got a little off-white pattern on it that hides the dirt a little bit. We discovered that this pattern does an amazingly good job because it was hiding a lot of dirt. A lot. Of dirt. We’d been cleaning with Mop & Glo, which apparently puts glow on the floor but doesn’t do a heck of a lot of mopping, because we both spent a couple of hours on our hands and knees scrubbing the floor with sponges and Mr. Clean, marveling at how dirty the water had gotten in our scrub bucket.

One we were done, the floor–and kitchen–looked fantastic, but man, did my shoulder hurt. Plus, I was too zonked to put in another four hours of conscious living, let alone reading. The readathon would be postponed.

On Sunday, it happened. Me, couch, book, a four-hour block of afternoon. I finished reading Can I Get an Amen? by Sarah Healy, which was an entertaining read–not earth shattering, but as someone who went to Christian schools, I could relate to the environment of a church-centered life and all of the characters that went with it.

When I finished the story, I still had about an hour to go in the readathon, so I thought I’d peruse the readers’ guide that went along with the book, then find something else to read. But the first question turned out to be a slap-in-the-face for me, and I stopped the readathon cold.

I don’t know why, but I still have a lot of hang-ups as a writer, and I know that constant practice, constant putting pieces together and constantly submitting those pieces for publication is really the only way to get to where I’d like to be. Why I won’t let myself do that is something I don’t quite understand, but this year I’ve decided I’m through wallowing. It’s not cute anymore, and it’s been going on so long that people shouldn’t still be sympathetic to my imagined plight. It’s time to make something happen, particularly in terms of finishing up creative writing, submitting it and resubmitting the rejected pieces (I’ve gotten some rejections lately, which is a step, but I need to keep searching for a home for those stories). It doesn’t have to be great or earth-shattering; it just has to be done.

So when I read the first question, which is about how the author got into writing, and the response is, “I never expected to be a writer. That I have managed to become one comes as the most pleasant shock,” followed by a lengthy description of someone who figured out what they wanted to do and then slowly and realistically made it happen, I got pretty disappointed in myself, and I wanted to do something about it, rather than continue consuming other people’s work. Not that reading isn’t important or that I shouldn’t make a more conscious effort to sit down for a longer period of time to enjoy doing it, but that I also need to get to work.

Future Jill got it partly right. I finished the book I’d intended to. I’m curious as to what Future Jill has to say about the result of that experience. I might ask her at some point, but I think already know what she’s going to say.

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