The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Page 58 of 69

Laundry Room Highs and Lows

It’s week # 9 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week the topic is “What is your good enough?” God help us. This is going to be cathartic.

If you are just joining us and want to get caught up on all my previous projects, click here.

Ever since I revamped my laundry system a few weeks ago and stopped sorting laundry, I’ve been itching to organize my awful laundry room. Ultimate goal: for my 11 year old son to start washing his own clothes. But there was no way I wanted him farting around in my messy laundry room, mixing bleach with ammonia, or putting too much soap in the washer like that dumb-ass Bobby Brady.

Look, can I be honest? I frickin’ hate my laundry room. I truly could not hate it more if it were located over an Indian burial ground and haunted by poltergeists. It’s small, dark, cluttered, and worst of all, ordinary. It has no natural light, old nasty linoleum floors, and energy inefficient top loading appliances that were purchased at the end of the last century. And, this room is a passageway between my garage and my kitchen, so I’m forced to look at it all the stinkin’ time.

I’ve tried to spruce it up little by little over the 7 years that we’ve lived here… a coat of leftover paint, some hooks, a set of really nice shelves my sweet Stepdad and I almost killed each other installing, a few cute baskets here and there. But all these little improvements are like putting a band-aid on a gushing hatchet wound. In other words… ain’t working. I still hate it.

I’ve always fantasized about one of those fancy schmancy laundry rooms with custom cabinetry, a built in ironing board, a spotless counter top for folding, gleaming glass canisters filled with organic plant based detergents… the works. You know — the kind of laundry room Martha Stewart would go to prison for.

But instead, what I have is this:

BEFORE: Cramped, cluttered, and ordinary laundry room.

Ugh. So very far from perfect, wouldn’t you agree?

But let’s face it – I’m not going to get that fantasy laundry room any time soon. So I would be wise to stop comparing and start decluttering. In the immortal words of Elvis, “a little less talk, a little more action.” Let’s do this, shall we?

Remember the PROCESS? (Plan, Remove, Organize, Containerize, Evaluate, Solve, Smile)

1.) Plan. Eh, f#ck it. I’m not a planner. I’m just gonna dive right in.

2.) Remove everything from the space. Check:

WOW! Looks so much better already, doesn’t it?! Decent bones, at least. Okay, I take that back, but at least my water supply hoses are made of braided steel instead of rubber. So there’s one good thing.

This would be a good time to paint the room the robin’s egg blue I’ve been coveting, but my husband said “NO WAY, JOSÉ,” since I have so many other unfinished renovating, crafting, and personal hygiene projects in the works. I swear, sometimes that man is about as much fun as a dead baby bunny on Easter morning.

In case you’re wondering where I put all that stuff… well so much for the clean dining room from last week:

BEFORE: decluttered dining room.

DURING: cluttered dining room revisited.

That’s okay. Just more motivation for me to keep moving and git-r-done.

3.) Organize. Once everything was in the dining room, I put like with like, and tossed (or recycled) a bunch of CRAP like a dozen cardboard toilet paper tubes I was saving for a craft we’ll never do.

4.) Containerize. Whatever I didn’t toss/recycle, I consolidated. Then I moved a box of pet supplies to the garage to preserve the valuable real estate I had created with all the purging.

Time to put stuff back into the laundry room!

And THAT is when it hit me: the less I put back in, the more organized and spacious the room would appear! I used containers to create boundaries, just like Org Junkie says. Turns out I don’t need a bigger laundry room… I just need less stuff. Talk about an “Aha Moment.”

And speaking of containers… I started thinking, what would oneshabbychick do to corral all her fabric softeners and stain removers? Her stuff is sooooo pretty and easy on the eye. Ooooh, I know…. she’d find something fabulous on the cheap at Goodwill and spray paint it Ivory or Navajo white. So I did just that. Check it out, my little Lookie-Lous:

BEFORE: ugly metal bin from Goodwill.

AFTER: same thing, but with satin ivory spray paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. ) Evaluate.

AFTER: Iris' laundry room shelves.

 

AFTER: Iris' laundry room make-under.

6.) Solve. This is obviously a work in progress. I’ll keep you posted as I get used to the new decluttered space and discover if there are any problems that still need to be solved.

I am going to have my artsy pregnant friend Mama Cloud make me some pretty labels for the baskets so my kids and husband can find things. She has the most beautiful handwriting and needs something to take her mind off the ring of fire she’s going to experience in about 6 weeks.

7.) Smile. Can’t. Too tired. And all those spray paint fumes have me a little high. But I surely am grateful for the “Aha Moments” I experienced in this project and I’m looking forward to purging more stuff in my other rooms.

It may not be the perfect laundry room of my dreams, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was last week. Maybe uncluttered is good enough for me.

Until we meet again!

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Me so horny…

Last night my 11 year old son pulled me aside and asked: “Mom? What does ‘horny’ mean?”

Oh Lord. Here we go.

First I had to give myself the Heimlich with the back of a kitchen chair to dislodge the partially masticated Cheez-Its from my windpipe. Note to self: teach the kids basic life saving skills so they don’t have to watch me choke to death someday. As if my general parenting skills aren’t scarring enough.

As soon as I started to breathe normally again, Nature Boy and I sat down for a little mother-son sex pow wow. Wait, that sounds wrong and grossly Oedipal. It wasn’t. I swear. What I mean is: we talked. About sex.

It wasn’t the first time. God only knows why, but he always seems to come to ME for these little talks instead of his big strapping virile Daddy. I think he enjoys the entertainment value of watching me choke and stutter and blurt out words like penis and vagina and multiple clitoral orgasm. Oh stop it, I’m just kidding on that last one. For now.

But anyhoooo, just to make sure he wasn’t referring to horny toads and their reptilian relatives,  I decided to ask him for a little context. “Can you use it in a sentence for me please?”

“Oh, sure. The boys in my class are always saying things like ‘Taylor’s feeling hooooor-ny!’ or ‘Me so horny.'”

Okay. In context. Got it. This isn’t like when he heard the word “gay” on the school bus and thought it meant happy like in the Flintstone’s theme song. Nope. He knew this was dirty and he wanted more info. And God damn it, how many times do I have to tell him to not start a sentence with a prepositional object?

Fine. If it is to be, it’s up to me, I guess. Besides, I did NOT want him to get wrong information from someone else and end up using the word inappropriately. Knowledge is power! So I told him everything he wanted to know. And it was fine. No big whoop. I’m a little miffed that his innocence is gradually being stripped away by kids who are clearly more hormonal and/or ignorant than he is, but I’m glad he’s comfortable enough to ask me things.

I was even younger than Nature Boy is when my Dad, a single father with weekend visitation, took me to see Grease in the theaters with one of his dates back in 1978. Poor guy… he only had us on the weekends, he loved movies, and he was dating. Can’t fault the man for trying to kill three birds with one stone. (Except for those times he took me to see Jaws, Alien, and Blazing Saddles… all before I was 10 years old… probably explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?)

So yeah, back to Grease… after the movie, I remember very clearly asking him: “Dad – what does ‘chicks are gonna cream’ mean?” And he told me: “It means they are excited.” So naturally, wanting to be as cool as Danny and the T-Birds, I started saying things like “Wow – that’s SO cool; I’m gonna cream!” and let me just assure you, my third grade teacher didn’t like that kind of talk at all. Thanks Dad.

Speaking of which… that reminds me of another film classic my dear old Dad took me to see when I was 10 years old: Coal Miner’s Daughter. God, I love that movie. Coincidentally, Loretta Lynn also was confused about the proper usage of the word ‘horny.’ Remember the baloney scene? Lordhavemercy.

Shoot we been driving so much, I don’t even know where I am half the time. Oh it’s fun though, you know, we sing, and talk, and Do…that’s my husband, he gets to acting horny. And the more I laugh, the hornier he gets! And he’ll say: ‘Lorettie, spread me up one of them baloney sandwiches!’

Cracks me up, every time! But really, with vocabulary lessons like that, it is a wonder I even graduated from middle school. And it definitely explains my penchant for fried baloney sandwiches.

My point? If my kids are gonna talk dirty, they better get it right. And in case you don’t know, it’s “I’m so horny,” not “Me so horny.”

Sincerely and grammatically yours,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Five things I really hate.

While absentmindedly scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday, I stumbled across this blog post title: Pet Hates. Not to be Confused with “Hates Pets.”

Which just goes to show you how important blog titles are. Because I thought to myself, that’s funny… I hate my pet sometimes. Like when Ike does this, this, this, or this.


But anyway, I clicked that compelling Twitter link, and read a very funny post about 5 things the author hates (none of which were pets). And it was awesome. I even left a comment… which (as you know, dear lurking reader) isn’t something one always (or in your case, ever) does. And then I clicked on another link in her post and found out that there is a whole society of list making bloggers!

Well sign me up for a hot, steaming side dish of THAT!

Brace yourselves, I’ve been brewing this list in my head for a long long time. In fact, boiling it down to just five is going to be harder than bringing Charlie Sheen home to meet your dad. (“But Dad… he calls me a Goddess!”)

So here it is, my first listography, Pet Hates:

1. Christmas Card Newsletters
I get it… your life is SO MUCH better than mine. As if I didn’t already know that when your card arrived on November 29th with an embossed return address and a Virgin Mary stamp. Bragger.

2. People who chew gum in church
I see you chewing your gum, mister. Now, what are you gonna do? Stick the gum under the pew before communion? Or swallow it? Or just tuck it over to the side of your yap hole while you consume the Blessed Sacrament? None of these are acceptable answers. Spit the gum out before church, asshole.

3. Baby showers
Yes, babies are cute. And yes, moms-to-be need stuff. But having to watch someone open hundreds of cloyingly pastel gifts while all the hens in the room cluck “awwwwWWWWWWW!!!!!” (gradually increasing in pitch, volume, and enthusiasm) over the 18th embroidered and appliquéd onesie, is just plain torture. At least the last one I went to had really tasty sangria to numb the pain and no humiliating games like “Guess the Girth of the Pregger.”

4. People who talk on their cell phones in public
Dude. You are in the waiting room of the Toyota service department with twelve other hostages customers. We do not want to hear about your gout or the fact that you “wish a pox on the family” of the client who screwed you. Jesus H. Christ. Or how about the lady behind you at the grocery store who is talking on her Bluetooth, but you don’t see the headset and you think she is talking to you? I hate that bitch.

5. Vagisil commercials
In general, all feminine hygiene ads just irk the hell out of me. But specifically, the newest Vagisil commercial where the sad and dejected looking woman in the public restroom is saying “I found out the hard way that not all cleansers eliminate vaginal odor,” while two women in the background are clearly gossiping about Ms. Stinky Pants. Really? You found out “the hard way?” Oh my God. Lady, you have much bigger problems than choosing a body wash. If it smells THAT bad, you might want to see your doctor a-sap. I’d also suggest some new friends and/or hobbies that don’t include waft-friendly positions like Downward Facing Dog.

Wow – that felt great! Listography, you are my new BFF. Just don’t invite me to your baby shower.

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

You better believe it.

I was wracking my brain to come up with a fabulous, life-altering tip I could share with you for my Just The Tip Tuesday feature today. And then I remembered this really charming motivational slogan and table scape I spied the other day at Kelly Is Inspired:

Check out the rest of her blog too! http://kellyisinspired.blogspot.com/

Cheese and crackers, I love those colors and textures together. Some people just have an eye for that kind of thing. And by some people, I mean not me. Sigh. I decorate like I parent… with a loud voice and a lot of apologies.

Anyhoo, those sassy pink Chucks reminded me of the very same ones my darling Mini-Me (formerly known as Klepto) wore and destroyed in less than 24 hours.

before

after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which then got me thinking about what a passionate and intensely committed child my Mini-Me is, in every part of her life. We’re talking balls-to-the-wall, that girl.

And that’s when I remembered going through her school papers last week and finding this:

“I can Do it!”

It’s the back of her weekly timed math facts test. Just in case you can’t see the picture, it says in very neatly printed 2nd grader handwriting “I can Do it!” And it is circled for emphasis.

I didn’t teach her to do that. What, with all the shouting, and apologizing, and bad decorating – who has time to teach life skills?

So I asked her, “Honey? What’s this on the back of your test?”

And she said, very nonchalantly, “Oh, I just felt like writing it.”

“Where did you learn to do that?” I asked, thinking she must have copied it off someone else’s paper.

“Nowhere. It just came to me,” she replied.

So I enthused: “That is SO cool! Do you think it helped?”

“Shhhhya-ah! Look at my score! It was my highest ever!” (Like, duh Mom, totally.)

And I thought to myself: that is one awesome kid. At the tender age of eight, she already knows one of the secrets to the universe:

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.
~ Henry Ford

Hot damn, I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Just with cleaner shoes.

Believe and achieve! Your friend,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

New Stamps Keep Mailmen Happy

Remember a few years ago when the hot topic was disgruntled postal workers going on shooting sprees?

Well, looks like they’ve come up with a new way to keep the mailmen happy:

This, my friends, is a page of stamps I bought the other day at my local post office. Apparently it is the Year of the Rabbit! I’m not really sure what the Chinese Lunar New Year has to do with two very rotund kumquats hanging just so, but clearly it does or this perky image would not be immortalized on the newest Forever Stamps.

Is it just me, or do those kumquats look an awful lot like a nice pair of sweater puppets?

No? Don’t see it?

How about now:

Ahhh, fun with Photoshop. Don’t worry, Postmaster General, no actual stamps were harmed in this process.

I think the concept is pretty brilliant, really. Naturally, if the mailmen are thinking about boobies, they’ll be too happy to shoot anyone.

My sweet husband, The Gatekeeper, would like you to know that he does not think these kumquats look anything at all like breasts. Poor thing. He probably thinks they are supposed to look more like this:

Shhhh. Nobody tell him, okay?

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Dining Room Make-Under

Time for my weekly update on the 52 Weeks of Organizing project!

Can you believe it? This is already the end of week #8! Time sure flies when you’re gradually getting your sh*t together.

This week Laura challenged us to keep flat surfaces clear…a never ending battle for a gal like me. But last week I was so inspired by Ally’s Grandma who had posted before and after pictures of her dining room table, that I thought I’d tackle the same room in my own domestic prison. Oops! Did I say that out loud? I mean, house. Silly me.

My dining room is the first room you would see if I actually invited you into my house, which I’d never do, since it is such a friggin’ mess. But even if I didn’t open my front door all the way, you’d still get a peek at this room from my front porch if you were a Jehovah’s Witness or a pesky neighbor looking to borrow a cup of sugar. And that is pretty much all you’d need to see to know that there is something very very wrong with me.

Three weeks ago my mom came for a quick visit, and while she was scrubbing my toilets (out of love, horror, and pity), I was guilted into cleaning off the dining room table. It only took me an hour or so and by the time I was done, it was spotless. No big whoop. But that is not the problem.

One week later, while my kids were making their Valentines, the table magically morphed back into its natural state… a craft table/dumping ground/mail center/pet lounge:

Nature Boy and Gracie making Valentines in the dining room.

Here are a few more “before” shots (with a variety of angles and lighting), just so you can get the full picture of the cra-zay:

The view from my front door... so warm and inviting! Why yes those are slightly worn Pull-Ups on the stairs. So what?

Christmas village... still up Feb. 24th; extra car seat/purse holder; overflow pantry items.

So yesterday I spent another hour and put everything away where it really belongs (kinda). I even enlisted my husband’s help in packing up the last of the Christmas decorations. Note to self: must do that more often — delegating rocks! And today, drum-roll please… the room looks like this:

And this:

And this:

Ahhhhhhhhhh. So much better. Now let’s see how long I can make it last this time. Only, now how will I keep the Jehovah’s Witnesses away?! I can’t just crack open the door and pretend to be so overwhelmed anymore. Maybe they won’t want to come in if I open the door looking like this:

Really? You want to sell ME something? That's funny... I was about to tell you the exact same thing!"

Or this:

"Oh hello! DO come IN! I was just about to watch some Jeopardy... would you care to join me?"

Don’t think I won’t do it. I’m a bored crazy housewife lookin’ fer love in all the wrong places.

Anyhoooo…Laura challenged us to ponder the following questions this week:

1.  Do cluttered surfaces make you a little crazy? My answer: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Am I crazy because of the clutter, or do I have clutter because of the crazy? Deep thoughts. I will say that having clear surfaces (for once) makes me feel much better about my house and my life. It makes my husband and kids happier too. Bonus points.

2.  Are you managing to stay on top of your 52 weeks list? My answer: surprisingly, YES! This is our eighth week and I have completed 8 projects. Yay me! So far, I have organized my pantry, my linen closet, my coffee table drawers, my kitchen island, my kids’ DS cartridges, my kids’ Legos, my kitchen window sill, and all the flat surfaces in my dining room. AND, so far I have managed to keep all of these areas looking fabulous and uncluttered, except the kitchen island and the kids’ Legos. Statistically speaking? Not bad progress.

3.  Are you being motivated by your successes yet? My answer: a resounding YES!!! Each of these little successes is compounding into a true sense of accomplishment. I’ve never stuck with any kind of a program like this before, so I am very impressed with and motivated by the changes I’m seeing in my house, my routines, and myself. Eight down, 44 to go.

Only one problem…

as I’m decluttering and putting things away, I’m noticing that I tend to just move things around instead of making decisions about what to really do with them for the long term. Laura, The Organizing Junkie, says that clutter is just procrastinated decisions. So true. I’m a master procrastinator… why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? So I’m kind of dreading what it will be like to finally tackle THIS:

The Mother of all dumping grounds: basement storage room.

Wish me luck with that, would ya?!

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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