How to clean a midsized 2-bedroom apartment in one day

Start early by just letting things go. Clean up kids’ toys by just scooping them into the nearest receptacle or pouring everything into a toy box. Don’t worry about keeping sets distinct or books on the shelves. Do this for several weeks.

The night before you plan to clean, have dreams about finding an extra room in your house, and realizing you can use it as a pantry or the baby’s room. Wake at 2am and have trouble falling back to sleep. Spend the time thinking about your game plan the next day.

On the day of, drop the baby at daycare and the 3-year-old at preschool. Swing by Target for any cleaning supplies you might still need. Skip Starbucks, like the dedicated and devout person you are. Head home and drink the ready-made Starbucks coffee in the fridge while you collect the curtains from your son’s room and the bath mats from the bathroom. Take only these things to the laundromat to wash. On the way, ponder how often you’re supposed to wash curtains. Then stop pondering, because that way lies madness.

Set the wash cycles and go home. Spend 20 minutes moving furniture and washing windows before going back to move stuff to the dryer. A 45-minute cycle. Repeat.

In your son’s room, dump out every bucket, bowl, and box you can find. Sort through myriad toys, move them into piles: Monsters Inc, blocks, tiny-sized books that you keep finding all throughout the apartment, trains, puzzles, motorcycles. Quietly choose a couple piles that are going to disappear before the day is up. Sit back and survey your piles, wonder where the other half of the stuff is. Remember the toy chest in the living room, and fetch that too.

Go get the curtains and bath mats. They’re dry and extremely soft despite not using dryer sheets. Look at the laundry detergent and realize it was fabric softener. Oops.

Work for four and a half hours on your son’s room. Feel inordinately proud of it when you back out of the room, admiring your handiwork. Think of the time your husband said he used to love it when he’d come home from school and his mom would have cleaned his room for him. Imagine how happy your son will be when he comes home.

Work on the kitchen. You hate sweeping, hate mopping more – do it anyway. Work on your bedroom, although it’s actually not in bad shape. Move bags and bags of stuff to the living room – stuff for the dumpster, but even more stuff to donate. Tons of baby gear, clothes from everyone’s dressers, three boxes of baby feeding stuff. Sweat. Check your fitbit – you have almost 6000 steps already, despite having only left the apartment to go to do laundry.

Finally, realize the end of the day is nearing. Clean your way into the bathroom, as if you’re painting yourself into the shower in the corner. Feel accomplished and satisfied with yourself today. Then realize that you’re out of soap. Appreciate the situational irony, then use your son’s watermelon-scented 3-in-1 soap. Rinse off in cold water.

Put on clean, folded clothes from the diminished piles in your dresser. Lay down for a minute to enjoy the sun coming in the clean windows.

Wait for your progeny to come home and destroy it all.

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“Mommy, why’d you do this to my room?”

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Playground perils

I took B and H to Frontierland, a playground near us, to tire them out for naptime. But after I’d parked, as I was organizing our stuff, putting on the Ergo, etc., I realized that there were three or four adults yelling at each other on the playground. Luckily both kids were still in their car seats, so I tried to surreptitiously watch to get a handle on the situation, but then H was crying (super fussy; possible teething) and B was saying “MOOOOOOOMMY I WANT TO GO PLAAAAYYYYY” over and over again.

There was another mom coming down the stairs herding her two kids in front of her, and she was saying “We have to go wait in the car until those people leave.” And I said, “Does it look like they’re leaving?” She said, “I hope so.” Then she put her kids in the car.

One of the guys was now following around one of the women, who was holding a girl who looked about four years old. The guy was shouting at her, and then he started yelling, “Someone call the police! I need someone to call the police for me! This is kidnapping!” So I got out my phone and called the police department, and told them where I was and that there were a bunch of adults fighting (verbally). The dispatcher said they already had a unit on the way, but asked me to stay on the line in case they needed more info.

By this point the couple was coming down the stairs toward my car, the kid was crying, and the man kept saying to the woman, “Don’t hurt her! Don’t hurt her!” I got in my car and that’s when I saw the police car pull up. An officer got out and separated everyone, and then he seemed to have it under control so I, along with all the moms who had been waiting cautiously with our kids in our cars, headed for the playground.

It actually sounded like the dad was in the right – he said it was his day to have the kid, she spent the night at his house and then when he took her to playground this morning, the mom showed up and tried to take her back. The dad had the custody order in his wallet, but the mom didn’t have anything to back her up.

Up at the playground, some nosy moms were talking (really loudly) about how awful it would be to have to carry those papers around. One said, “That’s why you gotta keep it amicable,” as if people choose to have really contentious breakups where they constantly fight over their children. Mostly I was just really sad for the kid, who looked like she was about B’s age, and who got forcibly carried off of a playground by her mom while her dad yelled at them and then the cops came. How awful.

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5 Things I Got My Husband to Admit He Hates About Me

I see a lot of…inspirational stories in my Facebook newsfeed. Lots of mommy-positive things, or lady-positive things, or just human-positive things. Honestly it’s a nice reprieve from the political stuff, which for a while was really taking over. But if I had my druthers, I’d like to see more amusing status updates from my funny friends, and lists of witty photoshopped images.

Anyway. I recently read this article called “7 Things Your Husband Hates About You (Yes, Really)” and what a juicy title, so I clicked on it. Of course they’re all things like “Every time you call yourself fat” and “How much pressure you put on yourself.” Listen, he may hate those things but really this is just a long-form way of explaining how great the writer is and why we should just be confident about ourselves.

…Not that that’s a bad thing.

BUT, I wanted to put together a more honest list of things that your (or my) husband might hate about you (or me). It took some wheedling to convince him to be honest, but I think I got some pretty good answers here.

5 Things I Got My Husband to Admit He Hates About Me

Wait, are you sure about this? You’re SURE? Okay.

1. I hate that you eat raw eggs in bed. 

You keep getting albumen on the sheets. I know you want a high-protein midnight snack, but could you please just have it in the kitchen? Or at least use a coffee cup or something? You know, peanut butter crackers have a lot of protein too, and then I’d just have to deal with crumbs.

FullSizeRender (2)2. I hate your Snagglepuss tattoo.

I know everyone does stupid things when they’re young, but I don’t know if 31 can rightly be considered “young.” It’s a weird tattoo, and is he flipping us off? And why are you so excited about it? I just don’t get it. I know you like to tell people you got it “in prison” but honestly, I just wish you would get it removed.

3. I hate that whenever we have a fight, you start filming it on your phone in case it “goes viral.”

I don’t think you actually know what “go viral” means, and it’s really disconcerting to have a phone in my face when I’m trying to argue a point. Some things are sacred, and so should the fights between a husband and wife be. I’m not going to punch a wall or fall on my face or do anything that is worth putting online or sending to America’s Funniest Home Videos. And yes, I know it’s called AFV now. No, I don’t want to fight about it. NO PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN.

4. I hate that you think DIYing things is a good idea.

I hate that you saw something on Pinterest, spent $200 on supplies, and DIYed us “matching” pillows with slightly off Disney princesses on them. It is way creepy to lay me down to sleep on this every night. But you won’t give me my regular rectangular pillow back. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 6 months, because I keep waking up with my face pressed to this.

 

5. Finally, I hate that even though we both have iPhones, you still insist on printing out step-by-step directions from MapQuest if we’re going somewhere unfamiliar.

You know that’s just a waste of paper, right? And makes no sense, given the way technology has grown by leaps and bounds? You know no one liked MapQuest even when it was the only option, right? Oh no, but please, print out four pages of directions, the first page of which is just how to get out of our neighborhood. That’s helpful. Okay, let’s get out of here. Which way out the front door, again?

Thanks, honey. Love you too!

 

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The State of the Union – July 2016

I’ve been working on this clip show post for a while…a long enough while that my original plan was to post on July 1, as a halfway-through-the-year thing. Oh well!

2016 has been good to us so far!

IMG_8181Baby H has grown out of her colicky newborn phase, and into a brilliant, adorable baby (who still has quite the voice when she wants to submit her disapproval of something). She’s 10 months and change now, talkative, opinionated, hungry. She stands on her own and has taken a couple little tiny one-off steps, but we’re expecting that to escalate quickly any day now. She’s been into light switches for a few days but could only turn them off, but today she figured out on, and now that will keep her occupied for a while. I want to put her in dresses more often, but they hinder her movement and she gets mad, which is cute. The last few weeks, she has really sucked at naps, which is frustrating, but I’m hoping it’s a phase. It might be tooth #8 attempting to make an appearance. But we try to blame a lot of things on teething.

IMG_8220As B gets closer to his fourth year, we’re seeing a change in his personality. Like maybe there is a light at the end of this threes tunnel. He started preschool about a month ago and he seems to love it. The other day he brought home his first artwork: a painted fish and a drawing of seaweed. I think they’re doing an ocean unit. He’s a chatterbox and it’s funny (but enlightening) how often I hear my words coming out of his mouth. Today he kept telling me, “Uh oh Mommy, that car cut us off!” That happened days ago, but he’s apparently got some road rage left over. We put up some rainbow lights in his room (which we use as a nightlight now) and this morning when I took H in to get him up, he was trying to show them to her. He said “Look, Baby H, look at my lights! Uh oh, she’s lookin the wrong way. Look over here!” It was so adorable and so human. Or something. We’ve been going out to a lot of parks and playgrounds, trying to find new cool places. Last weekend we went to Frontierland near us, which wasn’t new, but we haven’t been there since B was much younger. This was the first time we’ve gone anywhere that we both felt more comfortable letting him out of our sight – going short periods of times not knowing exactly where he was. It was a new experience and, I think, a big milestone for us as much as for him. His birthday’s in a couple months and we’re trying to figure out what we should do this year.

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B and H at 10.5 months

Drew started a new job as a social worker three weeks ago. He has a big caseload and I’m overwhelmed for him at the idea of tackling so much right off the bat, with very little training. He seems to be doing fine though. It’s actually his first office job, so he keeps asking me things like “Do you share your Outlook calendar with your coworkers?” which I think is funny. (The answer of course is NO! Haha, just kidding.) The new job means he’s not on 24/7 call anymore, which is nice, but he’s far less accessible to me during the day, which means fewer texts. My life is so hard.

I’m currently on my last regular class of my master’s program. After this I have two terms that will just be thesis writing, and then around the new year I’ll be done! I can’t believe it’s almost over – it’s kind of sad in a way. I’m intimidated by the idea of writing a thesis (and within, like, a 5 month period) but also really, really excited. I’m also hoping to parlay this experience into an online teaching position, since I know now that I have the time to devote to it.

IMG_7637We’ve been seeing a lot of whales near the Pacifica pier lately. It’s been really cool. Apparently there is actually a larger than usual number of them, and they are mostly humpback whales, which are extra acrobatic. We see them when we’re driving past the ocean, or even coming down the hill, from further away, or when we go for walks. I’ve never seen so many whales in the wild, and it’s really encouraging and awesome to see them. (I guess there are also extra blue whales, gray whales, and great white sharks out lately on this part of the coast, which all feels like good news to me. Yay nature!) Anyway, that’s been a fun thing so far this summer. B will now say, “Oh! Did you see that? It was a baby whale!” even if he probably didn’t see anything. It’s that mimicry thing coming out again.

So. Happy 2016 y’all.

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Let Me Google That For You

Let Me Google That For You is a fantastic passive aggressive tool if you know someone who asks you a lot of questions, and you’d like to alienate them. For example, let’s say your cousin keeps texting you and you want to end the conversation but then she asks, “Hey, what’s the order of operations again?” You pull up LMGTFY, and send her this link:

http://bfy.tw/6krI

(Okay, but seriously, you have to click the link to get the full effect.)

(Did you do it?)

(Okay.)

Now your cousin feels dumb and thinks you’re kind of a douche, but theoretically she lays off on asking you questions that she can literally just look up herself, maybe even easier than asking you. Great job.

I have LMGTFY anxiety. Sometimes I’ll be asking someone something, and then I’ll stop and be like, I should just look this up myself. I don’t need to bother them. I can find this answer on the internet in probably less than 10 seconds.

But here’s the thing: by deleting that half-typed text, there’s an element of social interaction that gets lost. I can look up facts about Survivor, or I can ask Jonathan and he can wax poetic about it and give me his analysis. I can google that movie with Brittany Murphy that I saw back in high school…or I can start up a conversation with Kirsten and we can try to figure out what the name of it was. And Drew…well, I don’t really have a filter with him, so I’m pretty much just asking questions 24/7, but he’s kind of developed a sort of verbal LMGTFY, or at least a tone that says the same thing, that he can bring out from time to time.

So while I approve the use of LMGTFY when it’s amusing, and I am constantly impressed by the wealth of information available at our fingertips any time of day or night…I don’t want to completely give up on asking questions of my friends. To do so would be killing off a certain amount of conversation and personal connection.

Okay. Ask me your best LMGTFY question. I’ll do my best to answer it without snark.

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It sings because it has a song

So here’s what happened.

Last spring, the USPS released a commemorative Maya Angelou stamp with her name, picture, and a quote popularly attributed to her: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Then, after they had done the entire print run, and had the unveiling ceremony, someone pointed out that that quote is actually from a poem by another, lesser-known writer, and probably just reminded people of Angelou because of the title of her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

The USPS handled it well. They basically shrugged and said, We’ve printed them all already, so we’ll just go ahead. It didn’t seem like anyone was too concerned. Apparently this gets misattributed to her all the time. Nbd.

I was fascinated by this story when I heard it, because that is a pretty huge screw-up by an organization that maybe should have known better. Someone should have checked that quote more than just googling it with Maya Angelou’s name and then ticking off that box. As someone who frequently has to answer for relatively innocuous errors in emails as well as in printed pieces, making a mistake this big would freak me out. So I also love that the USPS was just like, Eh. (Also because I find the USPS frustrating, and so of course they wouldn’t fact check or worry about this.)

I bought a sheet of these stamps, and then because I’m practical, used all of them – all but one. I’m saving that one. To remind myself that even if you set out to honor one of America’s unofficial poet laureates, but totally botch it, and even if you have printed EIGHTY MILLION stamps with a misattributed quote, you don’t have to retract the stamps, reprint with a correct quote, or even admit your mistake (most of the statements printed from the USPS higher ups have them insisting that the quote has been so long attributed to her that their fact checking was misled). You can just go ahead, sell your stamps, and then move on with your life. Nbd.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” -Copernicus

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For the NPR version of the story, click here.

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Sleep Talking 34: Hurty Throat Sneeze

It’s not really talking, so much as it is an epiphany for me.

The other night, around 12:45, I was awakened by Drew sneezing (?) face down into his pillow (??) and then sitting straight up on the side of the bed. He sat there a while, until I finally said, “Are you okay?” He said, “I hurt my throat.”

Then he picked up his phone and was looking at something, and then he set it back down and he lay down* like he was going to go back to sleep. His phone was so bright and Baby H was starting to stir in her bed, and after a minute or two I thought, Actually, if that wakes her up I’ll be really bummed, so I sat up to see if it was going to go off.

He said, “What’s wrong?” and I said, “That is really bright,” and then it dimmed the way it does right before it turns off, but then he picked it up again and turned the screen back on, and then set it back down, bright again.

After a minute it turned off, and H didn’t wake up, and everyone went back to sleep. And, of course, he didn’t remember any of it in the morning.

So I think the moral is, if, in the middle of the night, I think something’s wrong with him (hurty throat sneeze) and he’s doing something for a reason (leaving his phone on and face up), he’s definitely not, and he definitely has no idea what he’s doing. Good to know.

*Grammar is not my strong suit, and I looked this up to make sure this was the correct lay/laid/lain/lie/lied word, and according to Grammarist it is, even if it looks weird.

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