Friday, March 27, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I have experienced a first today. The Sheriff came to my house. And he didn't do a cavity search!

But really! The sheriff came up my (1/3 mile long) driveway to ask if we have seen anything in the past few days. Our neighbor was robbed sometime in the past 36 hours (they were out of town) and the Sheriff was looking for clues. He even wrote down my name, number and address! Though, really, he was AT MY HOUSE. Couldn't he just have looked on my mailbox??

I digress.

What I really want to say is: WOO-HOO! WE ARE GETTING DEADBOLTS, BABY!!

I called Dustin to convey the info from the sheriff and check if he saw anything. Which he has not. But he decided once and for all that we need better "safety" in our house. Right now, you could get in with an old gift card and 2 hands. For realz.

Also, to add to the Reasons To Freak Out When It Gets Dark: Last night we were watching a movie in our bedroom, it was late (11 pm) and I was ready for bed but needed to bring the dog in. When I say ready for bed, I mean wearing very little clothing. Like 1 article. My right foot gets very cold. Don't judge. ANYWAY, when I stepped into the living room, the front door was STANDING OPEN. The dog was there kind of like, "It wasn't me!" Thankfully no one answered to my calls of, "Is anyone here?" Because then we would have had a real life horror film on our hands. And last night I just didn't have it in me to run through the fields being chased by a psycho redneck.

So today, my friends, I will be the owner of a SAFE house. One with bolts on the doors keeping the crazies out (or in, depending on your perspective). One where I can wear that one article of clothing confident my neighbors will see because I forgot to close the curtains and not because they broke in! A home where, if I get locked out wearing just a towel, I will actually have to call the police instead of use up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a-start.

I am so excited, I may even post PICTURES!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another One about Cleaning

One might think that I was obsessed with cleaning these days. And one would be right in that assumption! With the spring weather FINALLY showing up, I have been chomping at the bit to declutter (which is one of my shticks, so that you know). Saturday, I spent most of the afternoon hauling stuff out of cupboards, closets and bookshelves. There really isn't that much "stuff" but there was enough. I tossed the garbage and am donating the rest to Helping Hands.

I wish I had taken pictures. There was quite a bit of trash (mostly boxes) and clothes (mostly kids). Dustin and I are to the point that we really only want enough. Not a lot of extra. In clothing, for example, we would like 8 days worth of clothing and a few special pieces. I do double duty with a lot of my shirts by adding a fitted long sleeve shirt under my regular shirts, when it gets cold. Yeah, I sometimes look like a college student but honestly, that is who I am. Not a college student but not the traditional "Mom Type". I feel young and it shows (or at least that is what I tell myself).

So, after an afternoon of work, the bathroom cabinets (3 of them), the kitchen cabinets and the bookcases look wonderful. Also the master closet. And the playroom. And the kid's closet. And the spare room closet. SEE!! I told you this was an obsession!

But I do love me a good declutter session. We do it semi-annually, not like planned, but like, "Hey, there is crap in here and I don't like it!" And then we declutter. I use the Flylady wisdom of "Do I love it? Do I need it?" And I actually use another, "Does it bring me guilt?" If something brings me guilt or makes me feel bad, why would I keep that around? Everything from clothes, books, unfinished projects and business paraphernalia. Most of them are gifts, things I have out of obligation (another form a guilt, fyi) and stuff I just stopped liking.

I encourage every person I come in contact with (if the subject arises) to declutter. I love knowing there is nothing waiting for me. Nothing ready to "rat" me out as not being as clean or happy as I seem to be. In my quest to enjoy my life fully (see my tag line) I have found that all parts of your life need to be considered. Sure, you need to enjoy time with the kids, find joy in keeping a clean house and make happy yet healthy meals for the fam. But I don't think you are going to be as successful with these things if you don't take care of the things that secretly eat away at your confidence.

Once upon a time, I had a very difficult time cleaning my home and finding joy in being the "homemaker" my family needed. But I also had boxes and BOXES of stuff in my home. For years we moved around with all this crap and it just ate away at me. I never felt like I could catch up, that no matter how hard I worked, there was always something else for me to do. So if I wanted to do anything for me, I felt guilty, believing I didn't deserve the time because there was SO much still undone.

Sure, I am still working on that joy in cleaning and the happy/healthy meals but I also take guilt free time for me and it shows. My family gets the quality attention they deserve and I rarely feel like I am drowning in a sea of guilt and obligation. And if it gets to that point, we do something about it STAT!

Guilt is a soul eater. It is a weed in the garden of your life. Pull it out and burn it - or just do like I do and donate it to a good cause!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Perfect Way to Clean

Right now, there is a lot of people trying to find a good, cheap, natural way to clean. And using your kids is a great idea! I mean, why else would you have kids and raise them to be productive? Child Labor Law, schmild-schmabor-schaws.

Really, I am all for the kids helping out around the house but if you are anything like me, you are such a control freak that the thought of your kids cleaning a toilet keeps you awake at night! Instead, I do the heavy work and let them do simpler things. Jesse can fold his own laundry, take his dishes to the sink and keep the bathroom sink clean. Brea, though much younger, does not lack in desire. Therefore she gets to feed the dog and helps me by putting away/retrieving simple items. Both children pick up their toys and clothes.

I am the first born and Dustin has an older brother but is very much an only. I am used to doing it my way and he is used to having it his way. However, both of us were required to help the family with cleaning. He cleaned significantly less than I did but his mom did a great job of making sure he knew how to wash dishes, laundry and toilets*. Both of us had jobs as cleaning people during highschool. You cannot FATHOM how happy his knowledge makes me!

I was not only the oldest (by 9 years) but I was also the only girl, homeschooled (we all were) and my mom had a part time job. This all added up to lots of cleaning and babysitting for me. I completely understand why it was helpful. With two small boys, homeschooling, a part time job, oh and they did Amway, there was little time for my mom to keep up with some home basics. And I was around ALL THE TIME. And I was really good at it. They would come home and say, "Wow, Jami! The floor looks great!" Then I would explain to them how I was looking at it and realized it could use some detail scrubbing....on my hands and knees.

I am a perfectionist. And to be honest it is very difficult to care for your home if you expect it to be perfect! Flylady calls us SHEs (Side-tracked Home Executives) and perfectionism is our handicap. If I can't mop the floor perfectly, I won't do it until I can. Which might be next week. Or month. Whatever. Regardless, perfectionism doesn't make the perfect house maker, unless she is willing to sacrifice everything for it. Which I am not. So I had 2 choices: 1) Do it perfect every once in a while and not be happy with the state of my home or 2) Do it routinely but not perfectly and be happy with my home.

I choose happiness. I always will.

This is a work in progress. I am not perfect but I love the concepts that Flylady and her crew set out. My family doesn't need an immaculate home. They need a comfortable home, where they can live and find rest. So, with that in mind, my house needs to be a place of peace for it's inhabitants and those that visit. Do you want to pay me the ultimate compliment? Tell me you love coming to my house because it is so relaxing/restful/peaceful/etc.

I see that Jesse has the perfectionism trait (as well as my temper, we are working on both) so I am teaching my kids when to give your all and when to do what you need so that there is enough left to give your all somewhere else. Like in curing cancer. Or playtime. It seems to be working because I find Jesse and Brea are really good at doing what I ask, in a timely manner, so that they can move on to the fun part of life. And when I tell them how thankful I am for their help, how much they have contributed to the family and how valuable they are, they beam and are willing to help in the future.

It might also help that I threaten to make them sleep outside.

*For the record, though he knows how to clean toilets, it is the one thing he refuses to do. But he cleans dishes, deals with the trash, changes poopy diapers, helps make dinner AND clean up after it. Plus he thinks mowing the lawn is FUN. Totally worth the trade off.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The one about zombies

Friends, I want to apologize for a blatant disregard to my eating journal. I have been sick with bronchitis the past few weeks and to be honest, I stopped caring about what I eat. I also stopped being able to taste anything but that is beside the point.

I didn't want to make a big deal out of being sick because I knew I would get better and the weather would get warmer and I would forget all about the wretched winter months. And yet, after 2 weeks of being restful and taking care of myself, I was not better. So I hauled my sick butt to the doctor and got a prescription (levaquin), which I took with dinner.

Now the fun part of the story.

I have fairly vivid dreams but I don't get confused or anxious about them, I just think about how much money I would make in the horror film industry and go back to sleep. Also, I have a thing about zombies. I hate them! They are the most frightening unreal monster you can throw at me. So last night after sleeping for about 1.5 hours, I woke up terrified. I was panting, heart racing and looking around for the thing that was going to get me. I paused for a moment wondering what on earth my problem was and then, Crazy Jami took over. "The zombies!!", she said. "They were coming after you and your family! You lost the kids DURING A ZOMBIE ATTACK!!" At this point I am completely freaked out. I (quietly) scrambled out of bed to check on the kids (both had normal breathing and temperatures. Not zombies) and as I returned to bed I had the worst foreboding experience ever. I was certain zombies were crossing the cow pasture, in front of my house, to come and eat us. And then I thought, "Oh my gosh! If the zombies are here, in no-where Arkansas, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!! I should just get the gun!!"

Thankfully, somewhere in chains I imagine, Common Sense Jami was screaming, "HEY STUPID!! ZOMBIES AREN'T REAL!! The drugs are probably affecting you!" I listened a little, until I realized my husband could be turning into a zombie that very second and he would eat me! And the kids! So I stared at him and then I touched him. The weather is getting warmer here and apparently he had too many blankets, so he was sweating a little. But all I thought was, "Oh my gosh! He is TRANSFORMING INTO A ZOMBIE!!" Then he woke up and told me he was hot, threw off some blankets and slept on.

Grateful that none of my family were zombies I fell into an uneasy sleep, only to wake up with my hands and feet burning up. I flung off blankets and spent the rest of the night trying to not freak out about the zombie invasion, get cool and actually sleep.

When I woke this morning, my wrist hurt (no idea why) and I felt like a million zombies river danced on my head. Then I checked the prescription and found this: "may also cause increased intracranial pressure and central nervous system stimulation which may lead to tremors, restlessness, anxiety, lightheadedness, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, nightmares, insomnia, and, rarely, suicidal thoughts or acts. These reactions may occur following the first dose." Also, "......pain, swelling, or inflammation of a tendon, or weakness or inability to use one of their joints.."

So I called my doctor and got a new prescription. I did happen to mention this was all about the zombies.