Tag: Housekeeping

A Tale of Two Kitties

“Why the windows are full west!”
– Jane Austen

Small Cat Syndrome?

J.’s nickname for me, despite my legendary Small Dog Syndrome personality condition, is Kitty.  Not from any simliarity to my real name, but because apparently I have a cat-like tendancy to hide things.  Not consciously, but it would seem that after I use certain things they have the obnoxious habit of vanishing into the ether.  I also do admit to tucking somethings away in their “designated place,” the geographic location I immediately forget.  This means that our marriage is a constant smorgasbord of rediscovered treasure.

Hairpins turn up in the oddest places, especially considering I almost never use them, but we find bushels of them every time we vacuum or dust.  Pens!  Everywhere!  They breed in my pockets, purses, and cup holders.  Despite practically never carrying cash, coins (of mutiple currencies!)  rain from me like I’m some fairytale maiden who got on a witch’s good side.  I lose my glasses at least once a day.  They have been found, variously, in my jewelry case, under the couch, in the shower, beneath my pillow, and in my purse which both of us had searched thouroughly four times previous only to finding them smugly nestled besides my wallet.  The possibilities truly are endless.  And without fail, whever something turns up from somewhere it doesn’t belong, J. rounds on me with a pointed finger and an accusatory voice.  “Kitty!”

Just so we’re clear, and so my mother doesn’t wring her hands and ask where she went wrong, our house is not dirty.  That’s the amazing part.  We’re minimalistic in our decor, specifically because neither of us like clutter.  We deep clean once a week.  There is absolutely nothing to attract the wildlife.  People comment on its cleanlines when they come over.  And yet, when I go to plump the pillows – voila!  That book I misplaced a week ago.

And apparently the way to really unearth all the things I’ve “mislaid”  is to install new windows.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful.  Our old windows were nearly a half century old, leaked heat out, let cold seep in, and were generally a source of larger than necessary utility bills.  The largest one in our flat faces west and made summers in the desert a misery!  It got so hot during summer that our blinds would melt – or at least warp to a fantastic and almost unuseable degree.  So, new windows equalled better utility costs, temperatures human beings can survive at, and less destruction of our abode.  Plus someone else was installing them.  Terrific!

Saturday morning at 8:30am (who does that?  On a weekend!) my phone shattered the tranquility.  The landlords told us the contractors wou!d be by in an hour to rip massive holes in our walls.
“J.!  Get up!  Clean everything!  Move move move!”
Despicably undomestic as I am, I’ve got enough feminine pride/residual 1950s guilt to not want total strangers see my house a “shambles.”  Poor J. was dragged from his bed and forced to dismantle window blinds while I made the bed, dusted (before a bunch of workman came to chip away my windows…yeah…) and fell to scrubbing even the bathroom with religious fervor.

It was when we invaded the office/storage space/Room of Requirement that things started turning up.  Piles of papers neither of us could identify.  Chords to appliances we have never owned.  Boxes for things we never ordered.  A couple of cups we never missed.  Ribbons, Christmas gifts bought months ago, a couple of paintings…  J. was laughing uproariously by the time we finished.  We’d thrown out masses of stuff and I’d taken to sulking from his teasing.  “Kitty!”

Then we headed back to the front room to move the couches.  And found sweet, sweet justice.

Beneath the sofa I found an external hard drive, a leather business folder, two textbooks, and a pile of notes.  All J.’s.  The dumbfounded look on his face was priceless.  I danced in a circle around him crowing, “You’re a kitty!  You’re a kitty!”

Naturally ten minutes later, he found my glasses.  Again.  The status quo resumed.

Small Cat sulks.

*Second picture from Hyperbole and a Half.

I Could Never Be a Librarian…

“I cannot live without books.”
-Thomas Jefferson

We bought (another) bookshelf some time ago but just got it secured to a wall in our office a couple nights ago.  It was nine thirty in the evening and we were both exhausted, but I pulled almost all our books out to reorganize them to use all that glorious additional space we’d acquired.  Not as easy as you might think.

Should I sort alphabetically?  If so, by title or author?  What about by color of book cover?  Size?  Hardback vs. Paperback?  Topic?  Gah!  What was a bibliophile to do?

toomanybooksI eventually decided on chronology, starting with Homer, Virgil, and Beowulf (remember how I majored in European Studies with an emphasis on literary history?…) working my way through Geoffrey of Monmouth, Dante, and Petrarch, and got on rather well until I butted into the sixteenth century.  I stared down at my copy of The Other Boleyn Girl and then frowned at the space it should go for a while before setting it down in a new pile.  I could not, in good conscious, wedge it between Sir Thomas More and John Donne.  I didn’t even get a full century ahead of that before I ground to a halt again.  Rousseau, Voltaire, Manon Lescaut, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and…The Scarlet Pimpernel?  Hm, a better fit than the Boleyn Girl, but still didn’t seem quite right. 
“Are these supposed to go in order of subject matter or when they were written?” I demanded of J. as he obligingly carted books around the flat for me. 
“I have no idea what you’re doing,” he returned, disappearing into the office with my anthologies, essays, and critical works.
“Me neither!”

The same problem with C. S. Lewis, as well as the fact that I have works from him that fall both in fantasy and theology, neither genre had previously featured.  I tucked The Chronicles of Narnia with my science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold and Douglas Adams…and then realized I had no idea where any of them should go chronologically!  “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” didn’t necessarily come after post-modernism in my mind.  And what about all my academic books, J.’s philosphy and textbooks? 

I finally got it all sorted, but with an additional bookshelf not all of the available space is used.  Which means of course a run to the campus bookstore (hurrah for employee discounts!) and Barnes and Noble is in order!

Why Yes, I Am Awesome, Thanks

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects.”
-A. Heinlein

busy guyYesterday was the second day of school and I had already made a life changing discovery: my husband  will, for all intents and purposes, be dead to me for the next few years.  He’s in class from 8-12, then in the library from 12-5 when I’m done with work.  We go home, one of us contrives to make something edible, and then I take him back to campus for study groups/work on projects/meet and greet representatives from large firms trying to seduce the students early on/whatever else is going on that night.  Then he has homework until at least 11. 

So in response, I’m doing what I do best.  Mobilizing! 

Last night with Venice’s help (J. was at a firm reps meeting) I put together the shelving we bought for the kitchen.  Living, as we do, in the ghetto of our university town (it’s not that bad, just old.  Nearly fossilized, in fact) we have two cupboards in our kitchen, and the shelves in them are bowed with age.  Putting cans or even plates on them for as long as we have has been supremely of foolish of us, but necessity being the mother of desperation, we put off getting shelves for a while.  No more!  The kitchen is cleaned and organized and, if all goes well, it will stay that way.

I went shopping for food, inspired by the ever fabulous Hammy (Hat Tip to her for this idea!) and loaded up a bowl on our table with snacks.  I bough an armload of Ramen and instant macaroni and cheese for days when neither J. or I will be able to muster the strength to make lunches.  I’ve stocked up on crock pot ingredients which can all be dumped in together on my lunch break so we have something to eat during the approximate 4.6 seconds J. has at home.

Don't get be wrong...I'm sure a breakdown is coming...I just choose to ignore it.
Don't get be wrong...I'm sure a breakdown is coming...I just choose to ignore it.

Tonight I’m doing laundry and taking on the migratory herd of cardboard boxes that have been accumulating since our wedding, they’ve been making the rounds through our entire flat and have been grazing on whatever it is cardboard boxes eat in our office for weeks now.  Said herd shall be thinned, ruthlessly.  I already bought an office filing contraption and have moved critical things like marriage certificates, tax info, and the like in (partly to get it out of the pile on my desk, but mostly to keep J. from throwing it away again). 

Why the frenzy, you ask?  First of all a house in order is easier to keep in order long term, so if both mine and J.’s potential chore-doing ability has evaporated, let’s get the house put together before one of us has a breakdown rendering us incapable of sustained linear though.  Second because it really needed to be done, I’ve been putting the house off since we got married.  Third?  Because I am an AWESOME wife!  Who knew?

A Humorous Vignette

“A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.”
-Samuel Goldwyn

Sometimes I think J. keeps me around just for the pleasure of watching the constant stream of wacky, inexplicable, laughable things that seem to happen to me.  We were cuddling at his flat last night, watching the basketball game with some of his flatmates, when he ran his hand down my arm, paused, and laughed, “You’ve got goosebumps.”
“No,” I answered in confusion and felt along my bicep as well.  There were some little bumps, but they weren’t goosebumps.  Perplexed I felt again because, in spite of the lack of redness or anything, it felt like an allergic reaction.
“What have I touched?” I demanded, glancing around the bacherlor pad.
“Well…you did touch The Blanket.”

It should be explained at this point that The Blanket has maintained a residence on one of the boys’ three sofas for as long as J. and I have been dating, and to this day I’m not entirely sure who it belongs to (as I’ve heard two names put forward as the owner).  I’ve also never personally seen anyone sleep under it, wrap oneself in it, cuddle with it, or any of the other uses a blanket in such a position usually adopts.  Obviously, it is regarded with a degree of wary respect/fear by visitors.

For us?  Too kind!
For us? Too kind!

I bolted off the sofa and stared at The Blanket, which I now realized I had been leaning against while watching the game, oblivious to my danger.
“What’s in that thing,” I snapped in fear, scratching at my arm, “smallpox?!”

I still have no idea what happened.  But I have another item on the list of why I’m enjoying having a place to myself (as if I needed any more after the wretched Exploding Milk Incident, the memory of which persists and keeps me from buying more than half gallon jugs out of fear of a reprisal).

Fake It Till You Make It

“Do we have any plans tonight?”
“We could get dinner or catch a movie.”
“Sounds good.”
“By the way, my parents are coming tomorrow.”
“Gah!  Scratch that, we’re cleaning!”
-C. and J.

stressedFuture parents-in-law coming to see the flat where their son will be living once he marries me = mad dash to scrub bathroom, wipe down kitchen, throw multiple lemons down (our incomprehensibly aggravating) garbage disposal, make bed, stash Victoria Secret bags/boxes and issues of Cosmo from scandalous friends (seriously, people, are you trying to get me killed?!) , and spray whole house with happy, fresh apple scent.  All for half an hour of sitting in our living room making small talk.  And since I have NO food in the place (thank goodness they didn’t look in the FRIDGE!) I had to wait until today to buy myself a post-parental Cafe Rio Tres Leches cake! 

I have no idea why I’m so terrified of his parents, they are some of the world’s nicest people!  I think I’m afraid that they’ll find out that I’m not very nice myself…