Posts Tagged "housecleaning"

Santa and Spiders (the Good Kind)

Dear Kid,

Dad and I went to the crafts fair at the high school yesterday. As always, it was mobbed and various school bands and orchestras played in the background. (Stick with me, you’re going to like this one.)

We wandered around looking at various crafts, purchasing a few pieces of jewelry, sampling various homemade yummies, and basically having a good time.

My friend Ann was there selling chocolate covered treats (hi Ann!).

Near the end of our wanderings, we rounded a corner and I said, “Oh, my.”

The two ladies sitting at the table burst into laughter. “That’s the best response we’ve had all day,” one of them told me through her giggles. It must have been my tone of voice. Or possibly the reaction they’d gotten from other visitors.

The thing is, they were selling spiders.

Yep, spiders.

And you know how I feel about arachnids.

But these were glittery spiders and they came with a story (an 1800s German folk tale to be precise). A little bling and a good story go a long way in my book.

I’ve lifted the pix from their website (visit it here) because I took a great shot of their table that came out as nothing but blur. (We’ve discussed how not-good I am at photography. Where’s Beth when you need her?)

Here are the photos:

Santa Spider. Comes with a great story.

Santa Spider. Comes with a great story.

And here is the story (which makes the spiders much, much better):

Once upon a time (because all the best stories start that way), a mother was busy cleaning her home for Christmas. The spiders (not being stupid) skedaddled (not a German word) out of the way of her broom and up to the attic to hide. Apparently, the mother wasn’t too concerned about the cleanliness of the attic. Truth be told, neither am I.

When the house was quite, the spiders slowly crept downstairs to see the beautiful tree. (Ooooh, ahhh.) Being excited and being spiders, they scurried up the trunk of the tree and out each of the branches.

This suggests that there were more than the usual number of spiders but since this is a fairy tale we shall overlook the mother’s infestation and move on.

The spiders were filled with happiness at being in the tree and it leaked out in the form of spider webs. The spiders spun and danced through the night, leaving their webs everywhere.

At his appointed time, Santa showed up with gifts for the children. (Can anyone explain how he manages to scoot up and down chimneys without getting soot anywhere? Dad can’t even come in from outside without tracking mud into the house.)

When Santa saw the tree covered in spider webs, he smiled at the happiness of the spiders. Apparently, he was a fan of the eight-legged. But he knew that the mother would be upset if she saw her beautiful tree covered with dusty webs (not sure how they got dusty so quickly, but in this story, they did). So, being Santa and therefore being magic, he turned the webs into silver and gold.

The tree sparkled and shined and was even more beautiful than before (well, duh–if you had magic silver and gold all over you, you’d sparkle and shine too).

And that’s why we have tinsel on our trees and why every Christmas tree should have a Christmas spider in its branches.

I told you it was a good story.

Love, Mom 

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Wrangling the Wild Paperwork

Dear Kid,

It’s paperwork day.

Actually, it’s make cookies, go to a meeting, consider going to the gym, cook for the week, clean up the kitchen, brush the dog, write some blogs, and paperwork day, but it’s the paperwork that I am determined to confront head on.

The rest of it will happen. Probably. But the paperwork is likely to resist being completed.

Papers resist all efforts to corral them into one place. Their collective weight is like that of a black hole, just sucking energy from the surrounding area. DearKidLoveMom.comHave you ever tried to wrangle paperwork you’ve gotten behind on? Wild west movies and the stampede in the Lion King don’t prepare you for taking on the inertia of sulky paperwork.

First, the papers resist all efforts to corral them into one place. Their collective weight is like that of a black hole, just sucking energy from the surrounding area.

The paperwork raises baby papers (receipts and other small items) to act like spies and infiltrate seemingly benign piles of paper. They learn to hide, to blend in with the local scenery (You needed that scrap of paper? I recycled it last week!). The paperwork as a whole is strong enough for advanced mind control techniques (“Where is the receipt for X?” “I gave it to you.” “Nope, you didn’t.” “Well, I dunno.”).

Once you convince the majority of the papers to Sit! Stay! they call in reinforcements called “distractions.” (MOM!! The timer just beeped! MOM!! Can you help me with this? Sweetie! Phone is for you! Mom—rub my tummy!)

Some distractions are easier to ignore than others.

An amazing thing happens though once you record the important information and file each piece of paper. An amazing calm settles over each little scrap and each page. Once in their assigned folders, they stop calling out for chaos in the world and move to a life of retired peace.

It’s our job to help them move on to this happier state.

And today, I’m determined—bound, set, and determined—to make progress.


After the cookies.

And a few phone calls.

And a tummy rub for the puppy.

Love, Mom

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Messy Dorm Room | Cleaning is Like Cicadas

Messy dorm room in the mood to clean is like cicadasDear Kid,

I was in the mood to clean yesterday.

“In the Mood to Clean” is—in my world—sort of like cicadas: happens in odd cycles, is generally messy, impacts everyone in the vicinity, seems to go on forever but is in reality short lived, and in no time at all it’s as though it had never been.

I have always believed in having a neat and clean living area. While I have frequently achieved clean, I seem to be able to manage “neat” only intermittently. Fortunately, Auntie M explained that she and I inherited the Clutter Gene and therefore  can’t be held responsible for all the piles and accumulations. I continue to fight against my genetics (when the mood strikes) but I am not exactly winning the battle.


When I was in college, there were three times each semester when I did Outrageous Cleaning. The first was right before break. Like right before Thanksgiving. Because I couldn’t stand the idea of coming back to a crazy messy room. I’m pretty sure that is also genetic.

The second time I’d clean was during midterms and the third was during finals. There was something about studying (or procrastinating) that drove me to clean. Generally, I’d ask a friend to sit in my dorm room and entertain me (or I’d do the talking and entertaining) while I cleaned up. We’d drink Tab (the Coke Zero of the time), gossip, and I’d put things away. My process was to start in one corner of the room and work my way around. The only “rule” I imposed on myself was that I couldn’t put any mess in an area I’d already cleaned up. Once the room was neat, I’d study. Usually.

No matter how hard I tried, the neatness lasted approximately 27 seconds.

Then, the drawers would burst open, my books would rearrange themselves, and the piles would mysteriously repopulate my room.


So the Mood to Clean struck yesterday. Over the years, I’ve learned to go with it; it’s not something you can treat by lying down in a dark room and hoping it goes away. It would have been very useful to get this mood before your graduation, but it’s not something I can usually call at a whim. And we had the baby bird. I got the entire guest room cleaned and I emptied out the Dresser that Doesn’t Belong in the Hallway but is Living There Anyway.

And I did it without a Coke Zero.

Love, Mom

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Housekeeping and the Great Pre-Graduation Clean

housecleaningDear Kid,

The Great Pre-Graduation Clean, an undertaking of Epic Proportions, has begun.

There are some things in life we don’t really notice until they aren’t there. Like electricity. No one walks into a room, flips on the light switch, and thinks, “Ahhhh. The Electric Company is doing a great job today. I must remember to write a Note of Commendation.” On the other hand, if the light doesn’t go on at the flick of a switch, all hell breaks loose. Bulbs must be changed, switches tested, lights in other rooms turned on for comparison. And if it turns out that it is the Electric Company’s issue, the puppy has an excellent opportunity to learn new words.

Internet connectivity is the same; we expect it to be there and only really notice if we can’t get online.

Fast food is the same. We never think, “Oh, Chipotle must love me because they have corn salsa today.” But let them run out of corn salsa, even for a moment, and….I can’t even think about it.

Unfortunately, cleaning falls into the same type of category. It’s not often we walk into a home and think, “Wow, they put a ton of work into cleaning.” But we sure notice if the place looks like a bombed disaster area or if there are ancient cobwebs (assuming they are not strategically placed for a Halloween Party).

I have never developed a reputation as a Domestic Diva. I will never write a book called the Joy of Cleaning. I do not find on-going fulfillment in dusting. I don’t subscribe to the Squalor is a Lifestyle Choice theory of housekeeping, but no one is ever going to showcase our home for design or cleanliness. (Love and hilarity, possible. Design and cleanliness, no.)

It’s not that I don’t try. It’s just that A) I find cleaning dull, B) practically as soon as you finish you have to start all over again, and C) I inherited the Clutter Gene. (Auntie M explained to me that it really isn’t our fault we live in clutter—it’s a generic trait that has been handed down and I might just as well celebrate diversity and Who I Am.)

On the other hand, it would absolutely Not Be OK to leave the house in its normal state of Many Piles of Stuff when we have people over. There are some genetic problems that are not talked about in polite society. This may be one of them.

Hence, the Great Clean. So far, the dining room and lego room (the place a real estate agent would call the living room) are basically done. The porch and family room are close. The kitchen may qualify for Federal Disaster Relief.

Time to end this post and return to cleaning. I’m going in. I’ll meet you at the corner of Swiffer and Pledge to begin sandblasting the kitchen.

Love, Mom

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