Vim, Vigor and Vinegar

I spent my Saturday washing clothes. Not just clothes, but towels, bedding and assorted textiles.

For those of you who have followed this blog since the beginning, you will maybe remember that doing the laundry is actually one of my favorites among the mundane chores. There is a certain pleasure in getting the stains out of clothes. In seeing crumpled, smelly things come out clean and fresh.

Even the folding holds a distinct joy. Seeing those hard-to-fold undershirts folded neatly and carefully.

What? You don’t fold them?

Or the fitted sheets…It’s like a personal challenge to see how perfectly I can fold one so that you can’t tell it isn’t the flat sheet.

I know. I am strange that way. But honestly. I enjoy such a sense of completion when the piles of dirty laundry are systematically tackled and put away, leaving a clean floor with nothing left to wash.

For at least a few hours.

But Superman took over the laundry for the last few years while our daughter and her three children lived with us. He is a very smart man, recognizing that awful compulsion I have for forging through the mounds of laundry generated by four very active people. And I do not include Superman or myself in that category.

It’s not that we aren’t active. We just don’t attract dirt, or the same kind of dirt, the way they did. We were potty trained long ago, so we are able to make it through the night without an accident. And, well, let’s face it. We generally don’t roll in the dirt, rummage through the trash, throw disgusting stuff at each other and spill everything all over ourselves. I hope we have a few more years left before we return to that in our second childhood.

But one thing that happened while Superman and our daughter handled the laundry was very annoying.

They didn’t keep the washing machine clean. And it is one of those front loaders. You know, the HE kind that uses less water and is prone to developing a stink.

Last summer I noticed my clean clothes had a stench. Ewwww.

I went down to investigate. OH MY GOODNESS. There was MOLD growing in the gasket. (Mind you, I am allergic to mold. It aggravates my asthma. THAT is a MAJOR PROBLEM.)

I googled replacements for the gasket. Over $100. Yikes. I decided that once our active bunch moved, I would order a new gasket.

Superman, who has honestly done his very best to do the laundry the right way (read MY way) has faithfully used vinegar in the rinse. We both like the way it keeps the dispenser free of build up and minimizes how much cleaning of residue we have to do. Note: Daughter does not like using vinegar. She seems to smell the vinegar after the cycle is completed. Apparently, Superman and I do NOT have that super-sensitive sense of smell.

So the active ones moved into a new home about a month ago, and I resumed my favored chore with renewed vim and vigor. (Is that grammatically correct?)

Vinegar and those awesome little pre-measured pods, along with a scoop of OxiClean in each load…

AND GUESS WHAT???

After one month, the mold is GONE! I kid you not. There is no trace of the nasty black stuff on the gasket and the machine smells great.

So for all of you Vinegar doubters out there, take my word for it–the stuff is awesome. And CHEAP.

 

It’s Saturday…

I haven’t written since the end of August. Wow. August. Seems a lifetime ago.

As is so often the case, life tends to interfere with the best laid plans. My personal initial commitment to write every day. Not happening.

It isn’t that I don’t have a boatload of material. I have several mental storage units full of ideas and stories.

It isn’t that I am not motivated. Believe me, the motivation is there, too.

What ISN’T there is a consistent, always on internet connection to my computer. And the internet is always on. My computer just likes to pretend that it isn’t anywhere around.

I tried a little doohicky that you plug into the USB port…it worked! Yes! For like, three weeks when it broke and no longer worked. For $50, I expected a little more time.

I could connect my computer directly to the router, but that is housed in a room usually inhabited by a sleeping child. And what is the point of having WIFI if you have to plug your computer into a router???

So writing became too much of a challenge, and I just stopped writing. And I really missed it.

All those funny stories.

All that developmental lesson planning.

Chronicling the life-changing events of the daily mundane that isn’t mundane at all.

But that has all changed. I know, you are breathing a sigh of relief. And you are holding your breath waiting for it…

I finally got a WIFI Range EXTENDER!!! Now, theoretically, even though my router is only 20 ft. away and should be giving me a signal. FAIL. But the extender is right by me, and it HAS A SIGNAL!

Oh the freedom of not being tethered. Oh the joy…I can use my laptop in the living room! I CAN WRITE AGAIN!!! Do you hear me?

All that pent up garbledy-gook that runs rampant in my head will once again have an outlet. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

But what does that have to do with Saturday?

Well, my foray back into the vast blagosphere is happening today. Saturday.

And Superman is building the first fire of the season in the fireplace, down in the basement.

Oh joy. Happy, happy, happy!

It’s Saturday, and I spent the first bit of it with YOU! Hope your day is great. My sewing machine has been hollering for me all week, so I am now descending into the depths of my little cottage to continue what has started out to be a wonderful day.

See you soon!

Beware the little mouth…

Every day I am surprised by the continuing development of the kids around my house.

I know I should never be surprised by it, but I am.

Bam Bam has been testing the boundaries lately. Something so very normal for a child of two and a half.

It’s a bit of humor that I get to share with his parents when I give them the daily report.

The other day, I had to correct Bam Bam. He likes to play in the doorways, but with pinched fingers…well, I try to discourage playing with the doors.

So I first told him not to play in the doors. He proceeded to play in the doors.

I told him a second time not to play in the doors. He continued playing in the doors.

Finally, I used my stern voice and made myself undeniably clear in what my expectation was regarding him playing in the doors.

“Nana,” said Bam Bam, “you don’t tell me ‘no’. You say ‘yes’ to me.”

At that moment, we enjoyed a very up-close and personal “eye to eye” conversation about who says yes, no and makes the rules and who listens and obeys.

We settled the issue of the doors…and have now moved on to the next one…sharing. Sort of a revolving door around these parts, if you will pardon the cheesy play on words.

Don’t you love it when a child instructs you, the adult, to share?

Yes. I share all my toys with everyone. But when the turn taking gets out of control and the midgets forget who OWNS the toys…well, they shouldn’t tell ME to share MY toys.

Cookie has come into her own in terms of fighting, and I truly mean fighting, for what she decides is hers. She and Bam Bam had a number of issues sharing the toys today.

I frequently had to remind the kiddos that I share all of my toys. They always look at me the same way.

“These are YOUR toys, Nana?” Why they say it so incredulously still amazes me. We have this same discussion each and every day.

“Yes. They are MY toys, and I SHARE.”

“You share with me, Nana?” asked Bam Bam.

“I share with ALL of you.”

“You share with ALL of US, Nana?”

“Yes. I share with ALL of you. But when you aren’t nice and don’t share My toys, then I have to put the toys away.”

“That’s not nice, Nana. You have to SHARE. Sharing is nice.”

Ummmmm, that sort of was the point. All that repeating our conversation to each other a gazillion times…

“Nana, if you put the toys away and don’t share, you will need a time out.”

Sigh. Will someone PLEASE give me a time out?

Playing Favorites

I refuse to post any pictures.

I don’t want to take any and I don’t want to share any.

BUT, I do want to know if any of you are guilty of playing favorites. Come on. Be honest…

Do you try to give the impression that all of your children or grandchildren are equally loved? That none is more lovable than another? Uh huh…

Well, today I have a confession to make.

The plumber is my favorite.

He comes when he is called. He isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. (And I do mean dirty…). He doesn’t leave his tools out…when he is done, he leaves.

And I don’t even regret the exorbitant price I have to pay to get rid of the toilet paper clogging the pipe.

I know. Couldn’t it have been a toy? Or…rag or something? Did it really have to be toilet paper?

I told him we use Scott tissue. We even use the kind that is suitable for septic systems. He nodded. Complimented me on our choice of tissue. (Yay for me…)

When you have a bunch of little people…well, let’s just say that the plumbing can take a beating. I told our friendly plumber that I have had to call for de-clogging services at least three times since January.

Sigh…he told me that the roots are generating a separation in the sewer line…and that will need to be repaired…ugh…

I can now anticipate the digging up of my front yard. (Hopefully, my garden that wraps and winds around the yard will be spared…but who knows?)

But there IS a silver lining…since we live in St. Louis County, the repair is covered.

See why the plumber is my favorite?

 

Transitions

I do not like them. Nope.

Transitions are not on the list of my favorite things. I imagine I could find a way to make it seem like a positive thing, but really, don’t all transitions really have one thing in common?

You know…loss???

Each year, I seem to go through a transitional period with the little kids who joyfully come to my house so that I can coo with them, cuddle with them, teach them how to go potty, how to share, how to play nicely…you know…all that stuff that we do to with small children.

About the time the kids have learned to share, wash their hands independently AFTER going potty like such a big boy/girl, they are out the door and headed to pre-school.

Great. I do all the hard work, and those lucky pre-school teachers have it made in the shade. What do they DO all day?

Just kidding…believe me, I really am just kidding!

But the truth is that every day, I do my job. I love them and nurture them…cleaning their dirty bottoms and wiping their boogie noses. I sing and play and get all crazy with them. It’s my job and I love it.

But then we come to the transition.

At this point in life, they can talk, walk, self-feed, go potty…and some of them even get pretty good at talking smack and having a certain je ne sais quoi about coming to Nana’s house.

That is the transition. They are ready to move onward and upward. No longer is Nana’s house the magical place. They have outgrown their need for Nana.

It is a bittersweet period. While I am thankful that they have reached the pinnacle of life at Nana’s, it is still truly a sad reality that they are moving on and away from my care.

I am so proud of the big boys and big girls who are “leaving the nest” and going to the big school with the big playground and lots of toys and making new friends and learning even more about life and how to live it.

But I am sad, too. Those little chubby faces and pudgy fingers and toes are now toddler faces, with not so pudgy fingers and toes. They are not interested in nuzzling into my shoulder anymore. When I pick them up, they squirm to get down.

In the last three months, I have said good bye to “Australia” and now to “Vesuvius”. In the not too distant future, Bam Bam will be moving on to pre-school as well.

On the flip side, a new little bundle has just been born, and soon she will start her own journey with me. This little sister of two brothers who have already moved on from Nana’s house to pre-school and kindergarten.

These transitions are emotional for me and the parents. Tears and lumpy throats as we say good bye. But we also share a certain joy at the successes we have had as we learned all about each other and figured out how to draw out the wonderful strengths of each child and found ways to temper the not-so-wonderful things, so that in the end, each child could transition into the next leg of life’s journey with a bit more confidence.

Tomorrow will be our first day without our little volcanic eruptions. I don’t know exactly how that will look or sound, but we will figure it out and continue on this path we are on…step by step, until it is time for the next transition.

Saying good-bye to my little volcano

Saying good-bye to my little volcano

I REALLY Need a New Body!

I am waiting.

For a new body.

You see, my body is failing me.

I have a sore back. My glasses don’t correct my vision. I broke a tooth…well, technically, I broke the crown for my messed up tooth.

I have to take a bunch of medicine because different parts of my body don’t like to work the way they are supposed to without a little help.

Hey, I even have a cool, SWISS STAINLESS STEEL SCREW in my foot. Would YOU like a screw for your foot? Doubt it.

I have gone well beyond the stage of feeling invincible. I feel extraordinarily VINCIBLE. (I know, that isn’t a real word, but it works better than my body does…)

Several of my Facebook friends (yep, I have them, too) were sharing their physical ills and the need for divine intervention for relief from an array of bodily failings. Some serious. Many annoying. All impacting their quality of life.

Some of the comments were humorous…we are a funny group of women, after all. And it reminded of a cartoon I saw MANY years ago…

There was a long line of women in angelic robes…they were discussing their brand new heavenly bodies. One of the ladies muttered to the woman behind her, “I thought that my heavenly body would AT LEAST be THIN…”

As we commiserated with each other, several voiced the same desire…for that new, glorified, heavenly body we will receive when we are finally home with the Lord Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:1-3

English Standard Version (ESV)

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.

The promise in scripture about our old bodies being replaced with new bodies that will no longer become ill, or broken, or sinful is our great and confident hope as we wait for that great reunion, face to face with our Savior.

But as I considered that thought, of having a brand new body that would never break down and get old, I was again reminded of another spiritual truth…Jesus, although in heaven with a glorified body, still bears the scars of Calvary in His own body.

Why doesn’t He have a perfect, unbroken body now that He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God, the Father? Why does He still have scars in His hands, feet and side? Why is His face still marred from the beard that was torn from His face? Why are the marks still on His head from the crown of thorns that He wore?

Because Jesus, in His great love for each of us, chose to be the eternal Lamb that was slain for sin. While His believers look forward to those new bodies…we will also be seeing the visible proof of His love for us borne in His body through out eternity.

His love for His children is endless…so many times He could have chosen to leave us on our own without a remedy for our sin that separated us from Him. Yet, He left His throne, descended to this earthly realm and took on human form. The God-Man, Jesus, willingly separated Himself from His rightful home in heaven in order to physically make a way of escape for mankind from certain eternal death.

And He chose to continue to bear those scars as a reminder to us of His great love, so freely offered to us, yet at such a great cost.

In the Silence of Beginning
(The Lamb, Eternal, Slain)

By Chris Juby

In the silence of beginning
Spoke the love prepared to pay
So the wellspring of creation
Was the Lamb, eternal, slain
In the glory of the Godhead
As the universe was made
Was the promise of redemption
In the Lamb, eternal, slain

From the blood of righteous Abel
As the world gave way to hate
Every sin cried out for vengeance
For the Lamb, eternal, slain
By the code of temple worship
Sacrifice of blood was made
In that sacrifice, the shadow
Of the Lamb, eternal, slain

On the cross, in desolation
As he bore our sins away
Hear his prayer “Father, forgive them”
See the Lamb, eternal, slain
Through his blood we have forgiveness
For he died to take our place
Death itself has been defeated
By the Lamb, eternal, slain

Now alive in risen glory
Though the wounds of love remain
Holding out the Father’s mercy
Know the Lamb, eternal, slain
When that final kingdom trumpet
Heralds his triumphant reign
We will worship him forever
Hail the Lamb, eternal, slain

My FIRST DIY

There are a lot of DIYers out there nowadays. Apparently, the new IN thing is to do it yourself and then brag about it and write a “tute” and “pin” it on Pinterest.

I am not quite that immersed in the whole post and brag stuff on Pinterest, but I DO wholeheartedly live my life in the DIY realm. And I love, love, love Pinterest. (My husband is not quite as much of a fan…it just means more work…)

Let’s face it…I have more time and junk than money, and I am married to someone who views our roles in this way: I am the composer and he is the performer; I am the architect and he is the contractor; I am the designer and he follows my plans. And believe me, we make some pretty remarkable music together…when he follows the music and is in the right key. Or as long as this designer fully communicates the plan and has thought through all the ins and outs…

It wasn’t always this way. My need to save junk from the dumpster created a lot of opportunities for Superman to show exactly what he was/is made of…and I think he now actually loves all the positive reinforcement that gets showered on him for all of his hard work.

At least, I think he likes it…except for when I say, “I have a great idea…” and he is already in the middle of another of my great ideas. Sigh…my brain runs way too fast for my own good…

But once upon a time, he didn’t know about DIYs and didn’t really know how to build or fix much of anything. I probably didn’t either, but I thought I did…

I met my husband in September of 1978…I was a freshman in college and he was a big man on campus senior…there were a lot of things that we shared in terms of common interests, but not everything.

Let’s just say we grew up in two very different worlds…suburban St. Louis vs. middle of nowhere Nome, Alaska. Malls vs. Catalogs. Style vs. Necessity. Trees vs. Tundra. Hot Humidity vs. Frozen Precipitation. Fresh Fruit and Vegetables vs. Canned Everything.

How we hit it off is kind of still a mystery, since he thought clothing should only be blue and brown, and well…I love colors…all of them.

When we met, he looked just a little bit like Napolean Dynamite…

The ORIGINAL Napoleon Dynamite...

The ORIGINAL Napoleon Dynamite…

Tundra Man...note the cool dude shades and the super wide diy leather watch band...stylin' Nome style

Tundra Man…note the cool dude shades and the super wide diy leather watch band…stylin’ Nome style

But after we had been dating for awhile, things changed a little bit…and after almost two years, we successfully added TAN into his color scheme…And when we got married, well…the afro was significantly reduced in size, but not totally gone…

Wedding Day...new shades, new hair, new watch...mustache...yep

Wedding Day…new shades, new hair, new watch…mustache…yep

By the time we got married, he figured out that he really looked a lot better (not that he CARED) in the clothes I picked out, and he really didn’t enjoy buying his own clothes…(chuckling)…the floodgates of color opened…eventually adding in GRAY!

Little by little, colors became no big deal and we started working on patterns … colors were, and are, still a bit of a problem because he doesn’t understand that all blues cannot go together, nor should he EVER concoct his own outfit unless it was previously combined by ME…we still experience the major fail from time to time…

But now, he usually has hair that is sort of tame…although the afro returns fast if the hair gets too long…his glasses are not huge anymore…nor are they shaded…and when he wears a watch, it is a normal watch that is bought at a store…the whole sock issue is still problematic as he really likes his white-over-the calf athletic socks…

But I threw them away…hehehehe…

Before and After…what a handsome job on my first real DIY…

Nathan 3

Nathan 6And he even smiles while he works…
I sure love this guy!