Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Survival

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I am NOT a summer girl.  Basically, summer is the "brace yourselves.. summer is here" type of season for me.  The heat, humidity, and the pressure to be having fun makes me nervous.

Not that I'm opposed to having fun.  I just generally start to feel like I'm having fun when I get in the car to go home so the air conditioning can blast my sweaty hair back from my cute pudgy little face.

But I admire it. them. the summer people.  You know, the superheroes.  The ones that take their entire family hiking on a hot day to Devil's Lake and aren't puking at the end of it. (this may or may not have happened to me a few years ago when one of our sons was dating the daughter of a superhero family) But I digress..

So, how do we survive? Well, it's called the 90 minute blitz.

Wait. What? You just said you were hot, tired and not a superhero, so why increase it to 90 minutes?

Stay with me, my hot-flash girls.. this is exactly what I did every day last week.  It really worked.  I did absolutely everything for the day in 90 minutes right after coffee in the MORNING.  Took a shower after the blitz and vegged out for the rest of the day, unless I had to work.  And I work in air conditioning and not for very long, so all is good.

You can easily pare down your life to 90 minutes worth of work every day, unless you have little critters to watch over.  But you get the point-- taking care of the house does not HAVE to be an all day adventure.

In 90 minutes, I could fold one load of laundry and put it away.  ( I usually can throw a load of towels and run the dryer throughout the day, which doesn't count for the 90 minutes)  I make my bed and wipe down the bathroom.  I go to the kitchen and load/ reload/ hand wash whatever and set something in the crockpot for dinner or plan to stop at the store and get something on the way home from work.  Pick up and tidy the living room, and then that's it.  Every other day--sweep/ mop as needed.

One day a week, I force myself to do more stuff because eventually you have to clean the fridge and do more laundry or organize something.  But when the weather is this hot, I save the hard stuff for later.  Unfortunately for me, my day to do more stuff is Monday, which is today.  But the rest of the week? I will be vegging by noon--  probably hanging out at my neighbor's pool with an iced latte.

I'll work a few hours also, but that's just fun for me.  Yes, I consider my work "fun".  So, that, my friends, is a non-summer girl's version on how to survive summer.  

Monday, June 25, 2018

We still blitz!!!

As pathetic as I am with routines, I actually have what-feels-like-spontaneous routine.  One of the ways I keep it lively around here is to keep the messes looking different each week.  Never create a mess that can't be conquered in a one hour blitz.

So, what is a one-hour blitz?  I wrote a long post about here.  But in general, it is a focused work time that does it's best to keep hands on tasks contained in one hour.  I have chosen not to do any type of sit-down work during a blitz.  So anything that involves a phone, a computer, a telephone or heavy thinking or journaling is not blitz-worthy.

Here is an example of how I use the blitz concept in my daily life.  Today, this is what it looked like:

1. Unload the dishwasher and put away all clean dishes.  EW what IS that smell in the kitchen???
2. Reload dishwasher and run it.  Smell is STILL here.
3. Clean off countertops.
4. Take out trash.  THAT was the smell.
5. Handwash dishes that can't go in dishwasher.

At this point, it was 30 minutes.  If I were pressed for time, I might have just stopped at 30 minutes.

Since it was a Monday, and I always talk to my Mom on Mondays, I just did a casual blitz while I talked to my mom on the phone.

While I was talking, I managed to make my bed, put away some laundry, tidy up the bathroom and finish the hand wash.  I really don't know how long I was talking to her, so then when I got off, I really did set my timer again.

So, there we go again.  60 minutes set.

1. Actually cleaned the bathroom
2. Put in a load of laundry
3. Cleaned and put away all the extra stuff in living room
4. swept livingroom, kitchen and bathroom
5. Mopped all of those rooms
6. changed the laundry out.
7. done for the day.

So, am I a perfect homemaker? Not. even. close.  Do I buzz around and make the house look decent once in a while? sure! Will it looked completely trashed tomorrow? probably.  But the one hour blitz seems to save my hide every day.

Monday, June 18, 2018


A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to visit her cousin, Eric.  Eric lives in a far away land on the mountains of Sparta, Wisconsin.  I know. I know.  Wisconsin does not technically have mountains, but go along with me on this one.

When Eric retired from his military service, he was looking for the perfect place to live to enjoy his retirement.  It was because of a detour in the road that he passed by this beautiful country.  And he fell in love with it.  It took him 10 years, but the little shack that he purchased is a fully equipped, beautifully decorated retreat type of home.  But it's never so simple.  My dear cousin is somewhat challenged by health issues.  He's in chronic pain and can't eat.  Once a glorious chef, serving at the Pentagon, now he can't even enjoy the food that he still knows how to make.

So, what do you do then?  And this is where we all need to take a page from his book.  Instead of worrying about what you can't do, cook, eat or enjoy, you really just shift your focus to what you CAN enjoy.  Eric has a little world of his own up there on that mountain that he calls "the Relaxarium".  It's a home with a big wrap around porch that overlooks one of the most breathtaking views in the midwest.  He sits quietly surrounded by hummingbirds who perch.  There's a feisty cat named "Felix" who roams the wild and lives in the barn.  There's a deer or two frolicking in the fields.  There are orioles and many other birds who come by.  Most of his time is spent enjoying the outdoors and interacting with the creatures that come to visit.  He handed both my mom and I our "entry cards" for the Relaxarium.  Yes, we really did spend the night at his beautiful home.

We stayed up late hearing stories.  Stories of war and service and adventure and freedom.  Stories of traveling through Europe and meeting friends.  Stories of love and love lost.  Stories of faith and finding faith.  Stories of cancer and survival. and hopes for the future.

As it is with most visits, I come home changed. I  realized that I, too, need a relaxarium--an outdoor space for relaxation.  I need to slow down, look for birds, listen for the crickets, adopt a stray kitten and just.. relax.