At least it’s cleaner than it used to be

For the first five months of pregnancy, I was eating every hour and a half or so to keep the nausea down. In the last month or so, that seems to have eased. Big blessing. I was getting absolutely nothing done, because I was always on tenterhooks as to whether the smell, sight or presence of.. well ANYTHING would make me sick. Never mind that I was only violently sick once and that it was most likely due to trying to take my vitamins in the morning– lesson learned there. In the last month, I’ve been working on the house, slowly but surely. During Keeley’s nap time, or her 1/2 hour cartoon in the morning, while she’s pokily eating breakfast, lunch, or one of her many snacks throughout the day– I see what I can ‘fill the gap’ with. The kitchen is my downfall. It’s huge (for us), because of course it includes the dining room and kind of flows near the laundry and garage area, so everything kind of lands there. Forget to go through the mail or put stuff in the pantry and all the sudden you’re moving stacks of paper to make dinner. Argh. It’s been better lately, though.

I keep a paper sack for paper recycling right by the trash can. If stuff doesn’t get sorted through immediately and recycled when Matt brings it in at night, I work on it the next morning or while something is heating in the microwave for lunch. Bills go on my desk to be paid, stuff that needs filed goes on the stairs to take upstairs to be filed (at least it’s off the counter), and magazines go to the bathrooms to be perused whilst sitting still with nothing better to do. I’m getting a lot better at getting all the yucky dishes either to the sink or in the dishwasher. The biggest key is getting the dishwasher emptied. I rarely forget to run it, but getting it emptied is another thing altogether. It takes only a few minutes, but sometimes it seems like a huge chore. With my belly growing exponentially, there’s not much room between the dishwasher and the counter to step in and put stuff away. Pretty soon I’ll have to unload TO the counter and then close it, and put it away from there. Oy. Anyway, I’ve managed to do the ‘it won’t go in the dishwasher’ dishes pretty much every day lately. Although I hate running water for dishes every day, it does keep the smell down, and it feels good to have all that stuff at least washed up, if not put away. The recycling is another big thing, it kind of piles up if I’m not careful, so while I’m waiting for laundry to switch over, or just passing through, I try and take our bottles and tin cans and plastic stuff out to the garage. It’s just right outside the door, so it’s not difficult. Oftentimes during dinner if there’s an open spot, I’ll just step out and put the stuff I’ve been using out there, but there are other people in the house, and they don’t always think to toss things out there right away, so they can pile up– especially on weekends. So at the beginning of every week, now, I’m picking up the floor (cardboard), piling bottles in my arms and disposing of them in their proper place.Now, getting to the recycling center in town.. that’s a completely different story.

Doing the dishes and recycling seems to make the kitchen look 100% better, though. I’ve been sweeping under Keeley’s chair pretty much every other day. The first day there might be crumbs, but by the 2nd it’s like land mine central around/under the table. How she misses her mouth so much is beyond me. I’ve decided that mopping is a chore I’m only going to do once a month. Doing it more than that is pointless. I’m sweeping the whole kitchen pretty much every other week, if not weekly, basically when it feels gritty to my bare feet, and yes, I’m almost always bare footed. Vacuuming has now become a beginning of the week chore, too. We tend to migrate to the living room a lot on the weekends, and crumbs and dirt seem to wind up there a lot by Monday morning. I’m watering the plant on Mondays. In the last few weeks I’ve been picking ONE thing that desperately needs done and doing it. So far the front fascia of the fridge, dishwasher, oven, the freezer, washer, and dryer in the laundry room all have been cleaned off. After a year, they had food, dirt and general ick just all over them. This week I scrubbed the kitchen sink with a steel wool pad thing. Most of the water spots from our hard water days are now gone and it looks pretty good, overall– I typically clean it out before and after washing the dishes, but not with the grime buster, just a rag to wash out the gunk, so it needed done pretty badly. The microwave, inside of the oven and fridge, and the bathroom tub are the final frontiers. Then the windows all need their yearly scrubbing. I refuse to do it more than that. Let’s face it, in 15 seconds after I clean the windows, I’m going to have face and hand prints all over them. It’s useless to try and keep them spotless.

My parents have been coming monthly to watch Keeley during our pre-natal appointments. This spurs me to do last minute tidying I don’t generally take time for, and to go upstairs and see what’s collected up there. Since I’m rarely up there, I find it hard to blame myself for the mess, but sometimes the upstairs bathroom is used and needs cleaned, the towel needs brought down and washed, and so on. Pretty soon, this whole area will get more use, and it will become a habit to get up there and clean, but for right now I ignore it most of the time. Bathrooms are getting a wipedown around the time mom and dad come, too. The guest bathroom is rarely dirty, Keeley’s pretty much the only one that uses it, and we’re in and out of there all the live-long day, so it doesn’t collect much of anything. Our bathroom has a habit of keeping magazines, but I go through those before recycling day, so once a month or so that gets a good ‘pile your arms full’ of stuff and cleaned out. I went through all the drawers and the linen closet a couple of months back, too, so that’s been done. All my clothes have been gone through, I have a dresser top full of clothes to donate to good will, but we haven’t made it there yet. Keeley’s room gets a good run through once a week, as does ours, when I vacuum. There’s not a lot extra kept in there, so by the time I pick up stuff to vacuum, it either finds another home, or it’s something to be washed or put away. No biggie.

Keeley got a big talking to yesterday about keeping her toys picked up in the living room. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s getting dangerous for me, because I can’t always see where I’m going. I’ve tried to get her to keep her ‘kitchen stuff’ to all stay in the kitchen, her little play sink and grocery cart are there. She has a big tub for stuffed animals, and they go back to her room, she picks a few favorites to sleep with at bed time and nap time, so it’s good for those to go back in the evening as well. I think it’s mostly the bits and pieces things that drive me nuts. She has a play flashlight. Talk about a walking hazard, it’s round and smooth, and perfect for mom falling on her kiester if she’s not careful and steps on it. The little plastic rings that hold toys to the car seat? Somehow a half a dozen or so of them have made it to the living room, she carries those around and chews on them for God knows what reason. They’re just in the way. Tennis balls, a random stress reliever thing, and so on just kind of junk up the play area. It all gets picked up at least once a week so I can vacuum, and we work on doing it every so often otherwise, but I’m determined that it will be cleaned up before bed. At least then during my night-time wanderings I know I won’t hurt myself.

I know that all of this will go by the wayside when the baby is born. Crumbs will be there more often, dishes will sit a bit longer, but for now, pre-baby, we’re keeping a little bit tighter ship. Whoever shows up to help when I go into labor wont’ find week old dishes and wonder whether to wash them, or throw them away. Hopefully the baby will pick a time when everything has just been cleaned and we’ve all had a great night’s sleep, giving us tons of time to get help to arrive for Keeley and to get to the hospital semi-reasonably rested. Then we can all focus on the kids, and not on the ‘oh my God, I didn’t do xyz and it’s a nightmare at our house’… thing. It may not always be perfect, but, hey, it’s cleaner than it used to be.

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