Posts Tagged ‘weekends’

For the uninitiated, that’s short for Pottery Barn and TJ Maxx, parent company of my new favorite store Home Goods. (Mr. Official is very thankful there isn’t a Home Goods in our county :-).) PB’s catalogs are a constant source of inspiration to me, although I rarely feel the urge to splurge on the real deal.  Nor do I typically follow through on the good  and crafty ideas they put in my head.  But sometimes, they catch me in just the right mood. Even better is when the aforementioned stores have stocked up on some great imitations of PB trends.

Case in point: we have built-in bookshelves in our den and I consider them both a blessing and a curse. When we moved in, I arranged our books and a few “objets d’art” in them, but didn’t spend a lot of time or thought on composition. Fast-forward two years (yes, it’s been two years!) and last week I found myself staring at the same arrangement, and mentally comparing it to the gorgeous photos in every PB catalog. It didn’t help my mood that we were braced for another dreary, rainy weekend. (TYVM, Mother Nature.)

So before the sun came out and dried off all the rain, I got busy inside.  This is the “before” shot:   IMG_3898-001
And this is what happened after I dragged everything off the shelves and re-arranged it:
IMG_3903-002The funny thing is, there isn’t much new in there:  the painting in the upper left corner is from a wildly fun Girls-Night-In craft-a-thon that Swimmer Girl and I participated in on Friday. I bought the ginormous “L” and the mirror, and a little chippy antique-looking cube. Everything else was either in the attic or somewhere else in the house. (And yes, the cords drive me nutsy, too. Somewhere in our garage is a kit to cover those hideous things, and since I’m in the prettifying mood, I may be motivated enough to go find it.)

I also found myself in the mood for new pillows, so the couches got a much-needed boost, too, with fraction-of-the-PB-price knockoffs from TJ Maxx & Marshall’s. The coffee table got a new candle holder; the hourglass and basket-o-balls were already on hand:
IMG_3904Even the sunroom got sunnier with some yellows and blues:
IMG_3906The mantel is updated, but not quite ready for its photo shoot (next Monday, I hope.) After this whirlwind of activity, it looked like a Home Goods store had dumped its load in my den. But I had to switch gears and spend the rest of Saturday shoveling mulch and spreading pine needles. By nightfall, I managed to summon the stamina to stow all the tubs away in the attic before collapsing in a warm bathtub myself.

The forecast for this weekend is … drumroll, please … more rain. And a graduation.  At least inside we’re ready to welcome summer whenever it is ready to come and stay for a while.

Happy Monday,


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I often joke about my trio of ne’er-do-well fairies: cleaning, cooking and laundry.  The truth is, I struggle with maintaining our home.  I can and do occasionally turn into a cleaning fool, and deep clean and organize to the nth degree.

I know the value of “PEEP” place for everything

(You know, “a Place for Everything and Everything in its Place.”)

Our new home makes that a little easier to do, but even with more storage, my shoes wind up covering the floor of my closet (Mr. Official is truly thankful we no longer share a closet, I’m sure.)  The daily mail may wind up in its designated spot, or somewhere on the kitchen table or island.  And it might hang out there for a day or two or ten.

Did you know?  Dust bunnies multiply almost as fast as their real-life counterparts, especially under beds and couches and chairs.  It’s a fact and I have the evidence to prove it.

However, my view of housekeeping has evolved over time.  In the beginning of our marriage, I viewed it as a chore to be delayed as long as possible, then I would dole out just enough of my precious time to get the job done.  Done well, but not happily.  Repeat as needed.

Then I realized that while I didn’t like cleaning the house, I really do like having a clean house.  For some enlightened people, that is the moment when a cleaning service enters their life.  I salute them for making the obvious and wise choice; it’s just not in my nature to go that route.

A few years ago, I decided to dig into what bugs me most about cleaning.  I thought long and hard about which chore(s) I despised most, and why.

Truthfully?  No single chore fills me with dread.  When I thought about it, I can’t say I hate any specific task, and some are pleasant..or at least it’s pleasant to step back and admire the results of some of them.

So why the foot dragging? Mostly, I begrudge giving up time.  Which is why I struggle with FlyLady’s method.  I’m all about cleaning my kitchen daily (and I thank her for the shiny sink routine), but I just can’t bring myself to stop everything and do a prescribed task each morning and evening.  For starters, I am not convinced a bathroom is really clean after 15 minutes of effort.  Nor can I do a whole-house blessing in an hour each week.  I’ve tried, I’ve failed.  More than once.  And once I start, I’m sucked into a half-day cleaning marathon.  I’d rather knock it all out at once, rather than do a bit here and there, and never feel my house is totally clean. Shrug.  I know it works for some – just not for me.

And so I spent most of Saturday catching up on housework I had postponed in favor of spring gardening and maintaining a schedule filled past capacity for the past several weeks.  Mr. Official and Oldest Son made plans to head to my mother-in-law’s for yard work; my inner child would have preferred to tag along and be in or next to her pool for the day, but my dusty baseboards and baskets of unfolded clothes won out.  I vacuumed, cleaned baseboards, mopped, caught up the laundry, dusted, cleaned our bathroom and the guest bath, and gave the kitchen a once-over, then headed to the store for a few groceries.

By the time I was done, I still had some daylight to water the garden and play in the dirt for a bit.  Not as refreshing as a day at the pool, but summer hasn’t officially begun yet, and there will be other days for that.

So if you’re a housework dodger or hater, take heart.  And take stock:  ask yourself what you dislike about housework.  Your honest appraisal may surprise you and start you on an evolutionary path as it did me.

Happy cleaning,

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Days that live in infamy

I’m too young to remember Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Or Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775.

Or Fort Sumter, South Carolina on January 9, 1861.

But I do remember my generation’s day that “lives in infamy,” as President Roosevelt famously put it so many years ago.

It started out a typical Wednesday morning on September 11, 2001, when our nation was suddenly under deadly attack.  I remember returning home from carpool and watching in disbelief and horror as one, then two towers crumbled and fell.

I remember the horrific sight of a plane slammed into the Pentagon.  And another plane crash-landing in a Pennsylvania field.

All my life I’ve heard people say, “freedom isn’t free.”  But on that fateful day, I saw first-hand the awful price of freedom.  It was exacted in the blood of my fellow countrymen and women who happened to be on the wrong plane or in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Since that day, freedom’s price has continued to be bought through brave men and women who choose to stand in harm’s way to keep us safe.

On that September day, all I wanted to was drive to back to the schools and grab my kids out of their classes and hold them tight.  But I wasn’t sure the teachers or students were aware of what had happened, and I didn’t want to panic them.  So I watched and waited, paced and bit my nails until it was time to pick them up.  And then I hugged and held them.  And told them I didn’t know why this happened anymore than they did.

As the days and weeks, months and years have passed, the details of that day are no longer as achingly sharp as they were ten years ago. But every time I see a soldier, or hear our national anthem, or see my country’s flag flying, I remember.  Vividly.  When we visited NYC in December 2007, I peeked past the construction fence at Ground Zero.  And I remembered.

Every day I thank God for this country–for the freedoms we have and hold, and often take for granted. May God continue to patiently protect us, and may we and our leaders turn to Him to seek wisdom and His favor in the decisions that affect us all.

And I am thankful – this day and every day – for the sacrifice paid by so many men and women on that day and in the days that have followed.  I don’t know what makes someone a true hero, but I am convinced each of these men and women deserves our respect, our thoughts, our prayers, and our gratitude.

In remembrance,

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Granted, the math doesn’t work, but let’s hope my plans do.

As of today, there are eight precious weekends before Labor Day weekend. (And I am determined that Labor Day weekend is not going to be a weekend of labor for us this year.)

So what loose ends do I really really want to wrap up by the time the Vols kick off their opening game in 50 days?

  • Finish refinishing a bedroom dresser. After languishing for a year, this has drifted to the top of my priority list only because I am tired of feeling guilty every time I pass it in the garage.
    • Put the finishing touches on our new master bathroom: paint walls, hang a shelf, re-do the cabinet storage and hang a chandelier. Easy peasy, right?  Don’t answer that.
      • Recover the dining room seat cushions. By hook or by crook, they’re gonna get done this summer. I have the new foam cushions, I just need fabric and some quality time with the staple gun.
        • Power wash and paint the porch rails and front door. This is one of those jobs I really have to psych myself up for. But the good thing is, the porch stays shady all day long.
          • Find the perfect couch for Mr. Official’s man cave.  It will make it the bees’ knees up there.  And once it’s installed upstairs, the final loose end for the summer is….
            • Paint the stairwell areas and hang pictures. I promised myself these areas should wait until we were moved in. Well, we’re moved in and the days are slipping past.

              So there you have it:  my top weekend projects to finish before September 2, not counting the garage cleanout at the old place.  Most of these will take about a weekend to do, if I use my time wisely (and maybe get a little help. Hint, hint.)

              I just noticed that everything except #3 and #5 involves paint or stain. Guess I better stock up on brushes and rollers and paint thinner.  Joy.

              But I’m not going to think about any of these until we wrap up the next housewarming party, which happens tomorrow night.  It’s gonna be great to see some old friends of ours and get acquainted with some other Friday night football widows as the men in striped shirts swap gridiron war stories.

              Happy project-ing!

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              Around here, summer is generally bookended in by Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.  If we’re lucky, July 4th lands on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday and creates a tri-fected mid-summer long weekend. (The odds are in our favor on that one.)

              But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As of this weekend, we can now officially herald the beginning of true summer weather here in middle Tennessee, and most of the U.S. (But not Chicago and the entire state of Colorado – I’ve seen enough cold temps and even snow in late May in those areas to exclude them from that sweeping generalization.)

              And for places farther south of here, summer begins much earlier as this popular list declares:

              Mr. Official and I typically spend the summer holiday weekends grinding away on one or more projects that we are eager to tackle.  This year, we have a plethora of projects to choose from:  fences, moving stuff, and setting up for our all-summer VBS (aka SBV) at church. Or all of the above.

              Amid the hustle and bustle, I hope we all take some time to pause and remember and honor those for whom this weekend is specifically dedicated.  Our country is so richly blessed with freedoms and liberties that other nations don’t dare dream of having.  I fear familiarity breeds contempt and our personal freedoms are being traded for the illusion of security, which – as Ben Franklin put it, if you sacrifice one for the other, you deserve neither.  (Smart man, that Mr. Franklin.  We could use a few more like him these days.)

              I pray for all our troops actively serving in foreign lands.  A few of you I know, most of you I do not.  But I do deeply appreciate the job you do and the dangers you face with courage and conviction.  May God bless you and your families, and keep you safe while you keep us safe.

              Now, if I can just make sure I don’t blink and miss summer as it revs up into high gear and speeds along toward Labor Day weekend, pausing just long enough to celebrate the 4th of July in between.

              Happy weekend and happy summer!

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              My favorite afternoon of the year

              I confess: I absolutely, positively adore Daylight Saving Time. I wish we stayed on it year-round and just made it the new norm. But since we don’t, each year I get to welcome my old friend when DST comes back. It’s kind of like the first M&M out of the bag – for some reason, it’s just a little more enjoyable than all the others – although the rest of them are plenty delightful too.

              Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”

              It’s true that I do not necessarily care so much for the first couple of mornings of DST, but I will take the trade-off of having the extra hour of light that extends the afternoon into early evening. It makes the day seem longer.  Yes, I know the day isn’t any longer, and yes, I know we don’t even really get an “extra hour” of daylight. but it sure is an extra hour of daylight that I’m awake and able to fully enjoy, and somehow the days seem longer when you stay outside later.

              Happy spring-ing forward!

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