Archive | February 2010

The Little Room

In our house there’s a tiny room that my husband and I have no idea what the do with. It is the third “bedroom” upstairs, but it has no closet and is so small that no real person could possibly live in there.

Friends have kindly (and repeatedly) pointed out that it could be a nursery, but we are definitely not ready for that yet…

Since we moved into the house (which was nearly a year ago), the “little room” has evolved into what can best be described as the “crap room.” It is  filled to the brim with random stuff that has never been unpacked, which has now been combined with everything else that we don’t know what to do with.

I thought it would be an amazing surprise for my husband if I came up with something to do to the little room, cleaned it up and actually made that happen while he was in London. But, my husband is coming home tomorrow and I didn’t even open the door to the little room until a few hours ago.

I did manage to throw a bunch of stuff away and relocate empty boxes to the basement, making the room look mildly less like a hurricane just passed through it. But I have a feeling that the “wow” factor I was going for is not going to come together in time. Particularly since I still have no clue what to do in there.

It was a nice thought, though, and it’s the thought that counts, right?

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Tip #6

6. Some things not to do: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

I’ll be honest, I am lacking quite a lot when it comes to #6.

Work from home means that the amount of verbal interaction I have with people each day is lacking. So when my husband arrives home, I basically attack him with a verbal onslaught of the excitement or challenges I have faced that day.  Like how I got a new lipstick for 12 cents thanks to a major sale combined with a super coupon. Or promising news about a new client. Or how difficult the woman at the post office was (not that this is news). Needless to say, I tend to ramble on — I am sure he wants to know what I had for lunch and that I took out the recycling, right?

It is not only on this first component that I fail miserably. I can say with certainty that I have never told my husband he should go lie down when he came home from work, although I do often suggest he take his shoes off. But, I expect him to take on that daunting task all by himself. Especially after accidentally smelling his slippers the other day…

I’ve never really paid much attention to the voice I use, but I think it is just my regular voice, which is not probably not low, soft, soothing and pleasant.

All in all, I am terrified by Tip 6. It’s like a Stepford wife, all wrapped up into one small paragraph. I am definitely not going to be “improving” myself to be better at this one.

Atonement

After the last post, I felt kind of guilty for having so many dirty dishes (and letting people know about them). So, in an effort to atone for my home economic sins, I decided that I would not only do the dishes, but I would clean the stove.

For weeks cleaning the stove has been on the list of things that we “really need to do this weekend.” But “this weekend” has come and gone about seven times. Today, some sort of inner strength emerged and I decided that I was finally up for the challenge.

After many spritzes of lemony 409, I was able to scrub off the majority of the greasy grime. I only wish I could post a picture to show how clean it is since no one is around to appreciate it but me.

Alas, the camera tagged along on my husband’s business trip making my new goal keeping it this clean until Sunday when my husband gets back. But I’m guessing he won’t even notice…

Home versus London…

My darling husband is on a business trip. In London. Have I mentioned that I hate him a little? I mean, I love him, but I am finding myself just a wee bit jealous.

Here is a list of challenges that have presented themselves when I am working from home while my hubby is gallivanting the globe:

• If it weren’t for jazzercise, I might not have used my voice for the last three days. (Of course that’s not counting the voices in my head, but they are too numerous to count anyway.)

• I have to prepare breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and snacks for myself. Every day. My husband does a good job of incorporating vegetables into our diet, but when I eat alone, I just don’t have the energy or really care that much. Consequently, I don’t think I have been getting all the proper nutrition — where do crescent roll wrapped sausages fall in the food pyramid?

• As a follow-up on the previous comment, I don’t have a whole lot of will power when it comes to food, so I am impressed with myself that I haven’t been so lazy that I am resorting to eating out everyday. But it is only day three and he won’t be back for four more days!

• No one is around to pretend to be excited when I save a ridiculous amount of money at the grocery store (thank you super double coupon day).

• Keeping a proper schedule of time devoted to “real” work, house work and relaxing has become a challenge. There is no one to complain if I am working on a project at 11 pm at night. Conversely, I have not felt very guilty for watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County at 9 am. Don’t judge me.

• If I wear sweatpants “to work” and sweatpants to jazzercise. Is it worth it to do laundry?

• Is there a point where the dishes decide to do themselves? I think I’m getting close … if I can just hold out a little bit longer…

Tip #5

5. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.

Although my ability to succeed at #4 was a bit on the questionable side, I seriously pass tip #5! I rarely vacuum, so I can honestly say that I never have that loud contraption running when my husband arrives home.

Although we have a dishwasher, typically I am the dishwasher (although my husband definitely chips in a fair bit of the time), which means that the dishwasher is never running when he arrives home because she is typically at jazzercise.

The washer and dryer are in the basement, so even if they were in the midst of a cycle, my husband would be unlikely to hear them. In fact, I recently determined that I was going to do the laundry less frequently since I’m working from home. I asked my husband if he had enough clothes to go for more than a week after I forgot to do laundry one weekend.

“Oh yeah, I could go for three weeks with a little notice,” he said.

“Great, that’s good to know.”

“It’s a little tricky,” he added, “since I only have 10 pairs of underwear, but it could be done.”

Given his wry sense of humor, he could have been joking or being sarcastic, but I’ve also found that his sarcasm usually belies some truth. So with that disturbing information, combined with fear that he might resort to his decade-old tighty (not-so) whiteys, I vowed to make an effort to do laundry more frequently than every three weeks after all … I had won the battle against the tighty whiteys years ago and I didn’t want to give him any reason that they should resurface.

Per the final component, “be happy to see him,” I should get an A+. Be happy to see him? Typically I am thrilled beyond belief since he is tends to be the only “real” person I will hold an actual conversation with all day — you’ve already met Snoopy and Eeyore; they don’t cut it (just don’t tell them that). Also I tend to see him when I am famished from jazzercise and he’s at the stove making dinner. I don’t see any point in drawing the fine line between being happy to see him and being happy to see him making dinner for me.

Step 5, I have mastered you!

Tip #4

4. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Succeeding at tip #4 is quite a challenge since we don’t have children. But I thought, “I’ve gotten this far and been mildly successful. I will not let this minor glitch stand in my way!”

So in an attempt to keep order with our “little treasures,” I do my best to arrange the stuffed animals (in order of importance): Snoopy the snuggly, Eeyore the irascible (think Donkey from Shrek), and the lab puppies Sunny and Shady (they’re fraternal twins) so they can “greet” my husband at the end of each work day.

Trust me, he really appreciates this. Well, maybe he doesn’t, but I really appreciate it and he humors me.

While I don’t wash their faces and paws/hoofs, I do run them through the dryer every once in a while. Mostly they are adorable, particularly Snoopy who I have had since I was two. But sometimes Eeyore has a potty mouth (usually involving the word “a$$.” Shocking.) and needs a time-out on the “naughty donkey chair.” As far as the twins go, Shady is much better behaved than Sunny, and just like “real” dogs, they like bad smelling breath. Unlike “real” dogs they occasionally dance to theme songs during television shows — CSI’s “Who Are You?” being one of their favorite tunes to get down to.

As far as “little treasures” go, this crew is keeping us entertained for the time being. And when my husband comes home they are very, very quiet.

Snowmageddon 2010

Ways in which I was an exceptional wife during Snowmageddon 2010:

• Got up at 5 a.m. with my husband to help him install a contraption to catch the snow blowing into our skylight vent and falling into the bathroom. (Note: my husband had actually gotten up at 5am, I crawled out of bed at 5:20 after there were some crashing sounds.)

• Baked an applesauce coffee cake from scratch for breakfast — for guests! And we ate at a cleared dining room table! (2 stars!)

• Watched, terrified and with cell phone in hand, as my husband went onto the porch roof to dismantle our self-detached gutter and then shovel two-plus feet of snow off of it.

• Stood on the front porch for 20 minutes so our Garmin could “see the sky” and connect with the GPS signal so that we could use it for a roadtrip we couldn’t take thanks to Snoverkill.

• Again watched, terrified with cell phone in hand, as my husband busted through our roof hatch and climbed onto our actual roof to wrap our skylight vent in an old orange shower curtain with the help of butterfly clips and duct tape. Then continued to be horrified as he shoveled snow off the roof and leaned out to knock off icicles.

• Baked a roll of cinnamon buns that had expired sometime in 2009 so that my husband could have a warm breakfast after his adventures on the roof. They were still gooey goodness.

• Baked an apple cake to share with my husband’s brother and sister-in-law. My husband gets credit for peeling and cutting the apples.

• Washed a load of wet, sweaty clothes thanks to snow and exertion during the many periods of shoveling that occurred between Friday and Thursday.

• Baked cinnamon-spice oatmeal cookies so that the oven would help make the house extra warm (and we’d have warm cookies).

• I did not pass out or repeatedly say “Oh my god” when my husband’s finger was slashed open by a snow shovel. I stood by semi-calmly (averting my eyes from the bloody mess and taking deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating) and handed him anti-bacterial cream, band-aids, sticks for splints and tape.

• Walked to and from the grocery store through snow and ice to refill the refrigerator on Friday following Snoverkill 2010. (Note: I made my husband make a store trek on Monday between storms. I really didn’t want to have to wait in the line.)