Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm out of excuses, and not ready to confess that I just don't like being online much, except to hack into innocent people's accounts of course, so I need to stretch my promise a wee bit thinner. Moxie's undergoing a little makeover. It will be worth it...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday, Hold the Mania

Manic Cleaning Saturday has been canceled this week while we mourn the one year anniversary of Sidney Josephine, Debe's baby daughter who was lost and born still, and for whom many hearts still ache. This is an unconscionably difficult marker of time for a mother with empty arms.

Debe received the Super Sized Deluxe Douche Bag Snub when her daughter died, by the infamous maggots squirming in hatred in our community, and received virtually no support, because she is my friend. Nevertheless, she is an amazing, dynamic woman, truly one in bazillion, and many have adopted her into a genuine loving core of people who are holding her up, sharing her grief, and we are dedicating these few days to remembering Sidney, how real and wanted she was, crying for her absence, and eating a lot of sugar.

I did clean Debe's house while she was out today, so it's fair to say you can't take the Moxie out of the girl, but it sure puts clutter and smudges in perspective.

Please cast your cleaning stress aside, if only for a moment, and send a thought to this mama, so dear to many, and the baby girl who will live forever in her heart, but tragically, not among us. Debe wants everyone to squeeze your kids, and to remember that evil has no place in motherhood.

In the midst of grief, I must express my immense pride in the strength of this woman, despite being surrounded so much poison, for being a wonderful mama to her son Sorren (three), a stellar friend, and inarguably the most hilarious human being on earth.

Our hats are off to you, our hearts are with you, and our memories will forever include your precious Sidney.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Spotlight: 500 Things

My dearest Dana and I have an inside understanding (dysfunction) known as "500 things." These things are very real, very individual, and very much inspire us to do anything else. And I mean anything. Now these things are non-negotiable, such as: Register the kids for school, and Dana has been known to have a yard sale or lay a patio instead.

We all procrastinate. In my experience, the number one victim of neglect amongst my peers is ...wait for it... cleaning. Surprised? Me neither.

You all know I can clean all day long. In fact it's usually stopping that creates a problem, but no matter the satisfaction I derive from sparkling digs, the "500 things" are always looming. I operate in myriad modes. By rote, Post-Its, Post-Its on Post-Its, lists on beautiful paper with retro birds, napkins, my hand, and then the things that need no writing, such as break down the refrigerator box on the porch which prevents both entrance as well as exit. I will dodge all of these as long as possible, and in the interest of solidarity with Dana, and relating to my mamas who feel bad for avoiding cleaning like H1N1, I decided to post my Master List, the most urgent tasks, those which are virtually unrecognizable (and inaudible) under the dust.

Even Reilly has her own delay tactics. (Like mama like baby.)

The following drudgery originates from my "Massive OMG To Do List!" And I've listed the corresponding chores into whose comforting bosom I fled in order to deny them.

-Go to the bank = Clean some else's five story all wood house.

-Shop for a 13 year old's birthday gift for Reilly = Sort and toss ALL of our candles.

-Paint dresser = Scrub 17 (not kidding) shampoo/conditioner bottles, tension rod, etc.

-Call Chemeketa = Climb onto the refrigerator to kick some dust ass and align caddies.

-Call insurance company = Lose my list inside a magazine.

-Put the KROC Center key fab thing on my key chain = Gut our entire school inventory.

-Arrange portraits for the kids = Wash and bleach all waste baskets in the world.

-Call three different friends to get kids together = Getting rid of SO MANY CLOTHES.

-Call anyone = Have a garage sale.

-Call in two refills = Have another garage sale.

-Shop for knobs = Get Reilly's hair cut.

-Return sheets = Get Quinn's hair cut.

-Learn photoshop = Scrub the kitchen floor with bleach on my hands and knees.

-Make the one phone call that will land $2,000 in my hands = Rearrange laundry room.

-Send my new phone in for a new phone = Drink six gallons of bleach.

-Literally, look in my DVD folder for Howard's End (two seconds) = Helping others go through old clothes and delivering bags of hand-me-downs to others, even douche bags, just don't ask me to touch the folder.

I have practical freeze and cleaning default.

Dana and I are curious as to the absurd lengths y'all go to to avoid ________________.

Share and share alike.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knock Knock...Who's There? It's Moxie!

Still fighting some vertigo from the endless loop-the-loops yesterday, I decided to sneak in on Dbro and make sure she wasn't giving in to any loopholes on the weekend cleaning code. And to see if the coffee was brewing.

I am proud to report she passed with flying colours. This is not without a price however, because I instantly felt that my own house was crawling with scabies. I'd planned to do little things to sabotage her throughout the day but she presented me with an epic FAIL all on her own. Stay tuned!

What would you do if I came knocking on your door one upcoming weekend? (I like espresso with water and milk, iced or tepid.)

First of all, I resent that Debe is the minimalist I want to be. Her retail addiction pummels mine, and yet, her house is deliciously sparse, and she has an innate knack for positioning things that...I'm not gonna lie...makes me hate her a little.

Sorren's entertainment wall:

Convenient toy rest stop, and the last green corduroy papasan chair in Target. Bitch:

Bleach still my heart. (Shut up, my brain is still in centrifugal force...)

A clean kitchen means the better to feed me with!

Cleanliness + ambiance = WIN:

Going to Fred Meyer trusting the ambiance to behave, WAXY FAIL:

Obviously I burst out laughing, since it was the most inappropriate thing I could do. She tried to see the spontaneous artistic flare of it and considered leaving it, which lasted 4.3 seconds and then she was scraping her hands into the Carpal Tunnel Hall of Fame. I couldn't deduct points for this because I didn't blow it out either, and I was the one who took forever. (What, I was christmas shopping in August--it is so brilliant I am beside myself.)

You get an A+ jerkface. Keep it up. Just find a new place for your gum, and lose the KIT-tens.

Look and learn folks! You can do it too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grrr...age Sale

This weekend, the part of Manic Saturday is being played by our annual garage sale. I love me some serious gutting of our humble dwelling, and have been known to practically take the shirts off my loved ones' backs to rid of us the oppression of consumerism, but when it comes to the actual sale, I freeze. Much like Shel Siverstein's Little Peggy Ann McKay, I cannot have a garage sale today. Mind you, this is an annual tradition, going on 12 years, and I am the garage sale boss, no joke. But the anticipation cripples me. I set a record this year by postponing it for seven consecutive weeks. Alas, the light at the end of summer's proverbial tunnel is dimming, and it was time.

This is our last sale, and there was no more clinging to objets de'sentiment, like the sweet but crazy-making odds and ends my father collected in his eccentric life of 51 years. This was all-out. These things have been evicted. Whatever is left tomorrow will be the feast of freecycle, and I will rejoice, at long last, at a garage that can accommodate both vehicles. This has been our simple dream since we've lived here, but my shameless addiction to retail consumption and my children's stubborn, constant growth has been an insurmountable obstacle until now. This is the year, and it feels amazing.

Less clutter inside, clean garage, and money to celebrate it all. Now that's cleaning up!

Reilly cleaned out plenty of pockets with this sweet little racket:

In the interest of honesty, I will confess to rescuing this trinket from a life of unappreciated obscurity, as it truly typifies my dad's whimsy as a collector, and makes me think of him. I opted for this over the more valuable antiques, and if you know me, you'll understand why.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Sound Off

From a dear Moxling who is exasperated by the enormity and futility of trying to stay ahead of a toddler:

"...Therein lies my problem...I got nothin'. I have no idea where to begin. I can maintain the bathroom and the kitchen (for the most part anyway) but the bedroom looks like a wreck and the living room is like "the dump zone" or something.

I don't know if I need a schedule with minimums on it (Like, if nothing else do XYZ) or a list of chores that can be done in certain time increments (If you have 5 mins you can do X, 10 mins you can do Y, 20 mins...etc...) or just to take a weekend and throw a bunch of shit out and downsize (fewer things equals less clutter right?) I see all the neat things that you buy (the organizers and stuff) and think "ooh I want some" but then I think "What would I put in them??? WHERE would I put them?" We don't have a lot of space (our apt is a little over 1000 sq ft) and we can't properly utilize the drawer space that we have because F. just pulls things out. There are literally 10 drawers/cabinets in this place that are kept empty because F. just empties them anyway."

Ah, Grasshoppa, dis what you do...

Okay. This pretty much captures the essence of every email and S.O.S. I get. How to maintain EVERYTHING. Also known as the entire house. While it is possible, and very rewarding, and something you're apt to find me doing, for most people it a) causes endless anxiety unless you have 99 arms, b) is an unreasonable goal (due to jobs, being pregnant, time/health constraints, c) and because the very notion makes people want to punch themselves in the throat. Likewise, the idea of maintenance is also daunting because it connotes images of basically cleaning constantly. And even I don't want to do that! Obviously, different systems suit different families, and quite often, a combination of systems is best.

All of your examples were excellent. Personally, though, I wouldn't necessarily give a list of tasks that can be completed in five or ten minutes because there are always variables, so the risk of rushing, having to leave things incomplete, or running late to finish that last part. However, setting a timer for five or ten or twenty (and so on) minutes in each room, or select rooms, at any point, and just tackling what you can, is always a great supplement to your over all routine.

Speaking of routine, you need one! First, your house is not dirty, it's messy. Thank God for that. The carpet beneath your scattered laundry and toys is clean, your counters are not encrusted with days-old spaghetti sauce, and your bed has all its bedding and is cute and one minute away from being made. You just gotta make it!

Since I know your limitations, challenges, and stresses the best, I'll just speak right to you, but know that many many friends/readers are in the same sitch, and I hope they cough up some helpful hints, despite the fact that I had to blow dust off this blog. Bah! Come on people!

I have a general routine, basic principles, the supplements when I find myself with an extra hour approximately once in a blue moon. And I will cheer, and even do the wave, for anyone who spends a weekend gutting their shit. That is amazing.

My general routine is to make up my bedding as soon as my feet touch the floor. I've seen your bed, you can do this. This creates a soothing visual, and potential surface for laundry that has been folded from the Pack 'n Play, lol. (Brilliant I say!) I have a tendency to gather/wipe/straighten as I walk, every time I cross the house. Most of you don't. But, you'd be surprised at how getting used to a nice made bed will prompt you to swipe up Stefan's t-shirts and underwear (?) off the floor to make it that much nicer. (Wait. He's military, does he sully his barracks like that?) Next is that ominous catch-all, the dresser! Obviously dishes and trash demand immediate removal. Clothing is irritating but try to get it off there too. As for the knick knack paddywhack nightmare: If you can't sort through it right away, just put it all in a stack or tray, and wipe the dresser down.

MOXIE TENET: Clean surfaces!

Finally, take a damp cloth or duster to the walls, corners, hanging photographs, and when that's done, vacuum. Voila. You now have one clean, peaceful space. The keys to keeping it on track are to stop tossing things about, keep the bed made, and never let F. in again!

By the time I use the bathroom in morning, I've made my bed, picked up 17 things, started the coffee, loaded the dishwasher, taken out trash, gotten the washing machine going, and generally shake out bath mats (into the shower) and wipe down the sink/faucet/chrome/mirrors. But these things take 10 extra seconds, really!

You say you maintain the kitchen and bathroom(s). That is amazing. The two most important areas by far. Also, the pics of your kitchen, that is a 10 minute job at the most, including sweeping. One of your barriers, like so many others, could be eased by remembering this:

Do not say you have to "Clean the house!"

Who wants to clean an entire house? But cleaning a room, surface, or folding one truckload of laundry, is entirely possible.

My place isn't much bigger than yours, but all my drawers are carrying more than their share, and as you said, caddies/organizers galore. We need to overcome Hurricane Baby so that you can utilize all the space you have.

I remember a child-proofing thread from fb but can't remember the problem. You need to use those drawers. He is old enough to start telling no, though it will take time, and since you're skipping the whips, may take even more time. But patterns are established by repetition.

Your assignment is to re-claim your drawers.

Basically, I need my house to be clean. Even if it's cluttered, cleanliness is next to sane-li-ness, I know you know this.

*CLEAN* This encompasses wiping, dusting, scrubbing, sweeping, spraying.

Keeping those fucking islands and jutting counters from being strewn with debris that seems to belong nowhere is paramount. Surfaces are an aesthetic illusion that will comfort you when other areas have been victimized by Baby.

*DE-CLUTTER* This can always be one small area (the dresser), one dreaded area (the counter), a surprise area (a shelf or drawer), etc. You can plan these or attack random targets when you get all those AMAZING bursts of energy that pregnant mamas
of toddlers whose husbands' supervisors are slave driving assholes are so prone to having! :(

*GET RID OF IT* I am a huge fan of throwing things out. If it's junk, it's junk. If you haven't fixed it by now, you won't. It's causing you stress now, so forget that you spent $19.99 on it. You aren't likely to have a yard sale in an apartment so for things that are usable but not to you, keep a bin on your dryer, and when it's full, take it to a women's shelter, your sister-in-law, etc. NOT THE GOODWILL. Again you can toss junk any time or set a timer to see how much you can get. And devoting a weekend is pure bliss.

*DO IT NOW* This one seems tricky because people think it means clean 'round the clock, but it doesn't. If I'm brushing my teeth and see smudges on the mirror, I go get the Windex. This always leads to clean mirrors chrome and inside windows throughout the house. Five minutes. Dead serious. Waiting = stress. Do it now = Ugh, but worth it!

For you, there has to be a way to keep F out of the drawers and the wicker bins in your living room. This has to happen.


-Make a general OR daily list of priorities and chip away at them as you can. Or ambush them, whenever possible.

-Commercial breaks! Don't feel guilty if you watch Oprah, but grab an armful of laundry to fold while you watch. Then put it on your nice made bed during commercials, and repeat. You can probably fold it all by the time she shuts her stupid mouth. :) And no going to bed without putting your clothes away! I'm not typing this in 95 degrees so those clothes end up on the floor!

-Clean where you sit. If you're at the computer, organize your papers, pens, wipe down the desk, lamp, etc. Same for the couch. Straighten cushions, throw pillows, grab whatever you can reach and fold/toss/____ it.

-The walk through. Do something every time you walk across your house. Anything. Preferably multiple anythings. Swipe some dust, pick up some debris, a sippy cup, a shoe, a magazine...

-Challenges. You can blast your music and challenge yourself to get one room done, or a little in each room, in 20 minutes or an hour, whatever works at the moment, or you can have Stefan, a friend, or me do it. And then do it. I love challenges. I take medication.

You just need to understand that you are not dealing with filth. You're dealing with mess, a toddler, increasing fatigue and anxiety, and repetition burn-out. All understandable. All can be helped. Your house is one hour away from being exactly how you want it. You may not have an hour, but it's not the cesspool you think it is. Take your drawers back from F. Do a little at a time. Stop thinking about the entire house. Make the most of your movements, where you are, your time, and your energy. Minimize. Set five-to-ten things each day that you must do, starting with making that bed. Also, if vacuuming each night makes the list (Oh Stefannnnn!), that will require the clearance to do so--bonus! Realize cloth diapers on his dresser are not dirt. Put a bin on your dryer. Even if roller skates and visors and a half a pack pens sit in it for a year, you won't have to look at them anymore. Throw rugs = stain concealer and pick-me-up, provided you don't have more than ... three. Lastly, stop being so hard on yourself! You do more than you think, and it's not as bad as you think. Start familiarizing F with "no," and start familiarizing Stefan with "Honey I'm growing our child, please vacuum, kthanks."

If anyone else gleaned anything from this, fabulous, get cracking. For those who relate to Kasondra's predicament, and have words of wisdom, please pass them along to me so that I can tell her and get all the credit.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Slowly Saturday

Even the truly Moxie-less ought to be able to run with today's challenges.


Do five, FIVE, things in each room/nook of your home.

First I put the washing machine to work. I wipe the washer and dryer down with wipes, after de-cluttering the inevitable crap that nests atop them, especially the dryer. You can sweep the floor/mats, wash mats, put away any hanging clothes, sort clothes, especially whites awaiting their bleach bath.

After this, I always start in the kitchen, go straight to dishes, then wiping up sink/counter, then floors, then garbage. Surely you can get under those canisters, wipe down the refrigerator, or straighten your counter top so you can bounce a quarter off of it.

If you feel like staying in the trenches, you'll head to the bathroom, but if you're working room-to-room, you'll likely end up in the living room. For bathrooms, spray/scatter/apply cleaning agent of choice to sinks, tubs, and toilets. Put bath mats in the laundry, sweep the floor, scrub out sink, wiping it with a dry washcloth afterward, especially the chrome. Next is the tub/shower, and then the toilet. Hang fresh towels, maybe light some non-patchouli incense (haha Dana) and voila. For those of you with excessive make-up/product-on-the-counter issues, challenge yourself to do that later, preferably by putting all of it onto the hallway floor.

Living rooms are a simple formula: Round up garbage, dishes, call on kids for toy removal, fold blankets, clear/wipe/ end tables, straighten throw pillows, everything off the floor, dust, and hopefully vacuum.

Obviously you cannot just vacuum the living room. So either keep going into hallways (steering around your make-up heap) and bedrooms, or leave your trusty steed upright and waiting for you to clear more space in the...

BEDROOMS: Have kids clean and sort what they can, strip beds (committed!), toss things behind their backs, dust, re-make beds, and vacuum. Same formula in master bedrooms, minus the toys, er, um...

Miscellaneous: WINDEX, I can't stress it enough. When you see watermarks on your bathroom mirrors, grab it, and don't stop until you've gotten all visible interior windows (five minutes people, really), mirrors, chrome fixtures, and media screens. Caution: With TV and computer screens, don't spray the Windex directly onto the surface. Spray it onto your paper towel, and then clean it. No one likes to anticipate "cleaning all the mirrors and windows," but once you grab that spray bottle, you're like the sheriff. It's one of my favourite pick-me-ups. I am decidedly less enamoured of cleaning the external windows. O_o

Dusting. Five minutes, from one end to the other. Very lightly damp rag preferred.

Clutter! Kill it! Maim it! Curse it! Burn it! It is the bane of cleaning and life in general.

For those of you who share the irrepressible urge let's call it, I probably don't have to direct you to the baseboards and cords, nor to the car! I heart my Shop-Vac, but I discovered the other night that in a pinch, you can lint roll your car to a pine needle-less, hairless, whatever-less heaven.

If you get a fraction of this done this weekend, you will be ever-so-happy. More importantly, I will be. Let me know what went down, and if all you've got are excuses (or reasons), let the throwdown begin. I enjoy all your input, and thank everyone who has called this week to ... well, you know.