Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Coats

It’s getting into much cooler temperatures these days. So that means wearing heavier coats and jackets in order to stay warm. If you’re like my household, the jackets never end up where they belong after being used.

Usually the coats end up on the backs of chairs. Or tossed onto the couch. Of the six dining table chairs- my wife currently has jackets on two of them. This morning, I just walked in and tossed my jacket onto a chair in our front foyer.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Josef, why don’t you hang up your jackets?”

I really should do that. Especially since NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO CLOSE THE CLOSET DOORS. The closet we hang our jackets in is always open. You’d think that we would be able to grab a hanger, put the jacket away, and close the door again.

Nope. Five people in this household and the closet is always open and our jackets are keeping our chairs warm.

I should just get a coat rack and hang up a jacket on it that I won’t wear for two or three years. As well, on one of the other pegs will be a jacket from a visitor, only no one will ever claim it. That’s what a coat rack is for, amirite?

The worst part about my rant today? I’m going to leave the jackets where they are. I’m just as guilty and lazy as the rest of my family. And most likely you are as well. Let’s stand in solidarity as the jackets hang out on chairs!

Organized Mess

It’s the last day of my vacation. The family is home as well with me. So we are going to do some quality family time activities- cleaning the house.

It’s amazing how quickly a home can feel like a disaster. Odds and ends being left around instead of put away immediately. Items just dumped willy-nilly in hopes that someone else will pick it up. Not today. Today we are all going to tidy this place. Time to even close the cupboards and drawers that get left partially open as well. Let’s get things put away completely please.

We are even going to dust and remove the cobwebs. I know- counterproductive with Halloween just around the corner. But it needs to be done. My allergies are taking a hit these days and it’s almost time to turn on the heat. Nothing worse than the smell of burning dust as you try and warm the homestead.

If you need me- I’ll be the one barking orders and checking the work being done by our teenagers. They love it when I make them do a task more than once in order to get it right. Ah, quality learning moments.

Super Cleaning!

We’ve been busy today with more cleaning. So much so that I don’t have much time to write today’s blog.

Our middle child took on the task of cleaning out all the cupboards in all the bathrooms. Pretty sure this is the look of regret by starting on it. She has found plenty of “product” that we never use. Time to turf it!

My son and I were cleaning the windows in the sun room. Bleach around the edges to get rid of the black and grime forming. Then washing the windows twice in order to get rid of the streaks.

Being cooped up in the house has it’s benefits. The cleaning was taken in stride and the kids were very willing to do the chores. Plus we aren’t out spending money- that’s always good for the bank account.

How clean is your house these days? Doesn’t it feel good?

All That Hard Work Will Make Our Home

Today the sun was shining and the weather was warm. It was the perfect day to clean the yard and the outside of our home.

Our son took on the task of adding some paint to their old playhouse. We use it as a garden shed now, but it can easily be converted back for play should young kids ever live here again.

Our middle child pulled out the lawnmower and gave the first mow of the season to the backyard. We have about half of our acre that needed a mow. The rest is mostly trees and bushes.

Our oldest enjoys pressure washing. With all the trees and dampness in our area- a lot of green shows up on cement and such. A deep cleaning at the start of the season will make for a good spring and summer.

At the end of the day, it feels like we’re only part way through. We’ll get there soon enough. And then we can relax enjoying nature and our home.

Empty Spaces

Yesterday afternoon we removed Christmas from our house. The walls, shelves and floor space are abundantly empty. It feels barren and spacious. It’s all sorts of creepy.

Our home looked so festive throughout December. It felt warm and inviting. Not to mention joyous as well.

Now it’s stark and devoid of life. But as we do quite often- it’s time to rearrange our furniture and knickknacks. During this time we will purge some stuff that we don’t want or need anymore. It always feels good to do that.

Have you De-Christmased your home yet? How does it make you feel?

The Big Freeze

Yesterday I went into our large freezer to look for a dinner idea. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. That’s because our chest freezer had become chaotic.

My wife and I were given this freezer twenty years ago from a family friend of mine. They were moving out of province and were giving away items. I picked up this chest freezer and an old school heavy a.f. pullout couch bed. Come to think of it, I have no idea where that couch has gone to now…

Anyhow, I decided to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. Jut like I did with our fridge freezer last year: Freezer Food

It was like diving into a time capsule. Deep down in the recesses I discovered ham from 2016 and beef stew from 2015. Looks like our dog was going to get those once thawed.

I scrapped all the ice off and gave the freezer a wipe down before reorganizing and taking inventory of what we had. Seems like we have meals for a few weeks remaining. It also looks like our freezer is only half full now. Where as before it was a jumble of crap. I’m happy to have gone through it and make it tidy once more.

To make myself feel warmer, I kept some frozen blueberries out and made a batch of tasty blueberry muffins. This has got me in the mood to start some Christmas Cookie Baking! Is it too soon? Maybe the first batches will be “testers”, right?

Vacuums

I take for granted that we have a built-in vacuum. With a dog that sheds excessively we need to clean up about two to three times every week. That being said, in the dozen or so years we’ve been living here- we give that centralized vacuum a workout. But it only does suction- there is no motorized head spinning to dig up the deep down dirt. Which is fine for the hardwood floors and tile.

The other biggest problem we have is the location of the canister and motor. It’s in the room where our hot water tank and furnace are. So it’s very warm. Which causes the vacuum to overheat. We can usually vacuum most of the downstairs before it shuts off. In the end, the upstairs gets neglected. And that’s where we have the most carpet.

I have an old vacuum that was left behind by my mother years ago. It’s been through a lot, including a duct taped hose in order for it to work. Recently the band on the motorized head snapped, so it was pretty useless for getting the ground in dirt and threads from my wife’s studio. Of course it was when I wanted to do the carpets in the rest of our house that it crapped out.

So today I went to a store that’s been in Langley since, forever (or 1965 according to their website). The ladies in Big Gary’s Vacuums were extremely helpful and fun to talk with. They helped me get a new band and we talked about how people have no idea that Sears closed down ages ago. (That’s where the Kenmore brand vacuums were from). Anyways, $12 later and some shared memories about the Sears Wish Book, I have a working motorized head on an old vacuum.

All I need to do now is find a hose for my old shop vac. This was another Sears purchase two decades ago. I’m pretty sure I’ll find what I need on Amazon! They sell everything. They’re the ones who helped kill the brick and mortar big box stores, the least they could do is sell some parts for me.

What A Mess

Getting my kids to tidy up after themselves is tough. Our main living space is already hard enough to keep clean when five of us are always around. Especially with the fact that we are busy and always on the go. Always.

But their bedrooms are entities entirely unto their own. That is their place of solitude and peace if they so require it. As teens, they do love disappearing into their rooms. I just wish they’d make them, uh, more habitable.?.

Our two youngest are notorious for not making their beds. They’re also pretty good at leaving clothes everywhere as well. My wife and I try to get them to tidy up on a weekly basis. But it feels like their rooms explode into chaos almost immediately.

At least our oldest daughter takes pride in making sure her bed is made every morning. She is also the one who tries to ditch doing chores and hides in her room the most. The biggest problem with her room is she has the dog sleep in there at night. Our dog sheds a lot. Our daughter rarely vacuums her room. There is often little furryballs gathering in the corners.

It’s hard to motivate our teenagers to clean up. Instead of motivation, it usually ends up being empty threats of my wife and I claiming that we will throw everything out if they don’t clean up. But because of our hectic schedules, there isn’t much time to let the kids saunter through cleaning, so the mess just continues.

All parents face this dilemma. And it doesn’t get any better as the kids become teenagers. Oh well.

Rug Doctor

We live in a home that has very little carpet. In fact it’s only in our hallway and theater room. The rest of our home has tile or laminate hardwood flooring with a few throw rugs. I like not having carpet because it helps with my allergies. Sort of. Except we have a dog that sheds. He sheds a lot.

His shedding requires us to vacuum every few days otherwise there are tiny dogs everywhere in our home. Dog hair gets on all of our clothes as well.

The small amount of carpet we do have is rather, um, disgusting. No amount of vacuuming will get the dog hair out. Plus our once white carpet has turned beige with tons of spots everywhere. This is due to the kids growing up and spilling stuff everywhere. It may be time to steam clean it. It’s been probably a decade since the last time I tried to deep clean it.

When I was younger, my parents would rent a Rug Doctor every six months or so. They would spend an entire day on a long weekend cleaning our entire home. Being at home for this weekend of cleaning was stressful as well. Furniture would be moved around to one side of the room or kitchen in order to really clean the floors. No matter what they did though, the carpet would remain wet for three days after. Which was really gross because walking around your home in wet socks for a couple of days is unpleasant.

Eventually my parents bought a cheap steam cleaner that they had for years. It was okay at cleaning, but I’m pretty sure a professional would have been better. I don’t want to own a carpet cleaner since I would rather just get rid of our carpet all together.

I’m not sure when I will clean our carpets, if ever, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be renting a Rug Doctor and do it myself. Even if I have to go over the carpet a few times. I’m kind of cheap that way.

Laundry

There are few things in this world that are mandatory to do. Laundry is high up on this list. I enjoy wearing clean clothes. Just not the work that goes into it.

My wife is the laundry washing expert in our household. I know how to do laundry, but I rarely do it though. My wife has a set schedule of what gets washed and when. It is everyone else’s responsibility to fold and put away their clothes afterwards. Personally, I had a jam packed full laundry hamper to sort out today. When I dumped it on the bed- it looked like one of those cubes of trash Wall-E spits out. Not very appealing.

After dumping it out, I had to fluff it up in order to match up my socks and get my shirts ready to fold. This took up most of our king sized bed. Once I saw the amount, all I wanted to do was say, “Screw it- I’m taking a nap.” But today I powered through it- I folded and put away my clean clothes like a good boy.

Clean laundry is a systematic occurrence. Like a sunrise. It just happens. And I appreciate that it appears on a regular basis. I just don’t always want to deal with it.

Freezer Food

I really don’t like having a freezer in our kitchen fridge. It becomes this frozen wasteland of food left to die a miserable death. The worst food that ends up in there?

Freezer Bananas.

Our plantation of uneaten brown bananas are being “saved” in order to make banana bread at a “later date”. When is that day you may ask? Later. Time to pack them back up, this time not just shoved into the freezer.

I pulled all of the food product items out and gave our freezer a wipe down. We had about a dozen unlabeled containers of soups, sauces, fruit(I think it’s fruit…), and freezer burnt meats. Time to figure out what to keep.

Ice Cubes- Zero

Ice crystals surrounding meat- at least a pound.

I found some chicken patties and an orange sliced in half squished at the back of the freezer. I don’t remember the last time we bought either of those items. Off to the food waste bin they go.

I re-organized the freezer with foods that we will use before Christmas. This should help over the next month or so. I still need to make ice cubes though. Or not. I don’t have any room for the trays at the moment.

But at least the bananas won’t fall and hit my toes like a brick any more.

Shitty Day

Today is the shittiest day of my vacation.

Literal shit.

After having the kids dig in our garden for the past few weeks in search of buried treasure, they found it. We just needed an extrusion afterwards to get it out.

This was not like the adventures that The Goonies had. My kids were digging to find our septic tank opening.

They did. In fact they found both lids. What to do next…

Today was the day to pump it out. This is the first time in 11 years since we moved in. And at nearly 20 years since it was last done. The tank is apparently twice to three times the size needed for our home.

That’s a lot of poop.

We needed a big truck.

Bright and early this morning it arrived. The fellow vacuuming out the waste was super awesome and we talked about shit. Apparently we should be pumping out every couple of years.

Oops.

The smell was bad. Butt not as bad as I thought it would be. A bit less than steaming manure on a hot day. Not quite campsite outhouse.

Now that it’s empty, I’m happy that this is done. Onto the rest of my day.

It really can’t be as shitty as the start.

Yard Work is Hard Work

We have had the luxury of some really nice weather to start off May. Of course this means getting back into the yard work. Hooray!?

Today I finally mowed the back lawn. The grass was a few inches tall and kept stopping my mower. Even worse were the surprise dog poop land mines hidden all around our acre. So that was kind of gross at times. Especially when I got a rather fresh mound.

I also took the blower to the roof and driveway to clear off the pine needles. I ended up filling seven yard waste cans with everything that I accumulated. At least that goes with the green waste.

Before dinner, two of my kids helped to get the back patio furniture cleaned and set up. Unfortunately the chairs are wet and we won’t be using them this evening after I finish BBQing. Tomorrow we will enjoy our meals outside undercover.

After hours and hours of hard work, I needed a cool down. So I took a shower and cracked open a Smirnoff ICE Berry Blast. As you can see by the can- it tastes like the popsicle of the same colours. A nice treat to end my day. More work ahead of me tomorrow with the other deck and wiping the roof trim and windows.

I love taking pride in my little castle.

Master of The House

I’m still on vacation for a few more days, so I decided to start a cleaning of the house. A man’s castle is his home.

It feels like I’ve played this game before. Spring is harsh though. The sunshine is showing off all the dust and soap scum that has built up. Time for the deep clean! The bleach is out, the windex is half gone and the chandeliers went through the dishwasher. Things are getting sparkly and shiny again.

It’s been a long day. Time for me to head out and have a couple drinks with a friend to unwind. Master of the house doling out the charm…

Forgotten Decoration

It was bound to happen, as it does every year… A lone Christmas Decoration was found six weeks later…

This time around it was much a larger piece than just an ornament or a bell. It was a serving platter. Forgotten on the piano behind some sheet music. Which is forgivable, because at least my children were still playing music. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to put the sheet music away until it is falling off the piano. My wife discovered the tray when she was cleaning around the piano this weekend.

And so ends the removal of our last decoration. It’s a sign that Spring is on its way. Hopefully the ice and snow take the hint and pack up soon for the season as well.

Cleaning, Cleaning and MORE CLEANING

Cleaning never ends.  Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room- always seem to need a tidying up regularly.  It’s difficult to keep a home clean, especially with people living in it.


I’m going to outright state it- I’m probably the neatest person in our home.  And I’m no Mr. Clean.  But I do my best to put everything away in >>what I feel<< is the proper place.  There have been many discussions about where stuff belongs…  

My biggest issue in our home is dog hair.  The second is all the little bits of trash that float around that everyone wants to keep.  My family has saved such junk as an old clothing tag with an image of Hello Kitty to a crumpled plastic bag from the Lego Store.    Business cards to receipts to old envelopes also adorn our counters and shelves.  I go through and purge what I feel is junk on a regular basis.  Again, this has brought on some heated discussions between my wife and I.

Another broken ornament?


Now there is a Christmas explosion in our home.  Glitter and pine needles are the bane of my existence this time of year.  I swear we are vacuuming every other day now.  As well, there is nothing worse than a broken glass ornament.  Those things are so Fra-GEE-Lay that sometimes just pulling them out of the box causes them to shatter.

Creepy Santa…

 

But all of the cleaning and hard work is made easier this time of year.  For some reason our children are really really helpful- as if someone were watching them.

Too bad it wasn’t like this the rest of the year.