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A Quick 5 Minute Tidy Up January 31, 2010

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I haven’t bought bread in a week. I am happily baking bread daily & loving it. Tomorrow I am baking bread with rye & wholewheat flour in it & I am sadly excited about the prospect 🙂

I was in Dublin for a few days & came home this afternoon. I came in, set up todays bread for baking, mixed new dough & tidied up the kitchen. While the kitchen had all the signs of me not being here for 2 days I restored it to order in 5 minutes. It was so nice to be able to do that.

A while ago I accepted that I can no longer be cross with M for not doing what I didn’t ask him to do 🙂 So this weekend I made sure to send him regular texts asking him to wash laundry, dry the laundry, air the laundry. And the laundry was done 🙂 as was the dishwasher.

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The Next Room Begins January 28, 2010

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Today I made bread. I have made bread five days in a row now and it keeps getting better 🙂

Yesterday we could not find 6 alphabet blocks for D to make a tower for J. Today the dining room (know no longer containing a dining table but rather the childrens toys) reached the point where it annoyed me too much. I tipped out the general toy box, cleared out the dolls house, washing machine, dishwasher, cooker, fridge and sink (all of which were FULL of bits of toys). I started sorting into Lego, Duplo, wooden, play food, train, bin & plastics. Then I found a bag full of yet more bits of toys & play food. All of the dolls house furniture went straight into the dolls house.

I got to the end of the day, but not the end of the job & put the remainder of the unsorted stuff back into the box. I put the food, wooden & plastics boxes away, closed up & stacked the Lego & train boxes & put the Duplo box back where it lives.

The remainder of the stuff to be sorted fills the box that was full before I started but the play kitchen is clear & there aren’t random bags & boxes full of toys.

I am very aware that the toy corner in the sitting room, that was never sorted when the toys were moved into the other room, is another repository of toy bits but I am not going near it until the dining room is finished. Once the toys are sorted I am going to move the books from the sitting room onto the new shelves over the toy kitchen.

I have some IKEA boxes that are acting as storage boxes but they are too small. I am happy to go with a bigger version of what I already have:

The statistics are in January 24, 2010

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J’s Godmother & her boyfriend came for dinner today. We had:

Leek & Potato soup with home made bread
Roast beef with roasted parsnip, broccoli, potato and onion gravy
Wacky cake (made by the guests)

I also had a fruit salad of galia melon, blueberries, cherries & strawberries which I am merrily chomping away on right now 🙂

So. We had 4 adults and 2 children for dinner. I used 9 bowls, 17 plates, 4 pyrex dishes, 5 mugs, a roasting tray & rack, a glass oven proof dish, a chopping board, 2 layers of the steamer, a jug and countless utensils & items of cutlery. The dishwasher was run three times & now has the few dishes from the boys bed porridge in it. The counters are cleared down. The table is clear. The kitchen looks like it has done at the end of every other day for the past two weeks.

I survived guests & I am delighted.

Tomorrow I will make more dough & cook the last of yesterdays batch. I will cut tomorrows bread with the electric carving knife. Tonight I will order to books so that I can have more bread recipes at my finger tips 🙂

Where can I get measured for an apron? January 23, 2010

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I made bread!

I blame Margot. Yesterday she linked to Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes on Face.book and I followed the link. 20 minutes of Googling later and I had decided to give it a go. Today I went out & bought more flour (even though I thought I had enough) and yeast. I followed the instructions and ended up with bread dough billowing out the top of the bowl 🙂 The gluten cloak bit didn’t make sense to me and so I did that bit wrong but I decided to go ahead with it anyway. I don’t have a pizza stone & ended up with greaseproof paper stuck to the underside of the bread but even with that it turned out fantastically. M was blown away when he came home. Everything that I made today has been eaten already 🙂

J’s Godmother is coming for dinner tomorrow and I will make more as the recipe is the equivalent of 4 1lb loaves and can stay in the fridge for two weeks!

After he ate it earlier M informed me that I could stop buying bread in the supermarket and just made bread at home!

I had instigated a “no new stuff for the kitchen” rule recently so that I could get the kitchen sorted out but I think I will have to break that in order to buy myself a pizza stone and an oven thermometer as I am now sure that my oven runs hotter than it says on the dial.

Before I baked the bread I started phase 1 of The Battle of the Oven. My oven is embarrassing, although it is a little less embarrassing now than it was this morning. I got my cleaner to clean it at some point last year but it wasn’t a great job. Today I cleaned one of the racks as clean as I could get it within the time I had available and also cleaned the roasting tray that lives in the bottom of the cooker & the glass on the door. The oven was by no means clean when I finished but it was just the first of many parts in The Battle of the Oven.

I thought I didn’t have the time January 23, 2010

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Any time, in the past, that I considered attacking somewhere in my house I declared it to be impossible because I didn’t have the time when the boys were around. Today I set the timer for 5 minutes while the boys were playing on the floor and got to work on my kitchen dresser. While I was doing it I realised that children are natures timer. I am predisposed to only having max 15 minutes to work on a job.

I reset the timer after 5 minutes but by the time it ran out there was a war to resolve or a child to feed but there was 10 minutes work done that wouldn’t have been done if I had obeyed the “I don’t have time when the boys are around” rule.

I have been told recently, in comments & elsewhere, that I am inspiring people. That there are dishwashers out there being run in a more timely fashion than they were before. That there are counters out there that are clearer than they were. I have been told that people think of me when they pass their dishwasher (not sure that’s a good thing).

Today I cleared my 3rd counter (there is one counter to the left of my cooker, one between my cooker & my sink & one to the right of my sink) today. It hasn’t been cleared since just after my 2nd miscarriage amost 3 years ago. It has taken me almost 2 weeks to reclaim the counters & in that time I have maintained the work that I have done & done more. I wish I had taken before photos. Seeing the counters makes me think of N

I forgot to shine & nearly got scammed January 20, 2010

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Last night I forgot to shine my sink. I didn’t realise until this morning and I was so disappointed with myself. Everything else was done but not the sink. It was clean & empty, but not shiny.

This morning I checked Face.book and there was a text chat from my friend Calliope that went like this:

My Friend: Hi,how are you?

Laura: good morn ing
I am good, you are up late/early

My Friend: Not too good at the moment..
Presently in deep mess and need urgent help

Laura: what mess?
what help is needed?

My Friend: We stranded in London
Got mugged at gun point last night

Laura: how come?
oh holy fuck

My Friend: all cash,credit card and phone were stoeln

Laura: I didn’t know you were in London

At this point I was pissed with Calliope for not telling me that she was going to London

My Friend: Thank God we still have our lives and passports

Laura: why are you in London?
do you have plane tickets?

My Friend: Vacation
Return flight leaves in few hours but having troubles sorting out the hotel bills

Laura: how much is it?

My Friend: $900

By now I was very suspicious as Calliope will tell you herself that she doesn’t have $900 to spend on a hotel. The hotel room we shared in Iowa cost us less than $100 between us!

Laura: that was a flying visit, you should have told me you were coming
do you have the money at home to pay it?

My Friend: Yes but they won’t give me IUO…

Laura: will they let me pay the bill over the phone?

My Friend: Need you to loan me some few $$ to pay off the hotel bills and also get a cab to the airport
They won’t be able to charge your card because the card machine need to be fixed up

Eh… I don’t believe you

Are you there???

Laura: yes
J wanted me
how can they be paid if their CC machine isn’t working?

My Friend: Can you have the money wire to my name via western union?

ALARM BELLS RINGING!

Laura: we don’t have a WU in town (I live in a small town)

We do but at this point I am getting out of it

My Friend: Check:-westernunion.com/locator for western union store
Let me know as soon as you find one

Laura: I can’t go out… my handiman is due in 4 minutes to hang shelves

He was actually due in 4 minutes although he ended up being 10 minutes late, but that is not the point

the only way I could do it is to pay the hotel directly

My Friend: Can you try and see if you can do it online via western union
check:-westernunion.com
Let me know as soon as you on the site

I don’t think so.

Laura: checking it out now
how long have you been in London?

My Friend: few weeks

Calliope has been helping out N & J in the US and definitely wasn’t in London

Laura: what are my childrens names?

My Friend: You verifying me?

Laura: yes

My Friend: If i wasn’t the one i wont have ask you to wire $$ to my name as we both know i will need some kinda of identification before i have the $$ pick up

Laura: true but I know where you were a few days ago and it wasn’t London

My Friend: I’m dead serious
wish it was all joke
Are you there???

Laura: I am and I can’t help

I Blame George Hook January 19, 2010

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Last year I saw and interview with George Hook in which he told the story of how he is solely responsible for the dishwasher in his home and that he does it because he made a deal with his wife many years ago that he would always do it. Stupidly I thought M would have registered that information and thought that would be a nice thing to do in this house. So I got (interally) cross for not holding up his site of the (non existant) agreement. I detest dishes lying around. I hate scrubbing porridge off last nights bed possidge bowl. I can’t stand filling the dishwasher and having more dishes than it can take. But you know what? It is not his fault. Well, not solely his fault. I am to blame too. I made an assumption and then got unjustifiably cross. Now I do the dishwasher all the time and I am perfectly happy because I am never expecting someone else to do it and I always know whether it is clean or dirty.

So much in this house revolves around the dishwasher. I am more on top of the laundry when I am on top of the dishes 🙂 D can play in the sink now because it doesn’t have to be cleaned out for him to play. He is free to play with Play D.oh because I don’t have to clear dishes off the table in order for there to be space for him.

Another thing that I am dealing with is the “walk away”. Standing up from the table and walking away from dishes. Making toast and walking away from the tub of Pure. Yesterday I accepted that saying “Please put the Pure away” in my head was never going to get the message across. This morning I said it out loud. I hope it works.

My sink has now been clean and empty for 10 days. My stairs are still clear since I cleared them off last Tuesday. Right now I have 3 outstanding loads of laundry, but the beds were stripped this morning which generates 2 – 3 loads in the blink of an eye. The only time the dishwasher doesn’t have unwashed dishes in it is when they are being washed. It is emptied as soon as it is finished. I am gradually clearing out my cupboards and counters. My 2 to do’s this week are the 3rd counter in the kitchen and the counters in the utility. I will attack them 15 minutes at a time.

A Nice Long Walk January 18, 2010

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Today, when asked if he wanted to go for a nice long walk, J steadied himself and headed off for anything from 4 to 15 steps. He is cock of the walk, king of the hill, so proud of himself.

On Thursday I spoke to one of the other mothers at music class and commented that I wasn’t ready for J to be walking (her daughter is 2 weeks older than J and has been walking for a while) now I am tickled pink to see it happening 🙂

Bittersweet Day January 17, 2010

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Today should have been my younger brothers 30th birthday. I feel so sad for my mother right now. I expect it will be a long day.

Where did all of the dishes come from? January 16, 2010

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I never had enough side plates. Ever. I felt like I was constantly fighting with the side plate monster who was using the side plates before I could get them. There was even the odd day that I would run out of dinner plates and there were never enough bowls.

Now, if I were to buy two more side plates I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them. The only reason I could deal with one new plate is because I chipped the edge of one the other day and rather than doing the “usual” I put it straight in the bin. I hate broken/chipped plates/bowls yet we were using them for a long time. Right now I have probably got two too many bowls.

I went to IKEA today and while I saw lots of lovely stuff, I felt no urge to buy any of it. Mainly because I am not sure where I would put it. I want to finish dumping what I have and don’t use before I add more stuff into the mix. I did buy 4 new hand towels because I want to experiment with changing the hand towels in the bathroom more often. I need to see what effect it has on the laundry. My laundry is under control (there are 2 outstanding loads, which is way better than the 7 that there was this day last week) without using the tumble dryer to dry back to back loads. My stairs remain clear.

Most importantly I feel positive about “finishing” my kitchen & working on the rest of my house.

My sink is clean & empty for the 7th night in a row. It is also shiny 🙂