Tag Archives: pets

Cleanliness is Next to Godli….er, Impossible

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We’ve all heard it, right? Cleanliness is next to godliness. Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Following these adages I should be riding the highway to hell with nary a possession to call my own. Needless to say, keeping a clean house is an issue I struggle with.

Now don’t get me wrong. I WANT a clean house, I covet a clutter free living room, I’ve even been known to wake from sleep having dreamt of a spotless, shiny kitchen and sparkly windows and floors. I have a few barriers that keep this from becoming a reality.

First, I have pets. Loads of them. 2 dogs and 2 cats call me mom. Shedding comes in phases – the constant but manageable phase and the season changing unbearable phase. Multiply that by 4, do this to the nth power because 1 is a German Shepherd and you get…..well….I’ve never been good at math but the amount of hair equals a lot. Every single day there is a fine coating of assorted hairs on the coffee table and furry tumbleweeds skittering across the tiled floor. Every. Single. Day. During those aforementioned unbearable phases the tan carpet becomes a lovely shade of black (the Shepherd is black), that even daily vacuuming – yes I said DAILY –  doesn’t keep under control. I think that maybe once upon a time I was allergic to pet dander but I have since then ingested such high quantities as to inoculate myself.

I’ve considered the possibilities of how to handle this furry issue. But, I love the animals. I’m not willing to get rid of them or to confine them to a box for the rest of their natural lives. So….we have a pet hair problem.

Secondly, I have children. They no longer play with “toys” but rather have sports paraphernalia, dance gear, and an ENORMOUS amount of papers that lie in their wake. School papers, extracurricular activity papers, letters from colleges, notes from friends, art projects from 3rd grade that no one wants to part with… The paper trail is endless. And it adds up. Literally. It becomes stacks on whatever free surface can be found. Then of course there are the mountains of laundry. They do some of their own laundry but it multiplies so quickly they need backup assistance. And let’s be honest, kids in general aren’t typically stellar at always “putting everything in its place.” Now, add that thin layer of animal hair onto all of this – classy, yep.

Seriously, I’m not blaming a dirty house on having kids. It’s only one element of the issue. Because really, there’s more.

The third and biggest factor – me. I suck at constant cleaning. I am fully aware of this shortcoming. While I recognize it and I attempt to change it, I am also painfully aware that I will most likely never be a superstar cleaner. Here’s the thing: when I hardcore deep clean, it is spotless. I mean spit shined (although not literally because that’s just disgusting and not at all clean). The trouble is that I just don’t want to do that every single day. I ABHOR dusting. It’s my least favorite chore of all time. Seriously. I’ll do windows, I’ll scrub bathrooms….just please for the love of all that’s good, someone else dust. But apparently everyone in my home has the same mentality so the dusting chore….shall we say….suffers. Likewise, I don’t want to vacuum everyday. I’ll do it several times a week. But everyday? It just seems like pointless overkill to me.

And, I clearly need an organization system that is seriously effective but as of yet I do not have said system. So….papers pile up, stacks teeter to the tipping point, then they get moved to an area akin to massive stacks of newspapers from back in the day. Remember when your grandpa hoarded stacks of newspapers….if you went to the very bottom of the very first stack the papers would probably be from aught 3…..yeah it’s just like that. My oldest child is knocking on the door of 20 and I’m pretty sure there are some scribblings from when he was 2 in there. But where am I going to put them? I’m not emotionally ready (and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be), to get rid of them….he certainly doesn’t want them….so they stay in the stacks. I’ve gotten slightly more organized by putting the stacks in plastic containers, but now the containers are stacking up too.

Here’s the kicker: I have OCD. I’m not just throwing that acronym around willy-nilly…..I’m actually diagnosed….it says so on my medical chart. There aren’t enough hours in a day nor energy reserves in my body to keep things around here as clean as I want them to be. When things don’t get cleaned my OCD tends to push me toward an anxiety/panic attack. Then when that gets sorted I have an emotional breakdown because everything isn’t “in its place.” It’s really a vicious circle – round and round we go.

I try to find comfort in wise words of other folks who suffer in this manner and remember that really my house isn’t nearly as bad as it seems in my own mind. And, that it doesn’t matter if things are spotless when the kids are happy and memories are being made. I really do try to remember all of that. Somewhere deep down I believe it – but oh my goodness there’s so much clutter!

But, it’s Spring. Time for renewal. Time for planting flowers and vegetables, time for singing birds and baby lambs. And…time for cleaning. Cleaning out the fur and the dust and the cobwebs…not just on your floors and windows and tables but the ones in your head and heart as well. While you’re mopping the floor, let go of a past hurt that’s been gnawing at you. When you clean out the overstuffed closet, forgive yourself for that thing that keeps you from moving forward. While you clean your windows, formulate a plan to achieve that next thing you want to accomplish in life. Cleaning isn’t just about physical dust and dirt – we all have emotional cobwebs to knock down too. It’s Spring – time to take care of you. When you do, taking care of everyone you love is even better, and they will notice the change in you. Love yourself so you can love others.  Try being a little OCD about it….even if you aren’t diagnosed.

Happy Spring!

Leslie

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National Pet Owners Day

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So today is National Pet Owners Day. I didn’t even know this day of recognition existed. Did you? I think, and I’m not certain, but I think that almost every day of the year is some type of “day” of recognition. I’m undecided if it’s a good thing or not – I guess if nothing else it keeps things interesting.

But anyway, this day got me to thinking about pets….the ones I’ve had over the years, my current pet and of course what I would own if I could have any pet in the world.

My first pet was a bird. Now don’t mistake “bird” with one that you would purchase in a pet store. No no, I didn’t have a parakeet or a finch or cute little lovebirds. Nope, I had a baby robin because you see it had fallen out of its’ nest during a storm and of course the mama was done with it at that point. I discovered it next to the tree in my grandparents’ backyard. My grandpa helped me collect it and we put it in a bingo hopper. And again, don’t confuse this hopper with the ones that are massively large industrial size hoppers that are for fire hall bingo nights. This was a little tiny thing, round….about the size of a large cantaloupe. And I named him Rupert; after the boy on Little House on the Prairie that at the time I suppose I thought was really cute. Anyway, I fed Rupert with a medicine dropper and rather quickly he graduated to needing worms and such. I was never a very squeamish little girl so I handled that okay. But, it wasn’t all that long until Rupert was big enough to fly and my grandpa told me I needed to let him go. Admittedly, for a little girl who loved her bird, that day sucked. But Rupert quickly took off, strong and healthy and I was a wee bit proud too. I felt like I had saved him from certain death.

Not terribly long after Rupert went back to the wild I decided I really wanted a kitten. I think I wanted one because I was a girl and all of my other girlfriends wanted or had kittens. Kittens kind of seem to be the girly pet right? Soft and cuddly, cute little faces, low maintenance……. So  my parents (who are NOT cat people) eventually gave in and brought me the cutest little gray kitty with big eyes and a bushy tail. I honestly don’t know if it was a girl or a boy. But I do know this. I was terrified. At first I was so excited….and I found some string because that’s what kittens play with on all the television shows I had seen. So I get this string and I begin to walk around the house. The kitten (who hadn’t even been given a name yet) began chasing the string. Except you see I thought the kitty was chasing ME and I didn’t put it together that it was the string it was after. And well….the kitty coming after me with what I knew were sharp little claws on those sweet little paws gave me a fright. So I walked faster….and the kitty chased faster….and then I ran…..and the kitty ran….and then I jumped onto the sofa screaming that the devil kitty wouldn’t stop chasing me and I was crying and……well…..it didn’t get much better from there. I believe the kitty resided in our home for about 4 hours until we begged my grandma to take it in. She did of course and the kitty turned out to be quite docile and lazy with very little remnant of the devil kitty visible.

Over the next several years I had dogs. I did much better with them even though they are high energy, nippy, barky, high maintenance pets. Go figure. But I’ve had Benji, a Yorkshire Terrier (holy cow those little things can yip for hours!) and I had Ruff, a Llewellyn Setter (he was a bird dog). My dad wanted to use Ruff for grouse hunting in addition to him being a family pet. That was fine with me because honestly my dad didn’t hunt very often so I figured Ruff’s services wouldn’t be needed very much. But, he still had to be trained. And really, even though we were training the dog I think my dad was really using it as a ruse to wear me out so that I would go to bed early and sleep late that summer. You see, in order to teach Ruff to “fetch the birdie” my dad would throw the fabric “bird”, Ruff would point as was his inherent nature to do, but then we had to teach him to go get the bird GENTLY and retrieve it for my dad. Yeah….so I had to run all over the yard with the dog in tow, and teach him to gingerly pick up the bird and take it back. It took days and days. Now, it makes sense to me now that it took so long. Dog training doesn’t happen overnight, but oh my goodness, I was convinced my dad was punishing me for something that I didn’t know he knew about or for something that he thought I may do in the future. But, I did get in top physical condition that summer and I had a fantastic tan.

As an adult I’ve had my share of pets. I outgrew my nonsensical fear of cats and I’ve had quite a few now. Some I paid for and others were strays that my kids brought home. I’ve had Plato, Socrates, Cloud, Barbie, Hank and Oreo. The kids have had hamsters and fish and the occasional turtle. And I’ve had 2 Labrador Retrievers; Storm, a black Lab and Brie, my chocolate. Now we have Stella, our shelter pup. She’s a Shiba Inu/Collie mix and she just turned 4.

I truly love all of the animals I’ve had but I can’t help but dream of owning some exotic pets.  Like a monkey/gorilla/chimp…..gorillas are one of my most favorite animals. They are so smart and human like and they’re just beautiful. Yes, I know they are dangerous and that owning one is not a good idea….I’m just saying….they’re really really cool. And, I’ve always wanted to adopt a manatee. They have those programs where you send money and they send you a photo of a manatee that you are supposedly supporting. I’ve never been able to convince my hubby that it’s a good plan….but manatees are cute. They look like squishy crescent rolls that swim. And recently I saw photos of these baby hippos. Have you seen these guys? Oh my gosh they are adorable. I even think the pot-bellied pigs are kinda cool.

I only have one creature that absolutely can NOT under any circumstances live in my home AND I like to pretend they aren’t even anywhere near my home…..snakes. Can’t do it. I am terrified. The scenario with the kitten when I was 5?……magnify that times a million, add in a panic attack followed by a fatal heart attack and that’s what you would get if you paired me with a snake. TERRIFIED. I don’t even do well looking at pictures of snakes in books. I realize that my fear may be a wee bit irrational – but I don’t care. It is what it is. At least I can admit that there’s something I’m really afraid of.

So tell me….on this National Pet Owners Day, what have been some of your favorite pets? And, what are some odd ones that you would own if you could?