Thursday, April 27, 2017

Girls Night Out - Spring Cleaning

When's Dad coming home?

My husband is on the road and I teleworked starting pretty early, which left a number of hours to get some things done around here after the dog walker took Abby out. If you wonder why I pay for a walker when I'm home - I am missing quite a bit of the meniscus in my right knee after a really bad fall on ice 5 years ago (Barkley, Steps, Female Retriever in Heat - end of story and end of the knee). At certain angles, it's bone on bone. Even though she behaves for the most part if Abby gets excited she will dart to one side or another which is very painful and may tear what little support ligaments I have left in there. So when my husband is on the road - she gets at least one very long walk with the walker (a retired female postal carrier who Abby ADORES) and several play sessions with Mom and toys in the fenced back yard.
Those of you who read The Barkley book know I arrived as a long time single person into middle age with a humongous fancy house (which like most McMansions seemed to be made mostly out of bad drywall and cheap laminate), full of thing I really didn't need which impressed none of the snooty neighbors.  After getting Barkley, I realized what was really important in life and I was not happy trying to "keep up with the Jones" and sold it, giving away all of the many rooms of expensive furniture and art to veterans groups, One young couple I knew (my hair stylist and her husband) looking to adopt, but losing all of their things in "nature run amok" incident, got enough to fully furnish a new two bedroom  rental bungalow. They adopted their son two months later after the first children's services home visit.  I think I cried more than they did.

Sometimes I miss all of that. But I never looked back.

So when I met my husband he'd just bought this seriously "fixer upper" 1915 small Chicago Mission bungalow that had amazing wood that just needed to be restored, and beamed ceiling and so many other qualities I just loved even though there were many aspects of it that made it look like the "Green Acres" house. It was pretty small but since we don't have overnight guests - we could turn all but one bedroom into den or office.
Telework dog watches Mom carefully to make sure she doesn't waste taxpayers money.

We've done all the work ourselves (I mostly hold things and make sandwiches)  It's still only 1200 sq. feet on the main floor (equal space in walk out partially finished basement.  Space upstairs could be bed and half bath but with just the two of us, we'll leave it as we'd have to lose a closet to put in permanent stairs.

But it's a project and with the major renovation there's dust, and there's stuff moved into other rooms and well, our bedroom looked like a bomb had gone off in it, it being a tiny room at the back of the house, When he bought the place and when he met me, the  bungalow was set up with a very fancy master bedroom at the front of the house.  There was beautiful wood work, huge windows that cover a full wall on one side, and small windows on the other wall,  and it's way bigger than the other rooms with the exception of the living/dining area.  When I first saw it, I had grand plans - "we could knock out a wall, bringing the woodworking around into the new entryway and add a fireplace!"  My husband just looked at me and said, "how 'bout we start with just hanging up some pictures in the new back bedroom."
So we hung some pictures to start.
Our bedroom is very small and furnished with "bachelor furniture" my husband had when our friendship of many years became something else.  Nothing matches, but it's our room with a deep walk-in closet Abby loves to sleep in at night on a poofy dog bed.  It's the stuff he had when we fell in love. There are memories here. On the wall, my late brother's mementos to me from childhood and adulthood as well as a couple other things given to me by people I love are on shelves where I can see them.
We still have to restore the wood and floors in here, repair some water damage in the ceiling (the original hall bath was not properly vented) and redo the plaster and walls. Rooms not seen by friends went to the end of the renovation list  It's not fancy, but I sleep peacefully here, away from the street, only the sounds of birds in the spruces and giant lilac bush in the morning. Unlike most Chicago homes, the original owners bought two lots and built just one house so we have trees and space, and privacy.
So spring cleaning today - the winter bedding was laundered and packed up, and I found these really cheap quilts (less than $20) at Zulilly and picked up a couple, the colorful country quilt style one going on the bed for the summer. Lace curtains were washed by hand and hung up to dry. The winter rugs went out for cleaning and all of my husband's shoes were wrangled (seriously he owns more than I do).  The dresser was cleaned up, the only things remaining, important to me, the fencing medal given to me by the female teen who was on the male college fencing team because they didn't HAVE a female team, who I dedicated Small Town Roads to, a goofy gift from my husband, a camping light in case of power failure and Barkley's ashes, topped with the infamous "Mr. Squeeky". It actually looks like a bedroom again, imperfect but deeply personal.

I took a picture and sent it to him at his hotel and he much liked how cozy it looked.

So Abby - what say you and me celebrate with a treat -  you can have Lamb and Potato, mine will be the Chardonnay variety.
MMMM.  Treats.  Girl's Nite Out!!! (Can I invite Ruby over?)


  1. Hari OM
    Good work, well done, is its own reward... but treats are okay too!!! YAM xx

  2. Bravo! Sounds like you worked hard and got a grreat result at the end of it.

  3. We moved to a smaller house too. It is just mom, dad, and two little dogs, so why do we need the big house. Plus mom has had two knee replacement surgeries so she does not do well on stairs on walking the dogs. Mommy takes us on walks but Daddy holds the leashes. She doesn't know if she could walk us on her own.

  4. Ghostwriter often says she and Dad could have gotten a much bigger house. (They're still living in their "starter" house.) But then the four siblings wouldn't have wanted to move out!

    Oh, and thanks for the link to that bird site and the part about keeping the grackles away. Very useful info!

  5. I Hopes you me ME Abby, cause I just packed my backpack, and got the margarita truck all gassed up, and am on my WAY! Nows, do I take a right at Tahoe, or keep goin' straight....I forgets. No worries, I'll find it...
    Oh, and Ma says she LOOOVES the quilt, it reminds her of her childhood and all the quilts and afghans her Gma loved to make for the whole family. Her fav is a white one that is so worn, it's like butter to touch.
    okays, better gets on the road...
    Ruby ♥

  6. I enjoyed to read about diy-projects what end much better than ours ;o) it's encouraging and I think I will start another project here.... at least I can use my eggs-periences for a mischief-monday post LOL


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