I feel like Sisyphus

Welcome to my own version of Hell.

roof1I feel like Sisyphus, except for the part where I’m being punished for being deceitful, that is.

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight.

They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

For the past month, except for a brief few days camping and hiking in Pinnacles National Park, I’ve been cleaning and re-cleaning and cleaning again.

The same things.

Futile and hopeless labor.

Over and over and over again.

First we had five trees removed and I cleaned the yard of debris.

Over and over again.

Now we’re having our roof replaced in advance of the forecasted horrible, terrible, El Nino this winter pouring rain down upon our droughty lands.

The last time our roof was replaced was in 1985, prior to purchasing this house.

No one prepared me for the MESS and the NOISE.

Tearing off the two older iterations of roofing shingles.

Dirt, dirt, and more dirt IN THE HOUSE.

Even with all the windows closed in this one-hundred degree heat.

This is the stuff of OCD night terrors, because I JUST CLEANED IT.

roof dirtDirt on the screens, in the window tracks, coming in through the vents.

And there’s me, the embodiment of Sisyphus, vacuuming and vacuuming and well, you get the picture.

Are you asking yourself why don’t I simply wait until it’s all over and clean it just one time?

Good question.

I’ll give it some thought and get back to you with an answer as soon as I finish vacuuming.

Again.

See what I mean about Sisyphus?

OMG and then this HAPPENED right now as I’m writing this…a roofer stepped through and crashed into the ceiling in the office.

Now I am officially CRAZY.

roof fall

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Empty Nest Moms, This One’s For You.

When Is the right time to clean out an adult son’s boyhood bedroom? (And I say “son” ‘cos I had one child, a boy, and never experienced what it’s like being the mom of a girl.)


This was the week I did it. Cleaned my son’s room, I mean. Fifteen years after he moved out, or as I like to refer to it, when my darling Angel Boy abandoned his mommy.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m the antithesis —  the total opposite — of a “free range” mom.

Need an example?

I carried Angel Boy until he was about seven-years-old, when his legs dangled to the ground, and he was ALMOST my size.

In this photo, he’s probably thirteen-years-old or so, my little Harry Potter look alike, already taller than me. See that MOMjoy? All it takes is being next to him to bring out that kind of a smile. (And that swishy track suit was all the rage in the 90s, I promise you.)

jasonroomom

So, don’t make me say the dreaded words; “moved out”.

That’s bittersweet and rife with sadjoy (my new word all moms should immediately start using in our daily conversations.)

Sad he’s gone, but joy and pride in his accomplishments and goals. Mostly sad, though.

The purge. Well, more accurately; the relocation.
jasonroomclean1From the first grade, a diorama of the Carlsbad sea wall that his dad built — dinosaur books, academic awards, handwritten spelling tests, report cards, a writing prompt about what the future might hold (potential editor of National Lampoon)…one of the last Valentine’s Day cards made for me before that tragic discovery of the wonderful world of females who are NOT Mom–jasonroomclean2

And so many books: Chaucer to Mann to Goethe to Faulkner, Welty, Shakespeare, all the books from fifteen years of college and graduate school.

In a bookish family like ours, it’s a tough Sophie’s choice kind of dilemma: how does one determine which book might not have value? It’s pretty much impossible.

But here’s the real question…

Is there ever a right time to clean out an adult son’s boyhood bedroom?

The answer to that — for me– has always and will forever be a resounding NO! NEVER! — until I came up with the brilliant idea of simply moving things to another area, saved and protected, organized into plastic tubs to be stored in the garage, thus not purging nor destroying parts of him which is really part of me, but preserving forever and forever my Angel Boy’s childhood which means he hasn’t really grown up and gotten married and moved away and doesn’t need his mommy anymore…SIGH.

Wait a sec, let me wipe away dust-streaked tears. SIGH.

Sniff.

Buck up, Princess Rosebud, there’s still hope, he might be back, adult children DO return home, sometimes they DO need to fly back INTO the nest, so all is not completely lost.

Something to cling to, to be prepared for. Happily.

Every picture, every single scrap of scribbled upon paper, every college application, all art projects from the age of two, baby books, envelopes of baby curls, baby teeth the Tooth Fairy saved, that fallen off shred of shriveled umbilical cord (yes, Angel Boy, I told you we were forever connected, how could you doubt me?)

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like his room hasn’t been cleaned properly in the thirty years we’ve lived in this house, because it has, but we had stored everything that belonged to him in his closet — just in case he needed that one specific item for any reason.

Or in case he decides to start collecting baseball cards again–of which there are THOUSANDS.

I’m a hoarder, not a tosser;  he and I share this attribute. Although the one and only item we’ve ever tossed out will forever haunt tugboat man and I…his favorite skateboard.

Angel Boy hadn’t sk8d in years, the half pipe ramp in our backyard disintegrated and had been torn down; who would have known that it meant so much to him? Apparently, MOM should have known, but one summery day, tugboat man and I were cleaning out the garage, and did the horrible-est thing EVER — we put the sk8board out in the street instead of framing and hanging on the wall. This was about ten years ago, and my son won’t let us forget how we failed him.

Guilt and shame compels us to regularly offer to replace the board; however, no new board could possibly subsume the sweet memories of that fave —  but we learned our lesson and promised to NEVER again summarily throw away any item that might contain a shred of sentiment without prior authorization. In writing.

Now that his room is so pristine. So vacant. So unoccupied.

I wonder.

What if…

For Rent: One room. Three meals, snacks, and yes, one very sadjoy empty nest MOTHER included…

jasonroompaint

Cleaning Naturally — A Review of #Earth Brite

EarthBriteFlipping though the stations, this product caught my eye on HSN — ShopHQ, as it’s now called. A little name change, a branding re-do — to confuse the armchair consumer and blur the lines with another shopping network, QVC. Is that playing fair? What do you think? I’m not sure how I feel about it, or if I even really care — but as a marketing professional, I’m always fascinated by branding and new directions in marketing from an established company.

I don’t often purchase from these TV shopping shows: first and foremost, I’m a natural skeptic, and unless it’s a VERY GOOD DEAL like the Canon Rebel camera (that I’m impatiently waiting for),  I normally bypass this method of shopping as I’m a touchy-feely kinda gal; I want to see it, touch it, smell it–before I buy it.

However, on this day, two very excited and animated hosts were scrubbing and smiling, telling me all about how Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes, and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

Intrigued by the spiel; I thought I’d spend twenty dollars to test it out myself. I checked out the product information online and this is what I learned:

Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

When it arrived, I put on my trusty yellow rubber gloves to see first-hand if those claims are true.

  • I used it instead of Comet on my porcelain sink. Earth Brite did indeed work, but I had to scrub a lot harder to get the same results.
  • In the bathroom, I scrubbed the shower floor and glass doors, which is a big test here in SoCal where we have SUCH hard water that it sometimes takes a chisel to get the shower clean. The results were OK but not “earth” shatteringly better than plain vinegar or any of the other array of products I have around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
  • The final test was an old Revere copper-bottomed saucepan. Again, Earth Brite shined and polished the copper, but with additional elbow grease, and it wasn’t as easy to shine as the TV hosts told me it would be.

Not a spectacular shine, right?earthbritepan

Product Review:
In the final analysis, I was hoping that this all-natural product would replace most or all of my chemical-laden cleaning supplies, and it has not done that. I’m happy that it contains ingredients that are healthier for my family and for the environment, but I was disappointed that it did not live up to the live on-air demonstrations that initially compelled me to make the purchase. However, the companion product, XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate turned out to be a wonderful surprise and it’s become part of my daily cleaning — and it smells great, too.


Here’s What I Received:

  • (2) 10.5 oz. Earth Brite All Purpose Cleaner
  • 2 Round applicator sponges
  • 8 fl. oz. XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate

What The Website Wants You to Know:

  • Work All Purpose Cleaner into wet applicator sponge before applying to any surface. Failureto thoroughly wet product may result in scratched surfaces.
  • Always use the application sponges included.
  • Apply light pressure and increase pressure only as needed to clean surface.
  • Rinse thoroughly to avoid possible clay residue after cleaning.
  • After each use, let the All Purpose Cleaner paste dry before closing the container.

Will Return Soon…

As I’m consumed by 24/7 cooking, baking, and cleaning, I have been remiss in responding to comments and blogs.

Please accept my apology — I’ll be back in a few days.

Until then, I’m on….

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