Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

April 22, 2009

The Bedroom Is Always The Stephen Baldwin Of Rooms When You Are Entertaining Guests

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:32 pm

They say that your bedroom serves as a window of sorts into your personality. Well, if that’s the case, I wonder what tidbits can be gleamed about myself from the current chaotic state of my room.  Looking into that so-called window becomes extremely difficult when the blinds are shut morning, noon and night. Good luck to you nosy folks trying to sneak around and unlock insight into what I am all about because you’ll find just like when company comes over that the bedroom door remains shut.

244baldwinstephen1006061I guess you could call the bedroom the Stephen Baldwin of rooms because it goes largely ignored in light of its’ more popular brothers: living, dinning and bath. Like Rodney Dangerfield it gets no respect. Now don’t get me wrong. I desperately want to squash the nasty rumors going around about the person who mysteriously disappeared during game night after accidentally turning left instead of right on their way to the bathroom.

The thing is when you are cleaning like a mad man and are up against the clock; your bedroom suddenly becomes a great hiding place for all the things you don’t know what to do with. For obvious reasons, the cleanliness of your bedroom ranks low on the totem pole of priorities when you are entertaining guests.

You see it is highly unlikely Jenn will decide out of the blue that the perfect location for the smoldering fondue pot is the middle of our bed over the duvet cover. Chances are good we’re not going to be sitting on throw pillows playing Uno, Catchphrase or Hearts. Neither will the guys be huddled around the 26 inch TV with the wing tray laid out on our dresser when the big screen in the living room makes watching the Redskins lose a lead in the final minutes of the 4th quarter even that more painful.

The problem arises once all of the guests have long since gone and all Jenn and I can think of is entering dream world. It feels like the bed is calling our name.  Unfortunately, his voice is muffled due to the pile of laundry resting on top of it. We open the door; walk delicately through the landmine field and after pushing all the ‘stuff’ off, collapse in bed.

We have ever intention of dealing with the mess in the morning, but wouldn’t you know it the girls are raring to go before the crack of dawn demanding our full attention. Chipping away at it bit by bit causes the tide to turn. For the most part, the bedroom goes back to normal for a while. However, everything doesn’t always go back to its proper place and over time the collection of stuff grows. What should be a peaceful sanctuary has the tendency to become a graveyard where knick-knacks go to meet their maker.

Maybe my domestication effort is rubbing off on me because this trend is coming to an end. Look out world. Don’t let that door swinging open smack you in your face. The next time Jenn and I are entertaining the cleaning process will start with the bedroom first. This way while friends are mingling and enjoying appetizers they can see where the magic happens….the magic of my cleaning ability that is.

April 18, 2009

Looks Like I’m Adding A Few More Things To My ‘Honey Do’ List

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:31 pm

The following post is written by my beautiful wife, Jenn: 

Here we are two thirds of the way through April and I thought I’d take the chance to weigh in on Tony’s quest to become a Domesticated Dude.  First, let me say that I do not think that he is undomesticated, like a stray cat.  He puts his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, usually puts the toilet seat down and is fully capable of taking care of our girls.  Actually, there is a lot around the house that he can and does do.  Sometimes he fumbles through the tasks at hand and sometimes he sails right on past and on to the next thing.

Life around our house is busy.  Our two-year-old Paige is a crazy, climbing wonder.  She is kind of like a little super hero that climbs on, swings from or flips over anything she can find, stack or otherwise manipulate into a springboard for her imagination.  She is always trying to” save the day” or at least entertain you until you forget that you were about to tell her to stop tearing the couches apart or not to jump onto the coffee table.

kids-hand-messy-art-project1Maddie on the other hand is our budding artist.  Whatever she can cut, color or paste together she will.  It’s not unusual to walk into the dining room to find a plethora of masterpieces strewn around the table or taped to windows of our French doors.   Most of the time there are snippets of paper littered beneath her chair.  For her to create what she sees in her minds eye is freeing… and quiet messy! 
All of this to say, our life with kids isn’t exactly what we thought it would be.  We knew that they required a lot of stuff but we weren’t exactly prepared for the mess they leave in their wake as they bounce around exploring their worlds. 

We wouldn’t trade it for anything but it does require us to adjust our expectations and priorities for cleaning.  No longer is the order of our CD’s of utmost importance or whether the spines of the books on the bookshelf are all even with the edge of each shelf. 

I would like to say that Tony’s journey to domestication is definitely a transition to seeing our world a little differently and being ok with the fact that our kids personalities definitely challenge us in all areas, including the domestic arena.

I think Tony does a great job in a lot of areas so he is well on his way to becoming domesticated:

  • I love the fact that Tony is not afraid to conquer the bathrooms.  Thank you to the summers of working Conference Services at Messiah College.  When he is done, the toilet bowl shines.  I’m not sure if there is anyone out there that loves cleaning toilets.  I appreciate his willingness to do it though.fotolia5948038xs-main_full
  • He takes care of our girls fabulously.  When I get home from an evening out, they are sound asleep in their beds, fully bellies, bathed, teeth brushed and bible story, song and prayers done.  They think he hangs the moon and it’s the sweetest thing ever.
  • Tony does the laundry and even irons his clothes.  I love that about him!  Especially when he worked at Wachovia while I stayed home with the girls.  Taking his shirts to get cleaned and pressed was no longer part of the budget but it didn’t fall completely on my shoulders. 

There are several other things he is completely capable of but that is not what this is really about. However, there are a few things I would love to see him learn to do.  If not for the necessity, for the fact that these things would qualify as traits a Domestic Diva possesses.  I would like to take the opportunity to make some suggestions for Tony to think about and maybe try in the last part of the month. So, here we go:

  1. Tony can cook but I’m not sure that popping a Lean Cuisine into the microwave or making Ramen in a coffee pot quiet qualifies as cooking.  Sure, most anybody can boil some water and pour a jar of sauce on top to make spaghetti or stick some Eggos in the toaster and call it brinner (breakfast for dinner.)  But, I would really love it if he learned how to cook one good meal.  It doesn’t have to be fancy it just has to be something he chooses and can do all on his own without me walking him through it step by step.  Ohhh… maybe chocolate chip cookies.  That would be yummy!
  2. Sew a button.  Every Domestic Diva, or Dude, should know how to sew a button back on a shirt of a pair of pants.  Fixing a hem would be nice too… sewing the girls a skirt…that would be hilarious but defiantly do-able.
  3. One more thing… spend a day in my shoes.  Tony is so great at so many ‘domestic things’ even though he probably doesn’t see it.  He has come a long way from the day he moved out of his mamma’s house, that’s for sure!  He is capable of cleaning, taking care of the girls, making something to eat, etc.  But he rarely has to do it all simultaneously.  I’d like to see him give it a try.  I’m confident that he’ll be fine.  But, I’d still like to see him do it. (He probably will only make if half a day before I miss him and the girls too much and I crash his day of domestic duties!)

Tony, you are on your way to Martha Stewart status…lets see you finish strong!

April 9, 2009

When Company Comes To Town I Can’t Help But See Colors: RED Velvet Rope & WHITE Gloves

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:51 pm

It always seems that the days leading up to my parents coming down to visit are absolutely hectic. Our schedules become jam packed with stuff to do and places to be.  Making sure the house is neat and tidy come second to the other things we need to do. Clothes pile up, dishes remain dirty and our toilets suddenly become saintly as they have a halo ring around the bowl.bigstockphoto_white_glove_test_216716060817434

Exhausted, we finally take a look at the calendar and realize that my parents will arrive tomorrow.  When pressed up against the clock there are some jobs that absolutely need to be done while other tasks can wait.  The problem arises when Jenn has one idea of what is a ‘must do’ and I have a completely different perspective. 

For some reason Jenn does not see how critically important things such as alphabetizing the CDs, lining up the books on the shelf properly according to size and making the pantry look like a grocery store display are to the overall aesthetic of the house.  Instead she chooses to do the laundry so my parents have fresh towels, clean the floors, and catch those pesky dust bunnies.  She has the ability to see the big picture while I stay paralyzed by the details.

At midnight Cinderella might have turned from a princess back into a cinder maid but once the clock strikes twelve I turn into a frantic cleaning Nazi.  Obviously Jenn isn’t keen to this approach which, combined with our stress levels, makes for some very heated discussions about the number of sheets of paper towels needed to clean a window (this is a hypothetical example of course as the answer is clearly three). 

Eventually, the house is clean and we get over it.  Like zombies we go to bed and swear that next time will be different yet, it never is.  I have to admit I wasn’t jumping for joy at first over the realization that I’d be spending 30 straight days focusing on mastering the art of domestication. This should come as no big surprise to anyone who knows me. Spatulas and the Swiffer Sweeper were foreign objects in the hands of this caveman up until a few days ago. 

Knowing that my parents would visit this month helped me warm up to the idea of domestication.  It provided incentive to learn from the mistakes of my past and develop new behaviors. Still, fighting the urge not to freak out as we got the house ready for our guests was extremely difficult.  I realized that my normal reaction is caused by this desire to want the house to be spotless or at least appear that way. velvetropeRather than creating a ‘lived in’ environment, I was hoping to achieve a stunning museum status where all the kids toys were not only put in their place, but had a red velvet rope across that area so onlookers could gaze in amazement while at a safe distance.

You don’t have to tell me I am neurotic nut job, I already know. Luckily, I was able to catch myself this time before the insanity reached any extreme levels. What brought me comfort was knowing there was no possible way my mom had any more space in her luggage to pack that white glove for the house inspection. Her bags were filled to the brim with gifts for the girls. The fact is that a white glove doesn’t exist. My folks weren’t here to see the house. They came down to see us. Wait a second, who am I kidding? They’re here to spoil those grandbabies.   

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