Housewife Challenge – Days 18 & 19 – The Bad and the Great

Monday (day 18) was mostly a failure. I did a couple hours no computer in the morning which let me do a lot of straightening up – the weekend messes, the piled up receipts, the four days of dishes all got dealt with. The moment I turned on my computer, however, all productivity stopped. I did very little all day, managing to start dinner at 6pm – a time when we’re normally finishing eating. M was running late however and our sliders were coming out of the oven just as he was pulling in the driveway so it seemed like I did something.

Tuesday, in contrast was extremely productive. Woke naturally before my alarm, hyper. Before M even woke up I was dressed, brushed my teeth, and starting on chores in anticipation of running errands. I transferred all my photos from my phone onto my computer ready to free up some space on my phone. I left for errands. Got gas, went to the bank, and target. Target was almost a mistake for me this time. I went in for socks and ended up buying a wastebasket, 5 straw hats (to start my pirate hat making business), new pajamas (first bought pair in 10+ years), and of course socks. That whole trip was an impulse trip – I was killing time until Joann’s opened.

At Joann’s I spent $1 on a strip of fabric to make up my curtain ties. Then I went back to Joann’s because I forgot to look for pirate hat material. They didn’t have the fabric I wanted unfortunately so I put off buying anything more.

Finally, I went to Lowe’s to shop their spring black Friday deals. The paving stones I’ve been wanting were on sale so I bought twenty of them and loaded them onto my cart and into my car myself. I also got mulch, stakes, plant tape (for staking), three packs of alyssum (which were so fragrant in my car) and two gallons of oops paint in a beige color I liked. I was pleased to see Lowe’s selling ladybugs which I might buy later this year for my garden.

I figured once I got home I’d be dead tired and wouldn’t accomplish much the rest of the day. Right after lunch though I wanted to keep working so I busted out my hula hoe and rake and got to work in the backyard. I was making decent progress and getting into a rhythm when I saw a nope rope near my shoe. It was only a garden nope rope but I have an extreme phobia of them (to the point I can’t look at pictures without anxiety and seeing the word printed just now gave me the creeps). I ran screaming into the house. 20 minutes later I was no longer hyperventilating. 30 minutes later I was able to go out my front door and walk around the block (the nope rope having been on my back fence). 40 minutes later I managed by sheer force of will to go into the middle of my yard and retrieve my rake and hula hoe to put away. That I could go back into the backyard the same day as seeing one is a testament to how much better I’ve gotten. As expected though, it derailed all outdoor plans for the rest of the day.

I resigned myself to playing on my computer and maybe getting laundry done for the rest of the day. The laundry I managed to do. I also straightened up some rooms. I updated my linkedin profile for the first time in two years. When M got home we went back to Lowe’s where we decided on a handcart wagon for the garden and bought a decent looking one. That’ll be my day 20 goal. After take-out dinner we worked on a new puzzle for a bit.

Overall, day 19 was insanely productive! (And I can feel it today.) I’m pleased with all of my purchases and all of my work. I still want to work in my garden though the thought fills me with trepidation right now. Hopefully soon I can get back out there and continue transforming the backyard into my oasis.

 

(P.S. I may hate the cold and winter, but at least there aren’t nope ropes around. That is one very good thing about winter. I think last year I saw them in spring too. Why do they seem to appear most in spring?)

Housewife Challenge – Days 16, 17, & Weekend

The weather of the week left me lazy as all else. Unfortunately, I did very little on either day 16 or 17 of the challenge. Managed to water my plants. On Friday (day 17) I finally transplanted my green bean sprouts and a couple of my hydroponic pepper plants. They are in the ground now and hopefully will survive. I did get a bit of fruit off of the two pepper plants before I transplanted them, which made me feel accomplished. However, I’m looking forward to starting new seeds as I’ve learned a lot about my hydroponics. The green beans might be too long and thin – I’m not sure. They sure don’t seem perky yet. Last weekish I transplanted my pea plants and took a couple that weren’t going in the planter and planted them next to the tree. I’m pleased to say that those pea plants are still alive and starting to grow, much to my surprise. The ground around the tree is hard clay so if something can grow a bit, I’ll be happy.

The weekend resulted in visiting friends, going dancing, and being extremely lazy. I think I needed that pure laziness though. I’m feeling more energetic. ‘Course that could be our California spring sunshine.

The Guilt of a Lazy Housewife

Once again I am questioning my role as housewife and whether I’m any good at it. Sure our house is clean enough (very tidy according to M and visitors, lacking in areas according to me) and I manage a dinner most weeknights. But I feel….well I was feeling a bit guilty about not working as hard as some SAHW. I feel guilty, often, for not using my college degree in a substantial way. Occasionally, I feel like I”m mooching off my husband. What am I really contributing anyways? He’d eat out maybe a bit more if I weren’t cooking. The vacuuming might only get done once every six months instead of twice a month. The kitchen would still be fine – cleaner perhaps because he washes his dishes right away whereas I procrastinate doing mine.

Anyways, I was feeling blue then I made a terrible mistake. I went to the internet for support. Ha! Every article in defense of housewives details their endless routines of cooking and cleaning. 95% of them talk about caring for kids. Very few mention those without kids. When we’re mentioned, it’s always in slightly negative tones. Why aren’t we contributing to society? What really is the point of it all? Your husband doesn’t say he hates it but he’d much rather you were earning. In short, the internet made me feel twenty times worse about being a stay-at-home-wife-no-kids. It isn’t helping my guilty conscious.

What’s more, I really don’t think it bothers M. We talk about it frequently and he seems okay with the whole situation. I ask what I can do to enhance his life and it’s just “keep doing what you’re doing” or even “play more Stardew” (yes, he’s said that before). Occasionally he’ll ask for a particular meal (fajitas) which is a really easy request. But I start feeling guilty and feel like a moocher sometimes which is ridiculous. I quit my job over a year ago and still have money from that 6-month stint even though I use my account to pay for most of the groceries. I don’t usually ask for expensive things or go shopping very often. I’m careful with all of my purchases. I don’t pay rent or electricity though.

My biggest struggle keeps coming back to not using my degree. Too late in school I discovered it’s uselessness for anything I’m interested in. To use a degree, I’d need to go back to school. I like staying home. I like cooking dinner. I don’t mind folding laundry. I enjoy my little walks and grubbing in my garden. Am I lazy? Very much yes. Do I contribute to the bad names of housewives? Well, I’m certainly not giving them a great name (my apologies SAHW). I want to be better but I also like who I am.

Eh, this was just a little post to lessen my guilt. I think I’ll go for a walk and start dinner now.

Housewife Challenge – Day 13, 14, & 15

Back from the funeral so time to resume the housewife challenge. While I was gone M got me an early birthday present – the new camera I’ve been wanting. The old one was from 2001 and took worse pictures than my cell phone. Now I have a Cannon Rebel T6, the fanciest camera I’ve ever taken. Playing with my new toy is fun.

Day 13. Eager to take advantage of Lowe’s spring black friday sales I headed over there only to be met with disappointment. None of my yard stuff was on sale. Not a huge deal as their sale extends through the end of the month and they’ll have new stuff on sale on Thursday. Still, I had plenty of energy I intended to spend gardening. Instead I unpacked from my trip, cleaned up the kitchen, wrote an About Me page for this blog, and played with my new camera (M suggests a post about my new camera, what do you think?). It felt like I got quite a bit done but really I never even did my chore of the day.

Day 14. Spent the morning hours working with my first official client on decluttering her closet! I loved getting to help her and it was lots of fun (and I got paid!). I hope to do this more often and with other people in the future. I can’t quite get over why people are willing to pay to have someone help them declutter. It’s more a hand holding position than anything else. Do you really love that? Are you sure? Why do you love that? Okay now let’s move on to the next one. Once I get over that people might be willing to pay for that sort of help I’ll be more at ease.

On my way home I stopped at the grocery store for a few more items. I had plenty of time to do all my usual housewife challenge things in the afternoon but between the morning and the rain (and me being lazy) I accomplished little else all day. I did do half the laundry. Could have finished all of it but though I put the soap in, I forgot to turn the washer on for a cycle. By the time it went in the dryer it was well past my bed time.

Day 15. Another rainy day, another lazy unproductive day. I dithered away the morning and afternoon before starting on my evening tasks. Managed to make a new recipe (Afghani Bolani from Foodtasia) and took pictures while doing so. Post about that coming up soon. Food blogging is not my thing, I discovered while taking pictures. Cleaned up all the dishes. Never folded the laundry. I miss taking my walks. Took my walk after writing that, it was warmer out than it appeared. The recipe was pretty good but now my kitchen is all oily from frying the bolani. It also took quite a few dishes. Overall a mediocre day. Didn’t achieve everything on the list but did get enough done.

Housewife Challenge – Days 10, 11, & 12

This week’s interruptions and failures brought to you by weather and funerals. First, I was supposed to only have two days this week of the housewife challenge because a friend was coming from out of town. However we mixed up our days and then the weather was too crazy for her to come down so we cancelled. On day 10 (Monday) I managed to transplant my pea seedlings into the garden and finished mulching completeing all my outstanding yardwork projects until Lowe’s Black Friday Spring Sale puts a bunch back on my list. With yardwork out of the way, I made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, and wiped down the bathroom. In all, I managed to complete everything on my list for the first time in over a week. A lot of it was in preparation for said friend coming over.

Day 11 I lost all momentum. I had planned in my head being out of the house most of the day and so hadn’t set up any projects for myself. And the it was raining in sheets and torrents. I was worried for my poor little transplants. Bad weather always makes me hole up and do nothing. I managed a dinner later in the evening and to do a load of laundry but that was it.

Today, day 12, isn’t looking much better. I’m still feeling very lethargic but also feeling guilty I’m not doing stuff. Most everything is ready for me to go down to my parents’ house tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll finish the kitchen dishes from last night and work on something? My challenge is not going well. I’m blaming the funeral but I know it’s just me being lazy.

Truth is, I think I’m getting tired of myself. I need to do something, to have a goal to work toward but nothing is taking my interest. I wish I could start college classes whenever I want instead of having to do it at the beginning of a semester. I could start classes tonight and be fine but next week who knows? I think I’ll have to get a real job soon. As much as I want to be a housewife and a professional blogger, I just don’t think I can stand the guilt for much longer (self-imposed guilt). And the only views I’m really getting on this blog are M, my friend who comments on my other blog, and porn spammers. I keep thinking a real camera and pictures will help, but I’m not so certain. Still, not something to think about today. I’ll think about my failures next week. Thank you Miss Scarlet O’Hara (now there was a resourceful go-getter).

Housewife Challenge – Days 7, 8, & 9

Ugh, this week has been really tough to motivate. Day 7 I barely made my morning straighten up chores. I folded the previous day’s laundry and worked on upholstering my ottoman. It’s one of those small footstool storage ones like you find at target. I’ve had this red one since …. forever. At least since college so 10 years? It resided in storage for four years with a bottle of leaky bleach on top of it for at least a year. The top was all molted in color, the rest of it faded, and generally bright red doesn’t match anything in my yellow room. I just so happen to have this “sailor” coastal fabric that’s survived three purges. Originally I bought it to be a makeshift headboard back when I had no money or space for a real headboard. Somehow it always survived the decluttering, usually with me saying “I must use it in x months” and then not doing so. Well I finally used it! The ottoman started to look a lot better but I didn’t finish it.

I ran so far behind and did so little on day 7 that I never finished reupholstering the lid of my ottoman. Instead I whipped up a Philly cheese steak meatloaf. I eliminated a step in the cooking process that saved me doing a few dishes and it still turned out excellent.

Day 8 was a complete and total failure. My biggest accomplishment for the day was getting dressed at 4pm and emptying the dish drain.M’s friends came over to a board game I don’t like and one of them brought dinner for us. As soon as I finished eating I escaped back to doing nothing. Truly a waste of oxygen kind of day.

Day 9

It seems my guilty conscious is working on me after yesterday’s laziness. I managed to turn off the computer for two hours, during which time I finished my ottoman lid and whipped up a pillow case with the left over fabric. Cleaned everything upĀ  did a cursory straightening of my room. Wiped down the bathroom. Cooked fajitas.

Housewife Challenge – Days 5 & 6

Day 5

Wish I could say I started the new week with gusto but mostly started it with (what feels like) failure. I managed to do a 10-minute tidy that took care of the biggest messes in the house, I aired out the house, and I took an extensive walk. In the morning I did the dishes from the weekend and put them away. And that’s it. Didn’t do my chore of the day or my project of the day. Didn’t have two hours of non-computer time. Didn’t work on my blog. Nothing. I felt incredibly lazy.

Day 6

Started off the day feeling as lazy as yesterday but guilt finally took over around 2pm and I managed to get all of my morning chores done, the laundry done, and half of yesterday’s project-of-the-day and half of today’s. Washing the doors and door frames takes a lot longer than it should and it took nearly twenty minutes to detail three doors, front, back, and borders. They have never been detailed, however, so they were really bad. If I make this a semi regular thing (once a month) it should go a lot quicker. Later I whipped up a meal (freezer soup) and cleaned the kitchen.

Life (and Death) Gets in the Way – Housewife Challenge Setbacks

Before I began the housewife challenge I made a deal with myself: The challenge would be paused on days that M was home. This meant that on weekends especially but also on holidays I would suspend the challenge to just spend time with him. Well on Friday M conducted a work meeting for home. He and his coworkers got here about the time I normally do all my projects and chores and they were still here at the hour I normally clean the kitchen and make dinner. Being a work function, I hid away so as not to disturb them and accomplished very little for that day. Therefore, last week I only did four days of the challenge. Let’s be entirely honest – I could have done some of my housewife challenge for M’s meeting but was too lazy. I was still toying with it as a failure or as a “non-day” when I got the other bad news.

Friday, the day M had his meeting, brought tragic news. My cousin who has been going through chemo for colon cancer went into organ failure. The doctors didn’t give him much time to live. My parents made it down to his side to say goodbye and comfort his family but it took an emotional toll on all of us. He died Saturday evening. Aunts and uncles should die before cousins. He was the first non-grandparent to die. I am sad and my heart breaks for his family and his parents. Anyways, there will be a funeral, probably later this week, and I’ll go down there, thus suspending the housewife challenge for at least another day (possibly two depending on circumstances). My challenge will now end in mid-April instead of early April.

Remember: presence with family and friends is more important than a picture perfect house.

 

Housewife Challenge – Day 3 & 4

Day 3

Wednesday, day 3, I found things much harder. I felt incredibly lazy and gave in to my computer and played games. Around noon-thirty (yes, that’s how I say it) I got off my butt and managed two hours of yard work. I weeded the area for my new planter beds, set down weed mat, filled with soil, and leveled it all out. About thirty minutes after finishing the clouds rolled in and it started raining. Rain is my nemesis and I can never get much done when it rains. (I live in California so this isn’t normally a problem.) I managed to straighten up the house a little bit but completely didn’t clean the kitchen. Made ultimate grilled cheeses for dinner. Overall failed my evening chores but am so proud of the yard work I got done.

Day 4

Terrible winds and driving rain killed most of my productive energy. I braved the storm and went grocery shopping. The key to grocery shopping is to have a list. I got everything on my list and only one thing not on it. At least I got my chore-of-the-day done and then had food for dinner. A small break in the storm had me taking my daily walk where I proudly got to be the neighbor busybody. A tree had fallen in the road two blocks over and I called it in. I then picked branches of flowers for a bouquet which stunk to high heavens – resulting in my airing out my room. Later I had M guilt me over my project-of-the-day and whipped out some curtains for my yellow room (which I’m no longer sure about). Overall a successful day.

Lessons

Rain really does kill my creativity. Always shop from a list. Tasks don’t necessarily have to be done in order, they just need to get done.

Housewife Challenge – Day 1 & 2

Day 1

First day started off pretty well. My walk was a bit delayed due to rain but between breaks in the storm I managed to get in a very cold one. I knew it would take me longer to get the house straightened up since I haven’t done a good straightening in over a month. It took the better part of my two hours without computer to get through the living room, bathroom, master bedroom, and yellow room. The remaining time was spent starting my project-of-the-day – to clean all the ceiling fans and light fixtures. All of the bathroom light bulbs above the sink were unscrewed, wiped down, their fixture wiped down, and put back. As I was doing that I realized in the four years I’ve known M and two years I’ve lived here, they’ve never been cleaned. I also wiped down the blades of the master bedroom ceiling fan using the pillowcase trick. I’ll need to pull out the ladder in order to really clean all of the light fixtures, which was too much of a pain yesterday. So while I accomplished a part of my PotD, I didn’t get it done.

The afternoon found me putting potting soil in a seed tray in the side bathroom. It got the floor very messy but it’s all together and three rows of peas have been started. I’ll need to sweep up the dirt again today; yesterday it was mud. Then I vacuumed the upstairs and downstairs of the house, completing my chore-of-the-day. In the evening, I cleaned up the kitchen, finished all of the dishes, swept, and made a quick meal which M was kind enough to clean up for me. Overall it was a very successful start.

Day 2

My morning tidy and straightening went well enough. I got a few extra spots cleaner than day one but soon ran into the problem I knew would come up. On day one I did most of the easy straightening and now on day two I finished the easy stuff and moved into the medium/harder stuff to straighten. Soon I’ll have to do the hard stuff like paper piles and boxes. My two hours without computer were a bit harder to cope with and I ended up starting my project-of-the-day (PotD) – detailing the stairwell.

Detailing the stairwell took a lot longer than expected. The idea was to vacuum, wipe down walls and baseboards, and replace the ugly curtains that came with the house. I had a set of hand-me-down grey curtains to replace them but they were about two inches too short. Luckily, the manufacturer had sewn in an extra fold, so I spent over an hour seam ripping the two panels. When I was done the curtains were the perfect length.

I got in a walk mid-afternoon before finishing my PotD. M was late getting home, which worked out really well for me as it gave me time to clean the kitchen and make a quick meal. I got my laundry all done, including the bedding, and folded and put away all of M’s things. When M got home, he helped me straighten the bed skirt and the whole room looks much better now.

Things I didn’t get done: folding my laundry, vacuuming the stairs. Overall another successful day.

 

The schedule here.