Sometimes, cleaning is a good thing

I spent all of yesterday sweeping and mopping every room. With wood floors and three dogs, it took almost all day. I vacuumed the rugs and then rolled them up to clean the floors underneath. Then I swept everything into the stairwell, swept and mopped the stairs and the vacuumed everything up at the bottom of the stairs. THEN, I took out the extension do-hickey on my vacuum and vac’d up the floorboards and thresholds. All that obsessive cleaning sort of clears out my brain.

I had gone to Fresno, picked up scripts, gone shopping, driven home, cleaned, gone to the grocery store (okay-that was stupid. Mike wanted pecan pie, so I went, the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING). It took forever. Then, pick up scripts at two pharmacies (we are changing over).

Mike is home from the hospital and I am trying to keep him just medicated enough so he is comfortable. Good thing we are going to see the doctor next week, because he is one cranky patient. This isn’t the worst he has been–he is a terrible patient. He doesn;t want to eat what he can eat. He wants to sit up and none of the chairs are comfortable. Could I get his glasses? How about his books? His feet are cold. Oh, he doesn’t like THESE socks. It seems the more I do, the more he needs….and the crankier he gets. I find myself giving him the wonk eye more than once and I can sympathize with anyone who is the primary caretaker of a spouse or parent. I took care of both of my parents until their deaths, I’ve been taking care of Mike now for 18 months and have two babies in diapers is easier. At least I could go to work to get some rest when the kids were little! Even with my parents, I was still working and juggling their care with that and my children. I’m retired with Mike and it seems like I don’t have a minute to myself. Newborn times ten.

And I’m glad he’s home. Juggling life with him in the hospital is hard, too. And I’m glad that we’re at the end of this whole 18 month illness. When he first got sick, his chances of surviving were so slim–that was hard AND scary. This is just hard. And long term care taking is wearing.

Thanksgiving (today) was wonderful. Ben and Lisi did all the cooking—all food Mike could eat. Pumpkin pancakes, cranberry syrup and Ben’s quiche. I literally dug into my sewing room and found some pretty fabric for a tablecloth and eight napkins–a paisley cream silk–and put the centerpiece together on a mirrored tray. Adrian came over and we all really had a nice time. The kitchen is cleaned up now and all of the leftovers are stuffed in the fridge. I don’t think we’ll need to cook for a week.

Tomorrow, Ben and I are going out for two Christmas trees. I think all I’ll manage to do is get them put up and the lights on. All of the decorations are in the basement and I need to drag them up the stairs.

December is the month I clear out the trunks and linen closet of all the linens. Everything that is not starched (I love the way starched and ironed pillowslips look and smell) is being washed, mended, folded and put away. None of it is hard, just busy work.

The things I don’t like–anything brown, ugly or doesn’t fit any of the beds in the house–are being donated to the women’s shelter. They are perfectly good; I just have the option of not having to keep colors I don’t like.

The shelves will be lined, with lace and ribbon on the shelves. Each set of sheets are slid into the matching pillowslips and tied with a ribbon. I have pretty sachets (courtesy etsy), so when I open the linen closet door, it brings me joy.

Each bedroom has an antique trunk at the foot of the bed with comforters (hung outside and dried in the sunshine), along with a set of fresh linens and towels. I even have twin sized mattresses under the beds because you never know when you are really going more company than planned. (Just last night, I had a full house!)

Next week I’m taking all of the big area rugs outside and hosing and scrubbing them clean. First I do them flat on the veranda and then I hang them up and hose and shampoo them clean. I have three dogs and as good as they are, they’re dogs. I have special dog shampoo I use, with a really stiff broom. Then I all but pressure wash them and then use some special purple shampoo that whitens and freshens them up. While they are drying outside, I dustmop and use a liquid called Fabulosa (the purple one makes the floors smell so fresh!).

I have an outdoor A-frame clothes line that folds up flat. I use that to dry linens and my lace curtains. I just love the way the fresh air makes them smell…plus it gives me a place that is not inside the house to dry big things. Stuff I hang up, I toss on the couch in the lobby and get them all hung up almost immediately, because if I leave them there, they look so totally white trashy I can’t stand it.

So that’s how I handle the laundry.

And that is pretty much what is going on with my life this week—but once it’s done, it’s done!

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