Friday, July 30, 2010

Under the Sink

I hate the area under my kitchen sink. It's one of those most dreaded areas to clean. I organized it once since we moved here 2 years ago. A combination of my household cleaners and my father's Depression era thinking of "If it's on sale really cheap than I should buy it now because I might need more in 10 years and not be able to afford it then" has left me with cleaners in 6 different places in the house, stocked to the gills.  Not having household cleaners is not my reason for not doing PCCX. That's for sure.

Last year, we had a leak and my dear husband just threw things back in after he fixed it. Um, thanks? I've just not had the inclination to go digging in there, overrun by cleaners, sponges and the like. But I about lost it the other day. You see, if we're getting low on dish detergent on the counter, and my father doesn't have more sitting right there in the front of the cabinet under the sink, he must go buy more.

Clearly that bottle was not "in his face" because he bought 2 more.     
 So, with my Ipod fully charged and my playlist ready, I went in....

Yep, that big black spot is mold. Why? Remember I mentioned the water leak? Apparently my husband didn't bother to wipe it down. *Sigh*  Gee....I wonder if I have any cleaners to handle that...

Now, you may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  Under the sink included:
  • A furniture cleaning set that we got when we purchased our couch 7 years ago. It's never been used. I tried throwing it out 2 years ago but my husband insisted we might need it someday.  
  • 3 boxes of Mr Clean Magic Erasers
  • Vacuum bags (slightly water damaged)
  • 2 different LCD cleaners & a bottle of a distilled water mixture for cleaning LCD's
  • Can of air
  • Furniture Polish and polish wipes
  • Resolve, Oxy Clean floor cleaner and a Steam Vac Cleaner
  • 4 plastics bags of various sponges (3 were opened).  After removing the plastic bags, I ended up with 37 sponges.
  • Bug Spray
  • 2 cans of Lysol disinfectant (which smell really bad, so we don't use it but keep it???)
  • 4 brushes
  • 3 pairs of latex gloves
  • 3 bottles of window cleaners
  • 2 organizing racks
  • Strainer
  • 6 bottles of dish detergent
  • 5 various household cleaners
  • 3 different lime/rust cleaners
  • 3 boxes of steel wool cleaners (My father said we were out and to add to my shopping list, so I did and bought some, but he didn't see I did, so he bought some and we already had some *sigh*)
  •  Murphy's Oil Soap
  • A "garbage can" with more sponges in it....WTF??
  • My coffee can of grease
  • and lastly, 82 of those dish cloths/wipes (we don't use these)
Back to the problem of cleaning out under the sink and that nasty ass mold stain.  I grabbed the Lysol Kitchen cleaner (with bleach), grabbed a pair of latex gloves and one of the disposable dish cloths.  First of all, I hate latex gloves. With a passion. They're a pain in the ass to put on and your hand/arm sweat while using them. But I was NOT touching that mold with my bare hands!!!

Afterwards, I condensed as much as I could and put it all back all neat and organized and stuff. 

After 3 hours, I was DONE!



my father entered the room and sat down.

He asked me about the black spot he saw under the sink while it was empty.

I explained it was mold from the water leak...

He then asked...

Did you use bleach?

*insert sigh of disgust here*

Yes Dad.

"Oh" he says..."I wasn't sure if you knew"

My brain went into overload...
Seriously?!?  Are you friggin kidding me?!?!?  I'm 40 years old!!!  *Insert swear words here* Old man...*insert more swear words*  Raised a family of three boys *insert more swear words* Only living here to help you out *insert more swear words* I need alcohol *insert more swear words*

My reply...

Yes Dad, I knew.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Yeah, I suck.

Daily PCCX posts.  Right. As if.

I'm in a funk that I just can't seem to get out of.  No matter how many times I say "I'll start tomorrow," tomorrow never happens.  I need to get back into a daily routine. I'll start tomorrow.

But I did do something today.  I organized my pantry. Exciting stuff, huh?  Yeah, it wasn't really that difficult to be honest.  In fact, it probably took longer to take the pictures and edit them.  Still, its one job down.  So, without further adieu, he are my before and afters:

Top 2 Shelves Before
Top 2 Shelves After
Bottom 2 Shelves Before  
Bottom 2 Shelves After

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Days 10-13 - um, not so much

I'll admit it. I've been playing pretty much all week. Well, not *always* playing. I have fixed meals (except for tonight), I've done dishes, a couple loads of laundry, I hauled trash yesterday, but real cleaning? Yeah, not so much. And ack, this coming week? More errands than I can shake a stick at. It's really going to suck, honestly, and I'm not looking forward to it. Such is life with one car - and one that is barely running at that.

I am shopping Sunday but may be able to do some work in the afternoon if I'm not totally wiped. There will be next to no cleaning done Monday. Tuesday has potential. Wednesday is unlikely to see any work done. Thursday, hahahahaha. Ye-ah, no. Friday's looking pretty good, unless I'm recovering from Thursday still. It will take a very concerted effort on my part to get anything done toward PCCX before the end of the third (!) week. Think I'll make it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cramming lots in early

The insurance adjuster is due between 11 and 12 today. I don't know where he's coming from or from how far out he will call to let me know he's on his way, but he did say he'd make that call so I'm hoping I have half an hour or so.

While the kids got a ton of work done yesterday, there is still much more that needs doing before he gets here. I've rallied the troops and gotten all the "public" areas swept and picked up and dishes going. I would still like to clear and clean the kitchen counters and mop as much of the floor as possible.

None of this can be done without breaks however, so here I am to introduce zones 2-8, also known as the rest of my kitchen.

Ok, there's a lot of pictures and I don't know how to put a slide show in a Blogger post, so if you want to see pictures try this gallery.

The freezer and area in front of it is zone 2. The kitchen breakfront (as opposed to the dining room breakfront, coming later) and the area in front of it are zone 3. The refrigerator and in front of it is zone 4, ditto the stove in zone 5. Zone 6 is the pantry and can shelf and, yes, the floor in front of and immediately beside them. Zone 7 is the right side counter, cabinets, and floor to the dining room, and zone 8 is the left side counter, cabinets, and floor to the dining room.

There's the lousy linoleum throughout, including a large area of deep gouges in zones 2 and 3 where previous owners had apparently had a table and chairs, pieces of it coming up at the edge of the dining room, back door, and in front of the dishwasher, and bumps in zone 8 where there is a lot of water damage to the wood floor beneath - not related to our current ceiling issues.

Behind the pantry is the cheap paneling continuing from zone 1. Above all the counters is a backsplash of the same cheap laminate as the counters, complete with peeling daisy border. Two more windows: one above the sink and one at the far left of the counter.

The biggest problem in the kitchen, aside from general mayhem and horrible decorating, is bugs. All the rain has driven bugs inside and I haven't yet gotten a handle on it. So far it's (mostly) confined to the kitchen and I'm determined to keep it there. Well, get it gone really, but before that keep it from spreading.

So that's the rest of the kitchen and the before pictures, and some significant work is getting done today. Signing off until the afters...

Day 9 - cleaning without lifting a finger

Something got into my kids today; I don't know what it was. In exchange for erasing some allowance debt and some extra quarters, all three of my kids lit into cleaning today. Without my ever getting up:
  • "The pit" was completely picked up and swept - needs a serious mopping but that's another story.
  • The popcorn machine was more or less cleaned out.
  • The pantry was organized.
  • The sink and toilet were scrubbed.
  • The dishwasher was unloaded twice and loaded once.
  • A load of laundry was done.
  • The fronts of the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, and freezer were scrubbed.
  • The German shepherd got a bath.
  • One of Mom's boxes was emptied.
This was all on top of their usual daily chores, which between them include picking up and sweeping all kids' bedrooms, the bathroom, and the living room.

Who are these kids, and where have mine gone?

Day 8 - good intentions

I started Monday off pretty well really. I dove into PCCX with my silly diagram and started on one end of my kitchen. But I didn't get back to it after the first 45 minutes I spent on the buffet. I think I spent the majority of the afternoon/evening playing on the Wii. Boy, I'm just doing great here, aren't I?

As it turns out, as nice as it was to start at #1, I should have started at the other end of the kitchen, because I spoke to the insurance company over the weekend and we should have an insurance adjuster coming to look at the hole in the ceiling. That end of the kitchen is what I call "the pit".

Have I mentioned the hole before? I don't remember if I have and I'm too lazy and it's too late to go looking. There's a leak in the roof. Don't know where or how; Chris has been up there on the roof and didn't see anything. Of course, he doesn't see the mustard that's on the shelf 6 inches from his nose. Anyway, leaky roof begets hole in ceiling, hole in ceiling begets leaking kitchen, rain begets larger hole, more rain begets ever growing holes and cracks, and unseasonable storms beget ceiling crashing down in the middle of the night. That was Friday night I think. Anyway, we're going to see if there will be any help in getting it fixed. I'm of two minds about that, because we don't have the deductible but at the same time a real fix is better than a temporary fix. We'll see.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Zone 1 - before

Area 1 is the north edge of my kitchen, where this lovely teak buffet once belonging to my grandmother resides. It is/was supposed to be the home to all my Christmas dishes, but it was full of large silver pieces and empty boxes some of the Christmas plates had come out of this past year. Reasoning that the boxes would just take more room and I wouldn't want to bother putting them in and taking them out every time, I chucked the boxes.

Oh wait, this is the before post. Ok, so there's the buffet with all the Christmas stuff scattered and stacked; the microwave which looks like a before picture but is really an after since A cleaned it a week or so ago; the horribly small and virtually unusable corner where large trays and things are stacked, including the hanging pot rack I so desperately need, still in the box, 3 years later; the opposite, larger corner where the humongous popcorn maker is supposed to go, and hey, that's where that extra trash can went; and the popcorn maker itself. The area surrounding is cheap paneling, lousy linoleum, and old windows. One of which, you can sort of see, is home to a HUGE wasps' nest, which really needs to be taken care of, like, yesterday. Any ideas that don't involve getting close to the darn thing?

So today I'm beginning to tackle this zone, one piece at a time. News at 11. Actually that's probably a pretty accurate estimate.

So far, so...well...

I did my dishes before I went to bed and I made my bed when I got up. Unfortunately those two events were far too close together. I was up until almost 2, and really not all that ready to sleep at that point. I was still awake 40 minutes later, and then awake again an hour after that, just in time to watch the lightening.

This morning when Chris's alarm went off at 7:45 I had to decide which would have a more detrimental affect on my productivity today: lack of sleep, or getting up late. I chose the former. Hopefully it won't backfire on me. And now to breakfast - awaaaay!

I almost forgot

Thursday in the regular group I declared my dungeon to be my laundry room. In all of the previous seasons as far back as I can remember my dungeon has been my storage shed. Guess what? In every season it's either too hot, too cold, too wet, or too overgrown out there to even set foot in it. This time around I decided the laundry room was a more achievable goal and in nearly as much need as the shed. I think it's #9 on my diagram, so after my kitchen (#1-8) that will be where I go. Of course, if I play my cards right I'll be doing laundry all along and whittling away at the mountain taking up half the "room". It's really a back porch closed in enough to make a breezeway between the house and what was the garage. The door to the outside is blocked by laundry. The door to the back yard is nearly always open for the dogs. So it's hot down there when it's hot outside, but not quite as hot as full sun. Anyway, that's what I'm planning. We all know how well that goes.

Days 5, 6, and 7 - what happened?

Somehow I lost 3 days. I know where today went; I was shopping. But Friday and Saturday are a useless blur. Week one down and not a darn thing done. So tomorrow is Monday, Chris is back to his regular schedule (messed up last week due to the holiday), and I refuse to be sucked into tv shows or video games or sitting and doing nothing all day.

I know that I want to start in the kitchen. Based on my zone diagram there are 8 sections of the kitchen to be dealt with. My first choice would be to simply start with #1 and move through the house in order. However, over the weekend the ceiling at the other end of the kitchen finally caved in. The insulation and drywall were picked up right away of course, but I kinda need to get the area cleaned up if an insurance adjuster is coming over. Of course, I have no idea when that might happen so maybe I will start with #1 and if I need to switch gears I can.

I do really wish I'd had the sense Friday and/or Saturday to clean out the fridge and pantry *before* shopping today.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Steam Cleaning Part 3

I know I haven't posted a part 1 and 2, but I've done the work and posted it under last post, which was Monday, or Tuesday. Tuesday...yeah, that's it. Cuz I was a day late posting. Right then. On to the tale...

So as stated previously, I'm detail vacuuming and steam cleaning in sections. Partly because its easier than having the entire floor wet and trying to move furniture around and mostly because I'm too lazy to do it all at once.

Oh if only there was a magical steam cleaner that would get rid of the cigarette burns too.  These burns are along the main walkway (although normally covered by the red rug) because Dad used to have a rocker in the area and would fall asleep while smoking.  So, now its time to start moving the rocker and lamp.

Anyways...back to the living room I go and move the lamp.  Now, I'd like to point out that I DO vacuum several times per week, but only the "middles" as suggested by Flylady and leave this "detailed" vacuuming to PCCX.  We won't discuss how I never finish PCCX.

I love my cats. I love my cats. I love my cats.

So I spent about a good 20 minutes just vacuuming the floor and along the baseboards.  I followed that up with about an hour steam cleaning the section.  Overall, it came out pretty well.

So, that's my blog post.  I haven't done anything else PCCX wise because its been too hot or I've felt lousy.  But, I'll *try* to do at least 1 project per day, even if its just to wipe down a light switch so I can blog about it and keep Amanda from nagging me. LOL

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 4 - a plan of action

Today is/was E's birthday. I'm not exactly sure how that meant that I didn't get anything done, but that's what happened in the end. I did, however, create an ingeeeeeenious (insert maniacal laughter here) diagram of my house, sectioned off into 30 colored blocks indicating what areas should be cleanable in a single stretch of hard work. For instance, the living room is all one color as it doesn't require much beyond your average mop and polish. The kitchen has 8 sections because it's that awful. And so on. I think if I can pick a block and focus on it and just it within these boundaries I might be less overwhelmed than thinking I have to mop the *whole* kitchen perfectly in one go. So, it's a plan, and it might not have been worth the time and effort but who knows? Maybe it'll be that last magic piece of the puzzle.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 3 - didn't try

I had a lousy day in general today. Didn't really think about cleaning at all, except to look around and think "what a dump", and to harp on B to finish his bloody chores. And truthfully I didn't particularly care about getting up and doing anything.

I'm forcing myself tonight to face what I haven't done and update my blogs anyway. (I have 3: this one, one at sparkpeople, and my own site. I'm a glutton for punishment I suppose.) I don't know yet if this shameful look in the mirror will make tomorrow any better, but I can dream.

Speaking of dreams, the other night I dreamed that we had a party for E's birthday (it's tomorrow) and the only person to show up was Stephen King. Weird, huh?

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and all that rot, and I have a lot to get done. We're not actually having a party, Stephen King or not, but E is 2; he won't notice. I'm pretty sure he has no concept of what a birthday is, much less that he has one. But I still have things I'd like to do, and things I should do, and I believe I'll start by going in now and doing the dishes. Ciao.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 2: stopped before I started

I intended to work in my room today. I went in there, I took pictures of the hideous before, and I was all ready to start digging in when my computer battery was near empty and I got sleepy. I never quite made it back in there. Let's see if we can get a look at the before:

Ok, I guess we can't. I can't get any more pictures to upload for some reason. That's Sharla there, lying where she always does. She'll have to do for a before, unless I can get it to work when I have afters.

Day 1: not even home

I spent the first day of PCCX out doing the shopping I should have done Sunday. The only cleaning I got done was getting the groceries put away. But hey, I'll take any accomplishment I can get. I did stock up on a couple of cleaning supplies, so I've got that going for me too.

Summer PCCX

Whose dumb idea was it to have PCCX in the summer? When it's hot? VERY hot!!  It doesn't matter where you are in the U.S., July is the hottest month of the year.  So, let's sweat our asses off and clean like our mothers-in-law are coming over in 2 days.  Except, we're gonna clean for 6 straight weeks.  Thanks so much for remembering Amanda.  Appreciate it.  Really.

Anyways, I actually started pccx a few days early.  I decided my living room is easier to do in sections to detail vacuum and steam clean because of moving furniture around and let's face it, its easier to say "avoid this 4x8 section of the floor" then "NOBODY walk in the living room for the next 8 hours!!!"  Besides, the bathroom is off of the living room, and the cats don't listen. So, I'm doing sections.

Now, I'm going to apologize in advance.  I rarely remember to take pictures for the before/after effect.  I usually remember while in process or after I'm done.  Maybe I'll get better at it if I do this daily, right? Right???

So, to begin. I have before/after pics of my front entry.  Mind you, hardly anyone visits that area because we strictly use the back door.  The cats however, like to throw up there. Often.  Leaving wonderful stains for me to clean up because nobody else in this house has the balls (Yeah, I said it. Three men in the house and I'm the one with the balls).  I digress.  So, my only visitors to that area are perfect strangers that don't know any better and come to the front door. Isn't this the site I want them to see when first meeting us? NOT!!  So, I took everything out (a bench and about 50,000 boxes because my Dad can't bear to throw them out because we'll need a box that size one day).  THEN remembered to grab the camera

So, that was Friday.  Saturday, I did the section near the bathroom, about 4 x 8 in size.  Do you think I remembered the camera? Nope.  So, no pictures, but I swear, I did it.  Sunday I tackled the section across from the bathroom where we have a desk/computer.  If you own a pet, you'll understand the amount of pet hair in the before picture. (Oh, and I remembered RIGHT after I did one sweep of the vacuum LOL)

The next day, I took a break from the floor because I ran out of cleaner for the steam vac (except I found out last night that I do have another small bottle under the kitchen sink, which means that 1.) I can work on the living room floor again tomorrow, and 2.) I need to clean under the kitchen sink and see if I can find other cleaners and maybe Jimmy Hoffa.  Anyways, I decided to tackle the microwave.  Didn't get a before pic, did get an after shot though :)

My last group of pictures are strictly after shots, you'll just have to trust me that I did the job.  Why? Because I'm too hot to get up and take a pictures because its JULY!!! These shots are in the entryway. Today I decided to look up and dust. Can I just say, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww...never look up!!!

Okay, so that's my last 5 days. Even though PCCX technically didn't start until yesterday. So, consider me ahead by starting a few days beforehand, or late because I didn't post yesterday LOL

Monday, July 5, 2010

Starting again

I'm not going to make any grandiose statements about how I'm going to beat this place into submission once and for all, or magically get it all together in the next 5 weeks. With any luck I'll make it onto that road, but I'm not expecting miracles.

This is a time of change for me though. I've made major alterations to my personal blog, I've started another challenge or two, this is beginning, and just in general it's the second half of the year and I'm feeling the need to revisit goals.

I'm going to take new pictures this time, but only as I go. One section or room at a time I'll post before and after photos as I work on them. I apologize in advance for the quality of said photos; my real camera is not on speaking terms with me so I'll have to use my camera phone which is decidedly less clear. But possibly better than no pictures at all so I'll give it a shot.

So once again the reminder: any progress is progress, and the cleaner things get now the cleaner they'll be when it's time - in the not-so-distant future - for the mother of them all, Fall PCCX + Holiday Plan. Here's to a productive 5 weeks. Cheers.