More decluttering

Edison and I spent a few hours in his room last week, getting rid of things and organizing. This week, I finally went through some of the boxes that I hadn’t unpacked from the move that were in the basement. I am putting things in boxes and getting ready to donate them to charity. After next week, when I help Clooney and the Princess organize their rooms, we will take the things over to the drop-off site.

38-42) 5 bikes that were outgrown and taking up space in the garage

43) old skateboard

44) Edisons 2010-2011 school work, papers and debris

45) three-year-old diorama

46) Half-used poster board

47-52) 6 naked Barbies

53-56) 4 board games

57-77) Mr. Potatohead and accessories

77-100) two Spongbob Mr. Potatoeheads and accessories

101-150) Sesame Street foam building blocks

Choking, shmoking…

Here’s an example of what it’s like for a mother of young children at the pool:

The Princess was paddling in the shallow end, safely ensconced in her pink floaty Disney princess vest. I had been in for a while, but it really wasn’t that hot a day, and I’d been fighting a headache all day, so I got out and wrapped myself in a towel. I sat in a chair at the side of the pool, while she showed me how she could jump, dunk her head (while holding her nose) and float. Every trick was preceded by the words, “Watch me.”

All of a sudden, I felt something in my throat. Had I swallowed a bug? In any case, the apparatus was seizing up on me. I needed water stat! But the water was on the other side of the pool, where Edison’s friends had settled for the afternoon. I got up to go get some, coughing and trying to swallow.

“Mommy, watch me!” The Princess called from the pool.

“Princess, I have to go get some water.”

“No, watch me!”

“I’m choking here. I need water.”


“I swallowed a bug or something! I’ll be right back.”

“W A T C H  M E!”

Needless to say, I completed the task that was most pressing — I watched her for about ten more seconds before getting the water and preventing myself from full-on asphyxiation.

In other news, my decluttering thing has gotten a little side-tracked, but I have been slowly collecting things. Here are the things recently:

27) Hot Wheels stop watch. This had been Clooney’s, but he grew tired of it and gave it to The Princess. She put it on the desk in my office, where it proceeded to go off at random times. No one could figure it out, how to stop the beeping, how to work the thing. It moved from my office to the kitchen counter, where I finally dissected it to remove the battery and threw it away.

28) The Lemonade Stand. Purchased for $10 at Target four years ago, this thing has taken up space in our garage, only to be used for 20 minutes per annum. Not sure that in all its uses it paid for itself, but they never played with it for fun, only for business. I was going to throw it away when we moved, but they caught me and insisted we bring it to the new house.

29) Widowed yard game racket. Terrible game, really. Racket was neither taut enough to hit the ball back, nor slack enough to catch it. No idea what happened to its mate or the ball.

30) Clooney’s old raincoat. He must have taken it off in the garage last summer and left it there near the old paint cans. I’m sure it kept many a spider warm this past winter.

31, 32) Two Pirates of the Caribbean Nerf pistols. They only shoot one foam dart at a time, which in today’s automatic Nerf gun warfare is death.

33-37) 5 LEGO boxes. For some reason, the boys insist on keeping the boxes their LEGO sets come in. I don’t get that. It’s never going back in the box, and the model that they make and save (quite the racket LEGO’s got going these days. No longer do kids imagine myriad combinations for these blocks, now they are all specialized and the kids make the models, displaying them as trophies until when? college? they have their own children? The answer has yet to be discovered.) looks exactly like the one on the box, so what do they need to look at the box for? Makes no sense to me, so they’re gone.

Some headway. Next week while they are in camp, I am hoping to tackle the back room in the basement.

More decluttering and a little help from the wind

Made some progress in the decluttering project this week. I went through my bathroom and bedside table and got rid of the following:

15) bottle of great-smelling body lotion that had only a little bit left in the bottom rendering it impossible to extract. It’s been a fixture in the bathroom for about two years.

16) A man-sized Guess watch I haven’t worn during the 21st Century

17) another ladies watch I can say the same about

18) another sunglasses clip

19) over-the-ear ear bud headphones (hate those)

20 and 21) two small photo frames, never used

22) Victorian replica brooch (never-worn) I’d been saving for some sentimental reason, but I can no longer recall the sentiment.

23) old night light that looks like a lamp shade that The Princess never really took to

24) small wooden jewelery box that I haven’t used in years

Also, during a walk through the garage, I happened to notice these two things:

25) unopened Bob the Builder computer CD-ROM game

26) a little car book/craft that Clooney never used


This week brought a lot of wind to my neighborhood. We recently moved from the city to the ‘burbs and the increased number of trees is a little frightening in times like these. One morning, I found this in our yard:



Manfrengensen says it reminds him of something from Braveheart. When we removed it, the hole was more than an inch deep. Lucky it didn’t land on someone’s head, or come through a window, huh?

One would think by now I’d recognize quickly the taste of my own foot

The other day a friend invited me to meet with her group for coffee. The conversation was animated, mostly mom stuff, comparing notes on housekeeping, parenting and shopping. One particularly interesting part was on the dangers of fabric softener, which I have since stopped using.

Anyway, I finished a side conversation with the lady on my left, and caught some of what the girl on the right was saying. I heard, “I don’t think I could live without bathroom wipes. They’ve changed my life.”

So, I interjected, “Yeah, I think without them, I’d need to install a bidet.”


She kind of paused, and nodded politely, but then turned to the woman to her right and clarified…They’d actually been talking about bathroom cleaner.


The moment reminded me of another about 15 years ago, when I was laughing over lunch with some girls I was working with then. One of the girls had recently gotten a UTI, and so we were talking about ways to avoid them, like going before and after and such, and we were laughing, getting a little bawdy in the lunch room there, and then one of the girls, who was obviously a bit more experienced than we were shared (with a wide smile on her face) that “you can’t be putting it one place and then the other, either.” And the whole room went silent. Sharing is always a good thing…to a certain point, at least.


On Another Note:

The decluttering continues. Have gotten rid of:

10 and 11) two trashbags full of toy garage parts that were never going back together to form actual toys

12) non-germ-free vaporizer

13) one pair of clip-on sunglasses that fit spectacles I haven’t worn for five years

14) stack of old papers from the back of the counter in the kitchen.

1,997 items to go.

Clutter Up, my little dove

I got a note from Edison’s teacher the other day. Edison has been struggling academically a bit this year, and when she took him aside to ask him this week if anything was bothering him, he broke down and admitted that he was worried about me. Me? I said. Seems so. He’s concerned that because I am not working, that I am home alone and lonely.

So I assured him that nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, I am so busy, that before I know it, it’s time for them to come home from school. In fact, I am happier overall than I have been in a long, long time.

Just kind of amusing, the way a 10-year-old can view the world.

Overall, I had a tough time as a mom this week, though. I think when you first become a mother, you get into this habit of kind of telling them what to do, because they don’t know how to do anything. I’m finding that habit a little hard to break. I keep having to remind myself to let the leash out further. Don’t worry, I’m not any kind of tiger mom, but I am a bit of a control freak. And then , when I see control freak tendencies in my kids, I wonder where that’s coming from….duh.


Anyway, I did get rid of a few things in my 2,011 Things decluttering project.

First of all, I did get to Macy’s to return those pants. I ended up buying a pair of jeans and a blouse though…so does that still count? You may disagree, but for now, I am going to choose to allow it.


Things Recycled:

5) two boxes from the boots I bought earlier in the month that have been sitting in the living room.

6) two cellphones

7) one box full of spent printer ink cartridges


Things given away to charity:

8)two dozen melamine character plates and bowls from when the kids were little that have been taking up space in my cabinets.

9) set of curtains from the windows of the master bedroom in our old house that don’t fit the windows in the new one.


Off to a good start

Happy New Year!

Okay, I realize I am more than two weeks late with that, but I have been busy cleaning up from the holidays and preparing for Clooney’s 8th birthday, which, in addition to the hours I have wasted on Facebook, have taken up a great deal of my time. Oh, and I finally finished Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, which was good, but took like a month, for some reason.

So to catch up, I will be embarking on an endeavor that has been inspired by my friend, Betty and Boo’s Mom to help declutter my house and hopefully finish the process of moving in that I began five months ago. The idea is to get rid of 2,011 things. Today, I cleaned the room I share with Manfrengensen and disposed of (don’t ask me why these items were in my room):

1) a pink Disney castle playset that my mother-in-law gave to Edison when he was younger than The Princess, that no one has played with in years because many of the pieces were broken.

2) one of three felt-antler-and-light-up-nose sets the kids got before Christmas.

3 and 4) collected two pairs of pants that didn’t fit, put them together with the receipts and put them in my car to take back to Macy’s.

Getting them to Macy’s will be another story. But hey, the whole process is invigorating. I’m just looking around the house with wide crazy eyes for something to add to the list. 2,007 things to go.

I also collected a whole lot of loose change that was on Manfrengensen’s bureau and paid the boys their back allowance/wages. That got rid of quite a few quarters and dimes. Next time, I will use the nickels and pennies.


One thing to say about the Golden Globes at the moment (and I could go on, believe me…) I know he’s gotten some negative flack today, but I thought Ricky Gervais was hilarious. (I also thought David Letterman was a hilarious Oscar host, so take that however you want.)  If you can’t laugh at yourself for a few hours, despite the fact that you spend 364+ days a year getting your hiney kissed, then you’re no fun at all. I hope to post some best and worst dressed (according to both myself and The Princess) later in the week.