Who needs spring cleaning? Fall makes much more sense to me! This is the week my kids really hate. School starts next Wednesday for them, but this last full week of vacation is the one with the most whining. This week I will make everyone deep clean their rooms, with my oversight and assistance, and readjust everyone’s sleep schedule. The only thing they hate more than cleaning their rooms is when Mom “helps” and makes them do it right. And beyond that, the only thing they hate more is a reasonable bedtime.
I tend to be very lax about bedtime in the summer. When I see everyone getting crazy overtired and whiny again, I back it up to 8:00 again, but for the most part, the big kids are allowed to stay up as late as they like, but only if they’re reading in bed by 9:00. It works out well for all of us. We have to watch the Girlie Bird, though. She’s been known to still be reading at midnight. Middle Bird almost always has the light out by 10:00, but a solid hour of reading each night, for a boy as dedicated as he is to his video games is a good thing!
The rooms are a mess. They look okay when you first step in, there are plenty of areas to walk, and I regularly yell at them about dirty clothes, since I still do everyone’s laundry. It’s the desks that are a primary issue. Talking about fourth grade with several other moms in the neighborhood who have been through it, I’ve learned that it’s the heaviest load of homework. Since my girl can already take 20 minutes of homework and turn it into three hours, we have got to have a strategy! Step one is to turn that desk into an actual work zone. Won’t hurt to tackle the big boy’s desk, either. Might as well get a better handle on his homework habits, too.
Okay, so looking at Girlie’s, it’s not too bad. It’s not homework ready, either. I’ve promised to buy a desk calendar, and Grandma is on board to buy some kind of pencil cup and paper stacker. Making it feel like a real work space is the goal. So there’s that.
The boy’s desk is just full. Having a real book shelf over it has made it more difficult. The books are now spilling off and onto the work surface. Cleaning that out and making it a work surface is the goal. He’s much less impressed with office supplies, so we should be able to just clean it up and make him work there. Fingers crossed. Last year I often found him working on his knees at his old train table, now used mostly for LEGO play. It’s better than lying on his back on the bed, but still not ideal.
Then it’s on to bathroom cleaning. All the bathrooms are filthy. I wipe down the toilets with Clorox wipes regularly, but the amount of hair on the floor in the master bathroom is astonishing. My dear husband managed to make an offer I can’t refuse (and to do it in a totally non-offensive accusatory you-should-have-done-it-already manner, I might add). I will get the counters and toilets cleaned, and he’ll do the floors. Deal. This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Now, if you follow me on Facebook you already know, but we spent a good portion of the week working on the family room. Before pictures didn’t really come out well, but the walls are painted paneling. The color was just dirty white. I think they were going for a sort of beige, but it just came out dirty and flat. There was a large spot, five feet tall by maybe two feet wide, on one wall that had never been painted after the paneling was primered. They just hadn’t moved the bookshelf with the TV on it when they painted. UGH! Of course, we’d lived here for over four years and never fixed it, so double UGH! I chose a pale French blue and started on Monday. I’m a pretty good painter, I must say, so I move along fairly quickly. I don’t bother with taping, so I knocked out the walls between dinner and bedtime. That just left the brick monstrosity of the far wall.
Posting this picture on Facebook and announcing my plans to paint the whole thing white, I was shocked that so many people tried to stop me. I guess it just doesn’t translate well to pictures so you’re all going to have to just take my word for it. This wall sucks. Being a room that’s so lacking in natural light, it needs lightening up anyway, but the dark blob at the end of the room, stretching from end to end, really gives the illusion of making the room shorter. When you walk in there, it feels like the ceiling is coming down on your head! The bricks themselves are not attractive. In discussions with a master mason who did some repair work on the outside of our house, we determined that the most likely source for these recycled bricks was a building in German Village. In the late 60s, as that area underwent a lot of revitalization, some buildings were torn down, and the bricks just left in piles. Builders were sometimes invited to take what they liked. This house was built in 1971. The bricks weren’t fit for structural building, but as decorative bricks they were fine. Today, though, they are crumbling. I’m not thrilled about the 70s vibe that the shape of the fireplace gives off anyway, so by giving them a clean, white paint job, I will drag this room into the 21st century. There are still curtains to make and pictures to hang, but I’m thrilled with the results. Between primer coats and actual painting, it took a full four days to get it done, but at last it is done!
In another week or two, I’ll be able to put things on that tiny mantle. The room feels much better, though it may smell like Killz fumes for months!
We also got the basement cleaned out yesterday, making my husband a happy bird. He stresses about that sort of thing. I’ll spare you the pictures, but it is better. Back to school mode in full swing around here!