Hey there.  You.  I see you looking at me, oozing charm and intrigue.  I can't help but look your way and want to stop and chat a while, even though I am short on time.  Ohh, procrastination, my old friend -- you always know just how and when to sucker me in.

Today I am working on getting us ready to travel.  Mark does an annual Habitat for Humanity trip with his college friends and he leaves early tomorrow morning, then I'm heading out on Wednesday.  Essentially, I have to wash everything we own clothing-wise AND clean the house from top to bottom.  What better time to try to bang out a quick blog post, right?  HAAAAA.

In keeping with the To Do List theme, let's do this bullet-style:
  1. I am buried in laundry and house cleaning type things to do because I've kind of fallen off the Good Housekeeping wagon since summer started.  Hard.  Like, if my wagon were on the Oregon Trail, I would have died of dysentery by now.  Normally I try to follow the Fly Lady system.  Do you know the Fly Lady?  She developed a system based on routines that *should* make running a house a million times easier.  Here's the problem:  YOU HAVE TO STICK TO THE ROUTINES.  This is where I make my life a million times more difficult than it needs to be.  Siiiiiiigh.  However, the genius of the Fly Lady is that you never have to play catch up, as her routines rotate constantly and you will eventually cover all bases if you jump in and keep going.  Vacation is my jumping off point; if I bust my ass before I leave and then come home to a clean house, I can try to get on board again.  In theory, anyway...
  2. All of this time I'm spending in the laundry room has me obsessing about the laundry room reno.  Obsessing!  I keep imagining the space opened up with the doors out of the way, and a glossy countertop backed with some large framed photos.  I can see a big, glass jar of laundry soap with a pretty scoop, and either cabinets or some open shelves and pretty baskets.  What I can't figure out is how to incorporate it into the family room overall.  I'd love something light and bright in the laundry area, but if it's open to the Red Sox themed family room?  Challenging.
  3. I have to (shamefully) admit that I occasionally watch The View.  I know, I knoooow, but....  Actually, no, I have no excuse; I watch it.  Anyway, I had it on this morning, and they had on one of the mother/daughter duos from Toddlers & Tiaras.  I have never seen the show so I have no real context, and yes, Barbara Walters herself asked us not to judge them, but really?  It was GOD AWFUL.  Through no fault of her own, this poor child was dressed like a common whore, complete with pleather cfm boots, and had to parade around on stage performing this monotonous "rap" (I don't know how else to characterize it) called "Cutie Patootie" for which I have no words.  The whole thing was just so ... wrong; I felt like I needed a shower after it was over.  Granted, (and please note, I have no children, and I fully understand that what I am about to say will likely guarantee me precisely the type of daughters who will serve these very words to me on a silver platter (although they will play with Bratz dolls over my dead body)), I am of the anti-princess camp.  Not "princess" in the Disney sense (although, holy hell, has that industry exploded since I was a kid), but more in the "I'm a Princess" sense; the sense of entitlement implied there just really grates on my last nerve.  There was just something about this little girl that embodied -- to me -- everything that is wrong in our culture, that kids are being raised to emulate the Kardashians of the world rather than any number of the intelligent, talented, educated, honorable women out there who are using their lives for good.  I'm not expressing this well, but it's disheartening nonetheless.
  4. Yeah, I watch Oprah too.  Whatever, I've already admitted that I'm totally stir crazy.  Anyway, I have also been watching the Season 25 Behind the Scenes show on OWN, and strangely, I have become really concerned for all of the Harpo employees who are now out of jobs.  I'm most likely projecting, since I find major endings so traumatic (I hate graduations.  HATE.), but still, these people have busted their asses at jobs they seem to love, and now?  It's not like there's another Oprah Show they can go work for.  I'm sad for them.
  5. Can I tell you what a bad wife I am?  I am such a ridiculous micromanager when it comes to My Kitchen, but I still make Mark clean up after dinner.  Anyway, I was making dinner last night and I could not find my favorite 1/4 tsp measuring spoon anywhere.  I yelled down to Mark, all "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY MEASURING SPOON?" like he was using it to scoop Miracle Gro for his plants or something.*  I was completely convinced he had done something with my little spoon and blamed him, all night.  And then this morning, as I was cleaning coffee grounds out of the sink, I flicked on the garbage disposal and it hit me like a truck.  We had a pot luck dinner with my sister and her husband on Thursday night, and I had made her cupcakes for her birthday.  I was too rushed to clean up the kitchen before we left and too tired after we got home, so I did it on Friday.  The kitchen was a disaster -- baking dishes, mess from the salad and side dishes I brought over for dinner, serving pieces, etc., so I just jumped in and absently washed away, probably watching The (G-d) View as I went.  I filled the dishwasher and scrubbed the rest by hand, before scrubbing the sink and flicking on the garbage disposal.  I remember that the garbage disposal sounded weird, oddly sharp, causing me to recall the time I accidentally dropped a shot glass into the running disposal.  Anyway, I chalked the noise up to a drain full of potato peels and large romaine roots and chocolatey soaking water.  Now, though?  Despite the lack of evidence in the drain, I would bet money my beloved little 1/4 tsp bit it in the disposal.  I still haven't told Mark though.  See?  Bad wife.
Ok, I'll shut up now.  Gotta go switch the wash.  Again.  Ughhh.

*That is totally something he would do.

I really need to find something to fill my time.

Hello!  I'm back!  We took off for greener pastures cooler, less humid beaches over the 4th.  There was plenty of family time, Red Sox watching (aka Mark's family time), relaxing on the beach reading trashy magazines and fluffy books*, lobster eating, and wine drinking on the big front porch -- perfection as only Cape Cod can manage.  I also brought back an awesome souvenir:  pink eye!  Oh my god, I recognize that I am among the least patient people ever to walk the earth, but this is absurdly, insanely annoying.  Crazymaking, really, since it evidently ranks somewhere between ebola and the plague in terms of contagion, so I am stuck sitting in my house, wondering how in the hell a grown woman without children managed to contract freaking PINK EYE.  (Delta Airlines and your sketchy little commuter jet, I'm looking at you.)

Anyway, my raging case of cabin fever brings me to this:  I have reached the point where I am in need of Things To Do.  Leaving the law firm was absolutely the best decision, and I was so emotionally damaged by that point that I really did need several months to just recover.  Eventually I stopped tensing in a full-body panic every time I heard the gentle vibration of a blackberry, and I started to enjoy myself.  I did all of those projects I had been putting off because I never had enough time.  I organized everything, cleaning out room after room and closet after closet.  I cooked a lot, taught myself to sew (poorly), refinished some small pieces of furniture (badly), and finally decorated our bedroom after two years of living with white walls.  I spent a lot of time figuring out how to clean the house myself without it being a massive undertaking.  (I really miss my cleaning lady.  So very, very much.)

However, there is only so much organizing and reorganizing one little house needs, and I recently realized I am spending waaaay too much time online.  Seriously, I actually read through the complete archives of a blog I had read casually for a while but previously hadn't been one of my daily reads, and it was like a delightful book I just couldn't put down.  I was actually disappointed along the way, because there were so many entries where I was like, "Yes!  ME TOOOO!" but then I remembered that it would be weird to comment on something that happened four years ago, so maybe I should go outside and talk to the real people.  See?  Crazymaking.  (PSA, my one friend who actually reads this on occasion:  If you're not reading Jonna, you should.  Go.  You can thank me later.  Or maybe not, when you too realize that it is 1 am and you are still awake reading old blog entries.  HA.)

In short, I am itchy for things to do, and I have set my sights on the laundry room.  I am totally inspired by this laundry nook, and I think this would be workable for us.  However, the question is how far to take the project.  Our laundry area is in our basement family room, which is the next zone of the house that is RIPE for a reno.  This is what we're working with:
There are a couple of tricky issues here.  First, I hate hate hate hate HAAATE that you can see into the family room from the front door.  I hate this, because as much as I have made the foyer presentable, the eye is drawn to the family room, with its exercise bikes, filthy carpet (stained beyond repair from Mark's many projects that involve muddy boots in the house), Mark's general detritus, and oh, have I mentioned that the room is a shrine to all things Red Sox?  Yeah.  So, tricky.  I would like to do the following:
  1. Put up a wall with a single French door just beyond the stairs, separating the foyer from the family room
  2. Replace the carpet, preferably with padding thick enough so that you can't feel the tack strips (thank you, insanely cheap former owner, for that special treat!)
  3. Step up the seating -- I am totally fine with the Red Sox theme and giant, ugly tv (though the first person to utter the term "man cave" will get a punch in the "man cave" from yours truly).  What I am not fine with is the fact that there is not a single tv in our house with seating for more than two people.  We have a (largely unused) tv in the bedroom, and we do most of our viewing in our kitchen sitting room, which has a loveseat.  The basement has two giant man chair recliners (cup holders included!).  Mine is an unpopular opinion (ahem, Mark), but I would like to 86 the man chairs in favor of a comfy, yet space efficient, sectional sofa.  It would be nice to not have to ask our guests to watch tv on our kitchen bar stools is what I'm saying.
  4.  LAUNDRY.  I spend a lot of time there, so I would love for it to be prettier than the fluorescent-lit pipe closet we have now.
If you notice in the floor plan above, along the right wall of the family room is the laundry room and a similarly shaped space, which is where we have the HVAC and water heater.  Both spaces have bi-fold doors, but while the laundry has solid doors, the HVAC closet has louvered doors.  This inconsistency is glaring to me.  I also LOATHE having doors in front of the laundry, as they get in the way of the front loading machines and they block the back door.  It brings me back to the YHL laundry nook -- what if we just got rid of the laundry doors altogether?  I love the idea of knocking out that wall that closes off the current laundry closet, and just installing some pretty storage concealing items, blinds or otherwise.

So, the question:  Obviously the ugly HVAC needs to remain concealed, but assuming we can close off the family room from the foyer, would it be weird to have an exposed laundry room in the family room, even if it were as cute as the inspiration?  What do you think?

*Speaking of fluffy books, can we talk about Maine?  I loved Commencement, so I was really excited to read the latest from J. Courtney Sullivan.  And I really enjoyed reading it; I was amazed by the author's ability to get in the head of each character and really make their personalities, flaws, and emotions translate for the reader.  I thought there was so much potential for the story, too -- so many ways for it to develop.  And then it just ... ended.  Abruptly.  Though the book provides plenty of conflict, there is no climax that would spur a resolution.  Perhaps that was the author's point, given that the family and its dysfunction were portrayed pretty realistically, and in a real family, things are rarely concluded neatly.  However, as a reader, it felt unfinished and therefore was unsatisfying.

Next up:  A friend recommended The Hunger Games.  Yea or nay?