Lifestyles of the Destitute and Obscure

dazzling and interesting on a shoestring

Tag Archives: apartment living

Spring Cleaning

Look at me!  I got a fella who vacuums.

Look at me! I got a fella who vacuums.

Oh, yes, it’s spring here in the land of the destitute. Everything is blooming: the nasturtiums have declared their mission to take over the balcony, and the Japanese maples have filled out so that it feels like we live in a tree house. Our ducks made their stopover on their flight back to wherever it is they spend the summer.  It’s all very lovely.

Our feathered couple observe the resort atmosphere.

Our feathered couple make a stopover on their way north.

The inside of our house, however, is less lovely. Boxes have piled up in the closets, the book hospital where toddlers have overenthusiastically loved a few books has made a mess of my bookcase. My desk has turned into a storage unit, even if I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not be sitting at it anytime soon.  And then there’s the dirty windows, the filthy rental carpeting, the couch sprouting week-old popcorn, and my winter-worn and mother-weary face.

The clutter-pile also known as my desk.

The clutter-pile also known as my desk.




So some spring cleaning is in order. Here’s the list (if you didn’t know already, I’m a list-maker):

  • Master bath
  • Other bath
  • M’s books
  • M’s closet
  • A desk
  • A closet
  • K closet
  • B & E closet
  • B & E books
  • Clean carpet
  • Clean couch
  • Mend couch (it’s vintage and busting its seams)
  • Dust
  • K basket
  • Red bowl on dining room table
  • Wash comforters
  • Linen shelf in kitchen
  • Wash windows
  • Sew B & E curtains
  • Taxes
  • File box
  • Oil change for car
  • Facial for Mommy(even my face needs spring cleaning, and I refuse to see this as frivolous)


I am happy to report that as of this posting, the list is about 2/3 completed (note that I crossed those items out—a wonderful feeling), and that my husband is the one that deep-cleaned both bathrooms. Did you know, men, that cleaning the bathroom increases your sex-appeal by 42%? Proven fact. (see picture above for further proof of my guy’s cleaning prowess)

The closets were purged of all clothing that didn’t fit, wasn’t interesting or wasn’t going to be worn. Those items, both kids’ and adults’, went to Macedonia. The discarded baby equipment and some baby clothes went to a center for young mothers.

A few select, fancy and seldom-worn items went to consignment. In order to sort through and re-organize the six boxes of baby clothes that I have (hand-me-downs, leftovers from Big Sis, and a handful of family hand-knits) I enlisted the help of my parents. They came down for the day, card table in tow, and set up shop in my living room to sort, fold, wrangle toddlers and also to run the carpool to school. I couldn’t have done it without them. The living room was completely full of bags, boxes and stacks and stacks of little girl clothing. I could have opened up a consignment shop of my own on the spot. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures, but you’ll just have to use your imagination and my sparkling description as a prompt.

Twin Who-sits working on their early literacy skills.

Twin Who-sits working on their early literacy skills.

The local high school rummage sale provided us with a new bookcase for the big girl, and an old vintage dresser for the little girls. This enabled us to put the bookcase that formerly belonged to Big Girl into the twin’s room.  And now everybody has room for all their books, the paper/tear-able books are out of little harms’ way and I have an excuse to buy more books.  I love Spring!


New Year’s Resolution– Contentedness

Chickens-on-a-FarmI wish I lived in rural (fill in the blank: Tennessee, Virginia, Northern California, upstate New York) and had an old fixer-upper farmhouse with

  1. Chickens
  2. Goats
  3. Dogs
  4. kids
  5. All of the above

in the yard.
But I don’t.

We live in an apartment building in the middle of a built-up suburbs that borders on a small city.  We live in a neighborhood made for yuppies, not homesteaders.  My kids roam our balcony and walk to the ice cream place.  My husband rides his bike to work, and the closest thing we have to a pet are siblings and half a dozen musical instruments.  We rent instead of renovate.  I have to swipe my debit card to do laundry instead of hanging it out on the line to dry in the sun.  I try not to daydream of organic garden beds, and instead we shop at the farmers market.  Maybe I’ll put potted herbs on the balcony come springtime.

the extent of my flower garden, hanging on the balcony

the extent of my flower garden, hanging on the balcony

I long to write books at my desk in my study and stare out the window at the kids playing on the back forty, but I may have to content myself with the laptop on the couch and wondering at the guy sunbathing at the apartment complex pool in the middle of January.   At least that will be better fodder for novels.  Or perhaps I could start with simply cleaning off my desk, and enjoy the luscious potted plant that sits on the attached bookcase.

Like just about everybody else on God’s green/brown/icy/grey earth, I have to be content with what I’ve got—and I’ve got A LOT.

I have a family that is learning to love each other unconditionally, two babies that are learning to move and communicate, three kids and a husband who love food, cooking, baking, chocolate, fresh pears and the smell of cinnamon.

yep, my hubby makes sushi.

yep, my hubby makes sushi.

I have matching vintage green velvet chairs and a love seat that we worked hard to find and bargain for, and an extensive wardrobe full of adventures and memories.

This New Year, I’m going to strive for contentedness, and next month for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to fill it with more love.

I know, Fiest already sang it here, but…