May 30, 2007

Toys, Chocolate and House Cleaning

(Title change and revised posting)
After many days on the job as a nurse, I finally have a couple days “off” during which I’ve been busy ‘spring cleaning’ in the middle of summer.

Plus, I'm trying to implement some aspects of Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) into some aspects of our home. (Gleaned from my little book, "Feng Shui for Dummies".)

As I contemplate the difference between ‘how it used to be’ and today, I realized the comparison is so great, I wanted to share with you a day in the life of Linda!

Remember in my book, Dusty Angels and Old Diaries, how Sandy and I would be wakened by an angry grandma who always accused us of ‘sleeping until noon’ even if was only 5 a.m.!

We were accustomed to bathing in the cold snake-infested waters of Carver Creek? Shampoo was an old chunk of Ivory Soap. Conditioner was unheard of. A good laundry day was when the clothesline didn’t fall into the mud or the clothes didn’t freeze dry? Our garden consisted of hot burning sun on our heads, hours of backbreaking weed pulling and deep splinters in our hands from the old broken hoe? Our skin was flea-bitten and our feet bleeding from going barefoot. Our little bodies ached in pain from frequent beatings and festered bruises.

House-cleaning meant carrying buckets of water from the spring deep in the woods to wash the dishes with, and chopping firewood for the cookstove from large slabs of hardwood with an old ax that weighed more than we did? Mopping was done on our hands and knees with cold water. Dusting and window washing were considered un-necessary and a waste of time. There were no bathrooms to clean and no lawn to mow!

But, no matter how hard we worked and tried to please grandma, she would always find something find something wrong with what we had done that day, and it was most often bad enough for a whipping or off to bed without any supper – usually both!

So today, I’m ending a ‘housecleaning’ day and reflecting on my past and present. There’s been no complaining, no whipping, and what about that fine meal Jim and I just enjoyed at Cracker Barrel!

Starting with the early morning sunrise, there was no urgent command to get out of bed. Just Jim tiptoeing so as not to waken me as he prepared for work. Sheba snoozing at my feet and the curtain closed to keep out the morning sun. A good-bye kiss accompanied with “sleep in and enjoy your day”.

But I had busy plans for today ,so I slipped out of bed before 8 a.m. I like to do the housework first, and then take a long soaking bath or warm shower. (It helps ease the back pain that always comes with most any work I do!)

Laundry…Let’s see. Should I use the Free and Clear for Jim’s sensitive skin or Downey Simple Pleasures’ Vanilla and Lavender for my sensitive nose?

I sweep the kitchen, vacuum the carpets and shake the rugs. I still appreciate carpets instead of cement floors, and I love selecting various assortments of rugs for every room! It’s been many years since we lived without those fine things, but I will never forget the difference!

Fresh sheets on the bed. Do I use the dark blue sheets that match my dark blue curtains with embroidered butterfly's in many colors? The streaming sunlight makes each butterfly glow. I bought the material and made these especially for our bedroom! Or, I could make the bed with Jim’s favorite wolf sheets?

In childhood, we slept on old rags and discarded clothes! Our blankets for those below zero nights were more of the same! Windows were cracked and ill-fitting and let in the cold wind and snow. Sometimes we stuffed the holes with more rags to keep out small animals.

And oh those pillows! As children, our pillows were old clothes stuffed into dirty pillowcases. Today, I have a set of king size for the headboard. Another pair with pillowcases that match the sheets (the blue ones), and of course feather pillows for sleeping! Jim gets the soft handmade fuzzy pillowcase to keep his ears warm, and I’ll use a silky pillowcase to keep my hair nice.

My little work bucket includes Windex Spray and Windex Wipes for the windows and mirrors; Old English and Kleen Guard for dusting; Scrubbing Bubbles and Flushables for the toilet and Leaf Shine and Miracle Gro for the indoor plants. There is an unlimited supply of cleaning cloths and paper towels! (Growing up, we had no luxuries such as paper towels, paper plates or toilet paper!)
Of course, there’s a lot to dust these days. There are teddy bears on the headboard, dresser and bedside tables. Angels of all ages and sizes are scattered throughout every room. There are nightlights, angel lights, wolf lamps, 3-way lights, candles and twinkling lights.
(In Missouri, we had oil lanterns and the occasional flashlight. What few toys we had were hidden in the attic so grandma wouldn't take them away from us.)

I say good-morning to the dolls, stuffed animals, flower vases, waterfall planters and plant life in every room as I clean and care for each one!

I chat to each member of my family pictured in beautiful matted frames (many created by Sandy). Each one must be cleaned carefully and tenderly with love and kisses! My boys look at me with all those expressions almost forgotten in the passing years! Jim can’t wait for the days he can grow that beard and let his hair get long again. In the meantime, we keep a picture of those days right next to the kids when they were young enough the smile unabashedly for the camera! There’s baby pictures of the boys, grade school pictures, high school pictures, paper route pictures, pet pictures, leaving home pictures, travel pictures and wedding pictures.

Examining each plant as I give just the right amount of filtered water, I am amazed at how my indoor garden has overtaken the house! Vines sneak through the window shades and hug the picture frames on the walls. I count at least 12 potted plants in the living room alone. Not to mention the patio garden of flowers that already has produced a few roses and lilies.

In Missouri, as a teenager, I planted my first flower seeds in a plot of earth I had tilled with a heavy railroad pick. Now, I go to Wal-Mart and pick out the plants almost ready to bloom!

So, before Jim gets home I’m ready to take that long warm bubble bath. Let’s see, we have Warm Vanilla Sugar, Apple Blossom, Lilac or even Frozen Daiquiri bubble bath fragrances. I decide on the Warm Vanilla Sugar. And, no bath would be complete without candles (unless you are bathing in the creek)! Today’s candle will be the Victoria’s Secret “Halo” from a selection that includes Roses, Sunflower, Cucumber or Pineapple!

Oh boy! What lotion will Jim notice today? There’s Lady Stetson, Magic Moments and Dream Angels for starts. There’s a dozen more under the sink! Lets go with Dream Angels.

Traffic is heavy and Jim's running a little late in the big city. Sheba watches for him from her post on the foot of the bed at the window that overlooks the parking lot. (We set up the room so she would have a looking post on her world.) I sit down to play selections from, "The Sound of Music" on my KR-370 keyboard.

As a teenager in Missouri, the old upright piano had many keys missing and the keyboard was sticky with age. The peeling brown piano leaned forward like it might fall over onto me as I sat on a large can to play songs like, "Day Is Dying In the West" in preparation for Friday night sunset Sabbath.

Today my keyboard has One Touch Set-up Buttons, one hundred Tone settings and one hundred programmed styles. It includes a Karaoke mode, a high-quality concert grand piano sound and also features a Composer!

I can have a snack before supper and before Jim gets home? In the nice clean refrigerator I can choose milk, juice, tea, pop, Gatoraide or cold bottled water. I’ll be good and not sneak apiece of Godiva chocolates Jim got for me last week or the Godiva Chocolates Sandy got for me some time ago. Or, my favorite dark chocolate Milky Way candy pieces. There's also fresh vegetables, fruits and cheeses.

Growing up, everything in the icebox was dark and moldy. Our only choice of drink was goat's milk. Chocolates were what grandma had hidden in her third dresser drawer (and we didn't get any cause we weren't good enough!). Vegetables contained a variety of worms and bugs from the garden and they could sometimes be spotted crawling across the table as we tried to eat "all our food" or we could expect another whipping!

Slippers for my tired feet, as I sip the tall glass of cold orange juice? I have big and fuzzy, soft slip-ons or a huge selection of pretty socks. Jim could guess this one…I’ll go barefoot, thank-you.

Take Care on the Journey,


The Cat's Meow said...

I stop and think about the "Good Ole days" too, of slave labor and child abuse. I'm so happy to say we both now live in OUR Mansion!!!
I don't keep mine as clean as you tho. I have a few plants inside but I still can't get the orcids to bloom. You can check out my plants at:
I love that good-bye kiss in the mornings, Star don't, but I do.
Star stuffs her blankie in her mouth so she won't bark to loud and get in trouble.
Enjoy the good life
Ilove ya
can't wait to see ya!!!

Linda M. said...

Thanks for your little note. I always enjoy the PS's you add to my postings making them "our" posting. Ahhh, the little 2-bedroom Mansion isn't always that clean! Just when I go on a cleaning spree! This morning I'm adding a few more things I remembered. I'll try to change the font or something so you can tell. Tell Star hi and she can bark all she wants when you come to visit. All the other dogs do!

Can't wait either!
Love, Linda (big sister)

Linda M. said...

PSS. I see you still get up early too!

The Cat's Meow said...

That pitiful old piano survived hurricane DONNA !!! When we lived at Avon Park the roof blew off and water poured all over it.
I think we only got new toys at
x-mas. Then most came from Grandpa's folks.
We had to eat bugs, worms, mold and flit, how else was we to get our protein and bacterial infection of the stomach???? we was vegetarians.
Now wheres my 1 1/2 thick steak with no vegies cheesey fries and chocolate thunder from down under, and oh don't forget the BEER!!