Today I had external motivation. I was hosting a La Leche League meeting this evening, which meant, bare minimum, having a tidy living room floor (for babies to crawl on) and a clear dining room table (for snacks). But really, in my head, it means a lot more than that, because people I have never met before will be seeing the inside of my house. My friends are used to the general state of chaos that reigns in my house, but strangers are another story.
The day didn't start well. A rogue alarm clock, hidden somewhere amongst the toys in the girls' room, woke Valerie up earlier than usual, so she was a bit grumpy. Because of her waking up early, my morning routine of snuggling on the couch with Dorothy (who wakes up first) and watching a show was thrown off. I tried to get going on the house right out of the gate, but Dorothy is a creature of habit, and missing our morning show snuggle made her super clingy. By 10:30, I hadn't made a lick of progress, and I was starting to worry, because the morning is usually my most productive part of the day. I sent a text to a friend to see if she could come over and keep the kids out of my hair for an hour, and she said she would. Yay!
Things got better from there. Dorothy went down for her nap at 11, which is earlier than usual, and gave me a head start on the "making things worse before they get better" part of cleaning that is so hard to do with a toddler underfoot. I shoveled everything out of the kitchen (aside: in case you are not a reader of my Crappy Housewife blog, yes, I do actually use a snow shovel - best housekeeping tool I own), and started on the long overdue project of mopping the floors. My friend has a 2.5 year old, so I mopped in small sections, and dried as I went, to make sure he wouldn't fall on his butt as soon as he walked in the door. It makes mopping take a little longer, but if you have kids around, I highly recommend drying the floors after you mop them. It cuts down on the slips and falls, and it also prevents dirty footprints. Valerie even helped with this part of the cleaning - I gave her a sponge and a scraper, and she tackled the globby bits that the mop can't get as easily. Then she wiped the window markers off the sliding doors for me, too. I love that she is finally old enough to occasionally "help" in a way that actually helps!
Rachel showed up at about 11:30, and Valerie and Asher started playing happily together right away. So, with the kids otherwise occupied, Rachel and I tackled the kitchen together. While I finished mopping, she washed dishes. Then I started on the bathroom - one of my most-dreaded projects, but when company is coming, inevitably, someone will use the bathroom. Darned human beings and their biological needs. I did a good job, too - I even washed the walls and the outside of the toilet.
After Rachel left, I took Valerie to her room for quiet time. I brought out a "new" toy from the back of the closet, and spent a few minutes assembling it with her, then I went downstairs to spend a few minutes of down time with Dorothy. I removed an itchy tag from one of the girls' dresses (the careful, seam-ripping way), something I had promised I would do on Easter. I have a whole box of this sort of fairly quick "fixing" projects (sew up a hole, replace the batteries, glue on a broken piece, etc.). I'd like to start trying to get some of them out of the way this month.
After a bit of down time, I tackled the dining room. I shoveled everything into the living room (which was already knee-deep in junk from the kitchen), scrubbed the table (including in the crack!), wiped down the chairs, and vacuumed up all the dried out food on the ground.
When Jer got home from work, I sent him and the girls to the store so I could finish with the dining room. He picked up some dinnery things for dinner and some snacky things for the meeting. Then he had to go to an eye doctor appointment. Terrible timing! I was counting on that last hour with adult supervision to clear out the living room, which was still piled high with the clutter from all the other rooms. This part of cleaning up usually only takes me about half an hour (I kinda like to leave it for last for precisely this reason - it's nice to go out with a bang), but Dorothy was bound and determined to undo everything I did. After half an hour, I had barely made a dent in the living room, and she had emptied the recycle bin and the pots and pans cupboard to boot. I'm not exactly sure how I managed it, but somehow, I managed to get the clutter picked up, the floor vacuumed, and the chairs set up for the meeting before the first guest arrived (at the same time that Jeremy returned from his appointment). I didn't get around to the rest of the dishes, and the kitchen counters were still pretty gross, and I was still wearing my not-exactly-appropriate-for-going-out-in-public cleaning attire, but I was pretty pleased. I managed to finish all of the must-do's, most of the should-do's, and even a bunch of the nice-to-do's. Not bad.
I let Dorothy stay up for the meeting, because she is still very dependent on me for her bedtime routine, but fortunately, she went down pretty easily, even after the overly stimulating evening and delayed bedtime. After she went to bed, I did something I almost never do: I cleaned up after the meeting instead of declaring myself too tired and leaving it all until morning. I chopped up the leftover fruit into two fruit salads (one for us, and one for Jer), put away all the food, threw out the trash, and wiped down the table. I put all the chairs back, and tidied up all the toys. After working so hard all day, I wanted to actually have a clean living room to show for it!
Other things I managed to squeeze in today, that I don't exactly remember how they fit into the timeline:
-washed and dried another load of laundry
-washed the glider cushions and hung them outside to dry
-put away most of the clean, folded laundry that has been sitting in my room in growing piles all week
-put some bac-out on the pee-scented hamper bottom
All told, I think I put in about seven hours today, plus the two hours that Rachel put in helping me. A lot of that was catch-up on daily maintenance tasks, but I tried to be deliberate about doing things thoroughly, rather than just shoving things to the side so the house would look nice enough for guests. I only brought a few things up to my room "to deal with later"; most things got put away properly. The growing pile of "stuff that gets dumped here after people walk in the door" behind the dining room table has been completely relocated, and Jeremy finally took the pile of "take to the basement" things to the basement, which means that the recliner can actually recline again. I still have some work to do on the kitchen counters, but having a clean floor makes that job seem less intimidating for some reason.
Daily Total: 7 hours (I'm not selling my hours short today - I earned those extra hours!)
Monthly Total: 21 hours