All I can say is, "WOW!" Did you know that everything there actually costs only a dollar? They have a great variety of stuff I hate to spend money on: toothpaste (I will NOT pay more than a dollar per tube,) toothbrushes, pregnancy/ovulation tests, greeting cards, gift supplies. I had to run in and out because I was sporting the child on my arm, but I certainly intend to go back...on a weekday, without the child. This is a great place for those of us on tight budgets!
I thought I was FINALLY going to have the perfect dining table: china, crystal, cloth napkins, table cloth, and table pad. Ummm, until I made the novice error. I only GUESSED the dimensions of my table. Now, I have a too-short table pad and a too-short table cloth...all to the tune of about seventy bucks, seventy WASTED bucks. Lesson: don't feel rushed in your tasks; it will come with a cost.
I did end up ordering cookware from a restaurant supplier. It wasn't until after the order shipped that I second-guessed this decision. Well, today the boxes arrived. I began opening them, and they had shipped me someone else's order! I took this as a sign from God that this was not going to be my solution to the cookware conundrum. I called the company, scheduled the pick-up of these boxes, and canceled my previous order. Maybe Saturday I'll gather my Calphalon, box it up, and ship it back to be replaced...all under warranty. This will save me some serious bucks!
Tonight I had planned to cook a new recipe for chicken and biscuits. When I read through the recipe, however, I realized that it called for 2.5 sticks of butter AND a good amount of heavy cream. Well, due to the start of the New Year and the appearance of personal trainers on all of the talk shows, I began to question if I really wanted to make this dish. It has veggies, right? Yep, squash and asparagus...but I don't think that's going to cancel out all of the fat. I scrapped my plans.
Instead, I'm watching the season premier of "The Biggest Loser," and I have an appointment with the treadmill from 8pm-9pm. The veggies are great but not when they're dripping in fat. Hmmm, if I could only figure out something else creative to cook for Ryan...
Today I've really begun to realize how much like a business homemaking is. It's the smallest non-profit in the world! I have a never-ending "to-do" list, and every time I scratch off one task, I seem to add two more. For example, last night I went to Walmart in attempt to purchase a list of random items. They were out of the plastic food storage set I was searching for, and they were not able to help me replace the battery in my watch. Thus, as soon as I returned home, I had to add a trip to Target and a trip to a jeweler to my "to-do" list.
Other examples: yesterday I wrote a handful of thank-you notes using the last of my note cards and stamps. Now I have to schedule a trip to the post office! Friday I was able to schedule pest control to come to the house. This morning they came, now I have to add "pay bill" to my "to-do" list. Such is life.
It is not the series of never-ending tasks that surprises me. Rather, the surprise comes with the realization of the requirements to be a GREAT household manager. The difference between good and great is most magnified when it comes to finances. There are two very important (and pain-in-the-butt) tasks I must tackle in this arena. First, I must compile a list of all financial accounts and account numbers. Second, I must find time to drag R with me to make sure that all accounts have rights-of-survivorship. Frankly, despite my legal training, I'm not even sure if this is possible. The goal, of course, is for us to have immediate access to eachother's accounts should one of us die untimely.
Back to the business theory...as you may recall, many of the gurus on efficient and effective management suggest scheduling an appointment for daily tasks.
Several of my daily tasks, including emailing, blogging, and bill paying, revolve around the computer. Unfortunately, I often find myself spending hours getting in and off line all day long. This week, one of my efforts to become a better homemaker/mommy/business manager will be to only spend time on my computer from 10am-11am and after I put B to bed for the night. I feel freedom already!
I'm facing two very "important" delimmas on the homemaking front. First off, my Calphalon Contemporary cookware is peeling. Yes, despite the hefty price tag and the lifetime warranty, the non-stick coating is peeling around the edges of the pans. As it happens, those flakes of coating are carcinogens. Given the cancer history in R's family, this is NOT to be taken lightly. Here is my debate. Do I send the pieces back to Calphalon and have them replaced? Do I invest in another expensive cookware set? Or do I purchase high quality pieces from a restaurant supplier (MUCH cheaper than sets sold for home use)? The other characteristic that I don't like about my cookware is that my pots and pans have glass lids...many of which have some sort of painted edges that are peeling. I'll let you know what I decide!
The second delimma that I'm facing arose several weeks ago when I caught some show on HGTV that outlined the most common mistakes homeowners make. The "experts" agreed that toilet rugs are nothing but disgusting germ collectors, and they should be trashed before any guests come across them. Well, I tend to like these contour rugs because when I'm walking around my house barefooted, they keep my feet warm when I run to the Ladies' Room. We have two of these contraband: one in our master "water closet" and one in the "man room's" bathroom. I'm going to continue pondering this issue, and I'll let you know what I decide on this one as well!
So, the truth of the matter is that I never got around to making the baby food last night like I had planned. One more task for today! I did, however, sweep the kitchen and steam mop the floor. I have two great new gadgets to help me with this. Thanks Mom!
First, I decided that despite some less-than-stellar reviews I would go ahead and ask for the Dirt Devil Broom Vac. I actually enjoy using it, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has trouble feeling motivated to clean those pesky kitchen floors.
The second new contraption I procured to help me with my cleaning is the Steam Mop. This heated up very quickly and was very easy to use. I like the fact that it doesn't require any chemicals. I love the idea of sanitizing my floors this way!
I'm sure it's all psychosomatic, but I think the floor actually feels different now that I've cleaned it so thoroughly. Well, the baby's fussing, so I've got to run!
It's a new year and a new me! Yeah right! Here I am, 27-years-old, with the same resolutions and the same bleak prospects of accomplishing them. This year, however, I have some added goals. Thanks to the birth of my son, "B," I can add ten pounds to the magic number that will make me hot again (Ha!) Also, and more on topic, I plan to become a good homemaker. Yes, my friends, this means I will learn to deep clean, plan menus, and cut the dogs' nails. It's a lofty goal, but I figure that any steps I take towards it will feel like paramount accomplishments.
Here's the bleak truth: I never cleaned a toilet until my first year of marriage four years ago. Even more embarrassing, even these days I probably only clean my toilets once a month. As you can imagine, these are the special and rare occasions when I have guests over to the house. It's not just the toilets that I neglect, however. I can count the times I mopped my kitchen floor in 2008 on one hand. GASP! Well, I do chase the dog-hair-tumbleweeds with my Swiffer and vacuum much more frequently...maybe twice a month. GASP AGAIN! I could list many more shameful oversights, but I'm sure your imagination is running in the right direction.
The worst part? As long as things are picked up and the house doesn't have an odor I find it bearably tidy. Now that I'm staying home with my baby I feel a renewed commitment to keep the house clean, really clean.
It's not just the cleaning issue that makes me a less-than-stellar homemaker. I have a cooking issue, too. Oh, I can cook when I want to. I'm actually a bit of a foodie. I've just fallen into the habit of throwing together ten minute meals and storing leftovers to reheat the next week. In 2009 I will explore some of the recipes in my wonderful collection of cookbooks. I will cook new meals at least three times per week. In fact, since we are Jewish, I am making a serious commitment to prepare formal meals every Friday night. I'll use a clean white tablecloth, shined Nambe candlesticks, china, and crystal. I'll even be able to invite people to the house to share the occasion...especially since the house will be CLEAN, right?
This week my task will be to develop a schedule that is conducive to accomplishing these lofty goals. I'll be reading through Martha Stewart's Homemaking Handbook, and I'll be posting my epiphanies and stumbling blocks. I'm sure there will be many of both. Happy New Year!