Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our 3-Ring Circus

Here are some recent photos taken May 25, 2010, of Princess Sparky from China with Ethiopian sisters Princess Moxie and Princess Diva Darling.  The last photo was taken in Addis Ababa in May of 2008.  That photo was the very first one we ever saw of our African princesses...I still get goosebumps when I see them! 

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    The Simple Way to Lose 80 Pounds

    I'm sitting in the "Craft Room" at the town gym. This is the big room with a wall of new computers where the senior citizens meet for the AARP Driver Education course. I just got off the treadmill and my legs are still quivering. But I am not sore from weight lifting or the run. It's the spring cleaning that's killing me.

    Rather than actually clean the upstairs bathroom yesterday, I decided I'd rip out the old grout around the tub and ta-da, just re-caulk it clean and white. Went to the hardware store on Main Street and got a bottle of pure white silicon waterproofing caulk, a nifty green caulking gun, and some delightful new sponges. (Don't new sponges hold such promise? They are so pure and optimistic.)

    Re-grouting the tub yesterday was a big accomplishment for me. However, when I surveyed my handiwork this morning it didn't look nearly as good as I thought it would. It was messy. Bumpy. Smeared on the wall over the soap dish and on the floor tiles. It's waterproof. It's permanent. How many projects have I undertaken with more enthusiasm than expertise? Most, I imagine. What makes me think that a video on youtube is sufficient? My dad was once a shop teacher, and one of the gifts he imparted--which is entirely unmerited--is supreme confidence around power tools. I think because he can do something, well, gosh, so can I.

    Inspired by my caulking, I attemped to clean the oven...for the first time in five years. No, that's not really true. I tried to clean it a few months ago, and with my mother's help we managed to permanently lock the oven door for the self-cleaning cycle, but nothing happened. The service guy came out and told me that I had burnt out some venilator piece and I'd be better off not replacing it. "Just clean it the old-fashioned way, use Easy-Off," he advised. Oh my goodness. Now I know why everyone complains about this task. The spray created gallons of gooey black liquid that ran onto the wood floor. It took two rolls of paper towels to mop up the gunk.

    Encouraged by my oven cleaning, I tackled the kitchen floor this morning. Swept, vacummed, mopped, and then got on my hands and knees and wiped off every gooey sticker the kids planted on the floor over the past year.

    "Where did my Smiley Face go?" wailed Princess Sparky.

    "It's floating in the black goo from the oven, honey."

    Undaunted by the kitchen floor stickiness, I marched into the living room and moved the furniture, sweeping, vacuuming and mopping in there, too. I found a Christmas plant that had fallen behind a bookcase, a math game to learn fractions, and several orange peels. I rearranged the furniture; this is truly one of my favorite past-times.

    On to the hall closet! I found SEVEN bags of kids' old clothing that we were going to sell at a garage sale that never happened. I loaded them into the car, locked down Princess Sparkey, and brought all of it to the Salvation Army drop-off bins.

    My back is killing me, but I think I lost about 80 pounds since yesterday morning!