Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Calm After the Storm

Its been an intense week in our home.... from being told we're being evicted, to having my landlord try to break into our home, and an immense amount of packing, I can finally relax. And I haven't even moved yet.

I have woken up almost every night this week with nightmares from our unbearable landlord. I've been nervous to leave our house alone and unprotected. And I have been overall living my life in a state of shock and panic. I've been bursting into tears multiple times a day for no apparent reason. Basically, I've been a mess.

All of that changed on Friday. My community is an incredible one and at the first sign of trouble they've been there for us. They have been working night and day trying to find a new place for us to live. Well, Friday afternoon, the magical phone call came. They found a house for us. After some paperwork that needs to be dealt with, we will hopefully have the keys early this week.

I'm so grateful to my friends, family and all of my readers for your incredible support through this very crazy time. Your help, thoughts, and prayers were very much appreciated.

I can't wait to start organizing my new home. Hopefully this will be a great new start for us and our clutter :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How do you Solve a Problem Called a Landlord?

Yesterday, I was all set to tell you that even though we were being forced to move in three weeks, we were going to make the most of it. But life doesn't always go according to your plans -- even when you're improvising.

I started my day by making up my mind to continue decluttering and to start looking for available homes to move into. I had taken a little break in my morning to eat a yogurt when I heard an angry voice outside on his cellphone. I knew that voice... I had nightmares about that voice... It was the voice of my landlord.

I quickly bolted my door, turned off my lights and put my cell phone on silent. When he got to our front door, instead of knocking like a normal person, he began POUNDING on the door. My heart jumped out of my body and ran for the hills. I was terrified. And I was home alone. My hubby was stuck at work an hour away and I needed help quickly! So I pulled out my cell phone and began texting my friends and neighbors frantically -- "Please send your husbands! My landlord is here and I'm scared!" They came in droves....

Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to stop him from terrorizing me. He turned off my power. He tried to open the door using his key (didn't work because I had the door bolted). So I sat on my floor curled up in a ball and he proceeded to go around to the side door and tried to break through the glass. I was crying. I was terrified for my life. Especially since yesterday he made a serious threat to my hubby.

Everyone kept telling me to call the police and eventually, when I stopped crying long enough to really listen, I did. The police showed up, and I think they sufficiently scared him into leaving us alone. Unfortunately for us, our landlord owns the house next door to us and had decided to spend the night there. I have no idea how I ever got to sleep!

But now we are left with two options -- apparently, the idiot landlord wants us still to sign a contract (AS IF!!!), and our other option would be to leave ASAP with the option that we'll get our pants sued off...

After speaking to multiple lawyers, we've chosen to get as far away from him as possible and if he decides to sue, we're confident he won't win.

Needless to say, I didn't get very much done yesterday - not in the decluttering department nor in the packing department. But I'm grateful for all my friends, neighbors and family who helped us get through the day... Whether it was emotional support, or taking my kids so they didn't have to be here when all this was going down... I never would have made it through the day without them.

I hope and pray with every fiber of my being that this nonsense ends quickly and I can get back to what this blog is really all about -- cleaning and organizing my house. And even though I don't know where I'm going to live or how I'm going to pack up everything I've got, I'm gonna make it. Because my family and I are worth it. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I am the Master of the Master Bedroom

Oh. My. God.

Those were the first words that came to mind when I thought about cleaning my bedroom.

I remember as a little girl, I used to love watching Fraggle Rock. One of the funnier characters was the Garbage Heap. This was a giant mountain of garbage that would talk. Well, I could have sworn that the other day when I walked into my room, my bedroom started talking to me.... It didn't have nice things to say. Then again, if I were my bedroom heap, I wouldn't have nice things to say to me either!

I had to tackle this head first. Its all about taking the first step. So I did that. I took the first step -- right out of the room. I walked into the kitchen and cleaned. My next project? I still avoided my room and I cleaned the living room instead. After that, I continued my procrastination regimen and worked in the kids room. I started running out of rooms. I was left with the hallway, my bathroom and my bedroom.

So I decided to do the hallway next. But I ran into a problem -- I was done with the hallway in one quick shot. I knew what that meant -- My bedroom was about to come after me and attack me. It was time to arm myself. So, together with a garbage bag, a couple of laundry baskets and my timer, I prepared for battle.

Today was a great start in my bedroom. I am no where near finished with it, but the first step is always the hardest. And if I can do that, then I know that I can do anything!

I am flying! See me Soar!!!!

A Bumpy Bump in the Road

I woke up this morning quite pumped albeit a little bit nervous to start my week. I had left the worst for last. My bedroom. I had barely gotten dressed this morning when the phone rang. Our landlord was on the phone.

Its never good when he calls at eight in the morning.

Let me give you a little background information.  The owners of our house are not living in this country at the moment so they gave power of Attorney to their old neighbor - Mr. K. Unfortunately for Mr. K. he was in a car accident a few years back and his wife told us that he hasn't been quite the same ever since. Unfortunately for us,  we still have to deal with him.

We've been living in this house for about a year and a half. A bit before the one year mark, we tried getting in touch with Mr. K. so we could sign a new lease for the coming year. He never got back to us. We tried and tried and he never got back to us. We didn't even know if he was raising the rent. Eventually, four months later, he finally got back to us and he was all annoyed that we hadn't signed the contract or paid any rent! Well, for good faith, even though we hadn't seen a contract yet, we immediately went down to the bank and deposited money directly to his account for six months. (That time is not up yet!). But we hadn't signed a contract because we needed to make changes.

He threw a fit. He told us that if we wanted to stay in this house, we needed to sign the contract as is. I won't go into all the details, but being that he didn't obey what was in the contract last year, we felt it imperative to change some things to protect ourselves.

We even had contacted the actual owner to tell him what was going on.

This brings us back to this morning. Mr. K. called and told us that since we didn't sign a contract and didn't pay for six months (what?????) we therefore were being evicted as of immediately. And he's coming tomorrow to get the keys.


So here I am, procrastinating. I don't think he can legally kick us out since we're still paid up till the end of the month. But the fear is there. So what do I do now? Do I continue my great flylady routine and clean my room as scheduled? Do I start packing? Do I try to find another house to move into TODAY? Or do I sit on my computer and vent to all you readers looking for sympathy?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My House is Phat... I Mean Fat!

When I was in high school, I remember I was in the ladies room chatting with a friend. She was looking at herself in the full length mirror and said to me, "Why do people wear black to make themselves look thinner -- it doesn't ACTUALLY make you thinner. "

I've thought about that a lot over the years. I'm significantly overweight. And yet, why are women so afraid to divulge how much they weigh -- it doesn't actually change your appearance. And its true that some clothes may look better on us, but it doesn't matter what we wear, it doesn't change how fat or thin we are. And its not just me -- its everyone. Everyone out there thinks they are too something. Some people want to lose 200 pounds. Some want to lose 20. And some want to gain weight (or at least in certain parts of their body...) But almost nobody is perfectly happy with the way they look.

Our houses are the same, and I came to this conclusion recently. My house (though lately I've been putting it under some major transformations) is a mess. It also, is tiny. And I would love more than ever for both those things to change. I'm not the only one -- everyone has the spot in their house that they'd like cleaner, or more organized! But with that said, somehow, whenever company is coming, We're all rushing around the house to tidy up a bit. We all do this! So why do we even bother? My company knows that before they came my house was messier. And just like I can't change the size of my house, I can't really make the mess disappear -- I just rearrange it a bit.

Well, just like me, my house needs a diet. But instead of limiting calories, its time to limit clutter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monsters in the Closet

Every person has their own version of a monster in the closet. For some people the thing that scares them the most is their dirty dishes. For others, its their mail. For me, its the closets.

I've been feeling really positive about my accomplishments while flying, until I got to the closets.

(Cue scary drum music!)

I think part of my fear came from my inability to fold shirts into perfect squares like my mom and therefore, my inability to have piles stay in their piles. In other words, my closets are a mess! I've tried everything from drawers to baskets to containers to hiring someone to help me.

I still don't know how to fold.

So instead of closing the closet doors and ignoring them, which really would have made my week so much easier, I went into problem solving mode. I contacted every one  I could think of for suggestions on how to organize my closets.

The answer came from a most unlikely source -- the hardware store.

I went to the hardware store yesterday to get something on my list when something caught my eye -- it was the bins that they use to hold the various pieces of hardware from plumbing to tools. They are open in the front, stackable, and sturdy. And even better, they came in many sizes! So I asked the guy if I could buy them. He said no. Could I order them? He said no. He wanted to know what I wanted them for. I told him to organize my kids' clothing closets. He laughed at me.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I looked onto the bins and took down any information I could find and decided I would Google them later.

I Googled them. The crazy thing was, the factory was less than an hour from my house! So I called them and asked if I could buy them. They actually said yes!!!

So I made my way over there today, totally incredulous at my good fortune. The bins are awesome, and maybe one day I'll even learn how to properly fold a shirt!

So, while there may be monsters in the closets, at least there are no monsters in MY closets anymore!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And They Say Yawns are Contagious....

People are nuts. People think that yawns are contagious but its not true. Its all peer pressure. If one person is tired, then their friends all think, "Well, if I'm not tired, then I'm just the loser who went to bed at eight o'clock last night.... Ok, I'll yawn too!" Of course.... our subconsciouses have this conversation with themselves so quickly and quietly, that they have duped us into thinking that yawns are contagious.

I think that happiness is contagious. I'll tell you why.

I started being serious about getting my house in order about six weeks ago. Six weeks ago I was bitter, depressed, and surrounded by mountains of crap. I decided to turn to Flylady. I saw sunshine. I saw cheer. I saw happiness. And I wanted some.

So I took one step. I washed my dishes. It was the smallest step and yet my happiness was instantaneous. I wanted more. It became my drug of choice. So I continued.... one day at a time.

I still have a long road ahead of me. I still have mountains of crap -- although instead of an entire mountain range rivaling the size of the Himalayas taking over my whole house, I'm down to the Catskill Mountains -- and they are only in one room.

With all this, I'm genuinely happy. Its written all over my face, and it infiltrates into every part of my life. People are noticing and they want some of it for themselves. Now these people have started to make a change. What's funny is that their change is not because they've seen the difference in my home, rather they've heard the joy in my voice and read my words that are celebrating my life.

This is my life. And I choose happiness.

Monday, December 13, 2010

We're not Always Perfect

I have a feeling that this title will somehow be used again and again. Its always true. Tonight is no exception.

I have dirty dishes in my sink.

One of the most integral parts of the Flylady system is to go to bed with a clean and shiny sink. The other important part is to make the system work for you. Well tonight, the way the system is working for me is by letting me bend the rules and sleep.

So my dishes aren't clean. So my sink is loaded with plates from dinner. So I didn't finish dealing with the laundry today. So I didn't even get to anything that was on my list today. But that's okay. Even though I may not have accomplished anything I set out to do, I haven't given up on my home, and I haven't given up on myself.

I will start my day tomorrow like I had planned to start my day today. I will accomplish what I have set out to accomplish. Because tomorrow is a new day.

And I am in control.

Taking Control of my House at the Expense of my Mouth?

I am on top of the world.

I've really been putting my best step forward when it comes to taking care of my house. My kids are playing nicer, we're all eating better, and overall, there is calm feeling of contentment in my home.

I have one problem. I think I have become a little too self assured and overly confident. I feel sometimes like I can do no wrong. Well, I was wrong today.

I have a friend with a very pessimistic attitude on life. And while we are completely different in that respect, I don't really blame her. She's had some tough things in life thrust upon her and I know its not easy. And under the circumstances, she's really doing great.

So why did I yell at her?

As of late, I feel like a superpower, and think that everything I touch will be golden i.e. my home, the food coming from my kitchen, and my words. I didn't even think before I said them. I criticized her for not being like me - for taking life too seriously. When in fact, the things she is going through are very serious, and I made her feel insignificant.

Well, isn't that just great.

But like all things, I need to take babysteps and fix this problem before it gets out of hand. Probably all of us at one point or another are guilty of verbal clutter. Mine just happened to rear its ugly head today.

Putting away clutter doesn't solve anything. Clutter will always be just that -- Clutter. And if we declutter, we can open our minds and hearts to some wonderful people.

I'm Grateful for my Floor

When I started my blog (this evening!) I didn't have any clue as to how often I'd post -- whether it'd be every day, once a week, or whenever the mood would strike me.

Well, it is way past my bedtime and I have already been awakened out of a deep sleep.

My hubby is away this week for work. Its just me and the kids. Normally, at times like these, I let the 6 year old sleep in my room. So, as soon as she asked, I obliged. The problem arose with my son..... At two years old he can be quite a handful. And when he wakes up in the middle of the night, usually my hubby deals with him. But tonight I was on my own. So I let him come into my bed.

He ended up being sick on my bed. Oh joy. So he ran to the couch to rest while I put my bedding in the washing machine. Not five minutes later, he got up from the couch, I heard him coughing and then he threw up again -- unsupervised.

I ran to the scene of the crime -- expecting the worst. And then the most amazing thing happened. I saw that he threw up on the FLOOR! Not on any toys, clothes, or books. It was the floor. And it was because I cleaned it.

I guess being sick isn't so bad when you have a clean house.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flying for the First Time

I was introduced to Flylady about 5 months ago. My house was in really bad shape. Not a room in my house had a piece of visible floor. We would just walk around the house stepping on clothes, toys, CD's etc... You name it, we stepped on it and broke it. It was a disaster.

So my mom told me about Flylady. I was hesitant to say the very least. I mean this was the same woman who told me to clean up my room as a kid and as an act of rebellion, I stuffed everything under my beds. Way to go me!

So who was I kidding? There was no way I would ever listen to my mom and do something because she thought it would be a good idea. But somehow, I checked it out anyway. And with all things that I had tried in the past, I was good for a few days and then something happened to distract me and I quit.

A few months past and my problems only got worse. I did my best to ignore them, but somehow things always have a way of coming back to haunt you.

We had an out of town visitor. He was staying with us for two weeks. We opened our home, and tried to make the accommodations as welcoming as possible. But apparently, we didn't do a good enough job. At the end of his visit, our guest said to us, "Your house is such a mess that its not even fit for family to come and stay with you. Its embarrassing."


I was really mad. My husband was really mad. But when all was said and done, it actually motivated me.

Less than a week later, I found myself back on Flylady's website and on their Facebook page. I realized that in order to make my mission successful, I needed a "buddy". I needed someone that I would hold me accountable for my actions. I posted a quick note on Facebook, and almost immediately had a response.

Here I am, six weeks later, and for the first time, I feel like I'm flying. I had a bunch of company yesterday. And two separate individuals both commented to me on how much better my house is looking. Well that did it! After they left, I mopped the floor, washed the dishes, put in a load of laundry and got excited for a new week.

I'm finally flying. And I can't wait to soar.