lundi 20 avril 2009

Spring cleaning

The Japanese Horsetail

I need to learn to budget my time, or to do the things I don't want to do without making such a reason for major depression of it. I am perfectly capable of living without doing the things I don't want to do, as long as I can feel that I have been wondrously productive elsewhere, but now we are approaching the season of house-guests (I know what they feel like at Giverny), and I can't possibly put it all off anymore. Take a look at the guest room. The furniture of both is in one, while the detritus of the AWOL workers clutters the smaller. Then, take a peek at the base of the toilet. That's right. That's dog hair. It's coated in dog hair.

What are the dogs doing in the WC?

Or, is that cat hair? Does Shadow have a crush on the toilet?

The problem is that I am the sort of hostess who runs for the lawn mower, and not the vacuum cleaner, when guests are due to arrive. I panic that the shrubs aren't pruned with enough attention, rather than worrying about the piles of mail on the end of the dining table, shrouded in dust.

I don't even look up to the ceiling. Not unless the guests are really important, i.e. have never been here before and might still have reasonable expectations of my home and me.

So, my "to do" list:
  1. Scan and send a copy of the worthless contract to Arnaud to see if he can't find a redeeming quality in it before our meeting with Joaquim on Saturday. Must do today, or hate myself. I can't get the damn scanner to work. It just hummed and fixed itself, right as I was about to reinstall it. Whatever. Crapped out after 3 pages -- the 3 most important, at least. It has power issues. So don't we all. 2 pm -- check.
  2. Call the plumber again to ask for an emergency visit for the furnace. Audouin neglected to mention in his message on Friday that it caught on fire in the chimney and only asked for a cleaning. Meanwhile, had we been absent, the petite maison would have burned down (hm... not so bad, maybe) and we have no hot water. Check.
  3. Pick up the dog poo (check anticipated... heading out to do it now. Check.) scattered all over the right end of the second terrace and mow the lawns I haven't done yet. Ugh. Every time I walk out the door, I see more work to do. Making progress. 6 pm -- lavender and rose bed weeded, fertilized, treated for those vegecidal maniacs, the cutworms and dung beetle larvae, of which I have an abundance. My arms are a mass of scratches.
  4. Prune the shrubs of the gazebo terrace.
  5. Figure out what I can do to make the hydrangea border as beautiful as I imagined it would be.
  6. Set the guest rooms to right.
  7. Move the clutter from the kids' room to the attic, the Happy Meals toys to the garbage and shift the old desk from Sam's room in there.
  8. Oversee the progress on the cleaning in Sam's room. He's actually doing not half bad, more than half well.
  9. Finish the details for the project for Christine. Not that they will really need them, but I can suggest what I had in mind -- mostly it is swiped from her cousin's house and collection of garden and farm buildings. The house and farm that used to be her grandparents'. I could live in that garden. The cousin's husband has a great sense of poetry and natural in what he does in it, from little built things -- like the lavabo -- to the vegetable bed, the chickens, and... well, just about everything. I hope he doesn't mess it up with the addition to the house. I didn't have the courage to ask if the builder's CAD renderings were to be taken for the volume of the addition and the suggestion of the materials, or if they way he described it was more accurate. I have discovered that I miss living with Christine. The company of another woman the long hours of a vacation with little planned is vastly more convivial than that of a man. (Sorry, guys.) First, there is conversation. Second, when we disagree about something, we explore it as opposed to insisting on proving the other wrong. I tend to become male in the presence of menfolk.
  10. Clean the house. At least twice before the first weekend in May.
April 21

I need to append this list. It won't let me continue the numbering, so you'll have to think of 1 as 11 and add one to each number thereafter. Ready?
  1. Tear the horribly overgrown ivy off the walls at the guest room terrace and apply moss killer for terraces to the paving. Progress toward completion. Needed a respiratory break from the dusty dead leaves.
  2. Get a table and two chairs to make it a destination in the garden. (That's architect talk).
  3. Trim the hedges at the stairs and the box borders on the intermediate terraces. Check.
  4. Mow the St. John's Wort with the electric hedge clippers since the slope is a little much for the lawn mower, and the space is hemmed in and small. Check.
  5. Burn stuff. Check. (Sometimes I add things to the list just so I can check them off).

I did see the larger of the two frogs I was able to reinstall in the fish-pond-in-a-fountain, very briefly the day before yesterday. I haven't see the baby one since Friday, when it spent most of the afternoon on the mats of reed roots. The weather hasn't been all that good. I guess they are mostly hanging out under those clumps of roots.

The fish, on the other hand, are highly visible, and visibly amusing themselves no end.

I am still waiting for the 5 adults to discover that their old home is renovated and return.

Here I go. Check back to see my progress.


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