My Family Notices

Dear FlyLady,

I never thought I would write a testimonial, but as I was doing your weekly home blessing hour (listening to you coach me through it) today, I didn’t have any trash to take care of, so I decided to attack a hot spot on the computer desk and trash some of it.  I had to laugh because I found the late library books we couldn’t find anywhere!  I was thinking that this week I just needed to go to the library and ask how much the books cost and pay for them because we had looked for a month without success.  So thanks for saving me a heap of money!  You are awesome and have been such a blessing in many ways.

I’ve been fluttering for a few months, certainly not keeping up with everything, but what I do keep up with has helped tremendously.  My family notices and likes how the house looks.  I have even inspired my husband to get going on some of his own projects without saying anything except when he compliments me on the house.  I tell him some of your quotes like “Even housework done imperfectly blesses our family” and “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”   He likes them because he is a terrible perfectionist and tells me he often doesn’t start things because of it.  Thank you so much for helping me bless my family, not to mention finding those library books! 

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Broken Window Syndrome by Robert Cilley

Dear Friends,

As Robert and I are driving home from a wedding we began talking about how one piece of trash just sets the stage for the hotspot to grow. He had placed an empty peanut bag in my pocketbook that had ended up on the floor. He said this is how it all starts. Then we started discussing the broken window syndrome. I thought it was a good time to share this essay with our members.

FlyLady

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Dear Friends,

Last night as we got into bed; Robert had an epiphany! Since he knows me so well he refused to share it with me just as we were closing our eyes; I would be up all night long thinking or writing because it is hard to turn my mind off. He said remind him in the morning and then he would write an essay for us. My sweet darling is the smartest man I have ever met and the best part is he doesn’t try to make me feel stupid, but then I don’t roll my eyes when he explains things either; I am truly interested in his thoughts. (BTW men hate it when you roll your eyes; he told me this last night; who knew?) I can ask him anything and he will give me the answer or at least tell me where to find it. He is like living with a walking breathing encyclopedia. I just love it. He is such a good teacher too. I have asked him to write in the past and sometimes he has but not in a very long time. Today he wrote this for us.

FlyLady
The Bust of Pallas-a Moonlight Editor essay by Robert Cilley

In Poe’s poem, The Raven, there is, in one line, a condensed description of a room. The bird comes in and perches itself “on a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door.” Try, in this age of eight-foot ceilings and drywall construction, to picture a room with a shelf, or maybe an inset, above the door-a space above the door, in other words, high enough to hold a life-size marble bust with a large bird sitting on top of it. It had to have a ten-foot ceiling at least, and more likely twelve; a high ceiling, anyway, and a display shelf of some kind above the door.

The poet mentions books-”many quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore”, so there had to be bookcases, and in that sort of room, there would be wooden paneling, wainscoting, crown molding, picture molding, the whole package, pretty much like what I think a London club’s reading room would look like. I don’t know if there are any London clubs like that any more, or if there ever really were, except in literature and New Yorker cartoons, but regardless, I can picture them. And I can picture people in them, two types of people, actually, and only two: those native to that particular jungle, and their servants.

The natives are wearing clothes that to us would be uncomfortably formal: English  weeds, at a minimum, with vests and watch chains and shoes with  leather soles. Go ahead, try to imagine waffle-pattern rubber soles on those carpets; it doesn’t fit, does it? The servants are dressed differently-more plainly, more uniformly, but still in keeping with the surroundings. Tradespeople, of course, do not wander around the paneled parts of the place; they would look out of place in the literal sense of the phrase. Partly, they are not there because the natives would disapprove, but partly it is because a plumber in worn overalls and rubber soles would not feel comfortable in those  surroundings. He has his club, maybe, but it doesn’t look like Poe’s chamber. And while the English dandies will dress to the nines for the Derby, you won’t see them or anybody else, dressed like that at, say, an American baseball game. Because it isn’t the clothes as such that matter, it is the proper clothes for the place. A place defines its natives.

There is a building on the University grounds at Chapel Hill, that has a large reading room, high-ceilinged, paneled, tall windows. At one time  it would have passed for a proper English clubroom. When I was there, it had fallen victim to the Buildings & Grounds department’s philosophy of “It Can Wait”. The paneling was scuffed, the lighting fixtures hanging from the high ceilings were dusty, the floors were bare, and had long since lost their shine, and the students who hung out in it, myself included, wore whatever they wore to class: jeans maybe, or khakis, cut-offs, sweatshirts, T-shirts with messages, rubber soled shoes, or no shoes at all. The sad condition of the place had let the common herd (again, myself included) feel at home, whereas a properly decked-out Englishman would have looked like a fool there. A place defines its natives, and when a place changes, the natives get redefined.

Note well: it does not matter why the place changes, nor in which direction. The rule still works. Take the London clubroom, put a brightly-lit plastic-faced Coke machine, over in the corner, and the standard of dress will change. That may be a good thing, or a bad thing, but it will be a different thing. Or take a church where all the men wear coats and ties. Bring in guitar music and hang some of those flags with felt shapes pasted on them, and see what happens to the necktie count.

We aren’t talking about rooms only, of course. We have let our inner cities become human-scale rat warrens, and crime goes up. The place has defined its natives, and what are crimes to us, are coping skills to them. A deteriorated neighborhood does not attract the criminal element; it creates it. And fixing the broken windows, hauling away the junk cars, filling the potholes, does not drive the riff-raff somewhere else; it changes the natives’ self-image, and they aren’t riff-raff any more.

Drink machines. Broken windows. Junk cars. Scuffed paneling. Piles of newspapers. Drawers full of things that will never be used. Stuff heaped on the guest bed. Clutter. Clutter. Clutter. A place defines its natives.

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FlyLady here: Robert read this out loud to me and I read it again to myself. Now I have tears rolling down my face. He knew how upset I was yesterday writing the essay about not giving up.

Do our surroundings create the depression or does the depression create the clutter. Hasn’t that always been the proverbial question; which came first the Chicken or the egg. Well it really doesn’t matter; We can argue about either question all night and all it does is keep us sidetracked from doing something about it. We don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step as Martin Luther King Jr. said.

Your first babystep is to get dressed to lace-up shoes!

Then go shine your sink!

We have to start someplace! Here is as good a place as any!

Take my hand! Please!

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Do I Need The Red Mop Head?

Hello Sweet & Wonderful FlyLady,

Here is my question: Do I need the Red Duster Mop Head? I have the FlyLady Mop & several Blue Microfiber Cloths. These work great to quickly dust-mop my floors. After one pass, I take it outside and brush it with my Rubba Scrubba – all the dust & pet hair flies away, and it’s ready to go again! (Go Me! No more disposable refills!)

Does the Red Duster Mop Head do a better job on dust? Do I shake the dust out of it (like my Feather Dusters)?

Thank you!

FlyBaby G.

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Dear G,

No one needs any of our tools! You can use a broom or get down on your hands and knees to do your floors. We all know how anxious we are to do that. LOL This is why we procrastinate!

We give you tools that make cleaning and decluttering your home fun. They are not necessary, but they do motivate us.

For years, I have looked for a dust mop similar to what is used on gym floors. It is treated with a wax that not only collects the dust bunnies, but actually helps to get the dirt up. This red dust mop head is exactly what I was looking for.

I have been using it for several months and I love how it helps me get the daily puppy prints up from our floor. The best part is that it is so fast! I don’t drag around doing the floors. I go fast! My floors get done while the coffee is brewing. Then, I take it out and shake it or as we say in FlyLady Country, we bless the world!

I have used the micro-fiber cloths for this same thing but I love the red duster head best for Daily Dust Bunny Round Ups! Now, when it comes to wet-mopping my floors once a week, I use the micro-fiber cloths.

Our mop is versatile. I have even used it on my picture windows with a Purple Rag in Bag and in the shower to clean it!

OH! that is such a good idea to use our Rubba Scrubba to clean your mop Micro-Fiber cloths. I think I will do that before I throw them in the washer next time I wet-mop our floors. We have had two days of rain. I am going to speed 7 minutes doing my floors!

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My Grocery Bill Has Been Cut in Half!

Pam,

I laughed when I read the daily surprise from you about if you don’t buy it you won’t eat it! That is so true! Since I bought your audio book about getting my finances organized my spending has changed over the last six or seven months. As you said in the book “in order to change my circumstance I have to change the behavior that caused it and I can’t change behavior unless I change my mind”. Well it took some time to change my mind but I have and I love how different I feel when the bills come rolling in. I am in control! AND if I don’t buy it I don’t eat it! My grocery bill has been cut in half because of my new budget and behavior and my inner child went kicking and screaming into compliance, but compliant she is! I have lost 21 pounds under my new budget! That’s right not my new diet, but my budget. We eat out once a month and the kids have a new respect for the luxury of eating in a restaurant and so do my husband and I. You have helped so many people with your simple but also profound perspective on life. Thank you.

Ruthanne J.

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Pam here: We can’t change one area of our life without it affecting other areas too. Getting your home organized changes your perspective on life! Getting control of your finances gives you control where you once were tossed and turned with raw emotion, much of it fear and worry. Ruthanne discovered by organizing her finances she lost weight. I’ve heard that from many of you! I think it’s because spending and eating are both activities that can be triggered when we are upset and looking for a fix of some kind outside of ourselves. When we get to the real core of an upset what we really want is love and attention and both of those we know how to give to others better than we know how to give to ourselves. That’s what the GOOD Book: Get Out Of Debt book helps you do. It gets you in touch with your inner child and it gives you child-like tools that will get you out of debt and just maybe a smaller size.

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Routines That Support Learning Pt. 2

School is starting soon.  Are your children ready to learn?  Children who are ready to learn are well-rested, fed, and dressed appropriately.  They arrive at school on time, with completed homework in their backpacks.

The easiest way to make sure that your children are ready to learn, every day, is to establish strong routines at home.  A morning routine, evening routine, and homework routine are powerful ways to support your children’s education at school.

Last week we discussed the morning and evening routines.  So let’s get right into solving the homework problem with a strong homework routine!

Homework Routine
Most families have to establish a strong homework routine and incentive system to make the evening go smoothly.  Some children can get homework done pretty much independently, and it isn’t an issue.  Others, though, drag their families through three and four hours of crying and screaming every night.  Life is too short for that!

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has an excellent homework survival guide for parents on their website.  Go to www.nasponline.org, select the Families tab, find the Back to School section, and select Homework: A Guide for Parents.  Peg Dawson, a school psychologist from New Hampshire, has a lot of suggestions about setting up routines and reward systems.  Here is an action plan, based on Peg’s system:

  • Set up a routine for where and when homework will be done.  Choose a place and set up a homework center with supplies and a calendar for due dates. Remember that some children do best in a quiet spot away from the family, but others need to be near Mom or Dad for help and supervision.  Do homework at the same time every day.  Some children do best if they get it finished up as soon as they get home from school, but others need to play or relax first.
  • Help your children set a homework schedule every day.  Sit down with them for a minute or two and review their assignments, make sure they have all the necessary materials, set time limits for each assignment, decide in what order
  • Set up a system of rewards for homework completion.  Some children do fine if they just have something good to look forward to when homework is finished, like a favorite TV show.  Others need something a little fancier, like earning points towards a bigger reward.
  • Write a homework contract that states expectations and rewards.

Different children need different homework routines.  Children need to be part of the discussion and planning for their own homework routine because you are teaching them to be responsible for their own learning.  The big decisions are: Where will homework be done, when will homework be done, what are the rewards for completing homework appropriately, and what are the consequences for failing to complete homework appropriately.

It’s your job as a parent to provide the setting and structure your children need to complete homework.  It’s also important to provide the supplies and organizational tools your children need.  Supplies include paper, pencils, markers, ruler, calculator, and glue stick.  A timer helps many kids keep on track.  The most important organizational tool is a calendar.  At the beginning of the year, write down school holidays and the dates report cards come out.  As the year progresses, keep track of field trips, picture day, conferences, science fair, SAT dates, and due dates for assignments – especially long-term ones.

Some children are motivated and rewarded by grades.  Others need external rewards and consequences.  Adults like to talk about what “should” motivate kids, but the truth is that grades aren’t important to everyone.  Start where your child is when it comes to rewards and consequences!  Some children are motivated to do homework by the promise of TV or computer time after it’s finished.  Others need the opportunity to earn points towards a bigger reward.  Some children need immediate rewards.  Others like to work toward a bigger weekly reward.

If you have a child who is struggling with homework, pick just one of these steps to get started.  Look online for the homework policy for your local school, or touch base with the teacher.  Set up a homework center, or get a calendar and write down assignments.  Just get started, and add steps as you can.  In the end, you’ll have a solution to the homework problem.

Strong routines at home are a powerful way for us to support our children at school.  Pick the routine that will serve your family best and start working on it, one baby step at a time!

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What a Feeling of Relief

Dear FlyLady,

I have been flapping around for 3 years now and while I’m not flying swiftly, many of your routines are have become habits and have helped me so much.  Thanks for that.

I’m writing today with purple puddles rolling down my cheeks.  I’m doing my master bedroom zone work of decluttering my dresser and closet.  Now, I’ve done this before and I’m pretty good at it.  The puddles today are because I’m really working at loving myself.  The beautiful clothing that no longer fit me are finally going to bless someone else today.  I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time and my self worth is very much attached to the number on the scale and the size on the tag.  I’ve kept things for the someday when I’ll be that small again.  It occurred to me today that these things hurt me every time I look at them.  So out they go.  And with them, hopefully some of the negative thoughts I subject myself to daily.  I know someone else will use these things and for that I feel blessed.  No more skipping through things I can’t wear anymore.  What a feeling of relief.  Thank you, FlyLady.

With love and gratitude,
A FlyBaby in NJ

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Are You Sinking?

Dear Friends,

Do you ever feel like you are sinking? And you are going down for the last time and no one is there to save you! In fact the whirlpool is about to suck you into the dark abyss. This is how we all feel when we are living in CHAOS! The whirlpool is the vicious cycle we are living in and we don’t know how to stop it! You can’t even remember how you got into the dangerous waters in the first place!

I can tell you exactly why! Procrastination! You didn’t want to look at the problem so you put it off. You probably still don’t want to address the issues that are pulling your under! But we do this every single day.

You see it is not one thing that is pulling you down is all the things that got our homes in the shape they are in! Everything is connected and one thing starts getting sucked into the whirlpool the rest will follow! UNLESS you start to pull your own self out one bad habit at a time. I know you don’t believe me, but as strange as it may seem, FLYing can give you the life preservers when nothing else will!

We put off paying bills! We put off buying groceries! We put off planning menus! We put off doing our taxes! You name it we can find a way and an excuse for putting it off! We have to stop this right now! Just stopping one thing will keep your head above water.

Wednesday is always Anti-procrastination daymenu planning day and clean out the refrigerator day. Look at what taking care of these things will do for this whirlpool you have gotten yourself into. With the refrigerator cleaned out, you can see what food you need to buy, what you need to use up and what leftovers can be used in a pot of soup. Just the act of doing it starts your mind thinking about menus and a grocery list. While you are cleaning out the refrigerator, keep your grocery list handy so you can jot down a few ideas for next week’s meals.

Now after you have cleaned out the refrigerator, sit down with a cup of tea for 10 minutes and think about what you can cook next week. Having groceries in the house is half the battle to cooking. When you don’t have it on hand it is just much easier to call for pizza or takeout! Which is why you are gaining weight and losing money; could this be a reason you are in the whirlpool in the first place? Think about the life preserver of just cleaning out the refrigerator: could this be the key to not falling into the abyss!

You have it in your head that menu planning it going to take a long time, it is hard or that you have people that won’t eat what you cook. Your excuses are just another form of whining and procrastination. If the truth be told, menu planning only takes about seven minutes if you will do it. Eventually you will have several week’s worth of menus and grocery lists that you can recycle and not even have to go through this process except to clean out the refrigerator so you won’t forget to utilize some produce.

Cleaning out the refrigerator along with menu planning saves you money! This is money that can be used to pull yourself out of this whirlpool. You have to start someplace! So go clean out your refrigerator!

My hand is out; grab it and we will FLY together!

FlyLady

With our Calendar and Leanne’s Saving Dinner book or her Menu Mailer you can save a lot of money planning your menus for next week.

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Can You Make Plain Dishtowels?

Dear FlyLady,

Is there any chance we could get the towels WITHOUT the days embroidered on them? Perfectionist me would have to have the right one on the right day and what if it’s in the laundry??  ….You get the idea.

Thanks,
FlyBaby Mona

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Dear Mona and Other FlyBabies,

No, we will not have plain dish towels. That is exactly what I am counting on when it comes to our dish towels. I know you so well! As the shiny sink becomes a habit, you will enjoy setting out your fresh new dish towel for the next day as you shine your sink before you go to bed. It will become one of those final touches that puts a smile on your face.

As a result of your joy each time to place that dish towel on the counter, you will make sure the laundry is done each day/every other day/every week. The best part is you have a grace period for your dish towels. You have a few days to gather up a load of towels to wash. I love the idea of grace periods.

So, as you see, I have used your trait of perfectionism to help you keep the laundry done. I love it. Knowing yourself and utilizing your traits to your advantage is what FLYing is all about!

I love our dishtowels. We spent a long time testing different towels for the FlyShop. I think we found the perfect ones.

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Celebrating Success

Dear Friends,

This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me! I still cry every time I read this. God Breezes were blowing on this day! They are still blowing. Please read all of this. If you are a FlyBaby who is scared of Social Services knocking on your door; there is hope. Check our out BabySteps andShiny Sink Video.

Marla

Dear Friends,

We had a wonderful time in Salt Lake City. There were about 10,000 people at the Convention Center. I was so overwhelmed by the whole week and debuting our new CD with Eric Dodge, Megan and the FlyBaby Chorus. When I got home my sweet darling asked me what the high light of the week was. I was able to tell him immediately with tears in my eyes.

Everyone is always so kind to us when we are in Salt Lake City. We had spent the day with Shelia from our FlyBaby Chorus. We had rehearsal and then we went for a drive to Park City to see where the Olympics were. Then we met the Mother of the Year, Jeanne Godfrey for dinner with her husband and her friend Sue.

At dinner, Jeanne told me about her job as a social worker. She has questioned her coworkers for success stories of children who had been removed from their homes because of messy and unsafe environments. No one in her department could remember any success stories of children being returned home. She asked me about a testimonial she remembered from two or three years ago about a mother who had all of her seven children removed from her home. I told her that I did remember that testimonial and I would find it and send it to her once I got home. Then she asked about another testimonial in which the mother was turned into social services by her ex-husband. He wanted custody of their child. This mother was able to open her door without being asked and give them a tour of their home. I remember this testimonial too and said I would do a search and find both when I got home.

After I spoke that afternoon we set up a table so I could meet my FlyBabies. This is always my favorite part of the day. I don’t really remember much of my talk but getting to touch your hand and see your smiling faces just makes my day complete. There were several people waiting in line to get me to sign their programs. It was only a few minutes into the signing that this one young woman stood in front of me. She was sobbing so hard that she could not talk. I had her come and sit down beside me and I put my arms around her and tried to calm her down. She began to tell me about the testimonial she had written several years ago and how she had gotten control of her home and her seven children were returned because she had followed our routines. She had recently moved to Utah.

At that point I just lost it; even though I had been crying all day long. I started to hollering for my sister Paddi and Michele to find Jeanne. This was the lady whose testimonial Jeanne wanted to share with her co-workers. I got Jeanne and Lisa together and I began greeting other FlyBabies. Now you are not going to believe this, but in the line only a couple people behind Lisa was the FlyBaby Evelina who had opened her doors to show the world she was FLYing!

By this time I am a beside myself. Paddi grabbed Jeanne again and put she and Evelina together. Here were the two people that Jeanne had wanted just their testimonials to share with her co-workers. She had them in the flesh and they have agreed to share their story in person with Jeanne’s co-workers.

When I told my Sweet Darling this story all he could say is sweetie God is listening! This story is going in my next book. Our lives have been filled with one God Breeze after another. The blessings or miracles of this day will be felt for many years to come. I felt honored to be a part of God love!

I love you all,

FlyLady

Here are the testimonials Jeanne wanted.

Dear FlyLady,

You are my hero. My heart is so full right now I am about to burst. I have purple puddles all over the place. About a year ago my family was turned into Social Services by my sister. Within a month after being turned in all seven of my children were taken from us and given to my family to care for, including my one year old son. I cried buckets full when that happened. Before the children were taken away I had tried to learn to fly but was having a terrible time getting the hang of it. And I have learned now that I had severe depression. So my house was in total chaos all the time.

But since then I have learned to fly. It was frustrating for me at first because I knew I was trying to be a perfectionist at doing it, but was trying to remind myself that I didn’t have to be, and to take it easy and do babysteps. It took a few months but I finally got the hang of it. Things are not “perfect”, and I don’t ever expect them to be. But I keep going along doing my routines and babysteps.

Since the children were taken I also started going to therapy and started taking an anti-depressant. It wasn’t until I started taking the medication that things finally started to click for me and I began to fly. I have been learning to love myself more and more. I no longer go out of the house looking like frump lady. But I have bought shoes just for going out around town in, I wear hose, and I have on makeup and I wear nicer clothes. I have also been working on goals. This past year was not easy. In fact it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

Anyway, since finally getting myself together my oldest 15yodd has come home. And now this weekend my now 2yods will be coming home. And next month two more of my children will be coming home, and the month after that one more. So now you know the reason why I am so happy. I am getting my family back together. For months the social worker just couldn’t understand how I could do it, even after I showed her my control journal. But she finally said that “well, I guess it is working”. I have you to thank to show the way, and I am thankful that Heavenly Father gave me a supportive husband, and the will to keep trying even though sometimes I just wanted to quit. But something inside me kept telling me that I couldn’t give up because literally my children were depending on me.

Thank You,

Lisa
In North Carolina

Here is the next one.

Dear FlyLady,

Today Child protective services came knocking at my door. This evening in fact. There were so many accusations against me. See, tomorrow my dd is flying home. She was away all summer at her dad’s, in another state. This is the first time she’s gone to visit him alone, (we left the ex back in Nov of 94). Last year she went with her married sister for one week for the very first time EVER visiting her dad. I just pray and hope she is on that airplane.

I’ve e-mailed you before, long ago, about how my dd is in special ed classes, and how she told the special ed aid all about you and our routines at home and HOW CLEAN our home is, (she over heard them talking about housework, I think). And my dd does not like to talk. You responded you were so proud of her, and well, it made her swell with pride.

Nearly two years later – sometimes I loose my routines. But, those babysteps are ingrained. I always make my bed, and always get dressed, and usually to the shoes too. I always keep my sink shiny, and I always swish the toilets on most days so they have been clean for over a year or more now. I always know where my laundry is, too. And the rest, well, I may fall off, but I do get right back on.

And right back on is where I am at right now. I had not dusted in a few months, and I started back up last month doing the full home blessings, and wrestling with the vacuum. (Fibromyalgia, things are hard, and tiring). I do think the reason I’m back on track flying is because I had stopped all my meds, that control the pain, for a whole year or so. So last year was not a good flying year, but I managed quite well with the hot spot checks and fire drills and ingrained routines. I started back up on my pain control meds in May, and by mid June I was flying again with the blessings.

Today: I was dressed, almost to the shoes, (I had kicked them off during a break, it was about 5:00 pm), face made up.

I opened the door WIDE when I answered the door. I quickly invited them into the house without hesitation. The curtains were all drawn, (against the sun to keep the house cooler), so I had to turn on some living room lights in my nice shiny, dusted on Family Blessing Day, (Monday), living room. They sat down. We discussed things. I had the papers ON hand, (divorce papers, court orders, etc.). How about that, I’ve been flying at my desk these past two weeks, and since Wed’s Procrastination day, I’ve been filing stuff – slowly but surely organizing all my paper work on Wed’s and through decluttering the home over the past year and a half.

Then I invited them to inspect my house, I didn’t wait for them to ask. The kitchen first, where one lady said, “My kitchen isn’t this clean at home.” when I asked them to excuse what I thought was my mess – a big can of black olives sitting out which is my dd favorite snack – waiting for her return tomorrow, and my back pack and a couple envelopes on the counter top, and paperwork that I was working ON on my desk. (Office in the kitchen area or breakfast nook as it’s called.)

Then, on to the garage to inspect the garbage – ONE CLEAN empty trash can, one full, lid closed trash can, a hint of a stench, but not bad for this Florida heat. Of course, I had decluttered the garage during one of those massive decluttering missions last year, and hauled several hundred pounds to the dump, but it has accumulated again: my married dd stuff, and my Dad’s stuff when he recently passed away, but it is not a FILTHY health hazard, and less cluttered before I started flying.

After that, my dd room. Proudly throw open her closets to prove adequate amount of clothing. Nice and tidy, bed made. But not too tidy, there is some clutter she insists on keeping for a while longer, on her shelves. Then on to her bathroom, (the main bathroom of the house used only by guests or my dd), where I noticed one of the ladies glancing into the toilet bowl because she had to do a double take – I could almost hear it in her mind “wow! That looks clean for a surprise inspection, am I seeing right? Yep, sure is clean!” She didn’t’ say that out loud, at least that’s the look of surprise I felt I noticed. A woman can always tell when another woman’s sizing up her house cleaning. Neatly folded towel on the counter top, told them that is usually not so neatly folded, after my dd uses it she hangs it up on the back of the bathroom door.

On to the “computer room” or “fun room” as my dd calls it. It was formally my married dd’s room. Cluttered, a few boxes of games on a chair, stuff on the desk, (desk shelves neatly arranged by my dd, though). Two computers, my daughter’s computer included. A cozy day bed, all stuff on it clean – sheets, quilt, pillows. A crowded room, but clean! No trash in the trash can! Clearly a well used study room for home work, computer work.

On to my bedroom, and I heard a quick inhale, and look of surprise at the fact that MY bed WAS made on a surprise inspection, with pretty afghan I crocheted on it, and my three teddy bears grouped together sitting on the pillows, the picture of a beautiful bed and breakfast room. They didn’t want to see my master bedroom bathroom by then…they had enough evidence on this accusation made against me. Supposedly my dd has been telling her dad that the kitchen is so dirty, with mice and bugs crawling all over the place that she is scared to enter it! And the garage has big rats and snakes in it from the piles and piles of trash. A couple of the many accusations placed against me, by my ex, of course! I doubt my daughter would say that WHEN she was bragging at school when WE first started flying! :)

The evidence against me? A clean home! Mostly uncluttered – peaceful, beds made.

My dirty little secret? Shhhhhh….I’ll only share this with fellow FlyBabies and the FlyLady and FlyLady Helpers….back in May of 2001 when my eldest was getting married, I was going to college, finishing up my last class (I graduated in May), my home was a mess! And the ex SAW it when he came down for the wedding. My eldest dd was messing things up, because she was soon moving to Hawaii after the wedding, and everything was so hectic. AND I purposely did NOT clean the house because I didn’t want my ex to get ANY ideas about me, romantic ideas! But, it was NOT the mess he claims my dd has told him it is. And if that is not true as he accuses, do they believe me that the rest of the silly, but serious accusations are also not true too? Most likely so!

THANK-YOU FLYLADY! THANK-YOU! YOU SAVED MY FAMILY! GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL OF US FLYBABIES!

I can proudly tell every one I had a surprise inspection yesterday with a huge, happy smile on my face!

If my daughter’s not on the airplane tomorrow, I’m making the long 18 hour drive up there, backed up by Child Protective Services down here!!!

Flybaby Evelina

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FlyLady Here: This happen all the time in divorce custody issues. One parent calls social services on the other one. It is so sad that people can’t work out custody without having to play these mean games. Social Services has to come and check things out. Isn’t it wonderful when you are free to open the door and feel peace as people inspect your home. You can do this. All it takes is babysteps and 15 minutes at a time. Don’t look at the whole house; concentrate on one little area. Do you hear me? This is how you always get overwhelmed. Babysteps, babysteps, babysteps!

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FlyLady here in the present time: If you are scared of social services showing up at your door; You can find help here. Please take babysteps and don’t panic!

Posted in Uncategorized

Young@Heart: No Worries. A Good Lesson in Curbing Worry

When I get worried, one of the best things I can do is sing. I belong to a fabulous chorus and once a week on rehearsal nights I sing for five hours straight. I’ve noticed that if anything was bothering me before I start singing, by the time I get back home I have no worries! I think much of our worry is habit and it’s good to find ways to curb unnecessary worry and know all is well.

Aside from doing something you love to do, I learned a valuable lesson when worry crops up. A few years ago on a beautiful Sunday morning, I decided to visit a new church near Portland, Oregon. I got the address and Terry, my husband, went out to the car and programmed it into our new GPS for me. Back then I didn’t quite trust the thing. (Once it got me going in circles and I’d have circled for hours if I hadn’t recognized the same barn, for the third time.)

Because I was not sure of the new gadget, I backed myself up with MapQuest. It said the church was a little over an hour from my home and mostly freeway. I set off out of Woodland, Washington and before I’d gone two miles, Victoria (that’s the name I gave her) popped up in a breathy British accent, “Take the next exit right.”

“Take the next exit right? You idiot we’ve got 60 miles to go,” I replied angrily. She ignored me! “Turn right,” she directed, her sensuous tone threatening to fog up the inside of my windows.”  “No!!” I shouted at the Brit stuck to my dashboard!

I told you Terry had programmed the address into the contraption, but I didn’t tell you why. Okay, I hadn’t learned how to do it. . .yet! I also didn’t know how to turn Victoria’s volume down or make her go away, especially while driving 70-miles-per hour.

I know I should have given myself a cushion of time to go to a new destination, but I didn’t. So if I’d taken the time to pull over and figure out how to shut her up, I would have been late to church. Consequently, I was stuck listening to her tell me to “take the next right” at every possible exit off I-5, for the next 59 miles all the way to the church!

But something very interesting happened mid-trip. Because I had the MapQuest directions as backup, I knew that Victoria was wrong. Relentlessly wrong! So, I just tuned her out of my mind. When I got to the church I looked at the address Terry had punched into Victoria. Instead of the city being Lake Oswego (a suburb of Portland) he had hit La Center (the small town right next to Woodland). No wonder Victoria kept trying to get me off the freeway. She thought we were going to La Center.

When I got settled and quiet in church, it struck me that Victoria was like one of those nagging worry thoughts that take over our peace. We can forget that all is well and let those worry thoughts drag us down if we let them. But we don’t have to let them. When I start to get into a worry mode I just remember Victoria and I say to myself, “Shut up Victoria, no worries,” and I get on with my business of being happy.

Thank you for reading Young@Heart. I hope you’ll share this with any beloved worry warts you know.

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