Monday, August 22, 2011

The last week of (my) summer... I can FLY!

Joshua Tree: Fathers' Day
I go back to work this Friday. I'm a teacher, and I've been on Summer Break: ten weeks of productive relaxation and rejuvenation.

It's been a great summer. For the last month, after my daughter moved into her new home just blocks away, I stumbled across a web-site and "friend" who has changed my life! (

With my daughter moving closer, I now have someone to "help" me clean my garage. How does she help? I can show her mementos of our early family life, and she can speak for herself and siblings about getting rid of it, taking it or keeping it.

This exercise of thinning out family memorabilia led me to Google-ing sites that help with organizing your home. It was via that search that I found Although most of her program is found on-line for free, I bought her e-book. It allowed me to take a bit of a crash course through her BabySteps. Being off work, I had more free time to implement her suggestions.

My new Fit on its first road trip!

One of her suggestions is breaking your home into Zones, each getting more attention for one week out of the month. I'm on the last zone this week. As I've worked through my home, together with my wife, we've been able to declutter, clean, and ease into a maintenance mode that brought our home to a new state of affairs: visitor ready!

On Saturday, my sister who lives two blocks away, had planned a "Welcome Back to California" picnic for my daughter and her family, my niece and her family, my nephew and his family, plus the son of a cousin who is joining the Marines. There were supposed to be about 20 of us. The twenty showed up, but so did two unexpected visitors from Iowa: my mom and my sister. As I arrived home from a final grocery store run for the picnic, I was surprised to find my mom and sister in my living room.

It was an unexpected surprise and it added a four generation element to the picnic. My mom had all her children, and most of her grand kids present. Her 90+ year old sister was there too! It was memorable.

Vista: California desert

So was the fact that my home was sparklingly ready for unexpected guests!

Later, at the park, it came to my attention that my two-block-away sister had included an "accommodations available" line to the e-invite she had sent out. All the local family homes were full but mine, and my nephew Kevin and his family of four were planning of staying over, somewhere. Well, after a quick check with the wife, we volunteered. Our house was not in CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). Preparations for Kevin and Company took all of 10 minutes, and that included getting a sleeping bag down out of the garage and warming it in the clothes-dryer as a cozy living-room mattress for his daughters.

It was is great having Jennifer, Kevin, and Joanna back in California. It was very special having my mom and sister Candy surprising us from Iowa. It was a wonderful, wonderful picnic, and it was momentous to have my home ready-for-use on a moment's notice. Thank you FlyLady!

Chollo cactus: Beware!

(Disclaimer: FlyLady's motto is "Your home didn't get dirty overnight, and it won't get cleaned up overnight: BabySteps." My home only got so much better in such a short time because I had the time, energy, and inclination. I still took BabySteps, but I took a lot of them in a fairly short time. End of Disclaimer.)  ;-)