About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Friday Tidbits: Housekeeping

Steel Magnolias Cast 

Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be writing a post about cleaning products.  It seems like such a 1950's thing to do.   And yet I know that my environment profoundly affects the way I feel.  It's a huge contributor to my mood of the day, week, month.  There's a wonderful line from Steel Magnolias that I absolutely love:
I'm not crazy, M'Lynn. I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years. ~Ouier (Shirley MacLaine) in Steel Magnolias.
Yes, sometimes I can certainly identify with Ouier's character, especially as a person who has CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, not to mention all the other "illnesses," "conditions," and "syndromes," which I get all because of the old monster.

It's a funny thing about me.  After the Christmas decorations come down, I start in on my "spring cleaning." There's something about the sudden drabness of the house.  Or perhaps it's the opposite: that I'm finally just so glad to get rid of the "clutter" that I want to enjoy the clean lines and a really clean house to match.  I never even realized this until one year when I happened to be doing bills and noticed that February's water bill was double our usual cost.  I called the water department and the woman I spoke to noticed that every February my water bill had suddenly elevated.  So, it turns out that I do a "January cleaning" every year. Who knew?  Not I, that's for sure.

So, it will be time to clean again soon.  Actually, hubs and I got a good start this weekend.  But first I must mention that we don't take our tree down until after the 7th because of the Old-Style Eastern Orthodox Christmas being celebrated so much later than the rest of the world.  By the time the 8th rolls around, I'm beyond ecstatic to be rid of the tree.  Hopefully, this year we'll be able to find someone who'll do the bulk of the cleaning, considering I'm still not allowed to do much, nor able to do much and hubs has too much on his plate.  Again, this hurts, as many things about this situation does.  I'm the odd duck who absolutely loves to clean house. The only chore I dislike is dusting and guess what!  The only thing that I think I'll be able to do IS dust.  Boy, this CFIDS/ME/CFS and fibromyalgia are real kicks in the heads. (Over and over and over again!) Just take away all my pleasure and stick me with the things I don't like.  Wait.  Oh yeah! You - CFIDS/etc, fibro - you already did that, you evil body invader.

And I haven't mentioned that as much of a beauty products junkie that I am, I may be even a bigger cleaning products junkie.  I am absolutely embarrassed as to how many cleaning products I have: baskets and baskets full, though, you guessed it, they are lost somewhere in the basement with the overrun of things from the remodeling.  I can spend hours looking up cleaning products on line, and do!  (Have I mentioned, lately, that I need a life?)

Anyway,  I thought that I'd write down a few of the products that I couldn't live without.

No, I haven't lost those marbles that I've been left with after the CFIDS and fibro monster got its way with me. No, I just thought that I'd mention them since they are so easy to use and we really do need that!  No longer can we take our sweet time about really scrubbing a floor, cleaning windows, moving furniture to vacuum and dust behind said furniture.  We're lucky if we can remember to brush our teeth or have to make a decision as to whether we'll do this and sacrifice that or that and sacrifice this, basically, very close to the spoonie theory.

For those who can still do housework and cleaning, let's just say that I'm green with envy though in the nicest of ways, of course!  (Hahaha, she says!)  But seriously, as our energy is so limited, we really do need to try to get the most efficient of products.  And homemade is not efficient for me, unfortunately.  That ship has sailed, long ago, in fact.  At any rate, I hope that the suggestions listed are not too obvious.  But I love them to pieces, so they're getting included here for those who somehow missed these products.
  • Number one on my list has got to be the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  Personally, I think they're the best thing since sliced bread (NYC bread, not just any kind of bread, mind you!  I have taste!) They clean a remarkable array of things and do so very well.  I use them all the time on painted surfaces, baseboards, the kitchen, the bathroom.  The only draw-back that I can see is that they do tend to leave a bit of a film which gets just sticky enough to attract dirt and dust, so I always rinse everything with fresh water.  But the Erasers are so easy to use and such a time and energy saver (of self) that it's worth the rinse.  I even used them recently on ground-in dirt on my very old white kitchen floor which needs replacement.  (No, Meslissa, you did NOT hear that!)  Best of all, jobs require  a minimum of effort with these erasers, so good for our poor CFIDS/ME/CFS and/or fibro-weary bodies.
We could have used this a few times. We were NOT smiling! 
  • Secondly, I also now use the new micro-fiber cloths to dust.  They don't spread the dust around, but pick it up quite nicely. Last week I made a list on Amazon for a few different types of cloths that seem to have a wax coating, hoping they'll do the job. Hubs ordered a few the other day and ...MELISSA: close your ears and eyes!  (OK, I think she's gone.)  I used them on one rather large bookcase the other day.  Fantastic job.  But we also got the micro-fiber cloths which I'd  loved from Williams Sonoma but they're so expensive that surely there must be a good equivalent somewhere. On the other hand, in my dusting efforts I'll spare little expense as I want to make sure that I don't have to re-dust all the places where the "ash" from the sanding of walls and floors accumulated and I've tried to keep up with the obvious areas.  Better yet, when I washed the cloth in the sink, just rinsing them in some soapy water, the water turned brown.  I love when I can see those kinds of results for my efforts!  Immediate gratification!  Gorgeous job.  Love, love, love mine.

  • Thirdly, I'm in love with a window cleaner called Sprayway Glass Cleaner.  I spent a fortune on a can of it at Restoration Hardware about 15 years ago (perhaps $12, see what a crazy cleaning person I am/was?)  Then I discovered that you can get this cleaner at the dollar store for, yep, a dollar. Obviously, we stocked up.)  It's a foaming spray and I love the results and ease. (And I apologize to the Sisters who taught us to use water and newspapers.  My excuse: I'm allergic to newpaper print. They produce migraines.  (Hope Melissa heard that one!)

  • And finally, if you have the cash, I love the steam machines that clean everything.  I thought I'd do all my windows one year but that fizzled out after a couple of rooms.  However, the windows I washed shined almost like diamonds for the longest time, much better than the ones a professional did.  I think because it was just plain water/steam, there was no film whatsoever to make dust cling to it.  And an added bonus: everything gets sterilized because it's steam!  These machines will clean just about anything and no chemical products are needed.  In fact, no products are needed period.  So, although it's a (huge) initial out-lay of cash, eventually it'll pay for itself, not to mention the toxins that your house doesn't need coming in.

And that's it.  Here's to cleaning whenever you choose it to be!  Do you have some favorite products that make your job at home just a little bit easier?  We'd love to know!  In the meanwhile, I  hope everyone's feeling their best, only better!  Ciao and paka! 

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