Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Learning to Fly: Day 1

My sister, Kimberley, introduced me to the FlyLady maybe... seven or eight years ago. I made the control journal, did the menu planning, created beautiful spreadsheets. Never did the stuff. Decided I didn't need the system because I am a naturally organized person. Decided the FlyLady was beneath my organized self. Decided I was not really a messy person. I just had... toddlers. And... a messy husband. So... no FlyLady for me, thank you very much.

Right. Really, back then I was just prideful and childish. Now, I am humble and mature. No, really. I am. Hey! Stop laughing!

Well, I may not be humble or mature yet, but I have taken a hard look at my home these past few months and come to one glaring conclusion.

I am a messy person. Clutter everywhere, floors in need of vacuuming, furniture in need of dusting, cobwebs in need of sweeping, walls covered with grimy fingerprints, sink full of dirty dishes, and laundry strewn about the house willy nilly, resting peacefully wherever it happened to fall when it was discarded.

And really, I can only blame the men in my home to a certain extent. They're not careless. They're... cerebral. They honestly don't notice the mess they're making. Seriously. They don't notice.

But I notice. So it's my responsibility to make sure something gets done about it. It's my lack of initiative that perpetuates the havoc in our haven. It's my Scarlett-O'Hara-I'll-do-it-tomorrow attitude that creates mountains of impediments in my home. So with my tail between my legs, I am admitting that I am messy. And that I'm okay with that. And that I need the FlyLady.

This time around, I possess two things I previously lacked.
1) The desire to be a grownup
2) Desperation

Navigating my way to flylady.net, I jumped in. I knew what Day One would be. Go shine my sink.

Well, it took me three days to do Day One. (See how much I need the FlyLady?) I actually started to shine my sink on the first day, but I didn't read the instructions. I just did the dishes. Then I was too tired to continue, so I had to go sit down. :) On the second day, I printed the instructions. Very important step. But it was Sunday, and there was football on, and I was winning, so... ya know. Had to watch. But yesterday, I actually read the instructions I'd printed, and they gave me the incentive I needed to get going.

Step One: Empty your sink of dirty dishes. Don't do the dishes. Just get them out of the sink. Oh. Okay. I can do that.

Hey, look! I found the bottom! And it's... ew... yucky.

This is what my sink looks like when it's clean. After I've scrubbed it out with a sponge. Not so very shiny.

Step Two: Fill your sink to the rim with very hot water and add a cup of bleach. Wait an hour.

And don't forget to protect your children.

Step Three: Rinse your sink well, and, Step Four, scrub, scrub, scrub. I used Ajax.

And also Step Four: I used Lime-Away. Except... it didn't really look like Lime-Away is supposed to look. Old bottle. Didn't do much for the brown stains around the edges, but did make the little rust spot scrub-able.

Step Five: Clean around all the edges. And, Step Six, the faucets.

This is where things went a little haywire. See, I scrubbed that rust spot so viciously that I chipped away several bits of porcelain. Hmmm... More rust under there. Jeff had thrown out the Lime-Away that didn't look like Lime-Away, so I figured I better do bleach again. Just a bit on the bottom of the sink. I thought I rinsed thoroughly between steps, but right before my eyes, brown streaks began to appear in my brand new clean sink. See them over there on the right? I grabbed the tongs, pulled the plug, and rinsed some more. And then I scrubbed and scrubbed. I got some of the new brown out, but my tendinitis flared up and I had to quit. Oh, bother.

Jeff took over the scrubbing and did a fabulous job. You can see that the original rust spot is all gone. The only rust left is what I uncovered while scrubbing. I'll get it next time. As my boys say, "Best I could do!" The FlyLady agrees, by the way. "Just know in your heart that you have cleaned it very well now and it doesn't have to be perfect. Our perfectionism is what got us in this situation in the first place." Too true, FlyLady. Too true.

Back on track with Step Seven: Get out your window cleaner and give it a good shine. Look! You can even see the camera!

Done! Light years better than when I started. Wahoo!

Step Nine: Wipe your sink out all the time with a dishtowel, and it'll stay this way. Well, I use a paper towel because it absorbs more water spots, especially on the faucets. This is actually the ONE habit that carried over from the last time I used the FlyLady.

I showed my shiny sink to Jeff. His response? "It's a sink."

So I read Step Ten to Jeff. "Don't have a fit if someone doesn't take as much pride in your sink as you do. It is very easy to fix. You have already done the hard part. You will never have to go through this process again. Daily maintenance will keep it looking this way all the time. Nasty hurtful word are not as easy to repair. Just be sure and tell your family what you are trying to do. They will think you have gone crazy."

I further explained to Jeff that having a shiny sink made me feel good about myself. That, he understands. He works all day every day to help me feel good about myself because he loves me so much.

Plus, having a shiny sink is the FlyLady's way of hugging me long-distance, according to her website.

He didn't really swallow that one... but he did promise to try not to sabotage my efforts. What more could a quirky Irish lass ask from her magnificent Knight Errant?

Step Eleven is just the solution I've been needing. The FlyLady says no putting dirty dishes in the sink. Well, I don't have a lot of counter space, so I instructed my boys to put their dishes in the sink on purpose. You saw the result of their saintly compliance in the first picture. But the FlyLady suggests a brilliant alternative. Put a dishpan under the sink. Well, I opted for a giant tote, but whatever. Baby steps, right?

And finally, Step Twelve. The FlyLady suggests I put a note in the sink to help my family remember. But my home is full of little boys, FlyLady. They don't take time to read no stinkin' notes. So I opted for pictures.

Well, now I've spent the whole morning posting about my shiny sink, and I've done no dishes, and I gotta go start school. Day Two is about getting dressed. I might post about it. I might not. Come back tomorrow to see whether or not I made it out of my pj's.