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Back at the Ranch

Well, not strictly speaking a ranch, but we do live in what's commonly known as a ranch style home. Indeed, if you've been along for our London journey what I have to say today may not be all that exciting to you, however, to me, it's very much so.

As you may already know, one of my sisters, Nancy, has been in the house. Make that for about four weeks. Saturday she left, joining another sister, Maureen and her friend Lynn for a week at the beach. She is missed already. After so much time Baxter was thoroughly taken with her, showing his displeasure while she was leaving by tucking his tail. That's how we know he's unhappy. You should see his tail when he's happy; he wags it like nobodies business. Isn't wag a funny word?

Nancy, unlike me, is a maintenance machine. Cleaning and organizing makes her happy. The sloppier or dirtier the better. Personally, I can overlook both, but I'd have been a fool not to accept her offer of help, although at times, not without a bit of fussing on my part. Good enough is my way of looking at things, she, on the other hand is not so easily satisfied. So, we cleaned and I mean more than I might do in a year. Yikes! It was a wonder I got any blog posts written.

In our absence, Nancy began with the linen closet in the hallway bathroom. What was once a jumble of towels, sheets, and various linens, now looks like this:
That isn't the entire closet because the bathroom is so small I couldn't get far enough back to show you the rest, but you get the idea. What you don't see are index cards on the left wall detailing what is on the upper shelves. To date, I've just kept washing the sheets on our bed because I don't want to mess anything up! How she folds sheets so neatly is beyond me! I suspect she'll be unhappy if she sees this photo because the towel on the bottom shelf is misplaced; I must get a stool out to put it in its rightful place. Allegedly I won't be buying things I already have if I study the contents of the little drawers which are clearly labeled.

Feeling guilty, I washed our quilt at the laundromat, a task I'd been considering doing for well nigh a year. Good grief, it was so simple once I finally did it. A little more than a mile away a spotless laundromat was waiting patiently for me:
The cost was $3.75 and worth every penny. I'm not sure if we're sleeping better now that the mattress pad, quilt, shams, and bed skirt are clean, but I will say it looks better!

One Saturday Nancy worked on the living area. How dirty could it be? She washed everything in sight including the plantation blinds! She took them down, putting them outside on the driveway and scrubbed them like nobodies business. Sheers anyone? It's anyone's guess how long it has been since they have been thoroughly cleaned.The windows were next, while the blinds were down, making that task much simpler. I'm still marveling about that one each time I look outside. So not just the inside, but the outside as well. You can see how large the windows are in this shot. As well, here's an update on the garden as well:
It's coming along nicely isn't it? I think it must have been Monday afternoon that, once Bruce returned from work, he and Nancy took down his blinds, pictured on the right, and repeated all that nonsense. For the longest time I'd tried to get Bruce to throw away a gigantic fake palm tree in the sunroom with no success. I tried the Angela approach. No dice. Nancy, on the other hand, has clout. It's gone, as are some silly drapes that hung on either side of the above pictured window. Hurray!

While we're in the yard, here's an update on our momma cardinal:
She is no dummy, making her nest amongst the palms so that it's impossible for me to see what is inside. The only evidence visible is her tail on the right. Not a great shot, but I thought you'd want to know how things were progressing.

I believe it was a week ago Saturday that, while Nancy was busy doing some sort of cleaning, I painted our sparkling clean bathroom the same color as the bedroom I painted during our major remodel. There is something to be said for having smallish rooms for sure. 
I only wish all of the tile were the same color, however, for the most part, we like to keep things that remind us of the age of our home--only seven years younger than we are!

Bill and Dave, indeed came to get their stuff, not even waiting until the last minute. I now have the largest closet in our home mostly to myself, aside from a few boxes of Matt's mementos. Below you see not only that I have a bunch of dresses, BUT, they are all hung on matching hangars, another one of Nancy's doings. Lord knows, I wouldn't have done that. I did, however, hang them by color and sleeve length.
The closets were treasure troves of goodies. I tackled the one in what was formerly Jonathan's room and discovered a contract he wrote during his Everquest days. That will wait for another day. I did find these little guys up in the top of the closet:
I've no recollection what kind of figures they were, but I clearly recall Jonathan playing with this bus in the tub when he was young.

While I was playing bridge on Thursday morning, Nancy was working on our bedroom blinds. Upon my return I was pressed into service, cleaning the new sun room windows, which eventually led to the remaining windows in the house. Did I tell you how much Nancy loves bleach? Well, she does, using it on everything! 409 is her other favorite, a product I've never once in my life used. She's making a believer out of me! Once the windows and screens were done, Nancy used bleach on the awning, getting on the ladder to do so. We discovered that the gutters were full of leaves and pine needles. So up the ladder I went, scooping out copious amounts of gunk and dropping it down into a large garbage can. I thought I didn't have one ounce of energy left to finish them, however, having Nancy as a cheerleader, I kept it up. I think one of the best things to come out of this, if there is a best thing, is I scrubbed the white roof flashing with bleach. In the past I'd tried to do it while on the roof, this time I could see clearly how disgusting it was. Fantastic.

Earlier in the week, I think it must have been Monday night, our Chinese Tallow tree apparently suffered a lightening strike. Very strange as there was no storm. Anyway, it needed attention so I called our tree guy who came out to give me an estimate. Although he said he'd be here either Wednesday or Thursday, he was a no show. Thus, when Bruce returned from his trip, the tree was untouched. Which meant that while I was still working on the gutters he got out the huge extension ladder and went to work. Undaunted by our day's work, Nancy cut up a good deal of the branches. Good thing she is four years younger than us! Seriously, I thought I would die from exhaustion. It wasn't too much later, after a Taco Bell run for dinner, that we all fell into a deep sleep! Here's what the tree looked like pre Bruce and Nancy's efforts:
There was more, but I'm getting tired just writing this! So, instead of traveling around one of the world's great cities, we were making our little corner of the world a much cleaner place. At least for now....
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