Friday, June 29, 2012

Home Ec

This class would be taught by Kateri, if we were actually doing a class. She actually prefers to do the work herself, most of the time. Which works for me. She is super helpful and really enjoys cooking, cleaning, sewing, playing with babies. Which I know makes her a great play date. Her cousin once even remarked on his messy room and that is was time to have Kateri over. She did recently realize her efforts were valued by others and just this morning distributed flyers to the neighbors offering housecleaning services. Only $8an hour. So if you need anything give a holler. She really does it all. Babysitting too.(I think I hear her getting cookie sheets out now. Good thing I have lots of butter.)

This last week she pulled out my sewing machine and set it up in her room. I was unaware until I heard the whirring and went to check- I do that occasionally. I can't believe I didn't think of suggesting it sooner. The other kids go in on it and for about 2 hrs they were all four in her room working on projects. And no one sewed a finger. She has been making sleeping bags for dolls and stuffed animals, quilts and pillows, backpacks and even some larger baby blankets.

She decided to get organized and got a clipboard on which to record customers, orders, delivery dates and times. She canvassed the neighborhood with it. It is a good thing we have so many neighbor kids, all in need of backpacks and sleeping bags. For awhile she was doing same day delivery. She couldn't stand the thought of an unfulfilled order or a child's doll waiting for a sleeping bag. But as the market is getting saturated, orders are slowing a little. Then she realized, all  she needed was a new product so today she wanted to start making purses. But we are starting to run low on supplies so it might have to wait a little. So far the machine is keeping up with her, though I think it might be time for a tune-up. I am actually thinking of getting a new machine. Mine is 15yrs old and I know she would get use out of one with more features, like embroidery and automatic button-holer.

The past few days she has also been preoccupied with the new washer and drier. Our fancy-dancy-GE Profile front loaders had decided they had had enough after 6 yrs. I had actually decided I'd had enough after 18months, but could not really justify getting new ones so soon. Finally, having to place a bowl under the leaky seal every load, and having to clean up the water if I forgot to position it perfectly got old. And when the drier started to sound like there was monster  trapped inside of it, I finally took Shane up on his offer to get new ones and started researching new ones. Which was not as easy as I had thought. After a little review reading it became apparent that most of the front loaders all had the same problem we first noticed with ours-they stink. And so do your clothes. And to actually get the soap out you have to do an extra rinse every load, and then run a cycle of just hot water and bleach or Cascade to clean the insides of the washer and prevent mildew and other unwanted organisms from growing and making your laundry and laundry room smell like dry-rot. We had finally gotten all that under control and were managing it, but $180 for a new door seal- and about 6 hrs of manual labor, made it obvious it would be better to invest elsewhere. And the thought of washing little baby clothes only to have them come out questionably scented was not inspiring.

 The kids had an overnight with the grandparents this week and after Shane left for work I headed out, armed with my new Consumer Reports app, and a whole list of features I did/did not want.  The problem was all the new machines have computers, are smarter than you, and pretend to save the planet by only using 6oz of water to wash 8 bath towels. I told the sales man when he offered assistance, 'I don't want any water saving or pseudo-good for the planet c***. (Ok I didn't say that exactly. That is how I felt when I went to fold not so nicely scented 'clean' laundry)I don't want a computer telling me how much water it senses it needs and that forces me to only do the cycles it is programmed to do in the order it deems best for me.'  And he showed me the two models available. I went to another store and was shown the same two models. So fortunately it made eenie-meenie-minie-moe pretty easy. One had much better actual user reviews and repair history. So the next day I called up the store and 5 hrs later they were here hauling away the old ones and installing the new.

I hadn't realized how much I would appreciate the other bonuses that came with them. The laundry room does not feel like it has been taken over by hulking pieces of useless-groaning metal. A top loader is a lot more user friendly for growing bellies to walk by and makes me not feel quite so big. The whole laundry room seems so much more spacious and the kids love starting a load and watching the water, more than a cup, cascade into the stainless steel tub of soap, and then loading the laundry into it. Seriously, I don't have any dirty laundry in the house. Kateri was disappointed when we ran out the first day. The second day I woke her up to tell her I had gotten more soap and there were Papa's stinky clothes- some friends were smoking cigars after their work dinner-that desperately needed washing. Cyprian started crying saying it was his turn to start a load. So he got to add the soap and softener and work the MANUAL dials. No blinking lights here. I love being able to pick where I start a cycle, or re-do a part of it. And set the water level to where I want it. And the water temperature. I sound like a control freak, but seriously, whoever thought it was  good idea to let the washer decide everything had not seen the movies where the machines take over. It does not end well.

But we are safe now. And our clothes smell nice and I might even get inspired to organize the rest of the laundry room storage and go through baby clothes. Speaking of preparing for the impending chaos of not feeling organized or enough sleep that goes along with a cute snuggly bundle, I did a little home prep myself. The little kids have been sharing a room the past few weeks and we are still sorting out the game of musical beds that is our bedtime routine. With the sun staying up longer it was getting harder to try rolling back bedtime to anything before midnight. I wish I were kidding. But I'm  not. And though I'd like to blame it all on the sun, my kids are just natural night-owls and it is going to be difficult to change that. But I though blocking some light could at least help. So I pinned a fleece blanket over Kateri's pink, cotton curtains, and now it is dark and cozy and the glow in the dark stars show up so much better. I will get some real light blocking fabric and make proper shades, or have Kateri do it, but for now it works. Works in blocking light. Not in getting children to sleep more easily. Even sitting and supervising their being quiet and falling asleep things did not quiet down until almost 11pm last night. But I guess that is  a step in the right direction. And after the new laundry machines I am feeling it has been a highly successful week.

Oh, in case you are wondering, I finally settled on the Speed Queen commercial duty super-capacity washer and drier. The kids were really surprised how quiet they are compared to the old ones and so far I am not seeing any negatives of going back to the old style machines. Plus the new ones together cost about as much as one of the front loaders.

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