A Little Spring Cleaning

DSCN1789

Spring arrives in Paris at the Jardin du Palais Royal

A Little Spring Cleaning

Hello all. I hope that your week so far is going well. Mine is doing all right. Some things have been wonderful this past week; other things have been very, very difficult. You know. Life is usually that way: a bit of extremes at both ends that somehow blends into something middling. That was my week.  We had a fairly uneventful weekend this past one. One thing I accomplished was giving the girl child’s room a good cleaning. We went through old things, dusted and vacuumed, tossed, and reorganized.

Girl child is going to be 13 at the end of the month, and her grandma, my future MIL, is coming here (arrival is Friday the 23rd) to help her celebrate. Grandma came out for the boy child’s 13th birthday a couple of years ago as he was being Bar Mitzvahed and so she is doing the same for girl child’s special day of saying good-bye to childhood and hello to the teens (no official Bat Mitzvah here, though. They aren’t the thing in France the way they are becoming in the States).

I want things to be clean for the fMIL. A woman of good midwestern stock of Anglo-Saxon descent, she makes me want to clean, you know? Some of you know what I am talking about. There’s never anything said outright, but there is this kind of standard that you know you are living up to  just by the subtle things she says and does. Or maybe it’s all in my head… I don’t know. There is this thing with being a ([an] almost) daughter-in-law, however, that some of you will know: there is the kind of mom (every mom?) where you know as the woman in her son’s life you are being watched closely. On the surface of things she may totally have a “live and let live” attitude, but you know that somehow inside of her there are judgments being made as to your suitability for her precious boy. It’s never overt. Confrontation is completely out of the question (it’s a midwestern ideal of folks of a certain generation to avoid that elephant in the living room, right?). But you sense and know as one female animal to another that the pecking order is being established, and we all know that cleanliness is next to godliness, even if we are pretending that laissez-faire housekeeping is okay. So you clean.

The other reason I have wanted to clean is that the girl child’s room was making me nuts. She has a semi-bunk bed from Ikea. High enough that there is a little play space underneath the bed, it is too low to house another bed below it. The “play area” was turning into the Giant Dustball from Hell as stuffed animals, books, “science projects,” the Rock Collection and the toy baby carriage, stroller, and shopping cart she no longer plays with were vying for which object could attract the most dust. I am very allergic to dust, and keeping it clean is something important to me. Then there was the part of me saying inside (see? I guess THIS is how we know the MILs are saying judgmental internal things to themselves — we do it, too), “Does this girlie REALLY need an entire collection of 75 Kinder Egg toys she has been collecting since 2002?”

Or this?

(A pop can “music maker” filled with chickpeas. I’m pretty sure this was made during the era of the artsy-craftsy girlfriend, B, who was in the picture circa 2003-2005. “Fugly Craps” my best friend, Janet, has dubbed these kind of “art” projects.)

I made a deal with her. We would use the camera to take photos of the things that had good memories attached to them, but with which, knowing she has photos to commemorate the items, she is willing to part. The fugly crappy music maker was tossed.

This one she was loathe to throw away, even though we took a photo of it:

???

Yeah, I know.

It’s a “satellite” which she was particularly proud of having made out of corks, tin foil, and toothpicks. I gotta hand it to the kid, she IS creative! But, I had to pick my battles. She was willing to throw away these Happy Meal toys:

I’m wondering what tie-in these came from. Chicken Run, maybe? No idea. The pic turned out cute, I thought! They are now residing in some landfill somewhere. (Ignore stained wallpaper from humidity on the window glass in winter dripping down. Perhaps more on that in a future Ghetto Living in Paris installment…)

I’m trying something a little different today. A shorter post, hahaha! Wow. I know. No one have a heart attack or anything. I actually had hoped to blog a little more about my friend Tess and on my Ikea Dreams as well as a little more on Ghetto Living in Paris, but I am actually going to stop here. Sorry if it is not “Paris-y” enough for you, but I threw in the springlike photo of the Jardin du Palais Royal where Paul and I went on Easter Monday.

Here. I’ll Paris things up a little in closing:

DSCN1731

It’s the view of the ET from my friend Tess’ new apartment where I am going tomorrow again for lunch. If it is nice, we are going to try to go to the Trocadéro and/or the Champs de Mars. I’ll take pics. Right now, though, I have to head to Leader Price to get a chicken to roast. She does not have an oven in her apartment and has not had a roast chicken in a while (although rotisserie chickens are everywhere, the spice mixture they use in the roasting often has gluten, and she is trying to watch her intake, too).

Hopefully, I can stick with  shorter postings like this one! I have a jillion things I would like to write about, but have determined that not everything is going to make the cut. I want to try to post more often is why. We’ll see. This is a start at it, anyways.

Adieu — à bientôt, mes amis.

Over and out.

Karin (an alien parisienne)

Advertisements
Categories: Life in Paris, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Post navigation

39 thoughts on “A Little Spring Cleaning

  1. I love the satellite! I totally wouldn’t throw it away either. 😉

    • I think it is pretty cool, too, honestly. 🙂 I guess I was questioning why, when she also has a partner satellite still hanging under her platform bed she wanted to keep it. I get it, though. I’m sure she’d be happy to know you are in her corner!!

  2. well Karin I have to laugh…I’m having rotisseire chicken tonight and have a houseful of Ikea and messy kids rooms..so we are all the same person …oh and I’ve got two MIL’s ..and ex and a current….the first one has the cleanest house in the WORLD and I’m not kidding…you could drop a kleenex in the bathroom trash can and before you left the room it was empty…spooky…and my current one is Russian..so the drama…the war just ended yesterday in her mind …”don’t throw out the pototoe peels ..I can make soup from them”…so I understand your cleaning….I use my own mother’s rule…as long as your bathroom is clean you are fine..it’s the only room everyone is alone in and can snoop around in….the rest…pick up the clutter..give it a vaccum and open a window…you’ll be fine….

    love the photo of the ET.

    • We are twins! Haha! Your MIL stories cracked me up!! That’s true about the bathroom, too… And yeah, that’s the one I will always make sure I do, especially if pressed for time. Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂

  3. I can only imagine the talk I create as I do little out of the way for reletives (no more than I would for any houseguest. There’s the couch, make yourself at home.) and actually incorportate them into MY daily routine (I can get away with that as we often have volunteers in my line of work, they are just more of the same). It’s a shame there won’t be a Bat Mitzvah, there is always something special about ceremony and rites of passage.

    Ah, so like the child’s collections, we filter our ideas and toss what doesn’t make the grade? The adege “one mans trash is another mans treasure” rungs true. I would never have parted with the ducks.

    • Hey Ken, I had to giggle a little at your explaining your attitude about visitors and relatives, ’cause I kept thinking, “You can do that because you are a DUDE!” Ah to be a guy and be able to be in the place of saying, “incorporate them into MY daily routine.” My personal opinion is that you can get away with it as you are male. Really. It’s a beautiful, free, empowered way to be and so *not* how women have to do it. *sigh*

      Knowing the girl child’s grandma, there will be a Shop Mitzvah, lol. No worries there!! 😉

      Ah, so like the child’s collections, we filter our ideas and toss what doesn’t make the grade? The adege “one mans trash is another mans treasure” rungs true. I would never have parted with the ducks.

      This is right on the money, huh. 🙂

      Thank you, Ken!

  4. We recently visited our 16 year-old niece’s room and I don’t think she has ever thrown one single thing away. Ever. No way could I sleep in that room with that kind of clutter! I don’t know how she does… She has bunk beds and the top one was packed with stuffed animals that reached, I kid you not, the ceiling.

    I never would have known spice mixtures on chicken could contain gluten. It must be a full time job to figure out what you can and cannot eat.

    • She has bunk beds and the top one was packed with stuffed animals that reached, I kid you not, the ceiling.

      That’s a lot of stuffed animals!! It made me think, “Just wait until she is a grown up and has to move all her stuff for the first time…” LOL. Oy. I don’t envy her.

      It must be a full time job to figure out what you can and cannot eat.

      It actually does feel that way. I really have a lot of empathy for working mothers whose kids have to eat gluten and dairy-free! It must be exhausting. The internet and supportive websites/informational sites/blogs help SO very much. There is a lot of support and information out there now.

      Take care, BJ!

  5. rice2

    I don’t know if your blog post inspired me, or if it was coincidence, but I’ve decided to spend the evening cleaning my room. I have a friend coming into town on Saturday…not quite as much pressure as a fMIL, but still 🙂

    • There is nothing like company to get one’s rear into gear on the whole cleaning thing, huh!! A lot of times I look around at the house and think, “Hmmm. It’s time to have people over.” 😀

  6. Gorgeous photo from Easter Monday! Aaaaah. Your friend’s new view is great, too.

    Cheers and good on ya for the spring cleaning 🙂

  7. Miss T

    eh…
    sh*t… now I have to clean my house! but i’m not throwing anything away! Anything I wanted to keep but should have been thrown away, I’ve kept in my room at my parents’ apartment 😉
    Actually, I have things there that should be here! Anyways… 😛

    Hey Kariiiiiiiin!!! *waves frantically*

    • Hi Miss T!!!!!! *waves back*

      Here’s my understanding about stuff and keeping it: if it makes you really happy to keep it, then do it. For me, I kept feeling so unhappy about all pf the stuff I had been hauling around for years that it was very freeing to release it all, finally. With the girl child, I was trying to strike a balance because I know how much things can mean to children. My things meant a lot to me, too, at that age. So I wanted to be very respectful of her things, while also reaching the goal of cleaning up a little. Ergo the photographs of the stuff. It really does help kids (heck, me, too) to know that the *memories* embedded in the things are intact with the memory transferring to a photo. I think her knowing she could keep the memory but lose the actual thing was incentive. It really works. She felt so damn proud, too, after cleaning everything up, and her reward was going to McDonald’s for dinner, something she had been begging to do the night before and to which we’d said, “No.” It really was such a successful day.

  8. tempestspell

    The twins’ room is frightening at times. I keep on them to clean it up, but have decided I just don’t know what weird things they value. I’ve compromised by giving them two tupperware totes to fill with whatever they want to take with them when they leave when they’re 18. If it doesn’t fit in that or their clothing suitcase, and it’s not bedding and furniture, they’ve been instructed to throw it out. It cuts down a little on the mess.

    And I can’t imagine having an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower. That just ROCKS!

    • Kate, I LOVE this idea:

      I keep on them to clean it up, but have decided I just don’t know what weird things they value. I’ve compromised by giving them two tupperware totes to fill with whatever they want to take with them when they leave when they’re 18. If it doesn’t fit in that or their clothing suitcase, and it’s not bedding and furniture, they’ve been instructed to throw it out.

      I wish I would have figured out a system like this for myself, too. There is huge value in not consuming so very much and also learning to travel light; I think so many people are burdened by their stuff. It controls them instead of them controlling it, eh? One good thing about Paris living is that places here are *small*. There is just no way people can accumulate masses of stuff because there is nowhere to put it! I love that about living here.

      Truth be told on the view from Tess’ window, it is not exactly a “convenient” view, lol.
      DSCN1716

      You can kind of tell from this picture that her windows are on a slanted eave, and they are a tilt-type window. To actually see the ET you have to climb on something and open the window all the way, then practically stick your entire top half out of the window leaning to the right to see this view, hahahahaha! It looks great in a zoomed and edited photo, though, eh? And I know I would keep a chair next to the window, just so I could stick my body out there regularly and see the ET to remind myself it is there. It does rock, even if it is a little taxing to actually see it out her window, lol.

      Just thought I would inject a little of the “reality” there! *grin*

  9. Paul

    You’re probably not wrong about the fMIL and what you perceive to be her brain workings!

    But the satellite? For me there are no ???’s after it. i guess i “get” what she “gets” about it. It’s art in a way that McDonalds Happy Meals aren’t. She created ‘something’ from a bunch of trash and i’m proud of her imagination for being able to do that.

    Go girl!

    • You’re probably not wrong about the fMIL and what you perceive to be her brain workings!

      You are so diplomatic!! LOL! I love your mom. I think she is really a cool lady. But we women do this stuff to one another as it seems wired up in our genes, eh?

      i guess i “get” what she “gets” about it. It’s art in a way that McDonalds Happy Meals aren’t. She created ’something’ from a bunch of trash and i’m proud of her imagination for being able to do that.

      Go girl!

      I get it, too, sweetie!! (Ack!! I feel a little like I am being called out as the wicked stepmonster now! I really do understand – see some of the other replies here.) She is so creative. Did you see this which she made?
      DSCN2147

      She ripped apart Happy Meal toys and put together some trash items to make this, which lights up. It is INCREDIBLE! We took at least 6 or 7 photos in the light and in the dark, too, of this one. And she is keeping it for a while. 🙂 She is an amazing child, Paul, and I’m proud you are the kind of dad to foster this creativity iin her. 🙂

  10. Janet

    Glad you’re getting all your spring cleaning organized — I’m feeling bad for you. I think that is the primary difference between the visit of an MIL (or fMIL) and my visit from my plain old M — she has so far planted annual flowers in my flower pots, vacuumed and washed my car and spent the rest of her time entertaining my children. Having guests is always some work, but my mom helps out so much that I don’t feel it much. So I’m feeling bad for you right now, sweetie. Anyway, I think you are getting the award for most understanding future Step Monster — [girl child] got much more of a hearing on most of her projects than most people would give her (including, I suspect, her own mother, who likely has had enough with the crafting). A hat tip to you, girlie. *mwah*

    • Hello, my dear friend, and thank you for commenting here! 🙂 I am so glad that your mom could be there for you, sweetie, so don’t feel bad for me! And the fMIL does do helpful things. She loves to shop, for example, and last time we were here, we got a new tablecloth and dishes, and some other nice things for our place. She likes to do things like that.

      Thanks for this, too:

      I think you are getting the award for most understanding future Step Monster — Anais got much more of a hearing on most of her projects than most people would give her (including, I suspect, her own mother, who likely has had enough with the crafting). A hat tip to you, girlie. *mwah*

      Seeing as her mom is an elementary school teacher, I think you are right. 🙂 I think it is important for kids to be able to create, and I have to give the girl kid some more credit, too, for being such a sport about throwing away all that she did!

      Now I just have to get prints made of all the photos we took! I promised that and need to follow through.

      Thanks again, chica. *mwah* back atcha.

  11. The girl has a future in modern art. And you’re not alone in obsessing over the MIL. My MIL is “laid back” in my face but then she says things to my husband when I’m not around like, “Gosh, I wish I was around to cook for you more often” or “Shouldn’t the Loosh be drinking full fat milk instead of skim at his age?” or “You should really hire a cleaning lady.”

    After that last one, we decided to hire a cleaning lady. I feel happier now. I guess MILs are actually super duper helpful!

    • Ohhhhh, yeah, those are some real passive-aggressive MIL moves, eh? But you got a cleaning lady!! Yay! Yes, that *was* super-duper helpful of yours!

      I keep wondering, am I going to turn into The MIL when my boys get married?!? Is it just something automatic that comes with being a MIL? Is there a switch that turns on with the wedding? and, HOW CAN I AVOID BECOMING MY OWN MIL???

      I really wonder if this is one of those inevitable things…

  12. Good luck with the MIL visit. I am a total wreck cleaning before mine comes too. I usually start the week before, and believe me my Boys have some interesting “projects” themselves…..love your pop can 😉
    I cannot imagine what would happen if our families were ever to visit us on a regular crazy week day.
    BTW, I found Katherine’s Bakery yesterday, but it was closed. I cannot wait to go to it it looks great! Thanks for the recommendation and I will keep you posted. Plus I need to email you a list of veggies so you can tell me how you react to them.
    Have a great time with Tess….sounds wonderful!
    And don’t worry your writing is magnificent be it short or long.

    • Hi Corine! Here’s what you do if you get an unexpected visitor during a regular crazy week day. Have some of those cleaning wipes and wipe down at least the toilet and then Windex the bathroom mirror. It will appear as if you have cleaned the entire house. Oh, and I used to keep an empty plastic laundry basket just for tossing all the junk on the kitchen table into it at the last minute.

      I am the queen of the last-minute cleanup, lol.

      I’m sorry the bakery was closed! I hope you can make it there again soon.

      Thank you for everything, Corine, and you take care!

      • The bathroom is a major one because I have three boys in my house….if I can come up with an invention to keep them from “missing” I could make billions on QVC…LOL!

      • Corine, I worked for maintanence in the state parks here for three years. If you invented a device to prevent “missing”, I’d be first in line (and that is the least of the inapropriate things I find in there)

      • Oh no kidding, little boys are the worst!! LOL. It does get better, though, if you keep up after them. I have heard that things like toilet targets can help a little bit. Otherwise, I just used to keep a can of cleaning wipes handy in the bathroom. 🙂

  13. My mother in law is coming next week and I am already planning my cleaning schedule! We get on very well, but I think you are right, this cleaning thing is simply wired into our genes.
    We have that Ikea semi bunk bed too and it is true – it is such a junk magnet – I dread to think what I will find when I tackle the boys room ‘au fond’ this weekend….
    Have a great weekend
    Lydia

    • I guess ’tis the season for MIL visits, eh? LOL. With the April vacances in full swing, it is bound to happen this time of year, isn’t it.

      I am glad to know that you have the same problem with the same bed!! I wish the Ikea websites had user reviews like Amazon does. I would go on there and let every mother know that unless they want a bunch of crap accumulating under the semi-bunk, don’t buy it, haha. I can see how it opens up a little bit of play space in a small room and for a small child — there is also less distance to fall than a full bunk bed if the kid takes a tumble out of it (although the sides really are high enough that the likelihood of that is slim). So they kind of make sense. It is easier to take the sheets off it and put them back on after washing. I don’t recommend it for older kids, though. It gets junked up too easily and gives this old lady a backache trying to get under it to clean it up.

      Speaking of sheets, I realize mine have just finished washing!! Time to hang them up!!

      You have a great weekend, too, Lydia!

  14. Karin ….have a great weekend…..see you in blogland!

  15. What a fabulous view from your friends apartment! From my place I can just faintly see Pompidou but it’s much easier to accept living in a smaller space with a view of the ET!

    • It is a really nice view of the ET from her apartment. She had a good view before at her old place, but her new place has such a nice vibe to it! It is really a good view. Well, like I wrote in comments, if you can wedge yourself out the tilt window in the eave *just so*, lol. I’m glad Tess is in a new place! 🙂

  16. Pingback: Ikea Dreams and Paris Journeys « An Alien Parisienne

  17. I have a MIL who is a clean freak – she irons everything too! I will never live up to her standards – but now I don’t try!

    • Oh my goodness! She irons! Those are some pretty high standards (no, really. LOL. I NEVER iron! That’s something!). 😉

  18. Pingback: Happy Something To Me « An Alien Parisienne

  19. karin,i could see,you can be a very good daughter-in law as well as a very good step mother for your fiancee’s daughter.

    the kid is very creative,i like that little thing that lights up but the satellite thing out of barbecue stick and cork?it really cracks me up because i thought it is a corn on a cob wrapped up with aluminum foil:))

    • Hi Threl! Thank you for the compliments. I agree! The Girl Child is very creative, indeed. The satellite does look a little like corn on the cob, doesn’t it — with corn picks and everything!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: