I raised girls and make no mistake...they were SLOBS! My oldest daughter's room was a petrie dish with walls and a ceiling and yet today at 27, she follows in her mother's sterile footsteps. My middle daughter (the chef) was a clean freak extrodinaire and now, working 70 hour work weeks; she could care less about cleaning her apartment! The youngest...well, she burns her chakra candles, listens to her new age music and takes it all in haphazzard, hippie stride.
I suppose I've gotten cratchety in my dotage or maybe I'm just not used to BOYS! I thoroughly enjoy having my young step-sons visit us. They are sweet, respectful children who behave well. They are just BOYS and as such they leave crumbs, stickiness, dirty underwear, smelly socks and general bedlam in their wake!
Yesterday, I didn't bake or cook a single thing! I cleaned like a Hoover running on nuclear energy all day yesterday. By 4:00 pm, I had my house in impeccable order, fragrant essential oil candles and burners infusing the air with pleasing aromas, my favorite CD of feng shui music and nature sounds playing softly, esoteric girgling from the zen fountain in the hall and every nook and cranny clean, clean, clean.
Ahhh...I snipped several handfuls of mint from a pot on my lanai and steeped it in hot water with a sachet of organic green tea. I chilled it down, poured it over ice cubes and had the most amazing libation! Surveying my handiwork and basking in the quiet, perfect spa-like atmosphere that I crave is my definition of nirvana.
I suppose I need not say that this bubble of peaceful meditative solitude never lasts very long. Neither does the absolute cleanliness and order. My husband (after 6 years together) has only JUST learned to remove his shoes in the garage and cease his strange habit of bringing greasy motor parts or gunky calk guns into the house. The first time I ever visited his house when we were dating; I had to step around an engine block to get in the front door and there was a carburator on the dining room table. To his utter astonishment, he has discovered that he actually LIKES not living in squallor! He was also incredulous to learn that bed sheets should be changed more than twice a year.
So, round two begins! He arrived last night around 7 from picking up his youngest son and his half brother. Sigh...I'm looking at a couple of crumbs right now which are gloating at me from their resting place under the kitchen table. Somehow, I missed them the last time I swept...15 minutes ago. Else they got there SINCE I swept at the last 15 minute feeding interval....
The house is divided into two distinct sections. There is MY side of the house and the usable side. The kitchen is in the usable side BUT...it is unquestionably my exclusive territory and I protect it fiercely. My own girls had the most unflattering nickname for me when they were teenagers. I was known amongst their friends as The Kitchen Nazi. The Crumb Gestapo...
I can't say it wasn't well earned. Something in my very soul drives me to carry a bottle of antibacterial cleaner hanging from my belt loop like a loaded weapon. I drove my poor children crazy.
My side of the house includes the living room and formal dining room...in which children are NOT allowed! Some adults are not allowed in there either for that matter. I collect antique dishes and stemware, copper serving pieces and anything else funky or eclectic that strikes my fancy and most of it is housed or displayed in my side of the house. My fifty year old grandfather clock, an amazing French country "candalier", antique Moroccan birdcages, depression glass, Lladros, Armani's, Hummels, Capodimontes and some truely amazing finds for which I have no history or name. No children allowed!
antique copper chaffing dish, copper stemless goblets, 24K gold etched shot glasses from the 50's, antique silk table linens, antique Duncan Fife drop leaf dining table.
Victorian Tricycle (the little horse) in the upper right corner
China closet FULL of antique dishes and stemware
This is the "candalier"...a tabletop chadalier that holds candles in little glass cups. There is also the numbered "Winged Nike of Samothrace" which I got at an estate sale for TWENTY BUCKS that I had appraised for $200 +
Also an amazing decanter and four brandy glasses, etched with a beautiful clipper ship which I got at an antique store in St. Augustine.
Antique Moroccan birdcage from an estate sale...
View from my kitchen into the dining room. One of my favorite finds is the antique Contrato poster (a numbered edition) beside the fridge. I found this piece at a FLEA MARKET... in a crappy poster frame with a plastic cover. They didn't even realize it was an original period poster. I have it framed under glass with an acid free paper backing.
My kitchen is centrally located between the two "sides" of the house...it's all strange angles and lofty ledges. I like it because it is unusual.
My "spa" space.....
The canal at sunset...see the marsh bird perched on my neighbors dock?
pool and lanai
(Sigh)...time to go sweep again!