Category: Manorisms

Staph Sargeant

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

In January, Emme developed a freakish infection under her right arm. She had what we thought were infected ant bites, but as one healed another worsened.  I took her to the doctor thinking we would get a steroid for allergy control only to receive another diagnosis.





Any mention of the word “staph” sends a panic through our household. We know one person who died suddenly from a quick-spreading staph infection and another who has endured multiple long-term hospitalizations for MRSA. Em was diagnosed with MMSA, a mild, topical antibiotic-friendly form. The substitute pediatrician we saw was very positive, noting that tons of kiddos get staph and that Em was likely to see a greater recurrence.   She gave us a topical antibiotic prescription and told me to bring Em back if the infection spread to a second location.  Much to our relief, the wounds healed quickly.

At the end of February, an ominous sore on her lower back had me running for the antibiotic cream.  As it started healing, another one emerged behind her right knee.  Second location panic ensued.    Not only did this one grow rapidly, but, unlike the others, Em really let us know it hurt.  When she refused to walk down the stairs, I knew something was terribly wrong.   I took her to see Dr. F (her regular pediatrician).  After draining the abscess, Dr. F. diagnosed her with MRSA, prescribed an oral antibiotic and outlined what would become Bleachfest 2014.

I’m not a fan of harsh household chemicals or slathering kiddos in antibacterial goo, fearing both cause more harm than good.  I have no desire to put her at risk for autoimmune disorders, blood cancers or antibiotic resistance.  (Yeah, I own my paranoia!)   When using bleach, I’ve opted for Seventh Generation’s Chlorine-free version.   Dr. F. told me those days were over.  I needed to buy a massive bottle of Clorox and not only clean with it but bathe in it also.  Yes, bathe in it.   Twice a week, Dan, Em and I are to bathe in a full bathtub with 1/3 cup of bleach, recreating a pool environment.  (Bring me a frothy drink with an umbrella, Sven Diego!)  For the first 6 days of each month, we all have to put Bactrim cream in our nostrils.  The purpose is to reduce staph bacteria in Em’s environment so she’s able to stave off future infections.

During those first couple of days, I went on a crazy cleaning spree.   No surface went untouched.   My house could have doubled for an operating room. Since then, I’ve become slightly insane about regularly wiping down door knobs, light fixtures, toilets and toys.   I now wash all towels in bleach, even the ones with color.  Sure, they’ve faded a bit, but oh well!    Towels are easily replaced.

Should you come to my house and notice an overwhelming smell of Clorox cleaning products, now you know why.

And if you’re looking to invest in the market, now would be a good time to buy CLX.



At Last!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Following tradition, today was my New Year’s Eve cleanfest.

I’m anal retentive about starting each new year fresh with a clean house, and superstition renders New Year’s Day cleaning verboten.  I knew I’d have a lot to do, so I properly caffeinated and sugared up this morning with a Venti Soy Hazelnut Frappucino with Whip Cream and Caramel Drizzle.  I scrubbed, folded, decluttered and deChristmasfied the house.

This holiday season has been a bit odd, ending before it ever got started.   December flew by.  I worked all Christmas week, even doing some on Christmas night and going into my office both days after the holiday.   I bought most gifts last minute…well, with the exception of the fantabulous toddler kitchen (can you tell I’m just a little bit excited about it?)  So when it came to taking the tree down today, I was ready.   Em say bye-bye to Christmas Elmo and the tree as she “helped” me take down the ornaments.  Before she went upstairs for bath and bedtime, she blew a kiss to both.  She’s pretty sweet. (Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited about her?)

On tomorrow’s agenda?  A little work while I wear some new clothes and down black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread.   But number one on the agenda will be spending the time with my little family.  Tomorrow is Dan’s last day of what’s been a 2 months of Fridays off and extended holidays.   Emme and I are going to miss having him around.

Maybe I’ll down a few extra greens tomorrow and then purchase a PowerBall ticket.

Garbage Sale

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Last Saturday was our second annual (and possibly last) block garage sale.

Though we made serious bank unloading shoes, handbags and home decor items last year, this year’s furniture, housewares and baby items didn’t woo the crowds.

But I’m totally great with that. This was our attempt at making a little cash off the final remnants of our move-in clutter. I just wanted to unload as much stuff as possible with the rest going to Goodwill or garbage.

We opened early at 6:45…accidentally. When I went to move my car that had been parallel parked in front of the garage, a swarm of early birds swept in, one almost knocking me over. The early birds are the vultures who swoop in without any attempt at civility. They toss items around, pick things up and drop them elsewhere, shout out counter-offer prices and move on – all in a matter of seconds.

I had higher hopes for the young, hipster crowd.   I figured they’d love our unused/unopened or gently used baby gear. We had a few interested parties, but no buyers.  One guy *REALLY* wanted to buy Dan’s unicycle, but his girlfriend refused to give him the cash for it…regardless of how much he begged.  I kinda wanted to lend him the money!

We closed at noon. I immediately went into clean-up mode, packing up all remaining items for donation. Within an hour, I was at Goodwill dropping off our wares. They always ask if I want a receipt (for tax purposes) and I always say no for four reasons:

  1. I don’t know how to even begin valuating those items
  2. I don’t want to take the time to valuate everything we donate
  3. I get great satisfaction from being free of the clutter
  4. I’m a big fan of giving without the expectation of getting. I seriously disliked Starbucks’ recent campaign that gave a free coffee to anyone who bought someone else’s beverage.   If it’s a spontaneous gesture, that’s great.  If it’s a full-blown marketing campaign, nu-uh

Now, we’re just left with Dan’s eBay or recycling center-bound outdated technology (old servers, keyboards, etc) and some old sheets/bedding, which I’ve earmarked for animal rescue centers.  I had every intention of donating them to a homeless shelter, but hygiene and bedbug concerns have many shelters refusing used bedding.  Makes sense.

Overall, I consider the garage sale a huge success.  Our neighbors fared better with their clothing and shoe offerings.  One told me she watched how many shoes we sold last year, so she raided her closet the night before the sale.   She’s a smart girl; she did really well!  For the sake of community-building, it would be nice if we could make it an annual event.

Though, it would be hella great to not need another garage sale.

Maybe we should replace it with an annual KNOCK ON WOOD fest.

Has Bin

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend’s closet overhaul project since I began plotting after serendipitously striking motivation gold at IKEA last weekend.

Following a tumultuous toddler bedtime last night, I scarfed my dinner and hauled bootië to IKEA.  I tore through the Swedish maze in minutes, gathering my supplies.   To celebrate, I picked up some unicorn giggles (Menchie’s Fro Yo) for Dan and me.

Now, I’ve got a stack of SAMLA bins staring me down and no motivation whatsoever to tackle my closet overhaul project.

I want to walk upstairs only to see that *POOF!*  My Fairy Godorganizer has folded and stowed all winter clothes; pulled and boxed my clothing donations; and labeled and organized my handbags and scarves.  I also need to purge my cheap costume jewelry collection, designating piles for wearing, selling or saving for future little girl dress up play dates.

Instead, I’m watching “Love It or List It.”  I’m watching other people’s unusable spaces find zen utility compliments of a wickedly witchy interior designer.

Some would call this procrastination.   I call it wishful thinking.   It would probably help if I wore a pair of ruby red slippers…

If only they weren’t at the bottom of my closet.


Trapped in a Closet

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

When Dan took the kiddo to visit his parents Sunday, I tackled the one task I’d been dreading.

Cleaning out Em’s closet.  Remember this cute, prepartum pic of her newly assembled Pax?

Yeah, well this Pax has been a powderkeg of ill-fitting clothes, widowed socks and abandoned baby gear.  I didn’t think to take a before picture, though I’m not sure it would’ve captured the hot mess concealed behind the frosted glass doors.

Oh, who am I kidding!  The mess was obvious..and overflowing.  So much so I’d even given up on hanging or folding her freshly laundered clothes.   I’d open the door, find an empty space and shove them in, each time quickly shutting the doors and bolting in mom shame.

One Ziploc XL storage tote and a small trash bag later, old clothes were either stored for future use (kow) or tossed when holey or irreparably stained.  I organized bows and paired socks like a boss.  I took all the cards, papers and mementos tossed on her top shelf and put them in a basket for when I finally get around to organizing her baby book.  Next to the basket?  The frames I need to fill with artwork and the board books I intend to make before she turns 14.  One of these days I’ll share my “Emme Craft Tasks” list aka “Tara’s Delusions of Grandeur.”

Tall toddler can reach where were keep her medicines, batteries and various kiddo unfriendly sundries.  Until I can get to the Container Store for locking lid bins, I temporarily put all the things that could spawn an ER trip in sealed plastic shoe boxes.  Considering she uses the phrase “OPEN!” 500 times a day, I’ll need to make that trip soon.

The great closet purge catalyzed a full-on room rejuvenation.  I washed her stuffed animals, rearranged her book shelves and decluttered the curs-ed changing table (I have a love-hate relationship with that damn changing table).

Two hours passed in what seemed to be thirty minutes.  As I was working on the finishing touches, I heard the garage open.

I relaxed knowing everything and everyone was in its place.