Moth-Eaten No More

With a little help from your friends, you can do practically anything!

The Yucky Moths

My old moth-eaten rug is gone. Finally!  Carolyn (bless her heart — for real) came over last night to make it so. We had some nachos and then went to work. She cut up the rug and disposed of the nasty pieces in a heavy-duty plastic trash bag. I was going to use the bits as weed suppressants in the garden they grossed me out too much.

After much picking up and sweeping, and a little rearranging, my main room is looking much lighter and cleaner today. What a relief! I swear I’ll never neglect things like that again. It just creates too much of a problem when it’s time to face things.

But I truly do feel a great weight has lifted and I can now proceed with the Big Clean, a small step at a time, with a little help from my friends.

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Eww! Gross!

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are totally disgusted with yourself?

I’m having one now. 

I have a very old persian-type carpet in my bedroom. It’s funky and threadbare. I’ve just never bothered to do anything about it. It’s hard to vacuum because it’s thin and the vacuum always tries to eat it. So I’ve been very neglectful, lived with the giant dust elephants created by three cats and a couple of visiting dogs, and just swept it occasionally when my conscience demanded really really loud.

In an old house like mine (92 years old), nothing is airtight or plumb. So bugs and moths in the summer are par for the course, especially in the south. You just live with it.  This summer seemed worse than usual in the moth department, so I finally began to investigate and this is what I found:

Moths! Old-fashioned carpet-eating, wood-devouring, clothing-destroying moths!  Whole sections of rug under a file cabinet are down to the backing threads. The detritus (yuck!) of a summer’s crop of moth leavings littered the area before I vacuumed them up. So this shot actually looks better than what I initially encountered.

It’s like this under every piece of furniture that’s not either flat on the rug or high enough for light and air to circulate.

So, we’re in for a summer-clean. Even though it’s hot, muggy, and miserable, we’ll be opening all the windows, tearing up this particular rug, taking down curtains to wash, vacuuming the living sh*t out of anything that holds still, and examining all the wool and natural fiber items (which abound — just my yarn stash alone could be a challenge) for damage.

The killer is, I really knew it sooner. I just didn’t want to cope. So now I have  twice as much to cope with. And it’s all my own fault.

Eww! Gross!

Wish me luck!

Deep Cleaning

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Josh with rear view of George

My son Josh and I just finished a long afternoon of hard work!

I have a storage shed in my yard that hasn’t been cleaned out for several years. It was a hard job physically and emotionally.

My late husband used to stashed all the stuff he knew he should get rid of but couldn’t bear to out there…

You know how it goes: none of the boxes was meant to live out there for long. Any moment he would have gotten to them. I found vet papers for Little Miss dated January 2003. That was in one of more recent stashes.

There were piles of recorded-from-TV video tapes, coils of stereo wire and miscellaneous connectors, microphones and stands; old users’ manuals from long-gone appliances; several score of empty music cassette boxes; long missing tools, and stray household paraphernalia.

Then there were the music cassettes.

Literally hundreds of cassette tapes he recorded from the radio, from LPs and later  from CDs — all just stacked and jumbled in cardboard boxes.

I waded through the mold, spiders and dust to pull out all the tapes I could find of Dennis himself playing music. All the rest I threw away, painful though it was.

Den's Birthday w/ Josh & Alley, 2005

A happy moment on Den's Birthday, with Josh & Alley, 2005

His music though, will be lost if I don’t preserve it.

Dennis was an amazing guitarist, great songwriter and pretty fair vocalist — but he didn’t read music. He used to record himself on cassette, label the tape “me” and just put it aside!

I salvaged a couple of dozen of such cassettes among the hundreds of others: “Music from the Heart of Space” and Alan Watts talks from NPR  recorded by Dennis in the 70’s; Live and alternate mixes of Eric Clapton, The Beatles (together and singly), Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Phoebe Snow, Brian Eno, and other greats; an array of obscure singer-songwriters; old blues guitarists, and classical “classics.”

Now, grimy, mosquito-bitten and satisfied, I’m ready to call it a night. I’m very grateful to my son for helping and for being with me today as we cleared away the last remnants of Dennis’ physical presence and lay one more piece of the past to rest.

Getting my Chores Done (or Not…)

As an energetic and happy child, I hated doing chores. Even now, at 56, I procrastinate in the face of dishes, dusting, folding laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, toilet cleaning, stove top scrubbing, raking, weeding, straightening, filing — I dislike them all.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’ve tried lots of plans and programs, new starts, motivations secrets, inner techniques, outer techniques, inner and outer child work….

My newest idea: stop agonizing.  The theory is that the less energy I expend around resisting, the less power that resistance will hold. I can just allow the process to unfold. What that may mean, in plainer language, is that the house will simply stay a mess: with dishes piled up, dust elephants congregating in the corners, and weeds as tall as the house, but I’ll be at peace about it.

Sounds like a plan!