Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Cleanup and Fibromyalgia

I've always loved fall because the trees look like an artist spilled oil paints all over them.  It makes hikes during this time of year so worthwhile because the scenery is really rich with color.  Wearing bulky sweaters, boots, and stylish hats due to the cool weather is a nice bonus too.

Fall can be fun for many wonderful activities, but some fall activities can be, well, a pain in the neck.  Fall cleanup is one of those activities and so is any type of home improvement.  If any of you had the kind of weather we had over the summer, chances are you didn't get much done due to the extreme heat.  Hot temperatures don't let you get much painting or cleaning done.  It's even hard to mow your lawn in hot temperatures because you can scorch your grass if you cut it too low.

Having said that, some may think that the Fall is the best time of year to catch up.  It is, but if you have Fibro, remember to pace yourself.  Rome was not built in a day so your house doesn't need to be painted in one either.

Sure, that paint guy at the store says to keep going until you come to a natural break because that will make your painting job look professional, but natural breaks don't have to be one whole side of the house.  You can easily finish a paint job up to a window and then finish the job at a later time.  The window in this case can be used as a natural break.  This same technique can be used inside too and no one will know the difference.

One thing I always do when I'm painting an interior room is to give myself a week, yes, you heard me, one week to finish a room.  I start the prep work on the first day by filling holes with spackle, fine sanding the rough and uneven spots, and then cleaning the walls.  The next day, I move only the furniture needed to do one wall and then I start to tape.  After that, I paint.

There are a ton of paints out there today and they are most definitely more high tech than the kinds I used to sell way back when you had to prime your wall first.  Today there are paints that have a primer added right to the paint and that's a great choice for us Fibromites because it cuts down on the time you hold a brush or a roller.  These paints are a little pricey per gallon (or even quart) but in all honesty, they are less than the cost of both a primer and a paint combined.  One to try is Behr Premium Plus Ultra.  It's ranked number one in Consumer Reports.  I liked it very much.

And I'm not just saying this because I just bought some for my kitchen, which came out rather nice, I might add.  You can see a picture of it here...



I used to be a Sears kinda gal and booed and hissed when Behr surpassed Sears in paint greatness.  Sears paint used to be the best out there eons ago when I sold it.  It was a very thick paint, had great hiding in one coat, was extremely washable, low odor, and didn't fade.  Those were the days...

One may think I'm jumping ship now that I'm no longer a Sears sales associate, but that's not the case.  I like Sears, I really do, but Sears isn't focusing on paint (or anything else that made them great for that matter) anymore.  It's sad really and something I just don't like.

Okay, my tangent is over.  Let's get back to painting!  Once you are done painting the one wall with the first coat, step back and marvel at what you accomplished.  It's not often that ordinary people get to play interior designer and you should feel proud of what you did.

Once you have completed your happy dance, check the wall to make sure the paint covered evenly, if it didn't in spots, touch up the spots only.  You don't have redo the whole wall because it's still not dry yet, hence, the touch up work won't make the wall paint look unevenly matched.  After that, wash out your brush and other materials, close up your gallon, and then put your furniture back once the wall is dry to the touch.  Just make sure your prized Victorian couch isn't right up against the freshly painted wall-- you wouldn't want marks on either.  YIKES! 

I like doing my painting one wall at a time because it makes my life less stressful.  My room isn't in a shambles for too long and the room isn't smelly from the paint fumes either.  The added bonus is that I don't have to scramble looking for the switch plate screws when it comes time to put them back on.  Even on a Fibro Foggy day, I can remember where I put things if it's only been an hour or two.  An afternoon or a few days is a whole other story!

Another project people do in the Fall is yard cleanup.  Some just do leaves and others go all out by pruning trees and planting spring bulbs.  Leaves will pile up quickly in the fall and this can be back breaking and time consuming work-- no matter which way you slice it-- but there are ways to cut corners here too.  Firstly, focus on the part of the yard your neighbors can see.

Why?  Well, some neighbors are nice, but there are some that aren't.  I think that's why Frost preferred fences.  If you have one of those not so nice neighbors, save yourself some grief, aggravation, and stress by making sure the yard looks neat to them.  I've accomplished this many times by focusing on the front yard at both my place and my Grandmother's.  I've fooled many a people doing this hehe!

The other important thing to focus on is your gutters.  I know there are great contraptions you can put on your gutters to block out the leaves, and I'm sure they are worth it in the long run, but for those that don't have the luxury of buying them, this section is for you...

Work a section at a time and make sure you are not overly stressing out your body by holding onto the ladder too hard.  Try and shift your weight from one side to the other every so often when on the ladder.  Your knees will thank you for this.

Another helpful trick is make sure your gardening gloves fit properly.  Some gloves are great for heavy work, like pruning, but I find they are too stiff for weeding.  This can hurt your already tired hands.  Try and choose gloves that allow your fingers to move freely for your finite work, and yet, be thick enough for the task at hand.

Lastly, ask for help with the big stuff.  Pruning a bonsai is one thing, but using the chain saw for the big old maple out back is something totally different.  There is no shame in asking someone to help you, especially if the chain saw seems to weigh more than you do.  Don't laugh, I've seen (and held) some big ones LOL!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

P.S. As a side note, the hubs and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We went out to Bobby Flay's for burgers.  Those are the best I tell ya!  Anyway, I had my oldest take a picture of us, now that was near a picture of us, then.  And it just goes to show that not much changes in 10 years... including hairstyles!  YIKES!  LOL! 


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