Never Stop Improving: Laundry

Recently, I took over the laundry duties in our house. Why? Perhaps I’m the victim of the “long con”, but really, it’s because my wife is the smart one and helps the kids with organization-makes-sensehomework, school projects, keeps the family calendar (mostly in her head, which I marvel at), and does the grocery shopping, cooks the meals, balances the books, and I’m sure a few other things I’m leaving off the list.

So two things …one …adding “laundry” to my household chores is the least I can do and …two …my mother was the best at laundry, folding laundry, and making beds. I was spoiled because my laundry was always wrinkle free, folded with military precision, and my bed was always ready for me with hospital bed corners and hotel-style turndown service.

I often lent my mother a hand, or watched her fold laundry and talked her ear off, and along the way she taught me all her tricks (as she also did with wrapping presents) and so, while some might think I’m a sucker for doing the laundry, part of me just wants to pass along my mom’s perfect technique to my kids.

51m05fnuyyl-_sy355_It’s the little things in life that always seem to be the big things. From my dad, I’ve inherited the gene that makes a man obsess about his lawn and landscaping. From my mom, I like a well-folded shirt and properly made bed.

Odd. I know.

Here’s what I know to be true.

Laundry

  1. Separate lights and darks. Lights/whites are washed in hot. Light colors and dark colors in warm or cold.
  2. Most everything can go in the dryer, provided it was whipped and blocked before going in there. Low to medium heat.
  3. Everything should be folded immediately as it comes out of the dryer so it can be pressed by hand as it’s being folded.
  4. Dress shirts can be washed on the permanent press setting, and should be ironed when wet and right out of the washing machine and only then hung until dry. \
  5. Sheets should be washed each week. Blankets and mattress pads once a month. Comforters should be dry cleaned seasonally.

I don’t recall my mom using Borax, but I add it to whites and boy oh boy do they shine when they get outta the wash.

Why did I title this blog “never stop improving?” Oh. Because the redistribution of the laundry chore is going to drastically improve everyone’s life in my house.

So Many Good Things

Ever have one of those days where you’ve got so many things to brag about, you don’t even know where to start?

81ejepaabql-_sl1500_Like, I could tell you about my Eurolux Stainless steel, Cool Touch Electric Kettle and how it’s changed my life. Or you can read my glowing Amazon review. Life. Changing.

Or I could talk about the most incredible book I’m reading called The Brain Fog Fix and I think everyone should read this book. It’s all about our modern lifestyle and diet and technology are making us anxious, stressed out, sleep-deprived, and more prone to bad choices. It talks about how eliminating certain types of foods and adding more good foods could help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s (which is my biggest fear). 418or9fkvflI am listening to the audio book, but I also just purchased the Kindle edition so I can read it a second time and make notes and an action plan. First the book educates the reader and then, lays out a 3-week action plan that addresses diet in week-1, exercise in week-2, and something else in week-3.

Then again, I could tell the tale of my vacation (some funny stories), or start to explain why I can’t resist my daughter and will be getting her a hamster this weekend (you have nooooooo idea how much research she’s done, all the notes she’s taken, and all the phone calls she’s made).

Or what about my daily commute tracking sheet? Look at how construction affected my commute today? Weep for me.

commute

For now, it feels good enough to lay out a Blogging plan. I’m way behind on Survivor so I’ve again failed for spunkybean.

It’s almost salsa season and I’m re-opening the Donnie Jalapeno salsa factory and I might be expanding (and when I say “expanding”, I mostly mean renting space at a commercial kitchen to make many batches at once).

OK. Gotta work. Gotta dance!

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The Pomodoro Technique and My Personal Q2

In the business world, you’re measured by months and quarters. Quarterly sales numbers. Quarterly reviews. Quarterly celebrations and bonuses. Oh how we love quarters. You only need 2-cents for this bit of coolness.

Q1, for me, wasn’t my best. I sucked at my New Year’s Resolutions. I sucked at doing my #Project44. My sales sucked. My hobbies weren’t given any attention. I didn’t exercise.  I didn’t lose weight.

Disaster.I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I have many excuses. I wasn’t living at home (moved into temporary housing with my family while we underwent a major home renovation). I think my diet was off (I was trying long stretches of fasting and intermittent fasting). I wasn’t exercising which certainly affected my mood. My sales were off.

Again, I have a long list of excuses. I’m not going to dwell on them. I’m going to treat Me Inc. (clever, yes?) like a small business (and technically I am) and analyze my Q1 and plan for Q2.

What a ridiculously long pre-amble.

Mainly, I’m going to play around with three things.

  1. The Pomodoro Technique for increased productivity
  2. Eating better (and like a normal person) with a diet centered around serotonin boosting foods (and eating them the right way)
  3. Exercise a little (a brisk walk or two, keep up with my son and his Lent40 commitment, maybe lift some weights or swing my kettle bell)

Today will start with analyzing #1.

The Pomodoro Technique

I’m most excited about the Pomodoro Technique.  A co-worker and I were discussing our endless to-do list, the inability to accomplish things, and how distracted our jobs make us. Then another co-worker said the same thing. It’s not enough to complain about it. It must be fixed. I’m not the only guy with my job, and not the only “sales guy” with a crazy to-do list. The Pomodoro Technique might be the perfect fix. Today was day-1. It’s a bit odd. It will take some time to adjust of not answering a phone the moment it rings and not using my e-mail as my to-do list.

Tired of reading? Watch this.

 

Random Awesome Stuff

On Facebook this week, I asked a random question about my in-home Internet speed and would my son’s PS4 gaming effect the rest of us and our iPhone, laptop, and iPad stuff and I pretty much determined the answer was, “yes.” Then many friends started texting me advice, emailing me “buy this” links of products they swear by, and almost everyone said, “go with Comcast and cable Internet.” One suggestion were two Apps called Oolka’s Speedtest app and Wifi Analyzer, and both revealed I have Internet download speeds slower than my cell phone. Soooooo …I made the switch. The guy I finally talked with at AT&T seemed to almost be apologizing for the terrible DSL they have for me (because U-Verse can’t be hooked up at my address) and even he suggested I talk with Xfinity/Comcast (I hope that phone call wasn’t recorded because today he’ll be fired). The guy I talked with at Comcast was incredibly cool and knowledgable and tried mightily to bundle me up with home phone, Internet, and dropping my DirecTV, but in the end, he gave me Internet and home phone (I get to keep my #) for 40% less than what I’m paying AT&T.

Like Ice Cube might say …today was  good day.

Next up, I re-purposed a pair of suit pants to be stand alone pants. The suit coat they were paired with was big, had shoulder pads, and looked every bit of 10-years-old …but the pants are in fine shape. I’m wearing them today. I think they look good. Co-worker A.B. will certainly tell me if they look “good”, “OK”, or, “no, Don, go change immediately you look like an unfashionable old man.”

I have a new kitchen. I haven’t really blogged about this because it seems a bit braggy, but on January 19th we pretty much demolished our entire first floor, right down to the studs, and rebuilt the kitchn as one, big giant kitchen that takes up the space our kitchen, dining room, dining area, and living room used to occupy. We’re back in the house and there’s just a little bit of painting to be done, and I gotta say …I don’t feel like it’s my house. It’s going to take some getting used to. But boy oh boy, is this a life changer. “Really, Don? Your life is changed because of a new kitchen? Isn’t that a bit overdramatic?” No. It’s not overdramatic at all.

My Buick has a timer as a dashboard feature. I’m timing my daily commute and logging in a spreadsheet. My average commute is 23:07. It’s a nice stat, but I think I need to add Departure Time and start to analyze how that impacts the commute time. Talk about begging you to come back to my blog often …I know …teasing you with the ongoing analysis of my daily commute is like pandering. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone contacts me about making that into a movie.

Two big announcements!  One, I’m going to repair, clean, and paint my old aluminum siding this spring. With massive big-foot homes going up in my neighborhood, when a home is even “a little junk looking”, it really stands out. And I’m noticing my aging siding every day. It’s not all that damaged, but it’s fading a little and dirty. But it’s aluminum and I know it can be fixed up and made to look like knew. Second “big announcement” is I’m going to overhaul my garage, storage systems, repair and paint some walls, and make a “drop zone” for my family’s boots, bags, coats, and shoes because the new kitchen doesn’t have a mud room or drop zone where I want dirty boots and shoes. Oh, you thought the dashboard timer was exciting, wait until I start posted before/during/after pictures of the garage makeover. One question …hooks on drywall, or pegboard?

Update on Lent. If it weren’t for my incredibly disciplined 12-year-old son, I wouldn’t be doing Lent very well. But that kid is soooooo dilligent about his daily 40/40/40 exercise routine and his nightly Rosary (which I do along with him), I’m having a successful Lent because I have him as my son.

And finally, back to the kitchen. It’s fascinating that I know my kitchen is bigger and I have much more cabinet and storage space, but I’ll be damned if we can’t find places for everything. How could this be? I think my wife and I need to stuff everything into every nook  and cranny and drawer and cabinet and work backwards, because this slow and steady has the kitchen cabinets and drawers filling up and yet, the basement where we put all our stuff during the remodel …it’s still overwhelming and has nowhere to go.

Been a long time since I blogged about nothing. Feels good.

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No Regrets

I don’t know what’s more powerful. Fear? Or regret? Or fear of regret (if that’s a thing).

It actually all kinda works together. For me, I regret some things I’ve done, but more and more, I’m regretting the things I haven’t done.

I regret every time I made my mother cry and regret I never had a chance to apologize for that, as she passed away 12 years ago. Which makes me regret not telling my Dad “thank you” for not giving up on me when I was a real asshole for a few years there. And I don’t want to regret not telling him how much I appreciate him and how lucky I am that he’s my Dad.

I regret that I haven’t been to Confession since I was 14 years old, and I walk around calling myself a good Catholic.

I regret every time I fight with my wife.

I regret I never really went all-in on my salsa business. Or my writing. Or my website, spunkybean, and that I really dropped the ball and let down the talented Myndi and EJ.

I regret that I can’t ever seem to actually stick to a diet. And not necessarily a “diet” but avoiding splurging and gorging on fast food and cookies.

I don’t want to regret telling someone I love very much that he should change his ways immediately or he’ll die too soon.

I regret that I don’t get enough sleep. I regret that I only give it about 75% effort at work. I regret that I don’t exercise and that if I don’t exercise, I’ll never play soccer again (because my lungs will never be strong enough).

And this is a problem. Because some day I’m going to regret that I never wrote the screenplay that’s in my brain and I’ll never know if it was as brilliant as I think it is, or not. I won’t ever have the book I know I can write and while it may not ever be a New York Times best-seller, it will be loved by my family.

We’re about to go into Lent, again, and I’m vowing here and now to make …it …count! I’m going to use Lent to right all the regrets I have. It’s going to be great and I can’t wait to start living life without regrets.

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

health-love-work-funI don’t wanna be a guru, unless you ask me for advice.

I don’t wanna be a life-coach, unless you ask me for a little guidance.

I don’t wanna be a stand-up comedian, but I sure like making people laugh and feel happy.

I don’t wanna be the highest billing sales person on my staff, but I definitely want people to want to, and like to, work with me.

I don’t wanna be a best selling author, but I want to assemble my eulogies, toasts, and stories int a book that can be a family history, of sorts.

I don’t wanna be a salsa mogul, but if you look back at my third point, you’ll see I like making people happy – and my Donnie Jalapeno Salsa is that good.

I love gurus. I used to write for a few of them. I want to write for them again. I wouldn’t mind being the man-behind-the-scenes. I really would like that. That’s a goal, right?

Here’s one of my favorites – Mel Robbins – and I hope you’ll watch her 2 1/2 minutes and then download the Best Year Ever manual.

Here’s Mel’s invitation to you and what she’s doing.