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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Updates & Spring Cleaning

psatWhile everyone’s on vacation and enjoying a few days off, I thought I’d use this time to bring us up to speed on odd and unrelated issues.

-The PSAT Mystery – still no scores after six months (see earlier blogs).  Latest in:  either the school assistant principal is telling a big whopper, or she doesn’t know how to fax.  After weeeeeks, the College Board reported on that they still had not received her fax after she had assured us long before that it had been sent. Another week of urging from us (with cc to the principal) that she “recheck” if it was sent.  Exactly as she told the PSAT people in the beginning:  not sure when she’d be able to get around it-!  They at last reported receiving it this Thursday afternoon and should score it soon.  Crossing my fingers on that one….

-Our Adoption Talk Forum – it’s here, it’s available, up to you.  Thanks to everyone giving it whirl.  Chit-chat, check back, post whatever interests you, these are lovely people.

-Rocky the Raccoon, our on-again, off-again house “guest” in the attic at the dacha, has been hanging around for ANIMAL RACOONmonths again.  We finally get him to leave, nobody has time to close up the hole, and back he comes.  Or she.  Hopefully not with babies this time (see earlier posts).  Every night, it sounds like some weird, half-dead person is dragging himself across the attic/crawl space above my head, clawing at the heating and airconditioning vents, and driving the dogs crazy.  Just a typical night of no sleep at all.  Finally, after placing a cage with peanut butter (which he learned to spring open by tossing landscaping rocks at it-! and then he swiped the peanut butter), we caught him.  Only problem:  it was Monday, the day of the big snow drive, and there he was, sitting on the roof, in the cage, in a ball, when we arrived too tired and had no time to deal with him.  A kind friend with a ladder came to rescue Petya and I from the deed (and I rescued him from Rocky, suggesting that he don gloves first) as he took the now-thrashing cage from the roof and transported Rocky in a  work van to resettle him at the eastern front.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

organize list-While our girls were busy dusting and vacuuming for spring cleaning, the boys turned their sights to our overflowing pantry (and not overflowing in a good way).  Canned goods from the Year 0, cookies from Russia (?!), and baking supplies from a company owned by Benedetto’s sister that was sold about ten years ago… do not a neat pantry make-!  I used to be a very organized person, but life has picked up pace and now things are a mess.  Pasha, who is an excellent organizer, had it in his heart for about the last month to make it ship-shape.  His older brother jumped in to help.  Never mind that Pasha the younger is slow as molasses, he’s deliberate and gets the job done.  Simply has to talk a lot and have me make all the decisions.  I insisted that he read every label for himself, and TAKE ALL THOSE “FOUND TOOLS” OUT OF THE JUNK DRAWER that I had cleaned out maybe a week earlier!

Since we possess tons of boxes, I suggested that they use several to group items in the pantry.  Cutting off the top Tips-to-Organize-Your-Pantry.jpgflaps, they asked me to write categories on the box for easy viewing.  We had:  Buckwheat, Wild Rice, and Polenta;  Crackers, Pickles, and Pasta;  Fish (as in sardines, salmon, and tuna—with a container of bread crumbs that they threw on top—some things defy explanation…); Rice and Seasoning Packages (with bottled water lain across the top-?).  I also remember writing “Soup” on a box full of cans, however, now that I am looking into the pantry, I cannot locate that box anywhere.  And then Pasha wrote one box of his own:  “Crakers, Nudles, and Chips”.  Never mind that we already had a box for crackers, and I don’t think we have any chips in the house (or if we do, somebody’s keeping a big secret from me), he might have become disoriented from all of the dust and heavy labor of the day.

They spent about six hours on the project, arranging short items in front, taller items in back, much to Benedetto’s dismay.  He protested that everything we would need on a daily basis had been pushed to the back, which was not entirely true, and all was readily reachable in any event.  Pasha still had to inquire about every single item, slowing them down considerably.

article-new_ehow_images_a04_9b_d6_organize-overcrowded-pantry-800x800“Make an executive decision,” I would encourage him.  “If the fruit cups look brown and hard, whaddaya think we should do…?”

“Throw them out?” he asked tentatively.

“Bravo!”  I congratulated.  “Into the basket!”

I taught him about expiration dates and other sure signs of danger.  Though he might conceivably die one day from shelves of cans falling on his head, he’ll never get salmonella poisoning on my watch.

I talked with the boys about how valuable their skills at organizing could be, and how much professional organizers charge to straighten out messes.  We may be in trouble now.  They’re thinking of doing this as a summer job, inbetween their myriad of other activities which preclude anything steady like lifeguarding or burger-flipping.

Hmm… maybe I could get them to start with my closet….

Do you need anything organized?



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