On our way back from Maryland and D.C. this past weekend, Scott and I decided we would spend this week--my last week before going back to work on Monday--on a room-by-room de-cluttering and cleaning project. My husband is the grand master of coming up with such projects. He likes systematic projects--ones with finite ending points but with rewarding outcomes. We would, he proposed, spend an hour each day on a different room. We'd clean, and repair anything in that room that needed repairing. It would be a great project to do together--the three of us, in this last week before our schedules change dramatically. All of this sounded good in theory, because we were trapped in the car with two unhappy kids and cleaning rooms seemed a welcome change. On Monday morning, after Scott took L. into school I was still sitting at the kitchen table, nursing a big cup of coffee and trying to wake up, when he came in, toting a large bucket, a roll of paper towels, and some cleaning supplies. "Let's get to work!" he said, in his best Bob the Builder-like way. I didn't come up with the most gracious response. The weekend knocked me out, I hadn't slept well Sunday night, I was worried about L., and I was TIRED. The last thing I felt like doing at 9:05 on that Monday morning was cleaning and de-cluttering. Scott and T. ended up working on our bedroom themselves while I grumbled and drank more coffee, and did some laundry and moped a little. Then on Tuesday after lunch I donned rubber gloves, all set to tackle the office, and the dusty book shelf that no one ever dusts because there are simply too many things on there to move around. "Let's do the office!" I told Scott. But he was on the couch with a mild headache, so T. and I cleaned the office by ourselves. On Wednesday no one cleaned anything, and we still have nine rooms left to do before Monday. ********* One happy result of our failed cleaning and de-cluttering project is that we finally moved the old glider chair out of T.'s bedroom and into the guest room. I logged many hours in the faithful chair, nursing T. at all hours of the day and night, and reading to her when she got older. But over the last two years, the only purpose the chair has served has been to hold four of five enormous stuffed animals. And after a while, it seemed silly to have a big chair take up space when all it's doing is providing a resting spot for Shrek and friends. When we move the chair, a good empty spot was opened up in her room, and with a little creative reorganization, we were able to dig out my old beloved Lundby dollhouse from T.'s closet and set it up in her bedroom. We made some much-needed repairs, and spent hours setting up all the furniture again, then lighting the house when we were done. I still remember that my favorite part of playing with the dollhouse was enjoying that magical moment when we'd turn on the dollhouse lights and I'd sit and gaze at the cozy rooms, all lit up. When L. came home from school that day he took my camera and took lots of artsy black and white photographs of the Lundby dollhouse. Then, after dinner, we turned on the lights again and sat in T.'s little chairs, gazing some more at the dollhouse, with all its groovy 1970s decor and the Lundby family, looking a little downtrodden after all these years, but still holding strong. "It's like looking at a Christmas tree," T. said. "Or into a time capsule," I added, remembering again how much my sister and I loved that dollhouse. And while every room in our house might not be clean and de-cluttered yet, we have the dollhouse back again, and it's looking pretty good.