My Winter Olympics: Clean out the house, repair a pool deck

My husband is in Sochi, Russia, helping to lead AP's coverage of the Olympics. I believe this is at the airport. (Photo courtesy of Michael Giarrusso's Facebook page.)

My husband is in Sochi, Russia, helping to lead AP's coverage of the Olympics. I believe this is at the airport. (Photo courtesy of Michael Giarrusso's Facebook page.)

My Olympic event is cleaning the playroom out. It takes peseverance, good decision-making a lot of patience. The playroom didn't always look like this. This was a particularly bad day.

My Olympic event is cleaning out the playroom. It takes peseverance, good decision-making and a lot of patience. The playroom didn't always look like this. This was a particularly bad day.

The garage is also on my Olympic event list. I have a Pottery Barn train table to sell and snow walker thing from Star Wars.

The garage is also on my Olympic event list. I have a Pottery Barn train table and snow walker thing from Star Wars to sell.

My husband, the new global sports editor for The Associated Press, is currently in Sochi, Russia, helping lead his company’s coverage of the Winter Olympics. (He led Super Bowl coverage on Sunday night and then jetted to Russia on Monday night.)

He is working with a tremendous team of reporters, editors, photographers and videographers covering every angle of the Games.

We’ve texted with him on Textfree but only talked to him once via FaceTime since he landed. He showed us his hotel room (not ghastly at all – in fact quite nice) and the area outside his balcony. I know he is 11 hours from Arizona (9 from the East Coast) but I haven’t quite figured out his work schedule yet – if he’s working a 9 to 9-type shift or more 11 to 11. So I’m never quite sure when he’ll try to call on Face Time or when he’s asleep. Sometimes I can tell by social media when he’s awake – if he’s Tweeting or posting on Facebook.

The kids are excited about him being in Russia. The 6-year-old doesn’t quite get the time difference. She couldn’t understand why he was just waking up when it was her bedtime the other night.  The 10-year-old has impressed some friends with his location and the 12-year-old is concerned about him being blown up by terrorists.

The last time he covered a winter Olympics, Rose was 10 months old. He only went to Salt Lake City but it was the year after 9-11 so I made him carry a satellite-based texting device so he could get in touch with me if the cell towers were knocked out.  I’m far more relaxed this time but I did ask for his secretary’s number just in case.

Meanwhile back at home, my winter Olympics is far less exciting. I am only organizing a team of one — me. My global coverage is through Facebook and it consists of me taking photos of things in my garage asking should I get rid of them  or save them, such as an old Tivo, VHS player, and the Sega Dreamcast? (Michael actually texted from Russia on the Dreamcast. He says keep it so he can sell it.)

My job this month is to clean out the rest of the house and pack up about half of our possessions to stage the house to sell and pretend like three children don’t live here. I am trying to sell a Pottery Barn train table, an adorable backyard playhouse, a metal picnic table and a printer online. I also need to hire someone to replace the pool deck, hire someone to add more rocks to the yard (a Phoenix thing – they rake rocks, it’s crazy), hire someone to trim the trees, hire someone to replace my carpet and fix some drywall. We’re trying to make the house perfect to sell. My shift runs from 6 to 10:30.

So while I am excited for him that he has a fabulous new job that loves, I am bored to tears for myself cleaning out a house. On the upside I did run across four love letters he wrote to me in college when I studied abroad in Italy. They were all about his first few months working for the AP and the first sports stories he got to cover. (A Braves player profile and he interviewed Tommy Lasorda.) Not much has changed.

How do you communicate with your spouse when he or she is traveling? Do you use FaceTime? Would you be worried if your spouse was in Sochi? Would you keep the Sony Dreamcast to sell? How much can I get for it? Along those same lines, how much can I get for the Star Wars walking guy in the photo? (The prices vary online from $36 to $300 — what’s it worth?)

63 comments Add your comment

Peter the Great

February 7th, 2014
6:14 am

That Playroom…. OMG, what a dump! “The playroom didn’t always look like this”, yeah – when you first moved in. What is the matter with you for allowing such a mess to happen. That is just poor parenting to allow for such a disaster to happen. Disgusting.

Very proud of you – another day with original thoughts and ideas rather than cutting and pasting others thoughts and ideas. As for making Michael carry a satellite texting device incase cell towers get knocked out you are too paranoid. When I travel on business my wife knows I’m out making money to pay the mortgage so I don’t have to check in with her. And as a husband if I came home to a playroom like that I would blow a gasket. Clean up that playroom!

A

February 7th, 2014
6:19 am

If either my husband or I travel for work (yes, we both travel occasionally), honestly email and texting is good enough. We’re never gone more than 3-5 days, so it’s not a big deal. I might call a couple of times to talk to our son, but when you travel you’re pretty busy with work and the spouse left at home is also busy with work and the house/kid. We don’t stress, no paranoia, etc. That said, if my husband were in Sochi given the security issues, I might be a touch concerned, but not trying to reach him everyday.

motherjanegoose

February 7th, 2014
7:16 am

TWG…your play room looks bad but I think our garage looks worse than yours. We have lived here for 16 years though. Will you have a garage when you move? Do you need two cars? Good luck. I am not excited about organizing either. I just cleaned out one closet yesterday and it was not fun.

Macy

February 7th, 2014
7:18 am

I would make the kids clean that play room. No way would I allow that mess to be made then go and clean it myself. What does that teach your kids? They need to learn early on that this is not acceptable!

buckheadgirl

February 7th, 2014
7:38 am

I would donate the Sony Dreamcast to a children’s home. Give your children each a box and allow them to pack up their favorites from the playroom for the new home. Then you can go through the rest and see if there is anything special you would like to keep. For example I have a box of trains, a cowboy fort set, and some beautiful wooden paper dolls in my special box. Email is the way to communicate. Otherwise there is all this extra stress added to be available for the call or other form of communication. For any other jobs if I were you I would concentrate on hiring others to complete the tasks, and that includes maid service to keep the house show ready. Good luck and go outside and play with your children today.

Wow, just wow...

February 7th, 2014
7:49 am

…about everything you have written and the pictures, too – WOW.

Can’t tell if you’re beotching and moaning “poor, poor, pitiful me” or bragging on your hubby, or both!

motherjanegoose

February 7th, 2014
8:03 am

Is it ever ok to brag or complain? Not sure why folks have to fuss about it. Some people want others to think their life is always wonderful NEWSFLASH…everyone has to deal with yuck in their lives. Hopefully, you will have a day worth bragging about too. That can balance it out.

Two sides to every life: the good and the bad.

WOW!

Mother of 2

February 7th, 2014
8:12 am

Big job ahead of you. I’ve moved with school age children, so I feel your pain. It’s hard not to have all that stuff when your kids are young. And they just might think that they need everything to move with them to a small apartment in NYC! Best to do it yourself. Not sure what your items for sale will fetch. I donated most things because it was so much easier. And I threw a ton out. Get plastic bins to pack everything up, and take less than you think you need. The kids are going to have such a wonderful time exploring the city, they aren’t going to need so much stuff.

My husband traveled quite a bit when my kids were young. Phone calls are a great way for the kids to connect – phone calls are more personal than texts and emails. Do you have the Viber app on your phone? It makes international calls free.

WitchyWoman

February 7th, 2014
8:24 am

Yeah I would make the kids clean that playroom. You are lucky, they are big enough to help on the weekends. They can throw out broken things and donate things they don’t want anymore. I truly understand how you feel about being alone and preparing to move. 2 years ago we lived in Houston, My husband got transferred to Atlanta. I was stuck trying to work, take care of the kid,and get the house staged for showing. THEN you have to keep it show ready <—–THAT is the kicker…having kids and trying to keep a house staged sucks. That lasted 6 months. Then after being in Atlanta for only a year and a half, he found a job in South Florida. So once again me stuck getting the house ready and keeping it ready. Luckily the house in ATL sold in 10 days so I only had to do the staging part for about 2 months (kept showing in case the sale fell through). Moving is never fun. Preparing for it by yourself with kids is even worse.

Joe Dirt

February 7th, 2014
8:51 am

White Trash!

FCM

February 7th, 2014
9:46 am

Have the kids clean the playroom. Ours has gotten to disaster status before and I make them clean it with me there too. Everyone gets a big trash bag…and a plastic bin. If something is in the room that belongs elsewhere in the house it goes in the bin. Trash to the trash bag. Start in one corner of the room and work your way around….put on some good music to keep energy up! When the plastic bin is full the person has 10 min to relocate the items or they go in the trash. Works well actually.

The kids’ father was in Iraq and Afghanistan during the war fighting. So concern for a parent’s safety has been in our home also. Sit with Rose, let her talk about her concerns for her Dad. Then reminded her that we cannot live our lives in fear. We have to live in the day and trust in God.

Real Life

February 7th, 2014
9:58 am

I have spent the better part of my life packing and moving. Frequent moves as an Air Force brat prepared me for the moves that first my career, and then my husband’s career required. Not once did I have a room in my house that looked like that play room. Never. Not when I was a child nor when I had my own places as an adult.
And we are now settled in one place and I travel for work so I am on the road a lot–and quite a bit of that out of the country. We talk on the phone, email, text, etc. to keep up. (And we changed to a mobile provider that does not charge for data roaming and lets me call to spouse’s mobile free from most countries I visit.)
We always keep in mind that we might have to move so we declutter on a regular basis. I was reared that way and that has stood me well throughout my life.

The rest of the world

February 7th, 2014
10:15 am

You allowed this substandard living situation to happen, shut up and correct it. We simply don’t care.

Techmom

February 7th, 2014
10:45 am

Man people are so mean. I have seen way messier houses TWG and I highly doubt everyone on this blog is a neat freak.

I think you need to get rid of a ton of stuff though rather than keep and move it. You’ll feel much freer when you don’t have to keep up with so much stuff. Definitely get the kids involved.

malleesmom

February 7th, 2014
11:15 am

When the redhead traveled we kept in touch via text and email. He tried to speak to them every night. Some nights it did not happen but most nights it did. He did no international travel though so the only time differences were between coasts.

Organizing, staging a house and moving with kids is definitely a challenge. We had a very generous friend who allowed us to store our boxed ’stuff” in her basement so closets, cabinets, etc looked open and spacious. It was hard going through 14+ of junk. A newly opened Goodwill store got plenty of inventory from us. I reminded the girls to detach from the house since we knew we were definitely leaving. It was no longer OUR house, but a hotel-house. We were getting it ready for someone else to enjoy. We brought entirely too much stuff with us to the tundra. The goal from now through spring is to set aside items that are going to donation. I’ll call a donation truck when the weather warms and get it all out of here.

Good Grief

February 7th, 2014
11:36 am

Wow! Tackle that playroom first and do NOT stray away from it and start on another project until that one is done! I agree that you kiddos should help in the task. Turn some music on ang get working! They need to learn to take care of their things and continue that theme on a daily basis. It may seem like you are being a neat freak and strict mom, but these personal and household tasks can be carried into adulthood. It is never too young to start those simple life skills. Needs vs Wants.

If you are moving from a house into an apartment then you and the rest of the family have lots of work to do cleaning, purging and donating! Do not take pack crap that you don’t need or love. Living the simple life in the big city is a great experience for you ALL. Don’t let STUFF get in the way of that.

Happy Cleaning!

Becky

February 7th, 2014
12:26 pm

Theresa, do like has already been said, make the kids help..Give them a box (all same size), tell them what goes in that, they can keep. The rest goes to trash or donated..

I have no clue what a Dreamcast is and the Star Wars thing would of been trashed a long time ago at my house..If they don’t use it on a regular basis, get rid of it..A lot of that stuff, if you trash it, they are never going to miss it..

As for talking to the husband, mine doesn’t travel, so I have nothing to say about that..Guess, I would be a little concerned if he was in Sochi, just because of the crap we see on TV about how yucky it is over there..

Those that are giving Theresa h*ll over the mess, if it’s not your mess, get over it..Not everyone is perfect and Theresa has never claimed to be..She lays her (mostly) entire life on this blog for opinions and all you can do is call her “White Trash” and tell her how crappy she is, hope that y’all have a nice day and that tomorrow, someone doesn’t piss in your Cheerios.. :)

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
12:30 pm

Wow – your house looks disgusting and messy. How is it that you are pretty much s SAHM, yet you have that much of a mess. You have about 10 times more crap than is needed for your kids. Why aren’t you having them clean their own mess?

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
12:36 pm

I have a good friend who is a realtor. Having you as a client would be a nightmare. There are a lot of parents (mostly moms) who really resent having to move so they do everything they can to postpone the inevitable, including having a trash pile as a house. More than half the people here are saying that you need to get your kids involved. How spoiled are they? Also, since your husband is the bread winner, I don’t think it is too much to ask to come home to a clean place. I travelled all over the world with my job and if my house looked like this when I came home, I would be livid. You have outdone yourself this time.

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
12:39 pm

sorry – last thought: I also don’t think you need to be checking up on him. I would check in every 2-3 days, or email each day, but I would not want my spouse to check in with me like you have. You are now an executive wife – act like one, look like one, and for god’s sake, hire a damn housekeeper.

A

February 7th, 2014
12:54 pm

Agree with @missnadine about not checking up on your husband. He’s got a busy few weeks ahead of him; let him communicate with you and the kids when he can, not when he’s guilt-tripped into it. I travel a few times a year to trade shows, as does my husband, and the one staying at home almost never calls the one on the road because we understand the one who’s away is very busy and may not have home on the mind all the time. That’s why during the day we might shoot an email or text or two to keep up, and save the live calls for after hours.

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
1:16 pm

@A I agree with you as well :). The time difference makes it much worse as well. She just needs to know that the hubby will call when he can. Based on her other posts over the years, I am sure she is making the hubby feel like *&^*& for not calling, yet, she has also said she supports his new role. Being an exec spouse is not always easy, but there is no way this added responsibility and $$ does not also involve a lot of time away from home. He chose it, you agreed, and you will need to stand by him as he will no doubt miss a ton of important family events. I missed my anniversary, son’s birthday, husband’s birthday, and even a funeral as I could not make it home from Asia in time. I regret some of it now, but it was the price I had to pay to be an exec. I can say my spouse just dealt with it, like you should.

FCM

February 7th, 2014
1:48 pm

TWG….Hiring someone to clean the house (once you have it in order) for the realty people is a good idea. Fact is, you are leaving the house so your heart is probably no longer in it. That can make you put off cleaning. Let someone else deal with it and you concentrate on the kids and getting you moved to New Jersey.

motherjanegoose

February 7th, 2014
2:01 pm

Spousal travel: my husband rarely calls me. He knows I am busy. I check in once a day via email or text. I am usually gone less than a week. I have never been out the country on business.

I rarely call him at work either. A few times a week, if I have something he needs to know. His phone rings right into his office. If he is busy, he does not answer. If he has others in the office with him, he answers with speakerphone….haha! He does usually call me on the way home from work to let me know what time to expect him.

TWG…please do not let the mean people get you down. YES you have a messy playroom. It is not the end of the world. You and the kids can fix it.I grew up with a mother who really would have beat us if our playroom looked that way. She was compulsive about everything being neat and clean. We did not have an enjoyable childhood.

Virginia

February 7th, 2014
2:28 pm

You’ve got the trifecta of BAD going on this week–no husband, sick kid, plus sorting out and packing-up to move. My heart goes out to you. Who on this blog would want to be in your shoes right now? I’m guessing that you are “picking your battles” and letting the playroom go a little. Big deal. As far as the game system goes, if it something that your family really enjoyed at one time, keep it. This past Christmas, my college-aged son asked for a Nintendo 64 and some specific games that he remembered loving as a child (I can’t believe he is no longer a child *sigh*). I hope that there is a wife and mother appreciation treat in your future.

Techmom

February 7th, 2014
2:47 pm

In this day and age of technology, why not keep in touch while traveling? Maybe Michael WANTS to talk with his wife and kids? Plus, he’s been travelling a lot AND they have a lot of stuff going on/ decisions to make. Theresa shouldn’t feel like she has to do everything alone. Sometimes it’s nice to have discuss things with your spouse.

Theresa, have you thought about having a yard sale (some big ticket things are better to list on Craigslist) or donating to a group who plans on having one? I personally can’t stand the work it takes to do one so I’d rather donate to a group who is doing one (our Scout Troop does one every year).

motherjanegoose

February 7th, 2014
3:15 pm

@ Techmom…yard sales drive me insane! Haha! I spend 8 hours getting everything ready and then we usually spend 8 hours on the day. We might make $200.00 on a good day. NOT WORTH IT.

I hate it when I have say a suitcase ( I paid $50.00 for at Marshalls) and I have it marked $8. A person asks me, ” Will you take $1?” NO…I would rather throw all this stuff away that sit here and sell it today for $50.00 total.

I HAVE had luck on Craigslist but does TWG want random people coming over when she is home alone? Not me.

DONATE is the way to go!

FCM

February 7th, 2014
3:36 pm

Donations can be tax deducted too…so you still get some $$$ for it.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 7th, 2014
5:27 pm

Wow — couple of thoughts — I have been writing this blog for 9 years and I am still surprised by how much some people hate and how mean some people can be. It is truly amazing.

I wrote about Michael being at the Olympics because a commenter the other day acted like I was trying to ignore or hide it. I am very proud of my husband helping to run the coverage of the Olympic Games. I think it’s amazing. I am a little jealous that he is doing something so exciting and challenging and I am cleaning a house and taking care of sick kids.

I say kids because now my son is home with the flu. He started Tamiflu this morning.

On the playroom — that photo is a little bit old. I cleaned it a few weekends ago. I didn’t have the kids help because I literally donated or trashed three-fourths of their possessions. I took load after load to Goodwill and donated bunches of toys to our church nursery. The church was thrilled. I took eight giant garbage bags of baby clothes and baby sheets to a women’s clinic in Tempe. They were also thrilled.

I have done my closet, the giant closet in Walsh’s room and now I am working on the garage, the linen closet and the closet under the stairs. I went through the office yesterday gathering all the financial documents I need to shred.

So I am making progress, but it’s not very interesting work.

Techmom

February 7th, 2014
5:43 pm

TWG – seriously, people are just downright rude. I think there are plenty of people who relate to being messy and unorganized. And I’d be jealous too- you and your husband are in the same career field and, though you chose to be the primary caregiver while he’s the primary breadwinner, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel a bit jealous that he’s getting to jaunt around the world and experience some of the coolest events of our lifetime whilst your busy dealing with sick kiddos and cleaning out a house. I’m sure he appreciates you and I’m sure your kids do too but that certainly doesn’t make cleaning out the house any more exciting. I hope you have a hugely productive weekend and that you get to slow down and enjoy the Olympics some too (personally, I’d bring over a bottle of wine and come help you clean out your stuff if I lived nearby… it just goes so much quicker when someone else is there to talk to. Plus I always find I’m more willing to part with things when someone else sees what I might be willing to pack up and move!)

I think you need to find a way to attract some more positive people; I’m getting sick of the negative comments and they’re not even directed at me!

Kat

February 7th, 2014
6:01 pm

I didn’t realize so many perfect people existed on this blog. Wow! I hope I can learn from each of you how to make my playroom perfect at the expense of a personality.

TWG: I like the idea of giving each kid a box to put their faves in. It would also be a good time to work through school papers and such. What might help as well is if you watch a couple of episodes of that organizing show on HGTV or whatever it is where they help people in NYC with their stuff. Better to get rid of it now, then spend the $$$ to transport it, or hire someone in NYC ($$$) to haul it away, when it doesn’t fit.

Kat

February 7th, 2014
6:04 pm

We donated our big collection of train stuff to a local kids’ shelter. There was way too much stuff to try to “Goodwill” it away, so you might think about that stuff. If you are trying to sell something, think about what it would mean. Standing out at a yard sale to sell a Star Wars At-At for $10? Is that worth your time? Certainly, the items add up, but still… just consider that you can get rid of stuff on your own time.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 7th, 2014
6:34 pm

Techmom and Kat — You totally get it — We graduated with the same degree. I actually had a higher GPA. He is running a global network of reporters and I am cleaning a house. I chose to stay home but it is a bit depressing. I’m not teaching this semester because I didn’t feel like I could teach, blog and take care of three kids alone and get a house ready to sell, but I do miss being at the university.

I try to talk on the phone while I clean — it makes it go much faster but my mom, friends, brother and dad are a bit tired of hearing from me.

Lilina home all week with the flu certainly hasn’t helped my efforts and now a second one sick is not good. I was going to try to get out on Sunday and see a movie but now I don’t feel like I can have a babysitter in because I don’t want to get her sick too. So here we are. I am trying to clean a bunch this afternoon and this weekend. We are planning to watch opening ceremonies tonight and some tomorrow.

On the giving away versus selling — I am giving away a ton. I am not paying to move anything we aren’t using or don’t need. I am really trying to cull down. It is so much to go through alone that it is overwhelming. I am only trying to sell big-ticket things like the Pottery Barn table and the backyard play house — I think i can get more than $100 for each so worth the effort but we’ll see. The church might like the train table for the nursery too.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 7th, 2014
6:40 pm

kat — on school work — I kept so much stuff that now I am trashing — I have two balloon size papier mache frogs from elementary school that I am debating — i am getting ready to trash them I guess but it’s kind of sad. I will take photos of them.

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
8:25 pm

You are actually admitting that you resent his success and that you probably wish for some of your old glory. If that was your choice then you should OWN it. “I am a little jealous that he is doing something so exciting and challenging and I am cleaning a house and taking care of sick kids.” “We graduated with the same degree. I actually had a higher GPA. He is running a global network of reporters and I am cleaning a house”

There is no way your husband doesn’t come home to a bitter wife. You say you had a better GPA, so perhaps you think you are smarter – and perhaps you are. Why weren’t the roles reversed? Why didn’t you go travel the world while hubby became a SAHD? There are several SAHDs out there, and they are great in that role. I know several and they don’t resent the success they gave you. Why do you? I just don’t understand why you would choose that path, and then complain about it. It would seem to me that your life isn’t that bad. You don’t have to work, your husband makes enough to really provide, you could get house help, your kids are healthy.. see what I mean?

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
8:26 pm

Meant to say: I know several and they don’t resent the success they gave UP (not you)

Kat

February 7th, 2014
8:27 pm

I had to do that exact same thing with life-size handmade pictures that my kid made. I had him hold it up to take a picture (four years after, so it looks like a mini-kid). I can’t throw away hardly any of their schoolwork. Articles say “save the best ones.” What does that even mean? The ones that are the most indicative of them at the time; the most understandable; the most abstract that shows creativity? I’ve got no idea!

Definitely sell those big ticket items! We gave our backyard playhouse to my sister-in-law because her youngest has some years to go before he outgrows it. Be sure when you post the ad for the playhouse – if it’s an “in-ground” one that the buyer is responsible for breaking it down and hauling it away. Also, suggest the person takes pictures as it’s taken down; putting it back together will be much easier! Take it from someone who’s been there. If it’s Little Tykes or something, not a big deal.

Kat

February 7th, 2014
8:31 pm

BTW: My husband would be so jealous of the storage that your garage appears to have – doesn’t matter what’s behind those doors – they look great!

HB

February 7th, 2014
9:43 pm

Geez, missnadine, back off. So in a stressful week with sick kids, T is admitting that sometimes she thinks of the road not taken and is a bit jealous that she doesn’t get to do something awesome like go to the Olympics. Michael may feel a jealous of her time with the kids occasionally — maybe when he’s covering what turns out to be lousy match-up of a sport he doesn’t particularly love in a dull city. We all have those moments, but that doesn’t mean we are generally bitter and resentful. We’re human. Why don’t you join us and show a little humanity yourself instead of beating up on Theresa while she’s down?

DB

February 7th, 2014
10:38 pm

DAMMIT, PEOPLE, GIVE THE WOMAN A FREAKIN’ BREAK!!!

She’s got a tough job ahead of her, sick kids and a husband who is doing important work — elsewhere. When I was reading her blog (a personal blog, mind you, for all those who complain that she simply cuts and paste), I knew there were going to be some asshats on here who were going to rip her apart because her playroom doesn’t look like House Beautiful. Sure enough — you anonymous jerks who like to throw their superiority around at Theresa’s expense came through with flying colors. Shame on you!

When someone shares their life with you, that does NOT give you the right to be nasty, condescending, rude, judgemental and bitchy. Here’s a suggestion: Don’t say something in a blog you wouldn’t be willing to say to a perfect strangers face, upon being graciously invited into their home. I truly can’t believe that some of you would say the hateful things you are saying on this blog to this woman’s face. Cowards.

T, check and see if you have an eBay store near you — one that can take the more interesting things you have to sell (like the Dreamcaster, etc.) and put them on eBay for you. Yeah, they take a slice, but they are out of YOUR hair, on the market and you don’t have to deal with the constant checking on auctions, etc.

What helped me with the kids when they were smaller and would be overwhelmed by projects such as cleaning a room, etc., would be giving them a list of five things to do. Just 5: “Sort puzzles. Put doll clothes away. Put Legos back in box. Take out trash. Make bed.” I even had my list of 5 things. So while they were doing there 5, I was also doing my 5. If one got stuck, I’d help them figure out how to solve it, but I tried very hard not to do it for them. They are not too young to pack their own bedrooms at this point — give ‘em a few boxes and invite them to start packing — label them well and then move those boxes to an off-site storage area. In fact, that would be a great way to pack the playroom — 3 boxes — donate, trash and To New York. By the time you finish, you’ll only have a few selected toys and games neatly placed on shelves. :-)

I feel for ya — I did the single-mom-selling-a-house-with-a-1-year-old bit when we moved to Atlanta — husband started his job up here one September, and I was in South Florida. Luckily, we sold the house quickly and I was in Atlanta by December — but those three months were the longest months of my life!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 7th, 2014
10:53 pm

Thanks HB and DB – I really do appreciate the support. I am hoping that I have so much moved out of the house that keeping it neat for showing won’t be so hard. Also hoping it sells quickly so then it’s off the market and we don’t have to worry about more showings — although someone advised earlier to keep showing in case contract falls through — I guess it depends on how strong the offer is.

I just set up appt. for super deep clean of the house and for carpet person so hopefully those dates will pin me in and make me work faster. It is easy to meander with the amt that needs to be done. Also you’re dealing with every day mess. My hope is to get so much out that what’s left you could clean in a quick pick up.

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
11:25 pm

HB and DB – are you the same person? If she puts this stuff here, she should expect that people will react. I am not totally anonymous – she can easily see who I am, and yes, I would say the same thing if I knew her. But see, you guys just feed in to it and just tell her what she wants to hear, but I don’t that is the best advice.

TWG – you may not realize it, but you are now in a different league. You husband manages people all over the world, at a 6-figure income. Do you really think it is ok for you to keep saying your personal business on this blog. or posting pictures of your messy house? Years ago, someone at my old company got promoted to a C-level position, at a $250K annual income, managing 1000+ staff globally. One day his wife came in to the office to meet him for lunch. She was dressed in a old/ratty sweat suit, not a cute Lululemon yoga pant suit, but a $5 Walmart set – even the fancy sweat suit would not be appropriate to meet your husband at his work, but at least it would look more pulled together. The staff’s jaws fell to the ground when she walked in so disheveled and unprofessional. Believe it or not, your actions DO reflect on your spouse, and how people view him, especially since he is in the public eye. Do you not think that maybe he got this job over other people, who now report to him? These articles become fodder for gossip, whether it is the messy house of the fact that the wife seemingly can’t hold it together.

Maybe you should exercise some discretion. I do feel that you regret some of your decisions, but you have said that this was Michael’s dream job, and that he aimed for this his whole life. I think it is unfair for you to be mad at him now, especially in this public forum. I think you only want to hear from people who agree with you. My husband and I took turns in our career. That meant that neither of us would reach the C-level, but we took turned being the SAH depending on who got the better offer. I actually moved to Australia for 9 months when .my kids were young, while my husband was a SAHD, and we always treated each other’s career as equally important. Because of that, we never resented each other’s success, and I never felt like an appendage to my spouse. That’s a good feeling.

I do have strong opinions, and one of my strongest is that I don’t think it is wise for women to give up ALL of their career aspirations. It leads to a bitterness that becomes very uncomfortable. I have seen it with friends and it is hard to work through. You are going through that now, and this has been simmering since he accepted the position. You may not like me, but at least I am not just telling you what you want to here. Enjoy the benefits of your new status – get a housekeeper, maybe a part-time childcare worker, and go do stuff for yourself. You will feel a lot better.

missnadine

February 7th, 2014
11:27 pm

bad grammar: You may not like me, but at least I am not just telling you what you want to HEAR.

Misty

February 7th, 2014
11:34 pm

Theresa,

I feel so sorry that people are so rude and mean! I wish I could come visit for a few days and do the organizing, selling, giving away, and cleaning for you!! I hope that you will be able to rest on Sunday and that the kids that are sick will feel better soon and no one else gets sick.

Denise

February 8th, 2014
12:02 am

TWG – I am unorganized and get stressed out very easily. Moving from ATL to FW was traumatic for many reasons, packing being a big one. I am closing on a home next week and packing from my apartment to the house is already making me anxious. Good luck to you.

Also, it is okay to say “what if” and “if only” sometimes. Even when we love the lives we live, they are very rarely exactly as we planned and maybe not even hoped. I know that is the case for me. I just had that conversation tonight. I cannot decide if my life is better now than it would have been had it all worked according to my “plan” but I do sometimes wish for that “other” life. But whatever, I wake up every day in THIS life and I’m thankful for it. I’m willing to bet that Theresa is also thankful for the life she has chosen even if there are days she wishes things were different. (Theresa, I have some very ‘colorful’ responses that you can give to rude people but I’m sure you’re a little more ladylike than that. :-) )

HB

February 8th, 2014
12:58 am

You’re welcome, Theresa. Take good care of yourself. And yes, missnadine, you absolutely have a right to react however nastily you want. I, in turn, have a right to react to your obnoxious, know-it-all, condescending posts with my own opinions.

missnadine

February 8th, 2014
1:29 am

Cue the violins ladies… and keep up the pity party. Is she were grateful, she wouldn’t b***h about her life all the time. You may not like how I stated my opinion, but you should at least be smart enough to see that I have made some valid points. You think I’m mean? What until her husband’s co-workers, staff, and management read through her most intimate details.

WitchyWoman

February 8th, 2014
9:21 am

@ Theresa.. I say Ignore the mean people. Some people have no joy unless they are making others as miserable as they are. I mean it IS your blog and you can blog about what you want. It’s like someone buying a Star magazine at the store then writing them and telling them that they should write about something else. Don’t like it…Don’t buy it. Don’t like the blog, don’t read it’s simple. Truth is they must actually like the blog because they keep coming back. They make nasty comments because they are jealous that you are in a situation that affords you the time to be able to do this.

I totally get what you are saying about sometimes getting a little jealous. My husband is the primary breadwinner, and he gets to go all kinds of places. I too am often left to keep house. Yes, we chose for me to be here because we felt two corporate careers wasn’t fair to the kid. He works long hours and is usually gone from 6am til about 7pm at night because he commutes. I didn’t want to be like that too. I couldn’t do it to our child..so I get it. That doesn’t mean that sometimes when he is out of the country or in some cool place I don’t feel a bit sad. It doesn’t mean you aren’t proud of him or are a witch to him like SOME people think.

WitchyWoman

February 8th, 2014
9:27 am

Oh and some people troll blogs like this and say nasty stuff because it makes them feel important when they get a lot of attention. You see it in comment sections all over the internet. It’s obvious what they are doing and they push and push til they get what they want. They probably go and show their friends and family how they hijacked the comments section or see how many times they got to post. Just seeing their name that many times gives them a thrill. It’s pretty sad. These same people would be terrified to start their own blogs because they actually don’t have anything interesting to say.

Kat

February 8th, 2014
11:19 am

Michael isn’t exactly sitting in the stands at all the best Winter Olympic events and such. He’s managing people, which is much different than the people doing the actual reporting. Not exactly a glamorous location either – from what the news reports have said. At least Theresa has clean water, doorknobs and light bulbs. :-)

If Theresa came to the office Christmas party with a load of pictures of her messy house, then we might have a conversation about this. She is blogging about what she is doing. Those stating that “if she came to MY office” and such must be too concerned about others’ opinions. If that’s not true, re-read what you posted. To simplify, Theresa puts herself (and house) out there for everyone to see and doesn’t respond to each comment with a whine. Others, ahem, seem to think that people outside the house and in the workplace have opinions that are much more important because they are employed by some organization that doles out a paycheck and health benefits. So, who cares more? Theresa: who doesn’t respond or Posters Here: who care what they and their co-workers would say?