1.  Not to be pessimistic but it’s 10:30pm, I’m exhausted, and there’s basically a 0% chance I’ll put together a 40 things post before crashing onto my keyboard.

2.  I’ll make it as far as possible then knock the rest out in the morning.

3.  Sorry to all you early bird folks who wake up and read along with your crack-o-dawn coffee. That’s just not happening…[say it with me] and I’m okay with that.

4.  I’ve been getting the house ready to host my family on Saturday for Christmas.

5.  Let me tell you, nothing says get your sh*t together like the promise of people using your bathrooms.

6.  I hear you — It’s family, it shouldn’t matter what your house looks like! And I agree. In concept.

7.  But there’s “lived in” and then there’s “baby Jesus on a bicycle, when’s the last time you wiped down that sink?”

8.  I’m trying to avoid the latter.

9.  I’ve been exploring attention span lately, specifically how some tasks that look easy when other folks do them seem almost impossible for me.

10.  In the past I’ve tried grouping activities together. “Decluttering” is always — ALWAYS — top of my list.

11.  Except it never worked. I’d start clearing the clutter by the coffee maker, tossing flyers and making piles to put where they belong, but when I walked my mail-to-review pile to its basket I was distracted by piles of sheets mid-sorting.

12.  I grabbed a stack of those, but when I moved them to the table I realized there’s a stain on the couch I really ought to get out. So I stopped what I was doing and got the carpet/upholstery cleaner stuff.

13.  I knelt down to work on the stain, and that’s when I spotted tufts of dog hair caught under the couch. Not good.

14.  So I lugged out the canister vacuum and start cramming the hose under furniture, sucking up pet hair, which is when I realized I really ought to vacuum the furniture itself before people come over and, y’know, sit on it.

15.  Next thing you know three hours have gone by and there was still an extraordinary amount of clutter because I clean like a ping pong ball.

16.  But this week? This week I had a brilliant plan. I’d try working by room instead.

17.  Monday was kitchen day. Kitchen day doesn’t sound intimidating until you find out things like I had two humidifiers sitting around waiting to get cleaned. Plus a pile of mail. And some cleaning supplies that had never been put away. Plus boxes to recycle, cold medicine to store, spices needing re-racking and Lord only knows what else.

18.  Here’s what happened. I sorted through the mail first. As I went to put it in the basket I got pulled sideways by the sheets but literally stopped in my steps and told myself nope, it’s kitchen day, I’ll do this area tomorrow, GO BACK TO THE KITCHEN.

19.  That’s basically what I repeated every time another area tried to suck me in. No. Wait your turn. Today is the kitchen.


21.  Don’t get me wrong, my plan had flaws. Tuesday was family room/dining room day but since I was sidelined by healthcare phone calls most of the morning and I have several projects in varying stages in those spaces…allotting one day was shall we say optimistic.

22.  But on Tuesday I only worked in those main rooms. I stuck to the plan.

23.  On Wednesday I had my root canal in the morning — yay! — so I knew I wouldn’t be firing on all cylinders. I put down “wrap gifts” for Wednesday. Turns out even that didn’t happen because, well, root canal. Bygones.

24.  Thursday I got back on track with bathrooms and straightening up the basement. Seriously, once I got the hang of I will stay in this space until the job is complete things became so much simpler.

25.  I even managed to wrap two of the gifts so woo hoo! Bonus!

26.  And Friday? Well, truth be told I’m so freaking tired I can’t quite remember what I put down for Friday. I guess that’s why we use post-it notes. Plus I’ve got some finishing up to do in the main area.

27.  Here’s the irony. It’s the prep that kills me. An argument could be made if I just kept the house neater (not perfect, just neater) then stress would ease up.

28.  Food for thought.

29.  And there’s my segue into food because seriously, y’all, we have GOT to talk potato soup.

30.  I’d made this Perfect Potato Soup precisely one time before and my notes said, and I quote, “Three of us love this. Makes a full pot of soup. Spices are WAY off, this is much too bland as written. Research other potato soup recipes for better spice ratios. Blending soup makes a creamy chowder without adding extra calories.”

31.  I did some poking around but mostly I embraced what I learned from Divas Can Cook — potatoes are bland and require A LOT of spice so start with the base then taste taste taste. Don’t be afraid to add more spice.

32.  My new recipe notes say “Three of us love this.” I can’t explain why Bear won’t eat a potato soup but she is certain in her conviction. “Corrected spices in recipe to eliminate blandness…don’t blend more than half the soup or it turns kind of tan/sludgy looking. Much better with enough broth base and chunky ingredients to even out the blended portion.”

33.  Fair warning! Your soup will not be a pretty color like Pioneer Woman’s photo. I don’t know what the hell kind of soup that is but both times mine has been more of a creamy off white color. But it’s yummy.

34.  In the end here’s what I did with the spices: When seasoning the vegetables I added 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp Cajun spice mix, and about 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.

35.  After you add the blended soup back to the pot I tasted mine and added more salt and ground pepper. I think I also added another dash of Cajun spice.

36.  Just for kicks I stirred a handful of cheese in with the cream. I think I was curious about the soup color; then again, could be I just really love cheese in my soup.

37.  One last tip: While dicing potatoes I put them into ice water to prevent browning while I worked.

38.  And what do you know. It’s forty-five minutes later and here we are at #38. This is either rambly or engaging, I don’t really know which.

39.  For those keeping track, my mouth’s feeling good. Doesn’t look like I’ll have to go on antibiotics for an infection so woo hoo!

40.  My back is feeling better (though I know it would be better still if I did my PT) and my knee improves each day. It’s a weird surface pain that drops in now and again but I’ll take it over my leg going out from under me. Perspective.