My house will never be messy again - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My messy house nearly killed my baby today.

I'm not being melodramatic. It is only by the grace of God that he is cuddling on my lap right now instead of lying dead in the coroner's office.

He is 9 months old and really starting to move and groove across the floor. He does a cute sort of pull and drag thing and uses his big toe to push off. He also puts absolutely everything he comes across in his mouth.

I'm a slob thanks to AD/HD, my husband is a slob thanks to who knows what, we have a crazy active 3 year old boy and 2 very hairy cats. Needless to say, the house is a dump. Not good when the baby is mouthing everything.

Usually, I see him pick stuff up and I grab it away or he makes some kakking noise and I get whatever it is out of his mouth. Today, well, today was a completely different story.

It was a normal morning, DH was getting ready for work, DS1 was watching a bit of tv downstairs, baby was cruising around on the living room floor and I was catching up on my emails. Baby started making his "something in my mouth" noise, so I scooped him up to see what it was. Nothing came out in my initial sweep and he seemed happy so I didn't worry. He was still sitting on my lap and he started to get a little more worried looking. He started coughing a bit. I did a good sweep of his mouth and nothing came out but he did start really choking and sputtering. I told DH not to leave for work. The sweep I did must have triggered something because he started coughing and throwing up mucus. I flipped him over on his belly to start banging on his back but then all of a sudden he was ok. We have all been sick with colds this last week so I assumed that it was the mucus bothering him and he just needed to get it up (older brother has asthma and a wicked gag reflex and will puke up mucus when sick).

He wanted to nurse so I put him to the breast and he bit me. I yelled and that made him cry. I felt that if he could cry, whatever blockage he had was gone. He nursed and fell asleep. For some reason (instinct?) I put him down to sleep in the Pack n' Play in the living room (not unusual but definately not our usual routine).

About half an hour later he woke up. Since I was only a few feet away I could see right away that he was awake and picked him up to cuddle on my lap. I don't know what it was about him but I could tell that he still wasn't right from the earlier incident (even though he was happy and smiling - maybe he wasn't happy and smiling enough?) I looked at him and there, poking out of the corner of his mouth, was a piece of plastic. I pulled it out and it was a 2" by 1/2" strip of plastic packaging that I knew right away came from the DVD that I had bought for the 3 year old yesterday.

I didn't think much of it at first other than "oh, good, that was what was bothering him". Then the reality hit. If he had inhaled that he would have been dead. There would be no clearing that blockage. Someone or something was protecting my baby, not only during the initial choking incident but also during the half an hour that he was SLEEPING!

I believe in God and I believe that I was given an incredible gift today. I was given a chance to make a huge change in my life and it's not a chance I will pass up. It will take a little while to get the house spic and span but I already have a big pile of stuff to get rid of in the front hallway and that was with 2 small children and uncontrolled ADHD.

Please, everyone with messy houses, let my lesson today be a lesson for you as well and just clean it up. All the "stuff" I have that seems so important right now would be meaningless if I was planning my baby's funeral this afternoon rather than noodling around at MDC and watching him play with his toys.

Martha

p.s. I realize that a piece of packaging like that could just have easily fallen on a spotless floor (I didn't purposely throw it on the ground) but the reality is that it was just one of many choking hazards on the floor in my house, he just happened to pick that one.

p.p.s. I won't be buying anymore lottery tickets either - I figure all my good fortune pretty much got used up today!
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#2 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Could I make a suggestion? Can you afford at all, even as a one-time thing, a housekeeper or professional organizer? It sounds as though you need to get this done FAST and that would speed up the process.
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#3 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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How scary! Thank you for sharing this with us. I could use a kick in the rear. :

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#4 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could I make a suggestion? Can you afford at all, even as a one-time thing, a housekeeper or professional organizer? It sounds as though you need to get this done FAST and that would speed up the process.
Thank you for the suggestion. We are going to be doing both. I don't care that it isn't in the budget. I'll eat rice for a month to pay for it. DH and I had, coincidentally, just agreed 2 days ago that we would see about hiring a cleaning lady to come in on a semi-regular basis.

Thank you for reading my novel. I feel much less freaked out about the whole thing after writing it down. Now I can concentrate on clearing this place out.
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#5 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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I'm SO glad he's okay.

You know what? Because you took the time to post that, I'm logging off to go clean the house.

Mama to H (6) B (3) : A (1)
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#6 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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I'm so glad he's okay. How scary.

Hold them close and thanks for the wake-up call.

P.S. I second the suggestion of calling for reinforcements. That will help a lot.
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#7 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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Thank God he was okay!!

Good luck with cleaning up! Having a maid come would help a lot in the beginning until you can stay on top of it yourself.
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#8 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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I am so glad your ds is ok! This is why I am such a freak about plastic bags and such.

I am shaking after reading this.


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#9 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I'm so glad he is ok. And I'm going to go clean too.
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#10 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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I am so glad your little one is ok. Blessings to you for listening to the powers that be--I know it's not easy to change cleaning or noncleaning behaviors, but that is the calling if I've ever heard one.
Hug your babies.
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#11 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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Oh, my.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#12 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Oh mama, how incredibly scary. Hugs!!! I am so glad he is ok!

Ali, mama to my amazing Arabella 1/14/06
Newly married to Patrick love.gif Expecting someone new in April!
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#13 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 10:54 PM
 
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Oh thank God he's ok. And thank you for posting. My place could stand a good cleaning.

Blessings!
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#14 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 11:12 PM
 
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How scary! I'm so very glad that he's alright.
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#15 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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Wow! I would definately consider that my wake-up call.

Personally, I can not wait for my toddler to get out of the everything in the mouth phase. I'm sure her siblings are over it too.
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#16 of 49 Old 08-14-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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I'm so glad your babe is ok!
I've got an 'everything goes in the mouth' little one too...I've been half-heartedly trying to get things cleaned/organized/decluttered, but reading this is giving me a kick in the pants...off to go clean the main living area floors now!
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#17 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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How scary! I'm so glad he is ok. I thank God for protecting your precious baby.
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#18 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 10:12 AM
 
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That must have been scary. Thank the gods for a good outcome.

May I be so bold to ask why you have cats if your older son has asthma?

ETA: The reason I ask is because my niece has asthma and the first thing the pulmonary specialist said was "no pets".
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#19 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That must have been scary. Thank the gods for a good outcome.

May I be so bold to ask why you have cats if your older son has asthma?

ETA: The reason I ask is because my niece has asthma and the first thing the pulmonary specialist said was "no pets".
Be as bold as you want, I need as many reality checks as possible.

I struggle with the cat issue daily. It is such a multi-pronged issue I don't even know where to start. Maybe I'll make a little list. Maybe I'll use this as a brainstorming situation for myself if you don't mind.

1. I have had cats and been a cat lover since the day I was born. There hasn't been a single minute in my life that I have not been owned by a cat.

2. The cats were our first babies and were our only babies for many years while we struggled with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

3. I am a veterinary technician when I'm not wearing my SAHM hat. Obviously animals are more important to me than the average joe. The cats were brought to the clinic I worked at as abandoned kittens.

4. I'm an adoptee and probably have abandonment issues. That could be why giving them away seems so horrifying to me.

5. The cats are 11 years old and have several health and behaviour issues which would make placing them in a new home difficult. Ironically, the male cat has far worse asthma than our son.

6. Both kids love the cats and I think having a pet is important for children to learn compassion. DS1 especially has difficulties with being gentle and the cats are helping him learn that (with supervision of course).

7. Technically, DS1 has Reactive Airway Disease that is triggered by viruses. I find it easier to say asthma though because people understand that better and it reminds me that even though he seems healthy, we need to always be on the alert. Asthma runs in DH's family so it was not a surprise for us.

8. When he had his allergy testing done, the cat allergy was actually mild. His dust mite allergy is actually far worse.

9. Despite their issues, they are great cats. Really fun and lovable and DH and I have had years of pleasure being owned by them. They are part of our family.

10. Before we had his testing done, DH and I had a long discussion about the cats and what we would do if DS1 was allergic (DH is allergic so we anticipated the same outcome for DS1). We decided that getting rid of the cats was going to be our absolute last resort. We vowed to try everything else possible and if he still wasn't better, then we would rehome the cats.

So, that brings me to my absolute anguish about this incident with DS2. The fact that DS1 *might* get sick and *maybe* die because of the state of our house apparently wasn't enough for me. Apparently my baby had to *really* almost die before I was frightened enough to get my butt in gear and keep the house clean. I also feel horribly guilty that I made this commitment to try everything possible but I haven't been keeping up my end of the bargain.

Sigh.

I should say that our house isn't a disgusting trash pit with cat feces piled everywhere and stacks of newspapers in every room. I may have overdramatized the state of it. But there are toys and boxes and stuff everywhere which makes it really hard to clean well.

There are so many reasons why I am a poor housekeeper. This past year has been really enlightening with what I have been learning about myself through therapy and testing. Maybe, if you'll indulge me again, I'll make another little list. Maybe it will help me to see everything all laid out so I can begin to tackle the reasons why so this doesn't happen again.

1. I have ADHD. I just completed 1.5 years of therapy and testing to determine this and I can't tell you what a relief it has been to find out that I'm not just a total slacker.

2. I have a very busy, very challenging 3 year old (he will most likely be diagnosed with ADHD also, as well as sensory dysfunction I suspect) and a 9 month old who is very busy and still nurses every 2-3 hours round the clock. Needless to say, I'm exhausted.

3. I have a tonne of stuff that I have hung on to for years that is taking up a lot of room in my house. Stuff is spilling out all over the place. Coupled with the fact that we have a small, old house that has only 2 closets this makes for a big mess. There are multiple reasons for all this "stuff" which I will address in the next few points.

4. As I mentioned before, I'm an adoptee. I'm working in therapy to tease out all the issues surrounding this but I know that it contributes to the mess.

5. My mother was disrespectful of me and my "stuff" and just gave away whatever she felt like without asking me. This created a need within me to hang on to everything.

6. It has come out in my testing over the past 1.5 years that I also have memory problems. That would explain why I feel the need to hang on to things so I won't forget about it. There is stuff in boxes downstairs that I haven't seen in years and years, but I know that if I go down and look through the boxes, I will be reminded of everything again and that makes me feel good.

I'm sure there is probably more but I think that is good for now.

Just so you know, I'm not justifying in any way how things have been here. I just needed to say *why* I feel they are like this and what I am doing to change.

So, all this is a really long way to say, getting rid of the cats isn't that easy for me. I know that it may make a big difference but I would be horribly devastated if we got rid of them and it *didn't* make a difference.

Sigh. Again. At least the hyperfocus aspect of ADHD will come in handy while I go crazy dumping everything possible. :

If you've made it this far, thanks for listening. I'll be coming back regularly to post my progress.

Martha

p.s. I'm honoured that you posted on my thread - I'm a big fan of yours from Frugality and Finances!
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#20 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your support. It really helps to know that people are thinking of my little family and wishing the best for us.

To the people who were inspired to clean - it makes me feel awesome to know that my scary experience is helping people I don't even know. If it saves even one baby, it will have been worth it.

Martha
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#21 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to say I've had a couple of great things happen already!

1. I found my prescription sunglasses that I need for the triathlon I'm in next week.

2. I went online to look up how much my juicer and a replacement pulp bin (old one is chipped and spews pulp everywhere) are worth because I want to sell it. I discovered that it was recalled 4 years ago and I can send it back for a new juicer or a cheque! Yay for me!
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#22 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 05:40 PM
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When you are ready to get rid of a bunch of stuff, call1-800-GOT-JUNK and see if they have a franchise in your area. They'll help you get rid of it fast.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#23 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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As a mama with severe ADHD (in the top 97% or so) I totally understand your feelings about this. It is very difficult. People do not realize how real the challenges are. You look "normal/average" why can't you perform that way? It is sooooo hard!

You can do it though. We both can. Our process may not look like everyone else....but it can still be accomplished.

I do not know if you are Christian but this helps me alot! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. :

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#24 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When you are ready to get rid of a bunch of stuff, call1-800-GOT-JUNK and see if they have a franchise in your area. They'll help you get rid of it fast.
Thanks for the tip! They are in our area, they leave flyers in our mailbox occasionally. The first time I swore they were targeting us though! A contractor we had hired to do some work left all his garbage on the porch and said he would be back with a trailer the next day to take it to the dump. Well, the next day came, and the next and he never showed up. Then the flyer came from 1-800-Got Junk. I was SO embarassed! We have a pickup and I sent DH to the dump with the garbage immediately! I've since realized that they were just starting in our area and dropped the flyers off for everyone!

Having said all that - I have worked with a local professional organizer before and she knows all the local charities and what they need and will take. She found a place that wanted 20 years worth of National Geographics! I'll be calling her as we go through the process.

I can't believe how much progress I'm making! I'm filling up bins in our front hallway like crazy! And finding stuff that actually is important but it was put away safely and hidden behind all the other junk! I'm most excited about the sunglasses though because it was either shell out for a new pair or don't do the race. Not doing the race isn't an option because my best friend of 25 years and I have been planning this for months. Going without prescription sunglasses isn't an option either because I can't see well enough to bike safely and putting contacts in in the transition zone after swimming would be pretty much impossible.

I've been hugging and kissing my boys all day and telling them I love them a million times.
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#25 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As a mama with severe ADHD (in the top 97% or so) I totally understand your feelings about this. It is very difficult. People do not realize how real the challenges are. You look "normal/average" why can't you perform that way? It is sooooo hard!

You can do it though. We both can. Our process may not look like everyone else....but it can still be accomplished.

I do not know if you are Christian but this helps me alot! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. :
AngelBee - thank you SO much for the support. I don't have the official numbers yet but I'm pretty sure I will score in the severe category. It is incredible how good it feels to know that I'm not actually just a huge screwup who messes up everything she touches. I just want to scream it to the world sometimes that I'm not being a pain on purpose, I really can't do what you're asking of me. We are thinking of sending DS1 to preschool this Fall and a huge stumbling block for me has been the fact that the parents need to volunteer. The thought fills me with dread.

I tend to be a fairly low-key Christian but yesterday I felt like climbing to the top of our church's highest steeple and singing God's praises to anyone who would listen! And our church is a huge, Catholic cathedral-type on top of a hill that can be seen for miles around. There is actually a bylaw in our city that no buildings are allowed to be built that would obstruct the view of the church. That's a big church!

We can do it, I know we can!
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#26 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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I'm so glad your baby is ok!

I highly recommend EVERYONE taking an infant/child CPR class (and first aid).

One thing you are NOT supposed to do is do a blind sweep. A blind sweep is when you can't see the object and if it isn't in easy reach.

A blind sweep can push the object further down and lodge it. VERY scary and potentially lethal.

Everyone, please please please take a CPR class ASAP. Renew it every year. It does make a difference. They sometimes change things (with new research, etc) so it's important to keep updated at least once a year.

Now, having said that, I want to say I'm glad that your little one is ok.

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#27 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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I'm so glad your baby is OK!!

Good luck with the housecleaning and organizing- don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#28 of 49 Old 08-15-2007, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so glad your baby is ok!

I highly recommend EVERYONE taking an infant/child CPR class (and first aid).

One thing you are NOT supposed to do is do a blind sweep. A blind sweep is when you can't see the object and if it isn't in easy reach.

A blind sweep can push the object further down and lodge it. VERY scary and potentially lethal.

Everyone, please please please take a CPR class ASAP. Renew it every year. It does make a difference. They sometimes change things (with new research, etc) so it's important to keep updated at least once a year.

Now, having said that, I want to say I'm glad that your little one is ok.
You make an excellent point. Infant CPR is extremely important. I actually did a class earlier in the summer but retained very little of the information. I know now from the testing I've had done, why I've never been able to remember what I've learnt in the multiple CPR classes I've taken. One of my top priorities is figuring out how to learn the information in a way that meshes with my learning abilities.

I should clarify though. I did retain enough to know not to be blindly sticking my finger down his throat. When I say I did a sweep, I really mean around the lip area and a bit into his cheeks while keeping his jaw open a bit with my finger so I could look in. In retrospect, I probably wouldn't have seen it anyway since it was thin, clear plastic.

Thanks for the reminder - I'm going to look into studying CPR and First Aid in more depth tomorrow.
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#29 of 49 Old 08-16-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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You make an excellent point. Infant CPR is extremely important. I actually did a class earlier in the summer but retained very little of the information. I know now from the testing I've had done, why I've never been able to remember what I've learnt in the multiple CPR classes I've taken. One of my top priorities is figuring out how to learn the information in a way that meshes with my learning abilities.

I should clarify though. I did retain enough to know not to be blindly sticking my finger down his throat. When I say I did a sweep, I really mean around the lip area and a bit into his cheeks while keeping his jaw open a bit with my finger so I could look in. In retrospect, I probably wouldn't have seen it anyway since it was thin, clear plastic.

Thanks for the reminder - I'm going to look into studying CPR and First Aid in more depth tomorrow.
You know, there are various "cheat sheets" that you can get that list the steps to do and the summary of the information that you get in the class. I think some of them are even laminated or heavyweight paper, and you could definitely laminate them if not. That may be something good to have on the fridge or something in case you ever had a cpr/choking/first aid situation in the future.

That said, it seems like you handled the situation well and are handling it even better in the aftermath by dealing with your house situation really proactively! Good for you! I'm glad your little guy was okay.

Oh, in terms of getting rid of things, one of the suggestions I've heard is that you can take a photo of things when the actual object is something you don't need except for wanting to remember it and you want to get rid of. That way you can get the joy of looking at/ remembering things without the actual object cluttering up your house!
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#30 of 49 Old 08-16-2007, 08:35 AM
 
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Well, for some people (and you sound like one of them) pets are more healing than they are "trouble". I love cats, but I'm severely allergic to them. At some point in my 30's my allergies to them became so severe, I was practically unable to function. I had to get rid of them (2... both have passed away at their new owner's house). Anyway, I found that my house was also much easier to clean after the cats were gone... just a thought. I realize that pets are an emotional subject. My niece has classic asthma (perhaps perpetuated by my sister's smoking???? ) and pet dander is nearly lethal for her.

I wouldn't beat yourself up about what happened anymore... sounds like it opened your eyes and you are taking action. Feel good about yourself that you are able to see that you need to start decluttering, set some reasonable goals, and keep us updated! Good luck!! Make sure you keep up updated... it's great to feel you've accomplished something, but even better to tell others about it.
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