Kerri Ough - a work in progress...

January Cure 2015 – Part One

My January Cure: In Fits and Spurts 

I’ve just left home for nine days which means I’ll have to get creative if I want to finish the whole “Cure” in the allotted timeframe. A big part of why I like doing the “Cure” every January is because I’m following someone else’s plan to improve my home. I’m not the one coming up with the projects. I’m not the one deciding when to do what. I’m on their schedule, and in this instance, I love it.

Assignment #1: Flowers and Floors

This step was time consuming, but totally worth it. The “floors” part happened about 4 days after the assignment was listed. Partly because I had houseguests and didn’t feel like committing the time to cleaning while they were visiting, partly because the weather outside was incredible and it’s more important to me to go outside when I can, than to tidy my house. But by midweek, with everyone out of the house (houseguests back to Ontario; husband back on regular work days) I tore the house apart and cleaned the hell out of the floors. Our living room rug sheds balls of blue wool everywhere. The shedding is slowly letting up, but it was about time I got control of that thing. It’s like living with a muppet. A big, blue, shedding, flat, muppet. I’m so glad I took the time to do this, our floors feel great, especially in those hidden, neglected spaces like behind a dresser, or in the corners our feet never touch.

blue carpet

The flowers part is an exact repeat of last year. A 10-dollar bunch of daisies from the nearby supermarket. I love having flowers and plants in the house, it makes the air feel good and they’re a treat to look at.  My husband (Brian) loves them too, but has an odd way of showing it. When I go away, Brian is enlisted with the chore of feeding our plants and tries, at least once to remember to do it. When I came home from tour in December I spent a week coaxing my plants back to life. I own rugged plants, knowing the hostile environment I’m subjecting them to, and though most survived me being away, there were two casualties. Brian says I buy weeds, I say I buy survivors. Adding flowers to our home is a huge bonus. It looks good, it feels good, and we both love seeing them on our table. He’s home now, (and I’m in the airport lounge in Toronto), and he’s making no promises about how he will care for the flowers and plants while I’m away. But that’s ok. It’s our arrangement and I’m good with it.

Assignment #2: Make a List of Projects

I actually located my list from last year’s January Cure and just started making amendments I crossed off a lot of items and was not totally surprised at how many still remained on the list. I’ve lived in St. John’s for eighteen months, and I’m happy to say it now feels like home. So much so that if someone were to ask me to move back to Ontario, I’d be sad about leaving my house behind. My job as a touring musician has me constantly coming and going, and there are times when I haven’t seen my house for five weeks in a row. This is good for two reasons: 1) I never spend enough time in my house to get bored with anything so I’m always appreciating the things Brian and I have done to improve our home and 2) because I’m in and out so often, I’m constantly getting a fresh perspective on the things I love about my home and things I’d like to change. The bad side of this, is it takes me twice as long to do things for my home as it should because I keep leaving halfway through a project, or I don’t start a longer project, knowing I’ll be uprooted in short order. This isn’t a complaint, I love my career and I love coming home and tackling the next thing on the list as I find time to do so.

Assignment #3: Set Up an Outbox

The outbox project is and was fun. We own a stack Rubbermaid bins that sit empty in our basement. I pulled them out last week, gave them each a title, and went beyond the outbox suggestion, and started sorting everything that’s been accumulating in our junk room. For years I’ve been trying to get a handle “stuff” I have gathering in baskets and jars and boxes. It took an entire day (one of the perks of working from home) but I gutted the shelving unit in my red room and dumped so, so, so much stuff in these four bins. Now, I’m going to let them sit until the end of the month, and decide whether I’m keeping the stuff in the bins or dumping them.


Assignment #4: Purge the Pantry

I share my life with a happy-purger. When Brian doesn’t like something (clothes, furniture, knick-knacks) he is happy if not eager to get rid of it. He’s especially big on getting rid of the things underfoot. In our kitchen Brian’s a fan of “using everything up” before buying more whereas, I like stockpiling dry goods when they’re on sale so I always have what I may need on hand. Our pantry is small, and pretty easy to sort through. Cleaning the pantry revealed to me, that our combined desires to stockpile and use up our goods are working just fine. I’m mindful that too much stuff makes it hard for Brian to know what we have, and he’s okay with me buying in bulk as long as there’s space for everything. Still, there are hitches from time to time. Over the holidays Brian sent me, in a panic, out for more coconut oil because we were really low (in his words.) When I came home and put away the new jar of coconut oil, I found an unopened jar in full view and also noted that his “we’re getting low” jar, was still a quarter full of coconut oil. My happy purger is as full of contradictions as I am. He wants to get rid of the perfectly functional lamp in the basement but needs at least 100 garbage bags in the house at all times.

Assignment #5: 10-minute Meditation and Pick a Project

I didn’t do this. What I mean is: I haven’t decided yet on the project I’d like to complete. I’ll do this when I get home.

Assignment #6: Flowers and Kitchen

The kitchen is a weird one for me. It needs a lot of improvements, new counters, a new paint job — mostly an overhaul. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kitchen, it’s big and bright and that makes me happy. We have plenty of storage and our Ikea butcher blocks act as extra counter space. It’s clean and I spent the weekend cleaning it even more. The next step, in my opinion, for our kitchen is a bigger, more expensive renovation. So until then, I’m just keeping it clean and clutter free.

Assignment #7: Get a Get-Together Together

I’m so excited that this is actually going to happen this year! First, on February 5th with a couple of friends I’ve met through Brian’s work. It’ll be low-key, snacks and drinks, and then we’re going to a concert at a nearby theatre. Then on February 23rd my best buddies and bandmates are coming to town for a show (YAY!) and I’ll be hosting them in my house! They visited when we had just freshly arrived in St. John’s, when the house was still so new to us! So many changes have gone on since then, that I think they’re really going to enjoy seeing the changes. I can’t wait to host them for a night or two (oh, and also perform a show in my beautiful, new, wintery hometown!)

Assignment #8: Surface Sweep

I’m pretty good at doing this most days. Our house can go from cluttered to tidy in a manner of minutes, that I found this enjoyable. So, on top of the surface sweep, I gutted the shelf in our entryway and fixed it up. Threw out old mail, sorted our toque and mittens bin, and arranged our separate wallet/key/chapstick areas.


That brings us to today:

Assignment #9:  Work on My Project

Spend some time on the project that you selected last week and move it forward, or even complete it, if possible. Let us know what project you chose, what you’ve been doing and where you are at in the process

This is obviously not happening, because I’m in the Toronto Pearson Airport Lounge eating pasta and writing about the first half of the month. I’m eager to get home Friday Jan 23rd though and dive back in. I love being in my space, and figuring out how to make it happier, cooler and more functional for the two of us. So far this year we are hosting his aunt and uncle, and a bunch of my friends and their kids, so I think by the time May rolls around, our house is going to be pretty much set up for anything. In the meantime, thanks for reading… I’ll pick this back up in a few days when I get back to Newfoundland.


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