Little Discoveries while cleaning at Babci’s

by Sandy L on March 9, 2011

I can’t believe 2 months have gone by so fast.  Babci is coming home from Poland this Saturday and we’re all looking forward to her return.  She may even come home to a bathroom that doesn’t have rotten+moldy shower walls, a tub that drains and a new non-stained toilet that has a toilet seat without a big crack down the side of it.  My friend always said the seat would pinch her in the butt when she sat on it.  What a naughty seat that was. It never pinched me or Babci’s rear, so perhaps it only hit on single girls.

I spent most of Sunday cleaning her house. It was dust covered from top to bottom because of the sanding and sheet rocking we’ve been doing.  Although the job stunk, it was very interesting going from room to room and seeing her resourcefulness here there and everywhere.   Money Crush believes that  one of the keys skills to having extra money is follow through.  Here are a few examples of where Babci had a need and followed through with a simple yet practical solution to her problem at hand. I meant to take some pictures, but this post would never go out if I did.

  • A kitchen chair leg that was screwed back together with a drywall screw
  • The kitchen table that was also screwed together.
  • An oriental rug from a tag sale that was cut into several smaller area rugs
  • A bed that sat too high so she jimmy’d a little platform on out of wood on the floor to lower it down.
  • A comforter made from several sewn together blankets from tag sales.
  • A bunch of kitty litter and spackle buckets that she uses for cleaning or moving veggies in and out of the garden.
  • Duvets sewn together from sheets bought at yard sales.
  • A towel that she bolted onto a mop head to use to mop the floor.
  • The Ritz Cracker Tin that she uses to store flour.
  • The countless recycled glass jars from salsa and pickles and sauces.
  • Dishcloths made from cut up old towels
  • She also has several sewing projects in mid repair. She often buys stuff that doesn’t fit at yard sales and alters them to fit her 5’2″ frame. I also left her my own pile of holey outfits to fix upon her return.

As an aside, having a family member that sews is like having a cat.  There are always little threads that get on and into everything. I don’t know how she can stand it. The house as of now is thread and fabric scrap free. I’m sure that will last about 5 milliseconds.

It’s interesting because I’ve bought her rugs that weren’t ratty in the past and she has replaced them with these scraps and tried giving me back the original rugs. I guess to her rugs are a functional, not a decorative floor covering. She has these scraps in her hallway because she can just chuck it when it gets too ratty and replace it with another hunk of scrap.  If something’s too nice, she worries about ruining it and wasting money.  I have to just let her use her towel mops and realize she’s happy with the system she devised for herself.

We’ve been fighting over getting her a new bed as well.  She claims she loves her mattress. It’s about 14 years old and because she weighs over 250 pounds, it’s really taken a beating.   Sometimes I struggle with when I should just buy something for her because she needs it, vs just letting her decorate in her own way.  I may have to put my foot down on the bed though.

Does anyone want a picture tour of the inside of Babci’s house?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos March 9, 2011 at 6:34 AM

Love this comment: “As an aside, having a family member that sews is like having a cat. There are always little threads that get on and into everything.” In the last couple years that Mrs. 101 has gotten heavy(er) into sewing, the fabric scraps have metastasized into many nooks and crannies.
Yes, a photo tour of the inside of Babci’s house would be very interesting…. especially the kitchen.


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:48 PM

101-okay, I’m glad it’s not just me. Fabric scraps tend to get everywhere. It really is amazing. They must go to the same place that missing socks congregate.


Niki March 9, 2011 at 7:01 AM

Sounds like my grandmother’s house, except the sewing. My grandmother just recently moved in with my father. She is of pioneer stock, eighty five and still accomplishes more than I do on any given day, but she lived on a farm that just got to be too much and it was too far away from town and family. My dad is always noting her resourcefulness, like making sure a tuna can or a mustard jar is EMPTY and fixing things.
I think I would like to see pictures. It would be very interesting.


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Niki – Babci also grew up on a farm, so that’s probably why you see the similarities.


Nicole March 9, 2011 at 8:13 AM

ROFL love the comment on the randy toilet seat.

Those cat litter buckets are useful. I always feel guilty when we get rid of the extra. (Really we only need like 2 of them total for any purpose.)


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Nicole – Babci gets all hers from the neighbors recycle bins, so some of them do get used even when they are thrown out.


Money Beagle March 9, 2011 at 9:29 AM

I actually thought ‘a screw is a screw’ when repairing the shower door. I learned the hard way that some of them will rust and some won’t, so I had to replace it again (and clean up all the rust spots). Hopefully the drywall screw in the chair fared better!


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Money Beagle – Galvi screws are much more expensive. We use those as a last resort.


Money Reasons March 9, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You had me laughing out loud from real while I was at the library on “perhaps it only hit on single girls.”, very funny and clever! It’s funny the look people give you a few seconds after the event…

I admit, I also have a few of those kitty litter buckets, that I use for things such as a drive salt bucket, a bucket lined with a Target bag (no hole in the plastic) for refuse from the cat litter box. I put the refuse in and put the lid on top, that way I don’t have to go to the trash can everyday with dragging a bag throughout the house. In a similar fashion, I use one for the dog…

I think it would be cool to have a tour of the house, but I would also feel like I was be a peeking tom 🙂


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Money Reasons – I’m glad I was the source of your embarrassment at the library. Yeah, my girlfriend urged me to change the seat a few times but we knew the remodel was on the horizon so she tolerated it for the last few visits. I can’t wait til she comes in April. She won’t be able to recognize the place. She usually stays at Babci’s house because she likes old ladies and it’s much quieter than kids town, aka our house.


Laura@move to portugal March 9, 2011 at 12:51 PM

This post has me laughing out loud!
I screw things together too..but not very well; you sit on one of our garden chairs at your peril!

Your mother is amazing!


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Laura – you made me think of when I was pregnant with my first child. I was pretty far along and VERY FAT. I was sitting on my lawn chair and it collapsed under me like a pile of tinder sticks. I was enormously pregnant, so then I rolled around trying to get up. Finally my husband gave me a hand all the time laughing, but not until after he ran back to the house, got a camera and took a picture.


Lindy Mint March 9, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I would love to see a picture tour! I have never in my life heard of cutting up an oriental rug to make smaller ones. It makes me smile to think of it.


Sandy L March 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Lindy – I snapped a few photos today after work. Hopefully I can get them up in the near future.


krantcents March 9, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Your story and examples reminded me of my mother! She made things from donated material that she would sell at a open air market on Saturdays and donate the proceeds to a charity. She did this into her late eighties. She was from Poland, do you think there is a link?


Cesar A March 14, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Sandy, again you have me laughing and thinking how your mom an mine were raised the same! They hate to throw out what can be used for something new! Those plastic buckets are so useful to her. She carries peacan, uses them as mop buckets, stores fabrics, etc. Since my father is still going strong as a pecan farmer with no time to help around the house to fix things, my mother has become very crafty! She has many bottles of super glue and duck tape is her favorite. She uses duck tape or any industrial tape to put things together like curtain rods, shower rods, tv antennas, etc. She tackles chair repair with a hammer and nails and a few screws and a squirt of wood glue! Those items that can’t be repaired are kept in storage for the hope that they get repaired in the future. Every time I see her she claims that her house is a mess mechanically since I moved out. I was the only one that helped her repair the home. I still dedicate a day or two every time I go visit to fix things : ). I also go and “help” her throw away any items that are no longer needed! I am trying to keep her and my father from being in the show “Extreem Hoarders”.


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