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I have been away from my computer for the better part of this past week. We’ve been seriously cleaning the house in preparation for Daughter’s graduation party, which was yesterday. This wasn’t some surface clean suitable for a quick visit; it was a deep clean that included sorting through closets and towels and sheets and fiber arts cabinet and emptying the back porch so Erik could paint it. I don’t have any “before” shots of the back porch to show you, but here are a couple of views in its completed state:

The back porch, all tidied up & dressed in spring green

The back porch, all tidied up & dressed in spring green

Another view of the back porch, June 13, 2010

Another view of the back porch, June 13, 2010

Trust me when I tell you that the back porch, to borrow an old ’80’s phrase, was grodie to the max. As you can see from the pictures, our porch is all windows, so it was difficult to get a shot of the cleanliness and spaciousness in all their glory. You can see Erik’s motorcycle table in the corner, which we moved in for the occasion.

Along with cleaning inside the house, which was a process we were engaging in right up until the point of the arrival of guests yesterday, we tackled the yard. We mowed, edged around the sidewalks, and removed brush. The children even revamped the fire pit and added seating, which was no small feat, judging by the weightiness of the seats.

Campfire ring all spruced up, June 13, 2010

Campfire ring all spruced up, June 13, 2010

Seating around the campfire ring, June 13, 2010

Seating around the campfire ring, June 13, 2010

Old porch pilons used to create campfire seating. They read "Knut Elvik," who was the man that built our house. The pilons had to be dragged from other areas of the yard. June 13, 2010.

Old porch pilons used to create campfire seating. They read "Knut Elvik," who was the man that built our house. The pilons had to be dragged from other areas of the yard. June 13, 2010.

While we were working in the yard, Erik and I spotted these cute critters:

Chipmunks on the wood pile, June 14, 2010

Chipmunks on the wood pile, June 14, 2010

This photo was taken during Daughter’s party yesterday. As you can see, the chipmunks are on a wood pile in our yard, which is a little distance from the house. When Erik and I saw the chippies a few days ago, they were hanging out on a garden wagon next to the house. While we were watching them, both of us were seized with the suspicion that they might be living in a hole under the foundation of our house. Sure enough, they scooted right in. With a bit of digging, this hole leads to the basement. If the chippies figure out how to get into the house, they are going to be very surprised to find three cats attentively waiting for playmates. If they know what’s good for them, they’ll stay out by the wood pile.

The party was a smashing success in terms of house cleanliness, number of guests, plenty of food, Daughter’s grad decor,  and lots of assistance from relatives and friends. Now that we’re finished (almost – still a little cleanup to do), we’re ready to collapse for a few days.

Thanks to everyone who loaned us stuff, brought food, and helped with party preparations.

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