sitting at home on the laptop with Charlie behind me

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At the very end of last summer, I wrote a small “pup-date” to share a few stories with you about Charlie and Stella since they moved in together. A lot of you guys LOVED it and asked for more. So, I’m here to give you another!

large dog Charlie and small dog Stella - side by side update

This post is sponsored by my friends at Swiffer and Febreze. As many of you know, I’ve worked with Swiffer for several years to help speed up my cleaning routine, and I am very grateful for their support. Their products are perfect for my busy working schedule!

swiffer and febreze

When I first thought I about writing this post, I was going to keep it focused on the dogs alone. However, I quickly realized that a lot of my stories about them involve our routines, which are directly impacted by the fact that I work from home and how we’ve learned to make that work best for us. I know some of you guys are curious about that, too, so here you go!

Working from Home: the Ups and the Downs

Ok, so working from home: it’s great, right? Most people say that, but it has its downsides, too. It seems like more and more people telecommute these days, so I know lots of friends who have a love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, you don’t have to get out of your pajamas, you never get stuck in a traffic jam, you can take breaks with no shame when needed, and lots of other benefits. It’s rarely boring or even “routine” in the strictest sense, since the day to day tasks of running a DIY blog can be labor-intensive, filled with phone calls, or computer work (emails/writing/editing/continuing education).

stella's sleeping while i'm cleaning

The downsides are basically the other side of that same coin: there are lots more distractions than an office, the lines between “work time” and “home time” blur (I work a LOT of hours because of that alone… I need to be more dedicated about shutting “off,” but it’s hard to do!), and it takes a lot of self-discipline to stay on task and get the job done. The fact that there’s no true routine can add to one’s stress or anxiety if you’re the type who can’t sleep if they think they’ve forgotten something (coughmecough). And, as I’ve learned ever since K moved in, my office (aka the house) is now a shared space that takes consideration in ways it didn’t before!

dogs in the bed

I’m a night owl and have regular sleep issues, so I sleep in most mornings and work a long day that can be any combination of computer time, project time (loud tool use or odors like painting), and phone calls. When he walks in the door in the afternoon (which varies day to day as to the precise time), the dogs get massively hyper and the crazy gets turned up to 11. He wants to relax, call his family, and decompress. Instead, I’m usually in the middle of my workday around this time. We haven’t gotten it 100% perfect, but we do try to accommodate each other; we’ve had a number of talks that have helped him realize that he’s basically walking into my shop/office, so I cannot/am not willing to stop what I’m doing, but he also needs space and a break so he can take a quick nap and then join me in my projects if I need the assist. The more he gets involved with the blog (he’s coming to Haven to learn more!), the more adapting we’ll do.

The Pups + Working from Home

Charlie and Stella are part of the “distraction” of working from home, too. But, I don’t see it as a negative thing, really. Whether I’m trying to get some writing done or working on a home project, the pups are simply part of my daily routine, and it’s pretty much impossible to avoid working them into every task. They’ll follow me outside, into the garage (if I let them), try to share my lunch, and have taken it upon themselves to be Head of Security (ALARM! BARK BARK BARK!). They will nap right next to me on the couch if I’m drowning in emails and I can’t get away from the computer. But if my day is full of DIY, they’re usually off doing their own thing and regularly stopping in to supervise (I love that I’ve been adding video to my posts because whenever my footage shows I was very focused on the task, I notice during the edit how much they came by to check in!).

As much as that might seem like a regular interruption (and let’s face it — that’s a given), I love working from home and having them around. We have a wonderfully sweet connection in a million different ways from our interactions all day long that K just simply doesn’t get to be involved in. It’s ours alone.

computer work on laptop at home

As you can imagine, that also means dealing with lots of crumbs, shedding, tracking in dirt, smells (why does Stella have gas on every conference call?!?), and other pet upkeep that I have to work into my “work” schedule. And that’s why my partnership with Swiffer and Febreze simply works; they really make things easier to stay on the job without bogging down my day with cleaning.

Quick Cleaning While Working from Home

For dirt/mud:

Swiffer WetJet, all the way. I can’t emphasize how little time (or patience) I have for cleaning that isn’t fast. But ALL DAY LONG, Charlie and Stella love going outside to the back yard. And then back in. And out again. Stella loves to dig in the garden beds (we’re hoping to tackle that issue later this summer with a project she can’t climb into — she’s wrecked them and we need to overhaul!). Charlie just likes to sit and look out over her domain. She began this habit last summer after we finished building the deck and shed, and she may even believe we built both for her.

charlie dog outside on deck while cleaning pet hair and paw prints inside on floors

Whenever they come in, I can pull out the WetJet and trap and lock away the dirt in minutes. Pretty simple, so there’s no sweating the mess. The new Pet refills have Febreze Odor Defense too, so it’s built right into the cleanup.

For odor

Febreze! It’s safe for pets and takes care of the FUNK that Charlie carries in with her after an afternoon of baking in the sun. They both love sun spots, and Charlie’s habit is to run directly into the house and plop herself on the sectional before anyone else can steal a spot (if you get up to the bathroom, she does NOT believe in saved seats). If she’s been out in the sun, I don’t want that sweaty dog smell in my couch or rugs (and it doesn’t make me very pleasant when I’m drafting emails, either ?). A few quick sprays of Febreze Fabric on the couch and Febreze Air Pet Odor Eliminator in the air, and it’s gone.

Charlie on the rug and spraying Febreze on couch

When the Day is Done

When I’m finally done with the work day (for a few hours, at least — I usually pick the laptop back up when everyone’s in bed and I can’t sleep again), it’s time for dinner, TV time, and nightly walks. It’s during this time that things like the dishes, laundry, and other cleaning takes place. About once a week, we try to use the Swiffer dry cloths on the staircase to pick up the shedding.

wipe pet hair from stairs with swiffer dry cloth

Stella has started playing a new game when we get back home after our nightly walk. She lets you get close to her like you’re going to pick her up to take her upstairs to bed, but instead, she’ll zoom into the kitchen, out of your reach… then through the dining room and living room, looping back to the staircase. If you play into it, she’ll go 2 or 3 laps before you “catch” her ?.

It’s the cutest thing, especially because Charlie does not care about this game at all and wants nothing more at the end of her walk to eat, and her food bowl is directly in the path. So she’ll actively block Stella’s zoom into the kitchen with her big fat butt in the middle of the hallway. Stella gets super disappointed at this, so we’ll wait until Charlie moves to continue the chase, rather than catch her before she’s ready.

Stella napping while I'm cleaning the kitchen

So, there you have it. A few more peeks into our day at the UDH. Really, it’s mostly an excuse to share pics and video of the pups under the guise of normal post structure ?, but I’m doing it for future me, who will be glad I wrote down the little stories of these two wonderful dogs and how much they enriched our lives.

cleaning shortcuts for living with pets

Your turn! I’d love to hear a cute story about your pups (be it work-related, their habits, or cleaning up after them). Leave one in the comments!

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  1. Hi, it was so nice to receive your email and updates, I especially loved seeing the pictures of your babies(dogs). I just lost my dog (dachsund) his name was Oscar. I lost him May 16th at 2am.
    Just wanted to say thank you for talking and sending out pictures of your dogs. I just wanted to share.
    Thank you

    1. To Carmen, I am so sorry for the loss of your furbaby. Just wanted to send you good thoughts for healing.
      Sarah, I love your update and how you deal with WFH. I used to WFH part-time, but only had a cat at the time. Now I have a dog and a teenager! I am trying to find a job that is a remote job, but they tend to be hard to come by! I need to look into the Swiffer floor cleaner. I have Bona but I don’t care for it that much. Thank you for all that you do.

      1. The WetJet makes the task of cleaning SO much easier for me. I get muddy paw prints all the time — our price to pay for developing a back yard that’s fun to hang out in, ha!

        I’m working on a new thing for my home office soon that you might be interested in. I’ve been learning as I go with this whole WFH thing and I think many people out there are starting to share that experience (part time, telecommuting, etc.). So, I want to create a new project about my home office and make it truly a solution for those of us who work remotely and need that separation from “home” to be productive. Stay tuned for that one; I’ve got some quirky ideas but I think it will be awesome!

    2. Oh Carmen, I’m so sorry to hear about Oscar. If you have a pic (don’t we all have a bunch? ?), be sure to email it to me! Sending you lots of love right now. I always love hearing about other people’s pups whenever I share new pics of Charlie & Stella, so I’ll be sure to keep the pupdates coming. ;)

  2. I had a wetjet at my old condo up in CT and didn’t replace it when I moved to SC because I have the Shark steamer-thingy, but this post reminded me that I need to get a new wet jet! Steven tracks in dirt constantly and a quick zip of the entry will help us stop tracking into the apartment. Thank you for the reminder!

    1. You’re very welcome! It’s quick and easy and I am SO LAZY that this is the perfect amount of clean for the work. I loved when Swiffer told me that they polled folks and they were mostly after “80% clean”. I related to that so much!

  3. Your pups are so cute! I’ve got a dog and cat and it’s so fun having them around to interact with all day (well, the dog at least. The cat mostly does her own thing haha). The pet smell is real though. I use a combination of freshener spray and professional cleaning every few months to keep it at bay. I’m also a huge fan of candles to cover up smells I might be too busy to deal with at the moment.

  4. I got to say, you’re pretty patient with them, that they can go in and out and track dirt whenever, and doesn’t give set hours for outside play time? We usually give them window hours to go outside, so we can keep the clean up to a minimum.