First time vacuuming – three years after we moved in!
Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do. In fact, it is something I dislike so much that I am willing to pay someone else to do it, which is exactly what I did until recently. It was decided that since I am now home more that there is no need to pay someone else to clean our house. I must have been daydreaming during this decision making process because there is no way I would voluntarily agree to get on my hands and knees and scrub my kitchen floor. I literally have a recurring nightmare about cleaning the toilet and the cleaning brush flicking little bits of toilet scum into my mouth. I would never knowingly bring this nightmare to fruition. All I know is one day my cleaning lady was no longer coming to the house after my husband talked to her. Since dust bunnies were multiplying and nobody seemed to be doing anything about it, I finally came to the conclusion that I was the somebody that was supposed to be doing something about it. All I could think is there had to be someone more qualified for this job than me.
Growing up I helped clean the house every weekend. My job was to dust. It apparently seemed like the appropriate job for a child who was allergic to dust. I think my mom knew better than to put a piece of metal in my hands and send me to push it around the house banging into furniture. I have blamed this childhood chore for my dislike of cleaning since the first time I had to clean my own house. I know this is a fallacy, but I am holding onto it with both hands. Freud may have been wrong about a lot, but he had a point with his theory that everything is mom’s fault. It can’t possibly be my laziness and sense of entitlement that has caused this extreme distaste for cleaning my own house.
One of my least favorite things to do is vacuum. It doesn’t seem like it would be a hard task to accomplish, but my track record with vacuum cleaners is not good. I once stood in the driveway with our little compact vacuum trying to find the power switch for about twenty minutes. I was attempting to clean out my car with little luck. If I couldn’t even turn the thing on, I clearly was not meant to operate the device. I took that experience as a sign to abort all future missions with vacuum cleaners.
When you vacuum once a quarter, the bag looks like this!
The next time I used this compact vacuum cleaner, the only vacuum I ever used since I moved in with my husband over fifteen years ago, was when my daughter was a toddler. My husband grabbed his phone and took a photo since he was pretty sure it was the first and last time he would ever see me use the vacuum. He even called my daughter in so they could watch me. It was apparently like watching a monkey use a tool for the first time. His positive reinforcement was not going to work on me though. I didn’t pick up another cleaning gadget for years.
Last week something brushed up against my leg while I was walking up the stairs. Since we no longer have a cat, it scared me more than a little. I turned around to see a dust bunny hopping down the stairs looking like a tumbleweed blowing through the desert. The time had finally come for me to attempt this cleaning thing again. Two days later I dragged out the vacuum that I had banished to the guest bedroom closet. I was pleased to see the power switch right near the handle. That cut a good half hour off my cleaning time right there. I plugged the vacuum in and started pushing it around my office, but all it did was push the little bits of paper and fuzz around in circles. It wasn’t picking anything up. I turned the machine off and looked at my husband throwing my hands up as I said “it’s broken. This thing doesn’t work.” He just laughed and told me that the bag was probably full. I gave up and went downstairs.
After another two days I decided to figure out what this full bag situation was all about. I know that vacuums contain bags, I have even ordered said bags online. What I didn’t know was how or when you need to replace a bag in a vacuum. Apparently now was the time and I was going to figure out the how of it. I dragged the vacuum down the stairs, expecting this project to be messy. I was correct in my assessment. When I opened the front door and pulled out the bag, a cloud of dust exploded from the hose and globs of shredded paper poured out. To say the bag was full was a bit of an understatement. The bag was ready to blow, which may explain why the top of it was duct taped to the inside of the vacuum. Somehow I managed to attach the new bag to the hose, put the vacuum back together and drag it back upstairs to finally get to work.
I swear people live in this house!
After four days I was finally prepared to vacuum the portion of our house covered in carpet. I plugged in the vacuum and started pushing. This thing was fancy – it even had a light on the front, you know, for late night vacuuming. Heaven knows when I can’t sleep the first thing that comes to mind is cleaning. I pushed the vacuum through my bedroom feeling victorious for all of ten seconds before the vacuum turned off. No warning alarms, no sucking up half of the curtains, it just died. I checked the switch which was turned to the on position. I even plugged it into another outlet thinking it could have been the power in the house, but nothing happened. No light, no sucking, no nothing. I pushed the vacuum right back to it’s home in the closet and returned downstairs. This settles it – I am not destined to clean. Luckily my daughter has decided that cleaning is fun. Let’s just hope she is not allergic to dust!
One of us had a custom plate…
My friend texted me the other day that she got a new car. She didn’t notice her new license plate until she was approaching her car from the rear at Costco. The license plate began with “BJ” which made her want to drive right back to the dealership and return the car. I told her it wasn’t that bad. Well, unless it ended in “QUEEN” or started with “FREE”. She kept the car.
I have seen a lot of interesting vanity plates over the years. I have never had one, and I have a feeling that they wouldn’t print anything I would want my plate to say. I remember spending some time in Washington DC and being amazed at the amount of vanity plates. It made sense with all the politicians and their over-inflated egos. Of course people had to know who they were, even if it took a license plate to give them their proper recognition. Maybe it is trendy with the transplants. Some of the plates I had to look at for a full minute before I could decipher what they were trying to convey. None of the plates were comical or ironic like the ones I like to see. I didn’t even see a single “POLILOSER” or anything similar. Boring.
In the city I live in, I don’t see very many vanity plates, but when I do they are actually pretty helpful to me. I can pull up next to the plate that says “Shriya” and yell “Hey Shriya, congratulations on your first time driving a car. It only took you two and a half minutes to navigate that turn and you almost missed that mailbox!” I feel it’s nice to call people by name when you can. A thumbs up is also appreciated. Sometimes they even return a hand gesture, but that is usually from a driver with the “MYTOY” or “VETTEGUY” plate.
I was behind a car a few years ago that had a vanity plate that read “HOTTIE2”. I guess “HOTTIE1” was already taken. I thought I was behind a beauty queen runner up but when I pulled up beside the 1998 Cavalier, there was a 90 year old man peering over the steering wheel. Hottie 2 indeed. Maybe he meant Hottie World War 2. Either this old guy had a wicked sense of irony or he had borrowed his granddaughter’s car. Either way, I liked him. His granddaughter probably got that plate thinking it would prevent people from asking to borrow it. Well played old dude. He got a thumbs up which immediately caused him to swerve into the curb.
My family was driving a month ago headed north to go visit my Grandmother. We pulled up next to a van with a plate that read “CREEPEN”. It was a dark van with tinted windows in the back. All it needed was a sign on the side that said “FREE CANDY” to complete the look. It would have been funnier if it wasn’t in mid-Michigan where the movie Deliverance could be considered a documentary. The van was full of a group of college guys. Now I am really hoping the plate was meant to be ironic. If not, it is at least a great public service announcement.
It got me wondering if “CREEPER” or “CREEPIN” were already taken. If not, I may have found my vanity plate. They are going to love me when I pick up my 7 year old from school!
Not surprisingly, I wrote this piece while listening to some punk rock. Die, Die My Darling by the Misfits of course!
The view and the aroma was good in my corner bedroom!
As I lie in bed last night reading my book I could smell bleach as if there was a bowl of it sitting next to me. I thought maybe it was coming from the bathroom where I had cleaned earlier in the night so I walked in to take a sniff, however, there was no bleach smell at all. Apparently I didn’t clean that well if the smell had already dissipated. I went back to bed and picked up my book again only to find the bleach smell invade my nostrils once more. I quickly took a whiff of my hand and found that the smell was indeed emanating from me. This is typical. I probably got more bleach on myself than I did on the surfaces I was cleaning. I’m sure I will also find splotches on my pajama pants in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of bleach. I am one of those weirdos who likes the smell of bleach, gasoline and paint. In fact, the smell of bleach reminds me of moving into the loft that I lived in before moving in with my husband. This isn’t because the place was so clean it smelled of bleach, truth be told, the place was probably not technically fit to house human beings. It was above a bakery, so most days it smelled of freshly baked bread and cinnamon rolls. It was also a party house, so it smelled of stale beer and cigarette smoke too. But, for one night, it smelled so much like bleach that I got lightheaded from the fumes.
It was the night that I moved in, on my 30th birthday. My parents were coming over the following day and after a bottle of wine and cupcakes with a few friends I had determined that the place was not presentable. I was already nervous about my parents seeing the place where I had chosen to live. I was not known for making good choices about my living arrangements. After living in a co-op with a worse reputation than the Faber College Delta House my sophomore year in college, I had tried not to let my parents visit often. As a matter of fact, I don’t think my mom ever came to that house after my dad warned her about the fact that $150 of the $250 per semester rent went to cover the cost of the kegs that were regularly replenished in the walk-in refrigerator.
Maybe the bleach peeled the paint…
So needless to say, the fact that I was moving into another space that would host parties on the regular was not information I wanted to share with my parents. Unfortunately it was hard to hide with a mountain of empty beer bottles piled on a corner counter in the kitchen and a freezer full of Jagermeister. Also, I couldn’t guarantee that a gaggle of musicians wouldn’t show up in the middle of my parents’ visit. The front door didn’t even have a lock – which was why my dad was coming over to install a deadbolt on my bedroom door. Literally, there was no lock on the front door, but that’s not to say we didn’t have a security system. Our alarm was a floor that was caving in right inside the front door where our old ping pong table stood at an angle. Any would-be robber would take one look and assume nobody actually lived in the loft.
Looking around the loft I wasn’t quite sure where to start but the floors seemed to be something I could handle. The kitchen floor hadn’t been scrubbed in possibly forever, so I started there. It was of the 1950s linoleum variety, so it was pretty easy to scrub. Within a few minutes the floor went from brown to yellow and I almost regretted cleaning when I saw the actual color of the floor. It completely clashed with the once cream colored carpet. Plus, the stains on the carpet really stood out next to the sparkly linoleum. I evaluated the carpet and determined that the camouflage pattern was not intended, it was beer stains and dirt. I vacuumed until my hands were vibrating and the stains were still as black as ever. I finally decided that the best option would be to treat it with bleach, so that is exactly what I did. I spent the remainder of the night scrubbing at the stains on the carpet with diluted bleach. By 3 am I had scrubbed out the majority of the stains and I was delirious from the bleach fumes. I dumped my dirty bleach water and headed to bed.
Ted Nugent could have passed out on our floor and never been discovered!
I awoke the next morning and walked out to find all of the stains back in their camouflage pattern throughout the living room and down the hallway. Apparently the dirt from the base of the carpet crawled right back to the surface once the bleach dried. I debated pouring more bleach on the stains but I opted to let them do their thing. I would rather have my parents see the filthy carpet than have them wonder if I was trying to cover a murder scene with the overwhelming smell of bleach wafting through the loft. Interestingly enough, my parents never mentioned the stained carpet or bleachy smell.
I never tried to clean that carpet again. As a matter of fact I think I only vacuumed a few times after that day. I once handed a guy a bucket full of bleach water and a sponge when he made a mess all over the floor one night. He laughed until he saw the look on my face and he quickly got to work. Those stains were still there on the day I moved out.
I only lived there for about six months, but the smell of bleach still makes me think of that long first night. Other things come to mind when I think of my time living at the loft like watching drunken idiots jump down into the bakery with no way to get back upstairs, 6′ tall guys sleeping in my giant clawfoot tub, people cleaning cake off the walls while being carried on another person’s shoulders with a mop, and sledding down the stairs on bread racks. But those are all different stories for different days.
Coffee and punk rock is all I need to get things done today!
Since I left my nine to five job in January I have become pretty carefree. So much in fact that my husband has been calling me “The Dude“. I can’t really blame him. I have taken up wearing a uniform of sorts which consists of pajama pants and a CBGB tank top with a sweater that looks like a homeless man was wearing for years before handing it over to me. When I leave the house I throw on a pair of workout pants to “dress it up a little”. It usually stops people from trying to hand me dollar bills at the grocery store. I’m not going to lie though, on occasion I just throw on yesterday’s pajama pants. Don’t judge me! (more…)