My rug-cleaning fiasco

pixabay image

Once again, I jump in feet first and use my brain second. Mistakes and failures are great teachers, and I seem to repeatedly rely on them to make life interesting.

This one involves not writing, but rugs.

It started with Tornado Boy (age barely-4) who stayed at our house last weekend. After indulging in bowls of ice cream with Grampy, he suffered a sugar-crash, decided to go to bed, and then perked up with an ill-fated second wind – the kind that’s usually headed toward disaster. Tornado Boy left his clothes in the bedroom along with his brain and decided to enjoy the balmy outdoors in his birthday suit.

Grampy and I were on the lawn, and Tornado Boy was on the elevated deck being wild and silly. Amidst his antics, he picks up the garden hose and starts blasting the lawn and garden with water, waving it around like a lunatic and trying to spray us. We’re laughing at how cute he is until he aims the hose at the open window into our living room.

Grampy and I yell to stop, but Tonado Boy is in Crazy-Over-Tired-Land, and the water is spraying a jet stream into the house. From where we’re standing, there’s no access to the deck and, completely delirious, Tornado Boy is having the time of his life. With no end to the torrent in sight, I sprint around the house, take the steps three at a time, run the length of the deck, and grab the hose. Tornado Boy looks at me with a bewildered expression and explains that he was “washing the house.”

Grampy disappears for a walk with the dogs while Tornado Boy and I face the mess.

The living room is soaked: couches, chairs, rug, computers, tables, mail… the floor is a puddle. I drag the rug outside onto the deck, move the furniture around, and use every towel in the house to dry things off. We all take a deep breath and go to bed.

The next day, after Tornado Boy goes home, I decide that I might as well wash the rugs since they’re long overdue for a cleaning.

(This is where Grammy has her turn at making a mess.)

I drag the upstairs rug out to the deck too. I go down to the barn and get the rug-cleaning machine, bring it up to the house, and fill it with water and dish liquid because I don’t have any rug cleaner and I’m out of laundry soap. I tap the ON button and nothing happens. The Hoover is dead (unsurprising since it was in the barn during the last flood).

But that doesn’t stop the determined. I squirt dish liquid on the larger of the two carpets and get out the hubby’s power-washer. If it can blast moss off the deck, it can blast dirt out of the rug, right? So I spray the carpet and start scrubbing it with my bare feet. I water some more, add more soap, and lather it up. Works great!

Then, I try to spray the soap off.

Well, spraying soap off a flat, saturated rug doesn’t work, even with a power-washer. It creates bubbles, lots of bubbles, massive impenetrable mountains of bubbles. I need to drape the rug over the deck railings so I can hose off the soap, but full of water, it weighs about 400 pounds. It’s not budging until it dries – soap and bubbles intact.

Having learned from my mistakes, I march off to tackle the smaller carpet. I drape it over the rails first, skip the dish liquid, and just power-wash it. Easy peasy. It will dry in place.  A couple hours of blogging later, I find the large carpet dry enough to drag and heave over the tops of the deck chairs for a hose-down. I check the clock, and the rugs have 5 hours to dry before Grampy gets home from work.

By the time the Subaru climbs the mountain, all evidence of the crime is cleaned up. He’ll never know. And my carpets look clean!

Now, I guess you can see which side of the family Tornado Boy takes after. 😀

 

20 Symptoms of Writeritis

image from pinterest.com

image from pinterest

This 2-yr-old post was one of my most popular, and for those who missed it, I once again share the symptoms of this incurable condition.

***

As some of you know, a pervasive syndrome has troubled a segment of society for centuries. After years of research, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders finally classified these symptoms under the diagnosis: Writeritis. 

Writeritis is defined as a persistent, maladaptive pattern of writing that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by six (or more) of the following within a single month:

  1. A marked craving for increased amounts of writing, and longer periods of time to write.

  2. An unquenchable thirst for coffee.

  3. Repeated efforts to cut down or control word count are unsuccessful.

  4. Withdrawal occurs when writing is discontinued or suddenly reduced. Symptoms include shakiness, moodiness, and/or irritability.

  5. A tendency to rapidly relapse into extreme patterns of excessive rewriting – even after periods of abstinence or control.

  6. After writing, a compulsive urge to return and edit.

  7. An inability to initiate household chores until a plot hole is resolved.

  8. A clinically significant preoccupation with the motivations of imaginary people.

  9. Obsessive attempts to manipulate and control the lives of main characters.

  10. A tendency to forget the time, fail to make dinner, and/or eat in general.

  11. Overt rumination about murder, fear, revenge, evil, and/or world-conquest leading to extensive research and placement on the TSA watch list.

  12. Unusual or intense need for colorful verbs accompanied by an aversion to the word “was.”

  13. Periods of anxiety regarding commas.

  14. Unrepentant willingness to jeopardize a significant relationship, job, or educational/career opportunity due to a need to finish a chapter.

  15. Thrives on creating conflict and will often escalate disputes to the point of violence.

  16. Uses fictional fantasy words in Scrabble and argues that they should count as real words.

  17. Writing is continued despite a persistent physical or psychological problem that is exacerbated by staring at a laptop.

  18. Frequent disruptions during sleep to jot down a section of dialog.

  19. Tends toward exhibitionism and “showing” it all.

  20. A compulsive need to write about something, including not being able to write.

Do you have Writeritis?

Spam folders – A love/hate relationship

compliments of pixabay

I just learned that SPAM (the kind in a can) turned 80 yesterday. In honor of Spam, here’s a little spam.

I make lots of comments on blogs, and WordPress decides on occasion that I’m a spammer. They shovel me into spam folders where I’m eventually discovered by my blogger friends, sometimes weeks later. I don’t take getting spammed personally; it’s just part of life on WP, and it’s not like the sky is going to fall if my comments slip into the deep, dark void of the blogosphere.

I’m not great about checking my WP spam folder regularly, but I do check it. And thank goodness it’s there! I would NOT want all this craziness showing up on my blog. Aside from the usual lists of links, there are the nonsensical sentences, the political rants, the porn invites, and the insinuations that my blog requires some assistance.

Just for laughs here are a few that I found this morning in response to “My Chili Attempt” (spammer links not included for obvious reasons). I wonder what it was about my chili recipe:

This sounds like a great deal for people that can save there gallbladder. Removing the stone would be the better choice. (Now, my chili wasn’t that bad!)

Sexy girls and small widows. (Small widows?)

I see your page needs some fresh posts. (Apparently, this spammer doesn’t like my attempt at humor.)

Many реорle have repеаtedly nотicеd а тuмоr undеr thеir аrmріts. (Um, thanks. Good to know.)

Of course, the physical aspects of tennis training will also make one stronger and fitter. The Dallas Cowboys have been working hard this off-season. (But are they eating chili?)

This is where the services of an electrician become necessary. The best part is that he shared his golf equipment importance. (He had me until “golf.”)

lawyers as well as shopping mall trolling “talent scouts” tend to be practicing their finest outlines to strengthen any kind of idea how the following Miley Cyrus may be residing below your own roofing. (I’m not sure I follow.)

Study my new devise erotic sexbot (An erotic sexbot? Hmm. We’re getting way off track here.)

Taylor Swift is a racist white supremacist … and she voted for Donald Trump TWICE. (Did she really? Why, Taylor, why?)

Started unusual spider’s web stand out. (Yeesh, I give up.)

There are many more, most too offensive or too dull to share. I usually scan and delete, but couldn’t resist a little silliness this morning. Remember to check those spam folders for your friends, and thank the WordPress algorithms for saving you from the rest!

 

 

Taking a break from taking a break

This is my destination (close enough). Image from Pixabay.

On Sunday, I’m off to visit the old folks (older than me anyway) in the Colorado high desert.

My parents haven’t acquired any of those new-fangled gadgets like wireless “internets” and email is still on par with magic. Their town is devoid of coffee shops because those places attract liberal, tree-hugging, Bernie supporters (like me). Needless to say, I will be offline for a couple weeks.

I’ll probably be engaged in manual labor, which is my father’s idea of family fun. Last summer he had my brother and me trekking into the hills and hauling rocks for his stone wall. I think we made 30 trips with the old Subaru and transported 200 rocks before dad attempted to jump a gulch and ripped off the back end of the car.

My brother won’t be making this trip as the volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has him grounded. So, I’m on my own. Think of me while I’m dragging dead branches out of federally-owned land, piling them on top of the same Subaru, hauling them home, and cutting them up for firewood. (The trees are that little fringe of dark stuff on the top of the mountain in the photo).

My mom is legally blind, so the rest of the time will be spent talking about their eventual move to Oregon over my dad’s dead body, and I’ll be cleaning the house. She does an amazing job considering, but she needs help, and these stubborn proud people refuse to allow help in the house. Actually, they do hire help, and then my mom says she can do a better job herself and chases them out asks them to leave.

My dad is hard at hearing, and since only old people wear hearing aids, he clearly doesn’t need them (he’s 87). The television volume is set on nuclear, and he’ll be ranting about Trump, while my mother and I shout at each other over the noise. We’ll be sharing the sofa with nine cats. It will be so relaxing.

I will be completely absent from blogland and anything resembling a normal life for the duration of the visit. Wish me luck. I’ll be back in two weeks.

P.S. For the sake of family peace, it is my daughterly duty to advise you that this post is the pure unadulterated truth grossly exaggerated. 🙂

Living with Nature – Snakes.

A  little creature that shares my world.

In most of my books, nature has a strong presence. It’s part of “write what you know,” and I often joke that I was raised by wolves. An exaggeration, but I was lucky enough to be brought up in the outdoors and feel quite comfortable in the woods.

Here’s a picture of my playpen, built by my dad out of sticks at the cabin overlooking Skylight Pond in Vermont.

When I was about 12 (and my brothers were 11 and 8), my parents used to drop us off on the Long Trail in the Green Mountains and pick us up three days later, fifteen miles down the path. We read maps, dealt with unexpected snow, built shelters, shooed porcupines from our food, and cut pine boughs for our beds.

1985 – On a month-long trek in Wyoming. I still have those clothes!

On other occasions, they’d leave us with the old canoe under a bridge (no life jackets back then) and pick us up miles downstream at the end of the weekend. It was a blast. It was normal. And somehow, we survived, even as our adventures increased in daring and duration as we aged.

Fast forward 25 years from those first independent forays into the wilderness: I married my husband, a man from Atlantic City, New Jersey. A city kid willing to brave country living for the sake of love. And, his encounters with wildlife make for endless comedy.

A few examples:

1 – Turtles. I’ve never seen a man run so fast as the first time he came across a big turtle on our hiking path. It was the size of a dinner plate. I pointed it out to him, mostly so he wouldn’t step on it. “Wow, look at that turtle.” He shrieked, hands flew up, and he ran down the trail in the opposite direction.

2 – Bugs. Tornado Boy was over last weekend, and he was expressing a lot of concern about spiders and bees. I called my daughter, “Are you and his dad teaching him to be afraid of bugs?” She denied any role in that behavior. Then I looked out the window and saw Grampy sprinting across the deck, swatting at an imaginary swarm of killer bees. “Never mind,” I told her.

3 – Snakes. We have lots and lots of little garter snakes around here. They’re about two feet long and not much thicker than a pencil (mostly). I try not to leave the doors of the house open because the hummingbirds fly in and can’t find their way out without help, which involves ladders.

A tiny thing that eats slugs, worms and insects.

But yesterday, I was gardening and left the door open for about 15 minutes. My husband came tearing out of the house in a panic because two snakes decided to take up residence. I found the smallest one quickly as it slithered away from me. I picked it up and let it go in the bushes. The second one was hiding.

After a short hunt, I dragged it out from behind the furniture and held it for him to see from where he stood thirty feet away in the front yard in case he needed to run. I let it go and twenty minutes it was back trying to get in the house again. No luck, the door stays closed.

Other Oregon wildlife to be scared of if you’re from the city: Slugs, bats, coyotes, salamanders, and large frogs. But that’s another story.

My Chili Attempt

Perhaps some of you remember my Oven Saga where I survived without an oven for 4 months and only one stovetop burner for 6 years. The culinary arts are not my forte, and I blame the ineptitude on my childhood. When I was growing up, we had a garden, but everything else came out of a box or can. I never learned to cook.

But I try.

To fill some of my new free time due to my writing break,  I decided to make chili. How hard can chili be?

You might also remember my post about how I learn by Failure. This approach to life I also attribute to my childhood and my dad’s tendency to jump into projects high on enthusiasm and low on planning. That’s me. So here goes:

First I defrost the lamb burger (acquired from a local farm). Add it to the skillet with some chopped onion and fresh garlic, and since the only pepper I have is an orange bell pepper, in goes the orange bell pepper. Good so far.

Everything is cooking nicely, so it’s time to add the tomatoes and tomato paste, but I don’t have any. Uh oh. It’s already time to improvise. I rummage around in the cupboard and… aha! I have some canned tomato bisque soup! So in goes the tomato soup. It’s a little thin, but I can doctor that up. Just you watch.

Add the kidney beans. Check.

Now, I sent my husband to the store last week for chili powder, and he brought home two little jars of red stuff. “Chili Powder” the jar says. I scrounge in the cabinet, grab the jar of red stuff, and a jar of coriander seasoning. No cumin, oh well. I add coriander and open the jar of the red stuff, scoop some into the skillet and taste test.

Hmmm. Doesn’t taste very chili-ish. So I add some more. Tastes sort of odd, not bad, just… different. Hmmm.

To counter the lack of chili taste, I add garlic powder and more coriander. Still not right. Add more chili powder. Then I notice the label – Red Curry Powder. He got two jars of red stuff, but only one was chili powder! Now, what to do? The answer is obvious. Dump in a huge helping of chili powder and garlic powder to counteract the red curry powder.

All the powder is starting to thicken up the tomato bisque soup nicely. I told you I could doctor it up!

Add a little garlic bread (made with bagels because I’m out of bread) and the husband said it was good!

ALL TRUE!

Guest author: D. Wallace Peach – Room to Breathe

I’m honored to guest post over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo today. If you have the time, stop over to say hi. ❤

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Photo: Sue Vincent

I’m delighted to guest blog today on Sue’s wonderful Daily Echo. I’m sitting in my recliner looking up, wondering what to write. There’s a ten-foot long spider web hanging from the ceiling fan to the beam over my head, gently blowing with the heat circulating around the room. Tapestries of cobwebs grace the corners of the high windows that I can’t reach without a ladder. More delicate threads crisscross the Christmas star that I never took down – from 3 years ago. I kid you not.

When my grandson was 2 years old, he said the house was “spooky.” I laughed but didn’t whisk them away despite the cute commentary.

It feels good to sit and stare for a few minutes, to breathe and relax and study the floating web and the way it catches the light.

I’ve been writing full-time for seven years and blogging…

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