Dirty Teeth, Hell is Cold, and Kittens

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11. My kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in 3 days so it looks like I haven’t touched it in 71 years. Kitchens are the Lamborghini of rooms. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. Sparkling clean to health hazard before your last bite of Cap’n Crunch at breakfast.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in the freezer. If you know me then you know I’m completely miserable. Freezers are cold. You ever watched Scrooge? Not Scrooged. Just Scrooge. It’s a version of A Christmas Carol. During the Ghost of Christmas Future scenes we find out that Scrooge dies next Christmas. The movie shows Scrooge dead in hell being forced to work like Bob Cratchit in a freezing cold room. Freezing cold for eternity? That’s hell, people.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:11 and I’m elbows deep in hell the freezer and the phone rings. Well now I’m not only cold and miserable but I’m also annoyed because I hate talking on the phone. Send me a text message. I will not return your calls. I won’t. Stop trying to make me. I paused to listen as the answering machine picked up the call just in case it was important.

“Hi, I’m calling from Dr. Rodger’s office…”

Eyes fly wide open, lunge for the phone scattering frozen hamburger patties all over the kitchen floor.

The dentist! The boys had dental appointments at 3:00.

So, it’s a Tuesday afternoon at 3:12 and we’re flying down the road dodging the elementary school kids on their way home from school. Get out of the way! And that’s when I remember that I left all my frozen hamburger patties scattered all over the kitchen floor. ARGH.

Drop kids at the dentist, head back home to stuff everything back in the freezer, head back to the dentist.

But hey–the reason I forgot the dentist today is because we unexpectedly took the day off from school to go get a new kitten. Two hour round trip. Totally forgot about mundane things like dental appointments.

I’ll be doing a newborn kitty photo shoot soon so you can see him.

My Home is Showcased in a Major Magazine, Sort of

So the other day a friend posted a link to an estate sale.  Here’s the link.  Oooo.  Fun!  I settled down to look through the pictures and gawk at all the stuff. Most of it was pretty bad.  I mean, there were framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears.  No, I’m not kidding.  See pictures #48 and 51.  Framed pictures of hobos and teddy bears, people.  That’s pretty bad.

Hobos and teddy bears aside, there was something pretty amazing in one of the pictures, right at the beginning.  Look at picture #1.  I’ve copied it here for you:

Do you see that awesome piece of furniture in the front right?  Oh, I love that piece of furniture.  Why can’t I have amazing furniture like that?  I sat there and just drooled over that piece of furniture for a good, oh, 10 seconds.

Until I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing furniture like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have that exact same piece in my dining room right now.  See:

photo (1)

Wow.  Silly me!  I didn’t even recognize it at first.  Huh!

A couple of days later I was reading my HGTV magazine and this ad caught my eye:

photo (2)

It’s all about dust triggering your allergies.  Ok, whatever.  What I was interested in was those books.  Look at those books!  Aren’t they just lovely?  Old beat up, dusty books, you just can’t get any better than that.  I would love to have those amazing books.

And then I realized…uh…wait.  Wait.  I do have amazing books like that.  I mean, really just like that.  I have one of those exact same books.   The green one.  The Thousand and One Nights–see:


My copy isn’t as beat up as the one in the ad and the greens look different because the books are in different lighting, but look!  My bookcase is covered with dust, just like in the ad, and it even has a cobweb, just like in the ad.  I shined a little flashlight onto the book from beneath so you could read the title.  Look at what a lovely job it does of showcasing that cobweb.

But, silly me.  I’ve been saying things like, “My home doesn’t look like the homes in HGTV magazine,” yet it does.

This has got to be one of my proudest moments.

Two Things I am NOT Thankful for

Two things I have NOT been thankful for today:

Thing 1:

All the horrible singing that goes on when you listen to To Hobbit on an audio recording.  OH MY WORD.  People who read books out loud are not the same people who can compose Dwarf Music on the spot.  There we were trying to soothe ourselves while doing the dread task of Cleaning The Playroom by listening to the Hobbit.  I mean, cleaning the playroom was bad enough, people, but when the reader started warbling the dwarf song at the start of the book, Boy11 ran from the room screaming and Boy8 just crumpled to the ground and wept.  Why, oh why couldn’t the reader have just said the Dwarf song?  Why did he try to compose a tune on the spot and then sing it?  Thank you, thank you, thank you Peter Jackson for hiring a real live musician to come up with that really cool dwarf melody in The Hobbit movie.  Thank you.

Thing 2:

THIS clothes hanger.  THIS CLOTHES HANGER!  I hate this clothes hanger.


You all know how cheap Darling Husband and I are.  We rarely use our clothes dryer.  Dryers are wasteful of both energy and money.  Everything gets put on clothes hangers which are then hung on extra shower curtain rods in the shower stalls to dry for free in the air.  For free!  Ha!  Free!  I love it!

However, without fail, WITHOUT FAIL, every time I try to hang a hand towel on a hanger, I inadvertently reach for THIS clothes hanger.  Do you see the problem?  What’s up with those little plastic columns on the inside edges of the hanger?  I can’t stretch the towel out on the full length of the hanger so that it can dry smooth.  No.  The edges bump into those plastic columns on the inside edges and leaves my towel bunchy and wrinkly.  I have about 70,000 hangers and none of them except this one have those little plastic things that get in the way.  You’d think that the odds would be low that every single time I dry those towels, this hanger pops up again.  There I am hanging smooth towel after smooth towel on all the normal hangers and then BAM! I run into this hanger.  Do I run into that hanger when I’m hanging shirts?  No!  When I’m hanging underwear?  Never!  Only with the towels.

It’s concrete shoes and the river for you, Hanger. 

Homeschool, Spanish Inquisition Style

Boy10 went to Karate Day Camp this week.

Whose idea was it to give the kids karate lessons anyway?  That was probably the dumbest parenting decision we’ve ever made.   The benefit of children being smaller than you is that you can fling them around and pin them down and tickle them.

But now, because of dumb old karate, they can defend themselves.  Now when I try to tickle them all I get for my trouble is a poke in the kneecap.

Pennsylvania homeschool laws state that we have to teach our kids physiology, which is:



  1. The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.
  2. The way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.

As part of my end of year portfolio I’m going to include a video of the kids demonstrating their knowledge of physiology.  They could show exactly how body parts function when you bend back a person’s finger or poke your fingertips between their ribs.  Karate teaches physiology, Spanish Inquisition style.  Did you know it takes the same amount of pressure to snap a person’s finger as it takes to snap a carrot in half?  I’m sure that knowing how much pressure it takes to snap a person’s finger is not what they meant when they wrote “must learn physiology” into homeschool law.

Or maybe it was.  I’ve told you before that they close the schools on the first day of hunting season and I personally know children who have driven tractors to school on Drive Your Tractor to School Day.

Back to karate camp.

Boy8 didn’t want to go to karate camp so I took him to visit with a new friend while Boy10 was at camp.

And oh, the stress.

Friend8’s mom invited me to stay while the boys played since we don’t know each other.  The problem? Friend8’s mom is sweet.  Truly sweet.  Not fake out your coworkers sweet to aggravate Mike, but a genuinely gentle soul.  And, oh, the pressure!  Boy8 really likes her son and I didn’t want her pegging me as a Bad Influence, so we had to be on our best behavior.  It was rough, people.  I was afraid that at any moment I’d temporarily lose control and bark out a disgusting snot joke and that would be the end of the friendship.  I was exhausted by the time I got home and had to lie down and play Candy Crush on the ipad.

And what made it worse was that Friend8’s mom is clean.  Noooo!  Not both sweet and clean.  Her sweetness compounded with her cleanliness was Stressing Me Out.  I’m going to show you why but if you are easily frightened you should stop reading now and most certainly do not scroll down to the picture.

You’ve seen blog posts in the past making fun of my dust, but you’ve never, and I mean you’ve never, seen dust like this.  This is dust to make one’s mother proud. This is the sort of dust that is so thick you can pick it up with chopsticks and put into glass cases to show as a Wonder of the World in the local traveling circus.

The other day I moved a long row of books that have been on top of a bookcase for a number of years, well above my eye level.  I don’t dust anything above my eye level so the dust has been accumulating, as dust does.

But this dust was different.  This went well beyond your normal dust accumulation into something spectacular.  There comes a tipping point when the sheer volume of dust brings a tear to your eye, and not just because of all the pollen.

Here it is:


On that first The Magic of Oz book, you can see that there’s something stamped on the pages but it fades away into the murky depths of the dust and you can’t make out all the words.

Here’s another part of the stack at different angle with different lighting.  It’s slightly blurry.  It’s hard to focus on dust.


So, there I was in my new friend’s house and it’s spotless.  Just neat as a pin.  And she apologized for the mess.  Why do neat as a pin people always apologize for the mess when there is none?  Neat people have super laser vision, because I never see all the dirt they see.  All I could think about was my lovely dust and how proud I am of it and how sorry I was for her that she didn’t have a dust collection like I do.

And no, I didn’t keep the dust.  I took the books outside and used the leaf blower to clean them off.

The Queen of England, Perfume, and Permanently Deleted Files

So, I decided to shoot all my pictures in RAW today.  What’s RAW, you ask?

I wondered the same thing.

From what I understand if you shoot all your pictures in RAW, no matter what the picture, even a picture of yourself taken in front of the bathroom mirror, late at night, with two of the bathroom light fixture light bulbs burned out, your mortgage will be paid off by an anonymous donor, you’ll be chosen to be the first (insert your career here) to walk on the moon, and an official from Parliament will knock at your door, blow a shiny golden horn, and announce that after thorough investigation of your family tree, you are actually the rightful queen/king (circle one) of England and you simply must drop everything and head directly to Buckingham palace, posthaste.  Shooting in RAW is just that amazing.

But really: shooting in RAW makes your picture files reeeeeally big.  The benefit of that is when you go to edit the pictures, you can make more adjustments which makes for a better image.

But, it makes your picture files reeeeeeally big.

So, before I started editing today’s pictures, I deleted the ones that didn’t turn out.  Bam!—into the recycle bin.  And instead of letting them sit there until the end of the evening, like usual:  BAM!—“empty the recycle bin.”  “Do you want to permanently delete these files?”  Yes!  Yes, I do!

And about two seconds later, “Noooooooo!”

I deleted the picture that I wanted.

Oh, I had the most beautiful picture.  If only I could have shared this picture with the world every puppy would find a home, the sky would be continually filled with rainbows, and perfume would last all day long, even the cheap stuff.

Fortunately, I was able to crop down a different picture to recreate my deleted picture.

Here’s the picture that needed to be cropped.  I needed the sign that’s sitting on top of the dishwasher.

Here’s the crop.

Of course, this picture is just dreadful.  The original that I took, and deleted, was breathtaking.  I was planning on contacting National Geographic about it first thing on Monday morning.  Alas, it’s not to be.

Read it carefully.  Carefully.  See it?

Yes, folks, today we bought a dishweasher, and oh-ho aren’t you jealous?  Wouldn’t you like to have a dishweasher?   Even the staff at Sears was delighted and giddy with joy when Darling Husband pointed out that they were lucky enough to have the honor of selling a Real Live Dishweasher, nestled in the sea of ho-hum dishwashers.

Our new dishweasher will be delivered on Wednesday.   After 9 months of handweashing our dishes, our little bundle of joy will finally arrive.  I’m thinking of having a dinner party for 12 on Tuesday night, just so that my entire set of dishes will be waiting to be weashed on Wednesday.  Well, a dinner party of 11, since Boy7 broke one of my plates a few weeks ago.

I’ll serve lasagna and grits and let them adhere to the plates overnight.  No worries, I just know my new dishweasher will be able to handle it.


Obama Chia is enjoying his sauna.  (Obama Sauna.)  He should be able to come out of his bag/greenhouse/sauna in a few days, when his grassy hair takes root.  I’ll keep you updated.

A Piercing, A Near Drowning, Vodka, and My Russian Basement

It was a really rough day all around for everyone.

First of all, I arrived at the homeschool co-op to find that the Hands On Science preschool teacher called in sick–and so did all her helpers.

Except for me.

And the Dr. Seuss preschool teacher was MIA, as were the helpers.

Except for me.

Huh?? Wait a minute…I thought my gig as a preschool teacher was done.  Grrrr.

While I was hastily and bad-naturedly cheerily coming up with a completely lame brilliant craft project involving brown paper bags and broken crayons, the Dr. Seuss preschool teacher arrived.  Yay!  She made us eat green eggs and bacon.  They tasted better than I thought they would.

But when I went to pick up Boy7 from his class, I found that he’d lost an eye and gained a piercing.  Those homeschoolers are so weird.  Leave your kid alone with them for a minute and this is what happens!

Apparently, raising an Obama Chia Pet is much like raising a toddler.  You know how they say to keep buckets of water covered because toddlers will fall in them?  Yup.   Here’s where we found the Obama Chia: in one of the buckets of hurricane water.

You know how plastic bags are This is Not a Toys and need to be Kept Out of Reach of Children because they’re Suffocation Hazzards?  Yup.  Obama Chia got into the bags today, too.  Sheesh.  I didn’t realize it would be such hard work keeping an eye on him.

Somewhere in the middle of all the drama today, I made my way down into my Really Creepy Basement that’s Full of Million Leggers to hang up some laundry.

It’s impossible to walk into that cold cinderblock basement with those holey rags without breaking into a Russian accent and asking for a vodka.  From what I could tell from the Anti-Communism propaganda reports on 60 Minutes in the 80’s, this basement would be high livin’ in Russia.  Except they’d probably have a Rubik’s Cube in there somewhere.  I remember a 60 Minutes about how Russia was getting a few things from the West, but mostly it was just Rubik’s Cubes.

Speaking of vodka, did I tell you about the time my dad was getting up to go to the kitchen and I said, “Can you bring me a drink when you come back?” and he brought me a glass of “water” but really it was vodka?  I was about 10 and took a big gulp.  Parents are so bizarre.

Ended the day at Barbetta’s house for a Non-Soup Day.  Instead it was a Grape/Orange/Candycorn/Danish Night.  I got a picture of it on the iPad, but I can’t figure out how to get it from the iPad into this post….

It’s mere minutes till midnight!  Done writing!

Trying to Trick the Blind Guy, My Dirt is Prettier than Your Dirt, and Butter Spray is Evil

Check out this spam comment I got on my blog:

“I think that everything published was actually very reasonable. But, think about this, suppose you wrote a catchier post title? I am not suggesting your information isn’t good., but what if you added something that makes people want more? I mean Girls Fart, Men Cry, and Where is my Sock? dustylizard is kinda boring. You should look at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news titles to grab people to click. You might add a video or a pic or two to grab readers excited about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.”

Gee, they’re right!  “Girls Fart, Men Cry, and Where is my Sock” is such a boring title!  I’d never read a post with a dull title like that.  I’d better pop right over to Yahoo’s home page and learn something about snazzy titles for my blog posts.  And I’ll get right on that bit about adding pictures to my blog.  I’m so glad they sent me this message.


While I do a pretty good job of maintaining the cleanliness level of the home, and will even sort through paper piles that would make a less stalwart woman pack up and move back home, when it comes to mindless and thankless out of the ordinary cleaning projects that will take longer than 3 or 4 minutes, I tend to wander off in search of a good book before all the cleaning supplies have even had a chance to be gathered.

Wow.  That was a long sentence.  I really should go back and edit it, but I’m too scared.  If I try to shorten it, it’ll turn on me and attack.  It’s like a sentence from Baltimore Sun newspaper.

Darling Husband and I used to have a volunteer job reading the newspaper over the radio for blind people. The guy who headed up the radio station was named Bob and he was blind.  He could do that thing where he could tell who you were by your footsteps.  You would walk in a room and he’d say, “Hi, Jackie,” before you said a word.

Darling Husband used to try to trick Bob into thinking he was someone else by hopping into the room, or dragging one foot behind him, or tip-toeing.  But, obviously, no one else would ever do something like that, so Bob always knew it was Darling Husband.  And Darling Husband would pretend to be shocked and say, “How did you know it was me?”

At the radio station, Darling Husband and I would read from the Baltimore Sun, whose articles had the longest sentences ever.  The Sun reporters challenged each other to see who could write the longest sentence each week.   They would each throw a dollar into an old Styrofoam coffee cup every morning and whoever wrote the longest sentence by Friday would get the cup of money.  No, I don’t have proof of it, but I did read their articles on live radio for a couple of years, so I know.

Anyway.  I’ve digressed yet again.  I meant to write about cleaning.

We’ve been using cooking spray every single day with giddy recklessness, while making pancakes for our picky children.  The tiny globules of oil have been gleefully flying around the kitchen in a rodeo free for all, and then massing on the stove and sticking there with bulldog tenacity.

I wanted to get a picture that would give you a small insight into the overwhelming nature of the task, so you would understand how horrifying the job was going to be.  But the stove looks so disgusting in the pictures that I don’t want to terrify any small child that might be walking past the computer while you read this, so I’m not going to post the more revolting pictures after all.

However, the below picture of the globbed on fuzz turned out delicate and beautiful.  There’s a thick layer of lint that got stuck in the oil globules and made the stove hood fuzzy.  To see the fuzz in all its glory, I needed to take the picture from the side, but it was too dark in the kitchen to do it properly.

Then I remembered how we learned at Photo Club that if you don’t have enough light in a room, you can add light with a flashlight.

Look at the stove from the side, zoomed in nice and close, lit with a flashlight I’m holding in one hand, and focused on one little band across the picture.  The lint looks like a delicate snowflake.  It’s like a work of art.  Such a shame to clean off such beauty.

But I did.  And I have now banned cooking spray from the house.  We’ll use old fashioned butter from now on.


One more picture of the day.  Look at my calendar.  I circled the one day in the entire month that didn’t have anything scheduled on it.  Today.

Gerhard and Bridgette and Mom:  I couldn’t bear to answer the phone today, on the one day without something on the calendar.  Last time I had a somewhat free day, I made the mistake of answering the phone.  Never again!  I’ll call you guys back tomorrow.

Bees Make Grown Men Shriek Like Little Girls,Toilet Bowl Brushes are Fun, and Darling Husband almost died from Anthrax

Today the boys were wild.  That’s because I’ve been mostly ignoring them for the past few days because I’ve had too much to do.  When I woke up this morning, I still had too much to do, but now I also had wild boys to contend with.  What to do with these wild boys?  I considered enrolling them in school for the day, but then realized it was a Saturday, so that wouldn’t work.

So I made them help me clean the house, starting with the bathroom.

They love to clean the bathroom, and don’t we all?  I gave one of them a tub of Clorox wipes and told him to have at it in the sink.  And the other one got to play with the toilet bowl brush.  They fight over who gets to clean the toilet.  Of course they do!  Playing with that brush is the best part of cleaning the bathroom.  I’m just upset that they’re old enough to do it and I don’t ever get a turn.  As long as you don’t get too ardent in your scrubbing and fling water into your eye, you’re ok.

If cleaning the toilet is the most favorite job, then sorting the clean socks and underwear is the least favorite job.  I try to pawn it off on the boys entirely, but the results of that are sketchy.  Usually the boys end up fighting in the middle of a big pile of socks and underwear and everyone’s miserable by the end of the day.

Today I tried a different approach.  I had a laundry basket stuffed with socks, underwear, dishtowels and hand towels.  No, I don’t wash the dishtowels with the underwear.  This was two separate loads of laundry crammed into one basket.

We each had jobs.  Boy7’s job was to stuff the boy socks in their drawer and fold the dishtowels.  Boy9’s job was to stuff the boy underwear in their drawer and fold the bathroom towels.  My job was to fold the grown up socks and underwear.

My other job was to sort through the laundry basket and toss each item of clothing into its own pile.

This meant I got to hurl the socks at Boy7 and the underwear at Boy9.  They loved it.  They thought it was the best thing since fishsticks, and folded the towels in record time.

You have to be sneaky to be a parent sometimes.


Later in the day I heard Darling Husband call out, “Boy7!  Noooo!”  Crash…tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.

Light bulb.

Speaking of broken light bulbs, how are you supposed to clean up those new-fangled light bulbs with the mercury in them?  It reminds me of the time soon after 9/11 when there were all those anthrax scares.  One of my coworkers, Mildred (name changed to protect the silly) saw some white powder by the sink at work one day and called a Hazmat team to investigate.  We got out of a half days’ worth of work and got to stand in the parking lot until the team arrived and tested the powder.

‘Course, poor Mildred had already been exposed, so she had to stay inside.  I remember her sitting forlornly swiveling on a chair waaaay on the other side of the atrium while we filed out of the building.  There she was in her regular clothes while the hazmat team bustled in past her, puffed up with their clean air and rubber suits.  We couldn’t help but think, “Too late for you, Mildred!” while she sat there breathing in the anthrax air.

Course, they only evacuated the first and second floor, and not the third floor where Darling Husband worked.  Yes, we worked for the same company.  While the people who worked on the first and second floor were in the parking lot, Darling Husband stood at the floor to ceiling window on the 3rd floor clutching his throat and falling to the floor for our entertainment.  Yes, Darling Husband was the class clown in school.

That was also the day we learned that another coworker, Morty (name changed as well) was afraid of bees.  A bee was on the parking lot and kept flying near Morty which made him shriek like a little girl and dance about.  Grown men running around in parking lots, shrieking over bees is hugely entertaining.

What a great day at work.

And the powder was just some sort of baby powder that an overly enthusiastic woman sprinkled all over herself in the bathroom.

Psst! Wild Party on the Coffee Table Tonight–Bring Your Pinata Stick! and Farting Animals are Inspiring

Today was all about Cleaning The House.  I have a guest coming to visit on Saturday.  This guest has visited plenty of times before and has officially been bumped from “guest” to “friend who’s like family, so get your own drink” status.

And, apparently, once you’re in the “friend who’s like family, so can you pick up the oreos on the way over” status, I don’t have to clean for you, other than hiding the dirty dishes in the basement or somewhere.  Vince taught me this last Tuesday.  He popped over (with 27 of his kids) for his walk/bible study that he and Darling Husband are doing together, and tried to make his way into the kitchen.

If you recall, the dishwasher is broken and we’re too cheap to replace it.  We’re usually good about keeping up with the dishes.  Well, truth be told, Darling Husband is usually good about keeping up with the dishes.  Me, not so much.

But Darling Husband hadn’t done the dishes so there were all of Tuesday’s dishes plus Monday night’s dishes to be done when Vince tried to make his way into the kitchen.

Vince lives in a nice clean house and has a bit of OCD and I didn’t want to dismay him too much with my messy kitchen.  He might refuse to eat a dinner made in my messy kitchen ever again, so I told him, “No guests in the kitchen!”  He got a little miffed and said, “Guest?  I’m not a guest!  I’m a friend!

I ungraciously let him in and, thankfully, he was so involved in trying to convince Darling Husband to watch The Walking Dead that he didn’t even see the looming piles of dishes.   Darling Husband isn’t going to watch The Walking Dead, no matter how much Vince raves about the storyline.  He hates grisly movies/tv shows and threatened to tell Vince spoilers about Once Upon A Time, if he didn’t stop wah-wah-wahing about The Walking Dead.

Finally they left me in peace, and while they were on their walk, I washed those stupid dishes for 40 minutes and still had a teetering pile on the countertop left to do.  But after 40 minutes of dish washing, I was sick of dishes, so I started writing the blog instead.

Back to the point of the story:  after Vince’s offended reaction when I called him a guest and wouldn’t let him see the messy kitchen, I realized that I don’t need to clean for Saturday’s “friend who’s like family so can you drive me to the airport”.  In fact, if I clean, he might even get insulted like Vince did!  Oooo.  Smooth move, right?   The old, “I’d better not clean the house or my guest will get insulted” trick.  Boy, am I clever!

But then I remembered that the whole point for this “friend who’s like family, so can you help darling husband install a new chandelier”’s visit is to take pictures of my house so he can be a guest writer on the blog.  Dagnabbit.  I don’t want to jinx the guest writer deal.  As much as I like writing the blog, having a guest writer every now and then does give me a night off to watch Once Upon a Time with Darling Husband.  But all the picture taking means I’m stuck cleaning, even at the risk of offending my “friend who’s like family so can we borrow your car while ours is in the shop.”

I haven’t had a guest in a few weeks so the house has gotten messy, messy, messy.   Apparently, my possessions have wild parties at night and when we wake up in the morning, they have to freeze wherever they are.  Every room had little piles of things that belonged in all the other rooms.  I spent most of the day ferrying things back to where they belong and cleaning up mysterious piles of beer bottles and pinata fragments.

With all the mess, I needed recruits to help me.  I have only 19 more days of homeschooling and we can be done for the year, so I declared today a “Day Off From School But Don’t Get Too Excited Because We’re Going To Clean Instead” day.

The boys are horrible at cleaning.  I give them a job to do and they nod their heads like eager little puppies, and scamper off to do their jobs, but the next thing I know the chorlox wipes are hanging from the tips of one’s ears and he’s moaning like a mummy and chasing the other one around. Or they’re supposed to be folding the socks and underwear, but instead they’re putting the socks on their hands and the tighty-whiteys on their heads.

For some reason, they’re just not invested in the outcome of the cleaning.  Go figure.  No matter how many times I say, “Guys, if you just focus and get the job done, you’ll have a sense of satisfaction at a job well done and more free time to play,” they still can’t focus.  That last bit about “more free time to play” isn’t true, because they get a lot of playing done while they’re cleaning, what with the wipes on their ears and the undies on their heads.

Tried a new tactic and told them that if they proved to me that they were actually trying to help and attempting to focus, and if we got enough done by about 2:00, we could go out for donuts or ice cream.  They liked that idea, and they started off pretty good, but soon got distracted with beating each other over the head with the roll of paper towels.

So, I separated them and used some of Mary Poppins’ advice and played music while they worked.  Disney songs on Pandora.com.  The first song that popped up was from The Lion King, which they’ve never seen because the scene where the Daddy lion dies makes me cry.  It was the Hakuna Matada song about the farting warthog, and they were so thrilled about getting to hear songs about farting animals that they actually got their work done.

Donuts and ice cream for all!


It’s impossible to think of The Lion King without including this Doctor Who clip.

Tall Guests are Good for Bumping Dust off Chandeliers

Life is pretty dull during the week.  I sent the boys outside to play with their cpap hose so I could clean the house in peace.  Had to.  A guest is coming for a visit on Saturday.  Thankfully.  Having guests in the house really is the only way it stays clean.  Well, cleaner than it usually is.

Darling Husband doesn’t really care whether or not the house is clean, as long as all the clutter has been collected into teetering piles and isn’t scattered across the floor.  I sort of care whether or not the house is clean, but not enough to work at it too much.

Like—we really don’t care about that dusty fluff that sticks to the corners of the tub.  You know those corners–where you can put a bottle of shampoo.  I think I last cleaned the tub corners right before Christmas.  Today I harvested the tub dust and made felted stuffed animals out of it.  I’ll sell them on Etsy for $42.00 each.  And really, why do showers/tubs need to be cleaned all that much?  The only dirt in them is soap scum, and soap is soap—it’s clean! 

Saturday’s guest is tall which is both good and bad.  It’s bad because I only clean from my eye level down.  Anything above 5 feet and I don’t see it.  Like, the tops of the fridge.  I can’t see the top of the fridge and used to worry that my tall guests were disgusted, until I heard this delightful bit of news:  tall people expect dirty fridge tops.  They’ve been known to say, “Eh.  Nobody cleans the tops of the fridges.  They’re all dirty.  Don’t worry about it.”  What happy news!  It’s a brotherhood of dirty fridge tops.

The good thing about tall guests is that they bump into the three chandeliers,  dislodging the chandelier dust, so I can vacuum it up.  Saturday’s guest isn’t very good at bumping off the dust as he manages to dodge around the chandeliers. But our other tall guests are much more useful.  We especially like it when Andrew and Mary come to visit.  They usually manage to make it all the way to the end of the visit without hitting their heads on the chandeliers.  But then, at the very end, when they try to corral their three sons out the door, they’re so busy looking down at their children that, bam! they (Andrew) bump into a chandelier.  Andrew says, “Ouch!”, the chandelier arcs through the air,  and the dust gently floats to the ground, like a delicate snowfall.

Time for Andrew to visit.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s guest will be making homemade bread for us while he’s here, so I’ll have to clean the kitchen.  Dum da dum dum.  I hate cleaning the kitchen.  Hate it.  I use cooking spray and every time I use it, it wafts around the room, coating everything in butter-flavored grease.  There’re big wads of dust bunnies hanging on the walls in the kitchen.  Big wads.  The worst ones stick to the wreath and I don’t know how to get them off.  How do you clean each little fake berry and leaf on a wreath?

The only reason I noticed all the dust on the wreath is because Joseph came to visit one day.  (His name isn’t really Joseph.  I call him and his wife Mary and Joseph, because I picture Mary and Joseph being like this couple.)  Joseph is tall, and the wreath is eye-level with him.  There he was, standing in the doorway of the kitchen, in the middle of a conversation, when behind him, I saw that the butter-flavored dust bunnies were reaching out their evil little paws toward him.  “Joseph!  Duck!”  We had to beat them back with a broom.  (The dust bunnies, not Mary and Joseph.)

Tomorrow will probably be just as exciting as today because I’ll be going through the paper piles.  Fun.