Thursday, September 27, 2012

Useless Steve: The Worst Scarecrow Ever!

Say "hello" to Useless Steve, the worst scarecrow ever! Useless Steve could not keep the dogs from busting into the garden and laying on the cantalope. The crow is ruined. Useless Steve!

The "How-To" of Every-so-Often Chores

With the kids back in school, I am finally getting around to the ever-growing “to do” list of things I have been putting off all summer. On the list are the type of household chores that don’t need to be done daily or sometimes even weekly, but they are important all the same. Let’s call them the “As needed” or “Every-so-often-chores.”

When the scrubbing and cleaning and rinsing got started, I found myself wondering, when was the last time I did this? The “Every-so-often” chores are the ones that seem to slip through the grout, so to speak. So I ask, when was the last time you…

Vacuumed your mattress?
This is something I started doing with regularity after I saw a news program about bed bugs in hotel mattresses. Although Secret Agent Man and I, and occasionally Mini Me, are the only ones who sleep in our bed, it’s still a good idea to freshen up your mattress.

Dust, dander, and dust mites can build up in your mattress. I recommend vacuuming your mattress every time you change your sheets, or at least every time you flip your mattress. People who suffer from allergies may also find some relief by making this a regular routine.

Vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner or your Dyson, if you have it. Seeing all those particles come out of your mattress and swirl around in the bag-less container is both horrifying and satisfying at the same time.

Cleaned the refrigerator coils?
You already have the Dyson out, why don’t you vacuum the inner and under-workings of the refrigerator?

Dust, lint, and even pet hair can collect on the coils of your refrigerator causing it to run less efficiently or even overheat. Don’t wait until the repairman is twenty minutes away. Make this a part of your “every-so-often” routine by taking off the toe-grill or kick plate and using your vacuum attachment to clean off the build-up. You just might find that your fridge will now run quieter and cooler.

Washed off the outside of your house?
Does your house paint not look as bright as it used to? Are there a lot of bug-filled cobwebs on the walls and windows of the outside of your house? Unless you are going for the Addams Family-look, wash off the outside of your house at least twice a year. Once, as part of your spring cleaning and again at the end of summer when the flying bugs have died off.

Attach a spray nozzle to the hose and spray, spray, spray. I recommend using house water for this job. Irrigation water can leave a residue and spots on your windows. If you want to be an over-achiever rent or buy a pressure washer. There are also products out there made especially for cleaning the outside of the house.

You know me, I like my Feng Shui. This is a chore I repeat regularly especially on the front entry and windows of the house, to send a signal to the Universe that I am ready for more good things to enter into my life.

Cleaned and changed the batteries on your smoke detector?
Did you know that there are more homes with smoke detectors that don’t work than homes that do not have them at all?

Most smoke detector manufacturers will recommend that you change your batteries once a year and check them once a month. Again, when you are changing the batteries, use your vacuum attachment or mini-vac to remove the dust. This chore is performed twice a year in the Payne household. The first weekend of April and the first weekend in October, no fail.

Cleaned out your washing machine?
Are your towels still smelly after laundering? Not removing them promptly from the washer to the dryer could be one reason. The other reason is your washing machine may need to be cleaned.

Here is an easy and effective way to clean your washer:

1. Set washing machine on hot water wash, hot water rinse cycle, largest load setting, longest run time, and start the washer.

2. Pour 1 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into running washing machine.

3. When cycle is finished, run the cycle once more (omitting the vinegar and baking soda) adding a regular size cup of your detergent to the washer for this one. You can run it on the hot water cycle or not, it doesn't really matter much this time--I use the hot again though.

4. While this cycle runs I use the opportunity to clean the outside with an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Then I dry it with a soft towel so that it shines like new!

Deodorized the garbage disposal?
That mystery smell in your kitchen could be coming from the garbage disposal. There are many ways to do this. I have read about using lemon peels, dish soap, or bleach, while running hot water and the disposal. There is also the “volcano method” of running the disposal while adding baking soda and vinegar. I have also used some store-bought, disposal-safe, gel-filled balls that you drop in while the unit is in use.

The last step is very important. With disposal turned off, of course, you can use a small brush or cleaning rag to clean under the rubber flange. You might be surprised to find what was lurking under there.

So, if you have an image of me in my black, floral apron eating bonbons on the couch all day while the kids are in school, think again. The pink fuzzy slippers will have to wait until no mattress has gone unturned and every sink has been de-stunked.

Need some cleaning tips for your “as needed” chores? Try these websites:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The bird that inspired a blogger

Pictured here are the Clarks cerca 1983. That's me in front with the parakeet on my shoulder. About a week after this picture was taken, my parakeet, Pierre, died. Overcome with the grief of my beloved pet, my dad told me that sometimes when we write down our feelings it helps to ease our pain. So in my very first journal I wrote, "Dear Diary, my bird, Pierre, died today. He was a good bird and I will miss him very much."
Since that time I have kept a faithful journal in one form or another. Today, my blog is one of the places where I share my thoughts, dreams, joys and sorrows, but mostly joys. Thanks, Dad, and thank you, Pierre.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Some dogs are not so amazing.

Today, I am the guest blogger at Click the link to visit: