Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Power Tools Rule!

A man did not invent cleaning house. I’m sure of it. If a man had invented it, power tools and yard equipment would have dual labels. The leaf blower would have instructions for blowing leaves off the lawn AND instructions for blowing spider webs out of the corners of the living room. Seriously, what real man would use a little dainty cloth and a little bottle of Pledge, when there is a leaf blower in the garage that will blast bread crumbs off the night stand from twenty feet away.

And what’s with those little wimpy brooms? I don’t have all day. I’ve got the coarse bristle shop broom for gathering up the kids dirty clothes off the floor, and the soft bristle shop broom that can gather up thirty Cheerios in one swipe.

Hoover, you say? Genie Shop Vac, I say. Have you ever tried to suck up a marble or a Happy Meal toy with a Kenmore or Dyson? Not happening. You’ll just get that horrid rattling sound like a 70’s pinball machine with dry-rotted rubber bumpers. Put on the ear protection and fire up the Genie, and BAM, Shrek is playing marbles inside my 15 gallon Wet/Dry canister of doom, baby!

Okay, next revelation comes in two words: Pressure Washer! Or is that supposed to be one word? Anyway, don’t go blowing me off before you hear me out. Pressure washers take regular water pressure and amp it up so that the water can blow off any amount of dirt, mold, mildew, or melted orange Popcicle. You can even add detergent to them. It works in your dishwasher, so why not on the rest of your house?

Obviously, there would have to be some redesigning of houses in general. First of all, there would have to be floor drains in every room. Secondly, there would have to be an impressive array of bungee cords keeping everything in place. Even a 1500 lb pressure spray can knock a lamp off a table, so there’s the whole “strapping, screwing, and stapling things down” aspect to this. Gorilla Tape, of coarse would be a necessity. You may also have to improve the quality of your stuff slightly. I would think a good pressure washer would shoot a hole right through a cheap set of blinds. I haven’t tried it yet, I’m just saying. But, think about it! After everything was waterproofed, you could just load your pressure washer with your favorite environmentally friendly detergent and let it rip. After a good sudsing, flick it to clean water and rinse! Plus, the kids would be fighting over who got to do the cleaning. It’s a win-win situation. Switch to the Windex compartment, and do the windows! Switch to the dog soap compartment and take care of Fido! Kids want to come inside after playing in the dirt? Fine… Mr. Pressure Washer does not discriminate. Line ‘em up and hose ‘em down. No need for showers tonight, kids!

Well, I have to go. Target has toasters on sale. The propane torch “booster” idea only worked in theory.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Multi-Use Make-Up

I ran out of bathroom cleaner right in the middle of cleaning day. I don’t even know what bathroom cleaner is, but I knew I needed a substitute. I looked around and behold! I found the secret multi-use stash of stuff… my wife’s make-up drawers.

I call them make-up drawers, but there’s a ton of stuff in there you can use for short-cutting the house cleaning. In fact, your wife probably has loads of hidden cleaning gems around if you keep an open mind. Here are a few tips to get you started…

Okay, find anything that says “exfoliant” on it and it will clean ANYTHING (and leave behind a subtle cucumber scent… bonus!). It’s better than sandpaper, that stuff.

And those funny rough gloves that your wife has in the shower? Yep, they’re better than the green scrubby in the kitchen sink. Strip down, put those little mitts on, soak ‘em in cleaner, jump in the shower, and kill two birds with one stone. Your shower is done and the shower is sparkling. Hey, but only use mild detergent, guys! If you jump in there with the Tilex, you will have burns that you will NOT be able to explain. Then throw some
Rain-X on the shower door and you don’t have to clean that bad boy for months.

I found a little curved brush that would be great for cleaning the vent louvers in the car, but DO NOT use it. I got black goopy stuff all over the place that only came up with WD-40.

There was also this bottle of finger nail polish remover that smelled like a Dow factory with hints of cherry... First of all, why would you add cherry smell to a substance that can kill you if you breathe it in? Second, why aren’t there warning labels on that stuff? It should be sold in the toxic chemicals isle of the hardware store, not on a make-up isle. I’m not kidding. That stuff will etch metal. I bet it would take off a tattoo in a pinch.

Your wife probably has some thick fuzzy socks. Find ‘em, put ‘em on, squirt some Murphy’s Oil Soap on the floor, put on an AC/DC or Green Day CD, and you will have a clean floor in no time, my friend.

Your kids making a mess in the cupboard with open packaging? No problem, go find some hair clips or hot roller clamps – Chip Clip, hair clip, what’s the difference.

Go get the good eraser out of your wife’s art supplies that she never uses. They’ll take anything off painted drywall (even boogers) without damaging the paint.

Little scissors from the make-up drawer? Perfect for trimming the dingleberries off the dog’s bum. Give it a rinse and she’ll never know.

How about those electric lint shavers in your wife’s closet? You can shave off the top layer of gum from the carpet or make your microfiber couch look like new.

Squeaky door hinge and no oil in sight? Never fear… bust out your wife’s hand lotion. The squeak is gone, and your doorway smells like apricots… it’s a win-win.

So keep your eyes peeled and your innovative mind open. The faster you clean that house, the quicker you can get outside and have fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5:00 Somewhere

I'm a Stay-At-Home dad. Today was the day for weekly house cleaning. The kids were at day camp, I had just gotten some biking exercise in, and I was tearing into the work. On the porch, I ran across the cooler from two months ago that still had a 12 pack of seriously skunked bottles of Corona. If you're not a beer drinker, you have to understand that if you leave a beer in the sun for a couple of months, it turns into the liquid that comes out of skunks when you accidentally run them over on the interstate. So, I quickly decided to pour the beer out and recycle the bottles.
With my trusty Mickey Mouse bottle opener, I dragged the cooler to the driveway and started popping.
  1. Grab bottle.
  2. Open cap.
  3. Place upside down on drain grate.
  4. Repeat.
On the third bottle I decided to skip a step. I grabbed the bottle and opened it upside down. My body received most of the beer explosion. The whole front of my body was dripping old, warm Corona. Not to be hindered by a mishap, I wiped the beer out of my eyes, went back to the original plan, and started popping again. On the third bottle, my scientific instincts kicked in. Was that a fluke, or was there a scientific principle that caused the explosion? I turned it upside down and stuck Mickey's belly on the cap. Houston, we have lift off! This explosion shot mostly into my crotch. My shorts and underwear were soaked through. The 92 degree day suddenly seemed slightly cooler. It's settled then. For some reason a long neck skunked beer will explode if opened upside down. Feel free to experiment on your own and report back.
Happy in my new discovery, I went on about my business in the burning sunshine. Within two minutes the Corona was baked onto my body and my right eyelid was glued open. I started to panic about the whole glued-open-eye thing until it peeled itself free. A quick splash from the sink remedied the glued body parts and I was able to finish the house, and now I'm knocking this blog out so that I can pick up the kids. I have gotten used to the smell of the stale beer in my hair, clothes and on my body, and although sticky, I am dry-ish. No one will mind a beer stained, unwashed, reeking, stay at home dad picking up two children from a Christian organization will they? Nah. I'm good.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Automotive Mice

I would not make a good Buddhist. Those who know me might argue with me. After all, I’m the guy who clips the barbs off of my kids’ fishing lures. I’m the guy who used to capture spiders and relocate them outside so that they could live on in the beautiful out-of-doors (I don’t do it anymore because I found out that indoor spider species die an ugly death when transplanted outside).

Since moving to the Canyon, any chance of Buddhism is out the window. Although I’ve apologized to all the rattlesnakes I’ve beheaded, I have nonetheless beheaded them. I have a strict no-rattlesnakes-in-my-yard policy. It’s not that I’m worried about stepping on one. They’re pretty good about letting you know they’re there. I’m more worried about one of the kids’ friends getting bitten because they thought it would be cool to paint legs on it. A few snake-homicides (and obligatory apologies) are a pretty good trade-off for not having the local personal injury lawyer’s son get bitten by the same snake that we named Pooky and included on the family Christmas card.

I do kill other stuff, and sometimes I’m totally okay with it. Mosquitoes are high on the list and are closely followed by black flies, sweatbees, gnats, and anything else that may land on my eyeball or explore my nostril. Bigger creatures are not totally exempt either. A while back, I pulled a full-size mouse nest out of the air cleaner on my Subaru. The little buggers had chewed tunnels through the hood lining and gnawed through the insulation on bundles of wires. Now, keep in mind, I have two hard rules about my cars; 1. Any part of my car that you eat, you must replace and/or repair (there are no exceptions), and 2. No urination or defecation in or on the car without my permission (there may be exceptions to this rule, but no one has challenged me on it yet). The mice have no gainful employment and broke both rules. They are not going to get the live trap.

So, today I pulled into the Toyota dealership parking lot which triggered the sirens in the staff room, where the salesmen look out the window and try to assess how much money I can be convinced to hand over. A guy named Chuck won the toss and started hoofing over about the time I spotted the truck that I wanted to see the sticker on. I jumped out of the Subaru and left it running so that I could make a get away before he got me in a sleeper hold. As I was scanning the sticker, my car made a noise I have never heard it make before. It sounded like the fan sputtered or stalled, then the engine went back to normal. I was looking at the front of my car expecting it to say, “I’m good, I just had a tickle in my throat,” when a fatally injured mouse fell from behind the grill. I confirmed he was an ex-mouse, hopped back in the car and got it moving just as Chuck’s nametag came into view as he slalomed between pre-owned V-8 Tundras (zero down!) in an attempt to cut off my escape route. The only two things that looked out of place as I looked at the pristine parking lot in the rear view mirror, were a little furry lump and a sweaty, confused, man in Italian loafers. The next time I stop by the lot, I’ll have to ask for Chuck. He deserves closure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Backseat Snakes

The snake in the back of the old Bronco wasn't nearly as bad as the bushy tailed wood rat in the Subaru. When you get into a 2006 Subaru Outback, you expect it to be animal free, unless you have purposefully put an animal there. When a squirrel-rat thing jumps from the backseat and out the driver's window, there is a moment of panic that would make any man ashamed of himself. In a 1982 Bronco, complete with rusted metal floor, you can reasonably expect an animal residing in the back. Yesterday, I told the kids to jump into the old Bronco so we can go get bricks. I looked in the back to see if it was worthy of bricks, and spotted a bull snake coiled up and resting comfortably.
Here is why it wasn't bad. First, I found the snake instead of the snake finding me. Second, the kids thought it was "so cool". Third, it was a bull snake and not a rattle snake. Fourth, I think it ate the mice that were living in the dashboard.