…down the rabbit hole…

There’s something about this condition,  this reality that we call Reality, where you think you’re going to do something, to work on something or other, and then find yourself falling down this Rabbit Hole into cul de sac after sac, and end up forgetting what it was that started the journey to begin with…

Case in Point, as they say:  I have spent a long and busy day, crossing thing after thing off of my list.  I love lists, have I told you that?  Especially Love crossing off things, to the point of, upon completion of some task, and finding that I never listed it to begin with, I have been known to Write it on the list, just so I can cross it off…

 At any rate, so my list is sorta completed for the day, my brain and body is sure of it, and I line up some cool Netflix film to nestle down in to.  Love those movies in bed…

Shutting off the lights, I turn on the heater…. One of those super efficient ones that have a little glowy thing that makes you hold your hands to the fire that your brain still can’t accept is not real, and I notice it’s really making a lot of noice.  Not clanky clangy sort of noise, just too much.  I also smell a little something, like burning hair or furry dust bunnies. 

 I remember a couple winters ago, when mine made a big nasty smell that combined the above with a touch of electrical, and I had to replace the heater-motor thingy. 

So, me thinks to meself…. Hmmm, best turn it off and look at the backside.  And sure enough, there’s enough dust clinging to that filter, it would choke a horse… well, maybe a rat.  Anyway, I can see it’s time to wipe and shake and bang that puppy, so it can do it’s job.  Then I notice that the inside that I can now see is positively snowed in with dust, dog hair and spider webs.  Hmmmm  this could be more serious than first ventured. 

Ok, big brave me am Goin In.  Get those screwdrivers, and scalpels, and move in for the sponge and scrape phase. 

Hmmmm…. I have the phillips in the correct size, after pawing through my ‘tools’ drawer, but as I begin the process of dropping out the motor,  I notice that every other screw is one of those that requires one of those little bent wire jobbies they call an Allen Wrench.  Probably because some guy named Allen decided that we all needed another set of wrenches.

 Then I remember that the last time I went in for the kill, I ended up going to the Ace is The Place place, to at last find the correct size.  It cost a quarter, but it took 45 minutes.

Ok…so that means it’s gotta be here somewhere.

Back to the ‘tools’ drawer, which sports somewhere near a thousand things, from art supplies (they’re tools!) to blades for the variety of cutting dealies I own, to many sizes of screwdrivers, a small hammer, some very old hard Sculpey, pens that don’t work, measuring devices, screws with something sticky on them….. 

I paw around for a while, being careful to avoid those cutting dealies…. I finally decide to retrieve my Head Lamp, which is always in the right corner of my underwear drawer, just in case the lights go out.  It’s not there, and I remember I was using it last night to go outside and check on the animals I’m caring for right now.

Hmmmm… where would I have put it this time?  Finally I find it near the fish bowls, and am glad to see it has fresh batteries.  Back to the ‘tools’ drawer.        Paw Paw Dig Shuffle…..

 I find one too small, and one too big.  Beginning to feel like Goldilocks here, and I wonder where that one they call Just Right might be, and starting to think I’m getting lost in a Fairy Tale Book with dyslexia.   

I think…. Where would I have Logically put it?  A smart person would have Duct Taped it to the undercarriage of that heater, but Nooooo…. 

Meanwhile,  Geeee, I Really need to clean out this drawer.  Well, I don’t really need that… and this is all dried up… and I have three of these….. and if I put all these together in this little box…… oh No!… here I go down the Rabbit Hole….. Heeeellllppppp Meeeeee…..

 Back on track, Carol, back on track……..  it’s Finding Just Right Allen Wrench now….

Finally find it in one of the teeny tiny boxes of collections of teeny tiny screw drivers.   Oh god oh god oh god….. yes!  Your loss, Helpful Hardware Man.

 Back to the heater.  Unplug it…. I’m so smart,…. And Go In. 

Now I see how completely disgustingly Full this thing is with the finest baby powdery dust, and I go for my handy little hand vac… a Scorpion!  Trouble is, the Scorpion is full, as it only holds about an ounce of dust, and there’s clearly 2 in there. 

Ok, open up the insect…. Nope, scorpions are not Insects, as I should clearly know, being a Scorpio…. They are in the Spider family, Arachnids!  Did you know that?

 So I bang and I wipe, and it take it outside and do it somemore.  Dog hair!  That boy is so beautiful, but does he ever have the Hair!  I need to brush him more…. Where is that brush that works so good….?  Oh no!  down the rabbit hole I almost tumble again…  oh, and the catch on the scorpion door lock is just slightly sprung, so I work on that for a while. 

 Back to the heater, which lies spreadeagle, lacking only stirrups holding it down…

Goin in for the clean up….where’s the haz mat suit?  There’s dust all over the floor now, and I think about my other vacuum that I’ll need to clean up from this vacuum…. but its bag is full too…

I get a stiff paintbrush, and begin to dust it down, finding several tools and a bit of creativity is needed to drag out the leavings of 6 months in this little cave of mine.  The spider webs are particularly difficult, and these teeny tiny pointy things are coming in handy.  Vac vac vac….dust dust dust….wipe wipe wipe….

Well, might as well clean the outside, long as I’m here, it’s looking a little used, and not well.  I can see wag marks from the dogs’ tails, and god I never noticed how dusty it was when you have it upside down.   I go for the Eco-cool spray cleaner made of Tea Tree Oil, and find it nearly empty.   Go find the Eco-cool cleaner, add water, pour in, ready to spray.  The outside begins to look smooth and black once more, and I can see that faux fire much better now, through windows that are now transparent. 

Finally I reach a place where the return is not worth the investment, and so I stop, and I plug it in, turn it on, and after a small amount of complaints, it at last sounds relatively normal. 

Put away screw driver, find good place for that Allen Wrench where I’ll find it a little faster next time, tucking it in a little plastic bag with Papa wrench and Baby Wrench. 

Vac up the floor with the Scorpion, which is now full again, but I’ll leave it for next time. 

 Ahhhhh……Warming up now, as I wonder if  this what they call Adult Onset ADD…

And now ……….uh……what was I going to do?




…out out damned spot…

Back in the fifties in Los Angeles, when TV was a new and novel thing, there was a live program…everything was live then…in the afternoons, called Handy Hints.

There was this Betty Ferness type in apron, and high heels of course…. didn’t everyone wear high heels in the kitchen? …. and she offered up little treasures for the little housewife.   Sort of a primeval Martha.

Well, I feel like starting a new show or column, because I just found the most Awesome Handy Hint, something that Everyone will use one day or another… or this very day.     Ready?….

My daughter and her family are gone just now, and I am housesitting, taking care of her animals, and sometimes spending time in the house, as it is cozy and provides a rich environment for me to enjoy, that I don’t have in my little nest.

I was working on a bunch of large fabrics, tablecloths, pillows and afghans, to sell in my Etsy store on line.   I was using the table to iron them on, very handy, and the next day as I removed the many layers of fabrics I had used as a ironing pad, and also to protect the table…. Much to my Horror, there was a big White area that I had created with the steam iron!  I mean Big.  I mean Giant Family Sized Pizza Big.

Oh Goddess, she was going to Kill me.   I might as well go back to Brasil, because this is her new table, and she Loves it.

I tried oiling it, thinking the heat had somehow bleached or dried it out.     I thought about the different ways I paint and stain things that I repair and sell.   I thought about a lot of things, but mostly how she was going to kill me.

I thought about Google.  Oh God bless Goodle.  The Google Gods were there with me that day, and I will now share one of the more Amazing Handy Hints ever.

The whiteness is from the moisture trapped under the finish.  The trick is to drive out the moisture with heat.  They suggested a hair dryer, which I tried for a while.  A very long while.  Then I tried the other suggestion….. an Iron!  Funny, huh?  Fight fire with Fire!

No steam, of course, but cover with a cloth…. I used a clean dish towel, not terry, but smooth and thick…..and iron on MEDIUM, below the steam setting.

At first I went back and forth.  Later I found that I could leave the iron on the area for up to 10 seconds at a time.    It took quite a bit of time, because of the size, but although at first I was not believing it was working, slowly shade by shade the stain faded, and…..VOILA!  it Works!!!

So go to that old white moisture mark on that precious wood something-or-other, and be prepared to be amazed.

It’s like MAGIC!