Monthly Archives: July 2012

Suck It

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In my nightmare, this is what would chase me around my house, throwing up on all of the braided rugs…

When I was a little girl, I had a reoccurring nightmare involving a fleet of Rainbow vacuum cleaners. That is what we had, a Rainbow vacuum cleaner. Which, incidentally, is the most disgusting invention known to the 20th century. The Rainbow uses water…why ? I don’t know. It seems like a bad idea on so many levels…water+electricty has been proven to be a really dangerous combination. Beyond the safety issue, the actual byproduct is a tank filled with water and everything you vacuum up, which  looks exactly like vomit. And one has to take this tank filled with vacuum vomit and dump it into the toilet and flush it away. If you have read my blog, you will remember that as a kid I had a HUGE problem with puke.  So vacuuming was a nightmare, literally and figuratively.

When I moved out, my roommate and I didn’t have a vacuum cleaner. We were teens. We had a broom. We swept the carpet. Oh that was fun. Quite the work out. Have you ever swept a carpet? It’s like one sweep forward, 3 sweeps back. The dirt pieces rebound backward. So you really have to have a fast sweeping motion with a good amount of pressure and about 3 hours per square foot to actually accomplish dirt removal. Needless to say, our floors were never all that clean.

And then, when I was a young mother, we were given a “vintage” 1972 canister vacuum. I liked antiques and I was born in 1972, so, it was kitschy. But what wasn’t so kitschy was the fact that no place carried bags for this canister vac. So, we had to empty the bag that it came with. This wasn’t as bad as the Rainbow vomit only because dry dirt doesn’t look like throw up. But, dry dirt does leave lots of dust. Kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning in general when you know that to properly clean you have to empty the 25 year old bag which will lead to more dirt.

And then, when we bought our first house, my dad gave us a top of the line vacuum cleaner as a house warming gift! It was nicer than our car. But being house poor, we still did the empty the bag trick as we couldn’t afford the 10 bucks for new bags. It wasn’t so bad though because this vacuum had a filter. By this time a vacuum was necessary. We had 2 kids and 2 dogs and a cat. And so, I vacuumed everything. Walls, furniture, floors, beds, sometimes the kids and most definitely the dogs…the cat was too fast for me.

Because of my misuse of this Cadillac of vacuums, it eventually quit. We tried new belts, new brushes, smaller amounts of time spent vacuuming…we tried everything short of sending it on a cruise. It eventually went on strike and then decided to go back to school to become a leaf blower.

When I moved into my own place I decided that I was going to be a real grown up and go ahead and get my own brand new fancy shmancy vacuum. I went and spent a stupid amount of money on a Dyson. Ya know the vacuum that never stops sucking? Yeah it sucks alright. Not in the way a vacuum should either. But, by this time in my life, I was into doing things myself. When the Dyson died, which it eventually did, I pulled it apart, cleaned it all and put it back together. Mission accomplished. It worked again! Until it didn’t. What is with appliances nowadays? It’s like they only do their job when they feel like it. As if they weren’t made for the sole purpose of doing what they are made for…like they have a life beyond doing their task they were built for. I have had the same problems with my snowblower and my lawn mower. Anyway, I have torn apart a nasty, dirty, filled- with- cat- hair- that- is- coated- with- dog- pee- with- some- kid- puke- making- it- stick- to- the- sides- of- the- hose- Dyson. Yes I have.

This last time though, it was the extension hose that got clogged. I tried banging it, I tried stuffing a knife down the tube, then another knife to try to push out the first knife which got stuck in the tube and then a chopstick to try to unstick both knives…So now I have an extension hose that is clogged with crap plus two butter knives and one chopstick. My next move will be to get the garden hose to try to blast out the entire lot with water…I just haven’t been in the mood.

And 3 months later my house is just gross. It’s summer, there is all sorts of dried cut grass that the kids track in, there is dirt from the dog and the cat hair is outrageous. So, I made the kid go ask my extra awesome neighbor if I could borrow his vacuum. Now, I have to say he is pretty trusting considering he has allowed me to borrow his lawn mower knowing full well I needed his because I have killed 3 of my own…so, to allow me to borrow his vacuum is a huge show of faith on his part. Faith that I will not be mean and kill his vacuum. I don’t do these things intentionally. I am simply using these machines in the way they were intended and I swear to you it’s the machine that is the asshole, not me.

Anyway, as the kids and I “oooh” and “aaaah” over a real working vacuum and how beautiful our floors look and how colorful our carpets are now that an entire layer of dust has been removed, I notice this vacuum is not picking up as well as it did when I first started…4 hours earlier. Yes, 4 hours of vacuuming…and that was just the downstairs. So, I curse modern technology and flip over the vacuum to see if I can find the problem. Sure enough I see a huge clog. I begin pulling it out with my bare hands. Really, if my mother could see me pulling out dirt, real honest to goodness, no other word for it dirt, she would eat her hat.

This was a very involved process. I eventually had the vacuum in about 4 pieces and the belt off. Yes ,I unplugged it first, but only because I knew a kid in high school who went to unclog a snowblower without turning it off first and lets just say that was the end of his flute career. I was a little disappointed with my neighbor’s vacuum. The part that I needed to get in to didn’t pop off like on my Dyson.  I had to really dig in and use my hands, and then the chopstick (the one that isn’t stuck in my vacuum). I used all my moves, all of my technique, which is considerable at this stage in my life, and finally the clog came  bursting out of the hose and right up my shorts. All of the nastiness that I had vacuumed up plus the nastiness from my neighbor’s house was now up my shorts. I thought vacuums were supposed to make life easier and cleaner. Pretty sure that Hepa filter is useless at this point.

Anyway, I finished vacuuming and the kid returned the vacuum. I am now considering hiring someone to come and vacuum my house once every other week or so…I wasn’t made to be a domestic diva. I was supposed to have a different life at age 39. *sigh* My next project is to have a stern discussion with my dryer because it is withholding again…not sure why, considering I only make it work once a week. Spoiled. That is what is wrong with American Made Appliances these days.

 

I Fought The Law

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That’s my mom driving the camel…WITH her shoes on….

Well, not really. I smiled like a goof ball because I knew I was busted. I also knew that it wasn’t the end of the world. I ALSO knew that I have zero money to pay any sort of fine which is why I put on my best grin and tried to chum it up with the NYS Trooper. And…..IT WORKED!!!!

For the past week and a half I have been driving the same stretch or Rt. 20 four to six times a day. I see about 20 cars total, every day, pulled over. So, I watch my speed. I am not an idiot after all. Or at least not an intentional idiot. I have done stupid stuff, but generally I do said stuff without thought. Maybe I am a thoughtless idiot. Either way, my mother has told me for the past 23 years that I have been a licenced driver that driving barefoot was illegal. She also told me that smoking cigarettes caused my lip zits and that the nerdy boys in high school would grow up to become the best looking and most successful…I haven’t had a lip zit in 17 years since I quit smoking and the nerdy boys sure did turn out well. But I could attribute both of those things to growing up. I can hear her now (can’t you?) “you should listen to your mother…” Ugh.

Besides loving to be barefoot whenever possible (but especially when driving, I feel more connected to the road) I also drive with my left foot propped up on the dash. It’s comfortable. I know I look like a hick but I don’t care. I drive between 3 an 5 hours a day, over 100 miles so I want to be comfortable. I don’t care what others think.

One other thing, just to really set the scene…I also think I can drive and read. I can’t. I have proved to myself that I cannot. I think I told you the story of how, when I was 17, I was driving in Houston and I was so excited to have gotten a letter from a friend from home that I ripped it open and started reading (while I was barefoot WITH my left foot on the dash) and consequently wound up attached to a forklift. I can’t tell you how surprised the forklift driver was…Anyway, I got the message that I can’t read and drive. Doesn’t mean I won’t try though. I half believe that I just need more practice.

And so here I am today, my left bare foot propped up on the dash, enjoying my third trip down the same 20 mile stretch, and as I slowed down to stop at the light, I grab my cell to check to see if my kid had called. That’s legit. I was going to pick her up and I was unsure if she knew what time I was going to be there. Just as I decide I have time at the red light to take a quick peek at my Instagram page, I hear a whistle and look to my right directly at a cop who is staring at me with his jaw dropped. Ofcourse I will assume that it’s because I just showered and didn’t brush my hair instead opting to dry it naturally with the windows down encouraging my white girl fro. Maybe it was because I put make up on for the first time in a week…wait a second, how would the cop know that??? Is he stalking me??? Is this like a Grisham novel? I really hope not as I can’t stand Tom Cruise…

So I immediately drop my phone and plaster on my best “Oh My Gosh I Can’t Believe My Insanely Bad Luck Please Don’t Bust Me Mr. Policeman I’m Just A Silly Girl” face to which the cop responds with his own “I Can’t Believe The Stupidity” face and says ” Pull over”. I sigh and pull over. What choice did I have? This cop  obviously is in love with me…

He comes up to the window and says ” You are doing three illegal things. I know you know one of them…do you know the other two?” Crap. A quiz. See, if I had perfected my reading and driving then I could have used my 3 hours of driving to study. I said (with my most genuine look of surprise) ” I have no idea Officer!” Which must have been effective because he smiled and kind of snickered but not in a condescending cop way…in a ‘you’re going to feel like an even bigger idiot when I tell you’ way. He said (to my utter surprise and my mother’s intense glee) that number one, it IS illegal to drive barefoot and number two it is most definitely illegal to drive with one foot on the dashboard! Imagine my shock that my mother had been right!!! And I made a mental note right then and there to check out the nerdy guy who I rejected in 4th grade. If my mother was right about the barefoot thing there’s no telling what else she is right about.

I told the officer that he just made my mother’s day because she had been telling me that for years. He laughed out loud and told me that from now on I should listen to my mother and to remember that not all  NYS Troopers are jerks. Have a nice day!!! And with that, we parted ways. Can you believe it?!?! Yeah neither can I.

I was ready to give him all sorts of arguments. Like, I believe we could all get the hang of driving and talking on our phones if given a chance. There’s a learning curve for sure. Just like when cars got radios, we monkeys had to figure out how to drive and listen, drive and change the station…I think we can learn. Or how I have a tight right hip and that is why I drive with my left leg up on the dash, plus I had just put on some self tanner and didn’t want to mess up the back of my leg or the seat. Or how being barefoot really gave me a good connection to the car and the road thereby heightening my awareness of the driving experience and making me a more conscientious driver.

Instead, Officer Friendly told me to put on my shoes, put down my leg and don’t try to text and drive. I wanted to ask him if he thought the nerdy guy transformation/lip zit statements were kosher also but figured I shouldn’t push my luck. Yea for Troopers with a sense of humor and a soft spot for barefoot red heads who simply don’t believe their mothers. Life is good.