Monday, July 03, 2006

I Am Nothing if Not Eccentric

We all have our own little quirks, though, admittedly, I have more than normal people. I like to think of them as endearing.

In the kitchen

1) Everything, except for glass barware (martini, margarita and wine glasses) must go in the dishwasher. Case closed. Steak knives, pots and pans...yes, they all go in. If it isn't dishwasher safe? Still goes in.

2) Everything that goes in the dishwasher must be washed first.

3) And it must be scrubbed. Not just rinsed, I mean scrubbed. I use sponges that have the green abrasive stuff on one side and all of our cutlery and drinking glasses are scratched to hell from my using it.

Why? Because I have never had a dishwasher, even my brand new one, that has gotten all the food off on it's own. And then, because I hate drying dishes, I put everything through the drying cycle. So if there is anything left over, it is there permanently baked on. The washing dishes first thing really does make sense! Also, I have eczema, which means that even warm water makes my hands immediately crack and bleed. So really, the dishwasher is for sterilizing. Plus, sponges...eew. Talk about bacteria.

4) I leave leftovers in their containers (glass...plastic freaks me out because I never know if you're really getting it clean or not) in the fridge until there is room for them to go directly into the dishwasher. (After I wash them first of course.) In a worst case scenario, that means weeks. Yes, disgusting.

Here's the problem: because I make 3 meals/day for the Cracker (which I would never do for myself, but I don't want to starve the kid) I find that to have all the dishes done each night would mean running the dishwasher one and a half times. Well, the half would be a waste. So instead I wait until the next day, but then don't run it soon enough, and suddenly there are now two loads to do. And then I have to wait a few hours for the dishwasher to finish drying them for me, and now it's too late to get that second load in. It's a slippery slope. So I wash them, put them back on the counter, and then rewash them again before putting them in the dishwasher so that they don't have spots from sitting clean but wet on the counter.


1) I don't hand wash. I don't dry clean. I don't iron.

2) Instead of ironing, I quickly hang up everything except socks and underwear before the dryer even stops.
If you don't like it, then J you are welcome to iron your own shit. But I am not going to iron so that you can just squish it into the closet even though there is plenty of room. (He wears polo shirts to work not a power suit and tie, so it's just not worth my aggravation.)

2) I wash the sheets and blankets on the big people bed once a week. That night you are not allowed in unless you have taken a shower and washed your hair thoroughly within 6 hours of bedtime. If I'm going to drag all that crap off the bed, wash it and put it back on, dammit, you are going to be clean too. Otherwise, what's the point?

3) Every time I take a shower I am using a clean towel, or rather two: one for hair, one for body. I will reuse towels from showers for a bath, but not under any other circumstances. If we are out of fresh towels, then I won't shower.

The Cat Barf Game

I don't play this one anymore now that we have a Cracker running around and also because I learned that ants like cat gak, but J still does. And honestly, I'll never win, cause he's that good!*

How to play: Ignore it. Walk around it. Pretend it's not there and hope that it magically cleans itself up.

*And now for a big side note: my favorite cat gak story. J is home alone with a 27 month old Cracker in the new house, sitting on the couch watching TV. Cat barfs 20 feet away. He hears it and he can see it by just turning his head and leaving the rest of his body still, but like hell he's going to do anything about it. A few minutes later the Cracker finds it, then comes and tells daddy "eew!" pointing like crazy. Of course J knows it's there, but he's playing the Cat Barf Game and hoping Mom comes home real soon. A few more minutes elapse. Cracker goes into another room and brings J baby wipes. J thanks him but does nada, Cat Barf Game face on. Cracker grabs a wipe from the package on Daddy's lap, which J is aware of, and heads off in the direction of the gak. J doesn't even turn his head, just keeps watching cable crap. Then the Cracker comes back for another wipe, and another, and another, each time first making a stop at the trash can. Finally J starts to wonder "what the heck is Cracker doing?" He turns his head. Yes, the Cracker is cleaning it up.

Why the hell would J ever tell me this story??? (Remember, I was not home.) Because, as J pointed out, the Cracker did an excellent job, much better than he has ever done. No remaining evidence at the scene! And I know J didn't help him, because on the few occasions he has "cleaned" it up, he just picks up the chunks and leaves the stain, which even though it's either bright yellow (Friskie's Dental Diet) or dark poo brown (Whiska's Meaty Selections) he swears he can't see it.


Ants make me cry. Seriously. Spiders, no problem. Other bugs, depending on size and color, may freak me out, but I will never cry. (I am okay with bugs smaller than a quarter and and any color but black. Cockroaches, which I have never seen ever in real life, thank God, would be not cool.)

I am terrified of ants.

Little ants, which some people call sugar ants. Yeah, them too. It doesn't even have to be a family of them, one inside my house is enough.

Now, see, this is a problem here in the Southwest. Ants outnumber us a gazillion to one. Every time it's hot or rains, here they come. And living in new construction, that makes it worse. Keeping your house free of crumbs and sticky stuff doesn't help, because they will come in anyway. Like the time they streamed in for months in our rental house around the base of the toilet, which was no where near the kitchen and located smack dab in the middle of the house away from any obvious entry point other than under the house.

When I was pregnant, J actually came home from work on more than one occasion to help clean them up because I was that hysterical. Ask his old boss.

Okay, so worst places I've found them?
-inside the salt shaker
-stuck half dead to a bottle of vanilla extract (somehow managed to get inside the cap but were drowning on the trip back out)
-coming out of the bathtub drain

Since keeping the house spotless doesn't help here, this is what I do:

Anything I think they'd be remotely interested in (including the salt) is kept sealed in plastic zip lock bags. Everything, all the time. I also keep the waffle iron and toaster in plastic bags tightly sealed, because you can never get all the crumbs out, no matter how hard you try. I also spray the perimeter of the house as often as I can, especially after a rain, even though it takes forever to do so and I can't have Cracker outside with me when I do for fear of fumes. (This is what I want for Christmas or b-day btw, a professional sprayer to put bug juice in like the professionals use instead of the piece of crap plastic Ortho container it comes in.)

I have had to chill out a little on this since moving into a new neighborhood because they are everywhere. I used freak out if they were even as close as the street, but now I have learned to just try to keep them at least 30 feet from the house. The battle is never ending, and we are in the thick of the fight right now. Oh, and I spent an entire hour yesterday spraying outside because the big red biting ones were piling up dead against the foundation and I was afraid they'd soon be in. And then it rained. For an hour. And the yard basically flooded. So now I need to spend another hour tonight so it can rain again.


1) After I've decided to buy a particular plant, it takes me no less than 10 minutes of carefully examining each pot for sale before I can pick one out to buy. Size, shape, shade of color and degree of health are very important to me.

2) To my neighbors: I am already crazy...err...different. Please, for the love of everything good, I don't care what you do with your back yard, but take 2 minutes to occasionally weed your front yard. Rotting cars and trash is okay, but not weeds. If you can't or don't want to, please ask me. I like doing it! I just don't know how to ask if it's okay for me to do it for you without sounding like I think you're an asshole. You see, it's so easy! But because I get mine the second they sprout, I’ve had less than a dozen in the last year in my own yard to have the pleasure of pulling. And then the neighbors up wind also pull theirs, and I really really want to pull weeds. They have such shallow root systems here because of the lack of deep penetrating rain that a baby could get them out, roots and all. And if you don't get them within a week or two, they seed like crazy and suddenly there are 20. I do occasionally weed your front yard when you are not looking (usually under the cover of night) and you must notice. I am not asking for a thank you, just permission to do the rest of the yard too, like under your bedroom windows when you're home. Trying to get them all on my way to the mailbox casually is getting a little obvious. Remember, just because they are green and nothing else here is doesn't mean they’re grass, though I know many of you like to kid with me that you pretend it is. Yes, I know that some of them flower. But they are the ugliest suckers ev-ah and even you admit that the goddamn purple flowers are foul.

The brown house is mine and the ghetto cinder block wall separates our properties. See how there aren't any weeds at all, even in my neighbor's yard?

Now here is the other side of their drive way. HOW COULD THEY NOT KNOW? Is this the problem with renters? No, a good 75% of our street is like this, most of them worse, and only the house next door is not owner occupied.

And if you still think I'm nuts, please note that these are mini tumble weeds which in a few short months will grow into big up-to-your-waist monsters. And then out-of-towners will come in and crash their SUVs on our highways trying to avoid them. Just run 'em over!

General rules

1) Unless you are a guest, you are not allowed to pee in the guest bathroom. Cracker is the exception, but only when we have other little people over who want to watch and cheer him on. I do not want to clean two toilets. If you break this rule, J, you are in trouble.

2) Baby wipes. I clean all general filth with baby wipes, and if it's sticky or just worse for some reason then I use Clorox wipes. Before Clorox wipes, Swiffer and getting a floor machine I used to clean our noncarpeted floors with a scrub brush and 409 on my hands and knees. Yes, linoleum and tile. My neighbors used to ask constantly for my secret, but I was too ashamed to tell them.

Oh, there is so much more, but this is getting long. So here are a few last thoughts, more specifically some of J's endearing qualities so that you can see how petty I am.

1) Doesn't see crumbs that he's made, ever. They do not exist, even if the size of a baby's arm.

2) Won't pick up tub toys after he's given Cracker a bath, and of course, it’s in our master shower combo. This is part of general rule #1 above. We do a modified version of the Cat Barf game with rubber ducks.

3) Dirty laundry is never dirty. He piles it up on the floor next to his side of the bed and lets cat hair collect on it until nothing he owns is clean, and then presents me with 10 loads of laundry all at once. The intent is to make less laundry for his lovely wife, yet he never does wear anything more than once because of our furballs. (Yeah, I steal from pile when ever I can, but I get caught. This is why his side of the bed is on the right, because you can't see all the shit on the floor from the door.

Now, I must admit I used to do the same thing as a teenager to my mom when I changed clothes a million times a day, but then they really were still clean. Instead of the floor, it was the back of the desk chair in my room. My mom and I had a deal: when the chair fell over I had to give her 5 items. Fair, no?

4) When the Cracker and I leave town, J doesn't do anything related to house work. Vacuum once, you know, right before I come home, because we have 3 cats and I've been away two weeks? HELL NO. Forget that you can actually see cat hair floating in the air when the sun streams in or the chunks of fur from a tiff. “But I didn’t make a mess, so why should I clean it up?” BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME, YOU MORON. So I come home to crumbs the size of a baby’s arm and general filth everywhere. Dishes, not rinsed or even washed, sitting in the dishwasher growing and getting smelly. And he also doesn’t put the trash on the curb, because he swears he doesn’t make any. Funny, the big-ass can looks full to me! And I always come home on a Saturday (so that I can stay up all night cleaning and doing laundry and have J get up with Cracker in the morning) and trash day is Friday. What the hell to do when the can is already full and they aren’t coming back for almost a week?

Wait! He did do laundry once, even though he isn’t allowed to touch the washer and dryer. He took a load of darks and washed them with Biz. For those of you who don’t know, Biz is a stain additive similar to Oxy Clean. It faded everything.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do everything on this list because guests are coming Wednesday.

Happy weekend!

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