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house-cleaning-11688-570x403I am taking a break from today’s tidy-up to sit still for a moment and write out some thoughts. I am drinking Earl Gray; I am signing my death warrant drinking such at this hour. It isn’t too strong but I daresay I will be up late. That’s not too bad for there’s work to be done.

The last load out of the dryer had with it some sort of gizmo among the socks and undies. It is a large round gray push button-like object; a spring connect to it. Neither one of us can deduce what on earth it is let alone from whence comes it. I’ve been wondering the house looking for something to press that is missing its button. This is not the first time the dryer has delivered onto us some strange and unfamiliar object. They are usually in exchange for a sock or some other wearing apparel.  I have a theory the dryer has a connection to a wormhole which warps time and space at least in the regular settings. Rationalists in the house don’t agree with me but they can’t come up with a better theory so I am sticking with mine. 

Speaking of laundry we finally remembered to purchase some Pine-Sol to clean up the laundry room floor. I am always dubious to move out the washer and dryer for last time we found quite a few scorpions albeit dead ones. On the positive I usually find a handful of coins – not enough to buy a small chocolate cone I suppose but enough to make the job a satisfactory one. 

After the laundry/room is addressed there is all the ironing. Oh the pain. Somehow we’ve managed to wear in a fortnight every shirt imaginable and they all want ironing.  Happily I have a lot of podcasts to hear which makes it bearable.  Whenever I spend an evening making hot steamy love with the Proctor & Gamble I ponder the time/cost analysis. I dont’ recall how much it costs for the cleaners to clean and press a shirt (Spo-fans can help me here) but I can’t help but wonder if the time savings is worth it. Besides, the sweet ladies at “Quick-cleaners” do it better. I do what’s called ‘good-enough ironing” much to the chagrin of Someone. 

Apart from the washing and ironing I need to compose an email of a list of wants for Christmas prizes for my family’’s Secret Santa.  This will be the 56th year in a row I will ask for that blasted pony.  Odds are I won’t get it again but I’ve learned whatever I list as the second wish is a certain bet. Be careful what I ask for here. Perhaps I can kill as many scorpions with one stone as it were and ask for a clothes press. 

A man ironing a shirt

Note: I thought this a marvelous post. TBDHSR thought is boring. Still, it ain’t no “Curious things about the house” entry.

I am sitting in the brown easy chair, typing away on my laptop, drinking tea from a white mug with its blue “Charleston Tea Plantation” writing. I remember where, when, and why every one of these items was purchased. I see across the room sitting on a table stand a small sculpture of an owl which my cousin made and gave me when she and her gal pals came to visit me when I lived in Chicago in the early 90s.  These items I think are the exception that most of what I have has no history.  Waiting this morning for the kettle to boil I cleaned the kitchen sink. I paused for a moment to wonder about the blue plastic dishpan. For the umpteenth time I had rinsed it out with warm sudsy water and left it turned over on the stainless steel Crate and Barrel wire rack. I stopped to consider where and when the tub was purchased. Can’t remember. It’s one of the many mundane things about the house that ‘have always been there’. It looks in good shape and I daresay it will it will survive me when somehow someone else will use and clean it in the exact same way. 

There is a woman in Japan who leads some sort of cleanliness cult whose philosophy is house things should be either bring you joy or be useful. Anything else should be discarded as clutter. More than useless, they bring your spirits down.  A quick emotional poll of Spo-things seems to fall into the categories 20% Joy, 40% useful, and 60% rubbish.* Someone seems pleased I recently took over taking out the trash on Tuesdays but it’s my devious way to slowly discard things from the 60% category.  Thanks to careful selection he hasn’t noticed anything has gone missing. However at this slow rate it will be the year 3888 before mission accomplished and I don’t know how I can sneak out the larger objects like the otiose Hammond organ. Time to call The Junkman or someone like him. I can do this one night this week when Someone is ushering. Chances are he will come home exhausted go right to bed and not even notice half the furniture is gone. 


*Yes I know that doesn’t add up. Please don’t write in. 

I finally finished a book.* This is no small task given all the other things that wave at me at day’s end, wanting my attention. I am currently reading some lofty tomes, none of them ‘going quickly’. Mr. Pepys’ diary goes oh-so-slowly. I am up to 1664 with many years to go.

We have a houseguest this Sunday – our first visitor in ages. This inspired us to give the place a proper cleaning. If I had known this would do the trick I would have invited someone/anyone over sooner.

I am pleased as Punch to report the refrigerator is running and putting out ice and filtered water. We are returning to proper levels of hydration, which is the panacea of all ills. ** There is nothing in the fridge but ice, as its contents  was tossed when it went on the fritz.  We are discussing now whether or not to go to Albertsons and buy some stables for the sake of filling it up or purchasing items for specific menus.  Mundane grocery shopping and housecleaning always evokes in me the desire to get a houseboy or somebody like him. I vote we turn one of the guest bedrooms into a separate living area for said servant.  Someone, always the Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote, find this absurd. The young lads for hire around here are all of Hispanic background.  We would end up looking both wicked old screws AND first world exploiters.  The neighbors would think we’ve gone GOP on them.

Last week Big Brothers or somebody like him came by to pick up our unwanted clothing. After ten-plus years living in AZ my sweater collection has dwindled down from a dozen to two. Goodness knows what the local charity is going to do with our heavy woolens but that’s their problem now.

It’s the tenth of the month. The cosmic calendar tells us it’s time for Harper’s heartworm pill. Oh the pain. Somehow she knows this; she quietly disappears even as we think about it.  Getting the damn thing down her is a challenge. Wrapping the tiny pill in a folded cold cut or a treat etc. doesn’t work well. Clever dog! She  has the knack to take it apart in her mouth and spit out the pill and dare ask for more. The effrontery of dogs!   Anyway this is Someone’s job. I pick up the poop so he can deal with problems at the other end.


*Lore – Wicked Mortals. Jolly good fun!

**Right after Lying down and avoiding things.

TBDHSR was pleased as Punch to see yesterdays’ little lecture on Jung-stuff got enough comments to leave my digits as they are. I allowed to write on BBQ sauce and the Archetypes important to the Feminine. Spo-fans keen on the ‘time I almost got thrown in jail” story should not hold their breath. 

We were invited last night to ‘gay dinner party’ (as my grandmother used to call them) by some bar buddies. There were four couples; they were well over four week.  I was pleased to see our hosts not only had place cards at table but they separated the couples as well. My dinner partner was a fellow from Ireland named Aiden; I hope I didn’t drive him to distraction with all my questions. It was a marvelous party; I couldn’t have liked it more. To finish this oh-so-proper past time I insisted Someone and I write a handwritten thank you note. It made me feel good to see proper manners are not completely dead. 


This week we see highs of 45C or more. The assurance ‘it’s a dry heat’ carries no weight at these temperatures.  It’s hard enough already to keep my office cool what with its two glass walls facing south/east.  I plan to show up at work in the lightest of clothing – cut offs if I could get away with it. Thank goodness for job security that I can push the envelope as it were.  

The fridge man comes tomorrow to tell us if the LG refrigerator can be repaired. I am familiar enough with ‘sunk cost bias” not to put good money after bad if it’s too bloody expensive. Yesterday we bought a little ‘dorm room’ fridge to tide us over.   The water man (or someone like him) shows latter this week. I would like to have proper water again. Tea made with tap water has some sort of oil slick on top of it most unappetizing. 

If we can get through this water-less, ice-less, bee-infested week (yes they are still in the back) we can get out of town for our annual trek to Santa Fe for the opera.  Let us hope so.  


Here are a few handy Spo-hacks. None are profound, nor are they likely to cause apotheosis but they are useful all the same and some of them are jolly good fun.

To cool down on those still too hot October nights: take a dip in the nonheated pool wearing a T-shirt and boxers. Dry off the excessive dripping water. Parade around in your damp undergarments while the hot dry air causes evaporation which leads to quite a cool-down. Instant AC !  

Kleenex boxes make marvelous hats.

Clear the lint trap every time before you operate the dryer. Someone hasn’t yet grasped this truism so I will assume others don’t know this as well. Try to tell as many people as you can in town.

There is no such thing as too much pepper. Do not dare to question this.

Costco chicken that has become too dry and shredded to be palatable can be added to Kraft M&C. This goes also for slightly-off vegetables and that saved chili no one wants to eat but feels guilty to just throw out. Really M&C makes any old thing edible again. Just remember to add a lot of pepper.

Cellphone charger cords all look alike; to discriminate them tie shreds of Spo-shirt fabric into bows around the cords. Use a different color for each. This way you are not accused of taking more than one leaving the others in the house bereft of a charger cord.

Impudent dogs ensconced on your side of the bed can be made to move by blowing on their ears until they are annoyed enough to move. Another means to move indolence hounds is to go to the kitchen and open up the bag of shredded cheddar cheese. This hack is 100% efficacious at moving mutts.

Never trust trout.

Open all utensil and vanity drawers slowly, so you do not upset or startle the scorpions.

The dishwasher is more efficacious when you put into it one of those square little cake things with the red button tops – or so I am told. This isn’t a Spo-tip but a Someone-hack. Who knew?

For those things that get moved about by The Cup Fairies and their associates: create designated areas in which to place the keys and phones and such.  Good ideas:  the bowl on the dresser; the bowl on the butcher block table just inside the back door; the bowl under the Bookwus. Bad ideas: the drawer with the doggie supplies; under Someone’s pillow; laundry basket; beneath the ottoman.  

The AC unit on the east side of the house has gone off. I am disappointed but not surprised. The unit has been running nonstop for many months; it’s amazing it hasn’t gone out sooner. I appreciate it waited until the temperatures finally started to become less fetid.  We are still having highs in the upper 90s but the early morning hours are in the upper 60s.  The intrepid AC on the west side remains operable so we are not too bad off. Someone set up a series of fans to blow the cold air from the east wing over to the west.  Unfortunately the cool dry air from the east collides with the west west air to create a storm front and it is now starting to rain in the foyer. Oh the embarrassment.  We need to get a repairman or somebody like him in ASAP. I hope the AC doesn’t need total replacement as that could cost several thousands of dollars.  Alas, our approach tends to be one if it breaks down we try to live without it – our house is filled with inutile objects – but no AC in AZ is not tenable. It must be done. Oh the pain.

Speaking of expensive breakdowns I finally got to the dentist at the local dental school. At one point in the consultation I had four people in my mouth, most of them throwing up their hands in horror at the work that wants doing. Apparently if I don’t get my gums attended pronto I may not have any teeth by sixty. More expenses!  If it becomes a Sophie’s choice I will go with the gnashers and not with the Goodman.  I could not be cheap and liquidate some mutual funds and get both.

I go to sleep tonight down in the dumps knowing I am surrounded by things shouting out ‘fix me!” I don’t have time or energy to be an autodidact but must call in others and hope it isn’t too outrageous.   This reminds me I am also in desperate need of a hair cut, which isn’t cheap either.  I may get Someone to give me a buzzcut heine. It doesn’t look too good but it is a bargain and in the heat of the house less hair the better.

Last night the first ‘monsoon’ of the season came through like a locomotive. Normally these storms are disappointing they are mere short intense downpours. Yesterday’s sky-drama was worthy of Ragnorak. It would have been quite entertaining but we were driving home from the Sunday night showing of “Falsettoland”. We were nearly blown off Highway 101.  At home all the backyard furniture had been blown about and the umbrella (usually poolside) was now in the pool. Aaron, The Pool Boy, will have is work cut out for him.

The disarray now matches the mess inside. Yesterday afternoon we disassembled The Lovely Neighbor’s king-size bed and brought it over to our place. We’ve had no time to move things about, so its pieces are lying about the living room with mattresses up against the walls. The many iron rods and beams gives the ambience of a giant version of Pick-up-stix.  Goodness knows when we will put it up.  The provisional plan is to empty The Dragon Room (the guest room) and move the contents of The Blue Room into the Dragon Room (the future den/office) which opens up The Blue Room for the old queen-size bed (transforming The Blue Room into The Guest Room) which allows space to erect the king-size bed (keeping the Master Bedroom as is but with a larger bed).  We were ambivalent about the bed but now we are thrilled. Someone is excited as this means shopping for new sheets, pillows, and the such; Urs Truly is pleased as punch as he can don the iron rod canopy with gay garlands apropos for the season.

Who knows when we will find the time to do all this; we both have full work weeks. I worry we will be ambulating around the upright mattresses and criss-crossed iron poles for some time. Happily no one is coming over until November. Last weekend I was mortified Brother #2 and family had an impromptu stop-by in the middle of my ironing/folding/cleaning/laundry/sewing/dishes day. Oh the embarrassment.  Happily they have two adolescent boys and didn’t notice anything odd.

8f3d36dbf8bef0228aba29b1b41fdcba--clear-acrylic-martinis  The Lovely Neighbor has one month to pack up and get out of her now sold house. Every time we interact with her we get a ‘parting gift’. Yesterday she came over to use the fax machine and I received a set of cocktail swizzle-sticks with olives on them (how jolly).

She recently offered to give us the king-sized bed that was in the master bedroom neither she nor her later mother have used in a decade. It would save her the trouble of having to haul it to Virginia where it would no doubt just go into storage as she plans to live with her children for awhile.


The bed is in excellent condition; the mattress is like new. The iron sides and ‘canopy’ have the advantage of hanging things on it like trousers and bathrobes. I can see holiday decorations hanging and intertwined in the bars above.

This modest proposal has us thinking.

In the Spo-house is a queen-sized bed (master bedroom), a twin (guest room), and a futon (Henrik’s room).  A king-sized bed would probably make all the beds move over a room knocking out the futon to Craig’s list or charity.

I’ve never slept in a king-sized bed. When I’ve encountered them in hotels they give me a bit of unease. I feel silly taking up such a tiny amount of space with so much wasted. Having a king-sized bed might mitigate the nightly unconscious ‘battle’ for space in the queen. Harper always sleeps on my side. Sometimes when she becomes ensconced I go and sleep in the guest in the twin. The king would give the three of us all the personal space necessary for Midwesterners to feel they are sleeping alone. There is also the asset of having space to roll around as we toss and turn and not slap each other or squash the dog.

Yet, to put a king-size-titanic-unsinkable-molly-brown bed in the master bedroom takes up more space but puts it at odds with the rest of the bedroom furniture.  If that is important.

Someone plans to takes measurements and perhaps make little models to see how well this trickle-down theory of beds would work. I daresay we may have to give up some furniture at the other end and I don’t think Henrik would mind the brass bed (which is better than a futon anyway).

Anyway we have a few weeks to decide. To help out, we can always take it disassembled and either set it up or put it up for sale.


This morning I woke in a zwodder*, looked around at all that wants doing, and wondered whether or not to stay put. This philosophical dilemma was thwarted by Harper who insisted I get up, let her out, and give her breakfast, so that’s that. And here I am.

Aaron The Pool-master came by yesterday and installed the remote control for the pool light. Clever man! With a push of a button I can now illuminate the pool to reveal any nasty things dwelling below waiting to pull me down in the dark to a dastardly demise. Alas, it’s take time of year when the pool isn’t too refreshing. The cement pond’s temperature is that of slightly cooled bath tub; a cold shower is more refreshing. It is a funny feeling to float in the dark bathed in light from below which slowly changes colour so that one moment I am in emerald green than blue than an angry purple and back again. There is no red tone which I deem sensible. That sounds too horrorshow.


Last week I asked Father to send me a photo of my grandmother so I may include it in my (nearly completed!) cookbook. After a few days I asked him had he forgotten to email me. He explained he took an actual photo out of an old album and popped the picture in the post. Oh lordy, why hadn’t he just attached it to an email? He grumbled slightly he didn’t know how to do that sort of thing and this was easier. Now I have to figure out how to get the actual photo into the cookbook – which is something I don’t know how to do. Oh the bother.

I am officially back under the tutelage of The Personal Trainer. Newer Spo-fans may not know TPT moved away a year or so ago. As a consequence I slacked off my exercise. I do better under supervision, structure, and discipline. We will try a long distance relationship where he sends me what to do. I have my fingers crossed I will become better fit, better looking, and no back injury in the process.  Today he has planned for me to do all sorts of shenanigans, the likes I haven’t done in ages. I’ve explained to him I am an old man out of shape and only recently out of an illness. Naples won’t be rebuilt in a day here.  Do let’s hope.

Finally – does anyone have a good recipe for Chicken Marsala?  While rummaging around the booze bottles I found an unopened bottle of Marsala wine.  I don’t think this is actually something one drinks (yes?) but is for cooking.  I see several recipes on the internet but I trust Spo-fans experience over a Google search. Thems who have a crock-pot recipe for such get double thanks and perhaps a prescription prize as well. It’s rawther hot here; I’d rather not heat up the stove if I can help it. Throwing everything into the intrepid crock pot sounds preferable.


*Zwodder – a drowsy and stupid state of mind. Try using it in an email today.

IMG_1263Harper is throwing up food. Upon inspection of the vomitus it appears she is wolfing down too much at a time and her tummy isn’t having it. She is now going on a less amount – more frequent sort of diet. Right after her latest unswallow, she immediately started begging for table scraps, so she seems OK.

img_4353The four kitchen chairs are in desperate need of reupholstering having been used for 15 years. The arm fabric are all cracked and several have indelible stains. Yesterday I was sent to the fabric store to ‘scout ideas’; Someone did likewise. This morning we compared our samples only discover mine are all dark, colorful, and bold (like my men) while his are, shall we say, ‘old lady’. We have a lot of work to do.


The refrigerator has to go. It is nearly twenty years old and acting badly, spilling puddles below and making fancy ice drippings down the inside encapsulating our frozen peas and fish sticks. I’m sure it could be repaired but it ain’t worth it. I want a proper new one, no rubbish, one that delivers ice without the door trying to break open. I want one shiny, sleek, and user-friendly, like my men.

Hector the Handyman and his Henchmen came and removed the large mesquite tree that was slowly falling over into the pool and onto the backyard wall. I will sleep better now knowing this ominous organic leaning Tower of Pisa is gone. I hope this cuts down on the crud that continually rains into the pool. Perhaps now I can actually USE the pool rather than just always clean it.

I’ve promised several shirts; one of them is years behind schedule. It’s Sunday. While Someone is slaving away at the Convention Centre telling demanding people where to go to find a Starbucks I am going to be sweltering over my sewing machine. It’s not a bad way to spend a Sunday. I am allowed bathroom breaks every four hours.


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