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It’s been cold enough to turn on the heat* and get out the flannel sheets. The linen closet is a frightful mess; this afternoon I plan to take out the contents and refold them or better yet put them in the donation pile. I recently read a shocking report nearly all clothes donations that go to thrift shops end up in land fill. I hope this not so. I’ve learned consulting others in the house about discarding something usually gets a veto of questionable rationalization and back on the shelf it goes. I’ve discovered it is better to put long-forgotten items into a ghost bag and haul them to Goodwill without mentioning it to anybody.  Others in the house solve the stuff/space ratio problem not by discard but through better organization.**
I recently read of a word or term describing the phenomenon of needless material goods proliferating while our backs our turned. Now I cannot remember the word. Spo-fans who know please say so in the comment section.

We keep things mostly for three reason:
#1 Guilt
#2 Sentimentality
#3 Fears we may need it someday

Examples:
#1 – As I type this I see nearly a dozen pencils in the office organizer. I haven’t a clue how they got there. Most don’t have erasers and/or are stubs. Although they are still usable I will toss out most of them leaving 2-3 good ones.
#2 – This is the hardest one for me. Useless utensils that were my grandmother’s I can take a photo of I suppose and look at that if/when I need to.  I have a little sentiment box of knick-knacks and cat collars I just can’t throw out, so I am guilty as charged on this one.

#3 – For the ‘but we may need this someday’ anxiety I use a formula: if a replacement would cost less than 50$ then the chances of my actually needing it are slim enough to make this a cost/keep ratio worth chancing.
So with that all in mind today I am waging war on useless bulky things. Wish me luck. Anyone want a collection of mismatched flannel sheets? We have heaps.

 

*Someone has it in his head a ‘no heat on until January’ rule. I am not sure of its logic; perhaps he is just being cheap. Despite his protestations I have the heat set at 65F.
**He does a fine job at this. He could fit a rhinoceros into the car trunk.

Patience above! Everything is falling apart here at La Casa de Spo! It’s like some wicked fairy is bopping about slapping its wand on the appliances making them all inoperable. 

Last weekend I went to the wine fridge to discover its inside is as warm as a sauna; goodness knows when it gave up the ghost. I tried to cram as many of the more expensive bottles of vino into the main refrigerator.  If you were to open it now and peer inside you would see ~ twenty bottles and some half-consumed condiments and not much else and conclude we are a couple of dipsomaniacs.  I thought of putting them all in the pool but I did that once before and the labels came off. Let’s hope they are not too off.  We may be ordering out for a while.

The dishwasher – long in its decline – ceased to operate  entirely last night. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. Both boxes can be addressed by the same at-home repairman if we can find one. 

My antique clock isn’t doing well either. It stops every few days as if is tired and needing a rest to get back its bearings. After all it is over one hundred years old. I was able to resurrect it (again) but unfortunately this happened on the dining room table and I am now afraid to move it lest it die again. It’s a lovely timepiece but it doesn’t make a good centerpiece. 

The laptop contents mysteriously disappeared (I suspect Nargles) but thanks to ‘back up’ I was able to retrieve it.  Thank goodness I do back up. 

There’s more but you get the point. I’ve not had a moment’s peace running around attending to the crisis de jour. 

The clock and the laptop are working for now and the repairman (or somebody like him) is scheduled to show this Thursday.  Meanwhile I have dishwasher contents to attend. Oh the pain. I am suddenly aware how many glasses and plates go into a load. It is just too easy to put a once-used glass in the Kenmore than reuse it.  I’ve instructed The Cup Sprites to knock it off until Friday and let me drink out of the same glass for awhile hoping to cut down on the dishwashing. Have I mentioned it takes forever for the hot water to arrive to the kitchen sink? When we first moved in I thought the heater had been turned off.  It’s nutters it’s hot as hell outdoors yet it takes several minutes to get even lukewarm water out of the taps. I don’t mind washing dishes – provided there is hot water and I don’t have 800 other things to do.  The Skanks (the dears!) came out of their absence to inspire me to use paper plates and cutlery for awhile and I am half tempted to do so. 

I should be grateful the washer and the dryer haven’t crossed the appliance strike line to join their brethren.  The car better behave as I have to drive to San Diego this Wednesday.  Let’s see what shenanigans happen in the meanwhile. 

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Patience above and Lord love us! This is another entry causing angst with the brave and bold TBDHSR. They suggested (again) I post one of those ‘He doesn’t really mean any of this he’s attempting at writing humor” warnings, as if Spo-fans can’t figure this out themselves. Thems who are worried Someone is soon to be in court for a divorce or as a defendant in a homicide trial can rest easy.  Please don’t write in.

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Over the years I’ve heard from many patients their mixed feelings about their spouse’s retirement. They love their husband but now that he’s home all the time with not much to do he’s following her around being needy or worse ‘helpful’ and it’s getting on their nerves.  I am thinking of this today for Someone is home. Normally he is away, working on the weekends, and I have the house to myself. While I try to do my routine he’s come in to point out a few problems around the house that need addressing right now. In our domestic tennis game I return the ball in the form of a honey-do list we could be doing which really means what he could be doing  but this so far has proved fruitless. My usual sobriquet Dr. Smartypants has been altered slightly to Dr. Bossyboots…..

….I have just returned from the office where Someone has figured out how get my dictation headphones to operate independently of the PC speakers so he can hear Youtube. He also managed to streamline der Kabalsalat into something better organized. He is a dear. It was on the agenda of things to do today. Don’t you just love it when your spouse picks up your telepathy and does what you want them to do without the drudgery of saying it plain and out loud? The downsize of this is he’s now at the computer getting in the way of me charting. I am not too peeved at the inconvenience as I get to write this rather than work. 

Speaking of work I suppose I should stop sitting and typing and get up and do some. After all there is work to be done. Confucius (or one of that crowd) says the best way to lead men is by example and this includes spouses at home on weekends. I daresay Someone needs structure and discipline if we are ever going to get all these chores done. We may be not speaking by day’s end but the house will be more tidy for it. 

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While I am on a roll of tidy-up projects I thought to confess my actions at the office. Where are work there are two kitchenettes used by many and supervised by none. From time to time I take it upon myself to organize the kitchen drawers and throw out what I believe needs purging. No one objects and no one seems to notice either.*

Thanks to continual pharmaceutical luncheons we are up to our oxters in packets of salt and pepper, soy sauce, and other condiments. I daresay they multiply on their own. I tried once to put them all into a clear glass container on the shelf at eye level so others would use them. Alas the amounts that come in weekly overwhelmed the jar.  When the drawer is overflowing I throw them all out and no one is the wiser. Plus – the mayonnaise packets tend to plumb up like overstuffed helium balloons and that can’t be good.

In another drawer dwell enough chopsticks to supply all of Shanghai despite a relatively lack of Chinese food at these shin-dings. These look perfectly useable so throwing them out seems silly. I imagine taking them en mass to Pei Wei and leaving them like a box of unwanted kittens but I worry if caught in the act I would be looked upon as an object of suspicion.

Who keeps bringing in the multi-colored coffee sweeteners is a mystery especially in light of the fact no one seems to bring in coffee. I don’t throw out the sugar substitutes as blithely as I do the condiments but I do like to organize them into taxonomic trays keeping the yellows away from the blues and the pinks. As Rocky says to Bullwinkle but that trick never works – or not for long. By week’s end they have all crept back into a communal pile in the back of a drawer usually behind the condiments.  The columnar boxes of unused sugar and coffee creamers stay put on the counter like Ozymandias.

I recently threw out the clinic can opener. It’s been sleeping in a drawer underneath a thick blanket black plastic fork/knife/spoon/paper napkin sets. I suspect no one has used it in years. I recently tested it as it is inoperable.

On the kitchen counter is a glass jar into which I make a periodic contribution of nibbles. These are quickly consumed but no one asks where they come from or even says thank you. This doesn’t bother me really. I feel like one of those Elves in the Shoemaker story and it gives me a good feeling to do a small good for my fellow man.

On the other hand after a round of tidy-up I get peeved enough to consider bringing in not trail mix but something else for the glass jar.

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*I realize this perpetuates the problem viz. self-responsibility and an agreed-upon plan to keep things clean. Alas, years of remonstration has been to no avail.

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I swept and mopped the floors today; it was some job. They were quite dirty with dog hair and dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds. Oh the embarrassment. The weather was warm enough to open the doors for awhile and let in some relatively dog-free air. Piles of laundry, high as Fafner’s hoard, were cleaned, ironed, folded, and put away. I can sit down now wholly satisfied how much tidy-up was accomplished. I can be proud in my industry. 

Tomorrow is Monday and the whole bloody business starts again. 

I sometimes wonder what other people do on their weekends. I imagine while I am running errands and doing the tidy-up others are out jet-skiing and hand-gliding followed by dining, theatre, and dancing. I want to know when do they buy the groceries and iron etc. Probably the have hired help or indentured servants to fry the eggs and dry the sheets for them.

Perhaps there is no greener grass to wit even the hoity-toity 1% lead mundane lives on weekends staying home to clean their kitchens

Unless Mary Poppins should unexpectedly shows up housekeeping here is strictly do-it-yourself and that’s that. Henry II (or one of that crowd) once said “There’s no point in asking if the air is any good when there is nothing else to breathe”. No one is going to pick up the dog poop for me.

On the positive I got through all my podcasts and a medical lecture and Harper got in a couple of good walks. While I ran around with mop and broom she basically slept all day. I gave her one task to do to earn her keep: change the bed. It is 7PM and she still hasn’t done it. It is so difficult to get good help these days. 

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

Unknown“What are you doing?” I hear Someone asking although this was done telepathically from the back of his brain while he sits watching TV.  What I am doing that looks suspect is I am going around the house wiping down things down with disinfection wipes. I admit this looks possibly barking mad but in my defense I can not remember when some of these things were last washed if ever. Every once in a while the medical journals remind me to remind patients about the high levels of contamination or household objects.  The social media does likewise although in a more alarmist oh-yuck style.  

Doorknobs and handles are especially noxious, full up with nasty wee-beasties just waiting to jump onto your fingers and crawl up into your mouth to devour you like John Hurt in Alien. Oh the horror. Computer keyboards are perhaps worse. So – once in a while (in our house, say every couple of years) it seems sensible to wash the door handles and light switches. I don’t know if it does much good but it is psychologically purging to do. 

“Chlorox-wipes” smell clean and capable of killing the worse of pathogens. They give me the sensation nothing can survive them and through them all surfaces they touch become sterile and safe for humanity – temporarily.  One can not completely get away from bacteria nor should one want to. All the same, the microwave handle and buttons – which haven’t had a proper wipe in ages – got a thorough purge and that’s that.  

Later this morning Someone and I will go out to breakfast. This involves opening the restaurant door which has been touched by countless of the Unwashed. Out of vanity I don’t bring along my plastic barrel of Cholox-wipes but I always wash my hands before eating; I never see anyone else doing this. 

That what doesn’t kill you makes you strong – unless it is E. coli or Salmonella which only just wears you done. 

In the bathroom closet is a brass bowl full up with little cakes of soap. They are irregular shaped from once or twice use; they are wrapped in torn off bits of toilet paper or Kleenex. These are the remnants of cakes collected from countless hotel bathrooms. At the end of a hotel stay, as I make rounds doing  a last check for left-behind objects, I wrap up the gently used soap cakes and take them with me.  I see it a terrible waste otherwise.  As a consequence I don’t think I’ve bought soap from a grocery store in years. As soon as the cakes are used up, some other trip with a hotel stay happens to replenish my supply. 

I am not fussy about soap. I don’t take truck in fancy types. These little cakes, usually white or beige, seem sufficient for getting off the grime. I am one to try to compact soap remnants into a Frankenstein-like cake so as to not waste the slivers.  

Once in a while a hotel provides no bars but liquid body wash. Sometimes at Christmas time I get a bottle of such.  They do the job but  they don’t supply the satisfaction of lathering up a cake while rubbing it up and down your contours. There is an amusement to recall that old chestnut of a joke while bending over to retrieve dropped soap. One doesn’t get this mirth from shower gel. 

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I said I am satisfied with basic soap but that’s not entirely true. I am a sucker for brightly coloured cakes with fancy stripes and patterns. They usually come with exotic names and aromas. Nothing brightens up the morning ablutions  as seeing among the grayness of bathing tools a brilliant green or blue cake redolent of ‘ocean’ or ‘mint’. They are usually made by hippie-types and sold at street fairs. Someone doesn’t like aromatic soap. If he just walks into a soap store this evokes headaches in the man so he stays out while I go in and stick bars up my nose. 

Someday during a travel drought I will run out of both types of soap and I will be forced to buy some at Albertson’s. I suppose I will get Irish Spring if they still make any. I recall from the television commercials if you use Irish Spring you feel as if you are showering outdoors with a dirty Irishman. This is worth the price of all the soap in all the Marriotts that ever ever was. 

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Act I – Rosy-fingered Dawn

I awoke this morning to a tongue wash. Harper has a curious habit of licking me all over from the neck up. This isn’t limited to just the cheeks or the nape of the neck but all over, including the scalp and hair. She doesn’t do this to Someone. We are bewildered why she does this only to me. Someone and I use the same soap and shampoo so that isn’t it. Perhaps I am just that more tasty. I’ve been accused of rubbing behind the ears with raw cutlets but this is mere slander. It is rather sweet that she does it, but I am rawther grungy afterwards and need a good rinse.  Anyway, it was my wake up call to not only get clean but clean up in general. There is work to be done.

Act II – Morning 

I  just sat down from cleaning the kitchen and I am simply exhausted.  That’s too bad as there is plenty more to do. I put my foot down this week to close all the windows and turn on the AC to keep out the high-pollution pollen-saturated Arizona air. Now that contagion is no longer blowing in at a constant clip I can dust etc. without feeling it is futile as shoveling snow during a Chicago blizzard.  I must pace myself lest I pull a muscle.  Someone is leaving me ‘Home Alone’ all day today so I have plenty of time to tidy up. I am not a germaphobe but I like to regularly change the sheets and towels maybe once a week if I remember to do so. The washer and dryer are going allegro no troppo as are the dishwasher and ironing board.

Like Cinderella or Snow White I like to clean to music. I will wait until after Someone leaves to turn up the tunes especially the ones he doesn’t like.  Podcasts are iffy as background noise for I either don’t listen well or vice versa and do a bad mop job. Hate when that happens. 

Act III – Bedknobs and Broomsticks 

Last week Someone moved the beds around. Pay attention now as this rivals the description of a Jospeh Conrad short story.  When The Lovely Neighbor moved away she gave us her king-size-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown bed which we erected in the master bedroom. The queen-size bed was disassembled and piled up in pieces in The Blue Room (thus making the room untenable).  Someone recently erected the Blue Room nee Master Bedroom queen-size bed into the Dragon Room, thus displacing the brass twin bed to wonder around the house looking for an opening. The brass bed settled into The Blue Room. I don’t know what happened to the futon that was originally in the Blue Room. I think it stayed there under the queen bed before all the beds started moving about. He  states he took the futon apart and put it somewhere.  I hope today to find it.  

The bedroom farce certainly generated upheaval and lots of dust. All sorts of items were discovered lurking under the beds. They are now ON the beds and in desperate need of attention.  It will be a long tidy-up day indeed. Bets are on I will fall into one of them by afternoon for a well needed snooze.

 

 

Last night we got an email from good Mr. Dunn, the Wizard of Taxes did the deed: we are getting a sizeable tax return – much to my surprise as it was the first year filing as a married man and I was a stingy bastard last year who didn’t donate much to anyone – or so I thought. Apparently neither was true – or true enough to make a difference. The tax return looks about the same as in times past.

This bean bonanza makes for a good reason to sit down with Someone and discuss what to do with the booty. There is no lack of things about the house that need attention. Some are in desperate need of fixing. We have developed a slovenly habit if something breaks down we don’t attend it  but just let it sit.  The 2001 Honda (may it rest in peace) sits in the garage untenable. It makes me feel white trashy viz. seeing old vehicles rusting away on lawns.  Oh the embarrassment.

Getting a new jalopy is high on the list of things wanting attention but the AC may take precedent. Summer is coming to paraphrase ‘Game of Thrones’. The 37C temperatures combined with the high pollen of April are already making sleeping a miserable experience.

What else wants doing? The outside electric lights haven’t worked for some time. Do let’s call in the Electrician (or someone like him).  Perhaps we should hire a Hercules-like handyman for the myriad labors like sanding and shellacking the patio furniture and hauling away the dead plants (of which we have plenty).

If there is anything left, there are summer plans to make still. The one travel necessity is tickets to MI this August for Step-nephew’s wedding. I may put my foot down (both of them) and persuade ourselves to hire a proper maid service to remove all the dog hair dust bunnies.

The Bad Idea Bears (in league with The Skanks) suggest I buy rather a fancy piece of art for the alcove off the guest room. It’s been empty for ages; it seems to scream ‘fill me with a statue or glassware”. Fat chance of that!  ADHD buying and/or impulsive Archetypes are no match for the limits and structure of Someone.  The dear !

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