My kingdom for a (vacuum) hose

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Jun 24, 2008 Under family life, husbands, kids

Is it just me, or are ants? some of the most disgusting creatures known to man?? Second, of course, to cockroaches.? I mean, I don’t mind seeing an ant here or there when I’m out and about.? And yes, I get that ants are amazing—they’re strong, organized, and cooperative.? In fact, they’d probably? fare better in the corporate world than most humans.? ? But there are rules.? And I draw the line when the little? bastards sneak? into my home for a morning snack.? Then, amazing or not, they must die.

So, I? stumble downstairs this morning, into the kitchen, and there they are.? Dozens and dozens of ants, crawling all over our counters, in our sink, on the floor, and on the sliding glass door, where they’ve apparently snuck in.? (By the way, my computer is telling me that “snuck” isn’t actually a word.? Are you kidding me?? Who the heck uses “sneaked”, anyway?)

Hubby was down here earlier this morning.? He keeps his keys and wallet on the kitchen counter.? Did he notice any ants?? Of course not.? Most hubbies, as you may have realized by now, have a great knack for tunnel-vision.? If it’s not a snack, a golf club,? or a completely unnecessary and useless electronic gadget, then it might as well be invisible.? Our phone conversation goes something like this:

Me:? “Um, honey, did you go into the kitchen this morning?”

Him:? “I think so.”? (See that?? He’s already hedging his bets—his “danger-meter” must be going off like crazy).

Me:? “Did you notice anything….strange?”

Him:? “Is this a trick question?”

Me:? “How about…did you notice the ANTS ALL OVER OUR KITCHEN COUNTER??”? (voice rising about a? hundred decibels)

Him:? “Ants??

Me:? “Yes. Ants.? You know,those little six-legged black insect things that like it when you leave PEANUT SHELLS ALL OVER THE FLOOR??” (Voice rising again, most likely loud enough for the neighbors to hear.? The ones that live three blocks away.)

Him:? “Peanut Shells?”

Sigh.? The next step, of course, is to kill the little suckers with my non-toxic dishwashing liquid and water spray.? That part, at least, goes as planned.

Then the clean up.? After wiping up as many dead bugs as I can possibly find (yum), I head to the garage(always a scary undertaking, at our house) for the vacuum.? I get super excited at first, because I could see the vacuum right off the bat.? For once, I thought, I’d escape from the garage unscathed.? No searching under totaled cars that should’ve been enjoying a view at the dumpster for the last year, no getting bombed by precariously balanced pieces of junk.? No getting blown up by fireworks.? Or eaten by a rat.?

I should have known better.? ? Because as? I get closer to the vacuum, I do a double take.? Something appears to be missing.? And in fact, something is missing—the hose.?

Now, I don’t claim to be a vacuum expert, nor do I play one on TV, but even my housecleaning-impaired brain is pretty sure that since we do not own a Dyson (nor any other vacuum from the twenty-first century, for that matter) the hose is a crucial element to getting that particular appliance to work.?

So, I call hubby again—I seem to remember he and my son playing with something which, in retrospect, may have resembled a vacuum hose while in the kiddie pool on Saturday.

Me:? “So, I found the vacuum, but there’s no hose.”

Him:? “Hose?”

Me:? “Yes, hose.? You know, the thing that actually makes the whole thing work?”

Him:? “Um.? I think maybe Connor was playing with it.”

Me:? “O-k-k-k-a-a-y.? So do you know where it is?”

Him:? “Um.? No.”

Me:? “Just for curiosity’s sake, do you think it’s a good idea to let our 4 yr old play with the parts to our major appliances?”

Him:? “Um.? No.? ? But he likes it.”

Me:? “He also likes to eat ice cream and candy and Oreos right before bed.? And smash things with a hammer.? Shall we let him do that?”

Him:? “Um.? No.? But maybe ask him where it is.? I haven’t seen it.”

Me:? “You mean, you haven’t seen it since he played with it?? Because obviously you saw it then.”

Him:? “Oh, yeah. ZZZShhhshZZZ (obviously man-made static noises).? Do you hear that static?? You’re cutting out.”

Double sigh.? So I ask my son where the vacuum hose is.? In fact, he does remember where he put it–on the floor of the garage.? Now, if this were your garage, maybe this is the point where you start jumping for joy, or singing “Whoomp, there it is!”, or whatever? ritual it is normal folks perform when they’ve located something in their garage,? knowing the hose would be in your vacuum-grasping hands at any moment.? But we’re talking our garage, where the word “normal” doesn’t even exist, home to a million pieces of junk, and that junk’s offspring.? And, of course, the occasional rat.

At any rate, I finally locate the vacuum hose.? It is, indeed, on the floor of the garage.? And I guess I can understand why hubby? couldn’t recall? seeing it.?

? Now, I think my son is amazing and gifted.? ? Really, I do.? But even I’m pretty sure that he didn’t heft up the pedal car, which I can barely lift, and? toss it right on top of the hose.? Nor, to the best of my knowledge,? did he suddenly grow about two feet and trade his training wheels in for an adult-sized ten-speed.? So, it begs the question—how did that hose get there?

I’d ask my hubby, but? I already know what his response would be.

? “Hose?”

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Laundry room woes (talk about airing our dirty laundry)

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday May 20, 2008 Under family life

Batman has the Joker.? Spiderman has the Green Goblin.? Paula Abdul has Simon.?

And me?? Well, for starters,? my nemesis isn’t a? person.? It’s a thing.? A place, really.? Sort of a household destination, if you will—one? that nobody enjoys visiting for long.? It’s……our laundry room.

Okay, so maybe my arch enemy isn’t as glamorous or exciting as most, but I’m telling you, my laundry room is possessed by the forces of darkness.? Or perhaps Rush Limbaugh—I have an understandably difficult time telling those two things apart.?

Seriously, though—my laundry room knows how to get its evil on.? I mean, how else do you explain the massive piles of dirty, smelly clothes that magically appear, even after I’ve just finished the fiftieth load of the day?? I’m convinced that I wash more clothes in one week than thirty Paris Hiltons’ could wear in a year.?

And how would anything rational explain the fact that I continuously leave clothes in the washer for too long, even though it seems as though I’m doing laundry non-stop, 24/7, like Carol Brady with a few (hundred) extra kids?? Forget the napalm— there’s nothing quite like the smell of mildew in the morning to make your nose hate your face.? And then there’s the dog food, which somehow? manages to jump out of the bag and onto the floor when I’m not looking.? Crafty stuff, that Evo.? I guess that’s what you get for an extra $20.00 a pound.

Honestly, you would think cleaning out the laundry room and keeping it tidy was a reasonable, attainable goal, right?? ? Well, for me, it’s about as attainable as climbing Mt. Everest, naked and barefoot, with a baby strapped on my back.?

And no chocolate.

I suppose I could tame the wild laundry room, if I really put my mind to it.? Provided, of course, that I’m prepared to ignore teething babies, querying four-year olds, hungry Ridgebacks, growling Rottweilers, and disgruntled husbands.? For about eighty hours straight.

Personally, I think clean clothes are overrated.? ? I mean, what’s a little baby spit-up, dog slobber, B.O, and four-year old slime among friends?? C’mon on, hang those baby blow-out pants right back up–she’s just gonna do it again, so what’s the point of washing them anyway?? ? Just think—we could single-handedly end California’s drought by banning the washing machine.

Exhibit A:? ? ? ? ? Be very, very afraid.

Exhibit B:? I’m surprised nothing has jumped out to bite me…..yet.

Exhibit C:? ? ? Those little round spots on the floor are dog food.? I’d pick them up, but they’d only be replaced by more.? Besides, Fergie likes a little snack while she stomps all over the clean clothes.

? Exhibit D:? Just in case you? were deluded enough to think? there was a semi-organized corner of the room.? If it matters, at least those piles are clean.

On second thought, I’m thinking a nudist colony might be in order.?

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The real pitfalls of a 3-car garage

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Feb 21, 2008 Under family life, husbands

I know, I know—if I’d? just stopped to glance? at the title even once while writing my last post, I would’ve remembered? what the heck I was supposed to writing about? .? But that would have required (a miniscule amount of)? thinking.? Which, by the end of the day, is not my strong point.? Besides, my brain likes to hibernate at night (which is how I excuse my reality show habit).? You know, bears should really think about wintering on chocolate truffle cake—it sure does the trick for me.

So, finally, on to the intended subject of my last post—-our 3-car garage? (afer all that build-up, this is destined to be anti-climactic).?

When we bought this house, there were two things I really, really craved—a huge walk-in closet, and a bigger kitchen.? There were also two things my husband wanted—a big yard and a 3-car garage.

Somehow, yours truly? ended up? the big stinkin’ loser of that round.? Prior to moving, I wasn’t even aware it was possible to trade up to a bigger house while trading down in kitchen space.? And the walk-in?? Well, I can ambulate into it, so I suppose it qualifies.? What I really wanted, though,? was one of those gi-normous ones I could? throw a decent-sized party in, if I so desired.? Unfortunately, unless I’m planning a fiesta for two very, very intimate friends, it ain’t happening.?

So, my husband ends up with a bigger yard (for which we have to out-source the upkeep) and a 3-car garage.

Personally, I think the larger garage was a really bad idea.? My theory?? Well, it’s? based on purses.? See, if you are a purse-stuffer, like myself, then you know it’s best to carry a tiny purse.? Why?? Because no matter what size purse you carry, it will soon be filled to the brim, and then some, with a plethora of crap.? And the rules of physics and basic anatomy dictate that a smaller crap-stuffed purse is much lighter and easier to manage than a larger crap-stuffed purse.

This same rule applies to garages.? When you are a horrible unorganized pack-rat, it makes sense to err on the side of a smaller crap-stuffing space.? ? Don’t believe me?? Well, I’m pretty sure a quick gander at our garage is all the convincing you’ll need.

Exhibit A:? left side of garage

Exhibit B:? middle of garage (Yes, that’s the car that was totaled back in? April, 2007.? If you’re wondering why it’s still here, you need to check out a few of my posts on procrastination.? But, hey, it makes a nice suitcase and box holder, don’t you? think?)

Exhibit C:? right side of garage:

The funniest part?? My husband likes to give me grief about what he calls “the wife drawer” in the kitchen, because it’s so messy.? But the garage is his domain.

So I’ll take my tiny drawer in my tiny kitchen, thank you very much, and leave him with this:

By the way, some of the bins on the left?? Those are the clothes that don’t fit in my new closet.

Paybacks work in mysterious ways.

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