Wednesday, October 22, 2008

householding notes: neglectful home-owner repents for a day

The washer is repaired after a burning-plastic smell that turned out to be… burning plastic.

The vacuum cleaner shop in town has held bags for my vacuum ALL ALONG. And they didn’t tell me. I had to find that out, myself. The guy at the counter believes I can reform my life if I just vacuum. He may be right. (He found me ridiculously amusing, but then, the guy works with small motors all day.)

My eight-year-old son repaired the flushing mechanism of the toilet, then used a flashlight to watch what happens inside that back tank for an hour (after I explained that the water in the tank is clean).

I spent the morning pouring boiling kettles of water down the bathroom sink, alternating with some mysterious white powder—only a dozen kettles later, the sink is draining perfectly.

I hauled in the giant terra cotta planter full of herbs, rooted out the faint-of-heart and surrounded my sturdy rosemary and geraniums with thriving parsley plants, mint, cilantro, and a stray violet. Inspired, Madeleine pulled out her tiny herb garden kit and seeded her planter with basil, oregano, chives, plus one leftover start of parsley from outdoors. The garden soil cleanup will be well worth it when we have green things for soup this winter! I’ve been the lamest gardener ever, my poor yard ignored while I study this year. But herbs love neglect. And they smell wonderful.

Speaking of wonderful, the last of the farmers market tomatoes made the most welcome Andalusian Gazpacho, ever.

a blip from earlier today:

The washer repairman leaves my washer in good working order, and I place the house back in good working order, as well. I lift a bundle of aprons to their hook—an apron catches the case of my son’s crosscut saw from his workbench, the saw falls onto the edge of the cat’s dish, flinging the smelly catfood somewhere. I pick up the crosscut saw and find a can-shaped lump of food stuck to the underside of the saw’s case. How likely is that? If he knew, he’d handle the saw as it were an alien. First I clean the smelly mess, then the case of the saw, then put the saw in its slot on the workbench, then the bench is shoved back to the kitchen wall under the window. Then the mat with the catfood. And the whole kitchen smells like foul fish.

Where is the cat? And why hasn’t he eaten? Oh. The repairman was here, and my cat is Invisible to Strangers. Thus: fish smell.

Perhaps it’s a good day for that new “odor-removing” candle I bought last week. I purchased the smallest size—I hope that was not a mistake.

Being a grad student is much, much easier than chores. I spent an hour at Starbucks, recovering with a stack of books. Many thanks to the working washer, drain, toilet, vacuum, herb gardens.

And the odor-reducing candle worked like a charm.

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