Tag Archives: cleaning

How to Change Your Sheets in Under an Hour

We all have certain chores that we don’t mind doing. Some people prefer washing dishes over vacuuming or taking out the trash over dusting the shelves. If you have more than one person at home, these tasks can be split up accordingly.

But when you live alone, all of these tasks fall to you. And aside from picking up that one string the vacuum refused to pick up, I have to say one thing I find extremely tedious is changing the sheets on my bed.

changingsheets

Let’s examine the process.

It starts with simply ripping off the covers and throwing the pillows and blankets in a heap on the floor with dramatic flair—and about 1/100th of the time it will take me to remake the bed.

sheet2_thumb.jpg

It’s at this point I realize there’s no turning back and  swallow a small lump of panic. With the old sheets in the basket and the new sheets still folded in a pile, I am now committed to following through with the process if I want to sleep on sheets ever again.

Ever again!

Exhausted by the thought, I take the sheets from the shelf and let them rest on the bed for a bit while I rest for a bit on my own.

sheet3_thumb.jpg

I will usually get (intentionally) distracted by something more interesting like watching the squirrels and cursing Disney movies for leaving me so disillusioned about small woodland creatures and their willingness to help me with chores.

But I steel myself up and return to my task, plowing through the bottom sheet and two pillows and fighting with the corners of death.

corners

 You know what I’m talking about.

The only thing harder than fitting the elastic-ish corners of the bottom sheet across each of the four ends of the mattress without one popping off every time is actually folding the bottom sheet when it comes out of the dryer.

Tedious.

Enter a quick break to test out the sheets and pillows, at which point I stare at the ceiling and decide I should probably wipe off the ceiling fan at that exact minute.

About 20 minutes later I continue on with my journey of placing the top sheet on with equal amounts of sheet on either side of the bed.

sheet5b_thumb.jpg

But no matter how hard I try, I end up walking back multiple times to pull the sheet a little bit more on one side before tucking it under the mattress.

If it’s too short on one side, I end up pulling the whole thing out when I get into bed. If I pull it too far up the front, my feet will poke out of the bottom and there’s a good chance I’ll wake up with the excess sheet wrapped around my head and panic that the cat’s trying to smother me.

Yup, still single, people.

Anyway, once sheet side distribution is complete, I triumphantly throw on the blanket with the flair of a matador waving his flag. After ensuring equal blanket distribution—see sheet step above—the task is finally complete a mere 45 minutes or so later.

sheet6_thumb.jpg

Holy sheet.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but at least now the bed will have sheets.

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Advertisements

A Letter to My New Vacuum

Hey there, bagless buddy!

Welcome to the family! Before you get too comfortable in the front hallway closet, I think I should let you know what you’re getting into and just who you’re dealing with here so we start out on the same page.

For a little background, I should let you know that I’m actually pretty excited about having you here. I’m a little OCD and I have to admit that there’s an odd, slightly-sick sense of satisfaction when you’re running the vacuum and hear it actually sucking up crap from the floor.While this means there was crap on the floor, this also means that the vacuum is doing its job and the floor will be clean again.

vacuumletter

 (You know this, as you are a vacuum yourself and familiar with job satisfaction.)

Anyway, then there comes a day when you’re going about vacuuming and note that there is no sound of things being sucked up—presumably because you live in an immaculate abode and never accidentally knock a measuring cup of uncooked rice on the floor, hypothetically speaking—and blissfully continue on your cleaning journey.

But then you remember that you’re me, and that last night you knocked a measuring cup of uncooked rice on the floor. And despite your best efforts with the dustbuster, you know you were bound to miss a few grains of spilled rice because there were about a million grains of spilled rice and your rage was slightly blinding.

So you snap out of your delusional state of flawless floors and start to pay a bit of attention.

One pass over the couple stray grains and no satisfying sounds…hmmm. Maybe it’s because they’re so tiny. After the second pass without any sounds, you realize that this vacuum sucks—and not in the way it’s supposed to—and that it’s starting to smell like burned rubber.

In the blink of an eye, it’s like the vacuum is suddenly offended that you asked it to do what it was bought to do and starts sending off odorous smoke signals that roughly translate to, “Oh, you wanted ME to pick that up? Well, I never….”

If you’re me, you’ll keep trying for a couple more minutes, yelling instructions and possibly profanity at the vacuum as it passive-aggressively pushes the rice over the floor before realizing you are now the proud owner of a large noisy thing with a light on the front that in its own special way, has requested an early retirement.

That brings us back to today.

When I sufficiently recovered from the vacuum betrayal above, I set out on a mission to fill that hole in my appliance arsenal, headed to Target and returned home with you—as you know—and half a dozen other things I more than likely didn’t need.

After a quick assembly and a trial run, I’m happy to report that so far, so good. You seem more than up to the task, and I have no doubt that together we can embark on a mutually beneficial relationship of sucking crap off of the floor, from in between the couch cushions and possibly the front of my shirt.

 Don’t judge. You don’t know my life.

And while I’m happy to have you aboard, I would also like to remind you that if at any time you decide to get a bit lazy yourself, I always keep the receipt.

Abby

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

A Writer’s Days Before Christmas

Since most of you aren’t on the Internet this week and my brain is fried, I decided to write you a poem instead. 

(Clears throat, dims the lights and takes a sip of her holiday tea.)

THE WRITE BEFORE

‘Twas the days before Christmas, and all through my place.

Not an idea was stirring to share on this space.

My stocking was hung by the chimney with care,

(Which meant there would be no more dusting right there.)

And then there was me, wearing what I wear best.

Yoga pants, sweatshirt, well you know the rest.

When out from the driveway, I heard something clatter,

And turned to the window to tend to the matter.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But a Lexus that made me ask, “Who the heck’s here?”

The lost-looking driver sped off in a fit,

And I knew those commercials were still full of shit.

Speaking of cars and a holiday ruse,

Those dressed up like reindeer that Santa might use?

The antlers on top and a red nose to boot,

Send mixed messages when drivers give the one-fingered salute.

“Freaking merge!” “Learn to park!” They all shout and they call!

‘Tis the season for road rage for those at the mall.

But back to the story of writing this post.

Even though all the readers are logged off, like most.

I had an idea of where things could be going,

In my head all the words just kept flowing and flowing.

But then in a twinkling, I heard in my head.

The prancing and pawing of something instead.

“Did I put back the Swiffer I used on the floors?

Of course I should check, and then clean out some drawers.

Perhaps now the shower could use a good scrub?

I’ll keep writing as soon as I clean out that tub.

And now the mirror’s streaky, so that gets cleaned, too.

What’s with my eyebrows? Let’s pluck one or two.”

My eyes looked quite tired, my hair still a mess.

My chest most resembling a flat iron press.

A shirt stained with hummus not hiding that stealth.

But I laughed when I saw it in spite of myself.

Then I remembered I wanted to bake,

There were cookies and candies I still had to make!

Once that was over, with treats wrapped up tight,

I had no more excuses to not sit and write.

“Okay, back to work.” I decided right then.

I resolved to see this post right through to the end.

But then laying the cursor aside of my lines,

I somehow clicked over to go back online.

To Facebook I sprang, and of course, then to Twitter.

As long as I’m there, e-mail too. (I’m no quitter.)

My train of thought suddenly derailed again,

I figured that yoga might help me feel Zen.

Down dog and pigeon and side planks galore,

I couldn’t help notice a string on the floor.

Out came the vacuum to suck up that stuff,

And at that point I figured enough was enough.

Clearly this poem wasn’t going that great,

A much better post would just have to then wait.

So I sighed and I shrugged and then turned on TV,

And crashed on the couch for a Food Network spree.

Now where was I going with this rambling spiel?

Oh yes, for you people I like a great deal:

May your holiday bring you much joy and delight,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

See you back here Friday with another blogger sharing their issues!

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

What Happens When You Live Alone

I’ve lived alone for about six years now. And while the only problem with being independent is I have to do everything myself, for the most part, I love living alone.

In fact, I honestly don’t know if I could live with somebody again. I’ve been spoiled with endless opportunities to watch whatever I want on TV, not be grossed out by other people’s fingernail clippings in the bathroom and I can sprawl on my couch every night without judgment.

I get my couch. My couch gets me.

But there are a few misconceptions and/or disadvantages to living alone. For instance, it doesn’t mean I flit around the house naked. In fact, I still find myself wearing a towel when I go from the shower to my bedroom and once in awhile I instinctively shut the bathroom door when I pee.

Why? I have no idea.

And even though I know it’s ridiculous, I still instinctively peek around the shower curtain like I assume a crazed lunatic is in there checking his smartphone while he waits for me so he can attack.

More realistic but equally creepy is the fact that bugs are always my problem. I can’t freak out over a spider and delegate removal to anyone else, so either I “remedy” the situation or consider the arachnid to be my pet.

bugbean

A new pet is not in the plans.

And bug relocation isn’t the only thing that won’t magically take care of itself or be done by somebody else.

That tiny twist tie that I dropped on the floor as I ran out to work in the morning is still there when I get home. No one has picked it up while I was gone and I can’t blame it on anyone else.

Trash can Jenga—the act of stacking up the trash as high as you can until something tips over instead of taking it out—is a game to be played only if you’re a) living with someone else who might break first or b) at the office. Much like the twist tie scenario above, the trash fairy does not come while I’m gone.*

*However, the trash man will come once a week, and if I don’t remember to put the big bin out the night before, it won’t magically roll itself out to the curb and will instead fester for another whole week.

Low battery smoke detector beeps are always mine to investigate, and I swear I could live in a house the size of a shoebox and it would still take me an hour to find which one it is.

*beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere that I am not. *beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere where I am not.

You get the picture.

Folding sheets becomes a matter of neatly folding the pillowcases and then taking the actual sheets, attempting to find the corners and align them to fold before haphazardly bunching them up and throwing them in the closet.

Of course there’s also the fear of choking and being found by an emergency crew bundled up in robe with a mouth full of hummus. I imagine it’s just a slow spiral of shame down from there.

It might even start that with the absence of a second opinion in my house, I find that I have a commentary on everything that I occasionally still say out loud. It’s like I always have an audience, and no sane person has as many conversations with inanimate objects as I do.

When putting out a new candle, I might opine to the television that, “Yes, I think that looks nice there,” or “Hmm, I should add paper towel to the grocery list I’ll forget to take with me tomorrow.”

I admit it’s a little weird to notice the self-speak going on, but on a positive note, at least I’m wonderfully supportive of myself.

After all, no one else can do it for me.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

zazzle.jpg

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

The Tao of Abby

I recently read “The Tao of Martha” by Jen Lancaster in which she attempts to live her life according to the advice of Martha Stewart with everything from closet organization to party planning. It was an okay read, but that’s not the point.

The point is that as evidenced by my issues with sheets and vacuums, I’m no Martha Stewart.

In fact, the only thing me and M-dawg have in common is that she’s an ex-felon and I commit crimes on a daily basis that would keep the Fashion Police busy if they had any actual authority.

But I would like to think that most people tend to lean a little bit more towards “drawer of shame” instead of “bedazzled closet hangers” on a daily basis. As such, I have decided to do a “modified Martha” version of some of her tips for those other domestically disabled divas out there.

They might not exactly be helpful in a “Watch out, Martha!” sort of way, but at least they’ll help you feel less alone.

Cleaning a Mini-Blind

Martha: If blinds are very dirty, remove them from the window and lay them flat on a drop cloth outside. Scrub closed blinds with a soft brush and warm soapy water. Repeat on the other side; rinse. Open and hang outside to dry.

Me: miniblind

Cleaning a Shower Curtain Liner

Martha: A homemade curtain of ripstop nylon works well. Curtains and plastic liners can be cleaned with laundry detergent in the washing machine, on the gentle cycle.

shower.jpg

Me: We’ve been over this before. Cut down the $5 liner from Target and replace it with a new $5 liner from Target. Much like the mini-blind situation, don’t be a hero.

Making a Cup of Tea

Martha: Gather leaves from a Darjeeling bush. Warm your pot first with steaming water, dump it out, refill it and let it boil. Warm your cups, strain your tea and add a lychee nut to the cup before you sip.

tea.jpg

Me: Fill Hot Shot with water, get impatient before realizing you forgot to hit “start.” Hit start, dispense water and tea bag into cup 1 minute later. Use all available methods for not burning your mouth with the exception of actually waiting for the tea to cool.

Readying Clothes for the Laundry

Martha: Empty pockets and turn them inside out, unfurl socks, and unroll cuffs. Tie sashes and strings to prevent tangling. Place delicate items like lingerie and fine knitwear in zippered mesh bags. Turn delicate items, sweaters, and cotton T-shirts inside out to prevent pilling.

laundry.jpg

Me: Throw dirty clothes in the vicinity of the laundry basket and congratulate myself if it goes in. Eventually notice that I’m out of socks, gather laundry surrounding the basket and shove it all in the washer. Forget about it, wash it again and then eventually throw in the dryer.

Making a Cake

Martha: Fancy flourishes and pretty piping really are the icing on the cupcakes. Faux bois, or imitation wood grain, is a favorite motif of Martha’s; it can be applied to chocolate using a wood-graining rocker, found at paint-supply stores.

baking.jpg

Me: Go to the bakery. If you ask really nice, they’ll even decorate it for you.

I think her empire is safe.

 Like the blog? Buy the books and fun things!

zazzle

A Motivational Speech for my Vacuum

Hey there bagless buddy!

There’s been a little bit of concern about your performance of late. Maybe it’s because you’re a bit confused as to what this job description entails, so let’s have a little refresher.

vacuum1.jpg

You suck.

No, don’t roll away! That’s not an attack on your character! I mean that your job is simply to suck.

The endless hair shed on the carpet? The bastard grains of rice I spilled on the floor? You get the honor of scratching my OCD itch and sucking that crap up! Oh yes. You, my friend, have that “thing” that can do it for me.

What is that “thing”? That “thing” is power!

Because in spite of what you’ve heard, power does matter, and the second that I plug you into the wall we’re plugging into performance! Together we can focus on results and achieve the breakthroughs that will launch us into the realm of clean carpets and dirt-free floors!

That’s a little dramatic, I admit, but my point is that you can be special.

You can suck better than any other vacuum in this house. Well, except for the new dustbuster a fraction your size that could suck up the couch if I tried.

But you know what that dustbuster doesn’t have? A light on the front in case we need to vacuum at night. Light the way! It’s time to show that dustbuster who’s boss, and who sucks the most in this house!

So rise up and grab that rogue string I’ve run over 235 times instead of bending over myself to pick up. Run with it!

Why?

Because that string wants to come off of the floor, but it needs you to help it because it’s a string and a string cannot move on its own.

So tighten that new belt I bought you, spin those shiny wheels and get back to doing what it is you do best—you suck.

Let’s try and keep it that way.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

P.S. A reminder that Facebook is limiting what you see, so if you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Master of Your Domain

Living alone means that all the household chores are my responsibility. While I generally don’t mind cleaning—thank you OCD!—and actually find it relaxing at times, there are certain annoyances that I will not tolerate.

You have to put your foot down and assert your domestic dominance, as giving in to an appliance or a dust bunny only shows weakness, and trust me, these things prey on weakness.

Take for example the vacuum, whose job description literally entails it sucking crap up.

junevacuum2

Without the suckage, it’s simply a large noisy thing with a light on the front that terrorizes the cat (a bonus feature they really should advertise, come to think of it.) Because of this, I will stand over the vacuum for 10 minutes and force it to suck up a string before bending over and picking that crap up myself.

I did not spend five minutes five years ago picking out a vacuum so that I could pick up the debris myself, good sir!

And I often find the dustbuster—named as such because it’s supposed to bust the dust—to be more temperamental. It will often passive aggressively push dust around the room instead of actually sucking (busting?) it up.

Oh, you wanted ME to pick that up? Well, I never….”

Unacceptable. I will run the little bastard until it needs to be charged to make sure that it busts up that one grain of rice it spit out. Suck it up and do your job—literally.


A more seemingly innocuous perpetrator is the mini-blind. No, I’m not going to suggest that you actually clean a mini-blind, as it’s a scientific fact that much like shower curtain liners, it’s easier to just throw them away and get a new one.

This involves the raising and lowering of said mini-blind with those two little strings on the side.

juneblind2

It seems simple enough, but one wrong pull and you have a completely crooked blind with one side way up to the left while the other sags down to the right. Then you try and straighten it out and the right side goes up while the left side sags down.

Do not accept this asymmetrical configuration of window coverings, my friends. I don’t care if you stand there pulling on each string for an hour like you’re milking a cow. If you don’t even that shit up, the next thing you know you’re literally blinded by the light.


Moving on to the bathroom, I feel the need to warn you that the toothpaste that leaps off your toothbrush like a kangaroo will immediately become as stubborn as super glue the second it hits—and adheres to— the sink.

It can be tempting to let that slide, and you might even consider it “artsy” to have patterns dotting the sink interior. Stop the madness. Nine out of 10 dentists agree that one must immediately scrub the spot in the sink, lest one falls into the cavity of cleaning complacency.

Plus, that crap stays glued on.


This last one isn’t really about cleaning, but I will try and make it helpful by saying you should clean your remote control. I read somewhere that there are 12 teen million germs and probably the origins of the swine flu on the average remote, so Clorox that thing ASAP.

Possible HAZMAT situation aside, my issue is when the remote control simply gives up. The batteries are new, the little red light at the top of it blinks when you maniacally press down the buttons with increasing rage, but yet…no action.

juneremote2

Do not—I repeat—do not change the channel yourself.

Stand up right next to the TV and force that remote to change the channel, adjust the volume or set a reminder to watch Baseball Tonight. And henceforth from said display of power, refer to it only as “the remote.”

Why? Because as with all the domestic dysfunction in your house, you are the one in control.

Never let them forget that.

Like the blog? Buy the book.