Tag Archives: cleaning

My Hairy Little Roommate

It’s been a few months since I got the cat, and I thought I should update you and let you know that I’m not a cat person.

Whee! I’m fat and catnipped!

Before you freak out, let me add the disclaimer that Monie is an awesome cat and I love her. But I’m a neurotic weirdo who’s still trying to be Zen about having this walking hairball that demands affection, sheds and forces me to say, “No lickey!” entirely more than I’m comfortable with.

But we’re roommates, and to be honest, I probably have the better part of the arrangement.


While I have to deal with a creature that makes Gremlin noises and leaves the occasional hairball on the carpet—dramatic sigh—she has to deal with me jumping around the living room yelling with Jillian Michaels, dancing with the Swiffer and making up songs about catnip while trying to get the cat high.

The last verse of which is usually something about how I’ll probably die alone.

 Anyway, here are some things I’ve learned these past few months:

If there is a Hell, it’s covered in cat hair. If there is a Heaven, it includes the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. And million dollar idea: yoga-type pants that are made of the same stuff as lint brushes. Run with that, people.

She also prefers the hard shelf to her leopard print cat bed because that makes total sense.

She does not enjoy me making her little arms “raise the roof” to “Hip Hop Hooray,” but she does seem to take delight in watching me try and capture a fly for 10 minutes. I think we’re doing this wrong.

Although she’s great about giving me my space when I workout, 40 minutes of yoga calm is instantly negated by the sound of the her hacking up a hairball in the next room. Namaste.


Of all her toys, this is one that she will put in her mouth and carry around while growling. I found it on my pillow once. Affection or warning? TBD.

I never feel more inferior than when she watches me scoop out her shitbox. It’s not that she’s mocking me, but I swear her gaze says, “More enthusiasm, and with a smile. You missed a spot.”

While many cats are motivated by food and reinforce the “I want affection for 1.2 seconds, after which time I will claw you to escape from your overbearing presence” stereotype, she does neither. On the other hand, I just described myself.


“Oh, hello. I will sit in this stupid bed for five seconds before leaving to get my head stuck in your flip-flop and then bolting across the room.”

The term “scaredy cat” doesn’t really apply. I can “Riverdance” across the living room floor or yell at her for making risotto like a fat cow while watching “Kitchen Nightmares” and she doesn’t budge. The vacuum does provoke a little fear, but that could be because I usually end up lassoing the ridiculously long cord around like a demented cowgirl.

Anyway, to summarize, I’ve learned I’m really not a cat person.

But unlike stories I’ve heard about other roommates, I’ve never come home to find she went on a crazy (catnip) bender that resulted in her piercing her multiple teats and ordering mass quantities of Snuggies off QVC. And while she has yet to pay rent or learn how to flush, she can make me laugh and puts up with my neurosis while simultaneously contributing to it.

I just thank god this cat can’t blog.

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Hints (not from) Heloise

Are you familiar with “Hints from Heloise?”

Heloise gained popularity a bit before my time, but a quick summary is that she’s a writer/columnist who took over a syndicated column from her mom in 1977—"Hints from Heloise”—in which she dispenses  lifestyle tips and hints on everything from travel and pets to home improvement.

She also has an editorial  gig in Good Housekeeping, so basically she’s like Martha Stewart without a mug shot or an empire.

Anyway, if I were ever given a column, it would be a more  bastardized “Dear Abby meets Carrie Bradshaw” type thing than Heloise, as I am no domestic diva.

But I do have my own house, and even if it often plots against me, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Hints from a Domestically Disabled Diva

If you read nothing else, the most important thing I can tell you is this: It’s easier to throw away and replace a mini-blind than to actually clean the one you have. 


They have created cleaning items specifically for this job—I have one myself—and although they help, you still end up inventing new combinations of profanity that neighbors with young children will not appreciate.

Bonus hint: The same goes for shower curtain liners.

Buy a $5 liner from Target—and ONLY the shower curtain liner, not $80 worth of other things you didn’t go there intending to buy—and simply cut it off the hooks when it’s time to change it. Trying to open and close the hooks to take off the old liner when you already have to open and close the hooks to put one on will take years off your life.

Just cut it off and cut your losses.

This Sucks

True story: I had a roommate when I lived in Detroit that simply bought a new vacuum cleaner when it was time to change the bag on the one he had, only because he didn’t want to have to change the bag.

I don’t recommend this, but I kind of understand.

But bagless vacuums help, but aren’t necessarily the answer. I have one with a cool light on the front of it and everything, but emptying the container causes a bigger mess than what I just sucked up. As a result, I pull out the dust buster to suck the dust up, only to face the same situation in emptying the dust buster.

I don’t have a solution for this one other than to NOT empty either container the same day you vacuum. At least you can feel like the house is clean for a few hours.

Small victories. 

This Stinks

Due to the fact that I eat a lot of vegetables—namely steamed broccoli at least once a day—my house has the potential to smell like I eat a lot of vegetables.

Delicious? Yes. Delightfully fragrant? Not so much.

I light incense right before I eat to combat this aroma. True, I usually forget that I lit incense and freak out five minutes later thinking something is burning in my kitchen, but at least is smells nice once I recover from my panic attack.

But my absolute favorite thing?


Glade Water Blossoms spray.

I have never smelled water blossoms so I don’t know if I’m being ripped off or not, but I don’t care. It’s delightful.

It’s A Wash

When it comes to laundry, well, I don’t really have any great hints. The time spent folding clean laundry only to unfold it and hang it up is time that could be spent shopping for a new mini blind or doing anything else. My only hint is to buy clothes that never need to be ironed.

We’ve covered this before, but I currently have a pair of cute pants I haven’t worn in months simply because they need to be ironed and my ironing board is better suited for a Keebler Elf.


The only upside to laundry—aside from clean clothes and the pleasure my OCD takes in cleaning the lint tray on the dryer—is that if you slip on a fabric sheet dropped on your kitchen floor, you instantly turn into something that resembles a manic  figure skater having a seizure.

It’s quite impressive.

So there you go.

I have many more hints and tips I could dispense, but I don’t want to overload your brain with too much valuable information in one post. Perhaps I will present a sequel in the future. You know, if the whole bastardized “Dear Abby meets Carrie Bradshaw” –type column thing doesn’t pan out.

Because sorry guys. If offered syndication, you can bet I’ll take it and run with it. Unless of course it requires writing about coordinating throw pillows.

In which case, I’m screwed.

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Out of Order

The title of this blog is “Abby Has Issues,” and a bunch of my issues revolve around my OCD. While there are serious things that go along with it, a lot of them are what I consider to just be annoyingly quirky, no doubt adding to the charm that I ooze out of my various bodily cavities.


When I get stressed, my anxiety relief takes the form of (over) exercise, cleaning and brushing my teeth. Don’t ask. And not surprisingly, I tend to crave order, organization and keeping things to a minimum—whether it’s in my house or on my computer.

For instance, I would Tweet much more than I do if The Twitter didn’t keep a running total of how many tweets I’ve put out there. The higher the number gets, the more I want to go back into the past and delete until the number is reduced to something more manageable.

When it comes to email, I have an anxiety attack that can only be cured with an episode of “The Soup” and wine from a box when I hear people say they have 300 unread messages in their inbox.

Even though I have four email addresses for work, my inbox never has more than 10 emails. I’m pretty sure anything over that would trigger some sort of catastrophic destruction, so as soon as they come in, I open them and then organize/delete as necessary.

Email in Inbox

(When we have an email blast and I get 50 “Out of office” replies in 10 minutes, it’s like a manic game of Whac-A-Mole between the emails popping up and me deleting them.)

Let’s move on.

At any rate, I like things neat and tidy and have been known to straighten out hangers and items on store shelves as I walk by, pull weeds in other people’s yards as I pass and if I visit your house, I will make sure the toilet paper roll is properly placed—over is right, under is wrong—and then knock you off the pedestal I might have placed you on.

But my actual order of operations is screwed up in other areas, and it seems no matter how many times I try and get it right, I still end up out of order.

For instance:

  • I will get dressed, spray perfume and then proceed to walk directly into the sprayed perfume with my mouth open. Approximately 1.6 minutes later, I will decide that I don’t in fact want to wear that shirt (that now smells good), change my shirt, spray perfume and repeat the neurotic, yet fragrant, process.
  • I will also put chapstick on before taking a drink of something, and although I wash my water bottles and cups, it’s a) a waste of chapstick and b) not enjoyable to have chapstick-flavored water.
  • Whenever I clean my shower, I only remember to ventilate after unicorns and bottles of shampoo start talking to me. In other words, open a window before you enclose yourself in a small space with noxious cleaning fumes. 
  • This won’t come as a shock, but I wash my hands a lot. However, I often decide that I have to wash my hands after I put lotion on them—not because of the lotion, but because of something else—which starts a vicious cycle. Not only that, but I will put lotion on before I have to open a jar or a door, wash dishes, handle my food or get something out of my eye.

Seeing as I would like to cleanly wrap this up, I’ll just leave you with those examples and encourage you to line up single file and share your own.

What do you repeatedly do “out of order?”

And just because I want to know your take on this one, do you vacuum and then dust or dust and then vacuum?

This is very important to know.

Swiffer Sink Saga 2011

It seems my sink is jealous of the attention paid to my pond/fountain and has decided to do something about it—namely drip down below onto the floor of my cupboard.


As you can imagine, this did not thrill me. 

Any disruption to  basic necessities— water, food, Internet, Baseball Tonight, power —are basically classified as mini-catastrophes in my world. I lose power, I go ape shit—another post entirely. 

Anyway, if I don’t have a sink, how can I make my tea? Use my steamer? Make my lunch for work at that exact second instead of later in the evening? How am I supposed to survive?!?

These were my thoughts about two seconds after this drippy discovery.

I was really trying to go with the flow—I know life is full of malfunctioning appliances and people—but when that flow is slowly dripping out under my sink every time I run the water, I tend to spout out my frustration in various forms.

Part of my frustration comes from not being able to fix it myself, but 99.9  percent of my frustration comes from the series of events that follow after my stepdad (or anyone) comes over to “fix” it.

*Yes,  I am most appreciative, but I am also OCD with no patience for putzing or lack of respect for the Lysol.

So without further putzing, let’s take a look at how my Sunday afternoon went (all times are approximate.)

1 pm—It’s Swiffer Sunday, so I throw everything into my dining room and proceed to do the Wet Jet waltz across my kitchen. While the floors dry, I go for a walk.

1:30—Get back, wash my hands and reached below the sink for the dish soap, only to discover a small puddle.

1:31—Express puzzlement over said puddle to inanimate objects within earshot and wipe it up with paper towel.

1: 32—Ignore real problem and move on.

2:30—Forget I was going to do the dishes, reach down for dish soap again and rediscover another puddle. Swear under (and over) my breath and call my stepdad to express my puzzlement over said puddle.

3:00—Stepdad arrives, does not take his shoes off before entering my Swiffered kitchen floor and going below the sink.

3:00:10—Remind myself he’s helping me out and try to ignore that he did not take his shoes off before entering my Swiffered kitchen floor. Deep breaths are taken and possibly exhaled as a loud sigh—this part is sketchy.

3:30—After tearing apart the sink and putting tools on the rug, it is decided he needs to go to Home Depot and I “need to chill out.”


3:31—He leaves. A towel is placed under his tools. While placing said towel, I realize the dishes are stacked on the counter—a situation that (obviously) needs to be remedied immediately.

3:35—Dishes and dish drainer are transported to the bathtub where they are thoroughly washed. Being crouched at that level, I notice the floor could stand to be vacuumed and heck, while I’m down there, the toilet should be cleaned.

4:00—Stepdad returns with the parts—he thinks—and I continue to stay out of the kitchen, not because I will be in the way, but because I will be tempted to Swiffer stalk him and poo-poo his putzing.

4:01—Plop down on the couch to watch the ballgame, something I had planned on doing before the Swiffer Sink Saga of 2011.

4:20—Try to ignore the clanking tools in the next room, decide I’m pretty much a revolutionary and applaud my survival skills in times of such stress.

4:21—Re-enter the kitchen, see what I declare to be a critical cleaning crisis and immediately change my mind on revolutionary status. However, I am informed it’s “fixed” and that he’s heading home.

4:25—Air kisses are exchanged, appreciation is heaped upon his ego before the dish drainer is put back in it’s rightful home, the shower is scrubbed and the Swiffer is put to good use. Again.

5:00—Make food—carefully avoiding the side of the sink that has drying caulk—and plop down on the couch to watch the end of the ballgame. Feel better, as this is your happy place.

Next afternoon—Fill sink, empty sink, discover it’s still dripping down below.

Throw something—a tantrum or a fork—and take a deep breath.

Make a phone call and a drink.

Blame the gnome.

Ironing Out the Details

When I bought my house three years ago, I somehow got this idea in my head that I needed to buy an ironing board and an iron. This wasn’t predicated by the fact that I had an ironing compulsion or even ironed casually at any time before, so I’m not sure where this came from.

All I knew was that if I needed to iron something, I wouldn’t have an iron to accomplish the task. Never mind the fact that I was still in need of a couch or a bed at the time, I felt that before I moved in I needed an iron to prevent a possibly wrinkly situation.

So I bought the stuff and stored it in my linen closet, just in case I accidentally purchased something in the future that had a propensity for wrinkling when thrown in a ball on the floor (usually a deal breaker when factored into the purchasing decision, but sometimes I am fooled.)

This was the situation earlier this week when a new pair of freshly washed pants was left in the dryer too long.


I was ticked that I had purchased something with such an obvious character flaw—cracking under pressure, but also a little bit excited that I was going to be able to use my ironing supplies for the first time.

Yes, the first time in three years.

So imagine my disappointment when I went to my closet and came out with this.


It might just look like an odd angle or that it’s low to the ground, but let me post my shoe next to my ironing board for a size comparison…


…and now with my pants, in all their wrinkled glory.


Is it supposed to be that small? I remembered it being much bigger.                 (Insert inappropriate joke here.)

While I’m tall, I am not an 8-foot tall amazon woman with ridiculously long legs, which means this ironing board is better suited for the clothes of Uncle June than for the clothes for yours truly.

But when you have wrinkles and OCD, you have to take action, so I spent a good 15 minutes basically lying on the floor in an attempt to iron a pair of pants on a board two feet too short and elevated approximately two inches from the floor.

I suppose I could have put it on a table, but that would have involved finding an empty space large enough to accommodate the small board. Other than my glass kitchen table, I was kind of screwed.

Not to mention the fact that I thought about that 10 minutes after I had already ironed the pants.

But it was upon completion of this task that I discovered the one truly awesome thing about this ironing board—the absolutely delightful ease at which it collapses. In fact, it collapsed while I was ironing and I didn’t even notice.

Maybe I’m just “special,” but have you ever succeeded in collapsing a regular ironing board without spewing profanity or getting a random body part stuck in one of the two metal pieces that are somehow more difficult to master than a Mensa test?

Whenever I use a normal ironing board—usually only when I travel for work—I always just leave the damn thing up and use it as a table. Somehow I don’t think this would work in my upstairs hallway. Plus, then I would have to dust around it.

The moral of the story is that I should avoid shopping to avoid fighting with inanimate objects so I can avoid blogging about diminutively-sized ironing boards and instead sip a cocktail while sitting in the sun listening to the ballgame on the radio.

Well, at least that’s what I got out of it.

Is there an appliance that you avoid using so that you don’t have to clean it/fight with it/put it away?

Shiny Things Distract Me

Alternate title: Sharing my OCD—Obscure Creative Directives

Get inspired to write something brilliant at a completely inopportune time. Forget about it for a bit.

Start doing something else, remember your idea and head into the living room to turn on your computer.

While waiting for it to boot up, go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

The water takes a minute to heat up. Notice that the shelf next to the sink is dusty, grab a rag and quickly wipe it down.

This leads to cleaning the whole counter, as the power of Lysol 4-in-1 knows no bounds.

Remember the water is boiled and make your cup of tea.


Head back into the living room (still inspired.)


Decide to check your e-mail for just a second before really settling in for the composition of brilliance.

Twenty minutes and a witty Facebook status update later, return to your writing.

Write without self-editing. Just write.

Realize you have the word “spatulate” stuck in your head and decide that yes, it can be used in a sentence.

The word “spatulate” makes you think of cake, which reminds you of the Sara Lee commercial, the jingle of which is now stuck in your head.

Remember that until you saw it in print, you thought is was “Nobody does it like Sara Lee” because “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee” is a double negative and doesn’t make as much sense. 


Focus; not on the grammatical shortcomings of the Sara Lee Corporation.

Start writing and soon realize you forgot about your tea, so go into the kitchen and throw it in the microwave.

Fill the 30 seconds by getting your lunch containers ready for the next day, and while you’re at it, fill the lunch containers so you’re good-to-go.

Notice the shelf in the fridge could stand to be wiped down. Call in Lysol 4-in-1 again; it’s power knows no bounds.

Remember about the tea, retrieve said tea and head back to the computer.

Focus. Write a bit.

Bite your tongue—literally.

Tea makes you pee, so go relieve the problem—among other things.

Wash your hands and decide to replace the Glade Plug-In in the outlet.

While in the closet, take note of the Swiffer and decide it’s time to go for a ride.


Turn the radio on—loud—not because it’s a mandatory step, but because it makes you happy.

Swiffering also makes you happy, so clean, sing and dance around your kitchen with your freak flag flying high.

The floor needs to dry, so head back into the living room.

Remember you were writing.

Turn the radio down. Find yourself humming.

Bite your tongue again in the exact same spot. Curse—loudly—not because it’s a mandatory step, but because it makes you feel better.

Turn the radio off.


Write without self-editing. Just write.

Decide you don’t want to overdo it, so hit “save” and go put the kitchen rugs back on the (clean) floor.

While you’re throwing things, throw your yoga mat on the living room carpet as a reminder that you are going to do it later. If the mat is on the floor, you will do it later.


Light the “Fresh Baked Cookies”-scented candle in your living room, not to set a romantic mood for yourself, but to make it smell like delicious baked cookies you didn’t bake (as nobody does it like Sara Lee has given you a temporary  inferiority complex.)

Return to your computer and read what you wrote without judgment, and then read what you wrote with the addition of judgment.

Decide it’s not brilliant, but it’s you.

Marvel at how much that candle really smells like Fresh Baked Cookies and resist the urge to lick it.


Attempt to add an image into your post, as you’ve heard that people like to see images in posts.

Shrug and decide you don’t care what people like to see in posts.  You can’t please them all.

Reread your words one more time.

Brush off self-doubt and embrace what you are.

Hit “publish.”

Start doing something else until you get inspired to write something brilliant at a completely inopportune time—maybe yoga.