Friday, November 29, 2013

Death To Appliances

This morning I killed the vacuum. I like to kill appliances. I'm good at it. (My iPhone also died this morning. Isn't that wonderful?) You know I burned the dishwasher last week. Well, today I burned the vacuum. I'm not sure what happened, exactly. In a fit of inspiration, I cleaned the living room this morning. That involved a lot of garbage collecting, and dispersing a wide variety of toys to their various homes. When I was done, I connected the vacuum. (We have central vac.) It occurred to me that I couldn't remember the last time I had used it. Hm. Anyway, I vacuumed the whole living room floor, and even pulled out the couch and vacuumed under and behind it. Oh what treasures I found there. And then the vacuum made a strange sound. It kept running, but something sounded wrong. So I did what anyone would do: I shrugged and continued vacuuming. It soon became apparent that it was not functioning properly, so I figured I would quit while I was ahead. I took it apart and hung it back in our broom closet.

That's when I noticed the smell. I am very familiar with the smell of burning rubber. No, I am not a wild driver, nor am I in the habit of lighting tires on fire. But burning rubber with a vacuum? That I am very experienced in. Back in the day, I would have gotten out the tools and taken the beater bar apart and fixed the issue, no doubt with the belt. But today I decided to just close the closet door and ignore the problem. The next person who needs the vacuum will be stuck dealing with my disaster. (Oh wait, nobody vacuums except for me. Dang.) Besides that, the last time I did that, I ended up hurting myself and passing out on top of the vacuum, right in front of my terrified three year old. Nope. Not gonna do that again. 

So now I have a clean living room but a very messy kitchen. Seeing our house is very open concept, I like to alternate between having a clean kitchen and a clean living room. It adds a nice contrast with the rooms so visible to each other. 

Anyway, I guess it's time to go continue with my laundry. At least I can pretend to be keeping up there. Bye for now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things I Do When My Kids Are Not Home

My boys are all at school this afternoon, and Lauren is sleeping. On days like this, I am faced with deciding between about a million options for how to spend my time. 1 - There's the obvious: clean the house. Yes, that would be a good one, but it's so quiet in here, I just don't want to run the vacuum! 2 - I could do some writing. Sometimes I do, and especially lately. I have written about three chapters in my book this month, and that is pretty impressive for me. (Or is that two? I can't even remember.) 3 - I could work out. Ah, yes. The ever elusive workout. For a while, I was doing that every afternoon while Lauren napped. Then I hurt my back and got out of the habit for a week, and since then I have not gotten it together again. 4 - I could nap. Napping is good. Napping is very good, but then when the boys get home I have not accomplished anything, and it's so hard to wake up.

Today, I did something I never do during the day. I made my lunch after I put Lauren down, and I watched Netflix. (GASP!!!) Just one show, but still. Not a proud house-mom moment for me. That was my 45 minute break today. Then I did a second thing I have never done before. I decided to try this solution that is circulating on Facebook and various other places online, for melting the ice off your sidewalk. The recipe is 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn dish detergent (sick, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure I used 1 teaspoon. Wait, maybe the recipe called for one teaspoon...), 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 8 cups of hot water. I decided to go the extra mile and boil the water. I read many reviews online that said this would not work, because it WOULD refreeze, despite the claims that it doesn't. Well, I tried it, and here are my conclusions so far:

1 - The ice on our deck is way too thick for this method to be effective. I poured the pot out over one bad corner of ice, and the top portion did get slushy enough for me to scrape it off with a giant shovel, but there is still at least an inch of ice under it, and I just don't know how many pots of boiling water/detergent/alcohol it would take to melt it down to the wood.

2 - Our deck is way too big for this method. Seriously, our deck is over 1000 square feet, which is crazy, but anyway I do not have time to get to that much ice. Of course, the ice is only really bad in certain parts, but those are the spots we need to walk on.

I guess it's safe to say, that project was a bust. If anyone else has tried it, let me know what your success/failure level was.

After that, my exciting afternoon consisted of doing dishes, (and I'm happy to say the stench in our dishwasher, though not completely gone, is improving daily), sweeping the disastrous kitchen floor, and trying to scrape the glued-on rice krispie mess from the top of the table. Yesterday the boys dumped mass amounts of Rice Krispies on the table and poured water over them. It took several hours before I was able to force them to clean up the mess, but even still they couldn't get all of it off, hence the job was deferred to me. Now, I have soaking wet paper towels plastered all over the table in hopes the cereal will get soggy enough to wipe off. Good times.

And now, I have approximately between two and twelve minutes before my three boys walk in the door and the quiet turns back to chaos, so I am going to try to accomplish a couple more chores first. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Gong Show

Some days are just ridiculous. Today is one of them. I mean, I have had worse days by far, but this one classifies as a bit of a gong show. (On a brief aside, I once played a gong solo in an orchestra. Nope, that's wrong. It was just a band, not an orchestra, but still, it was spectacular. Remind me to describe it to you some time. Perhaps tomorrow.) No, today is the kind of day when odd things assemble to complicate life in weird ways.

When you have four children, life is always complicated, so extra complications are not welcome. This morning I was getting Cody and Jamie ready for school and Jamie complained of a tummy ache. You know how I get about any stomach-related illness, so you will not be surprised to hear that I was a little stressed out about this. Jamie has not really been his best self lately, and every day I am waiting for the sickness to manifest itself, but so far he is still okay. Ish. Either way, this morning I was concerned about him because he is so overtired and I had to wake him up to get him his breakfast, so when he told me he wasn't feeling well, I decided to keep him home.

Wouldn't you know it, within about half an hour of the bus taking Cody away, Jamie felt just fine, though he was afraid to admit it lest I haul him off to school. He kept saying his stomach didn't hurt anymore, but it did hurt still. (Basically, he wanted to play with Micah, and he felt fine to do so, but didn't want me thinking he felt too fine, so he pretended his stomach still hurt. Trust me, I know when he is pretending.)

And seeing this is a long story, let me try to sum it up here. I was supposed to pick up these bags of vegetables at the school today (part of a fundraiser) to deliver to the people who bought them from our boys, but I was told they would not be ready until after 1 p.m. That's fine, except that I drop off Micah at 12:20, (and today, Jamie too), and I didn't want to make two trips. So I had to decide whether to get the vegetables at 1 and drop them off late for school, or to come back at 3 p.m. and get the kids and the produce at the same time, and tell the bus driver they would come home with me today. It turned out I was allowed to pick up the veggies at lunch time when I dropped off the boys, so away we went.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that as we were getting ready to leave, I noticed a smell in the kitchen. When I say "a smell", I mean I began checking diaper situations, cat litter situations, garbage situations...you get the idea. My nose is not functioning properly lately, due to sinus problems, so I could not figure out where it was coming from, but I knew it was bad when the boys started to comment on it too. (Smells don't bother them.) I didn't have time to properly investigate, so we left.

In my brilliance, I left early and went the opposite direction to the town where we pick up our mail. I knew it was closed over lunch, but that's only important if you are getting a package, which we were not. Only there was a package card in my box. That meant I would have to return to the post office later. Fun.

Next dilemma, how do I carry six 9 pound bags of veggies out to the van and carry Lauren at the same time? I hauled all three kids into the school, to the kindergarten room. Dropped off the two boys, then took Lauren back outside to the van. (Did I mention you have to take your outdoor shoes off every time you go in the school?) I strapped Lauren in and left her there alone, which I hate doing, but the door was right there, and the veggies were very close to it. I ran back in, cheated and didn't take my boots off, and grabbed all six bags of vegetables. Thankfully, a teacher saw me and helped me carry them out, though I could have done it. (It wasn't that bad, really. Mainly very awkward.)

I had to go to the passenger door and unlock the van with my key, because as you know, my boys buried our old set in the sand somewhere two years ago, so I now have no keyless remote entry system. Thanks, boys. Then we went around to the hatch, which was thoroughly frozen shut. Fabulous. I ended up having to stack them on the front passenger seat. The sliding door on the passenger side is also frozen shut, and also has no door handle, so that is also fun.

Then, I went back past our road and delivered five bags of vegetables to some family members who ordered them. I was not thrilled, because our frozen van doors had opened just enough to set the alarm off and it beeped like the alarm clock from you-know-where for the whole ten or fifteen minutes we drove. Lauren was not happy, as I left her in the van at both stops. (Don't worry, it was running, and it is in the country so nobody was there to steal my van and my baby with it.) Then, I went back to the mail and picked up my mystery package.

We headed home at that point, and the alarm stopped because I did a quick run around the van and "bummed" each door. I must have closed whichever one was the problem. When we arrived home, the smell in the house assaulted me like an invisible tsunami. I wondered whether we were going to need a CSI unit in here. It was now impossible to determine where the smell was coming from, because it was permeating the entire upstairs. Permeating sounds too pleasant. Honestly, I am at a loss for words. I put Lauren to bed, and returned to the kitchen. I figured out that the smell is coming from the dishwasher. Well, that does explain why it came on so suddenly. Aside from the rotting carcass scent, it also has a distinct burning smell. So much for my clean dishes. Did I mention this is a brand new dishwasher? I can't see anything burnt or melted inside of it, but it reeks. Oh how it reeks.

Now, Lauren is sleeping cozily in her room, but I am freezing my hands, feet, nose and everything in between, because I have all the windows open to get rid of the smell. It is -11 C here. That's not as bad as it could be. At least it's not -45, and January. But it is unpleasant all the same. And I don't know what to do about the dishwasher. Wow, it's cold in here. I don't know how long I will last like this. The heat is on, but it's not enough. The temperature is now at 66 F in here, and dropping steadily.  I guess I just have to decide what's worse: my house smelling like a coroner's workspace? Or my house feeling like a glorified igloo? Right now, I get both! GONG!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gloomy weather, grouchy kids.

Today is the kind of mommy day I wouldn't mind skipping. This has been a week of very poor sleeps, for a variety of reasons, and last night was no exception. It was 11:45 p.m. and I had been sleeping for maybe half an hour when the sleep interruption hit. It was one of those change-the-bedding-in-the-middle-of-the-night situations. (Rare around here, thankfully.) It woke Lauren up, and then for reasons beyond my comprehension, I could not fall asleep again.

The details of my sleep are unimportant, but I can tell you today I am not at my most tolerant, nor at my cheeriest. I thought I could cover that up without too much difficulty, but then when Jamie and Micah got up and began their day with extreme whining and crying over absolutely everything, I knew there was going to be trouble. Lauren is a bag today, and that is extremely unusual for her. She always wakes up happy and she is sweet all day. Today, she is crying every few minutes, over every little thing. She wants to be held. She wants to be put down. She wants to be held. She wants to be put down. Earlier, I was sitting on the floor with her, and she was hugging me, when I noticed streaks of blood all around my arm. It was shortly after she hit me in the face, also unusual, and I wondered for a moment whether I was bleeding. But no, it was her. Her hand was bleeding and her outfit, which I had just put on her, had blood all over the shirt and pants, and even a little on her socks. Even her adorable stuffed puppy had blood on it. I don't know what happened to her. I washed her hand and there was a very small cut, which appears fine now. Then I had to wash the blood off of my arm and hand.

Even the dog was a jerk this morning, and he's the best dog ever. Mike was going to drive Cody to the bus this morning on his way to work, but I decided I wanted to walk him because I wanted the fresh air and it was +1 C, not that common in November in Manitoba. So I grabbed the leash. I have mentioned it before, but our driveway is somewhat long, and surrounded by forest, and full of creatures, so when walking down it in the dark, or near dark, I like to have Radar on a leash. That way, if something comes after me, he can't be a chicken and run away. Well, Radar doesn't like his leash. In fact, it used to be a fight every time I tried to put his collar on, so about a month ago I decided he could just keep his collar on all the time and I would just snap the leash on and off. Once the leash is on, he is fine. He just has psychological issues about putting it on. I think he needs doggy therapy. So this morning Cody and I went outside and I called Radar, who saw the leash and was already acting like a psycho, and I began the process of snapping the leash to the collar. Seriously, it probably took two solid minutes of fighting with him, which doesn't sound like much, but it should have taken literally ONE SECOND. Yes. Today, Radar was particularly rude about it, and he actually lashed out and scratched me in the face with one of his paws. He has never done that before. Radar is a big dog, a German Shepherd (mostly), and he hit me really hard. It hurt, and to add insult to injury, he covered my face in sand, which got in my eye.

So it's intermittently raining and snowing, I am washing bedding full of pee, and the bedding was put inside the CLEAN laundry basket last night, so now all the clean clothes that I folded yesterday (and obviously, forgot to put away) have to be rewashed. My house is supremely disastrous, and it's the kind of day I wish I could just crawl back into bed and go to sleep. But I have three kids here, which means that even when Lauren naps this afternoon, I will have to be on high alert.

And now, it is time for us to brave the elements and drive to the post office to pick up the mail. My Mary Kay order is supposed to be in, and it better be. Lately, the mail has been slow, and it's frustrating. Radar will likely beg to come along for the drive, but my answer will be a resounding NO. Ha! In your face, Radar. That'll teach you to be so dumb about your leash.

Except it won't teach him anything. He will just look sad as I drive away. And I will have a brief moment of satisfaction, followed by pity. Poor doggy. He's so cute.

I better go face the rest of my day. On a brighter note, I get to say hello to my horse tonight, as I am going to my sister's place later. I miss Maybelline. I will take her a carrot and rub her furry face, and tomorrow will be a better day. My boys are ready and I'm not, so time to sign off.