Saturday, December 30, 2006
I have to vacuum everyday, sometimes twice a day, sometimes three times. We live in a rural area, have a large gravel driveway, a 4 year old who loves his dirt, and two dogs and a cat. I have learned quite a few tricks to effective floor maintenance over the years. Below is some of my acquired knowledge:
- Use a vacuum that’s bag-less. (I’d go broke buying bags if I didn’t.) I use a
knock-off of the Dyson. It works just as well for a quarter of the price. Ah, cyclonic action that never loses suction. Test drive all different models. I research a new vacuum like a new nail gun. Nowadays I use a vacuum much more than my great collection of self contained Paslode nailers. Hoover
- Buy a 25’ shop vacuum extension hose (the small diameter one) from a home center (i.e. The Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) and attach it to your vacuum’s hose. You can either use aluminum tape or large hose clamps. This lets you use all the attachments two rooms away without having to lug the machine around. Also you can clean hard floors in a room where people are sleeping, because the noisy machine is down the hall. Also helps when vacuuming the blades of ceiling fans, or basement stairs.
- Clean the vacuum out in the garage using your air compressor. Make sure to wear a dust mask. The result is a canister and filter that resemble a new machine.
- Buy a shop vacuum brush attachment. The ones that come with a regular vacuum just don’t cut it.
- Vacuuming is easier than sweeping, not as much bending over, plus it does a better job.
- Vacuum when babies are little. They get used to the noise and it doesn’t wake them. Infants have an uncanny ability to tune out sounds they don’t need to process. As a bonus, when they get older they’ll want to help.
- Replace the brush roller belt monthly. They stretch out faster than you think.
- Don’t bury a vacuum away in a closet where it can’t be gotten to easily. Dog fur waits for no man and “Dustbusters” just don’t cut it for us “more power” freaks.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Where do they learn this stuff?
The other day, the Helper walked into the living room and the following conversation took place:
The Helper: “My socks are boring!”
The Helper: “My socks are BORING! I need my Christmas ones.”
Me: “Okay, give me a minute and I’ll be right there.”
For those of you who do this for a living you understand that being bored, never, ever happens. I am never bored nor have I ever uttered that word. I can say the same for the Mommy as well. Also, I’m positive; Mickey, Bob the Builder and Handy Manny have never said something was “boring.” Okay, now I’m intrigued, I have to get to the bottom of this. I go into his room, but can’t find the aforementioned “Christmas socks,” which were a Christmas gift -- obviously. Mommy must have put them away – in plain sight -- so I can’t find them. I explain he’ll have to wait until Mommy gets home.
The Helper: “But Dad, my socks are boring!”
Me: “Buddy, why are they boring?”
The Helper: (Lifting a foot in the air) “See!”
Me: (Realizing that’s all I’m getting, I respond) “Mommy will fix it when she gets home honey, Okay?”
The Helper: “Okay.”
The Mommy came home and I explained today’s crisis. She went into his room and said, “They’re right here.” The Helper put on his Christmas socks and all was right with the world. Mommy = Hero, Daddy = Incompetent Fashion Guru. Moments later the Helper returns to the living room and is wearing the “boring” socks over the new Christmas ones.
The Mommy: “Honey, why do you have those socks on over your new ones?”
The Helper: (No response – He exits stage right!)
I guess he didn’t want to get the new ones dirty. Who’s he kidding – dirt on MY floors?!? I don’t think so! So now, not only do I have to make sure he’s clean, fed, entertained, educated, and exercised, I have to make sure the daily apparel choices aren’t “boring.” White socks (or gray), jeans (or sweatpants), and a solid color T-Shirt (with some sport or truck design) is the official little boy uniform. I think he needs to read the manual again! As always, thanks for reading!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
(Note: This post has been edited since it's original posting this morning, please re-read for some additional "coincidences.")
I never thought I’d say this; I’m looking forward to the cold, dark winter days of January. A simpler time. A peaceful time. Or so I hope. The holiday season is fun, exciting, and exhausting. The kids now have new items to keep their attention for at least a week. I have some new books and hopefully some time to read them. For some reason the Helper has gone back to taking an afternoon nap. I think he’s as exhausted from the holidays as we are. I don’t know how long it will last but I’m taking advantage. His nap just happens to coincide with the Baby’s nap – I’m good. Two full hours of bliss from noon ‘till two. Ah, sweet pleasures; an uninterrupted lunch, followed by some reading in my big comfy chair. Can’t do any housework as it might wake the sleeping princes.
This holiday season has been filled with many challenges. On the Friday before Christmas, the Mommy got into a car accident on the way home from work.
Christmas Miracle Number One: She was okay, still a little sore though. The car suffered some major fender damage but nothing I can’t fix. And, as it turned out, a very dear friend of ours was dropping off her beautiful new SUV for me to use, ten minutes after the accident happened. She was leaving for Palm Springs CA the next day for a 10 day vacation. I had volunteered to take care of her pets while she was away, but, needed the use of her car to do it. Miracles never cease!
Christmas Miracle Number Two: I researched all the parts I would need to fix her car, on the internet, expecting at least $1,000 bill. To my surprise and delight all the parts (with shipping) came to about $200. Better than the $2500 the auto body places would have charged – not to mention the increase in our insurance premiums.
Christmas Miracle Number Three: We almost ran out of home heating oil on Christmas Day – with all the activity I forgot to check the status. It’s been warmer than usual here and so I don’t check my fuel supply that often. No company would deliver over the holiday weekend so we had to pray it wouldn’t run out. A good friend of my neighbor’s came over Christmas morning with 15 gallons of fuel for me -- enough to last the entire week. He wanted us to not have to worry about it; a Christmas Angel right there in my driveway.
Christmas Miracle Number Four: On Tuesday my neighbor had my oil tank filled and paid for it – told me it was for all I do for them all year long. Another neighbor sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers that arrived Tuesday afternoon -- just because. We had seen them Christmas Day and exchanged some gifts – we never expected anything else. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well here in our small town.
Christmas Miracle Number Five: Three healthy, beautiful, smart children. A father-in-law, that despite being in the hospital for a few weeks in the fall, celebrated his 98th Christmas with us. A mother-in-law who loves and cares for us -- no matter what. A roof over our heads, a job, food in the pantry, health insurance, heat and hot water and a positive outlook for the coming year.
Children learn by observing adult’s actions. My children see me all year helping out others. My neighbors know they can count on me at any time to help them with any project – I’m the one with all the tools – actually a separate building on our property devoted to storing all my acquired treasures. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a retired Home Improvement Contractor and have been doing home repairs my entire life. When one of my friends or family needs my advice or help I love it – I get to keep my skills honed. I often bring the Helper along to watch. I used to bring my daughter but she’s outgrown the novelty. While we try to shield our children from “adult” problems, especially around the holidays – some things can’t be hidden. That’s okay, because then they get to see the goodness in others and hopefully assimilate the kindness and generosity into their own character. They learn that no one is an island and that all problems can be fixed if people come together in a common cause. My children have Hope and Compassion in their hearts, not Fear and Dread, that's all I can ask for...again, as always, thanks for reading!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I remember a feeling of stability return to a very tumultuous time. President Ford was a man who received a lot of flack about his actions but not about his character. Unlike his recent predecessors no one could attack his honor, integrity, or dignity, though they tried. President Gerald R. Ford was a good man whatever your political posture. His decision to pardon President Nixon was political suicide and he knew it. But, it was the right thing to do at the time. Let’s remember the debacle that congress and former President Clinton went through over just a young intern. Could you imagine how long and drawn out the process would’ve been with a “real” scandal. Too long. He fixed that one Sunday afternoon, without any of his staff’s support or for that matter knowledge. One swipe of a pen and he put a country back on the road to heal, forgive, and strengthen itself. He sacrificed himself in the process. This is the definition of honor if you ask me.
“My Fellow Americans our long National nightmare is over…” (President Gerald R. Ford commenting on the Watergate Scandal)
If only recent President’s were able to speak these words.
I long for the days when Presidents’ are revered and respected. We may not like their decisions or actions – that’s okay – we can always “try” to vote them out. Remember the Presidency is term limited. They’re not Kings; they’re men doing a God’s job. I will miss you Mr. President -- May God Bless you and your family.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
My wife and I had Christmas Eve all planned out right down to the last minute. In the afternoon we would visit my in-laws, food consumption and gift exchanging -- check. On the way home she and I would get coffee and ride around our neighborhood to look at everyone's holiday illumination -- check. Upon arriving at our residence children would receive baths, track Santa's progress on the computer, get a call from Nannie, and off to bed -- check. Things were rolling right along -- like a well oiled machine -- except my wife and I hadn't planned on feeding ourselves, but that's what coffee's for, right? Especially, after my in-laws had just given us the ultimate coffee maker -- a Cuisinart Grind & Brew. If you're a coffee drinker there's no better machine.
Okay, kids in bed, coffee done -- now the waiting game begins! As I've mentioned before we have a CCTV system for the boys' rooms. Great for just this purpose. It allows us to make sure everyone's asleep so we can give Santa a heads up. Finally, around midnight, my wife had to resort to threatening the Helper -- you know -- the typical, "Santa's not coming if you don't go to sleep..." The threat had been changed from the previous, "...until you go to sleep," version. He's almost four and it was just too much for him -- he was ready to explode.
Then at 1 p.m. she pulled out all the stops, "Santa was just here, right up on the roof, and he left. He said he'd be back in a half hour and if you're not asleep he's going back to the North Pole with your presents." The girl's good, ten minutes later -- sound asleep. Santa arrived and all was good. Except that we figured we had only about three hours of sleep ahead. I woke up around 6:30 a.m. a made a pot of delicious java. I drank my wonderful coffee while I waited for the mayhem to begin. Well, long story short, the Helper did not rise until 10 a.m. -- sure he was up until one. Christmas began a little later than usual yesterday. After some company in the afternoon my wife finally made, her and I, something to eat -- pancakes, bacon, and muffins. Scheduled for brunch, actually eaten around 7 p.m.
So much for scheduling to the minute. Next year, no schedules, kids go to bed at 3 p.m. and I'm ordering pizza. Now that's what I call a tradition!
Funny Story of the Day:
Some of the Helper's gifts were packaged in small gift bags with tissue paper. When he was opening his first one, Mommy asked, "What did Santa bring you, honey?"
Without missing a beat the child responded, "Garbage."
See -- should've gone to sleep when you were supposed to.