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Monday, July 29, 2013

Cleaning Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Dust Bunnies

Aside from the usual cleaning hazards (inhaling fumes, bleach burns, slippery floors, vacuum cleaners left longer than two weeks in the hallway, spontaneous combustion of cleaning sponges, marital problems started by Mr. Clean), cleaning can also be hazardous to your loved ones.

Granted, I do not clean, I mean REALLY clean, all that often.  While some adhere to the traditional spring cleaning, I am more aligned with the Mayan calendar, which means I haven’t really cleaned since Dec. 21, 2012 when their calendar ended.  But yesterday I decided it was time to scoop out the house and engage in some hard core cleaning.

Most of the time my cleaning consists of moving the clutter to a different room, rearranging the clutter in a more organized manner, or hauling the clutter to the barn.   In moments of desperation I have actually been known to sweep, mop, and vacuum all floors at the same time regardless of whether or not the floors are covered in carpet, wood, tile, or cement. 

Most of the time I give the carpet a quick vacuum in the high traffic areas and as my grandmother used to say “give it a lick and a promise.”  This particular day I decided to shampoo all the carpet; after all, it had been six months since the Mayan calendar ended.

I started in the twelve-year-old’s room.  After removing enough wrappers, bottles, paper plates, and coke cans to start my own landfill, I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet.  Who knew the carpet was really blue instead of dove gray? 

Inspired, I went on to the eight-year-old’s room.  I removed all the throw rugs.  Seeing the spot where I had tried to remove a stain last month reminded me to double check my cleaning solution to make sure there was no bleach in it this time.  No bleach.  Whew!  Carpet vacuumed, shampooed, and fans turned on high to speed the drying process.  Now I am really motivated.  On to the living room.

This was more of a challenge.  Furniture pieces had to be tilted back and the coffee table moved to the other side of the sofa.  I was on a roll.  Spitting out white foam and sucking up water that would make the Mississippi seem clear; my carpet shampoo machine was doing an excellent job.  I was surprised to see that my carpet was a solid color and did not actually have a pattern in it, that I shampooed it again; this time the water really looking like the Mississippi River.  This resulted in a soggier carpet which needed more drying time.  Off to our bedroom.

By this time my carpet shampoo-er and I were both running low on steam.  I turned the TV on and discovered a “Matlock” marathon and took a little break.  In between episodes I managed to do a little more decluttering, cleaning, and shampooing.  Later during more sporadic cleaning and episode 9 of the “Matlock” marathon, Dr. Hubby came in to take a shower.  Before settling down to join me in watching episode 10, he decided to get a little snack from the kitchen by way of the living room.

I heard the crash, the splintering of wood, and the thud of a body on newly shampooed carpet before I heard the screams from Dr. Hubby and the frightened children.  I scampered to the living room to discover Dr. Hubby sprawled out on the floor.  The coffee table, which I had moved to the other side of the sofa while the carpet dried, was now missing two legs.  He, fortunately, still had his legs attached.

“Who put a coffee table in the middle of nowhere when there hasn’t been anything there for the past ten years?” he yelled between knee spasms, words describing questionable heritage, and clinching his teeth.

“I shampooed the carpet so I moved the coffee table until it dried.”

“You couldn’t put it back?”

I helped Dr. Hubby to his recliner after I determined an ambulance was not necessary and supplied him with a handful of Advil.  Then I began to laugh out of relief or at the comedy of it all.  Dr. Hubby, even at his age, can shoot the eye out of a black eyed pea at 30 yards but can’t see a 2x4x3 foot coffee table in the middle of an open space in broad daylight.

“He’s going to be ok, right?  Cause it wouldn’t be as much fun without him.  You are ok, but just not as much fun,” worried the eight-year-old.

“He will be fine,” I hoped.

 The twelve-year-old and I moved the coffee table back to its customary place and used books to replace the now missing legs.  I put the vacuum cleaner and the carpet shampoo-er back in the hall closet exactly in the same place as outlined by the dust print.  Don’t want any more accidents.

I thought about my day of house cleaning, carpet shampooing, and coffee table vaulting husband.   Even without a calendar, the ancient Mayans have spoken:

 Excessive cleaning can be hazardous somebody! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Movie-ing On!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for pot of gold!

I admit I do not go to movies very often.  In fact, the last movie I saw was “UP”. But this summer, without any plans for a cruise or vacation, I decided to use our allocated vacation money to treat the children to a movie or two or three. 

Since “UP” brought down my average monthly salary, I knew to attend movies before 5p.m. on a week day and skip the 3-D version (which stands for Depleting, Depressing, and Debilitating my budget) otherwise I could quickly max out my credit card.  I also knew to stop at Wal-Mart for the prerequisite sugar jolt of candy that I would hide,  sneak, place in my purse in case anyone in the theater had a sudden diabetic emergency…or the movie turned out to be boring and the children started chomping on each other.

The first movie that had the children marking off the days until it opened in theaters was “Monster University.” Opening day and we were off at 3:44 for the not-matinee-and-not-evening showing. “One senior, two children please.”  I held my breath until the credit card flashed “approved.”  Feeling like I now had a little wiggle room in the budget, I thought about splurging and getting popcorn and drinks for the children; that is until I saw the prices.
 $19.95 for a bucket of popcorn and two MEDIUM drinks.  Seasonings were $1.50 extra but salt was only $1.00.  The profit margin must be 99%, the only actual expense being the bucket and the cups.  I bet if they could figure a way, they would have you bring your own sack and just have you stand under the coke spigot with your mouth open for so many seconds.  We skipped the $20 popcorn and cokes.  The movie was cute and funny on so many different levels.

The second movie opening marked on the calendar was “Despicable Me.”  Still working off our cruise vacation budget, I agreed to take them.  I had never seen “Despicable One” but the children said that was ok they would tell me anything I did not understand.  As it turned out, I had to explain why I was laughing so hard to them.  It was a perfect cartoon spoof on all the James Bond super spy movies I had seen.  This movie had the children chomping on the contraband M&M’s half way through.

The third movie was “Turbo.”  I love Dream Works so I was looking forward to this movie.  Remember this is replacing a seven day cruise for four with all gourmet meals, entertainment, continuous soft-serve ice cream, free child care, and constant maid service included.  Getting tickets on line enables you to bypass the trauma of credit card APPROVED and the Snack Bar prices and head straight for the movie theatre.   This was a “formula one” type movie.  The underdog, or in this case the under snail, dreams of winning the big race and does.  It did have a couple of profound philosophical points which went completely over the heads of the children.

With no more must-see movies on our list and a little bit of change left in the vacation fund, we headed for the frozen yogurt store.  Here, in true genius marketing fashion, they do not post their price list.  Instead you fill your cup with as much frozen yogurt as you want and pile on all the candies, toppings, and nuts that you can.  Then, when it is too late to put anything back, they weigh it and charge you by the ounce or in our case, by the pound.

After crunching the numbers, 4 ½ hours of actual movie entertainment, 1 ½ hours of movie advertisements plus M&M’s times three, add in frozen yogurt and future dental appointments, we will definitely get more for our money by btaking a cruise….possibly around the world.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Duck (make that) Bird Tape

by JodyWorsham
All rights reserved for taping ducks

I admit to using duck tape for a variety of reasons:  splicing 2x4's together, repairing a hem in a costume, making a dress form by wrapping a model wearing a t-shirt with multiple layers of duck tape, waterproof bandages for a horse's hoof, the normal every day things people do with it.  I have not yet resorted to trapping wildlife or making a tape ladder; although that does sound intriguing.

No, I will leave the more creative aspects of duck tape  usage to Dr. Hubby.  A long time advocate of such home remedies as WD-40 for wounded chickens, Vick's Vapo Rub for what ails you, and Old Spice Shaving Lotion for making  orphan calves acceptable to our Jersey cow, he has now added Duck Tape to his arsenal of home repair tools.

Recently our eight-year-old was testing the structural integrity of a bird's nest in the event of an earthquake registering 9 on the Richter Scale, by jumping up and down on the tree limb holding the bird nest.  He reported, after being caught, that th should not be insured by the good hands people.  Dr. Hubby examined the proverbial bird nest on the ground and saw that the eggs in the nest were unharmed thanks to the copious amounts of dog fur collected by the bird parents from our shedding Labrador.  I'm not sure the lab meant to shed so much fur, but the birds were fast.

Dr. Hubby picked up the nest and put it back in the tree.  Concerned that the structure might have been compromised by the budding seismologist and the 14 foot fall to the ground, Dr. Hubby brought out the duck tape and secured the nest to the branch.

The bird parents returned to check out their hew industrial high rise.  They liked the new industrial look.  Having your TV on HGTV facing the patio door and their tree, I
m sure, helped them acclimate to their new living quarters.

A few weeks later, the eggs had hatched and all had flown the nest.  Because duck tape is so strong, the nest will remain for the next tenants for years to come.

Duck Tape Condos may become all the rage.  The eight-year-old is already considering an online business for do it yourself bird nest builders. The kit would include a roll of  duck tape, which he is renaming bird tape, some twigs, and fur from a yellow lab named Sandy;  that is if Sandy isn't bald by then.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wring Your Own ....!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for an  egg-sorcist

When Dr. Hubby mentioned that he would like to raise a few chickens, I didn’t think anything about it.  He has these ideas that pop into his head occasionally.  I should have known after 49 years that his ideas pop like popcorn and somehow expand exponentially.

We started with twelve little yellow fluff balls in a cardboard box in the barn.  The cute little yellow fluff balls soon outgrew the cardboard box and the pen hubby had rigged up temporarily and turned into twelve white feathered noisy pooping, smelly pullets.

 “Not a problem.  I’ll just build them a pen down where the old barn used to be.  We are going to need a place for the kids' show chickens anyway” says Dr. Hubby.

What followed is now referred to as the Trump Condos for Chickens or the Government Economic Term Stimulus Tentative Under Planned Interactive Development.  I just refer to it as G.E.T.   S.T.U.P.I.D.   In hindsight, I probably could have gotten a government grant to determine which came first:  The Chicken or the Egg.   But no matter, that was a moot question.

Actually the shed, the chain link fence, the recycled old patio doors, the unused French doors, the ceiling fan for circulation, the water-ers, the chicken feeders, plumbing and electricity, a door for easy access, covered porch for the John Deere Gator bought to haul the chicken feed, and shavings  came first.  But to keep the stimulus stimulating, more chicks had to be bought so there would be a continuous supply of eggs…of which I had yet to see one of…..egg  I mean.

We are now up to 24 chicks in various stages of development.  The eleven-year-old picked out her favorite and named it “Sweet Thing”.  After a few more weeks when the first birds were discovering their voices, Sweet Thing had to be renamed Sweet Boy.  Now we have 23 chickens and one rooster.  Dr. Hubby is now concerned that the older birds are pecking on the younger birds so….there is an addition to the Trump Chicken Condos.

 “Well, when the show chickens get here, we are going to have to have a separate place to keep the broilers away from the layers.” I had a better solution.  KFC came to mind.

With the added room, more chicks arrived because…I don’t know why.  He’s a man who can’t resist a sale, auction or anything homeless.  We are now at 32 birds and one rooster and awaiting the arrival of 50 show chickens. 

After four months and an additional 500 square feet of condo living, the first eggs arrived.  It was very educational.  Our eight-year-old has, after much observation, deduced that it takes all day to make an egg.  “First you have to get the yoke in it; then make the shell and add a little dab of protein.”  I think he has mixed up farm life and the cooking network.  Our eleven-year-old was a bit more astute.  “Chickens don’t lay eggs before 10:00.  It is now 11:00.  Do you think chickens can tell time?”

With a rooster in the flock, the eight-year-old got a lesson in sex egg-ucation early on.   Sweet Boy is anything but sweet.  If you walk into the chicken condo carrying anything in your hand like a bucket, he will attack.  If you walk in empty handed, he rushes up to you and wants to be petted.   He has also developed a powerful set of lungs as our neighbors down the road will verify.

As promised, egg production began to increase.  At first we got two or three eggs per day.  Eggs sunny side up.  Then we began to get half dozen a day.  Scrambled eggs.  French Toast. Omelets.  A dozen eggs a day.   Egg salad.  Quiche. Boiled eggs.  Egg custard.  18  eggs per day.  Egg sandwiches.  Eggs Benedict.  EGGS FOR SALE!  I even pushed for our church to declare an Egg-umenical Sunday.  I lobbied for Egg-stra school days.  I argued for a yard sale of Egg-normous size.  I nagged for an Egg-ercise program at the gym.  Nothing.

We can’t afford any more eggs.  Between the chicken feed, the egg cartons, the now egg allergy shots, it is costing us to have chickens.  I am waiting for the old hens to shut down.  Then I’ll add:

 FRESH CHICKENS FOR SALE!  Wring Your Own and Take Her Home!

 And I am not egg-aggerating!

Monday, July 1, 2013

E.T....No Pal of Mine!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for the days of Ma Bell

If you watch NatGeo or the Science channel, you know all about the theories of past alien invasions.  I am here to tell you that the aliens are back.  They have used their far advanced technology to infiltrate the internet, our phone systems, and Pay Pal.

Now I know many of you have had to deal with tech support from those who have English as their fourth or fifth language and that is trying, especially if you have older ears trying to  listen to English  spoken with an accent thicker than mud on a hog in August.  But since my recent experience with the alien infiltrated Pay Pal, I would take Mud Hog spoken with any accent.

I shall explain.  After complaining for years about no longer having my wonderful Salad Master Machine that I used twice a year to make potato salad, I found one on E-Bay.  Hooray! And just in time, as it turns out, for the 4th…of Never!

I checked the pictures of the Salad Master Machine on E-Bay.  It was just like my old one. I compared new prices from the factory.  I looked at the ratings for the seller.  I even had a Pay Pal account to secure my payment so all was good…or so I thought.

Time to make my purchase. When I got to the “How Do You Want to Pay?” I clicked Pay Pal . Long pause as I search through three hundred manila folders for my Pay Pal log in name.   You can see my level of computer competency right?  I found I had failed to write it and my password down.  Not to worry. It’s Pay PAL.  When I couldn’t log in, Pay Pal conveniently asked me to click the following boxes:  “Forgot Log In name? click  Forgot password?…click.  Can’t remember either?  Click and double click.”

 After clicking enough times to secure my position on “Dancing with the Stars, Flamenco Night”, I submitted my telephone number to verify I had an account.  Yep.  There it was…under the yahoo e-mail account that hasn’t let me in since some one…or some THING changed my password years ago and didn’t tell me what it was.

Appearing on the not-yet-blue-scream-of-death computer monitor was my old e-mail account name and “You have been sent instructions for changing your password to the above e-mail.”  AAAAARGGG.  Just before I manhandled the monitor I read the second line. 

“For further assistance click here and leave your phone number.  You will be called immediately to verify that this is your account.”  Good. I can explain my problem.

I clicked…again…and within 60 seconds the phone rang.  A computer (?) generated voice (a.k.a. E.T.?) asked me to punch in the security code I had been given on the blue-scream-of-frustration.  I did. Then E.T. told me how to change my password.  After repeatedly tapping the new password into the phone, E.T. told me a confirmation would be sent….wait for it…wait for it…to the  e-mail account I could not access.

Back to the blue-scream-of-rising-blood-pressure monitor.  “Need help?  E-mail us your problem.” Ooook….

“I need to change my e-mail address on my Pay Pal Account.”

“Instructions will be sent within 24 hours to (you guessed it) the e-mail on your account.” 

Back to the black-and-blue-stream-of-explicatives.  On the monitor was “Call us”. I did.   E.T.’s mother answered.

 “Please say in a few words the nature of your problem.”

“I need to edit the e-mail address on my Pay Pal Account.”

“I can help you with that.  Access your account now and I will lead you step by step through the process.”

“That’s the problem.  I can’t get into my e-mail account.”

“I’m sorry.  I did not get that.  Say AGAIN or say MORE INFORMATION.”


“Please say in a few words the nature of your problem.”


“Please say in a lot more words and with as many details as possible, what we can do to help you with this very important and frustrating problem you are currently experiencing.”

“I want to speak to an earthling!   A being…  or an illegal alien  with an accent…”

“Oh, I can help you with that request.  Push #1 for Klingon …Push 2 for  Mork, Push 3 for  Alph….”


I wonder if they take cash on E-Bay …. or the Mother Ship???