Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘cleaning

Coop Cleaning

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The chicken coop received a thorough going-over yesterday as we took the first steps in preparation for moving the twelve chicks Cyndie has taken to identifying as the Buffalo Gals.

As we pulled out the removable portions, it was discovered that a few repairs were in order. A plank sealing a seam in the hardware cloth lining had come loose in the ceiling. A significant gap between the two overlapping segments provided ample room for small birds or rodents to wander inside.

Not any more. With that problem fixed, Cyndie put her attention to cleaning every surface and I hunted down a branch to make a third roost perch.

As we were preparing to put away tools and call it a day, I remembered the window covers that needed to be installed over the two side windows. I recalled seeing the flimsy plastic forms, covered in dust, stashed in the barn among a lot of other dangerous-looking objects.

Working together, Cyndie and I delicately, and successfully, lifted the covers out of the debris and headed out the back door of the barn to wash them. I was so happy these things had survived the hazards of removal and storage intact.

While I was washing the first cover, Delilah, the oblivious canine, walked up and stepped on it, busting it in three places as I shrieked at her, frantically shoving to get her off so I could pick it up.

That one now has some funky-looking tape on it, but it should still do the job of preventing rain from coming in the window.

At least the coop is clean! For the time being.

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Written by johnwhays

May 24, 2021 at 6:00 am

Clutter Kept

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Honestly, there were things within the first drawer and over the top of my dresser that have been there for years. When we made the move almost five years ago, I poured everything that had accumulated in the top drawer for the twenty-five years prior into large ziplock bags. Upon arrival to this home in October of 2012, I pushed those bags right back into the drawer to be dealt with later.

Or not.

I have actually found myself digging through the contents a couple of times in the ensuing years, in search of some phantom item from a vague recollection –which I never, ever find– and had the thought that I should probably sort through the bags and bust some clutter.

Over the weekend, Cyndie made a sweeping pass through the house to prepare for a showing to a potential client. Her magical ability to make things disappear from surfaces always excludes my dresser, but this time my mess really stood out to me.

On a whim, (was it connected to the celestial show to come?), I took my shot at Cyndie’s sweeping magic and waded through the clutter on top.

Inevitably, there were a few items to which I couldn’t part.

I slipped them into one of the bags in the drawer. Soon, I realized the bags had to go. I needed space in that drawer for currently active items that had been laying on top. The bags were so full they completely filled the drawer.

Full disclosure: The clutter isn’t busted yet. To save time, I moved the bags into a box, instead of processing the treasure of collectibles contained within. However, in the interest of not totally giving up on the ultimate goal, I set the box –too full to even close– on the floor beside my bed where it would be out of sight to the casual viewer, but where I would trip over it every day until I deal with it.

Any bets on whether I can do five years, stepping around the obstruction?

While I have a hard time parting with treasures, I am getting better at spending a little coin to replace things that wear out. When it comes to my cherished threadbare Carhartt Double Front Work Dungarees, it took an email spam ad touting half-price irregulars to wrench open my wallet.

The three primary pairs in heavy rotation for dirty-work around the property have gotten so ratty as to be entirely fashionable, although not completely safe for public display by anyone with a little modesty. The crotch where Cyndie had sewn patches is now vented around her handiwork.

The kicker last week was when Cyndie came up from the laundry with a six-inch stick about half the diameter of my little finger and asked if I was keeping it for any reason. It was now a clean stick, as it made it through the wash inside the rip of the first layer at one of the knees.

Pequenita put my new replacement pairs through some serious testing as soon as they arrived yesterday afternoon.

Now I will look a little more presentable for the multitude of workshops Cyndie and Dunia are holding in the days ahead to kick off Cyndie’s return to active duty following this summer’s shoulder surgery.

Hopefully, no one will wander into the bedroom and stumble over my treasures that are no longer on the dresser.

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Ash Wash

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One day when Elysa was hanging out with us, I wondered out loud if there was any use for all the ash from a fireplace. She suggested we Google it.DSCN4451e

Turns out, yes, there is. Or more accurately, there are.

Two that I clearly remember: An additive to soil for growing tomatoes, and as a cleanser for washing smoky glass fireplace doors.

Smoky doors, we got. This solution is so plain and simple that I don’t understand why it isn’t more widely known. There is no reason to use some manufactured chemical when such a natural resource is so handy and works so amazingly well.

How about a demonstration? I don’t mind if I do.

All I need is water, some newspaper, and ashes to quickly clean the doors for a crystal clear view of the main attraction of our winter nights. I wish all projects were as easy and rewarding as this.

In case it isn’t inherently obvious, this chore should be done before you start a fire, when the ashes and doors are absent of any heat from a fire.

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Written by johnwhays

February 19, 2016 at 7:00 am

Runaway Chores

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The last few times we ran the dishwasher, we found some wetness on the floor in front of it. Most recently, it turned out to be a lot more than just some wetness. We had a leak.

Fearing the worst, I hustled downstairs to check the ceiling. The dishwasher is located above our storage room, which has a finished ceiling. There was a light stain on one of the tiles. Curses!

We have some history with leaking dishwashers. In our previous home back in Eden Prairie, the leak went undetected for a long time, because it was located in the drain hose. Mice had chewed a hole in the plastic hose and the leak was not visible from the kitchen.

My fear was that it had happened again, and I prepared myself for pulling the dishwasher to look behind it. I didn’t really want to tear into that project, so I decided I should make sure the drain wasn’t blocked by debris, first. The only problem with that plan was the fact that I didn’t know how to gain access to the drain.

While I was sitting on the kitchen floor, peering at the inner workings of the dishwasher, I got a close view of the nasty buildup of gunk that had accumulated around the edge of the door and on the gaskets around the door. Could it be?

I gave them a thorough cleaning. While I was on the floor peering under the appliance, I got a scary view of places that never get cleaned. We have a cat, so areas that don’t get cleaned become an incredible mass of cat hair, which then becomes a super absorbent net that catches dog hair.

DSCN4449eCyndie got the small shop-vac for me and I started cleaning under kitchen cabinets. Cat crawl spaces. While I had the vacuum and was lying on the kitchen floor, she suggested I clean under the stove and the refrigerator, too. I couldn’t argue with that logic.

I pulled the drawer from beneath the oven and found enough items to feel like an archeologist discovering an ancient tomb. I had to ask Cyndie whether they were from us or the previous owners. She said it looked like a little of both.

After the stove, I moved on the refrigerator. Again, my first thought was, we own a cat. Those coils should be cleaned about 10-times more often than we are accomplishing. It was nightmarish under there. While I was grunting over that project, Cyndie started giving the oven a heavy dose of scrubbing.

DSCN4450eI asked permission to remove some screws so we could get to the space between the windows in the oven door. There was a cobweb in there that has bothered me for a long time. Soon, we had all the kitchen appliances in pieces, and we were cleaning nooks and crannies that have probably never been cleaned before.

Delilah was incredibly patient with us, as we toiled away the entire evening on this runaway series of cleaning chores, though she failed to mask how forlorn she felt over being neglected the whole time.

While we were busy dealing with the mission creep of the oven door and the refrigerator coils, the original problem of a leaking dishwasher appeared to have gone away. After cleaning the gaskets, we put it though a test run while we worked away in the kitchen.

There was no sign of any leaking whatsoever. Problem solved? I will be keeping a skeptical eye on it for the foreseeable future.

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Written by johnwhays

February 17, 2016 at 7:00 am

Dust Busting

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It’s funny how much clutter we tolerate, until we can’t. Or we don’t have to. Sometimes the tolerating is born of a necessary survival mechanism of prioritizing.

When Cyndie was working her previous day-job, her efforts often overflowed the office hours and consumed vast amounts of her time in the evenings and on weekends. Putting energy toward areas of personal interest became a luxury that she rarely had time to indulge. She has been home now for less than a month and in that time has begun to shake the dust off a surprising number of things and places.DSCN3682e

The dustiest of them all is, without a doubt, our barn, with its sand floor and the lime screenings surface under the overhang, toward the paddocks. Daily, the horses kick up dry clouds of dust that waft into the barn, covering absolutely everything. Keeping surfaces clean is a losing battle in the barn, so I rarely bother trying.

Last Sunday, late in the afternoon, when I was winding down toward gathering my thoughts of returning to work the next day, Cyndie began moving things out of the barn. We definitely operate on different schedules of inspiration. The hose came out and the barn received a serious makeover for the next few days. DSCN3681eAll that remains outside the roof now appears to be objects she left as a hint to me that she’d rather we find a different place to store.

Last night, about the time I was considering turning in for the night, Cyndie began moving things out of the over-packed storage room in the basement. Dust and clutter are no longer safe around here. Cyndie is home!

It has been a rude awakening to me of how much I was comfortable tolerating during the time I was home full-time. I had no problem overlooking clutter in some locations while I focused on projects in other areas of my interest.

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Written by johnwhays

July 17, 2015 at 6:00 am