Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dog slobber on windows

When I work past 5:00, which is often, I usually run into Kerry, the gentleman who cleans our basement after we leave. This evening, I asked him how he had gotten the glass blocks by our outer door to sparkle so nicely. "Murphy's Oil Soap," he said. "I used it on everything."

"I love that stuff," I told him. "It doesn't hurt your hands and it smells good."

I would never in fifty years have thought of using oil soap on windows. "Do you think it would get the dog slobber off my windows," I asked. "Windex is worthless on it."


So, I went home and tried it. Sure enough, the dog slobber wiped off and the windows actually sparkled. I decided to Google Murphy's Oil Soap to see what else it could be used for, since Kerry had said he used it everywhere.

What I found surprised me. Google actually points one to diatribes against tried and true MOS. Hardwood floor manufacturers claim it leaves a nasty oily residue and should never be used. Blogs proclaim that it dulls wood.

Is this a conspiracy? An urban legend? If MOS can clean glass without leaving residue, how could it be so awful for floors?

By the way, I also used it, while I was in the groove, to clean my white kitchen cabinets. It wiped away coffee drips and various other stains pretty nicely, and I was thankful to Kerry for reminding me of this helpful environmetally friendly cleaner.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

roadkill 2

Okay, the first entry entitled "roadkill" was a bit much, so I can't believe I'm writing a sequel so soon.

My sister-in-law wanted to borrow my Depression glass ice bucket for a party. I wrapped it in a paper bag and set it on the floor of front seat of the car so I wouldn't foget to take it. This afternoon I decided to drive over to Haddad's and return some of the glass milk bottles that are gathering on the kitchen counters and the kitchen floor. I set a bag of them on the seat of the car.

As I was driving down Western, a cute box turtle comes sauntering across the road. I tried to stop, I tried to steer around it, but I completely failed. One tire nipped the turtle, the glass milk jars broke as they tumbled from the seat, and the ice bucket cracked as the bottles fell on it.

I turned around. I wanted to just stay home, but, I'm a modern creature. Should I change my plans for one crushed turtle?

I threw out the broken glass, loaded up more milk bottles, and got back in the car, using side streets so I wouldn't have to pass the carnage.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


A shovel scrapes the pavement. It apparently doesn't get it all. As I walk on I hear schkoop, schkoop, schkoop as the shovel digs into the asphalt. Then, a thud and a grinding sound as the Waste Management truck revs ups its compactor.

On the way home from lunch I was startled by the dead possum in the road. Its trunk was smeared into the pavement. Its head, off to one side, hadn't yet been crushed by tires and its mouth gaped, baring a row of white teeth. Good God Almighty, I think, is this how we value life? Is this what we have to show for our $3.50/gallon gasoline consumption?

Then, you think, by some tidy process this will all be cleaned up so you don't have to look at it anymore. But let me tell you the process isn't one bit tidy. It's a metal shovel scraping blood, bone, and muscle off of the asphalt.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


As you know, many cubicle dwellers have a heightened appreciation for the outdoors, especially those of us who dwell hours a day in a basement cube lighted only by fluorescence. So, a few weeks ago, I had the urge to plant a vegetable garden in my yard. The weather still quite cool, lettuce seemed the appropriate start. I had decided to do the garden in rectangles separated by paths, rather than one big chunk. So, I got out the tiller and dug up a small rectangular plot and seeded it.

Two weeks later, it was time to turn on the pool pump. The GCFI switch in the basement tripped and would not be reset. We called in an electrician, who speculated that my little lettuce plot had probably damaged the underground wire to the pump. I don't think I tilled more than four inches down, so this seemed incredible to me. Once we dug up the yard to find the buried wire, however, it was clear that the spot I had chosen to till was not only directly above the wire, but directly above the one spot where the wire lie right beneath the earth's surface.

The electrician patched the spot. And then a big rain came and the switch tripped again. My brother, the ultimate handyman, decided that we shouldn't mess around trying to fix the damaged wire, but should dig a deeper trench and splice in a new one.

He came last weekend and we dug, put a new wire in conduit, put in a new and more stable switch at the pump site, and covered in the trench. The splice, however, he decided, should remain above ground, as burying it could be tricky. He spliced it, wrapped it in a glass jar, and then proceeded to Menard's, where he and my husband found the most fake fake rock I have ever seen!

Yeah, it looks like that glacier just left it here by the driveway. And that plastic sheen, that's just years of sun.

Well, I can't complain, the pump is now working, and I've found another area of the yard - way in the back - to till for beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Of course, our new neighbor, a fat groundhog, lives in that quadrant of the yard, so I'll have to find fencing to keep him out of the produce.

Yes, life is good.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I don't remember receiving assignments as grade-schooler that required parental help. How could a 5-year old, on his own, be expected to compile a report on "anything French?"

I love computers ; } and anything French

My sister moved last weekend. I personally packed her old PowerMac G3 with loving care. I put it in the back of my car so it wouldn't be jostled in the big van of furniture. I unpacked it myself, with a wonderfully satisfied feeling that all would be well. I had to leave before we had time to set it up.

The next day she called to report that the machine wouldn't even hum or blink - it was DOA. I offered a few suggestions, none of which worked. Now, their Internet connection isn't working, so the laptop is pretty much out of commission also.

She called in a panic: her kindergartener has a report due tomorrow "on anything French." She had some French lavender soap. Maybe he could report on France and lavender, if I could fax some information (from my Internet connection) about lavender. "I don't have a fax machine," I said. "And I'm too tired to trudge back to the cubicle to use the office fax machine."

Luckily, I had heard a report in the car yesterday about all the excitement in France over the election of the new president. "Walk to the corner, buy a paper, and he can probably get enough from the photos and cutlines to suffice for a kindergarten report." Problem solved.

But the computer and Internet connection failures? Oh, that's for another day!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

walk, work, walk, eat, walk, work, walk

Coworkers have been trying to walk on their lunch hour and have invited me to join them. I usually go home at lunch to let out the dogs. Yesterday, they said, they walked past my house and saw the dogs sitting on the porch (waiting to get back in and share my sandwich, no doubt). More interesting, they said the walk to my house and back to campus was almost a mile, according to a pedometer. OK, that's it. I have to start walking to work. Walk, work, walk home, share a sandwich with the dogs, walk back, work, walk back home, work in the yard. I got out of the habit with the awful dark winter, but now there's no excuses. Get off my butt, save gas, and get in nearly 2 miles per day.