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dearest friends

I feel so cheap, always reading your updates and never updating myself. I'm not too sure how that happened. A couple weeks ago I typed a superlong entry detailing what my life is like on a day-to-day basis, and my stupid lemon of a computer ate it. It's not too easy just jumping back in here, and who knows if I even will, but here's an entry for today.

Friends, it is so hard getting used to a new place! Not only for myself, but settling so many animals in and trying to get life back in working order, AY YI YI! Surprizing everyone we knew, we managed to unpack the whole bottom floor of the house in a week, and the most of the top floor shortly thereafter (we have some boxes of junk still floating around the bedroom, and more books than shelves, though we have a spare master as a dedicated frickin' library). On a nearly day to day basis I clean 4 cat boxes (for 6 cats), 3 ferret boxes, and 3 rabbit cages (drop-through trays).

I do not come by any sort of cleaning naturally. I am lucky enough that cooking is easy for me, in the rare event I cook (because I don't want to clean up after). Cleaning? I am just bad at it. My natural inclination is to not do anything I'm bad at, and so you can imagine how that ends up, with all manner of mammals messing up the place. On top of this, you actually HAVE to vacuum your non-carpeted floors. They won't just eat the dirt and hair like a carpet will. That wooden floor you spent so much money and time having installed, you must CARE for it, child. My barn must be swept of leaves if I don't want snakes, and there's no one to do it but me!

The first half of my childhood was spent with my grandmother, who raised two boys in the 50s and 60s, in an apron and serving dinner at 6 pm every night. She had earned the luxury of having her house cleaned every Saturday by the time she got me, and thus I never ran a vacuum or swept a floor until I was in my teens. She kept everything clean (and made three meals a day) from Sunday-Friday with grace and ease, the kind that comes from 50 years of practice. It drives me CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY that I can't keep my house like this! After my grandmother died, I moved in with a crazy aunt who went on cleaning binges lasting until 4 am, when she would finish by vacuuming everyone's bedroom while they tried to sleep. Then she wouldn't clean again for a few weeks. We ate fast food for dinner every single night (luckily my cousin and I were on the swim team, swimmers thrive on that kind of diet), and we weren't allowed to wash dishes, touch the dishwasher, or the washing machine, for fear we'd 'mess something up.'

Basically, I was doomed. I'm trying to realize that in housecleaning, as in everything, it's ok if you have to practice! And always reward for good behavior, of course.

A Hot Toddy for a Very Good Girl
apple cider
whiskey or rum
cut up citrus, preferably without rind
a pinch of sugar

1) Heat the cider. Overacheivers mull your own, I buy mine at Trader Joe's. I pour a mug about 2/3 full, and then dump that in a pyrex measuring cup and heat it for 2 min in the microwave.
2) While cider is heating, squeeze or crush the fruit in your mug. I use about half a clementine and squish it with a fork.
3) Pour sugar and liquor over fruit, pour cider over liquor. Relax, enjoy. The fruit is kind of like a tea bag, leave it in there for flavor but you probably won't want to suck on it when you're done.

My grandma, her sister, and her mother always spoke fondly of hot toddys, but I never saw them drink one*. I'd say they certainly deserved my special blend.

*They may have been sneaking them.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 18th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Overachievers make the best friends.
You are better at these things than you think - you just hate to do them!

And since I'm not really a cider drinker, you won't find me mulling my own. BUT I do like things as fresh as possible! Maybe I'll just make your chicken n dumplings from a box and a can. :-P
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
especially when they overachieve for you!
you've never seen me try to sweep. it's a mess.

haha i didn't really think you'd mull your own, i just wanted to call you out :P you wouldn't DARE.
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
I am not good at sweeping either, actually. That's why I use the method mop & duster after Brian does the vacuuming!
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
the fact that you have to do both of those things makes me want to die. i just cleaned it, pleasssseeeee don't make me clean it again. WHYYYYYY. i need another drink.

being between weeks away from home, i'm not mopping or vacuuming couches this time. um, want to take care wilbur 20-29?
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
want talk cavewoman?
Dec. 18th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
It get the hair that the vacuum misses. There is just always so much hair!

Of course. It'd be our pleasure. You can just bring him when you come for dinner Friday, since that's the 19th anyways.
Dec. 18th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
oh i know why, it was more like 'why, god, why??' kind of why.

good idea!
Dec. 18th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
I just made beef stroganoff AND cleaned the dishes while it cooked.
Dec. 18th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
That's the way to do it! Go you!
Dec. 18th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: especially when they overachieve for you!
there were more dishes at the end! uggggh.
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Wow life sounds busy but very satisfying!

The "hot toddy" sounds delicious, I will have to try it soon.

A note on the cat boxes - my sister and my mother gifted us a litter robot. http://www.litter-robot.com/

While I would probably not buy a $330 cat box on my own this was a gift. My sister and her husband love theirs so much they would buy another one tomorrow if theirs broke. We are not in love as they are but we do like the robot (mainly because I never minded scooping in the first place :P ). We have 4 cats in house, 3 like it and 1 hates it with a passion. I suppose it is not for everyone/every cat. It is nice to not have to scoop every day, you basically just pull out the drawer and dump it. The box does need to be near an electrical outlet and I do have to take the "box/ball" part off occasionally and scrub it with soap and hot water. I can say with out a doubt it does work and do what it is supposed to with no problems or issues - so if you ever decide to look into "auto boxes", this one works.
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
Haha that is so cool! My cats look for reasons to show me their displeasure, and I can only imagine the treats I'd be in store for if I brought that home. The biggest litter issue is the kittens, they just go SO MUCH that I have to be diligent or it gets out of control in just a day or two. Annnd once I'm at their boxes, I might as well continue on to the other cat boxes, and then the ferret boxes. It's a pretty good system, actually! The rabbit cages are the biggest pain, but I have a better system in the works :)

And here I have to give a shoutout to FreshStep Crystals. The Cavanaghs also use this, and I wouldn't have multiple cats without it.
Dec. 18th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
The one draw back to the robot is that it is fairly noisy. I could do with out that!

Yeah, once you get into a system/groove it is just natural to do it all at once. That is how I was when I was on multiple box scoop duty, now I just scoop the one box. Chester hates the robot and he loves his plain old school regular covered box, lol.

PS -If you are ever in need of a new scooper -


that scoop is AWESOME! I have one and love it!
Dec. 18th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
I feel you on the cleaning thing. My dad was always neurotic about having the house clean though. I think he sweeps his hardwoods nearly every day. We sweep our tile maybe 2 times a year. I know I need to work on that... It doesn't help I never want to throw anything away. *Shrugs*

Good luck with the cleaning.
Dec. 18th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
tell him to come sweep here! :)
Dec. 18th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
It is funny that you mention a hot toddy, because I had been wondering about how to make a real, old-fashioned one for at least a week! I am serious!

And I was even a bartender! But none of the hot toddy recipes I'd read sounded quite right.
Dec. 18th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
This is what I came up with with the ingredients I had. I don't think there's officially one kind of hot toddy. It seems you can use coffee/tea/cider, whiskey/rum/scotch, orange/lemon, honey/sugar/fake sugar.

Edited at 2008-12-18 07:20 pm (UTC)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )