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
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.