Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Dog, A Boy, House Paint, Caramel Syrup and a Kitchen Floor - Does this Title Even Need A Verb?

At the risk of channeling Erma Bombeck, I just had to share a little domestic experience that we enjoyed here at the Last House this afternoon.

Let me begin at the beginning. We got this dog back in May. She is a cute dog. Her name is Maisy.

Maisy, in a good moment, earlier this summer

Maisy spends a lot of time on the ugly porch that was appended to the Last House by the previous owners, sometime back in the 1970s. I think they added this aquariam-inspired structure around the same time they removed the proper, original porch and front door - sort of like a face removal and horrid, wrong, replacement.

In any case, the ugly porch ("U.P.") has windows facing south and east, creating an environment alternately boiling and freezing. It also has an ugly brown indoor-outdoor carpet. We enter and leave the Last House through the U.P., so there is no avoiding it.

Since adding Maisy to the family, I have noticed, particularly on warm days, that the ugly carpet gives of the scent of dog pee. Uh oh. The U.P., like every other room in our house, is filled to bursting with stuff: to wit, toys, shoes, no fewer than seven oil lamps, winter coats, a security system, balls, bats, books, a kerosene heater, an electric heater, three rocking chairs and a small cast-off kitchen table. You get the picture. Cleaning the ugly carpet is not a simple proposition. It has not been done for YEARS.

A particularly honest and unlovely view of the house, with the porch featured prominently

Nevertheless, the other day, goaded by that smell of dog pee, I rented a steam cleaner. Yesterday, I removed every shoe, chair, videotape, gew gaw and thingamjig from the U.P. and spread them all over the lawn. I then cleaned the ugly carpet. However, in removing the aforementioned rocking chairs from the U.P. I managed to scrape and otherwise nick the paint around the door frame. Also, since adding the dog, muddy pawprints and scratch marks have also been added to the door frame. "I must touch that up", I thought yesterday, at cleaning hour 11, as I was putting the last shoe back into the clean porch.

It was a beautiful warm day today and so, upon returning to the Last House from School and work, in an usual display of follow-through, I got out my foam brush and the can of Glidden exterior flat white.

The kids were occupied with visiting friends as I painted. When the Mom of the visiting kids arrived to collect them, I hastily put down my foam brush and left the open can of white exterior paint on the dryer in our kitchen. Yes - the dryer resides in the kitchen, just next to the door to the porch. The dryer also serves as counter space (think, old farmhouse with hideous farmer-brown-DIY kitchen). The dryer is the repository for a collection of spices and our cappucino machine. Perched on the back of the dryer is a stereo speaker (don't ask) and a pair of old coffee pots full of utensils. It is normal for us to leave all kinds of things, including open cans of paint from time to time, on the dryer.

Did I mention about the caramel syrup? Not to long ago, I came home with some caramel syrup for making home-brewed caramel macchiatos. Yum. It came in this elegant bottle, sort of like a wine bottle, though made of clear glass.

Finally, you need to know that on the menu tonight was Kraft Dinner, no, "premium" Kraft Dinner. (The Understudy asked what the difference between premium and regular Kraft dinner was and I told the premium costs three times as much). Whusband, the family chef and food snob, is away and when he is not around the culinary standards slip, shall we say.

Upon learning that we were having this suitable-for-a-bomb-shelter cuisine (a too rare event from the kids' point of view) Shackleton jumped for joy. He landed hard, right near the dryer.

Result: the stereo speaker on the back of the dryer came down. It dominoed into the open can of paint and the glass bottle of caramel syrup. Both caroomed onto the wooden floor. Oddly enough, the third item to hit the kitchen floor was an open bottle of off-brand Windex (still out from the previous day's porch cleaning). It made a separate, bluish puddle, not too far from where the caramel syrup and white paint combined in ghastly kind of cleaning nightmare concoction, sprinkled with shards big and shards tiny of broken glass.

Just a little evidence...

Cleaning this up (a five-bath-towels-into-the-trash job) made me glad we don't have hurricanes here. Galveston, I feel your pain. Maisy, our dear, I guess we have you to thank for one clean carpet and one clean area, at least, on the kitchen floor.