Tag Archives: household

How I Conquered the Most Stubborn Stain in the House

Ever since I moved in to this house, I have been in a never-ending hunt for ways to clean my tub.

If I remember correctly, scrubbing the tub (and the entire main bathroom, for that matter) was one of the first things I did the day I got the keys to the place. That and eradicating a trail of ants from the kitchen counter from a sticky sweet mess left behind, as well as a load of laundry for a proud first-time owner of a laundry centre.

But for some reason, no matter how much I scrubbed with my trusty scouring powder with bleach, there were patches of darker shades of beige throughout that didn’t seem to want to come off. Technically, I knew it was clean, but it looked stained.

I don’t know much about the previous owners and occupants, but for a fifteen-year-old house, there were some signs of premature aging. There were some pieces in the house showing more wear and tear than my first apartment that was twice that age, including chips in the enamel of a sink, knife marks on the kitchen counter and some carpeting that absorbed the fallout of a kitty cat with an unfortunate bladder issue.

In the months that followed, whenever I had a few minutes, I was back at the tub, trying to clean it with the same tenacity as the Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner. I tried every product on the market and had to hold myself back from using anything deliberately abrasive, in my frustration for the stains that would not come out. Continue reading

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Spring Cleaning: Not Just for Spring Anymore

Not too long ago, a friend asked me what I was up to over the weekend and one of the first things out of my mouth was “spring cleaning”. His laughter spoke volumes because at the time, we weren’t anywhere near spring.

The issue, as he pointed out, is that spring cleaning seems to get slipped into conversation 52 weeks of my year. He is right. If I were to promote spring cleaning, my slogan would be “spring cleaning: it’s not just for spring anymore”.

Who has time for spring cleaning in the spring?

After 4-5 months of grey skies, snow, ice and cold temperatures, we Canadians come out of our wintry shells and spend time outdoors to do something …anything!… to get away from the confines of the 4 walls we call home. As much as we may enjoy hibernating and cocooning on the couch with Netflix, ketchup chips, poutine, crispy bacon or anything involving maple syrup, when we don’t HAVE to cocoon anymore, we are outta there!

After being caged up for a season and a half, we become possessed by a heightened appetite for freedom.

When the days are getting longer, temperatures are soaring and our long underwear has been put away for the season, why would we stay home and clean? With the calendar filling with invitations to barbecues and outdoor festivals popping up every weekend, spring cleaning in spring seems so wrong on so many levels.

The season of choice for spring cleaning defies logic to a Canadian. Continue reading

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“Then Fix it, Dear Henry, Dear Henry…”

recycleI think we can all agree that getting good value for money is something to which the majority of shoppers aspire. We all work so hard for our money (while our purchasing power seems to be dropping like a bag of wet cement), why wouldn’t we try to make our dollars go farther whether by waiting for sales, using coupons, hunting for deals or repairing goods to extend their life span.

I was reminded of the latter recently, in trying to breathe new life into an old flashlight. The flashlight and I have been through a lot together. It has always been there for me, dependable and reliable, having seen me through power failures, tripped breakers and burned light bulbs. It has also been my guiding light, helping me search for lost items in deep, dark, scary household crevices. Even though it stopped working, I was certain it still had a lot of life left in it.

The first order of business was to try replacing the massive 6 volt lantern battery. Easy enough, but even after stretches and warm-up exercises in preparation for hauling the beast of a battery home, unfortunately, the flashlight still didn’t work. The next step was to try to replace the teeny tiny little light bulb. What an ordeal!

Maybe it is because so many newer flashlights use LEDs as their light source, but this little light bulb of mine seems to be getting hard to find. After about 5 stores, I finally found some, so I bought enough to keep old faithful alive for another couple of decades.

But during my scavenger hunt, the prospect of having to throw out a perfectly good flashlight because of one broken part was heartbreaking, not to mention, illogical to me. Continue reading

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It’s 7:00 P.M., Start Your Engines!

SevenOclockAt the best of times, household chores can be a challenge, given the busy pace of life, the many activities in which families engage, and frankly, interest and energy after a hard day’s work. But factor in “time of use” electricity rates and it’s a wonder I ever get anything done.

For a few years now, electricity rates here have been determined by the time of day at which they are consumed. At peak demand times, the rates are higher. When demand is low, electricity rates are cheaper. In a nutshell, the lowest rates are on Saturdays, Sundays and evenings after 7:00 p.m.

Has this changed the pattern in which I use electricity? You bet it did!

When inspiration and energy are there, from the time I get home until 7:00 p.m., I find myself in preparation mode: sorting laundry, loading the dishwasher, prepping ingredients, cleaning bathrooms, scooping or cleaning the litter box and doing chores that don’t consume much electricity. But at 7:01, the rubber gloves are off, the running shoes are on and as if a starter’s pistol was shot, I run around the house, turning on the electrical appliances.

Not only is this multi-tasking at its best, but it is also how I keep my cardio up in the running off-season.

I sometimes imagine myself causing a neighbourhood-wide brown-out by flicking on the dryer, the washer, the oven, the dishwasher and anything else that happens to be on, all within the same minute. It hasn’t happened yet, but wow, what power that would be!

I admit that there are times that I wish we could turn back time, and be able to run the appliances whenever we feel like it and not face the jolting experience of an inflated electricity bill. Continue reading

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The Love-Hate Relationship

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On my journey through life, two words have consistently held special meaning for me. These two words have been known to warm the cockles of my heart, they have made me weak in the knees and they have even gotten me into trouble a few times by falling in love at first sight. Those two words are “NO IRON”!

Ironing was a life skill that was instilled at a very young age in our house. Having been raised by a Dad with a military background, it should come as no surprise that the “spit and polish” approach to shoe shining and the necessity for perfectly creased, crisp shirts would become my destiny in life.

That’s not always a good thing though as I can still Continue reading

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