Tag Archives: housekeeping

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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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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A Must-Have for New Pet Owners

In discussing my cat Ivy’s foibles over a few blog posts, I don’t believe I shared with you another one of her talents. She is a dancer! She can do the conga… Step step kick, step step kick… And always, right after the litter box.

What this means is that not only does she have great rhythm and can count, but her splendid choreography leaves a noticeable trail of cat litter throughout the basement.

In the first few months, I dealt with it the best way I knew how, the dustpan and the broom, but after a while it was turning into a bit of a production to keep her dance floor clean.

A couple of months later, I bought her a little exercise ball, one that releases kibble every few steps as she pushes it around with her head or her paw. Once I figured out that this was one of her favourite toys and she played with it all the time, picking up the litter sprinkles became a more time-sensitive priority as the thought of her eating kibble breaded in used cat litter seemed gross to me. There had to be an easier way to stay on top of the fallout from Ivy’s “after parties” around the litter box.

While watching TV one evening I saw an advertisement for a hand vacuum and thought… That’s it! A hand vac!

Up to that point, I had never owned one. Having always been a bit of a neat freak, spills of any kind were often cleaned up before they even hit the floor. Plus given that it was always just me in the house or the apartment, no kids, no pets, I was usually pretty careful in not letting spills happen in the first place. So I never really became acquainted with the hand vac until Ivy’s recent rehearsals for “Dancing With the Stars”.

My first inclination was to get a budget priced version of one, just to try it out and see. No sense in buying the Cadillac hand vac, just for the cat. My nearest WalMart had a great deal Continue reading

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