If you know me at all, you know I have some "quirks." Surprise!
One of them is that I have some serious OCD (CDO) tendencies. I want things to be CLEAN.
I listened to a talk given by a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She talked about an assignment to "clean" the temple. However, the temple is never dirty, so what's the point? She said it was explained to the group she was with that they "clean" the temple, so that it never gets dirty. Ah ha! She put into words how I feel about my house and possessions.
If you take just a few moments to clean up after yourself, things tend to stay clean and it never gets really dirty.
Every door in the house is white, but every door is also quite dirty. Smudged, marked, dark. And I have been cleaning them. I have done it so much, I even have a system now.
There is a saying in my house and among my family. "NO sticky fingers!" If you wash your hands when you come in from work or play, and wash/wipe your hands after eating, the doors and walls stay CLEAN.
The frig was smutzy too. I hate the gunk in the cracks and crevices.
You may be wondering HOW I get things clean. I have a professional steamer! 250 degrees under pressure. The ONLY cleaners I have under my kitchen sink are dish soap and dishwasher detergent. My steamer cleans everything! Cabinets, counters, floors, toilets, mirrors, upholstery, bathtubs, carpet, walls, doors, toys, you name it. I have detailed cars with it too. This machine is not like the "Shark" or other steamers advertised on TV. Steaming is a great way to clean and sanitize without chemicals. I do use Ivory soap to help get off greasy or stuck on stuff, but that's it. It cleans great and leaves ZERO residue like cleaner solutions do.
WARNING: The smaller the nozzle/attachment, the more pressure. You can strip finish off of cabinets, take color out of furniture, fabric, and carpet, paint off of walls, etc. if you are not careful.
This is a pricey item. I discovered this brand over 10 years ago. Eric agreed. We used our tax return and saved for 4 months to purchase this.
Here are a few clips of my steamer in action.
There was yuck dirty stickum from a sticker or something on this one.
I in no way receive any compensation for referring people if they choose to buy a steamer. I just LOVE it. If you are interested, please tell them my name. I want them to know i love their steamers so much, that other people buy them. Check them out if you want to learn more here. There are different packages. GET THE CART. Believe me - the parts cost more individually. And you need a place to put everything. Just get the cart.
I got the package with a iron, but the metal ironing boards will rust. I very very rarely use the iron. When steaming clothes to freshen them up between trips to the dry cleaner, I usually use a different attachment anyway.
They have a new model out that is not on their website as of right now. It is amazing - dual tanks so there is no pausing to refill and heat when doing big jobs.
OK that's my infomercial. Thanks for bearing with me.
I cleaned/steamed the shower once and thought it was okay. Then I steamed it again after I got sick. Still dark on the rags. I steamed it 5 times, top to bottom. Dark surfaces hide a LOT.
White rags - they are the true sign of clean or dirty for me.
I felt comfortable and decided to seal the slate. I used a sub-par product from the local store. Oops. I steamed the shower again removing the sealer and whatever was left over. Then I used a sealer specifically made for natural stone (I asked the Home Depot guy and I just bought what he recommended). Slate is a tricky thing. It flakes off and is high maintenance. I'm suppose to seal it every 6 months! It does look nice though.
Here I am sealing the tile. I put the solution into a squirt bottle and used a sponge to wipe up drips and apply it evenly. The bottle said not to breathe the fumes, so I am wearing a respirator. Super fun! Not really. Notice: the tile is shiny on top and dull on bottom.
In our attempt to "clean up," we encountered WASPS, paper wasps - super aggressive and painful. Eric went through 5 cans of wasp spray and they were still swarming. After several more cans and spraying in the early morning or evening, when the wasps are relatively calm (to minimize the chances of getting stung), we are ridding our house and garage of wasps! Eric went out the other day and only found 4 (as opposed to 50-100).
one days' worth of spraying.
Inside, we have the wonderfully annoying little nat bugs that like food. My cousin Heather reminded me of this very effective recipe to trap them.
-1 drop dish soap
-apple cider vinegar
The apple cider vinegar and sugar mimic rotting food (which they love) and the dish soap makes it so they cannot get out of the liquid. Mix together, but no soap bubbles.
One night, I must have mixed it just right. There were 40-50 in just one bowl the next morning. After 3 weeks, I have no more nats!
Yes, I still have a bowl out at all times - just in case. However, I no longer change it daily.
Once the bugs were gone, and all the bug harboring places were cleaned up, we noticed MICE. EWE! We blitzed the house with everything. Traps, sticky pads, poison hubs, raw poison. We caught 22 mice in 4 days! YUCK. Thankfully, I did not have to deal with any part of it.
Eric set out the initial traps. They were not effective, only one mouse.
The onions set out the sticky pads in strategic places. 20 mice! Seth and even Elanor put the mice out of their misery before putting them in the burn barrel. Amelia was even excited to place sticky pads and look to see if we caught any mice. The same girl that freaks out with moths. I don't get it.
Then we found a FAT mouse dead in the utility room. I assume the poison is working! We no longer hear scurrying in the walls either. Win.
Like I said, I did not deal with it. I was not about to take pictures.
Yep, snakes too. Eric found a little guy on a colder morning. It was lethargic and small, so he gave it to the kittens. They had a great time "playing" with it.
The projects seem never ending. I am still not well. I am on round 2 of antibiotics (a different kind). The pests are relentless. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
On one such occasion, I went outside and sat on the front porch. I talked with God, questioning whether this was really where He wanted us. I looked out at what I could see around me.
This is my view from my front porch!
Well over a year ago, Eric and I made a list of things we wanted in our next home. I realized that we have everything on our list, and more. I sat and looked and felt at peace. I love the green. I love the natural setting. The subtle breeze. It is lovely.
I am not the only one feeling this way. Everyone has had their moments. And we always pull through. We will make it. We will persevere!