Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,900 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Attaching a hex nut to a piece of copper tubing.

I take responsibility of enlightening you to the mysteries of life very seriously.  Those questions you have always wondered about.  The questions that keep you awake at night.  How can you possibly live through another day without finally getting the answer to……”How is a square nut attached to a round pipe?”.

Oh….you have never wondered about that.  Okay.

Then I’m going to blame this post all on Joe.  It’s his fault you are being subjected to this and not mine.  I will further blame Joe because he said “Bring your camera.  I’m going to do some silver soldering.”

A length of copper pipe will have a hex nut attached to the side of it.  Later, the pipe will be drilled out and some screw threads will be “tapped” into the pipe.  Or maybe they will be “die”d into the pipe.  I have no idea what “Tap and Die” is but it is only a man person that would give this particular bit of business that name.

Copper tubing and a hex nut

Copper tubing and a hex nut

Hemostats are excellent tools to have on hand.  We get ours from a place in Wichita, Kansas called The Yard Store.  The Yard Store is a mish mash of stuff.  Military surplus, airplane manufacturing scrap, tools of all kinds are at this store.  They have, over the past several years, gone into acquiring the detritus of businesses that have closed or are getting rid of their overstock items.  I think they even have someone that attends auctions to buy tools and equipment from estate sales.  Some of the tools they have are really old, rusted, and well used.

In short, this is a good place to go when you need to find a bargain. So back to hemostats.

Hemostat to hold the nut

Hemostat to hold the nut

Hemostat

Hemostat

While Joe positioned the hex nut where he wanted it placed on the pipe I held the hemostat and he worked the clamp positioning and grip.

Clamping the hex nut to the copper pipe

Claming the hex nut to the copper pipe

The next bit of business is important.  Do any welding or silver soldering on a barbeque grill.  In particular a barbeque grill the wife is threatening to haul out to the street for the trash people to come and get.

Ready for soldering

Ready for soldering

Add some flux.  Goop that gets applied to the surface of whatever is being welded or soldered.  Something to aid in the adhesion of different metals….or something like that.

Brush on flux

Brush on flux

Fire is the next component.  I have not been made privy to the gasses used in this blow torch thing.  I take that back.  Joe has told me what the bottles are filled with but I don’t use the thing…ergo….not something I paid attention to.

Torch

Torch

With the “focused” fire and the silver solder he is starting the “Tack” process.  Tacking the hex nut to the copper pipe.

Tacking the hex nut

Tacking the hex nut

This photo is pretty cool…if I do say so myself 😀  I got the drip of silver solder as it melted off the wire.

Silver solder

Silver solder

Now the hex nut is tacked to the pipe.

Hex nut tacked to the pipe

Hex nut tacked to the pipe

Tacked on

Tacked on

Another slathering dose of flux on the nut and the pipe to finish the attachment.

Slather on the flux

Slather on the flux

Add more silver solder for good adhesion.

Adding more silver solder

Adding more silver solder

Get it all melted in there

Get it all melted in there

Next is to drill a hole in the pipe through the center of the hex nut.

Drill out the center

Drill out the center

Hole drilled

Hole drilled

This bit is a “Tap” or a “Die”.  I’m not sure what it is.  When it is placed in the hole it will drill screw threads in the pipe that match the threads of the hex nut.

Tap or Die

Tap or Die

Making the threads

Making the threads

A little too hot to handle

A little too hot to handle

And…..TA DA!  A screw will go through the pipe.  This one will be used on the top of a tripod to stabilize the mounted object.

Screw in the pipe

Screw in the pipe

Joe will be leaving town after the first of the year.  The weather is supposed to turn pretty bad before he leaves so I am taking advantage of him and his tools.  I need more cardboard cut up to make more Post-It-Note holders.

Cutting cardboard

Cutting cardboard

And to keep myself from feeling left out 😀  I did a bit of heating things up as well.  I made cookies.  Joe has been requesting “Date Pinwheel Cookies” for the past few years.  Now my pinwheel cookies never look like the ones pictured in the cookbooks.  Mine are more elongated and swirly than pinwheel-y.  Joe says they take him back to his childhood and his Grandmother making them for Christmas.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies

While I was in the baking mood I decided to make some Chocolate Chip cookies as well, and some Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

Just what Joe needs to take with him on the road.  Sugar filled snacks.

Chocolate Chip cookies

Chocolate Chip cookies

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

I hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas this year.  Family, friends, feasts, and Santa.  Before I’m late once again and miss the next opportunity I will wish you all a Happy New Year.


A crack in Joe’s confidence

I truly mean a CRACK, and Joe’s confidence took a hit.

This trip is his first without me for the winter season.  It has been a trial for him, physically and emotionally.  He had about 200 miles left before delivering when he encountered an immovable object.  A concrete pad.

Cracked bumper

Cracked bumper

He was backing into a spot between two other trucks in the hotel parking lot.  Keeping track of some yellow steel barriers making sure to not hit them by backing in too far was his main goal.  Little did he know the concrete pad would be the thing to cause damage to the back truck’s bumper.  Crack it right in the center.

Concrete pad and steel barriers

Concrete pad and steel barriers

I helped him call around to find a Kenworth facility that would fix the bumper before he delivered the truck.  All of the dealerships with body shops were backed up in work for the next two weeks.

Joe delivered the truck, letting the people know that 15 minutes away was a body shop that would have a bumper for them to replace the one he damaged but it would not happen right away.

Poor Joe.  He was devastated.  We both pride ourselves in taking care of the trucks we move.  Even the ones that look like they will implode at the first pothole in the road.

When he called me that night to let me know of the bumper damage my poor Joe was sure he was going to be fired right then and there.  Adding to his worsening trepidation was the cost involved in replacing the bumper.  Everyone he called told him the cost would be around $3,000.  Worse was the fact that all the places he called could not get him in right away to fix the bumper.  The part would have to be ordered and shipped, then it would have to go to the paint shop which would take about two days to paint and dry, then it would have to be mounted on the truck which would take another six hours.  All of this, he was told, could be started in two weeks.

My Joe was beside himself with misery and I could do nothing to make him feel better 😦  I could not even be there to wrap my arms around him 😦

The next morning he called our dispatch office to inform them of the damage.  The chewing out he expected to get didn’t come.  He also was not fired on the spot.  Next was to face the owner of the company that bought the trucks.  That went better than Joe expected and I was pleased to hear his confidence back when I talked with him later that same day.

After delivering in Akron, Ohio Joe deadheaded to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to pick up two trucks going to Grand Island, Nebraska.  Yesterday afternoon he called to report it only took him 2-1/2 hours to fully hook up.  He has shaved off a half hour from his time in Dallas and he is happy.

Later in the afternoon he called to tell me about his next bit of mayhem.  The bottom step of the truck he was towing danced around on the step hanger.  He found a safe place to pull off the road and go back to see why the step was loose.  The bolts that hold the step on were missing.  That is something he would not have known EXCEPT had he crawled under the truck to inspect the underside of the step assembly.

Loose step

Loose step

A Highway Patrol officer stopped to see if he needed assistance.  Joe told him what he was doing and was assured he had stopped at a good spot and to take his time in getting it fixed.  The officer told Joe he admired him for stopping to check on the step.  Had it come off the officer could have driven over the step and put a tire out.  Joe told the officer that was not the worst of it.  Had the step come fully loose, as light weight as it is, it could have flown into the windshield of a passing or following motorist and killed someone.

The step is safely inside the back truck.  It will be reattached at the dealership in Grand Island after he delivers it.

So far this first week for Joe being out by himself has not been a very good one, to say the least.  He did get a bit of good news.  The truck company in Akron, Ohio has sent an email to our dispatch office praising Joe for the work he does for them.  They don’t want to lose him and are going to fix the bumper “in house” to keep the costs down.

I am really proud of my husband.  He has ethics and faces problems with honesty.  He takes responsibility for things and does not go the easy way like other drivers do.  Saying it was like that when he picked the truck up or some other foolishness.  He has a reputation he is protecting and I’m so proud to be his wife.

While Joe is off being a road warrior I am going to take advantage of the flat surfaces in our home that I’ve cleaned off.  I’m going to be filling them up with the stuff from my craft room.  That place needs a good purging, cleaning, and organizing.

My craft room

My craft room

What a mess!

What a mess!

Yikes, it just keeps getting worse

Yikes, it just keeps getting worse

I hope to be able to get this done today.  It definitely WON’T be the Flylady way that is for sure.

 


If your life could be different….

what would it look like?

I have a fantasy.  Winning the mega millions lottery and being presented with a ginormous check made out in my name with multiple millions of dollars on that check.  That would make my life different and complete.

Problem is….I don’t buy lottery tickets.  But in  my fantasy I have a list of things I want to do, be, and have.  When I do purchase lottery tickets the numbers I’ve chosen are always not winning numbers OR I find that the numbers I’ve chosen have been winners to the tune of $3.  Big whoop.  I spent $5 to win $3.

Would mega millions REALLY change my life?  Yes, indeed it would.  However, like the zombie movies that frighten the living daylights out of me…even if I watch 30  minutes of one in the DAYLIGHT…I would have “zombies” chasing me to get a piece of the money.

My real life is what it is.  Truthfully, I am happy with my life, finally.  I have been blessed beyond measure with the people in it.  Some people I don’t even know, have never met,  have blessed my life.  My internet friends that live far away daily bless my life.  My internet friends I have had the opportunity to meet in person bless my daily life.  My neighbors bless my life.  My children bless me in so many ways I can’t name them all.

My children are all grown and leading their own lives, and I’m very proud of the people they have become.  The home I live in….a single wide mobile home….is not as spacious and plush as a stick built home but it is my personal haven.

In my fantasy I dream about having a new stick built home with a concrete basement and plenty of spare bedrooms for anyone that wants to come and visit for several days.  In the real world….someone has to clean that house.  Vacuum the carpets and floors, dust the furniture and all the stuff atop the furniture, clean the kitchen and bathrooms.  My small mobile home is hard enough to purge and clean.

So scratch the big house off the list 😀

If I had mega millions I would not have to work another day in my life.  That does not sound appealing.  I’ve worked since I was 16 years old, and I am now 56 years old.  40 years I’ve been working daily.  To just stop working and have no purpose in my life….that does not sound like a good thing.

So scratch off not having to work another day in my life 😀

What can I do to change the life I have and make it better for not only myself but the people in it?  Start by changing ME.  I have been on a quest of self improvement for at least 30 years.  That quest has been in fits and starts.  Not a true “mission”, or a true quest.  This year I have made the choice to make changing my life a Mission.

The whining about my lot in life began at the first of this year with the paperwork I do in my business.  I whined but I did it.  Making my friends totally crazy in the process but I did it, got the paperwork finished.

With suggestions from my friends I tackled the paperwork as I could throughout the year.  Instead of “Super Sized” I now have a “Happy Meal” 😀

The next thing to change was my attitude about my job.  I’m an over the road truck driver six months out of the year and a “Wanna Be Craft Maven” all the time.  I have to “keep my day job” so I can be in my craft room working on the “Maven” part 😀

I spent $30 on an audio program from Anthony Robbins titled “Unlimited Power” to listen to while I drive the endless ribbons of highway.  The goal was to get fired up about creating a craft business so I could remain home and make an income.  What happened instead was a new found appreciation for my job.  The sights of my world changed.  I changed from “Gawd, I hate this job!” to “Look at that!!!  I just have to take a picture and share that!”

While working my day job we would come home for an overnight stay and we would bring in the collected items purchased on the road.  A couple times during the year we were home for a couple weeks.  Same thing, bring crap in and dump it.  As I walked through my home I saw neglect.  Dust covering everything, clutter growing and accumulating.  I did not feel happy to be home.  Instead I felt more like running away from home than being home.

Back on the road once again with a new purchase from Anthony Robbins, “Giant Steps“, I listened as the miles and days passed.  Still with the total intent of having a craft business at home.

A mental shift began happening in me.

I went from “I’m such a loser” to “I can accomplish anything I choose”.  I have to figure out what my “Standards” are and what – ultimately – would make me happy.  I have a video I want to share with you.  One that helps to keep me focused on my little life.  A life I am beginning to be very proud of.

I am not being paid by Anthony Robbins to add this video in my blog.  Nor have I requested his permission to do so.  This video is added for the sole purpose of letting you know that much can be accomplished in small chunks.

What are my “Standards”?  First and foremost a clean and organized home.  Second, daily getting some paperwork done in only one hour.  Third, creating items for a friend to give his family and friends as Christmas gifts.  Each one of my daily items is to be done to my “Top Ability” with great effort.  All things that at the end of the day I have a feeling of triumph and, dare I say it, power.  Power of ACHIEVEMENT in my goals.

I seek out people to help me reach my goals.  Flylady with the house cleaning.  YouTube for inspiration in my creations.

Taking small bites out of each of the giant projects I have to do.  Daily doing something toward my end goals.  Seeing progress in each room in my home as I clean it.  Watching the mounds of paperwork get less and less.  Challenging myself to create something unique from my stash of papers and tools.

The bulk of my day is spent in my craft room.  I have an ultimate goal to be off the road entirely.  No more truck driving for us as our day job.  I am fortunate in that I can spend so much time doing something that I truly love to do and get lost in during the winter months.

How can you change your life?  What can you accomplish in small bits of time?  What can you do to make your personal life better for yourself?  Making your personal life better for yourself makes the lives of the others in it better as well.  What are your goals and standards?

I’m not going to run out and purchase a lottery ticket so I can win the mega millions.  My life is complicated enough as it is.  I seriously don’t want to add more complications to it.  I just want to be happy with the life I have and make the people in my life happy to be a part of it all.  The other things that come my way because of all of these choices is a BONUS.

Okay, now it is time to do my 15 minutes in Joe’s bathroom and get back into my craft room.  I’m still recovering mentally from a challenging day with a Post-It-Note Holder that got the better of me.  Today is a new day with new possibilities for greatness 😀


The lonely road to Akron

Joe left for Dallas on Saturday, December 10th.  He had two trucks at Stevens Transport to pick up.  Delivery will be made in Akron, Ohio where we have been many times.  After delivery he will be headed to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for two trucks going to Nebraska.  I don’t remember if he is going to Grand Island.

Saturday the weather was fair.  The temperatures were in the mid to upper 40’s.  He had a slight breeze while working.  The breeze was just enough that he needed to have a light jacket at times, which became too hot when on the lee side of the trucks.  Out of the breeze he said he was hot.

When Joe called me, around 4:30 p.m. he was totally disgusted with himself.  Together we can hook up four trucks in two hours.  He was upset with himself because it took him three hours to do only two trucks.

His ill mood was not made any better by me reminding him that he had to do ALL of the work by himself.  All the duties I perform when with him, he had to do.

  1. Inspection of both trucks and fill out the appropriate forms.
  2. Connect the brakes to the back truck.
  3. Tie off the steering wheel of the back truck.
  4. Attach ratchet straps to the steering wheel and secure to the seat base.  Safety in case the seat belt comes loose.
  5. Attach boards, clamps, and straps to the air fairings of the back truck.
  6. Attach the air line to the brake fitting, run the electrical cord to the light bar.
  7. Tie down the air and electric lines then connect them to the rear of the trailer.
  8. Walk around the trailer, several times, to lower the landing gear and place a block of wood beneath each of the feet.
  9. Drive the pickup onto the trailer.

All of the walking round and round.  All of the climbing up and down.  All of the back and forth to get all of the individual items in place.

On top of that he had to do the tasks that he normally does.  Sling the axle chains and get the axles ready to be raised off the ground.  Attach the trailer to the back truck.  Get his personal belongings installed into the truck he will drive.

Loading the pickup on the trailer was another sequence of up and down.  Drive up on the trailer, get down the ladder to install the stops where the front tires will rest during transport.  Climb back up into the pickup and drive forward to the stops.  Get down the ladder to install the tire straps to secure the pickup to the trailer.  Up and down, up and down.

When all of that is done then it was to get the truck he will drive connected into the front of the trailer and connect the air and electric lines from the truck to the trailer.  That is a lot of work for one person to do and he has not had to do all of this for the past six months.

After all that work he ended up having to stay the night in Dallas.  Mesquite, Texas actually.  The back truck had a chip in the windshield Joe noted on all of the forms.  The windshield would need to be replaced before he could leave with the trucks.  He took his aching body to the hotel and took a hot, muscle soothing, shower before going to bed.

When he arrived at Stevens Transport yesterday morning he found that someone had played around with his trailer.  I don’t know what they did…frankly there is nothing that someone COULD do to the trailer without the hand held or remote controllers to raise and lower the hydraulics.  Joe told me the batteries had been worked enough that he barely had enough power to get fully loaded and out the gate.

Joe proceeded to spend the next five hours driving with one stop.  His legs nearly collapsed on him as he was getting out of the truck. He did not fall or hurt himself.  It reinforced to him that he needs to move around more.  Joe continued on his trek eastward with a stop in West Memphis, Arkansas for dinner at a Shoney’s then getting as far from Memphis, Tennessee and the traffic congestion from road construction as he could get.

On a related topic…the Mythbusters did a show about a toilet bomb test to see if the movie, Lethal Weapon 2, could be real.  The part I’m referring to, here in this post, is the consult with a Neurologist about the results of sitting in one position for 12 hours.  The Neurologist stated that two hours would be the maximum time recommended to prevent nerve damage and blood flow problems to the legs through the veins and arteries.

In our job we sit for hours and hours at a time.  The toes on my left foot have a permanent tingle from all of the sitting.  My sciatic nerve reminds me it is still there from time to time.  While at home or on the road I do daily stretches to my feet, legs, and back.  Joe chides me for wanting to walk when we stop.  Funny, it took the Mythbusters to CONFIRM what I’ve been nagging at him about these past 11 years.

Holladay, Tennessee was where he stopped last night.  Getting through Memphis was his main goal yesterday.  Poor Joe.  He was whooped when he got to the hotel.  Saturday night, after he got to the hotel in Mesquite, Texas, I told him that I missed him before I said “good night”.  His response was “Well, you know what to do about that”.  Ummm, NO.  So I did not repeat that last night when we talked.  I’ll just say it here.  I miss the big galoot 😀

While he is gone I’m going to take advantage of his absence by cleaning his bathroom.  The Fly Zone for this week is back in the bathroom and his needs a lot of attention.  I’ve cleaned the bathtub/shower stall and his shower curtain is in the washer.

Joe's shower/bath

Joe's shower/bath

Shower curtain in the wash

Shower curtain in the wash

Back into my craft room to make more Post-It-Note Holders.  If you have not seen what I am making you can check out my other blog to see what I did yesterday.  I think I am now up to 17 completed Holders.  I have several more to go before I am finished.

Okay, off to go play with paper, ink, and adhesives 😀

 


Organizing the Pantry

I need some help in my pantry.  It is such a mess.  When going grocery shopping we end up having multiples of items because I have no idea if we already have the stuff – or not.

Meal planning is a real chore and it has gotten expensive because I have no idea what I have on hand and what I need to purchase.  Gadzooks!!

The first thing I did was look online to see what videos are available to give me some guidance into this matter.  I found a very helpful video I would like to share with you.  A word of caution.  This is something that takes a lot of time to do.  Like several hours, in fact.

Video link about organizing a pantry.

As the lady says…begin by emptying your pantry.

Empty the pantry

Empty the pantry

Holy COW!!  All of this stuff was behind that door?!

All over the counter

All over the counter

Every flat surface is covered

Every flat surface is covered

The items that don’t get used frequently, and are large go on the floor.  That means Joe’s wine stash is the first stuff to go back in.  After the racks, bottles, and boxes have been wiped down of dust.

Oh, I also cleaned off all the shelves first, then swept and mopped the floor.

Wine by color

Wine by color

I don’t drink wine so I have no idea what each of these are.  I think I will stack them by their colors.  The racks are from IKEA and we have had these for a number of years.

Joe has a penchant for the wines from Casa de Fruta in Hollister, California.  Every time we are near there we have to stop.  Joe doesn’t drink much wine but he sure likes to collect it.  Don’t ask me why, he just does and I’m not going to complain….just yet 🙂

The wines are back in the pantry on the floor and under the bottom shelf.

Wines put away

Wines put away

Now THAT was the easy part.  The hard part was next.  Sorting through the mess and putting things in “like” order.  Canned goods, baking goods, cooking items, spices, beverages, and so on.

I started with the canned goods.

Canned goods

Canned goods

Next is to check all the expiration dates on each can.  Sort the out dated cans from the mess.

Can of pumpkin

Can of pumpkin

Ooops.  Quite a bit out of date this can of pumpkin is.

Out of date

Out of date

There was not a lot of canned goods that were out of date.  I was surprised.

Out of date cans

Out of date cans

The next part was to sort the cans into what was inside them.  Putting like with like.  I also watched for the expiration dates on the cans and put the ones with a longer use by date at the back with the ones to be used first in the front or on top of similar cans.

Canned goods back on the shelf

Canned goods back on the shelf

All cans stored

All cans stored

The next shelf I determined would hold the things I use more frequently.  Pastas, sauces, cooking oils, and things like that.

Pastas and sauces

Pastas and sauces

I did the same with all of these items as I did with the canned goods.  Check the expiration dates.  The fancy items had expired.

Expired items

Expired items

Expired for quite some time.  I thought about keeping the jars for storage in my craft room but changed my mind.  I already have a flaming mess in there and I’m not going to add more junk to it.

Really expired

Really expired

I have several bags of opened noodles.  Currently they fall off the shelf when I take something out and I have to chase them down.  I also have a ginormous glass jar that is free since I went through our “medicine cabinet” a few days ago.

The stray packs of beans and opened bags of noodles would fit well in that big jar.

Opened bags of pasta

Opened bags of pasta

Opened bags now contained

Opened bags now contained

I found a bottle of vinegar that has expired.  I’m not going to toss that out just yet.  I’ll put it to use in clearing my kitchen drain.

Vinegar

Vinegar

Expired vinegar

Expired vinegar

1/4 cup of baking soda poured down the kitchen drain.

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup bakin soda

Pour baking soda down drain

Pour baking soda down drain

Followed by salt.  Salt will act like an abrasive as it gets worked through the drain.  Scouring away the built up grease in the pipes.

Scant 1/4 cup salt

Scant 1/4 cup salt

Pour the salt over the top of the baking soda down the drain.

Pour salt into drain

Pour salt into drain

Make sure you have the drain open in the other sink before you add the vinegar.  Things are going to get foamy.

1 cup of vinegar

1 cup of vinegar

Any vinegar will work.  This particular kind had expired is why I’m using the Cider Vinegar and not the white vinegar.

Pour the vinegar atop the salt and baking soda.

Pour the vinegar over the salt and baking soda

Pour the vinegar over the salt and baking soda

Let it bubble up and leave it do the magic until you hear, and see, the mixture go down the drain.

Pour all the vinegar down the drain

Pour all the vinegar down the drain

Leave this mixture sit to do its work.  Do not add any water.  You will hear the mixture make a “glug” sound and you will see it finally emptying.

Let the drain empty on its own

Let the drain empty on its own

If you drain cooking fats from your pans down the sink it is advisable to have a tea kettle heating up to boiling with clear water in it.  Once the drain empties pour the boiling water down the drain to melt the fat solids that have taken up residence in your pipes.

I don’t let fats or oils go down my drain.  I dump them out into empty cans and then put the cans in the trash.  So I will run the sink with hot water then quickly pull the plug.  Ouchy.

Fill the sink with hot water

Fill the sink with hot water

Then flush the drain with the hot water.

Flush the drain with hot water

Flush the drain with hot water

Here is the BEFORE shots.

Before shot 1

Before shot 1

Before shot 2

Before shot 2

And now AFTER:

After shot 1 top

After shot 1 top

After shot 2 top

After shot 2 top

After shot 1 bottom

After shot 1 bottom

After shot 2 bottom

After shot 2 bottom

The door

The door

Now, I think I will go take a nap 😀  That whole exercise just wiped me out.  All I have to say is “Thank goodness THAT is done”.

Joe has left today for Dallas, Texas and he will be going to Akron, Ohio.  It is strange not having him around in the house.  It is too quiet and we aren’t bumping into each other in the kitchen.

Honey Bunny…if you are reading this blog post I have a message for you.  “You take care of my Man and come home safely.  I love you and miss you already”.


Pros and cons of mops

In one of the foster homes I lived I learned how to mop floors.

I was a kid of 11 and had never done it before and found my first foray into scrubbing the floor a challenge.

Pail and rag

Pail and rag

A liberal dose of Pine-Sol in a bucket or pail of water that was really  hot.  So  hot I could not stand to reach in for the rag.  My foster mother grabbed the rag out of the bucket and tossed it on the floor.  She showed me hot to pick up the rag and flip it around in the puddle of water to reduce the heat.

On hands and knees I flopped that rag around and soon had water puddling in an ever growing ring.  What to do now?  Keep pushing the water further and further out?  Wring the remaining water out of the rag and try to clean up the water?  The thought of going back into that hot bucket of water was not appealing to me.

With a little guidance I learned how to scrub the floor with the really wet rag one section at a time.  About three feet square.  Wring the cold water from the rag into the hot bucket of water then use the damp-ish rag to clean up the water on the floor in the area to be cleaned.

I found, after a while, the hot water in the bucket cooled itself down and would further cool down with the application of the cold dirty water sopped up from the floor.  I later learned how to clean well with the hot water.  Hot water works better to loosen stuck on dirt.

The way I learned to scrub the floor was in a session of threes.  First session was hot water application to the area to be scrubbed.  Push the water around and let it set on the floor surface.  Session two was to wring the water out into the bucket then begin the actual scrubbing with the rag in the standing water already on the floor.  Wring the rag out many times within the area until it was fairly dry.  The last session in the same area was to clean the rag out in the bucket of water, wring the rag out well, then go back over the work area to sop up any remaining water and then move on to the next three foot square area.

My knees and back would hurt quite a lot by the time I had the floors cleaned.  Satisfaction was in first, having done the chore thoroughly, and second to see the actual changes from a dirty floor to a clean floor.

As I got older, and in another foster home, I had a new tool to learn to use.  A mop.

A mop and a bucket

A mop and a bucket

Having learned how to properly clean a floor on my hands and knees, this was a piece of cake.  The mop, itself, was submerged in the really hot water and I didn’t have to touch it at all.  Same scrubbing principle of the three phase bit with the added bonus of not getting my hands in the water.

My shoulders ached and my back still hurt after mopping the floor but my hands were no longer chapped and rough.  Satisfaction was the same.  Seeing the dirty floor being transformed into a bright and shiny clean floor.

The mop and bucket were my tools for many years.  That is until the advent of the Swiffer Mop was made available.

Swiffer Mop

Swiffer Mop

For quick clean ups this is a good thing to have on hand.  As a serious tool, the Swiffer Mop leaves a lot to be desired.  In my opinion anyway.

  1. The handle is about 8 inches too short for me.
  2. The handle does not inspire confidence when a particularly sticky spot is on the floor and needs a good rubbing.  The pole bends and makes me wonder if it will collapse.
  3. The cleaning solutions in the disposable mop sheets don’t seem to “clean” as well as I would like them to.
  4. About four days after mopping with the Swiffer products my floor squeaks beneath my feet as I walk across the floor.  Not the squeak of a nail rubbing against a board.  The squeak similar to what some tennis shoes make on floors.  Only this squeak is while I’m barefooted.

A friend of mine, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, has a tool that I just had to run out and buy.  The Bissell Flip-It.  This thing is both a vacuum and a wet mop in one unit.  One side is the vacuum, flip it around and it is a wet mop.

Bissell Flip-It

Bissell Flip-It

Bissell Flip-It mopping side

Bissell Flip-It mopping side

This device comes with a scrub brush head and two microfiber pads.  On the wet mop side there is a trigger to pull to release the solution when you push the machine forward.  Let go of the trigger and pull the machine backwards to activate the squeegee and vacuum up the water solution.

I haven’t quite learned the finer points of this machine just yet.  It does take a bit of getting used to.  Unlike a rag, mop, or Swiffer, getting under the counters is a bit tricky with the Bissell Flip-It.

Getting under the counters

Getting under the counters

I find the same problem with the cleaning solution with the Bissell Flip-It and the Swiffer Mops.  Squeaky floors after a few days.  And since I have not really learned how this crazy machines works I have not really given it a fair chance.  Just like the Swiffer Mop I think this machine is only really good for wiping up between cleanings.

Why, you may wonder, do I still have all these archaic and ancient tools to clean my floor?  Because of all of these tools the ONLY ones that really work are the rag or the mop.  Hot water with a cleaner and a good dose of elbow grease are hands down much better than these “new fangled contraptions”.

My years in the foster homes, and later in my own homes, cured me of grabbing for the bottle of Pine-Sol off the store shelf.  I no longer like the smell of that cleaner.  Spic n’ Span was my cleaner of choice for many years.  It is no longer available.

Now my cleanser of choice is 20 Mule Team Borax.  It is a natural product in powdered form.  Doesn’t suds up, leaves a clean and fresh smell, and Clorox can be added to the Borax if heavy duty cleaning is needed.

Oh, before I forget.  The Bissell Flip-It is also too short for me to use for extended amounts of time.  If I’m going to end up with aching shoulders and back then for my money I’ll use a mop or a rag.  Plus, the solution you have to purchase for the Bissell is quite expensive.  The bottle is only about 4 ounces and costs $9.99.  Pour the contents into the reservoir then fill with water.  So this has turned out to be an expensive toy that sits in my hallway and gathers dust and spider webs.

Someday the “Man Cave” will be moved to a better location instead of being in the hallway.  I’ll show you that some other day.

The far corner of my kitchen is finished.  Done, ca-put, complete, marked off the list.

Kitchen finished

Kitchen finished

My final project in the kitchen is the pantry.

Pantry

Pantry

Pantry floor

Pantry floor

Heck with it.  It does have a door and I think I’ll just close it 😀