Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fleas Be Gone! or Taking a Little Fleacation.

  Whilst Smallest Child and her Handsome Husband are taking a little Hurrication in New Orleans as "Isaac" does what he must do, I am similarly occupied here in the valley.

Today I am flea bombing in the house.

 Every summer there is a 'flea season' in the country. They breed like crazy, can live for 2 years without food, and there is no way to completely kill them all off without killing ourselves as well. (probably not even then...)
   So...there are flea baths for the furry beasts, flea medicine, and occasionally when those don't work well enough there's "the real poison", the flea bomb automatic spraying thingy, which you set off in the house and leave. As we've had a hideously hot summer and fleas thrive in heat we've had to resort to the bomb. Which is why I am now justified in hanging out on the porch on this pretty day, with my blog and my sewing and my coloring book and haven't a single guilty thought about all the work I "should be doing" in the house.

     Aside from the pleasure of being liberated from 'shoulds', the Manimal is teaching his twice weekly bookbinding class tonight, so I am free to do as I please till he comes home around 10pm. A nice big swath of time for me to fill with happiness, thats what.

   Especially For Ember:
 Here's me early this morning in my favorite outfit.  Manimal took the picture for me. He thought it a rather strange early morning request, as I actually have never liked having my picture taken.
    It is quite a roomy dress, which I did not make, and the apron over it which I re-made. I got the dress and apron at different times at the thrift store, or actually I got a burgundy square necked dress and a somewhat larger blue round scoop necked dress at the thrift store. Both are of sturdy all cotton calico, both flower prints, both home sewn not factory made, which appealed to me. (You seldom see homemade clothes at the thrift stores here.)
   I added pockets to the burgundy dress, which you can't see because of the apron. Then later I cut the sleeves off the blue dress and cut out the back except a bit of a bridge at the top, and sewed it up neatly to make it into an apron very nearly like my favorite style. 

Notice the enchanting morning-sun squint. Also bare feet, my preference as often as possible.

Here's what I did to the dress back, just cut out a big ironing board shaped piece all the way down to the hem, then turned the raw edges under twice and stitched it neatly by hand. (too lazy to get out the sewing machine, fill a bobbin and thread the machine,)

Here's one of the two pockets, made of  1950's scissors fabric from Grandma Pat's stash and a bit of blue flower print from a long ago quilt project. The scissors fabric was a wonky shaped bit left from cutting out a blouse or something, so I had to piece it together to make pockets. Which just makes it all the more fun.

       While we're on the subject of fashion or the lack of it, here's a pic of Molly My Love.
  She is my fashion icon.  I do not own her, and I have no idea who she belongs to or where she came from, or who made her, I was watching her on Ebay and she got boughten while I wasn't looking. She's a happy sort, does things her own way, keeps her chin up. When I grow up I want to be just like her. But taller.  She's on my computer screen because  saved her as wallpaper.

I adore handmade rag dolls, possibly because they look more or less like the real people in my life. Teehee.

Oh-here's a true story sort of about that. And sort of not.

 Yesterday I cleaned shower drains in the dormitory. during lunch hour we had gotten a call that the furthest west shower drain on Foster-Martin building's 3rd floor was running slugishly. Martin is my building, and I was taking care of floors 2 and 3 for the day.
The dimwitted children I work with  male custodians had themselves a hearty laugh about this, and one "kindly" offered to "teach" me "how to fish", guffaw, guffaw. To which I replied "I've been a single mother since 1993, it takes a lot more that a wad of soapy hair to scare me."  And I trotted off to snake out the drain in question.

Now Martin building hasn't had it's very own custodian for  more than a year, and has had to make do with a series of temporary hourly employees who really aren't trained yet. This is because the custodians who were in charge of this building fell sick (one in  mind, one in body) and because they have neither one actually QUIT their jobs, and because the company can't fire anyone when they're out sick (even for a year) their jobs cannot be taken by someone else. Job security issue.  I imagine the drains have not been cleaned over there for more than a year as I gather from the grapevine neither of these workers were the type to do more than the minimum anyway.

I got to floor 3 and found in the custodial closet the long thick wire that our maintenance man had bent into a hook at the end. I took out the shower drain cover and sat down on the damp shower floor as there was no other way to see or reach into the drain. After I had poked around in the drain a while I dragged up enough soapy stinky old hair to build a fair sized but smelly and unattractive kitten. 
My grasp of logic is good enough that I supposed the other drains would be in similar condition, and I was right.

 I am newly assigned to Martin.  The other hourly custodians are, shall we say less inclined to hard work than I am.  Two of the three are large enough I seriously doubt them capable of fitting into the shower stall in the position necessary to clear out the drains. This being the case, and since I like to deal with life As It IS, not as it 'ought' to be, I went ahead and gave my afternoon to clearing all the shower drains in the building. Twenty of them. The final two were in good condition, I imagine because they were in the basement where the suction power is stronger than on the higher floors. I think the basement showers drain more quickly, so hair doesn't have a chance to hang up and make a clog.

--------->  Here comes the loosely related to personal appearance part of the story  <----------

Picture me in a loose blue polyester smock, pockets bulging with toold, blue jeans just beginning to fade with a splotch ofnpaint below one knee. (from painting pedestals at the art gallery)
 Short hair, no makeup, pink in face and sweaty. Figure like a comfy granny. Sitting flat on my derriere on the wet floor of an unflatteringly beige tile shower stall, legs wide spread, right  foot sticking out of the shower displaying my worn-out black tennis shoe.
I'm studiously poking around with a long hooked wire, dragging up fistfuls of stenchy old rotting soapy black and red hair and plopping the wads of hair on a paper towel by my left foot.

In walks a Greek god.
Ok, a college student, but not the pimply dork kind. This one was tall,(at least from my seated position) tan, well muscled, with a stop-and-stare handsome face. Wearing naught but a periwinkle blue towel casually slung around his six-packish mid-section.

"Hi," he says in a warm strong but silky voice. "Wow! Thanks for doing this. Will it bother you if I'm in here, or should I come back later?" (oooooh, a gentleman!)

"No, go ahead," I say, "The one on the end is draining good now."

"I really appreciate you doing this," he says, and  goes off to launder his marvelous figure.


Never seen something so purty up close in my life, and there I am not a poshy well primped 18 year old, but a comfy little granny parked on her wet backside hauling big smelly gack clogs out of a drain.

Like I tell my kids, Life is all in the timing.

(thus ends the exciting part of the story)

As I was making my way down from 2nd floor to 1st I ran into the chap who had offered to teach me to fish. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was clearing the drains. Both floors? He seemed astonished at that, and I replied No, all 4 floors, explaining I'd rather take care of them now, while I had free time, than wait until I was busy and have to do them as emergency calls.  He told me I didn't 'have to' do them, and I said I wanted to (quite true). He went away shaking his head.

Apparently he not only was surprised, he told the boss and the rest of the staff.  When it was quitting time I went to the office to clock out and as I came round the corner my co-workers and boss stood up and CHEERED waving their arms in the air and fist-pumping happily! Which was really funny, and very sweet of them. They're a good hearted bunch of people.

Funny thing is I didn't expect any praise, I just thought it seemed logical to do what needed doing when I had free time to do it. Plus, clearing really yucky drains is kind of fun.  It's the sort of job where you can see that you've accomplished something. I like that kind of project.

Here's how the porch looks at bedtime. You will have to imagine the songs of crickets and bullfrogs.

And how I look at bedtime.
 And how I look in better light at bedtime I think I'm beginning to look like Hugh Grant. Probably it's the floppy hair and pointy nose. (the current Hugh Grant, not the twenty-something one).

And here's the dogs ready for bed, or parts of the dogs, I couldn't fit them all in the picture. And my feet being happy to not have shoes on (although I love buying shoes I love taking them off, too.)

Here is where I sit writing this today, although obviously I'm not sitting here as I took the picture. Nice breeze, not to hot. A good day for occupying the porch.

Meanwhile on the clohtesline a nice striped cotton is drying. This will be the binding of a quilt that will live with  Smallest Child. I'm going to cut in on the bias, so the stripes will be diagonal around the edges of the quilt.

The hollyhocks we brought from the house in town are huge this year, topping twelve feet high. I suspect this is because we planted them where Manimal has been chucking the coffee grounds for many a year. 

The flowers are the size of my palm and are a deep somewhat purplish red.
They're just beginning to go to seed, and I'm saving the seeds if anyone would like some to try in their own garden.

And there you have it folks, all the news that's fit to print, And More!


  1. Hooray, I loved those pictures, and scrutinised them closely. I am wondering if I can make a similar pinny out of some pretty check homespun I bought, In an attempt to save money I got only two meters, as 39 inches (x 2) by 40 inches is okay for a skirt for me, because I need exactly that. 40 inches width (both front and back) 36 inches skirt length, an inch-and-a-half hem, an inch-and-a-half casing for elastic at the top. But, boohoo, being homespun it shrinks. I was prepared for this (and washed it before trying to make anything) but thought with bias binding I'd be able to eke it out - not so. What was 39 inches is now 35 inches, and that's too short even with a bias binding hem and casing, and too narrow if I turn it the other way. So I was planning when I have some more money to buy 3 yards, and use what I already have to make a matching vest or a pinny.

    I love your drains story - woman after my own heaert. x

  2. Fleas, housedresses, Greek gods... you lead such a full and varied life!

  3. E- I think two yards of homespun should be enough for an ample pinny. My records say that's what mine took. You're taller than me, but length in a pinny is less crucial than in a skirt.
    I was surprised at the shrinkage in homespun the first time I used it, but noticed that in shrinking it seems to become more sturdy and less wrinkle-prone. I consider that a fair trade off.
    When you get your pinny made I want to see it ; )

    MC-Full and varied indeed. Varied I think is the key to my happy state. If my life were full of the same thing over and over and over I'd have died eons ago.

  4. It may take forever to think it through and make it - I love yours here though - but meanwhile I have posted some clothes pics on my blog. Whoever would have thought that women who dress like we do would still be keen to say "give us a twirl"?! x

  5. I think most people guess wrongly about the motivations (definitely plural)of women who dress like we do.

    Many assume we: Think God wants girls to only wear dresses
    Think being pretty is evil
    Are trying to attract attention
    Are deliberately trying to be unattractive (haha)
    Believe ourselves to be holy
    Have no sense of style
    Don't like clothes
    Are just old and have "given up"
    Belong to a weird religion
    etc, etc, the list goes on.

    I find however that generally we:
    See the fashion industry as a daft system that feeds on creating disatisfaction and choose not to participate in it
    Are old enough to have seen 'styles' change back and forth so many times we see it is a pointless game
    Are secure enough that we don't give a flying fig what anyone thinks about our outfit
    Have worn enough different types of clothing to learn what is comfortable and what is not
    Really like clothing,know what suits us, and are disinclined to stop wearing what we like just because the fashion industry wants to sell something different this season
    Are independent minded and tend to like doing things for ourselves.
    Are not trying to attract strangers of the opposite sex
    Do not believe attractiveness is dependent on being trussed up in sequins and spandex or having sculpted hair or a deftly painted face anyway
    Think God wants us to be the thoughtful, pro-active, creative, faithful women we were born to be, not just blind followers of the whims of a gigantic industry run by far away people we don't even know.
    As for the assumption that we belong to a weird religion, every religion I've ever practiced has been weird, compared to the others, but quite normal by its own lights. Weirdness is in the eye of the beholder.
    Heading off to your blog to cheer myself!

  6. Exactly - I couldn't have put it better myself! What Anna Cory calls "Women Formerly Known As Sexy" :0D

    I made a pinny! Not as groovy as yours, but I did manage something. I posted a pic for you to see.


  7. You look so amazing, i love your outfit.
    I will try to make a pinny Today.


If you disagree with me try to keep it clean, or I'll wash your mouth out with homemade soap.