A Not-So-Brief Note About Soap

I’m interrupting my discussion of cleaning things because I just have to tell you about soap. Humans make this cleaning thing so very hard on themselves! If one goes to a store and looks at the cleaning supplies there, is … Continue reading

How to clean a living room without magic, part one

Ryan called me last night to see how my popping corn worked, and if I had figured out he to clean a living room yet, because he misses me. (I had to set the phone down to make a little high-pitched noise when he said that). Then because I was having a lot of difficulty finding words to say, he suggested I come by his shop in the morning and we can make plans.

I barely slept for how excited I was to see Ryan again, and waiting until ten in the morning for the store to open was very anxiety provoking and exciting at once, so I began to piece together how to start cleaning a living room while I waited, and it seemed to be such a large task! But, of course, I need a clean home to have a Ryan in it, so it must be done.

But I got to the store just as they opened, and then had to wander about a while until Ryan got done helping some other customers. I felt even more anxious this time, but not in the same way that I have been before, like there was possibility before but now there is something at stake and my little heart kept beating too fast if I heard him talking with a woman, and I kept checking to see if the women were more pretty than I was. Though, honestly I wouldn't even know how to tell. It's all so silly, isn't it?

He came over and seemed awkward and excited to see me at the me too, he had his hands in his pockets and kept smiling and turning a little red on the cheeks in the way he does, and it makes me feel that strange allergy kind of feeling. He helped me find things for popcorn first, then we stood around and looked at vegetables for no reason until I blurted out that I had cleaned my living room, or started to. I'd have to finish later.

He grinned really wide then, and we got to planning, me desperately trying to estimate how long until I am able to learn all I need to know to get my house ready for his visit. I have a feeling I will be very busy cleaning now, as this is a polarizing experience, needing something to be done, well, a lot of somethings to be done, before I can have what I want.

If I was more suspicious, I would think this was planned to keep me distracted from trying to escape my banishment, but I am more inclined to believe that it is as it looks. Partly, because that is what I would rather believe.

We decided that he will come over Wednesday night, which gives me only three days to clean my entire house, which is a fantastic opportunity to find more things to write about.

And make coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I bought honey in a little jar to try stirring into it, Ryan sai he likes honey in his coffe, and I like Ryan so I might like honey in my coffee too.

Wednesday, he will come over with wine and “beef” (cow) and I will have to cook vegetables. And then we will watch a movie and eat and have some wine.

I want to learn how to cook an artichoke, but I did not ask him how, because I want to appear that I am able to do something without help.

I bought my groceries and ran home to get back to cleaning. I cannot wait to see what that night will hold.


Anyway, cleaning a living room. Usually, living rooms have at least one or two places that seat between one and three people, covered in cushions, and they point toward the television as far as I can tell, with a low table called a “coffee table” (I suppose it is made of coffee? Is it where people always rest their coffee?). My living room is little different, excepting that I also have a small round table with two chairs at it that serves as an eating area, as my kitchen is simply too small to have a table for eating within it, so I have it in the living room.

All of these surfaces have been covered in debris and dirty dishes and things I have carried inside like the mail, and have not bothered to find a place for, mostly because it is the room that must be walked through to get to the rest of the house, and so easy to put things down.

It is amazing how quickly things accumulate in this human existence. I want to be able to summon a whirlwind to just carry it away, or to make it all shrink to minuscule size and then sweep it all outside. Or perhaps if I could summon a Blargelfett to come and eat anything I do not want, but they are sometimes hard to banish before they give birth after gorging themselves, and no one needs an infestation if baby Blargeletts unless the wish to have every last posession devoured.

Regardless, that is not how things work here, and so I must find a way to clean it with the power of my own body. (Honestly, how do humans get anything else done?) Wouldn't it be marvelous is they had people you could hire to come clean, like those men who worked in my yard?

Cleaning a living room:

You will need:

  • Trash bags – large ones that can be bought at the store. I like the stretchy white ones that can be tied shut like a bag for catching Rxilies for the firefly festival, but there are many types to try.
  • A trash can and a recycling bin – outside the house, stationed there for the city to come and take refuse away
  • A shelf to put things on – I discovered a small bookshelf in the back bedroom, and have decided to use it as a place to set the books and things I enjoy having in the living room with me while I sit.
  • Another room for The Cat to be disdainful in – I find my feline prefers the underside of my bed, but all cats are likely to be different and finicky.
  • Rags and soapy water. In this case, I tore up a particularly hideous dress my Dear Sister said I should wear for my date. It is not the most helpful or cleaning material, but I did find I enjoyed using the dress to clean more than I would to wear.
  • Sweeping things – brooms and a dust pan.
  • The Frightful Vacuum
  • Mopping things – a mop and bucket and some kind of soap for the mopping.

If you are beginning this task after a lot of time like I am, Martha Stewart advises to take it slow and work one bit at a time. I think I agree, but really this is very difficult and tiring and I do not know if it is easier to do it all at once. If you can do it all at once.

First, make coffee or find a source of caffeine and drink it. Turn on music or something to sing to and make the whole ordeal more enjoyable while you dance and clean. Then close the drapes tighter so the Nosy Neighbor will go away and stop watching you.

Trash – take a trash bag with you around the room and put anything that needs to be thrown out into it, things like bottles that once held drinks, used tissues, and the like. It is pretty easy to determine what is trash. Tie the bag (or if you are as my dear sister calls me a “deplorable slob” you may need three or four bags) and put these out in the trash bin.

Recycling – recycling is something humans do with some of their trash to avoid having to overuse the limited resources that they have, this is silly to the fae folk. If only humans could find a way to not need seven layers of plastic or paper between all their goods and the world, perhaps this would be less of an issue. Back home, I was so used to edible dishes and magicked decorations that needed only the stroke of midnight or a dismissing charm and they would flow back into the ether.

If only someone would teach humans magic, perhaps they could save thier poor world without the need to separate out the special kinds of trash from the regular trash, or maybe to not even have trash at all!

But recycling. Every state, I am told, has different things they can recycle. Like here, glass cannot be, but things like clean cardboard and the things that come in my mail box merely to try and sell me stuff I have no need of, and washed plastic containers that once held things like the curds and whey called “cottage cheese” that I like so much comes in (no spiders come to share it with me, which makes me sad. I do miss spiders to talk to – as long as they are the nice kind of spiders). I am not good at recycling things yet, so I encourage anyone who wants to try it look up what their area takes.

Other clutter – since this is where I manage to stack all sorts of other things that are meant to come in the door, then it is important to get these things where they belong so only living room things remain. Take time to get kitchen things into the kitchen, bedroom things into the bedroom, clothing where it goes (the keeping of clothing is still a great and confusing bother to me), and bathroom things in the bathroom, and so on.

The things that remain, I recommend stacking neatly on the shelves if you have them, or finding other appropriate places to set them. Since my eating table is in the living room instead of the kitchen, this is somewhere I tend to put things that do not belong, as well as on top of the coffee table. Make sure all the debris on these places are put away in other rooms or on the shelf.

Sofas and chairs – next comes the places to sit. These get covered in things like crumbs and hair, and there are cushions on them, and things get stuck underneath the cushions (if you ever lose your house keys, this is a good place to look. I never miss magic more than when I need a location spell after I lose my keys). For now, just clean the things off. Martha Stewart says the best way to clean a sofa is to use the dreaded vacuum, so that can wait.

Once things are cleared off and put away (I a very shocked at how much I threw out! How did it all get in?) then start cleaning the other surfaces.

Washing the walls. If the walls are dirty, and mine are not particularly, but I decided to give this a try, then get a bucket of soapy water and some rags or a spounge or something like that and wash them end to end. I found at this point that it needed a step stool to get up high, and for a treacherous moment I tried to flap my wings when I lost my balance and nearly fell. So do be careful, but make sure you get the whole wall, up and down all the way from one end to the other. This is very tiring, and I only made it through one wall before I decided that the walls were clean enough and really, if Ryan is more interested in how clean they are than he is in me, I don't know if he is worth washing walls for.

By this point I was quite cross and hungry and very sick of the whole ordeal, and so I took a break for lunch and to write this post.

I don't know if I have ever been so homesick as I am now, human life is so hard, no wonder they are obsessed with trying to catch magikal creatures and make them slaves, and no wonder they kill their witches. Witches no doubt can at least tell a stupid wall to wash itself.

That is it for today. I have finished my daisy and radish salad, and will be taking the afternoon to go read books that are NOT about cleaning in the bookstore and to drink some tea with milk in it and forget there are floors to clean here in this dumb dirty house.



Researching Cleaning Without Magic

The longer I have gone without talking to Ryan, the more I want to be near him, which is unexpected and lovely to feel here. I never imagined I might fall head over missing wingtips for a human boy.

But I really cannot have him over without cleaning more of my house. My Dear Sister is right, I am a deportable slob*, and I need to get my place cleaned so Ryan can come over and cook cow for me, and watch movies, and I need to know more about how to do things so I can inform my precious readers – I do feel that this is a good thing, my banishment, as it has enabled me to help others in my pursuit of knowledge.

But I am also reaching the end of my ability to find what I need to know on the internet. I need more knowledge.

So with the blessing** of my sister, I set off for a nearby resource, called a bookstore.***

Bookstores are intruding things! They are much like the great Essencian Library where all the scrolls are kept, only here you can buy the books, and there are plenty of copies of them. They have a little place where teas and coffees and snacks can be purchased, with tables to sit at while you read your books.

I loved it, though, it was of course hard to avoid the books on magic, I was strong and found myself the cleaning section first. There were so many books to choose from! I chose a small stack, trying to not look like a greedy scheirdlewiggens, then got a coffee, which humans are so very fond of (it is like very strong bitter tea and I had to add lots of milk and sugar but soon it had me nearly zipping about, and for the first time I am grateful that I do not have wings because they would be vibrating and beating about and I would be floating five feet above the table and unable to read the books.

So after I got my twitching under control for the most part, I opened the little notebook I bought there at the face and got to reading these books on cleaning.

My goodness, there is so much to learn. I read nearly all afternoon, and had a second cup of coffee and ate a cookie as large as my hand (I am still vibrating from the stimulation – I must discover how to brew coffee at home! It will assist my cleaning efforts greatly!!), I wrote many many notes about cleaning.

Though I find that I am torn. There is a woman who has a book on just about everything you can do in our out of a house – even keeping chickens! Imagine! – and her name is Martha Stewart. She knows so much and seems to do everything, and I feel that perhaps it is a misstep to follow her too closely, as surely she is using some kind of magical spells to keep up with herself.

I bought her book, one so big I had to carry it with two hands. I do hope the Great and Honorable Council will allow me to follow her advice, as it is meant for humans and though this Martha Stewart is undoubtedly Folk of some kind, she clearly is meant to seem human and give advice to humans.

I am so excited to get back to cleaning with the help of this book and my own experimentation, of course.

And coffee. I am looking forward to seeing what can be done under the influence of this magical incredible brew called coffee. With plenty of sugar and cream, of course.

*Though I fail to see the need for her to tell me every blessed time she comes over.

**And by blessing I mean a strict warning to stay away from any books about magic and to stick to the cleaning section.

***I hear there are libraries here as well, but none close enough for me to walk to, and I'll be hanged if I have to ask Flora to drive me somewhere so I can research how to not be a “dithering glib pixie with nothing in her head but mead and boys.”


How to clear weeds and grasses without magic

Since my triumph over the overgrown grasses of the front yard, I have been feeling quite pleased with myself. It is strange, but I do feel myself getting into the idea of a clean home, one that is cleared of excess things. Perhaps the human air is infecting me. I find that one clean room makes the rest seem very dirty and cluttered by comparison, and yards appear to be no different.

And the neighbor lady, of course, has been, shall we say, very outspoken about the issue.

So I have finally found the answer.

While I was watching some of that television thing that humans are so absorbed with – really, it is fascinating but becomes very confusing after a while because there are small segments in between sections of show that try and talk me into buying things – many of which I have never even discover a need for or know what to begin to think of. It is like every one of these little mini-shows about mops and insurance and dog food all involve some made up language that humans are grown to understand. I lack words to explain further if you have not experienced the same confusion. In any case, the result is that I generally will give up on the television and listen to my neighbors yell instead or run a bit of string about on the carpet and amuse The Cat. (Hopefully if I continue to provide her with amusement, she will consider me useful and continue to not eat me.)

But yes, I was watching some show about fixing up a very dirty house, hoping to glean some kind of knowledge about how to take care of mine, but the house they were showing was much more dirty and problematic than mine, and I ended up with only two forms of knowledge: One, there are pre-moistened wipe things you can buy to clean things. This seems most useful in places where those “microbes” and “germ” types of beings tend to hide. They are easily picked up by cloths, but then I do not know if merely washing the cloths will dissipate them or if they will only multiply in the wet environment. Cloths made to throw away would prevent my anxiety and also provide convenience. I will investigate this further the next time Flora take me to a large Everything Store (because they have everything in them).

Then, the second thing I thought of: you can pay people to do work. It's called a job, and people who are not “sponsored” with money from the Council or some other source have them to earn money with which to provide things they want and need. I thought maybe I could find some people to take up the weeds for me, and then I can learn by watching.

I have been asking around some, Flora did not know of anyone, but the old lady who lives on the other side of me from the Nosy Neighbors has a twenty seven year old grand son who has been kind enough to bring a friend by and they agreed to clean my yard for me in exchange for money. They even seemed excited about the prospect, which I think is endearing.

I am most pleased with the results. They left not an hour ago, and I am now looking around my house for any other jobs I do not want to do myself and would rather pay nice men to do for me.

It was raining quite a lot when they were in my yard, and there was much mud and leaves and things all over, but luckily I know how to sweep and mop quite well, at least in my kitchen, and so I did not mind them tracking things through that part of my house so they could eat the pizza I provided. Like any pixie, I believe it is important to pay any helpful being with food even if they are provided payment with money as well. It seems only correct.

To clear a yard of weeds:

You will need:

  • A yard that is full of weeds and grasses and things – I went through and made sure no magical creatures were hiding inside before the boys arrived.
  • Two men wiling to do work for money.
  • Work gloves for the men to wear
  • A case of beer
  • A large pizza covered in many cheeses and meats – this is a food I cannot quite understand, but it is a favorite of young men from what I gather, and you can order it simply by looking on the Internet and finding the nearest place who will deliver the food to you, hot and ready to consume. Most pizza services will even let you order online.
  • Money to pay them.
  • A chair
  • A glass of your favorite spirits.

They work for food and beer, much like pink flutters.

Direct the men to the yard and instruct them on what you would like done with all the plants. I discovered that hidden among the weeds were several flowering shrubs and things and even a few trees I did not want them to take up. Also, show them where to stack the refuse, as there will likely be quite a lot and it will need to be disposed of separately if possible. Give them gloves to wear in the garden in case they come across any biting wreskets you missed clearing the yard.

Leave them a few beers as an offering of hospitality and thanks. Then, go inside because it is starting to rain, and let them get to work. Put a chair by the window so you can watch the weeds disappear, and sip some liquor as you do, feeling happy about how clever you are and that you won't have to do the labor yourself. The men seem to be having fun pulling things up in the rain and mud. They are smiling, anyway.

Take them more beer, they are working very hard (wait until it is raining a little less if you are wearing anything that becomes see-through when wet). Wile you are outside, wave at the neighbor who told you your yard is a mess, indicating that you are doing what she wanted. Smile at her. Watch her turn away with that dismissive hair flip.

Go back inside and practice dismissively flipping your hair because it is so effective,

When they boys are nearly done with the yard, ask them what they like on their pizza. Then, go inside and order to – it takes approximately forty minutes to arrive, so time it's arrival to be convenient.

Once they boys are finished, invite them inside to eat. Make sure to hand them some towels, since they are probably muddy and wet from the rain.

Chat while they eat, and then thank them and pay them well, so they are inclined to return if more work is desired, send them with the rest of the beer and pizza as a thank you.

Look out at your yard and feel smug and happy that you have a nice, clear yard (apart from the pile of weeds, anyway).

Just for fun, wave again when you see the neighbor looking at your yard. Study her hair flip closely so you can go practice more.

Note: Sweep and mop the floor once the mud has dried. Mopping mud just makes more mud, so ensure that you sweep first.

Then, make new plans for another date with a human boy named Ryan. See if he wants to help you investigate cooking meat outside.

(1,212 words)


How to Wash Dishes Without Magic

Of all the things I enjoyed back home, I miss the edible dishes almost more than anything lately, though I believe in any single day I can miss everything but the incessant sexual harassment from the trolls who lived near my home. They really do like to chase after pixies, both trolls and satyrs are particularly fond of pixies, and as we go about unclothed much of the time, we are quite a spectacle to watch. Oh, friends, you should have seen me back when my hair ws a lovely shade of blue and my skin glittered with pollen as I zipped about gathering nectar to sweeten my morning tea with, and how pretty the pink lines in my wings were. You really should have seen me.

But the dishes. They are a good deal of work here in the human realm! They are made of permanent stuff, just as are the clothes, and just like the clothes, they need constant upkeep and washing and storing and using and most of them break when you drop them, which is a great deal of bother because they won’t mend by being pressed together, but require glue and not the kind of glue that is good for other things around the house, but the kind that easily sticks to skin and then you have to walk around with half a dish stuck to your finger until you figure out how to get it off of you, and it still is not stuck to the rest of the dish and so you end up throwing the two pieces away because it is impossible to use the glue without gluing yourself to something, and now I am much better at unsticking myself from things I have been glued to than I am sticking things I have broken back together.

The bright side of this is that I have about half the dishes I started with when Flora brought over the old chipped set of china she “no longer found of value” (thank you, Flora, for thinking so highly of me as to give me your cast off dishes. Although, you may have had a point because I have broken a good deal of them getting used to washing them).

Yes, I drop dishes when I was them. This is because to wash dishes they need soap and water and this makes them ver slippery, and then I get bored and start looking around the kitchen and the dish always slippes from my hands just as I am over the floor and not the sink. It is such a pity, really.*

And as I said, just like clothing, dishes get dirty over and over and must be cleaned every time you wish to use them again. So the duty falls to me to keep them clean and make sure I don’t break so many that I do not have anything to eat with or on.

If only they were edible like the ones we have back home! I never even had to think about washing them. Because the dishes were made of intertwined grasses or petals or sugar and were eaten as part of the meal. I remember one spring festival, my mother (my birth mother, not the one I shared with Flora) came to town and made an entire hive of bees honey spin about us until it turned into saucers and bowls of cream and goblets of mead and we had a feast and then sucked on the dishes all night as we danced and sang. Oh those were the days that made a pixie feel alive and free and fulfilled, all honey and spirits and parties al night.

And here I am now trying to figure out how to wash permanent dishes in water and soap. It seem slime such an easy task, I hesitate to even write about it, and yet it has taken me nearly a month to feel that I might have any kind of advice to give. For such an easy chore, there are so many possibilities to choose from for how to proceed, and of course there are those dishes to try and prevent breaking.

I have heard that the is some kind of dish washing machine that is installed in some houses, but I am afraid of such a divice, and so am not overly bothered with having to use my hands, particularly now that my collection of dishes has dwindled to a manageable number, through no actions other than me being a bit slippery-fingered. The humans call this trait “butter fingered” like your fingers we covered in butter, which is cute, but if my hands were covered in butter I would be licking it off and not bothering with carrying around things just so I could drop them on the floor.


*They really are very ugly dishes. I have chosen some select new dishes for my own use, and by some miracle they remain unchipped and undropped. Maybe dishes are most loyal to those who chose them? Or maybe I am simply vindictive and enjoy tossing a plate to the floor from time to time.

To hand wash dishes:

You will need:

  • Dirty dishes
  • Dish soap – make sure this is actual dish soap, because just as hand soap and dish soap and body soap and face soap does not work in the laundry machines, none but dish soap is suitable for washing dishes. Someone needs to create or conjure a soap that works on everything, from hair to body to floors to laundry. That would be worth just about anything.
  • A sink
  • Hot water
  • Rubber gloves made for washing dishes – these come in different sizes and colors and some of them even have things like feathers on the bits that you first out your hand into and are very cute. Choose whatever you like, but the purpose of these gloves is to protect your hands from getting dry from the soap and you can use much hotter water if you wear gloves between you and the water itself.
  • A drying rack for the dishes – there are many varieties of these, and I really cannot figure out what kind is best or what. It seems like a very personal preference kind of thing.

Start with scraping as much food residues and things from the plates as you can into the garbage. Of course, this would not be necessary if the plates and things could be eaten, but I will stop complaining about that particular point for now.

Then, fill the sink (by stoppering the drain with a plug – don’t try to fill it by running water into it frter than it can escape) with hot water and add enough soap that you get a pleasant amount of bubbles.

If you have a sink that is made like two rooms you are looking down on, then fill one side and leave the other side empty. I like to lay a dish towel or two in the bottom to cussion any breakable things I like and do not wish to accidentally drop and ruin them. It also makes a clean place to set down the cleaned dishes before you rinse them. If you don’t have one of those sinks, but one large basin, then get a large cooking pot or a plastic tub and fill this with water, then use the rest of the sink to set the dishes to be rinsed.

Be careful how much soap you do put in, because the bubbles can get to be quite a lot and when they are so high that they touch the cieling and droop down onto the floor and make everything very slippery, washing dishes is rather impossible and you could end up spending the entire day mopping the kitchen floor (again!) and wiping off the counters over and over and then you will be too tired to do the dishes you needed to and might end up eating noodles from the pan you cooked them in instead of putting them in a bowl.*

So now that you have figured out the proper amount of soap and bubbles, get a dish rag, which is a small towel like thing that can be used for all sorts of wiping and cleaning. It is similar to a “washcloth,” which is used in the washing of skin and bodies, but not in the kitchen. Some people like to use sponges or brushes or all kinds of other tools, but I like the cloths because you can use them to wash the dishes then wipe down the kitchen and then put it in the laundry and get it nice and clean for next time. So I use a dish rag.

Note that if your dishes are particularly dirty or the food is stuck to a plate left out overnight or a pot that has something cooked to the bottom of it, it will probably need to soak in the soapy water before you wash it.

Put on your gloves, and get your dish rag wet with soapy water. Choose several dirty dishes that are not oily and dip them in the sink of water and wash them by rubbing the cloth over the surface until all the food is gone. Set the cleaned dishes aside and keep washing, working from the least the the most oily of the dirty dishes, because oil seems to chase away bubbles somehow.

You will have to rinse the dishes you have cleaned as you go if you have lots of dirty dishes to make room for more. To do this, turn on the water and move the dishes beneath it until all the soap is removed. Then set on the drying rack.

The drying rack is kind of the tricky part. Flora can stack hers admirably high with things, but whenever I try to do this the dishes slide away and break or bounce across the floor, so I try and to keep it simple and straightforward. If you run our of room, you can use a clean towel to dry the dishes or you could spread the clean towel out on the counter and set cleaned dishes down on it to air dry.

And no matter how ugly your donated dishes may be, DO NOT put them in the clothes dryer. The resulting mess is not worth the fun.

When you are done, use the dish rag and the soapy water ( if it is not too dirty) to wipe down the kitchen and anything that is dirty, then put it and the other towels you used aside to launder.


*By the way, I have discovered something called “macaroni and cheese” which is exactly what it is. These are noodles called “macaroni” and they have butter and cheese sauce put over them and it is simply a divine thing to eat while watching the television or evesdropping on the neighbors throwing things at each other. A lot of it sounds like dishes that are breaking. I wonder if they have trouble with family giving them ugly china too, and feel obligated to pare down their collection by throwing them at one another in anger.**


**What on the planet could two people find to argue about that much? I can’t even think of enough to talk about for as long as they can keep on screaming at each other. It is very impressive.

(1,889 words)

How to Wash Clothing Without Magic

Humans wear clothing made by sewing woven fabrics of all different fibers and combinations and colors and textures and qualities it makes one’s head spin. In the Realms, one only need to go see a spinner wiggins to get a fantastic little shift made of spider silk or starlight, or any other magically conductive material, and with a mere thought and a few crushed leaves as a sacrifice, we can glamour just about any desired appearance or any kind of look we want. Well, we could. Of course, pixies such as me generally prefer being naked unless we are forced into polite company or are working undercover gathering information about a certain magical council which shall remain almost not mentioned, and I maintain this practice in my home. Or I did, until my nosy neighbor began trying to spy on me through my windows. Now, I wear a little dress or a robe when at home.

Anyway, these human clothes become dirty after a while. They get spattered with food or mud, spilled tea or anything else can happen, and just having a human body creates sweat and other excretions that dirty clothing by it being in contact with skin. (I will get into cleaning a human body later.) And eventually, clothing must be cleaned unless you wish to throw it away, but Flora is very stern about how wasteful this practice is, and so I have been repeatedly trying to learn enough about laundry to even begin to report on the subject. For as many kinds of clothing there is, it seems there are that many ways and tips and things for how to care for them. I am most perplexed.

And I won’t even get into the cleaning of “stains,” which are marks on the clothing that are hard or impossible to get out. (As a note from an earlier post, it turns out lipstick is definitely hard to remove from a shirt, and that explains my neighbor’s extreme reaction to having to clean it from her husband’s clothing.) Stains are such a large problem that there are even books – entire books – on stain removal. That is too much effort for me, so if you have a specific spot you cannot seem to get out, consult the Internet or one of those stain books. My poor little pixie mind is unable to grasp how much work can go into just getting rid of a stain. Why, it seems that a simple “Out damn spot,” spell ought to be able to fix everything (except blood stains, those never really come out no matter what magic is evoked).

Please keep in mind that this is one of the most needed and also most performed tasks in a household, particularly if children live within it, and is deceptively simple.


How to wash clothing:

You will need:

  • A clothes washer – This is a big machine that looks like a barrel inside and it’s job is to swish the clothing and laundry soap together and the clothes rub against one another to become clean, then it rinses out the soak and spins the clothing around to draw the water from them so the clothes can go into the dryer.
  • A clothes dryer – Another barrel-looking device. I cannot figure out how it works, but it involves heat and the clothes turning about in the heat to dry and there is a screen you must clean or else it gets… Oh I don’t understand.
  • Laundry soap – Please note that this is different than body soap, hand soap, floor soap, face soap, tooth soap, and it is definitely different than dish soap. I keep reading about some kind of castile (or something) soap that can do all of these things and more, but I have yet to try it.
  • Laundry softener – Also labeled fabric softener. It comes in liquid and sheets, but don’t get their application confused. The liquid softener goes into the washing machine when it is on “rinse”, and it does not go into the dryer like “dryer sheets” do. Ugh, this is all so confusing!
  • Dirty clothing – if it is not dirty, you can wait to read this post.
  • A laundry basket – Holds clean clothing so you can put it away.
  • A mop (optional) – In case you mix up the soaps and the machine overflows with bubbles. Not that this necessarily happened to me.

First, the laundry must be sorted into types. Flora, the queen of perfect clothing, prefers to sort into colors because if you wash a light-colored something with a dark something then the light colored thing will get stained with the dark colored thing. The dark colors are washed in the coldest water, then the lights can be washed in warm water.

But, I have also read to separate by fabric softness. Softer stuff is more easily torn, so it should not be mixed with harsher materials. Like the “blue jeans” I have a pair of. They a quite rugged, and would probably chafe any of my nice silky dresses. Also, I have read that everything but bed coverings and towels can be washed in cold water.

Because I am feeling petty toward Flora, my dear sister, I am going to advise to sort by fabric.

Softer, delicate fabrics should be washed as gently and quickly as possible if you don’t “hand wash” them. (There is a hand wash setting on the washing machine, and this makes me fear hands might come out from the sides of the barrel part and start grabbing at my clothes, so I have not used it.

Then rougher fabrics can take more of a beating.

The more dirty the things are, the longer the wash needs to be and the more soap,you will need. Luckily for me, every soap dispenser seems to have directions as to how much is needed. Do not – I repeat – do not just pour as much as you like into the machine. This results in needing the mop nearby and having to re-wash your clothes with just water. Several times.

Towels and bed stuff needs to be washed at the highest heat, and towels should not have softener added because apparently it keeps them from absorbing water, which really is a towel’s purpose in life, so this would be a sad thing.

So, determine what kind of laundry you are washing. Then choose the appropriate settings to set your dials and buttons and things on the washer. Put the desired kind and amount of soap into the washer before the clothing goes in, and then turn on the machine. When it hits the rinse cycle, if you are choosing the liquid softener stuff, put in as much as the directions tell you to. Then wait for the cycle to finish.

(NOTE: if you don’t know what setting to use, there is usually a little tag inside the clothing that will tell you what works best for that cloth. I suggest following that instead of what I am recommending. I really do not understand clothes washing.)

When they are done, it is time to dry the clothes.

To dry:

Remove the laundry from the washer and transfer into the dryer. Make sure anything that must “lay flat to dry” or might shrink is taken out and dried in the air, not the dryer. Toss in a “dryer sheet” if you are using them. Close the dryer and choose the appropriate settings for the fabric. Make sure the lint collecting screen thing is clean before you press the start button, or you might burn the world down or something, I couldn’t’ tell what happens if it isn’t done, but probably nothing good. If only I could summon one of those dandelion-fluff eating trolls. They would probably love the taste of the fluffy stuff that collects in that thing.

Alternately, there is the option of hanging the clothing in the yard to dry from a line, but I have not tried this tactic as I fear the neighbor man who likes to peek in my windows might try and take some of my underthings or something. He seems to like complimenting what I wear, and I have the feeling he possibly would want to have them for himself the way he stares so. He is becoming quit a nuisance.

When the clothing is dry, transfer into the laundry basket and put in the bedroom. I cannot figure out how to best store these things, clothing, as it seems futile to put too much effort in storing them carefully when they will only be worn and dirtied again, but the piles of clean and dirty clothing in my bed room are also a bit unsightly and I am worried the Ryan boy will think I don’t know what I am doing, which is true but I do not want him to realize it so soon. Also, The Cat enjoys sleeping in the clean clothes too much, and her fur makes the clean things impossible to wear until they are cleaned again.

I do, however, make sure the towels are hung appropriately in the bathroom and the extras are kept in a cupboard in my hallway, and my sheets are put away. These things make sense, as they are used more than just the day before the become useless until washed.

(1,546 words)

Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic (part 2)

Welcome back. Yesterday I started with explaining how one goes about sweeping debris and collected foodstuffs from a human abode’s kitchen floor.

Now, the dry dirt is swept away and disposed of, moping is most necessary in order to make sure the floor is indeed actually clean, and certain prying sisters (who are “merely concerned and trying to be helpful”, or so I hear) do not comment about the state of things every time they come over and drop hints that our parents never really had any high hopes for me anyway.

But of course, to mop, one needs a mop. Which requires obtaining one from one of those awfully confusing and varied stores the humans flock to for all kinds of things from clothing to who-knows-what-humans-want to of course, cleaning supplies. This is also where I obtained the other necessary ingredients for obtaining a cleaned and habitable, and many that are most certainly unnecessary.

Because I am still under, shall we call it, house arrest, or what is commonly referred to as “intensive study of non-magical procedures”, and as I have said before, the Great and Wondrous Council have graced me with their “sponsorship” while I do this research. Of course, if you would like to help me find, shall we say, other work to spend my time on, then please contact your representative*. But yes, because of my house, er research stipulations, my dear and nonjudgemental sister Flora took me to this lovely and large store to obtain supplies, as I am not allowed off of my property without an overbearing chaperone kind and generous escort.

And here, friends I want to tell you to please not panic. There is much too much here to even begin to describe in full enough detail, but as to mops alone, there was an amazing array of choices, many of which we obsessed with avoiding using a bucket. This, I cannot understand, and even Flora was helpful for once and agreed with me – water gets everything else clean, so why the human obsession with not having to use any?

In any case, before I get ahead of myself, here is a brief account of the choices available:

There were at least ten differnet kinds of wands with which to clean the floor, all of them with a different kind of material at the end. These are all much like the brooms and mops used for magical purposes (and I remind the Council that I only wish to use them to clean the messy house they have so graciously bestowed upon my humble self**), only at the end of each one is a different material. Some have spounges that fold in half to wring out water, others have loops or bundles of strings to dip in water, others have a cumbersome looking handle which folds down to squeeze out water, but I cannot quite figure out how this is different than the other ones. And all of these different mops claim to be better than the others. There are even mops which do not need water, but instead shoot out a jet of fluid on front of a mositened pad.

This all seems like a great deal effort and thinking in order to simply clean off a floor, particularly when they all ammount to a cloth on the end of a stick.

So after a little bit of arguing with my dear sister, I decided upon a simple blue plastic bucket and one of those terrifically simple model of a wooden pole with white loops of cotton thread on the end. It reminds me slightly of the wand my old Aunt used to use to baste troll thighs while she cooked them over a blue flame*** (and we all know only blue flame can cook a troll thigh, and my do they need basting. Not nearly enough fat on those things).

Another issue was the soap. There are hundreds of kinds of soap, and I promise to write about this more in the future, because it is simply unfathomable that beings who live so much of their lives manually fighting dirt should make it so difficult for themselves. Most of these chemicals are incredibly toxic, particularly to the Folk, so Flora suggested I try vinegar, which is basically what happens when wine is left out too long. To hear my sister tell it, it is a miracle at cleansing all things, and no one has a cleaner sensibility about things than she, so I agreed to her suggestion. Plus, I am afraid of toxic chemicals.

*For the love of the Goddesses Great and Small, get me out of here!

**You are all can go suck on withered bat wings for all I care.


So now, without further ado, To Mop A Floor:

Updated list of tools:

  • A mop
  • A bucket
  • Vinegar, white or apple cider kind
  • An old towel (my contribution)

Start with sufficient hot water in the bucket, then add a good amount of vinegar. Probably half water and half vinegar is ideal. Make sure the floor is clear of things you do not want to get wet. (Actually, clearing the floor of extra things like laundry baskets full of towels waiting to be folded is best done before sweeping. I shall try to remember to annotate the previous article.)

Then, dip the stuff-at-the-end part of the mop into the vinegar and water, but not too deeply or the entire thing will become drenched. Again, starting in one area and working back, press the wet mop end against the floor and move in a back-and forth motion to scrub away the dirt. If your floor is like mine, you will have to repeat this procedure. A lot. You will also want to discard the mop water a it becomes colorful enough to be hard to see through. This is probably just spreading the dirt back around.

Refill the bucket with vinegar (or soap if you prefer) and water as often as needed, and eventually the floor will be the original color, at least for the most part.

Discard the rest of the water this time and rinse the mop. I chose to throw out the old water in the back yard weeds, and rinsed the mop in hose water, because I haven’t figured out how to clean a sink very well yet, and that seemed disasterous. The water from my kitchen was very, well, let’s just say I shall mop more often from now on.

Lastly, because I did not think of a good way to wring the mop out between the water and the floor, there was a good deal of puddles left in my kitchen, so I went into the “rag box” Flora gave me and found an old towel, then placed it on the floor, stood on it with my feet wide, and slid about the room to absorb the puddles. It was also great fun.

Probably, the floor should be cleaned regularly. I’d guess at least once per month, which I gather is about thirty sunsets. Probably twice or more, though, if you have a love of ginger ale as I do.

There, Council, you have sponsored the knowledge of how to clean a floor with you benevolence and helpfulness in helping my “research”. A world of domesticated, imprisoned fae thank you, I am sure.

So very sure.

(1,214 words)


Sweeping and Mopping Without Magic Part One: Sweeping

This bit of cleaning is rather involved, so I have broken it into two steps, though unless both are done in succession, the floor can hardly be called clean.

What you will need:

  • A broom – A bundle of plastic straws or straw or grasses held together at the end of a long stick, usually long enough to reach┬áthe floor from holding it while standing. Be careful that you do not choose a broom meant
  • A dust pan – This is basically a small plastic shovel, like used for gathering ashes from sacrificial incense ceremonies – oh, how I do miss the midnight sacrifices – only this dust pan is much larger, and it should be at least as big as the end bit of the broom, so it is easier to fill the pan.
  • A garbage can – This should have one of those plastic bags inside, and is just basically a large urn made of plastic or metal used for catching refuse for later disposal. We have something similar back home, but it is polite enough to eat whatever it is fed, instead of making me haul bags of trash all the way from the house. If anyone thinks of it, it might be a good idea to enchant those Fae refuse collectors to not eat everything – there was once a tragedy with my sister flora’s pet gremelkin. Oh, but that is a story for another time.

Because apparently I am exceptionally skilled in spilling things on the floor (there is a lovely beverage called ginger ale, which, although disappointingly lacking in alcohol, is quite sugary and has little bubbles in it, which is a bit like actual ale. It comes in small metal casks or one largeish and easily dropped plastic bottle. It nearly reminds me of the spiced mead you can find at Merryweather’s Inn, oh how very much I miss going in there for morning daisy flower scramble with fresh spider eggs and a cup of hot spiced mead. She strains it with spiders’ silk, you know, from those lovely creatures she keeps in those underground passageways beneath the inn. Some fae folk think that she keeps them down there to guard some great secret, but we all know that is preposterous. If anyone sees Merryweather, let her know I think fondly of her and her cooking, and ask her to keep a pot of truffle soup on for me.*

But yes, this ginger ale – it is very poor planning to design it to be served from such easily dropped containers, as it then expands greatly and bursts and fizzles out in a sticky fountain when the container is opened too soon after it is dropped. I have made this error many times, and now my shoes stick to the kitchen floor when I walk across it, and this is tiresome as I often find myself wandering to the kitchen for some of that lovely frozen milk called ice cream (also sticky after being spilled on the floor, or anything else). Back where I grew up, all a fae needed was to conjure a stickywiggle troll, and they would lick up anything you spilled faster than you could step onto sunlight, but alas I must do things as humans do.

All of this stickiness, (along with dirt tracked along the floor and the occasional bit of spilled or dropped food or potted plant, or tea leaves) has stuck to the spills and created quite a fantastic mess.

I can only imagine that other domesticate fae have similar problems as this. As far as I can tell, all human dwellings have floors (no wings and all that, though personally when I have my wings I am partial to living in hollow tree trunks). These floors have many different coverings, but today I am focusing on cleaning the kitchen, which is covered in something called linoleum tile, and is very water proof, so mopping is the thing to do.

But because I sneezed** while pouring a bowl of frosted corn flake cereal earlier in the day and spilled nearly the entire box onto the floor, sweeping is quite necessary first, as mopping straightaway created a gooey mess that slightly resembled melted skeske young (always sad when they don’t mature before the rain comes, isn’t it).

So yes, sweeping seems to be necessary before mopping.

*This is, in no way, a secret message to help me get out of here. At all.

**I have been doing this sneezing thing a lot lately. Because it is spring, the Internet believes that this is most likely allergies, and while I am disinclined to want to believe it, reality seems to be that I have developed allergies and will need to find ways of treating them to prevent future spillage of cereal and other things.

To sweep:

Take the broom (non-magical variety, of course) and hold it so the bristles brush against the ground firmly. It is probably smartest to start in one corner of the room and work out instead of starting in the center and wandering about as I did. I still have not found any tricks or secrets to this procedure, other than to use small strokes along the floor when there is a great deal of mess, and to use longer strokes when the bits of stuff and dust on the floor are farther apart.

Now, after leaving a good number of small piles to clean as I did, I might advise beginning the sweeping procedure in one corner, then proceeding to the rest of the room. It is up to you, if you have been cursed by a spiraling curse, you will find it easiest to begin in the middle, I imagine, and then you can move in circles outward. This is a most serious affliction, however, and until the spiraling patterns cease I recommend that you really ought to find someone to sweep and mop for you.

Anyway, sweep everything into a good pile, which in my case was a very good pile. Remember to resist munching from the cereal in the pile – while foraging for things in The Realms is not frowned upon, there are “microbes that cling to all things human-related, and I am unsure if they are able to infect Folk or not. Besides, it will taste of dust and hair, although I may try pouring ginger ale on cereal next time I have some.

Anyway, after this step comes the dust pan. Kneel down and sweep the pile into your dust pan. Perhaps there is a good trick to avoid this part, but if you want to get all the dust up, you have to keep moving back and sweeping more into the dust pan.

Then, turn to your garbage can (another post entirely, the care and tossing of garbage), then pour your waste into the garbage.

This ends the end of part one of cleaning floors. I must go – it turns out this television thing is a most intriguing thing, and if I continue blogging now I will miss a “show” about people who live in houses they never clean, all the way to the point of piles up the ceiling of all kinds of things. I imagine many a skeske is hiding in these places, to be sure. I like watching for the odd feeling of needing to clean it gives me. Tomorrow, I will continue with how to mop a floor.

Without magic, of course.

(1233 words)