I Have Been Asked on a Date!

I was bored today, despite the abundance of things to be done around my house, and so I decided to use the number Ryan gave me a try. He answered, and I nearly jumped from my human skin when I heard his voice, then I got all flushed – I have a big mirror on the door of my closet and I was sitting on my bed when I talked to him, and I could watch my face go from pretty and pale to absolutely flushed red when he answered the phone.

I stuttered a few times, actually quite a lot, and so he finally guessed it was me, and I could say “yes” at least.

He said that he was glad I called because he had been thinking about me, and that it was his day off.

Did I want to go to a movie with him?

I did my best to say yes quickly so he wouldn’t think I didn’t want to, though I think I stared into my human reflection for a long time, being stunned and terrified. But I do want to go somewhere with him and he is such nice conversation at least when there are groceries to talk about.

But what could I find to talk about when there was not food to discuss and when I could not simply buy my things and flee when I was awkward and unsure of what to do next?

Then, I realized I had said all of this out loud, and that Ryan was laughing very hard.

I thought I might die. It was a very interesting feeling of being ill and thinking I could melt into a puddle if only I could convince myself to not be solid anymore. I turned even more red then pale and decided I wasn’t doing myself any favors by looking at the mirror.

Flora has always said that I have no barrier between my mouth and my mind. Now I am wishing I’d let her hex me with a silence spell when we got in a fight years ago over something I said to her husband (now ex-husband)* at a spring festival when I had a few too many sips from the liquor offerings the village had left out for us.

I was quiet on the phone for a minute, trying to think of what else I could say, but Ryan was very nice and helped me. He said that part of the reason to see a movie is because then we won’t have to think of much to talk about and we will be in a dark theater and then if we aren’t sick of each other he will buy me ice cream and we can talk about the movie.

I have only had ice cream once when I stole some from a child in exchange for finding him a four-leaved clover. It was amazing, and I had nearly forgotten it.

I made a few squeaking noises from my throat that he seemed to understand was me accepting his offer. He told me to meet him at his work at seven, and then he would drive me to the theater.

I instantly called Flora, who is my Council Appointed Representative to request permission.

She said she was very happy I could find a young man to court me so soon living in the human world and did he have anything wrong with him to make him think it was a good idea to go out with me? I told her to shove it and give me permission, which she did, though rather curtly, and she told me to get home by midnight.

I asked if I would turn into a pumpkin if I did not, and she hung up the phone.

I won’t press my luck, though. We probably won’t be out all that late.

Now, I must go figure out what to wear. Oh, this is so very exciting! And frightening. I have never been to a movie before, unless you count watching the few on the television services and such, but I am totally unsure of the procedure, and I know no one who could tell me. Ryan seems to be able to tell I am not wordly, so I want to believe he will not think I am too odd after all, but what if he doesn’t like me? What if I do something wrong at the movie? Am I supposed to just sit there? What do I do? What if he tries to hold my hand?

I wish someone out there would write a guide on how to go on a first date with a human boy. I am so nervous! Should I take I’m flowers? If he gives me flowers should I eat them right away or wait until I get home? Should I share them with him if I eat them?

Wait. Humans don’t eat flowers. I remember that.

Except those artichoke things. I would like to try those. I wonder if Ryan knows what they are and how to cook them. Oh good, at least now I have something to talk about. And for now, if he gives me flowers, I shall refrain from eating them until I know if it is normal. I must try to be normal and not frighten him away.

Wish me luck!

 

*I still maintain that is is not my fault that he left her, and I only asked him if he knew about the troll she dated before they got married because I was trying to track him down for a story I was doing about dating someone who is already engaged to someone else. I had tried asking Flora if she knew where he was, and she didn’t want to say, so I thought I would ask her husband. I might have been a little tactless in the manner I asked, but I maintain that he overreacted by calling his divorce godmother right then. There was no reason for me telling him Flora cheated on him with a troll to end anything – I mean, other than the fact that she was still seeing the troll a couple of times a year. It was so blatant, I just assumed her husband must know and be okay with it.

(1,038 words)

 

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How to Obtain Alcohol Without Magic

One of the things I have missed the most is mead and wine and alcohol in general. We pixies are very good at making spirits, it was we who sold the talent to the humans, after all, in exchange for them no longer being able to believe in us fully without some madness after a time. Skepticism has been a great advantage to the Fae Folk, and I am proud of my pixie heritage.

But I also know that humans have the knowledge of alcohol. I have not wanted to trouble Flora to tell me it is a silly thing to want – she really is too busy for me to bother her to scold me every time I have a question, really, and she is incapable of merely answering anything directly without constructive battleaxeing. I decided that I really needed more food and so went to visit that boy, Ryan, at the shop near my house.

He was very good looking in a blue shirt. I like how humans have just the few eye colors and yet such a variety. They get to have green or blue or brown or a kind of strange mix called hazel, but there a light kinds and dark kinds and Ryan has very dark blue eyes, and they look extra blue when he wears a blue shirt like he did today. I got more potatoes to cook, and some cream for The Cat, and we talked a little about the weather and things. He asked again if I had cooked the meat I bought before, and I had to explain that it is still frozen and I am still unsure of what to do. I accidentally let slip that I barely even understand what to do with clean laundry, and he said “Yeah, I barely can get mine hung up most of the time.” Hung up? Is that what the odd triangles in the closet are for? I did not ask this, however, because I do not want to be too odd. I nodded and agreed that I cannot seem to get them hung up either.

He told me he would like to try cooking for me. Soon. And he could bring over a bottle of wine.

Wine?

I asked him where one might procure spirits nearby, since this idea had not occurred to me. I always have had to go to Mister Figgelstills to get my brandy wine and mead, but the humans have created a whole store dedicated entirely to the purchase of alcohol.

I was marveling at the idea for a while and Ryan told me that in some states you can buy wine anywhere, even gas stations. I don’t really care where I would have to go, I was most excited to find out.

I did remember my manners and asked him if he was serious about coming over to help me. He said yes, and would next Wednesday be okay because he doen’t have to work Wednesday night or Thursday.* I blushed and then told him I would love to have him over, but to make sure and bring whatever he thought he would need, because I am hopeless at doing much in the kitchen yet beyond making potatoes, tea, and popping corn on the stove. He did not seem to mind that at all. In fact, I think he is excited I have taken him up on his offer.

Then I paid for my food and left before I could agree to anything else. That boy makes my head do strange things, and I feel all fuzzy inside and forget about how much I miss magic and the Realms and all kinds of other things.

I did find the magical Liquor Store he mentioned to me.

Oh, what a place! They have everything there! Mead and wine and honeyed bourbon and something called tequila and all sorts of fermented wheat bears. Now, I have to say life is wonderful as a Fae in the realms, magic and magical creatures make life a thing of beauty and simplicity and a pixie can have fun and flit about all day with not a care in the world. But this? These humans are really on to something. What an amazing place!

I wandered for nearly an hour up and down the isles and shelves, marveling over everything I saw, and I finally chose a couple of bottles of mead and a small bottle of some brown liquid called scotch, which surely was invented by the Scottish, who are excellent drinkers, and therefore must be an excellent liquor. I believe I have had some in an offering from time to time, but humans don’t exactly write down what they are giving the Folk every time they pour a glass for the invisible forces.

I walked home a very, very happy pixie.

 

How to obtain liquor.

You will need:

  • A liquor outlet
  • Proof that you are above the human age of 21 – An identification card or drivers license or passport. Luckily, I have been furnished with a magicked card and human identity, so I had no problem.
  • Money

Walk into your favorite or nearest liquor store.

Scan the shelves for what you would like to drink. Try not to drop anything, but if you do they are very kind to clean it up.

Thank the man mopping up what you just broke and ignore when he stares at your bosom.

Stand in the line of people buying their bottles, avoid dropping another of yours.

Present your intended purchases and your proof of age to the cashier.

Pay them the money they need in exchange for your spirits. Take your change.

Leave with your bag of bottles, happy.

 

Isn’t it just marvelous? No exchange of luck, no hexes or spells or obligations or favors. Just give them money, and obtain spirits.

Maybe humans are more clever than I have given them credit for.

*I do find the week day names to be most interesting. I wonder if most humans even realize anymore that they have named their days for the gods. Odin’s day is Wednesday, Thursday was once called Thor’s Day. Do they even know? Probably not, or else they might change it. I find the humans to be superstitious beyond reason sometimes.

(1,036 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)

Feeding a Cat Without Magic, Raw Food

After another morning of failing to please my feline with my canned offerings, I have begun to fear for my safety, as most of my relationships with cats until now has involved me avoiding becoming their next meal. I know I am now inside of a mostly human body, but part of me is still pixie, and I am afraid that is she continues to dislike her food, she may realize that that pixie part is indeed here, and she might decide I am tasty.

So, I turned to the Internet, and there discovered an idea about feeding cats and dogs raw food. This makes a lot of sense to me, as until now I have not seen a cat eat anything but raw foods. She is being so picky, it did not really seem to be of any harm to try, though I am a little wary of keeping raw meat on plates in my kitchen. However, the Internet advisors are quite helpful, and the health benefits to the cat seem to be many, so I have decided to try it.

After using my cell phone to call several animal supply stores that are within my radius, I found one called the Dog’s Meow, which is a most confusing name indeed, and they said they can help me feed my cat a raw diet, and explained that it really is the healthiest thing for her.

Healthy is great, but I’m mostly interested in her not eating me, thank you very much. They said she would probably take to eating raw food very easily. It seemed the girl on the phone believed I was joking, which actually may be a good thing. I have noticed my perception of how things work is not the same as the humans around me, and I might be found too odd if everything I said was taken seriously.

It is getting quite warm here, probably close to summer, though it is hard to know for sure without the festival season. Has it happened yet? Tell me all about it if anyone knows, I do so enjoy a good festival.

But, yes, feeding.

I put on another small shift because it is pleasant to wear in the heat, and some sandals and walked the short way to the pet food store. I passed by the small grocery store, and I waved to Ryan, but for some reason my throat closed up and my face felt too hot for me to go in and talk to him. Perhaps another one of those allergies I seem to have? I decided I should wait until I was able to speak without feeling funny, and so I kept walking to the pet food store.

There, the woman I’d spoken to on the phone greeted me. She has dyed hair – how funny humans dye their hair natural shades. We pixies normally have pinks and purples and blues and all kinds of colors in our hair, but humans are limited to the colors of dirt, earth, and sun. I myself now have pale yellow hair, and though I miss the blue it is funny to have such a different color. If I were to go to the effort of changing the color of my hair, I would choose a color that cannot happen naturally for humans, yet they seem to prefer to stay within the confines of their natural spectrum. Pity.

She led me to several large freezers that we’re filled with several kinds of pre-prepared and balanced cat foods, all from different kinds of meats and with different things added, but she assured me that they all had the nutrients cats need to stay healthy (apparently, cats need a very specific and boring list of things that can be removed from their food when it is cooked) . She also told me about all kinds of additions I could put in with the food, and after more research (I am beyond sick of research) I have decided upon a few things to try adding to see what happens, but this will happen later, and I will update this post as I try them.

I bought some beef kind, since beef are large animals and I thought maybe fewer would have to die to satisfy my cat over time, and some fish oil (does one press fish to get oil like with olives, or is it some other way?), and then a little catnip plant because the woman insisted that cats love the stuff. She also advised me to grow the cat some grass to eat.

I mean, if anyone is getting grass grown for them to eat, it ought to be me.

I paid for the food and walked home. This time, just getting close to the small shop made me feel that allergy come on, but I walked past again and hovered in the door a minute. I mumbled about my new house cat through the odd lump-like feeling in my throat and Ryan told me he likes cats, which is odd but probably a good thing. I excused myself before the allergy could make me do something strange, telling him the meat in my bag might melt, then went home feeling odd and still flushed, perhaps it was from showing too much skin in the heat. Luckily, my neighbors were too busy yelling inside of the house to bother me more. I wanted to get the cat fed as soon as possible.

How to feed a cat raw food:

You will need:

  • A cat
  • Raw food prepared to the specific needs of the animals. I chose a brand called instinct, but another that was recommended was called rad cat.
  • Warm water for defrosting
  • Warm water to mix in the food
  • Any food supplements you choose to add – these include raw egg yolk (never use the clear part they call whites, they are bad for animals), fish oil, and some powders and things you can buy. For now, I want to begin with the food as it is simplest.
  • A fork to mix the food and water
  • A container to store the prepared food

Thaw a small portion of food in warm water. If it is unwrapped then just use warm water and mix it with the food as it melts. If you chose some that is in a container, thaw it with a bowl of water. Or if aren’t in as large of a hurry as I am, then I suppose you can thaw it in the refrigerator.

Mix the thawed food with water until it is a fairly thin consistency, the woman from the shop said “like grits” but I have to guess, because I cannot imagine what grits might be. A bowl of muddy sand, maybe? I did decide to add some of the fish oil at this point, because cats like fish and I thought she might like it.

Offer only a little at first. Changing an animal’s diet too quickly can upset their stomach. I was reckless in my anxiety to not be eaten, so I threw this bit of caution to the wind, but I imagine it is better to be cautious and go slow.

Stand back and watch the cat sniff the food, weigh if she wants to eat it, then try some, wander away, come back, and then decide to eat it in earnest.

Sigh in relief.

I think it’s probably good to offer this in small amounts if you can, but some of the websites recommend feeding twice. I am sure your animal will educate you as to what works best for her.

Make sure to store the rest of the food in refrigerator. It would probably spoil if left on the counter and the cat would reject it.

So that is raw food. She seems to like it much better than the canned stuff, and now I can relax and get to planning my next endeavor in cleaning my house. I cannot help but look at it now as if it were going to be seen by him, particularly my bed, which is most disturbing, and a little exciting.

Also, I believe I have found a solution to my backyard weed problem. I will report on this soon.

(1,355 words)

 

How to Feed A Cat Without Magic

Well, the Council of Magical Affairs has been gracious in their wisdom and have given me quite a strange companion. I have awoken this morning to a new house mate. A cat.

I am unsure of their motivations. Did they worry I might get lonely, as it is certainly a long time before I am approved for common human contact away from my hovel? Did they somehow coerce the cat to keep track of me? That bit is hard to believe, as cats are notoriously unbeholden to anyone for any reason ever.

And now I am sharing a dwelling with one.

As many of you are aware, pixies and cats have a tense history, what with their propensity to chase us and hold us down while their young chew on our wings. They are also very sharp, not only in the intelligence sense but in the claws and teeth sense, which makes me tense. Very tense. Every time the little fuzzy thing opens her mouth to yawn, I jump in case I actually need to run.

And of course, she is quite affectionate. She rubs against my legs as I walk in an attempt to trip me, perhaps, while I walk, and when I sit down to write, she likes to lay next to me and does that forward and back motion with her front paws that seems to mean pleasure, since she rumbles when I find the courage to pet her head. (Flora has told me that the paw thing is called kneading, and the rumbling is purring, and yes both of them mean she is happy, she also adds that I am a stupid glitter winged biddy.)

Anyway, I woke up to her. She was looking at me fiercely in the face from the space next to my pillow. When I opened my eyes, she meowed and ran out to the kitchen, where I discovered all the supplies I might need to care for her, including the box filled with special sand for her to use as a toilet, and she already had.

I do not know why, again, she is here, she seems to have some idea, but is not inclined to tell me, of course. Because she is a cat that’s why. I am sure she is able to talk to me still even without my magical abilities. But I suspect she enjoys my confusion. And my fear. She is sharpening her claws on the carpet-coved pole I found in my living room after I made my morning tea, and I simply cannot help but squeak in horror when she pounces on it and then runs away, as if she is practicing killing something. I know my sounds of fear are making her laugh. I just know. And I am sure the Council, if they are somehow watching me, are laughing as well.

The little pink tag that was hanging around her neck on a collar says “Jezebel”. Well, it did, but she seems to have lost it already.

We have only been together this day so far. Much of it has been spent with us staring at one another, her discontented with my ineptitude, and me unsure about which things I am inept. Aside from owning a cat, I suppose.

Because this is a guide for the magic less pixie, I suppose I will take advantage of this new development and write a brief how-to.

 

How to feed a cat:

You will need:

  • A cat
  • Bowls – I have one small cat dish, but I recommend having more than one to begin with. Read on and see why.
  • Assorted favors of tinned cat food
  • A spoon
  • Paper and a pen

Now, were I back home in the Realms with my magic at hand, I would simply conjure some whisky to trade to the Pied Piper and get him to fetch me a few rats, maybe. Or maybe I could sing in a few mice or birds as prey, or even convince the cat that my neighbors were far tastier than I and then run away until the cat was full. Of course, in the Realms I am a pixie, and might already be eaten by the cat, which in a morbid way would mean I had successfully managed to feed her after all.

But no matter.

Start with choosing a random can of food and open it. Wait for the cat to come trotting in expectantly, and she will sit and look up with hope other eyes. Feel an odd sense of wanting to please the cat, then scoop out some food into a bowl one offer it to her by setting it on the floor.

Watch with sinking feelings as she sniffs the food a little, then comes back to her sitting position, paws together, looking up at you with an expectant look that surely you do not want her to eat that.

Of course you don’t. How silly of you.

Open another can. Put it in the next bowl. Offer this to the cat next to the first dish on the floor.

Watch with dismay as she disdainfully sniffs that bowl, then yawns and looks at you again.

Repeat this process until all the flavors are open and offered to the cat. Watch with confusion when she goes back to the first bowl and eats everything you gave her.

She will wash her face by licking her paw, then rubbing it back along her whiskers and ears and such. If she has been pleased with your offering, she will wash her face.

If she is displeased, then she will maybe lick her lips and saunter away, obviously disappointed at how poorly you are at caring for her.

Feel vaguely confused at how much you want to please her. Follow her and proffer the herb catnip as a gesture that you will try better in the future.

I suggest starting a list of what foods she likes. It may pay off in the long run.

 

In other news, I called that Ryan boy and told him how pleased I am with the potato I cooked with his recipe. He asked if I had tried cooking the meat yet, and I said no, I really have no idea how. He thought that a funny and told me he ought to come over some night and give me cooking lessons. And for all the pixie dust I said sometime he ought to. Now, I am panicking and looking around my house at how much needs to be cleaned and sorted out before I could ever dream of having a boy over.

Then, I panic that I am panicking about a human boy in my house. Surely I am not being influenced by this human world so soon? I have an elf back home after all! If I ever get home, that is. No harm in having him over just to help me with my responsibilities in reporting on how to live without magic, yes? Maybe he knows something about how to please cats. I should ask him when I go by his shop for cat food tomorrow.

Oh, and the lady neighbor came by again and told me that the weeds out in my back yard are making her sneeze. I asked her if that is what causes sneezing, because I have been doing a lot of it too. She did not think this was funny, even though I did not mean to be. Then she told me to clean the back yard up “or else”. Or else what, I did not get to ask, because she turned in a way that made her hair flick in back of her and walked back to her house all straight-backed and angry seeming. I wonder if she is always like this, or if she is simply easily perturbed by overgrown yards.

I will have to research how to clear weeds as soon as I can, of course. But I also have a messy house to clean in case Ryan was not joking about coming to assist me.

Humans seem to put a lot of stock in clean houses. And mine has become harder to keep that way what with this cat laying on things and leaving hair behind on all of it.

Oh, we’ll. Just more things to keep me busy not escaping. Good night, everyone. Pleasant dreams.


(1,380 words)

 

Good News and an Excerpt

Good news, friends! Due to my continued diligence at not attempting to use magic (due in part to the fact that I cannot, of course, to which I am grateful to the Council as they were the ones who took my magic away), I have been granted a trial period in which I will be able to leave the house without a Council-appointed chaperone* on short visits to obtain food and other things. If I am able to do so without “causing trouble”, then I shall be granted a vehicle of some sort and even perhaps employent in a human facility once I have been “socialized to be able to interact with humans without arousing suspicion of Otherness or insanity”. I suspect that last bit is a very long ways off for one such as me, but I do look forward to being able to venture from my property without my dearest Flora nipping at my heels like a pizzagus beetle.

As part of the preparations for my limited freedoms, the Council has given me a rather thick pamphlet to help me called “Regulations and Restrictions of Magical Influences and Abilities: A Handbook for Application”**. Inside of it are lots of rules and regulations, as one might expect. Many of them do not apply to me, thankfully, but I will be posting a few excerpts as I think they might be of use to my dear magic less friends who read this blog.

Also, the Council has gifted me very odd contraption with two wheels and a seat and funny handles all held together by metal poles and things. It’s called a “bicycle”, and they tell me it is for getting around on for now. I… well, there are just not words for the thing. I suspect it will take me longer to try than the vacuum contraption.

Anyway, below is an excerpt from the Handbook (I have edited some for long-windedness) for what to keep out of your home. It may come in handy.

*I did not realize that Flora has been aiding me at the behest of the council. This is most interesting, and I must resist my curiosity getting the better of me. I am here because of it, you know.

**How do they name these things? Why don’t they just call it “Boring Lists of Ways You Can Get Into Trouble”?

 

IN THE HOME:

In the generalized household area is the most common place for magical contamination. Before beginning your practice of magical avoidance and cleaning the house, please clear the home, or if you are unable to handle such items yourself and avoid any further bringing in of the following such items:

  • Candles other than for decorative eating occasions or emergency situational kits.
  • Crystals and stones not on the approved materials list (Appendix f) which have been procured from any ”new age” or otherwise mystical establishments and intents, including Asian organizational shops and other human trinkets made with the intent of channeling or altering magics. As well as any tokens to help channel the creation of wealth, well being, health, or any other totems or talismans. Please call upon your area representative for herbal remedies and human drugs, as these are often powered by superstition instead of actual effectiveness.
  • All reference material to any religious affiliation such as bibles, dictionaries, grimeiores, creature dictionaries, prayer books, I ching, and other religious materials, Tarot decks, playing cards, singing bowls and offering bowls.
  • Religious symbolism. There is an exception made for religious totems which create a sense or normalcy in the person’s life in accordance to societal norms, so long as such items have been wards against magical energy by a certified Council Energetic Auditor. We the Council understand that often human communities are religious in nature, and the noncompliance to such norms has ended in some unfortunate burnings and accusations of witchcraft. We wish to ensure your safety in such matters, and if you have questions, please, of course, contact your area representative.
  • This ought to go without saying, but any item which use is exclusively reserved for magical application, i.e. magical wands, brooms, effigies, voodoo dolls, chimaera, the feet of rabbits, four-leaf clovers, shrunken gremlin heads, cauldrons. Please see the list of forbidden magical materials for more detailed information.

Note that once you hare entered the Magical Avoidance and Safeguarding Program, any such materials as those listed will be detected once they have entered the home, and at official Council Auditor will be dispatched to remove and cleanse as necessary the affected items and/or area of the home. If you suspect you have accidentally invited magical influences in, please contact your regional representative as soon as possible. Do not try to remove the magical items yourself.

 

(783 words)

 

How to Bake A Potato Without Magic

I was so excited to find out today that I might be relieved of what the humans call “cabin fever” and venture out alone into the neighborhood in which I live. I wore that little dress I found before, and it felt lively swishing around my thighs as I walked up to a little corner market in the “neighborhood” where I live. Inside, there is a smaller assortment of what I might be able to find in one of the big grocery stores Flora has driven me to.

Anyway, the clerk boy behind the cash register was very helpful in assisting me with buying some small things to bring home for my dinner, and they even had a bouquet of daisies, nice and fresh, for me to munch on with my nighttime cup of foxglove tea (I am much better at making tea now, I might add).

I was most pleased to discover that humans eat nightshades. I thought they might be poisonous, as the foxglove is, to humans, but there in the little vegetable and fruit bin was a bunch of lovely potato roots and even a few tomatoes, though they were already red and not green anymore, so I did not get any. The clerk was eager to tell me that green tomatoes were poisonous unless they were fried, but he did offer to bring me his family recipe next week if I came back. He a lot of this while staring at my breasts in a very flattering way, and I was surprised that I did not mind.

Human men, of course, have an exaggerated interest in mammary tissue as far as I can tell, and a shame it is because human females are forced by this fascination to always wear clothing covering their breasts, lest the men become distracted and crash their cars or what have you. I am so sad for the women that they are restricted so – the feel of wind against your bare chest while flying about in a spring breeze is most wonderful.

(It is a wonder, he is the first person I have come across who was not condescending about my inexperience. Rather, he was excited to share what he knows, and that alone is very refreshing.)

But anyway, the night shades. I told him I would love to try his recipe, and did he have any suggestions for the potatoes. I liked talking to him, he has pretty dark eyes and I kept finding my face getting hot when he would smile at me. Most strange to be attracted to a human. I will have to return to this market often if possible. I am finding it quite difficult to predict the future at all in this human world as things seem to change often. He told me that potatoes need cooking, and that he has many ways he likes to cook them but have a tried them baked?

He has given me his recipe for baked potato, scrawled on a piece of the paper they print a record of what you buy on, along with his phone number at the bottom of the paper, “Just in case I had any questions.” Then he helped me choose a few pieces of meat to try cooking, and I bought them though I don’t have any idea what to do with dead flesh of cow. I will freeze them, though, in case I feel adventurous in the future.

On my way back from the shop, I had to walk past my nosy neighbor’s house. The man was out front, and he stopped me to chat and let me know that I was wearing such a flattering dress (I notice that I do mind when he stares at my breasts, very much, unlike with the boy in the shop). He let me know that his wife was going back out of town on business of some sort. Why does he feel the need to let me know these things? He kept talking about how when she was gone I really ought to come over.

But no, that does not explain the initial invitation. Maybe he really is a spy for the Council, and his sudden insistence upon becoming closer to me is because of my new probationary period. I can only speculate, however. I cannot think of any other reason. And I do wish he would not stare at me so. I also wish I could find a better way to extricate myself from his awkward conversation.

I am running out of polite ways to put him off, really. His wife, though she still has been short, perhaps, with me since the lawn incident – maybe it is because the back part of the property is still overgrown? It is hard to tell, but I really do not understand why he is only interested in me eating with him only when she is away. Maybe she is more angry than I thought?

By the way, the boy’s name is Ryan. The shop boy, I mean, not my queer neighbor.

Yes, my mind keeps wandering back to him. He really is most pleasant to look at and to talk to.

Here is his method for oven cooking or “baking” potatoes, in this case they are “russet”, which means they’re kind of brown and rather large, bigger than my fist. And dirty, so scrub them well before beginning with a brush.

 

Here: Ryan’s method for baked potatoes: (I will leave off the phone number if you don’t mind.)

You will need:

  • An oven – one of those big kiln- like objects in most kitchens, beneath the stove burners. Some Faeries have magic-powered ovens, I know, but these are heated with gas or electricity,
  • Potatoes – I’m using two, but I am sure more would work.
  • A fork – one of those utensils that is used to eat, it looks like a pitchfork.
  • Oil – I am using oiled oil, which is made from pressed olives. The kind I’ve bought is labeled “virgin” which Ryan told me means was the first pressing of the olives, but it still makes me giggle.
  • Salt – I know, the fae don’t react well to salt, but I’ve figured out that it is because it dispels magic and hurts when the magic is taken away. No magic to lose makes salt a rather pleasant condiment.
  • A baking sheet – a large metal tray that you can rest things on and then put inside the oven, and take back out.
  • Oven mitts – padded hand coverings which are used to handle hot things safely.
  • Butter
  • Sour Cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Pre-heating is important, because things don’t start cooking the way you want them to unless the oven is as hot as it needs to be.

While the oven heats up, wash the dirt from the potatoes and dry off, then poke holes in it with the fork to let boiling juices inside out.

Then, rub the potatoes with the oil and sprinkle on the outside with salt. Set the potatoes on the baking sheet and then set this all in the oven when it is 350°.

Wait an hour. Then, check the potatoes by skewering them with a fork. If the fork pokes inside them easily, then they are done. If the potatoes are still hard, then wait another twenty minutes and test again.

When they are done, pull them out with the oven mitts on your hands, and then transfer the potatoes (with something that isn’t your bare hands) onto a plate. Cut open with a knife and then mush the insides with a fork. Spread with lots of butter and salt, and then add a big glop of sour cream.

I usually like my root nightshades raw from the ground, but I must say this was very very delicious. Worth the wait.

Of course, I polished it off with sugar-dusted daisies.

And thought about the boy from the shop. How interesting that I cannot get my mind off of him. Even noticing the neighbor man peeking into my living room window before I shut the curtains (I may need to invest in better window coverings) cannot dampen my spirits,


(1,352 words)




 

Mowing Grass Without Magic

I believe I mentioned the existence of lots of growing things on either side of this house previously as a challenge, and I have continually been avoiding doing anything about it, because I am rather unaccustomed to dealing with garden wildernesses without the help of my magic to seek out wasps and the right roots and flowers or where something that should not be disturbed might be living.

But as usual, I find that my annoyingly nosy neighbors have decided to ask if I intend to. Well, neighbor, but they are both to blame as far as I care. It is starting to become very tiresome, this meddling. I feel as if my sister, the Council, my neighbors, and all other form of being have suddenly decided to take great and overbearing interest in my doings. And I am beginning to wonder if my neighbor might even be a spy for the Council – the man has made several overtures for me to come to his house and dine with him while his wife is out of town. I find this most disturbing – we all know very well that eating and drinking what another offers us in their dwelling is an invitation for enchantment!

What does he think I am? A pixie to be enslaved with honey cups and glasses of chilled white wine? (He gave me this last detail as a means to entice me, though I have never tried a chilled white wine, I imagine it to be like a cold mead, which is most intriguing). But despite all, I declined his offer, even when he gave me a bouquet of flowers.

But the flowers and the asking for me to come eat makes me sure he is in place to spy on me, either for the council or for other reasons, and that the flowers were to encourage me to tell the truth. Shame, too, because they were some of the tastiest flowers I have come across in a very long time. I should have asked him where he procured them; I do miss munching on daisies before bed.

Flowers are a dangerous gift. All one needs do is place a little ambrosia dust in the middle of one, and as soon as you might smell or taste the stuff, there you are in a puff of hazy glittering air and glowing for all the Realms to see and they can take you anywhere and do nearly anything to you and you have to tell the truth if they ask you any questions. (Now, it isn’t that I haven’t been tempted to try this trick to woo a certain elf male, but of course, I continue to refrain.)

The neighbor did not stop at his flowers, I might add. He kept telling me exactly how long his wife would be out of town, and indeed she got back yesterday as he predicted. I wonder if this was some way of telling me is is watching me, or has powers of omniscience? What is the goal when a human reports how long their spouse is away?

The day she got back, the wife even bothered me. I was sitting out in the back yard, contemplating if the magical tracking the Council uses to help me maintains focus on the house alone might allow me a stroll. (I’d just found a lovely little fluttery dress in the things Flora brought me, and wanted to feel the wind on my skin as I strode about.) I was on the front walk, when she came over, walking the way my mother used to fly when I had left something out in the rain to ruin, and told me that my garden was a total disgrace and that I needed to do something about it. And didn’t I need to have pants on.

I’m not sure why she asked that about my outfit; she has worn skirts before, so I believe they are clearly a part of the human wardrobe. Perhaps she was concerned I might catch a chill. It was hard to tell, because she was obviously upset about something, and she asked me a few questions about her husband and what he was up to while she was away. Maybe they are playing spying games against each other, and she is feeling upset that he guessed when she would be back and is trying to get back at him. Maybe she hid some kind of spying device in my grass and the length of it is interfering with it’s working. Human gadgets could be disturbed by grass, maybe. They are easily disturbed by things like “solar flares” and bumps and moisture, so I do not see it as being impossible.

Anyway, she did seem plenty mad, and I do not wish to draw any of her anger my way if I can help it. I have enough trouble.

So, my friends, I have successfully managed to mow my front yard. (The back, I suspect will need the weeds and things pulled out of the ground manually, which will have to happen later.) I did not do an incredibly good job at mowing, I suspect, because this was my first time operating machinery at all, and as I have said before, I am rather insecure about dealing with anything I might find living in the yard without my magic to help guard me. It seems that people like to mow in some kind of very specific way, but I cannot quite grasp what is so special about one method over another.

To Mow:

You will need:

  • A hag stone – if you cannot actually find an authentic, adder stone, then any rock with a hole in it will do.
  • Lawn mower – I found a lawn mower in the little shack that humans call a “shed” in back, and it appears to run on electricity, because I had to plug it in with a long orange power cord. It reminds me of the vacuum contraption I have not yet found the courage to use, I fear it may suck up something important, and then where does it go? Is the vacuum a portal into another place where it disappears? Is there an alleating nomgog living inside of it? Or is it as boring as all the other human things are and must be emptied, so sucked up objects are not lot forever? Oh well, back to mowing.
  • Somewhere to put grass trimmings – in my case, this is an extra garbage bin that is reserved for organic waste. Most convenient.

First, since so many varieties of Folk like to live hidden in grasses and things, and many are very good at concealing themselves when living in human territories, make sure to scan the yard for any signs of them by looking through the hole in your hag stone. Of course, I am not allowed any magical implements, so I had to do this by tramping about and ringing a bell, to make sure they all left the yard before I got started, which seemed to amuse some of the youths on my stet to no end. You might think they weren’t taught anything about how to scare off mystical creatures. Negligence, for sure.


Luckily, my yard seemed free of any of the things that might wish to inhabit such lovely tall grass, and so I was able to get on with mowing.

As I said, this particular mower is electricity driven*, and so I must watch for the cord at all times, so I decided the best was was to hold the cord behind me and attack the grass in a forward and back kind of motion, going over each patch of grass and weeds until it seemed shorn close enough to the ground. Some patches were tall enough that I had to raise the end of the lawn mower and sort of set it down on top.

The way these mower things work is they have blades beneath a big compartment that spin around and cut the grass, then the clippings are flung back into a bag kind of thing, like what one might pack harvested krikri eggs into to take home. This bag fills up quite quickly when the lawn has been let to grow, and so must be emptied into the receptacle. Just take it off, dump all the trimmings into the open top of the bin, then stick it back on and keep mowing. If you wait too long, then, well, it’s messy and probably just trust me on this. Empty it often.

And there, now my neighbor lady has not reason to be angry with me anymore, and she can turn her attention to figuring out how her husband knows so blighted much. At least while she is back, he probably won’t be asking me to come and eat his evil food offerings for now. At least I hope.**

*The Internet tells me that most lawn mowers are gas and oil powered, and give off noxious fumes. I am most grateful for the inconvenient but not poisonous option of electricity. There are others which have a bunch of spinning blades that move when the contraption is pushed forward by hand, but that is just creepy. And all that iron to possibly touch? No. In my human disguise, I am not so badly hurt by iron as most fae, but I do not wish to handle spinning blades of death either.

**Although this issue is a welcome distraction from my Council troubles.

(1,567 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 the 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)