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.

 

 

How to Make Coffee Without Magic

Getting ready to make coffee

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I have discovered the beverage coffee.

It never seemed like a good idea before, but I understand that humans use it for energy and so I thought I might give it a try because I do need extra energy and the bookstore where I have been reading about cleaning has a coffee shop where they serve all kinds of caffeinated things, it coffee is by far the best. Well, coffee with cow's milk.

Coffee is a lot like tea, really, except it has this stuff called caffeine which is only in some teas, but not the ones made of flowers and herbs that I am used to but it is s lot like tea because it is hot and tastes good, but is much better than tea because it makes you feel very awake and alive and like you could clean all day and never get tired until you run out of coffee to drink.

This coffee with milk i like is called a latte, and it is warm steamed cow's milk and something called espresso which is like coffee only brewed differently, and you can get flavor in it which is a flavored sugar and if you get a big latte with lots of sugar and coffee in it because I asked for extra coffee, it tastes almost like if you heated up ice cream only it gives you lots of energy.

But it is hard to make lattes at home, so I decided to try the other kind of coffee the kind that is roasted coffee beans and they are ground up and hot water is poured through them and it makes a tea-like stuff only much stronger and it tastes bitter but not in a bad way, especially if you add cream and sugar to it and then it still gives lots of energy and I like it a lot. Humans like coffee so much that they make whole businesses called “Coffee Shops,” and I am intrigued that such a simple thing can be a means to generate this money thing humans must have to survive.

But you can make coffee at home too! There are things called coffee machines that you can buy and they make pots of coffee and they automatically drip hot water that they heat up through the machine and it runs though the grounds and coffee comes out the other end.

A whole pot at my disposal seems a very bad idea. I only want a single cup of coffee at a time because after a couple of cups today I am a positively buzzing, which is lovely. I am zipping about like a glow bug and I cannot seem to sit still and my mind is racing fast, and if I were able to brew an entire pot I might drink too much and vibrate into some other form – who knows how well this human body is constructed.

So one cup at a time, then, for me. Despite how much I love this feeling of running around able to clean and do everything I want to do in a day, I suspect there is a crash at the end like the time I accidentally drank an energy tonic my mother was making for my father after he'd been out terrorizing the locals on all hallows eve. I was zooming around nearly at the same speed as sunbeams until it finally wore off and I slept for a fortnight.

I suspect something similar awaits me now, and I really don't have the time to sleep like that when there is so much cleaning to do before my date with Ryan, though my research has been very fruitful today.

Did you know there is a woman named Martha Stewart who knows everything about taking care of a house? She does! Although I am not sure if it is permissible for me to use her book because I cannot tell if she is truly human for all that she knows and how many books of hers are on the shelf. I would call My Dear Sister Flora to ask, but forming sentences without skipping words is kind of difficult right now. I bought the book in any case, and I will use it until the blasted Council decides that I cannot. It seems like they should make a manual for these kinds of things.

It would be genius, wouldn't it? Being a fairy disguised as a human selling tips on how to take care of everything. It makes me think about what it would be like to have some kind of job like that, not that my sister would allow me to sully myself with work as she is so generous with me.

While I was reading and drinking yet another cup of coffee – because they have fifty cent refills and why not take them up on that, yes? – I realized that humans have books on everything, so why not go ask if there were any on coffee. There were a lot!

Some were boring and only about the history of coffee and where it comes from and some story about dancing goats that I found preposterous (don't humans know a sater when the see one?!), I got around to reading a few books about how to brew coffee and there is a method called “pour-over” when you just pour hot water over the coffee grounds and it makes a single cup of coffee at a time, which would be a good thing for me.

How to make “pour-over” coffee:

Tea kettle – electric or the kind you heat on the stoveYou will need:

  • A coffee funnel – it's a difficult thing to describe, but it is like a conical hat sitting with the narrow end stuck in a plate. I am sure thee is some technical term for this item, but I cannot be bothed to find out what it is just yet, frankly. There is so much to get done!
  • Coffee filters – you can find these at most grocery stores it the coffee section. Get the number 2 cone filter. I did the reading because I have energy to.
  • Coffee, ground – there are many roast of coffee and some are light and some are dark and they all taste very different from each other, so you will want to try many of them to figure out what you like. The lighter roasts apparently have more caffeine with seems like an excellent idea to me.
  • A mug – choose a pretty one because they are more fun to drink from.
  • A cup to set the filter thingy on.
  • Cream and sugar if you want, I like my coffee with lots of cream and sugar.

This is luckily a lot like making tea, and I am happy because I have gotten very good at making tea.

Put the water on to boil (I recently acquired an electric kettle with stops heating water after it boils and doesn't make that terrible shrieking noise the stove-top one did).

Put a clean mug down on the counter and then set the cone filter holder thing on top of it with the wide part of the cone facing up, which makes the most sense. Make sure to put a filter inside of it before dumping in coffee.

This makes a big mess otherwise.

So put in the filter and then scoop one to two tbsps of ground coffee into the filter.

Wet grounds

When the water is done boiling, pour it in a thin steady stream over the coffee grounds, making sure to wet all of them and keeping the grounds evenly wet. This takes a couple of tries to get the hang of, but it is worth it for flavor.

Keep checking the mug beneath to make sure it does not overflow, because the brewing thing is not see-through and while you are concentrating on pouring the water evenly over the grounds. Were I still magic-having, I would merely float the filter thingy above the cup so I could see what was going on, but alas I must handle these things the hard way.

Flavor your coffee with as much sugar and cream or whatever that you like and enjoy. Once the cup is as full as you want, you'll want another mug or something nearby to rest the brew basket on while it finishes draining.

Then, go clean the house. Or write a blog. Or read all about how you can clean a living room like I am. (I will get this place clean enough for Ryan if it kills me!)

Mmmm coffee

(1,324 words)

 

 

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)

A Date With A Human

I do not even know how to begin about the night. By all the goddesses on all the moons, I am a happy pixie, but then I am also a happy human girl and yet I am very torn between the two.

Movies are marvelous things. More marvelous than the liquor store or dandelion wine and fresh sugared daisies. Especially when you are cuddled against a handsome and good-smelling human man while you watch them.

Which he did give me, after all, daisies. In a little bouquet. He said he noticed that I buy them every time I come to the store and so I must like them. I have refrained from eating them so far, in fact I am staring at them now, sitting in a little jar filled with water and sitting on the corner of the desk I use for my computer work.

But I suppose I ought to start from the beginning, yes? Yes I believe I ought.

I was nearly late for how often I changed how I looked. I consulted several sources on the Internet and determined that a movie did not require any sort of formal attire, but I did not want to wear anything he had seen me in before and I wanted to look nicer than usual because I want him to know that this was a special thing for me to do. I even combed my hair and put it up on the back of my head, then put on the funny face paints and powders the way the magazines I have read told me to do.

I must say that before I left, I looked very pretty.

For a human, anyway.

He was leaning against the little black vehicle just outside of his work. I was wearing a little rose petal colored dress that brushes my knees when I walk and he stood up and said that it was very pretty. He wore jeans and a jacket over a blue shirt – I wondered if he did that because I told him that his eyes look pretty when he wears blue.

He opened the door of his car for me, which my reach has told me is a very manly gesture, and then he got in and smiled at me, and looked as nervous and excited as I felt and then we drove off.

We talked a little on the way to the the theater, me mostly about how I have never seen a movie in a theater, though I did manage to omit the story I have about how I used to hang around theater stages and blow out the candles they used to light the stage as a prank.

I do not believe I am allowed to talk about being a pixie in human form. That was something they did not actually address in my “de-briefing,” perhaps because it is so obvious. Someone should tell the Council that the obvious is not always so easy to define.

We got to the movie theater, and he walked around and opened my door for me, and even took my hand to help me stand up. I know I turned red just like when I was talking to him on the phone, so I looked down and smiled, hoping to hide. He kept ahold of my hand and led me into the theater and we bought tickets for some romantic movie he thought I might like.

Which I did. But what I liked even better was the big bucket of salty popcorn we got. (He could not believe I had never tried it before, and seemed to very much enjoy watching my first taste of it.) If you have not had this be fore, it is dried corn kernels that are heated up until they burst open into a fluffy little crispy ball and then the popped kernels are covered in butter and salt. It is amazing.

We also got a couple of the bubbly and sweet drinks humans like to have stashed everywhere, and went into the theater. It is a big room full of seats all facing the screen, just like in a normal theater, and it is dark. We sat down away from the few other people in the room and chatted some about food and some other things while we waited for the movie to start, and he actually told me that if I like popcorn so much, it is possible to make on the stove, and he told me how. I will be trying it as soon as I am able because I really do like popped corn. Between the two of us eating from both enjoyment and nervousness (I eat when I am flustered at least) we were done with it when the move started.

The lights went down and there were several “pre-views” and then the theater went utterly dark for a minute, and in that time, just quiet and quick as could be he kissed my cheek.

It was very hard to pay much attention to the movie after that, but I did like it a lot. I especially liked the bits where the characters kissed, but those distracted me even more because he had his arm around me and all I could think about was what it might be like to kiss him.

After the movie, we walked to a nearby ice cream store (called a parlor) and he ordered me a cone. He even thought to ask me if I had eaten much ice cream, probably because of how my eyes got all wide when I stared at the long case filled with more favors than I even imagined existed in the world, and he ordered for me, on a sugar cone, which is a flat piece of flour and sugar rolled out and cooked into a cone shape, then the ball of ice cream is set on top. This gave me something to do, which helped me relax, because to eat the ice cream this way you hold it by the cone and lick the ice cream, taking care to keep up with it melting. We strolled through the rows of shops and ate and talked some, and I found out that he grew up in some other place called Cincinatti, and that he has a sister, though I am sure his sister isn’t awful like mine, and that he is twenty nine, and he wants to go to school to be a teacher but doesn’t have the money for that yet, but he is staying with his father here in town to save up.

Then he asked about me, so I told him my cover story – the one where I am the troubled child of the family, and so my benevolent sister has decided to put me in a house she owns and she pays me to take care of the place and fix it up. He I’d he thinks I am probably more sheltered than trouble.

If only he knew what kind of trouble I have gotten myself in. I wanted to tell him, I thought the whole predicament might even make him laugh. Normally I am not so awkward around males, I mean, I’m no virgin pixie – I have as much of a thing for handsome elves as my sister does, but this is the first human I have ever had feelings for. And i am awkward because I do not know human courting rituals (I am disinclined to believe the depictions on television), and there is so much I cannot talk about. It all adds up to awkwardness.

But Ryan is very good at putting me at ease. He drove me back and dropped me off in front of my house, and even walked me to the door. (I noticed the neighbors, both of them, the nosy ones, watched us from their window.) I told him he could come to the door but not inside because I have not learned to clean a living room yet.

That made him laugh. I like it when he laughs.

We stopped on my front step and he told me i’m not like anyone else he knows, which is not surprising because he probably doesn’t know any other imprisoned pixies, or if he does they are probably better socialized than I am.

I started to say something back, but then he kissed me, this time on the lips. I have never kissed a human boy before, but this was far beyond my expectations for what it could be like. Far beyond.

It made me sorry indeed I did not feel comfortable with my house enough to drag him inside and continue.

He seemed equally sorry. Eventually, he pulled away and told me to go learn to clean a living room and fast. And to clean the bedroom too, if that was an issue.

I blushed and agreed. And promised to come by the shop first thing in the morning to get what I would need to pop corn, and then we could talk about when he will come and make me dead cow to eat.

He reminded me that is called “beef,” then he kissed me again and left.

I have no idea how I will be able to sleep tonight. All I can think about is Ryan – I have not been this enchanted with anyone since I was a teenage pixie full of hormones.

I will be much more motivated to clean my home now.

(1,572 words)

 

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)

 

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)