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.”