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.”

 

Popping Corn Without Magic

As I have come to realize I may be living without magic for quite some time, I have decided that humans (the Ryan kind anyway) are actually quite interesting, and so I have taken to studying their ways a little. If I can think like a human, perhaps I might be better able to learn how to do things without magic. I mean, they have been living without it since they were born from mud, right? Surely they have figured out a few things.

And in my study of human behavior, I have two nearby subjects to observe.

My neighbors have been quite interesting the last few days, and I am glad because staying inside of the house and trying to figure out how to best perform the actions of life without magic is becoming most tedious. I am very grateful to them for the entertainment they are providing to me. I can hear them very clearly from my bedroom if they a arguing in their living room, as it is about six feet from my living room window, and though a lot of it makes little sense without understanding what they are really talking about – humans talk in circles so much; I wonder how much easier their lives might be if only they were to speak plainly about things, but instead they insist upon talking about subjects that are quite unrelated.

For instance, I am almost positive that the lady neighbor was not actually upset about having to remove a lipstick stain from the man’s shirt collar, and yet she kept talking about how difficult it was for her to forget about, but how hard can it be to get lipstick from clothing? Surely it is not memorable in difficulty? I will have to investigate.

Anyway, I have noticed that when they don’t want to refer to something very directly, they use the word “It” – that is a word they enjoy using. It and another word that Flora has informed me is not to be used in polite company, so I shall pretend they are saying “puck” instead, since Puck the Mischievous is a greatly admired character among our culture, and from what I can tell to “puck up” is to make a mistake or to mess up things very well, both things Puck of the stories was indeed very renowned for. I believe my polite replacement will work well.

I have also been informed that the backyard is an eyesore, yet again, by the lady neighbor. She marched over here after a very loud but unintelligible shouting match… Well, that is not entirely correct. I have discovered a most amazing human delicacy called “popcorn”, which is dried corn kernels you pop into little crunchy balls of delight. They can be coved in just about any flavoring and munched on, and I have learned they are best enjoyed while being entertained, such as when attending a theater movie or listening to a screaming match while leaning out the open window to hear them better on a lovely night.

So there I was, listening and eating pieces of popped corn from a bowl, (I had these sprinkled with melted cow’s butter and dried lavender blossoms), and the lady walked out her front door in the middle of the yelling. She got to her car and had the door opened when she saw me. I waved and smiled; it really was a pretty evening last night, and if I had a driving machine I would take it for a ride with the windows down and let the breeze table my strange yellow hair. Anyway, she saw me and got all frowny and then walked over to the window and stood in front of me with her fists on her hips like she expected me to do something.

I offered her some popped corn kernels, but she got even more frowny and informed me that the front yard being neat now only shows how awful the back yard has become, and that I needed to get that taken care of very quickly (I was polite and did not inform her I almost have that taken care of).

Then, she turned quickly, making her hair fling out behind her in a dismissive fashion. And believe me, I felt very dismissed. I spent the rest of the night practicing the move, thinking it would be most useful the next time my dear sister decides to share her dear ideas about how I am choosing to spend my time and how I am choosing to live in my humble human dwelling and my “even more humble human body”. She gave a meaningful look to my bosom when she said that, and I did not tell her that many men seem to think my human body is not so humble.

I am improving at not saying things that might get me in hot water, which is useful.

Well, I practiced that hair swing almost all night until I was too dizzy to stand. I even tried it on The Cat, but The Cat was much less than impressed and wanted me to brush her instead. Hopefully my powers of hair dismissal are good enough to work on Flora.

The lady neighbor has not returned yet today, and I wonder if the argument was about whether or not he could track her – according to my memory, she is not due for another “business trip” for at least another day. Maybe she is hiding and he will have to guess where she is? She, at least, is not a Council spy, or she would be friendlier to me, I would like to think. The man, though, he seems to enjoy trying to see through my windows at night. I have taken to wearing a robe instead of walking about in nature’s own for now, but I really must see to getting more secure window coverings. Perhaps this weekend.

 

How to make popcorn on the stove:

You will need:

  • A pot for cooking with a lid – I have a rather large pot that Flora used to make soup in, which was quite satisfactory in this endeavor. I I’d try it in a shallower pan at first, but that ended in a rather messy disaster and I prefer to not have to sweep the kitchen so often as I have been needing to. Plus, if you use a larger pot than you think you will need, you can use it as a mixing bowl as well. I will explain.
  • Popping corn – I found some very pretty kernels that are all different colors and they pop up to be slightly different colors, which is simply charming.
  • Fat that can take high temperatures – I choose a kind of cow butter product called ghee, which is basically butter that has had all the things that can burn removed from it. It is a marvelous invention, and can get very by hot without burning.
  • Butter
  • Seasoning for the popped corn – this can be just about anything edible.
  • A large bowl to hold the pop corn.
  • A mixing spoon

Now, of course, in the store you can buy bags of popcorn that simply can be microwaved and will pop up into a little bag of joy, but they are more expensive and limit one to so few choices of flavoring. Plus, the Internet tells me they might contain harmful chemicals, and after going to so much trouble choosing cleaning chemicals that are not toxic, it seems a shame to ruin it by ingesting poisons.

So I shall pop corn on the stove instead for now. Besides, it is some of the best fun I have had yet in my kitchen. If I ever get my magic back, you will still find me with a pot and fire popping corn, because it is better than poking skeskes with sharp sticks for an evening of enjoyment. And that is hard to beat with how their eyes shoot our purple sparks when they get mad.

Anyway, get your things ready to begin with, because this all happens really fast once you get started. You will want to have your pop corn measured – I used 1/3 cup – and the ghee or oil in your pan – 3 tbsp for the 1/3rd cup popping corn, and the bowl convenient to receive the pop corn once it is fully popped. You’ll also want to have butter and salt and any other seasoning you enjoy at hand.

Put your pot on the stove at medium-high heat and drop in 3 tablespoons of ghee. This seems to be a minimum, but I imagine if you would like, since ghee is basically concentrated unsealed butter, you could add more and leave less work of buttering later. If you like salt, this is an excellent time to add it so it can mix with the ghee and then coat the popped pieces evenly. Don’t add anything that can burn though, because the oil is very very hot.

When the oil seems hot, drop in a few kernels of pop corn, and wait for them to pop. They might jump out of the pan, which makes me giggle a lot. Don’t touch the oil or ghee to see if it is hot. This leads to sadness and hurt fingers.

When the sacrificial testing kernels have popped, then the oil is hot enough. Drop in the 1/3 cup of popping corn and cover with the pot’s lid, or else there will be popped pieces of corn shooting all across the kitchen and getting everywhere. So cover the pot, then pick up the pot (you may want to have some of those protective mittens for this), and shake it away from the heat for a count of thirty, then return to the heat and shake it while the corn pops and makes fantastic sounds.

It really is great fun.

It helps to keep the lid loose for crispy corn, but make sure it isn’t so uncovered that the popping corn does not spring out – it is clever and escapes easily.

As soon as the popping slows, uncover the pot and deposit the corn into your waiting bowl so it cannot burn. Burned popcorn smells awful.

Then, put the pot back on the stove and turn off the stove. Melt your butter with the remaining heat and then mix in whatever seasonings you would like to use before dumping the popped corn back in the bowl and stir with a long-handled spoon.

Pour back into the big bowl, find something entertaining to enjoy (like neighbors arguing) while you eat it, and snack away.

I have made three bowls of the stuff today!

 

If anyone has any recommendations for more flavorings, I would love to know what they are.

 

(1,758 words)

 

STICKY: A Note from the Human Author

Hello and thank you for stopping by! If you want to start reading from the beginning, start here.

This blog is a part of a project I am doing this year, in which I am writing a novel each month, and for the month of May I though I’d try writing a novel entirely of blog posts, all of them adding up to 50,000 words.

Each post was written between the first and last of May (though many will be posted in June), and are vaguely edited for obvious errors from the first drafts, though many remain.

If you would like to follow along with the process of me writing a novel each month, please come join me at www.12novels.com.

 

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 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)

 

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)