Saturday, July 9, 2011

Still working my way through the things that needed to be done before the roof fell plus the things that always need to be done plus the new things coming in. One of the things that both needed to be done before the roof fell and always needs to be done is to clean off the porches, which tend to get things piled on them especially when I’m in the middle of something. Which seems like most of the time these days.

Before the roof fell I was trying to wrap up painting the garage, so there was a bunch of painting stuff on the back porch, and the front porch always ends up with a little bit of everything on it, so that needs to be gone through and beaten back into submission every few months. The front porch also happened to be the place where Scrap things ended up when they came home with me (for whatever reason) as part of the moving tumult so it was in worse shape than usual.

I’ve taken some of the Scrap things back already but I’m listing what I still have here because I think it’s funny and gives an interesting snapshot of life at The Scrap Exchange and what the move was like. This is what I ended up with:

  • a 90s-era all-in-one stereo system (receiver, turntable,  dual tape player, CD player) with a Japanese record on it
  • a can of gold glitter spray paint
  • a sewing machine
  • a 3,210-page Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary from 1934
  • a partially completed geometric art piece by Artie Barksdale
  • two rolls of paper towels
  • a container of table salt
  • a Mac G4 tower with a power supply problem that I’ve been needing to try to fix for the past year. It was on the porch for a week before I noticed that the VGA to DVI monitor adapter that I’d torn my office apart looking for in March was attached to the back of it. Oh right, that’s where I put that.

There you have it. Japanese LPs, unabridged dictionaries, sewing machines, and glitter spray paint. All in one store. What more could you want?

So today after tackling the porches I decided to wash windows.

Window-washing is a much maligned activity — all those cleaning people saying they don’t do windows has made everyone think it’s horrible — but I really don’t think it deserves the bad rap and in fact I find it rather zen. You get some nice exercise and you can focus all of your attention on looking through the glass and making sure you got everything which leaves no energy at all to worry about all the other things you end up worrying about when you should be doing something else. And nothing makes your house feel cleaner than shiny, clean windows.

Next time you feel like your house is missing something and you need to redecorate, try cleaning the windows first. That might be all you need.

And if you’re so inclined, here are a few recipes for do-it-yourself window cleaners.

Use the first if you have ammonia lying around that you’d like to use up, but don’t go buy it just for this. If you’d like to be less-toxic, use either of the last two. I find that the recipes with a little detergent work better than plain vinegar and water. Though I’m still working my way through a bottle of ammonia I bought in 1998 so I use that first recipe and it works great.

I use crumpled newspaper to wipe with and have no trouble with streaking. (Note: Do not attempt with your iPad.)

For any of the recipes, combine ingredients in a spray bottle and then LABEL THE BOTTLE so you know what’s in it. Don’t skip that step. You’ll regret it the next time you go to wash your windows and have to dump out the stuff in the bottle under the sink because you’re not sure what it is and you decide you’d better mix up a new batch just to be safe.

Window Cleaners

All-Purpose Window Cleaner with Ammonia
adapted from Cheaper and Better by Nancy Birnes

2 Tablespoons ammonia
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
2 cups water

All-Purpose Window Cleaner
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
2 cups water

Vinegar Straight Up
1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups water

Happy cleaning!

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