Squeak out – Natural WD-40

30 Jan

I’m not feeling so hot today. Not sick enough to force me down, but just enough to make everything I do slow and tiring. And let’s not forget the incessant whining. ‘Cause I don’t like being sick.

However, I did do something kind of cool. Well, I thought so anyway, which is why I’m sharing. Our kitchen cupboards squeak. They have since we moved in. For some reason, today was the day I was taking that squeak out.

I started with some Olive Oil.

Almost empty olive oil bottle

You see, I was saving this bottle, thinking I could fill it with something new, but I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it out. Good thing, because there was just enough to use in my project. So I poured a bit in the cap and grabbed a cotton swab.


Now if you are doing this with a bottle of olive oil you are still using for cooking, I wouldn’t use the cap to hold your oil. Get a ramekin or something. Hinges get grody and you don’t want to be rubbing that grodiness in the cap of the oil you’ll be pouring into your food. Yuck.

Ok, so next, the cotton soaked with oil, I dabbed and rubbed it into the hinge. I made sure to get both inside and out and then swung the door back and forth. Voila! The squeak was eradicated!

But I wasn’t done. Those doors also made noise when they closed. So, using a cork from a bottle of wine that never did manage to get finished, I cut some of it off, and glued it to the bottom corner. The top corner still had a felt circle left from the previous owners. I just used Elmer’s glue for now, since I have plans to paint later and didn’t want anything too, too permanent just yet.

Nifty, eh? Now my cupboards are quiet. As they should be. Ahhhh.


Memorial Day

31 May

Last night at dinner, my daughter asked, “What do we do on Memorial Day?”

“Not go to school,” my wife said.

“It’s a day,” I said, “where we remember the soldiers who have died. But most people barbeque.”

“Oh, so that the dead soldiers can have some food, too?”

Taken aback, I think about it and say, “Well, maybe. Yeah, maybe it is. A little offering.”

My daughter just changed my thinking forever with that one. So, next time something falls through the grill into the coals, just know you’re sending it up to a well-deserving soldier. 🙂


22 May

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I met one. A McCarthy-ite.

Today, at my son’s group therapy, a new mom was there. We were the only two in the waiting room. Within two minutes of exchanging pleasantries, she announced that she fully believed that it was vaccines that caused her sons to have autism. I tried to just be nice and not really comment, but then she started to say some really stupid things. Like it’s never been proven that vaccines work.

“Well, um, no,” I say. “Look at small pox. Once they started vaccinating, they damn near wiped it out. It’s so rare here in the states, it’s nearly extinct.”

“Yeah, but you can’t prove that,” she insisted.

I blinked and frowned and said, “No, yeah, you can. It was killing people all the time. They started vaccinating, and then people stopped dying from it. It’s proven.”

She hemmed and hawed a bit, and then muttered about how there was just an outbreak of measles at a school in New York. “So, see, even vaccinated kids die from it.”

I frowned a bit again. “I’m pretty sure there was a big outbreak because a lot of those kids there were not vaccinated due to the scare of autism. I could have sworn I read about that and that’s why it killed a girl.”

She backpedaled a bit and started talking about some doctor’s blog she reads and how she was looking into all the stuff they put in vaccines and “there are so many problems that they just don’t tell you about. Like the ton of people that were killed because of the swine flu vaccine.”

“Huh. I hadn’t heard about that. I knew a few people, seniors to pregnant women, who got it and were fine,” I say. Honestly, I wouldn’t know anything about what she’s talking about. I didn’t follow info like that.

“Yeah, but you just don’t know. My third son didn’t get vaccinated and it’s like night and day. He’s completely different from his brothers,” she insisted.

I smiled and said, “Isn’t that funny? My daughter is the same. She and her brother are completely different. She’s even labeled as gifted.”

“See? Isn’t that amazing?” she asked, enthusiastically.

“Yeah. But, I mean, both my children were vaccinated.”

She paused and then laid it down with, “Well, you just never know. I mean, even Jenny McCarthy–”

“Oh, yeah, but you know it’s believed her son was misdiagnosed,” I jump in. “All signs point to a disorder or something –I can’t remember its name– that mimics the symptoms of Autism.”

The lady seemed gobsmacked at that and asked, “Did she announce that?”

“I’m not sure if she admits it, but, I mean, before she got a diagnosis for Autism, she claimed her son was a “crystal kid” and that they both resonated on the hue of indigo or something like that,” I said. “I think she was like any mom desperate for any reason as to why this happened to her child.”

After that we both agreed it was a topic that is still hotly debated and started discussing violence in video games.

But, you know, I was kind of glad that happened. We both spoke, we both had differing views, and once we hit a place where we both knew the other wasn’t going to be convinced, we left it alone and moved on. That was refreshing. Very polite. I hope no child that is unable to be vaccinated due to allergies or chemo, etc., has to be around her kid, but otherwise, she seemed like a very polite person.

No regrets

13 May

One day, when I was a kid, my mom was taking my brother and I and a couple of our friends… somewhere. I can’t recall where. It could have been somewhere fun, but probably it was just the grocery store or something. At the time, we all lived pretty far out of “town,” so any trip in was worthwhile for us bored kids. It was summer and between us and town were the fields of produce. Onions and sod and carrots; fields and fields of them with their gigantic cannons of water shooting out over the acres.

photo by Carin Fausett

It was hot on that day. It was always hot in the summer, but hotter in the car. I’m sure my parents bought cars with functioning air conditioning but it always seemed to be “broken.” I can’t recall ever once having the air conditioner on while driving with my parents. It normally wasn’t a problem, especially for us kids. This was back in the day when seat belts were just the straps you held onto as you stuck your head and shoulders as far as you could out of the car. And that was what we did. As we were coasting down the sparsely populated roads, the wind in our hair and a song on the radio, my mom and brother began to talk about those gigantic sprinklers. My mom and brother have always been of the same mind and spirit and suddenly the car was slowing and pulling off onto the dirt shoulder.

“Go for it!” my mom called out and everyone piled out of the car, leaped the irrigation ditch, and hurtled through the fields toward the cool relief of the water. Everyone but me. I was terrified that Mr. McGregor would come running out to chase us away with a pitchfork. I was mortified that we would be trespassing. I sat in the car and shook my head, my heart buzzing to go run off for a moment’s innocent fun, my head in shock at such a daring act.

“Go!” my mom urged. I didn’t go. My mom, not the most patient person, began to seriously urge me out as my brother attempted to see if the power of the mega-sprinklers could shoot him into the next county. I refused to budge, stuck in a limbo of desire and fear. My mom continued to push me, which made me dig my heels in more. I look back now and realize that she would have hopped out to join the kids if she could have and was ticked that someone free to do so, didn’t. But at the time, I could only fear that my mom had lost her mind and would get us all in trouble.

The lark over in a matter of minutes, my friends and brother came running back, hopping into the car soaking wet and laughing. The doors shut, and as we pulled back onto the road I felt terrible. Guilt for disappointing my mom, and regret for not joining in on the fun. I realized that I had stopped myself out of fear and I felt bad about it all the way home.

That incident had to have happened about twenty years ago or so and it stays with me. When I am faced with a decision, I think about that moment and ask myself, “Will I regret not doing it?” I can learn from mistakes, but I can only regret those moments and opportunities that I let slip by. I don’t always master my fears, but I at least make my decisions with memory of the feelings that swirled in my guts as we drove down the road, my friends asking why I didn’t join them.

Two decades later, when I sat in the theater watching a movie based on a cartoon I spent a lot of time watching with my brother, and Sam asks, “Looking back, fifty years from now, don’t you want to say you had the guts to get in the car?” I answered back, “Yes!”

Contemplating decomposition

11 May

Since moving into the new house and having tons more room to breathe and think, my thoughts have turned to making our home and habits more green. In the old house, we could only do so much with what we had. Now, I feel much more capable and able to do it.

First project is the compost bin. I attended a Smart Gardening Workshop in hopes of learning how I can make the new yard more water and care friendly. I’m trying to put us on a consumer diet and reduce how much resources we use. I could claim it’s all for the environment and helping all my neighbors on planet earth, but in reality it has a bit more to do with the bigger mortgage + more utilities = less money equation. But I care about all you guys too and totally try not to hog up more than our share of the resources.

There were a grand total of four people who attended the gardening workshop that Sunday. I guess we were the only godless heathens willing to forego church in order to learn how to better treat this creation we inhabit. The speaker was very enthusiastic and told us all about composting and worm composting. Heady stuff. Composting to create better soil, worm farming to create the mother of all fertilizers. Since I’m working with a bare canvas for the most part and the desert is reclaiming my yard, I figured I better start with making soil that can grow things before I start fertilizing.

Compost bin

Compost Bin

I paid the man my money at the end of the workshop and proudly wrestled the large and heavy box containing the unassembled compost bin into my car. I brought it into my home, displayed it in my living room and had the entire family come look at the cardboard box while I beamed proudly at my new endeavor to save the world and my family money. I was so proud, I left the box sitting there for about a week.

I needed to fully digest the magnificent project I was beginning. I also had to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do next to be successful with it. My wife was excited for me and prodded me, asking when I was going to set it up. She told me of a perfect place for it and asked what types of things she should be saving to put in it. She’s so sweet. I brushed her off, assuring her that I knew what I was doing and was just waiting until the stars aligned correctly or something. I don’t know. Fortunately, my wife is very understanding of the way I jump into adventures with both feet and then freeze up, trying to get my bearings. So she waited and, finally, one evening I just ripped the box open and assembled the sucker in the dying sunlight and the pale glow of the patio light. Now it sits, waiting to be fed.

I’m a little trepidatious with the empty bin, waiting there expectantly. My kitchen scraps seem so little to the big bin. Like I’m tipping sacrificial virgins into the volcano. I tend to over-dramatize a bit. Still, though, I’m going to go forth today, pray to the great composting god and chuck them in there with my shredded junk mail (sans their little plastic windows) and my lint and my bit of grass clippings. Let us hope the composting god and Mother Nature takes my offerings and gives me the bounty of rich soil in a few months.

They sun themselves

19 Jan

My daughter and I were having one of those important-to-a-six-year-old conversations, when she suddenly asks me with a very serious face, “Are werewolves real?”

Now, see, I’ve mentioned before my wife has a wee obsession with the lycs, so, I had to tread carefully here. No one wants to start some weird family feud so I say, “I don’t know.” There. My daughter has said that to me enough times for it to work, right?

Apparently, because she replies, “I know they’re real. They live in Florida.”

A little stunned, since she still thinks California is another country that she’d like to visit some day, I say, “Oh, yeah? I hadn’t heard that before.”

She nods smartly and says, “Yeah. I know that.” Then she walked away.

image via Tosh.0 blog

The more you know…

Giving chopsticks the ax

17 Nov

It would seem that my family and I were either deathly afraid of running out of soy sauce, or we were planning on opening our own Asian cuisine restaurant.

While cleaning out one of two junk drawers in the kitchen, I found –no lie– 36 packets of soy sauce and 19 individually wrapped pairs of chopsticks with the name of our favorite sushi joint emblazoned on the side.

What is it with junk drawers? Why do we need keepers of things we don’t need but fear not having close at hand? It’s the frugal pack rat in me. I pull a handful of soy sauce packets out of the take-away bag and think, “Well, I’ll just store these away and that way, if we run out, we’ll still have some on hand… for emergencies.” Except, we never run out, do we? Oh no, not my soy sauce suckin’ family.

And the chopsticks? Well, what if we decided to have a lovely night with friends and ordered in some Asian food, huh? We’ll need chopsticks, won’t we? Sure, the same restaurant that has been filling my junk drawer would most likely toss a bunch in when we ordered, but how do we know? What if they got stingy, or chopsticks went out of style? Nope, best to be prepared, I say. So we’ll stockpile them, just in case.

Needless to say, they have now been tossed out. And don’t tell me what I could have used them for! I know I am tossing away a possible gold mine, and my inner Earth child is weeping that someone, somewhere is in desperate need of cheap chopsticks that may leave splinters in their mouth. I know that! But I don’t want to pack a box full of the evidence of my Asian food fetish, okay? I’ll just have to comfort my pack rat self with hording every program for every convention or performance I’ve ever been to. Hey, you never know when I may need an alibi for my whereabouts three years ago.

Venturing into The Zone

13 Jun

This morning I went into the place I’m not all that happy going into. The auto parts store. Besides the smell, which burns the nostrils, I am usually chased out of there with the Batons of Testosterone. But I had a headlight out and a four-hour round trip drive today. So, in I went.

You would think that being a lesbian, I would have an automatic pass in. But, alas, I am a femme and, in my area, auto parts places are dominated by men. Mexican men full of the macho. Not that they’re not nice. They are. But in that, “Uh oh, clueless chick in the store. Get her on her way pronto before she whines about the smell!” At the home improvement store I am welcomed and listened to by the butchy women (gay and not-gay). I am also usually wearing my ratty clothes and cussing about a part gone out on my cooler and I need a such-in-such in size whathaveyou and they fix me right up. But today, with my cute hair, sundress, and near-complete ignorance about cars, I was a piece of chewing gum away from being labeled “Dumb Chick.” (As an aside, I really was having a cute hair day!) I was even dragging my children with me. I was going into a gun fight with a stick.

When my daughter, as soon as she got inside, asked loudly, “What’s that smell?” I knew we were had. It was Saturday and all the red-shirted men suddenly disappeared to help other men who seemed to need help carrying out a seat belt or wing nut.

I found the headlight section and fiddled with the computer thing. I didn’t trust what it was telling me, so I wandered back out, popped my hood, and started to fish the old headlight out. Unfortunately, the stupid thing had a latch on it. Just as I was digging my key into it, I heard, “Do you need any help, ma’am?”

Looking up, I saw a very nice, clean-cut, young dude. I was not going to stand on pride on this one and immediately said, “Yes! I can’t get this light out.”

And, of course, there was a simple latch release I hadn’t yet found. *eye roll* I really hate cars.

“I saw you with your key and didn’t want you to break it or anything,” he offered, most likely feeling my defeated embarrassment. Well, ha on him! I was using an old mailbox key. I was smart enough for that!

The nice man then told me how I should clean my battery terminals, explained to me the pitfalls of ignoring dirty battery terminals, and mentioned he was up from Camp Pendleton. That meant he was a Marine. What a gentlemen. I thanked him, barely held back the urge to salute until he drove away, and then trudged back into the store with my old light in hand.

Suffice to say, I won. I got the new one, popped it in, checked to see if it worked, then high-fived my kids as they sung my praises in the parking lot. And then I spent two hours in the car with them, by the end of which, we sorta wanted to high-five each other in the face. But we survived…

…to have all the men in the family come out and ask if I needed help changing the headlight they heard I had out. I happily grinned and told them I already did it myself.

And I refrained from high-fiving them in the face when every one of them asked, “Yourself?