I’ve been offline since Friday. I went back online a little yesterday. I wrote a post on Saturday about how I’m processing the sadness in Connecticut, but I didn’t go on Twitter or Facebook at all. I know my threshold for tolerance regarding our species’ need to blame stuff and lash out at any threat seen or unseen, rational or irrational: I have no threshold.
I know this: I need to laugh. I do not need to laugh crassly nor heartlessly. The children would want us to laugh. They would pull us out of our barcaloungers and insist we play with them, get on the floor and draw or they would tell us knock-knock jokes, because this is what they do. We can learn from them. My heart is still in Connecticut, but my body is here.
I know that the only way for me to get back to normal is to Get Back to the ever-changing Normal. My own kids don’t have time for me to wallow, so my daily life has been consumed by the more immediate and pressing demands here at the Grass Oil compound of more Cheerios (honey nut variety), kiwi fruit (in wedges, please), socks (clean), underwear (not my fault!) and batteries (always the 9-volts… what STILL uses 9-volts besides smoke detectors?).
No, it didn’t stop there.
We also need more ice cream and the cats need more kitty litter. We are out of 4-watt light bulbs for the window candles. We also need more peppermint bark. These are the urgent pre-winter break things we must have. Did you know you can add egg nog to your coffee? That’s another wintertime treat along with the chocolate. I add nog to my one coffee a day. I drink a singular cup because for me it’s a very fine line between alert and crazed. Of course my mug is 22 oz. Does that matter?
We need less homework and more outside time, but the soft rain falling from the sky is “annoying,” declares Thing 3. “It’s not like a real rain. It’s like a rain that hasn’t made up its mind. It’s like afraid rain.” And then I jumped in and said, “Afrain,” beating Thing 2, who’s 11, to the pun punch. Would it be a pun punch? It’s not really a pun… no matter. I got that one.
I watched Obama’s speech in Newtown that he delivered Sunday night a few times, captivated by his words. When he said (paraphrasing) that from their first steps and the steps after those that we’re basically training our children to leave us, I gulped hard. I hate that all this work is basically preparing me to be left alone. With no one to get after about their homework or to clean their bedrooms for the cleaning ladies or their grastinabik fratzinbrakin shoes left all over the grotisaktzik hallways.
Maybe it won’t be so bad when they leave. Who am I kidding? They’re not leaving. Have you seen the Tide commercial? The two post-middle-aged parents are folding laundry for their adult triplets?
It’s always about the laundry. My life. It’s always about the laundry.
Last week I wrestled with our 30′ aluminum dryer ventilation hose. You know that old adage, you know, the one I’m making up right now, the one that goes, “when you go looking in the junk drawer for the Chap Stik you end up finding your old watch which reminds you to take your earrings to the jeweler so you can pick up your vacuum at the shop next door?” That one? Yeah… well, that’s how my day went down on 12-12-12… the day I erroneously thought that the world was coming to an end. Little did I know it was just an auspicious date… That day, I did NOT go looking for the Chap Stik (which I ended up finding behind the dryer), I discovered a pack of my son’s guitar picks (a pick pack!) which reminded me to go DOWN to the basement and get the other ones so they could all be together.
When I looked for the picks, I saw one in the window of the dryer, screaming for release. I opened the dryer, the cycle was almost done, and I reached in for the pick and noticed that the clothes were warm but they weren’t dry… really. They were like hot, damp clothes — exactly what you’d want on a sore back or knee or something. But I didn’t have a sore back. Yet.
Ruh-roh. I checked the lint trap on the front of the dryer WHICH IS A COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF OUR TIME and it was almost empty. Hmm. Why are the clothes hot but not dry…? I’ll just go ahead and pull out the dryer because I’ve got nothing better to do with my time (I really didn’t, that’s the tragic reality) and squeeze in here doing yoga’s wide-legged lodge your body between two immovable objects pose, also known in Sanskrit as linthostasana and reach over with my far arm to disconnect the back elbow joint leading out from the dryer to the first leg of our dryer vent line… and voila, HOLY LINT DEATH, also known in Sanskrit as supercoughastasana. Omaaaaygaaaaad, my dryer’s hose was like … it was like … it was like this:
Well, no I don’t have a picture of it because I was so utterly freaked out I went in right away to clear it out. It had about 1.5″ of a coating of lint around the inner circumference of the 5″ hose. It was like a clogged artery, but clogged with years’ worth of denim dust and dog hair and ucch. I was more than just a little grossed out.
We have a friend, we called “Jack Bauer” back in the days of “24” when Kiefer Sutherland worked for the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and we had a female president. Our friend “Jack,” worked in emergency preparedness for a well-known government consultancy. He was all about SARS and avian flu and H1N1 and H2N1 and Norovirus and hangnail prevention and preparedness. Because of his awareness of all things biohazard, bioterrorist, viral, deathlike and plague-ish, we got some high-end dust filters and 4 gallons of Purell to prepare us for the end times. We also had 16 cases of tuna, 4 cases of peanut butter, and a ton of water; I bought all those — I’d need SOMEthing to go with my coffee whilst hiding from the zombies. Ahhh those were the days: the post 9/11-fueled paranoia of living 16 miles outside the Pentagon.
The point of mentioning this faux Bauer is that I remembered we had the masks. I grabbed one, donned it completely incorrectly for the first 10 minutes and couldn’t understand why I kept coughing. Oh!
So here I am in my dryer hose clean-out get-up (this is the 2nd shirt I put on during the 2nd phase of the task because my first sweater got completely gunked up when I took it all apart and cleaned it out):
After clearing 13 gallons worth of lint from the entire 30′ I had to reattach everything back together. If you know anything about aluminum hoses, you know more than I. Here’s what I know now: they cut your hands but you don’t see or feel the cuts until you shower. For the first 24 hours, the cuts look like the pink and minor kinds you’d get from adorable kittens and they don’t hurt too much. After the first day, the gashes resemble the kinds of lacerations you’d get from being repeatedly thrusted into the brush by an insane moose cow outside a nice lake somewhere in Maine. Where no one else could be found for miles. Just you and the moose. And the dryer hose. Don’t forget that. Just in case you go looking for Stephen King.
What I’d rather have is that spool of foil tape to wrap around the moose’s hooves and then hog-tie it like I was in a rodeo.
More dryer hose pictures? I’m so glad you asked! Of course!
Do you like the high-tech suspension system?
The tools for the job:
And the view from the outside…
All kidding aside, I’m writing about all this because I want to also share that lint and dryer fires are actually a serious threat. According to an air conditioning services website in Boca Raton:
Every year in the U.S., there are an average of 13,000 house fires caused by clothes dryers. There are also approximately 370 injuries, ten deaths and $97 million dollars in property damage. Most of this damage and destruction is preventable by having the dryer duct cleaned regularly and the dryer serviced when it is not running correctly.
I don’t know what “regularly” means, but I have determined it to mean each time I change my clocks now, I will check the dryer hoses. The lint caught in the hose in the picture on their website was far and away WAAAY worse than mine, but seeing it gives me pause about whether you should go check your hose now… please do. For me to do the entire job, it took about two hours and I bet it saved us some energy dollars too because now the clothes are drying in one cycle.
Well, that’s about it… have a wonderful day. I hope I made you laugh or maybe snicker.