Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Scary Animals

For a long while, I’ve wanted to write about the resident scary animal on our block, who I lovingly refer to as the Evil Parrot. I’ve resisted writing so far because I didn’t think anyone would believe my tale. My sound file is proof the Evil Parrot exists.

The Evil Parrot is one of those huge jobs whose body is about the size of a small dog, and feathers/wings stretch down to the height of a small child.

The owners of Evil Parrot aren’t too friendly. The woman is a lumpen fifty something with greasy stringy hair and bad posture. She likes to wag her finger at the kids, and the spare flesh on her arm jiggles when she does it. One of her eyes wanders.

The man I’ve never seen. There’s a large upholstered chair big as a tank right beyond the door. I can only see the man’s huge stomach and mountainous legs as he watches a very loud TV. He doesn’t get involved with any dramas outside in the yard.

The woman sets the parrot outside in a small tree, and lurks behind the banisters on the porch to warn the children, “Don’t come too close! The parrot bites!”

They didn’t have to tell my daughter twice, but some of the other kids like to flirt with danger and try to touch it. Some of them throw rocks at it.

Evil Parrot reminds me of some of the scary animals from my youth. In my case, it was a big dog that ran loose in the neighborhood. It never bit anyone, but it would run up to children and snarl. Eventually the pound took it away. It was probably only in the neighborhood half a summer, but at the time it felt like a serial killer had invaded our block. I was afraid to go outside.

The Evil Parrot makes me not want to go outside, too. I have to keep all my windows closed when the bird is out. The bird’s speech is haunted. It mimics the sound of children at play, and it’s cries sounds like the devil’s children. The screeches of children living in a tortured reality right on the other side of an alternate plane of existence pierces my calm. Listen to the bird and see what you think.

Parrot Sounds

Friday, October 21, 2005

Salvation through Cleaning Products

When I was young, I never thought I’d be a good housekeeper when I grew up. I went through my twenties and thirties, and still wasn’t a good housekeeper. I’d let the tables pile up with paper and leave the garbage by the back door for weeks. The cats would pee on the floor beside the litter box before I’d change the litter. I was lazy, I guess, and still not grown up.

I grew up when I had a child. My fears for her health made me a super cleaner. All the sudden it mattered if the toilet was clean, because she might fall in or put her hands on the toilet seat, then right into her eyes or mouth. I didn’t want any pets in the house, because I didn’t want her eating their food or playing in their water bowls. I didn’t want the cats licking milk out of her bowl while she ate cereal during Saturday morning cartoons.

A psychologist might say I started my super cleaning activities because I felt out of control. That might be correct. I do feel out of control, and cleaning makes me feel better.

I have discovered three cleaning products I can’t live without.

The Bissell Quick Steamer Powerbrush is a cheap rug steamer, no heavier or cumbersome than a vacuum cleaner. When I used it the first time, I cleaned the whole carpet in our downstairs, and spent the next three hours yelling at kids not to walk on it. It was a lovely, peak experience. I had quite a sense of accomplishment as I emptied the blackened water, and cut and removed big globs of hair from the front roller.

The Magic Eraser is truly a magical bit of rubbery foam goodness. I have no idea how it works. You wet it and rub it over spots. You don’t have to rub hard, and the spots disappear. Get one, and you’ll be amazed at how the spots and smudges come off the wall. You only need one, they last a long time. At my daughter’s daycare, they said it even removes permanent marker, but I’ve not tried it on that yet. It also works on crayon marks.

Lysol spray with bleach removes stubborn stains like kool-aid from the counter top. Now, I know Lysol is pure poison, and I use it sparingly, but if you have a stain you need to remove, this product will do it. Probably bleach in a spray bottle would do the same thing.

You’d think my cleaning life would be completely fulfilled, but truth is I still have a problem cleaning my linoleum. It is always dirty and my next major purchase is the Bissell Steam Mop for floors. I’ve heard it doesn’t get up scuff marks, and I need a magic potion for that.

Once I get the linoleum clean, I’d say my life will be pretty darn perfect. You wait and see.