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Hazards of being a Kiwi Superhero in Melbourne

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I am a Kiwi Superhero living in Melbourne. Over the past few years I have been aware of some odd hazards that I face frequently. I’m not going to go on and on about it – OK, maybe a little. The following is a quick list of everyday pitfalls that I navigate on an almost daily basis;

  • If I tell you that it will take 10 minutes for me to complete a task, and you start rolling on the floor repeating “Tun Munutes!” over and over, it will in fact take me 15 minutes. I am too polite to stop you enjoying yourself, and I am also probably too nice to charge you for your mocking time.
  • When I say that I am going to deal with your bins, I am not going to touch your hair, your bum or your delicious sweet pastries.
  • I’ve now got the hang of an appropriate response when asked to change your doona. Initially I was all sympathetic. “Doona” sounds a little like it might be an unfortunate facial condition. I might be a Kiwi Superhero that performs apparently miraculous feats of transformation, but that one was a little perplexing until I worked out that you were talking about your duvet.
  • I never do a swoop-by in thongs. Ever. EVER. And I never will. Wearing a g-string in my humble opinion, is just wrong. And if you’re bending over, crawling around and reaching up to high places all of the time, it’s incredibly impractical. Why do you keep on commenting on my thongs? I know that Kiwis are a little reserved and sometimes over-polite, but even taking that into account, it seems a little rude to guess that I’m wearing thongs.
  • What the hell is an “s-key”? And why would you need one when you go anywhere outdoors? And WHY would you want a key to be wiped down?!
  • Please bare in mind that this Kiwi Superhero is both polite, and a little reserved, and your patience with this question would be most appreciated. Why, why, WHY is the weather never right in Melbourne? It’s “too hot”, “too cold”, “too windy” or “too the same as yesterday”. It seems to this Kiwi Superhero that the weather is seasonally more pleasant than just about anywhere in New Zealand, and I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. Why don’t you wear a raincoat if it’s raining? Why don’t you take off your suit jacket if it’s hot? The mere fact that you can use an umbrella in Melbourne without it turning inside out and breaking within 20 seconds is a bloody great bonus if you ask me. I have worked out that there is in fact a 2 degree range of “just right” temperature for the native Melburnian (which might be different for each individual Melburnian). It seems that the temperature and associated wind conditions were absolutely PERFECT sometime in 1983 – and you remember this day with a great deal of fondness. It is also important to point out that I am actually acclimatising to this cultural habit, and forgetting the 12 year drought that Melbourne suffered from before I arrived, now frown up at the sky when it is “raining”.
  • Of relevance to the point above, this Kiwi Superhero is obsessed with how full the Melbourne water dams are. Australia is internationally known to not have enough water, and to a Kiwi that is used to almost drowning in her raincoat while walking to the bus stop, the thought of not having enough water is BAD. What would we make our grog and coffee out of if we didn’t have water?! So my public service action for today is to show you this link to the Melbourne dam water levels. Please click on it and then check it obsessively every other day – I’d like to share the stress load. You might be interested to know that the levels were heading downwards towards 20% when I arrived. I am slowly “stressing” them towards more healthy flood levels. Help me to fight the good fight peoples.
  • Why do you try and explain directions to me on how to get to your house? Do you know how big (not bug) Melbourne is?? Do you also realise that the same road might in fact have 14 different names along the stretch of the ONE ROAD?! All I need is your address, suburb and maybe a postcode – my NavLady will work out the rest.
  • What is up with your parking signs?! It has taken me years to work out how to read them. I think. It usually goes something along the lines of “You may park here between 7.00am and 7.15am on alternate Tuesdays, but only if the moon is waning, and you are wearing purple underwear. If all of these conditions are not met, I will superglue a ticket to your windscreen which means that you owe me a bazillion dollars. Don’t even bother to explain your ignorance by putting on a Kiwi accent.”
  • You might be interested to learn that the population of Melbourne and the population of all of New Zealand is roughly the same. Consider this when I meet you and instinctively start to try and work out if we know someone in common – in New Zealand, we always do know someone in common. Forget six (not sex) degrees of separation – in New Zealand you’re damn lucky if you’re not related. It is ridiculous how often this applies when Kiwis meet each other overseas as well.
  • There is a secret mission in New Zealand that we are all raised with. It’s very secret in fact. As babies, recorded messages are piped into our bedrooms while we are sleeping, with the repeated message “go forth out into the world, and slowly, politely and reservedly, populate it. Eventually you will take over. Mwahahahahaha!”. I was once in a bar in London and saw a woman in there wearing my (New Zealand) company t-shirt. Of course I went bowling up and starting talking. I went to the same school as her cousin in Whakatane, and knew him quite well in fact. She had been into one of my stores and loved it so much that she “bought the t-shirt”. She introduced me to her 3 mates – who were all Kiwis. None of us were at all surprised by this incident.
  • NOTE: One hazard that I anticipated and avoided when I first arrived in Australia, was a mobile number full of 6s (sux’s) and 7s (seavuns). I spent ages with the young telecommunications salesperson going through my options, and reading her face as I repeated each one – the merest twinkle of an eye caused immediate discounting of said number. Consequently, I do not have to repeat myself 16 times when giving someone my mobile. My home number is an entirely different kettle of fish – which might be why after 2 years I still haven’t memorised what it is.

This has been a brief summary of some of the hazards that this Kiwi Superhero has faced while in Melbourne. You may have other hazards that you, or a Kiwi that you know, has also faced. Feel free to leave a comment so that I can keep an eye out. It’s always good to know that I am a Kiwi Superhero, not stupid, and that others have faced similar hazards. If you liked this blog, please share it as widely as you are comfortable. You might also like to tickle my fancy by clicking on the “thumbs up” symbol below.

Take care my Good Citizens, fight the good fight, check the dam water levels regularly and use your power for good and not evil.

Kiwi Superhero

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Does your dishwasher have stinky breath?

I had a stinky dishwasher

It was an embarrassing problem for a Superhero. Every time I opened the door, a wave of foul stinky dishwasher grossness would pour out and make my eyes water. Even the Feline Avenger would look accusingly at it, sniff it suspiciously, and then recoil back in horror – tail all fluffed up and offended. Clearly it was a big stinky dishwasher problem!

I had tried a variety of “cures” over the past 12 months or so, and I’m afraid I had limited success. I put baking soda into the dispenser and put through a wash (with no dishes). That resulted in maybe a point 2 percentage improvement, So not discernable. I wiped down the inside of it from top to tail. I fastidiously checked the Rinse Aid levels. Then I tried it all over again. A couple of times.

Eventually I went into a state of stinky dishwasher crisis. I found myself at the supermarket looking assessingly at those “nice smelly dangly dishwasher” things that you hang in your stinky dishwasher. I luckily came to my senses. I knew that if I bought one of these, it would be akin to spraying around some air freshener at a fish mongers. And I always find the smell of those things quite offensive. Admittedly, not as offensive as my stinky dishwasher!

So I was galvanised into extreme actions. I was going to take that thing apart, bit by bit, until I found the cause of my stinky dishwasher, by golly! This is what I started off with… (I know it LOOKS innocent enough).Stinky Dishwasher

And so the dismantling began. Remember, this involved putting my head INSIDE my stinky dishwasher, while simultaneously pushing the Feline Avenger away with my foot or hip. Apparently the smell became unimportant when I showed some interest in that stinky dishwasher!

The first step is to fill your sink with steaming hot soapy water. And don’t forget to put on those attractive rubber gloves that you purchased for just such an occasion! Then remove the spinning water flicking thing. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. In my dishwasher, I gave it a gentle yet firm yank and it just popped out. Put it into the hot soapy water and give it a thorough scrub. Actually, in the interests of efficiency, do this with everything that you manage to successfully remove from your dishwasher. There is a silver tray at the bottom of my stinky dishwasher – and all I did to remove this was to turn the thing that looks a bit like a funnel. The whole thing just lifted out – almost as if it was designed for just this purpose! I also unscrewed the thing that you can see pictured on the left. I’m not a dishwasher technician, so I can’t give you one of those jargon names that you will immediately forget.Stinkier Dishwasher

This is where you might like to have some smelling salts handy. Good lord! If you thought you had an unbearably stinky dishwasher before, you might actually loose consciousness at this point.

Get that thing into the hot soapy water as soon as you come around, and scrub. Or let it soak in its own juices for a wee while and then scrub.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the horror. When the silver tray thingy is removed, there is in fact a whole new world of pain revealed. Yep, you have to get back down there into stinky dishwasher hell, and soak out that foul reservoir of *I don’t know what!*, and wipe away the “film” that coats everything. You’ll want to do this quickly and efficiently. My dishwasher had no more pieces that I could obviously or easily remove, and so ended my dismantling adventure.

Right. That is the worst of things over! The next step is to put everything back the way you found it. In the reverse order. You probably don’t need to take photos of each step – it’s pretty easy. Then fill the (still slightly stinky) dishwasher dispenser with baking soda, and run it through a wash cycle – with no dishes.

After going through this process, I was very satisfied with the result. I had opened my previously stinky dishwasher with some trepidation when the wash cycle completed, and there was no immediately discernible smell. A few days later, and my dishwasher is still not offending me. However, a note to the wise: if you are like me, and only run your dishwasher every few days, the dishes and food gunk sitting inside waiting to be cleaned WILL start to smell. This is the natural decaying process. You can either run your dishwasher when it is not full, do your dishes by hand, or put up with a stinky dishwasher (less so after you have cleaned it hopefully).

Let me know how you felt about this blog by giving it the thumbs up or down below. If you have a better solution for fixing your stinky dishwasher, please share with the group and leave a comment!

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Vacuum character types

Seven Vacuum Character Types

I do a lot of vacuuming. As such, I have a lot of time to ponder the meaning of life, and more specifically, why and how we vacuum. I have some unanswered questions, such as “why does there need to be two “u”s in the word “vacuum”?”.  I decided that perhaps others had questions too, so of course I turned to Facebook. I asked folk to tell me their weird and wonderful tales about vacuuming.

After extensive research, I have categorised and defined the following seven vacuuming character types. Like any scientific characterisation system, you may display symptoms of several of these.

Bionic Bicep

The “Make it Fun” Vacuumer

It is “Vacuum Day”, but the floor looks like it could probably go another few days before needing to be done. The Make it Fun Vacuumer will sprinkle rice on the floor. They justify this behaviour by noting with satisfaction that the floor now definitely needs to be vacuumed and that they will enjoy the sound explosion as they skip their way around the house. The Make if Fun Vacuumer may also have a special “Vacuuming Outfit”. [If this sounds like you, but you don’t have a special outfit, I recommend tying a teatowel around your neck and wearing your undies on the outside.]

The Obsessive Vacuumer

This adorable soul is likely to (a) look at the floor while vacuuming, and (b) want the floor to be absolutely spotless when finished. Any possible dust or smidge of crap should be gone. This person is likely to give any possible UFO (Unidentified Filth Object) at least 7 opportunities to be sucked into the vacuum cleaner before bending down, scratching at it with their fingernail, dropping it onto the ground, and again trying to suck it up. If you know an Obsessive Vacuumer, and are a little sadistic, you might like to chop up a sticker into teeny tiny pieces and then strategically place these on the carpet in difficult to get to, yet visible, locations. Then sit back and watch the show.

The Reluctant Vacuumer

You know this person. You might be this person. This is the person who waits until the UFOs on the floor are absolutely doing their head in before dragging out the vacuum cleaner. This person doesn’t need to sprinkle rice on the floor to make the experience a noise sensation – all sorts of random UFOs are going to be banging their way up the hosepipe.

This person is also likely to have a vacuum cleaner that constantly makes a high pitched “help me” noise while it is being operated. This is because the bag has needed to be changed for the last 6 months, and the noise and red flashing lights have been “overlooked” by the Reluctant Vacuumer. The greatest hopes of the Reluctant Vacuumer are that (a) someone else does the vacuuming this month, and (b) someone else empties the blasted bag.

The Look At Me Vacuumer

This is the person who chooses to do this particular household chore in order to underline definitively that they have DONE their share of the chores this week. They will vacuum around you and under you while you are trying to complete a delicately balanced task. They are also likely to utilise tricks to make sure that the task seems more complex and physical than it needs to be, like banging the vacuum against every doorframe in the house, and perhaps taking it to pieces in front of you while muttering about “the strange high pitched noise”. After reading this blog, they will seriously consider not only sprinkling rice around the house, but also possibly a few kidney beans for the pure drama.

The Song and Dance Vacuumer

This person most definitely has a special dance outfit that they use when vacuuming. They will always have music blasting while vacuuming. They will use the hosepipe as a microphone. There are two little known subspecies of the Song and Dance Vacuumer – the Smart Song and Dance Vacuumer (this subspecies will actually turn the vacuum cleaner off before using the hosepipe as a microphone) and the Hickey Song and Dance Vacuumer (this version sports the distinctive round hickey on their cheek after a hosepipe microphoning incident went badly wrong. They always swear that next time they will turn the vacuum cleaner off before singing into it, but this subspecies rarely jumps camp).

The Make it Sexy Vacuumer

This person watches a lot of movies. They know that any boring household chore can be made into foreplay. They get their vacuuming outfit from a lockable box underneath their bed. They utilise several characteristics of other vacuuming types – but with a completely different outcome in mind. They will vacuum (in their outfit) to music (probably Barry White). They are also likely to do anything to get your attention while they are doing this chore – even if you are completing a delicately balanced task. They will play dirty tactics if they have to. Or if they want to. Let’s face it. They want to. Give in, and make sure that you pull the vacuum cleaner cord out of the wall (especially if the Make it Sexy Vacuumer also has Hickey Song and Dance Vacuumer tendencies).

The No Fuss Vacuumer

This is the rare individual that quickly and efficiently zips around the house like a blur, making minimal fuss, doing a great job and putting the vacuum cleaner away where it’s actually supposed to live. This person, while appreciated, is likely to be misunderstood by 99.1% of the population. While their vacuum cleaning successes are widely acknowledged, folk don’t trust them, because clearly something is NQR (Not Quite Right).

If you enjoyed this blog, please give it the thumbs up below, and share the bejeesus out of it on Facebook, Pinterest, Google + etc by clicking on any and all of the handy social media icons that you find on this page. I’d also love to hear what type of vacuumer you are – and if there are further character types that need to be added to this.

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From the Feline Avenger

Xmas is about cats

Dear My Human (and friends),

I have hacked your account because you’ve got it all wrong. I am the Feline Avenger – stop calling me “Fizz”.

I know you get all stressy at this time of the year, because you only brush me twice a day. Unacceptable.

I heard you talking to your friend about Xmas, and how busy it is, and frankly, it’s really starting to annoy me. I am the King of this Household. I am the Lord of My Domain. Xmas is about cats, and I cannot believe that you have forgotten this. Let me remind you, in a fashion that you might understand – because all of my usual communication strategies seem to be falling on deaf ears. Dumb arse.

Listen to The Feline Avenger!

There are twelve days of Xmas. Let me sing you the song of my ancient people, before our traditions were appropriated by that German guy (Saint “Someone”, or Sinta “Something”…). I’d also like you to carefully follow the instructions that are cleverly hidden within…

On the first day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

A scratching post that’s very spark-ley

Feline Avenger Scratching Post

Feline Avenger’s Scratching Post, which every day gets a little balder…

On the second day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Two penthouses

Feline Avenger Penthouse

Feline Avenger’s Penthouse Lair, from which I survey my domain, and show everyone my bum.

On the third day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Three plant leaves

Feline Avenger's Munching Leaves

Feline Avenger’s Munching Leaves (My Human has given up trying to stop this)

On the fourth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Four seedlings trying

Feline Avenger's Doomed Seedlings

Feline Avenger’s Doomed Seedlings

On the fifth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Five wrigley toes

Feline Avenger LOVES Toes

Feline Avenger LOVES Toes (and stinky shoes). By the way, these are NOT My Human’s slippers…

On the sixth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Six balls to chase

Feline Avenger LOVES to play Fetch. For hours.

Feline Avenger LOVES to play Fetch. For hours. (I’m a dog-like cat, it has to be said. There’s nothing wrong with a cat playing Fetch.)

On the seventh day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Seven bowls of cat food

Feline Avenger-sized Cat Bowl

Feline Avenger-sized Cat Bowl. Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

On the eighth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Eight sunny beds

Feline Avenger Beanbag. Stop trying to sit in it. Get your own.

Feline Avenger Beanbag. Stop trying to sit in it. Get your own.

On the ninth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Nine moths escaping

[NOTE: No photo because My Human is always laughing too hard to take a photo. Plus I am super fast.]

On the tenth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Ten plastic beds (I know it’s a double-up. That is intentional. Every Feline Avenger needs far more than merely 12 beds!)

Feline Avenger Bed

It’s exhausting being a Feline Avenger. I need to sleep. A lot. Not that you can see me sleeping. I’m invisible.

On the eleventh day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Eleven illegal locations

Feline Avenger "illegal" location *snort*

Feline Avenger “illegal” location *snort*. It seems like EVERYWHERE is illegal, and I like it that way… I AM the Feline Avenger after all…

On the twelfth day of Xmas, my Human gave to me…

Twelve brushes stroking

Feline Avenger being brushed

I would like to make it very clear to My Human that this doesn’t happen nearly enough. You know I like. Now get your shite sorted out and spend more time at home doing this.

Eleven illegal locations

Ten plastic beds

Nine moths escaping

Eight sunny beds

Seven bowls of cat food

Six balls to chase

Five wrigley toes

Four seedlings trying

Three plant leaves

Two penthouses

And a scratching post that’s very spark-ley

The Feline Avenger relaxes

The Feline Avenger relaxes after a hard day of nefarious mischief (note to The Human – please supply me with a real cigarette, and not this fake crap!)

 

Now less singing, more brushing…

In Disdain, The Feline Avenger x

[NOTE FROM THE HUMAN: I don’t want to encourage his “delusions of grandeur”, but if you like this post, please click on the little thumbs up below. If you’ve got anything that you’d like to say to “The Feline Avenger”, leave your comments here and I will pass them on. Probably while I’m brushing him. Sigh.]

 

 

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Polish Silver

No Fuss Method: Polish Silver

Sometimes eco is king. Usually in fact. Do you want to know how to polish silver the easy, eco-friendly way? Read on, because the chances are that you have everything you need, right there in your pantry cupboard. No need to hunt down expensive pastes and polishes at the supermarket. No need to go and finish that chemistry degree. No need in fact to go to much trouble at all. Just a no fuss way to polish silver.

It all boils down to one magic ingredient.

And yes, I’ve been banging on about this magic ingredient in several of my previous posts.

Baking Soda.

There, I said it. You can polish your silver, in next to no time, with baking soda.

And of course there’s a catch. No, actually, there is no catch. It will literally take you a few minutes to polish silver, and you don’t even need a polishing cloth.

I have been polishing silver now for… erm… quite a few years (the less said about that last part the better). In the early years it always involved sitting down with Super Gran, getting out the Silver Polish and the rags, and rubbing that paste stuff in until my eyes watered and my fingers cramped. Surprisingly, Super Gran did not give me this secret, easy, eco-friendly and cheap method… This little baby is the result of hours of research, lots of reading, and the sacrificial experimentation of a loved-one’s silver. So here it is. Do this:

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Fill a deep pan with water. The pan needs to be large enough to house your biggest silver piece – or at least half of it.
  2. Heat the water until it starts to simmer, and then add 1 tablespoon (1TB) of baking soda.
  3. Throw a loosely crumpled piece of aluminium foil into the water.
  4. Immerse your silver piece into the water (with tongs probably – safety first!), for about 30 to 45 seconds. You will notice that the silver starts to shine, and the aluminium foil starts to go black.
  5. As soon as your silver is nice and shiny, rinse it in some soapy water, and dry immediately.
  6. You can continue using your baking soda water to polish your silver – just replace the foil as it blackens. What it is doing is attracting all of that yukky oxidation from your silver and taking it for itself. Which is exceedingly nifty in this instance.

Done.

And there you have it. I really did stretch those steps out in order to make the step-by-step last, but you can see how short this method is. It is also a ridiculously cheap, eco-friendly and easy way to make your silver shine. Polishing your silver will no longer seem like an awful task that you put off as long as possible! Polish silver with joy.

Go on! Get that blackened silver out of your cupboard and give this method a crack. You know you want to. Then let me know how you go. If you have any questions for your resident Superhero in Disguise, please just ASK.

Do you have a better way to polish silver that does not involve store-bought or expensive products? Would you like to share with the group? Please leave a comment and let me know if it’s easier and more effective than this method.

Polish Silver Easily

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Oven Tray of Shame

Grime Fighting with Baking Soda

So for all of my reader (yes, I know there’s just one – thanks Mum), you will have realised that I have a deep and abiding commitment to fighting Grime. In all of its glorious forms. And I’m a big fan of Baking Soda. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. Win.

Being a true blue Superhero (cleaner), I take a certain pride in maintaining a secret lair that is Grime-free.

Well, not entirely Grime-free it turns out… Look what has been hiding in my oven. I’d like to introduce you to my Oven Tray of Shame. I think it is supposed to be non-stick. And like almost every non-stick product in the world, some baked on crap clearly sticks. I was going to suggest that NASA go back and revisit that non-stick spaceship technology that they came up with, but upon investigation, have found that the technology was stumbled upon by Roy Plunkett of Dupont fame in 1938. Pity, the spaceship technology connection fits in much better with the whole Superhero thing…
Baking soda challengeSo, back to the story.

This oven tray has been doing my head in for months and months. I have tried scrubbing. A lot. My hands have suffered. But most importantly, my pride has suffered.

I have been doing a fair bit of experimentation with general household solutions that Super Gran used to use. Super Gran of course is the inspiration for all things heroic in this Superhero’s life. Super Gran could also best be described as a product of her generation. Accordingly, she raised six children on a budget of… well… not much. She had an amazingly effective and cheap or free solution for just about any household problem. I don’t ever remember seeing anything in her kitchen that could be described as non-stick, but I can happily report that everything was sparkly clean and organised.

Mainstay cleaning products for Super Gran = white vinegar, caustic soda, baking soda and soap.

She never shared her specific cleaning recipes, because I don’t think she even thought that there was anything interesting about what she was doing. However, I did trail around after her “helping” as a child and teenager (pre-Superhero) and I can remember quite a lot.

At the moment I am experimenting with the general principles that I saw her use, searching the internet for information, and potentially sacrificing my Oven Tray of Shame, in search of a truly eco-friendly, budget-friendly, muscle-friendly solution. I want to effect an inhuman transformation, with not much effort, and spending no money (ie, I want to use what I already have in my lair).

Plan A: So I start out with a general basic cleaning recipe – water, vinegar and baking soda. I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with baking soda, tip some white vinegar over it (mostly because the chemical reaction is so damn cool!), and then fill to the top with warm water. And I wait for about 30 minutes. I haven’t got all day after all! When I go back to the Oven Tray of Shame, I don’t see much difference actually. I’m a little disappointed. Super Gran had sparkly kitchen equipment – surely some of her pragmatic genes have rubbed off on me?! I give the tray a bit of a scrape with the back of a teaspoon. Nothing. So then I have a good ol’ “put a bit of elbow-grease into it” scrape with the back of the teaspoon. Wait! I see a light line, which surely indicates that oven-baked crap has come off? I am encouraged, and keep scraping for a couple of minutes, before remembering that actually the whole point of this exercise is to work out an EASY way to do this…

Back to the drawing board.

Plan B: I then try the oldest trick in the book. I fill the Oven Tray of Shame with warm water, spray a bit of dishwashing detergent in, and go to bed, hopeful that in the morning, there will be sparkles blinding me when I come into the kitchen.

I had a good sleep, thanks for asking :).

In the morning, however, same same. EXCEPT, that further vigorous spoon-scraping activity produces more results. Obviously some level of crap has been softened by the soaking. Still, the way to clean the Oven Tray of Shame is surely not to pop a shoulder scraping it with the back of a teaspoon!

Plan C: Back to old-fashioned methods. Again, mostly because I like the homemade volcano-like chemical reaction… I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with Baking Soda. I then cackle maniacally as I pour a quite small amount of white vinegar over it, and watch it fizz and puff up. Honestly, I’d clean just about anything with baking soda and vinegar – if it didn’t wreck stuff when used incorrectly that is.

When the fizzing and popping settles down, and is no longer interesting to watch, I wander off to do other more interesting things. Every few hours I half-heartedly do the old teaspoon scrape test. No difference. I leave it overnight again, and when I arise, rush to the kitchen, excited to discover the results. Hmmmm, there’s a hard white film of baking soda covering the Oven Tray of Shame, that I have to rinse off. And… No change.

Dang.

One more try. Plan D: I repeat Plan C. Yes, I know it didn’t work. But that volcano thing is SO COOL!

4 hours later, some vigorous teaspoon scraping, and THIS is what my Oven Tray of Shame now looks like.

IMG_2689[1]

I’m off to the supermarket to buy some oven-cleaner, and I’m gonna nuke that little bugger. Eco FAIL. Please hold caller. Further experimentation results pending…

Do you have a tried and true baked-on-oven-crap solution that you can share? Feel free to leave a comment Mum!


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Organise your laundry

How to organise your laundry room

I think you should organise your laundry. Really. You will feel a lot better about your entire home if you organise your laundry room.

The laundry room can often be the hidden nightmare of a home. It’s usually a small room that is tucked away somewhere so it will be out of sight. And yet it’s very rarely out of mind, because most of us use this room fairly regularly. Not only do we do our washing in this room, we often also store cleaning products and equipment, chuck our dirty washing in there (until we’re ready to do a wash), dry our clothing in there, and feed the animals as well. Then there’s the “I’ll just store this junk in here” factor to consider.

If you organise your laundry room and keep it clear of clutter, you will feel a lot better about the state of your home. There are some simple things that you can do to ensure that order is maintained, and chaos does not (often) descend.

  1. Sort out your storage. Usually a laundry room will have at least a couple of cupboards or shelves. These have been designed into the room because of the primary functions of this room. Use these built-in storage solutions to maximise the functionality of your laundry. Decide what functions exactly your laundry will have, and make sure that you have arranged your storage accordingly.
  2. Clean. When you are sorting out your storage, take everything out and give all surfaces a clean. The laundry doesn’t usually get a lot of TLC (Tender Loving Cleaning) attention, so doing this at least every year will make sure that awful mold and scum does not slowly build up. You are not trying to bake a cancer cure behind your 3 year old Silvo! This is a great bonus when you organise your laundry room.
  3. Hang. Find a spot that is out of the way where you can hang broom/mop clips – good spots are often behind the door or inside a tall cupboard. When you hang your brooms and mops up off the floor, you will find that the room instantly feels less cluttered, more organised and for some reason, larger. It’s a small solution that will cost you less than $20, and it makes a surprisingly significant difference. It certainly makes you feel like you have organised your laundry!
  4. Consolidate. You are probably storing your household cleaning products in your laundry. If you have young ones, it almost goes without saying that you should childproof wherever these poisonous chemicals are living. That is an absolute must! For the rest of us, for some reason, many of us collect cleaning products like we used to collect rubber erasers in the 80s. We have 5 different spray cleaners, 14 types of washing machine powders and liquids, 4 different window cleaners, 20 mould removal sprays and as many “specialist clean” products. If you take all of these products out from their various hiding places, and arrange them so that the same types are together, you may notice that you have a cleaning products hoarding issue. Don’t worry! The worse thing about this is that you don’t need to spend any money on cleaning products for the next year. Budget bonus! Now, to get this organised and sorted… For those products that are exactly the same, pour (like-to-like) products into the same bottle. If you still have left-overs, put the full containers into a box or bin (which is now your cleaning product supermarket – this is where you go FIRST when you’ve run out of something and need to replenish), and USE the not full container first. When you have consolidated and poured the little “ends of bottles” into one or more bottles, you may in fact have a mountain of recycling. That’s OK. Recycle them. Put your cleaning product supermarket box or bin somewhere that is more out of the way, and your current “I’m using these” products somewhere handy. On a shelf, or in an easily-accessible cupboard for example.
  5. Clean again. Just because you can. And the room will feel soooooo much better if it is not only organised, but clean as well.
  6. Wash. I often find that the laundry room feels and looks chaotic simply because no-one has done the washing. Keeping on top of it regularly means that you are maintaining your clothing and bedding needs, AND you will spend a little time often doing it – not 3 months without sleeping (which is what we often do, and which is also why we often hate doing the washing).

So these are my tips for how you can organise your laundry. Have I missed out some gem of advice? Do you do something that transforms your laundry? Please leave a comment (mostly so that I know that a living person has read this). In the meantime, happy cleaning my little Superheroes in Disguise… Now go organise your laundry. If you would like a hand with this (mammoth?) task, CLICK HERE and book a time with your Superhero Cleaner or ASK A QUESTION.

Organise your laundry


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De-clutter your life!

 Is your stuff getting heavy? Maybe it’s time to de-clutter!

By “heavy”, of course I don’t mean “weighs a lot”. We’re talking about clutter! When you look around, do you get the overwhelming feeling of not being in control? Do you have piles of stuff around the place, and you’re really not sure what is in them? Do you know that you really should tidy up, but the size of the job is getting you down?

You are not alone! We’ve all seen those programmes on telly about the super hoarders, and the good news is that they are the extremes. The reality is that even the most organised amongst us, have piles of crap that we have been meaning to get to. It’s all about the spectrum, and it’s all about how we like to live. One person’s lovely warm piles of momentos is another person’s nightmare. If you are finding that your lovely warm piles of momentos are starting to look at you with slightly aggressive slanty sideways eyes, it might be time to consider moving some of it one to a more appreciative home. Or recycling bin. Or rubbish bin.

Anyone can de-clutter.

In fact, Superhero in Disguise does it professionally.

The following are 7 steps that you can take, to de-clutter your home and (according to some theories) your life.

7 Steps to de-clutter your home

  1. Keep it simple. Choose just one area to tackle at a time. It’s really tempting to try and do it all at once, but what you are likely to find is that you become despondent over the size of the task, and give up. This will just contribute to a general feeling of being overwhelmed. I would suggest that you choose an area to start with that you use a lot, and is relatively small. You might choose the laundry, or a bathroom, or if you want to do the kitchen, perhaps just start with the pantry cupboard.
  2. Take out the rubbish. Have plastic bags on hand, and just remove everything that is rubbish. Packaging (that you probably thought still had stuff in it) is a common offender, as is newspapers, junk mail, and old paperwork. You will likely be surprised by how much rubbish you have in such a small space.
  3. Clear your space. Take everything substantial out of the room that can be easily moved, that you know you will want to keep. By this I mean chairs, tools, plants – anything that feels as if it is hampering your ability to move in the space easily. If the room has plenty of space, you might choose to stack it all in a corner, but it really is best to remove as much as you can.
  4. Consolidate. Now you’re still probably surrounded by a bunch of stuff. The next step is to consolidate. By this I mean, if you have three, either combine or throw away/set aside for eBay/recycle/re-gift. A classic example of this can be found in many bathrooms. How many bottles of shampoo do you have on the go? How many bottles of shampoo that are exactly the same do you have on the go? If it’s more than one, fill up the one you are using now with the dregs of the others, and then (this is the important part), put the empty shampoo bottles into your recycling bin. Another classic example is supermarket bags. How many of these are you actually likely to use before you get more from the supermarket? For most of us, not more than one supermarket bag can actually hold. Put all of the rest into your recycling bin. Trust me, there are plenty more out there if you need them – and let’s face it – you probably also have a whole bunch of reusable bags as well.
  5. Allocate space. Have you noticed that the space you are in has a primary use? If you are in your bathroom, it’s function will be to clean you, make you look presentable, and perhaps to help you maintain your good health. For that reason it will have body cleaning products (shampoo, soap, toothpaste etc), beauty or maintenance products (make-up, shaving equipment, a hairdryer etc) and perhaps a first aid kit. Have a think about what the functions are for the space that you are in, and then decide on where those functions happen. All of the products or equipment associated with each function should be in the area that you need it, and only in that area. So, if you are in your laundry, your cleaning products should all be in the same place – not in two or three different storage spaces.
  6. Clean. In order for you to clean your surfaces, which feels absolutely amazing by the way, you need to clear those surfaces. Now that you have allocated spaces, take everything out of those spaces, clean the surfaces, and then put everything that should be there within easy reach. If there are things that you use only occasionally, put them at the back. For those things that you use all of the time, have them within easy sight and reach.
  7. Restore. You still have all of those big things either in the corner of the room, or out in the hallway. At this stage, you should have clear, clean and shiny surfaces around you, and you will notice a big difference about how you feel in that room now. You should start by bringing in those things that are most important in that space. When you bring things back in, pause and think about how it makes you feel to increase the “stuff” in there. If you get to a point where the space feels like it is again too cluttered, think about whether you really DO need that extra thing. Chances are, you don’t. At this point, it might be wise to consider what else you can do with that extra clutter. You don’t want to have to de-clutter too often!

Here is an example of a laundry that I have recently de-cluttered and cleaned. I have included a couple of before and after shots. The client is delighted with the result, and hopefully my amateur iPhone shots will give you an idea of the different feel of the room now. I’ll start with some before, and then after shots. If you would like to book in your Superhero to de-clutter your life, CLICK HERE to get in touch, or CLICK HERE to book a time. Either way, let me know if you have questions or comments about this post.

Laundry Clutter Before 3

Equipment and rubbish (that doesn’t seem like rubbish) can close in your space.

Laundry Clutter Before 2

More clutter…

Laundry Clutter Before 1

Clutter on the floor quickly piles up!

Laundry Post-Clutter 2

Removing rubbish, consolidating, organising and cleaning and really change the feel of the space.

Laundry Post-Clutter 1

Clearing and cleaning surfaces quickly pays off.

 

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Make your own Eco Spray

So by now it should be obvious that your Superhero cleaner is into all things clean and green, including Eco spray. Over the years I have tried many many many cleaning products. In my hoarding youth days, the category of “cleaning products” was one of my problem areas in fact (along with VHS recordings of Dukes of Hazard, Shortland Street and Sunday Sob Movies, amongst other things). In this post I am going to tell you how to make your own Eco spray, using a tried and true, very effective recipe.

By and large, I find cleaning products to mostly do what they say will do – to varying degrees. Some are frustratingly “not quite there”, and others are so effective as to take your fingernail polish off. Sometimes the ingredients on the bottles kinda scare me, mostly because I have no idea what they are. Ignorance is fear! I prefer my own Eco spray.

One of my post-hoarding periods was the “Green Hippy Capitalist Revolution”, which may sound confusing to anyone reading this (and at this point, I’d be lucky to convince my Mother to follow this blog, so I might actually be talking to the future right now…). During this period I spoke to a lot of war-wives, greenies and people on low incomes. It turns out that the green alternative is often incredibly cost-effective as well. Go Green!

So I’m going to share with you my not-so-secret recipe for the Eco spray that I use for just about any cleaning job. Make your own. It works better than most spray cleaners that I have tried from supermarkets, and once you like the smell, it is strangely comfortingly associated with “clean”. It will cost you about 50c to make a 750ml batch of Eco spray, and you can make it from ingredients that are found in almost any kitchen.

Are you ready? Do you have your safety equipment on hand? Rubber gloves at the ready? Safety goggles poised? Are you expecting toxic fumes to envelop you at any minute? Don’t panic. Honestly, some people can be so dramatic…


To make your Eco spray, you will need:


* A spray bottle (you can clean out an old one that you have used before, as long as it didn’t contain anything toxic in the past)
* White vinegar (the homebrand stuff costs about $1 per litre from memory)
* Water
* Dishwashing liquid

Eco spray instructions:


* Fill your spray bottle to about a cm less than halfway with white vinegar.
* Put about the same amount of water in as well (ie, about the same amount of vinegar and water).
* Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid – this is mostly to disguise the vinegar smell, so how much you add depends on your preference.
* Give it a bit of a twirl to mix it, but I don’t recommend shaking – that can only lead to bubble mayhem.

Voila!

Try your new Eco spray on your stainless steel stove top, your fridge or your scrubby cupboard doors – the results have got to impress you. Right there, you are looking at a Superhero Clean. Eco spray is also great in the bathroom, and while I would caution testing on a small area first, I also find it good on painted surfaces, such as the wall.

I hope you try this Eco spray, and love it. Whether you do or don’t, I would love to hear about your experiences, so please post a comment. If you have a secret recipe for your very own Eco spray, I’d love to try it, so let me know (if it’s not too secret).
Make your own Eco spray

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5 days on the job

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What a roller coaster ride! 5 days ago, Wander Woman (me) decided to start this business, and the first stage involved working out how to build a website. It took all day, and the bones that you see today (5 days later) are essentially the same as what went up on day 1.

Now this business is all about the Super Clients. And the website needs to meet your needs as a priority. As a result, clients, or potential clients, or anyone who wants to read about the Adventures of Superhero in Disguise, can now register on the site.

Clients can now book their Super Home Cleaning service online, never needing to speak with Wander Woman if they prefer. They can book 12 weeks out, and be assured that their online booking will be honoured, and serviced to the very highest of standards.

Any clients who register will very soon be able to pay for their Super Home Cleaning service online via PayPal or credit card. And shortly after that, fingers crossed, will be able to buy Super Home Cleaning gifts for their friends and loved ones.

Every Day is a Home Cleaning Adventure!

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