“What A Day This Has Been…”

“What a rare mood I’m in, why it’s almost like being…”

Well, the song goes on to say, it’s “almost like being in love.”  But that’s not how I would finish the lyric today.  Today it’s “almost like being…Mike Rowe.”

You know Mike Rowe…dirty jobs.  Love that guy.  Really.  Wish he’d been here today.

Thursday morning I discovered that our basement had about  an inch and a half of water on the floor.  Not the first time, probably not the last.  But never something I look forward to.

Called our reliable guy Chuck from Best Results in Redford. Chuck came out and cleared my outside pipes, which were clogged with tree roots, string and other items that I have NO IDEA how they got there.  Truly.

And my brain wants to figure out mysteries like this (thank you papa).  So Thursday night I dreamt that we had moved away from this house and then moved back and the people who lived here in between must have flushed these stupid things down the toilet.  Not true, but apparently the only explanation my subconscious could come up with.

We have been here before.  The water in my basement is not coming in from the outside, it is already here and finds it impossible to leave so it stays, in the basement, until Chuck comes and clears the way.

Once Chuck clears the way, my Handsome Prince then comes in with hose and bleach and makes it all better.

Only that didn’t happen this time.  This time there is no time.  No spare time.  My Handsome Prince has been working, a lot.  A LOT.  And there is no time for him to make it all better.  And frankly, it smells.  Not nice.  And the house smells.  Not nice.

So I had to pony up and do it myself.

And I learned a few things about washing the basement floor.  It is not a pleasant job to begin with, but my house, my precious house, where I have raised my family and lived and loved and whatever, this house makes the job harder.  And here’s why:

Top Five things that make this dirty job dirtier…

5.  Not enough light.  We have plenty of flourescent light fixtures in the basement, but one by one they have stopped working.  No it’s not the bulbs, we have replaced them.  Consequently, anything done in the basement must be done with the light from the windows (and therefore in the daytime) aided by one lone light bulb.  60 watt.  The job must be done in the day.  Handsome Prince works all day.  Ergo, I must do the job, thus making it dirtier, for me.

4. The instinct that one should not be running a hose in the basement. Common sense says, Do Not Pour Water Onto The Basement Floor.  And yet, I must pour water onto the basement floor.  This is not a bucket and mop job.  This calls for more water.  Lots more water.

I used a hose.  Attached to the wash tub sink.  A hose, a large broom, bleach, and a squeegee. (Okay, I have never written that word out before.  I’ve never seen it.  Just guessed at the spelling.  Expected spell check to catch it.  Seems I spelled it correctly.  That is one weird word.  Squeegee.)

Initially, I was tentative about the hose, and very sparing with the water.  I got over that.  By the end I was enjoying hosing down the basement.  Though it occurred to me that perhaps the washer and dryer should not be running while I was pouring water underneath them.  In fact, they should probably be unplugged.  Now kids, don’t do this at home, I paused long enough to, successfully, unplug them both, and then resumed a very liberal application of water to the basement.  I think I will wait until the floor and furnace duct vents are dry before plugging them back in.  If the ceiling is dry, the bottom of the washer and dryer should be too, right?

3. Clumping Kitty Litter. I have a cat.  He requires a litter box.  Clumping kitty litter is a wonderful innovation that makes litter clean up easy.  Until your basement floods.  Then clumping litter is the plague.  You don’t know how well you haven’t swept the floor until you soak it and discover clumping kitty litter sludge.  This must be swept up independently of the cleaning the floor.  Don’t want this sludge going down the drain, that will just cause the whole cycle to start over again.

2. Water soluble Paint.  You read that right.  My basement floor was painted in water soluble red paint.  Who does that?  Who makes that?!  I would like to know.  What Einstein made it? What Genius bought it? And what Fool applied it to what has become MY basement floor? Whenever the floor gets wet, the paint comes up and attaches itself to whatever is nearby: clothing, bedding, walls…

We painted over the red paint, with actual floor paint.  In grey.  Trouble is the grey paint is sticking to the red paint and the red paint isn’t sticking to anything but my laundry.  The result is a river of paint chips that must not be permitted to go down the drain, lest we begin the entire cycle again.

But preventing the paint chips from washing down the drain is not as hard as one would think, because of the number 1. thing that makes this dirty job dirtier…

1. Drains placed at the high points of the floor.  I have two drains in my basement.  Neither one is anywhere near the lowest point of the basement floor.  In fact, the lowest part of the basement floor is underneath the stairs.  If there were a topographic map of my basement, you could name the two mountains Drain 1 and Drain 2.

So the water must be encouraged, no, forced really, to go where no water wants to go:  Up.  Up to the drains.

This is best done with a broom.  A squeegee is ok, but the floor resembles a ski hill of moguls and the squeegee is so long it does not make complete contact with the floor.  This gives the water an escape, a way to avoid doing what is unnatural.

So I used the broom mostly.  And the hose.  I hosed down the floor for a really long time.  A really long time.  When the basement stopped smelling bad I knew it was time for the bleach.

Cool thing about bleach is that it sort of makes little suds when scrubbed into the floor with a broom.  After letting the bleach sit on the floor for a time, I picked up the hose again.  Now, with the bleach suds I could see the way the water ran.  Happily it does seem to want to run away from the walls, so the floor by the walls must be slightly elevated.

As I’ve said, the big pond is under the stairs, with a slightly smaller pond just south of it, and separated by a nice mound of floor.  The drain by the washer and dryer is useless.  Completely useless.  The second drain, thankfully is actually low enough to receive water.  I knew I had enough water on the floor when I could make white caps with the broom.

And now my basement floor is clean.  Wonderfully clean.  The dirty job is done.

I believe I will reward myself with a trip to the library, where I can escape into someone else’s world for a time.  I love fiction, but I don’t write it.  No point.  My life is stranger, messier, funnier and filled with more adventure than anything I could dream up.

And while I enjoy my sitcom, sometimes I like to turn the channel and enjoy someone else’s for a time.




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Speak For Yourself

Has anyone ever spoken for you?

Have you ever had anyone represent thoughts or feelings or words as being yours, and they weren’t?

How did you feel about that?  If someone has represented you by professing that you had said something, were they accurate?  Was it true?

How would you respond if it was not?  Even if it was a nice thought, a nice sentiment.  How would you feel about being credited for saying something you didn’t?

I am about to be a real kill joy I am sure.  I am about to call into question a Super Bowl commercial that appears to have been very well received.

I did not see it aired.  I did not watch the Super Bowl.  I was in a car driving home that night from the U.P.

I heard the commercial on the radio.  The audio was played by a radio station I was listening to on the way to work this morning.  The morning host was moved to tears by the commercial.  I was not.

It was the Paul Harvey “truck” commercial.  Perhaps you saw it?  Perhaps you loved it.  Perhaps it moved you to tears.

The sentiment was great.  It was extolling the virtues of the American Farmer.  I have not seen the visual, perhaps it was amazing.

I am a pretty sentimental person.  Well, more than that, I am someone who tries to move people.  I attempt to put visual images and music together to touch hearts.  I paint words on the canvas of this blog in the hopes of causing people to think, feel, reflect, laugh, consider.

But the Paul Harvey commercial didn’t do that for me, at least not in the way they intended.  And this is the reason.

He put words in God’s mouth.

I don’t know that God minded the thoughts.  But I do wonder how He views the accreditation?

I have done this too.  And I wonder what God thinks about that.

And I wonder what the ramifications are when we put words in God’s mouth.  Words that it is easy enough to see He did not say.

I wonder if this is not something that God was aiming at when He commanded us not to use His name in vain.

If anyone can be trusted to speak for himself, I think God can.  He certainly has said a lot.  More than most of us are familiar with.  He has certainly said more than I am familiar with, and He has definitely said more than I have heeded.

I like Paul Harvey.  A lot.  And I like images and words that move me.

Today, however, I am thinking, if you have something you want to say, well, say it.

And speak for yourself.




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Just Walk

There was a man named Peter.  He had a wife and a mother in law.  He made his living fishing with his brother.

One day God came into his life and said, Follow Me.  And Peter did.

He walked beside Jesus.

They walked all over Israel.  And some scenes from their journey have been written down. Read more »

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I have been thinking a lot about change.  But not just change like changing your clothes or your hair color.  I have been thinking about transformation.  A change so significant that what once was is no more. Like a chemical change.  Being changed from the very depth of my being. Read more »

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If I Should Die Before I Wake…

Recognize that phrase?  It’s part of a children’s prayer…

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I just went grocery shopping and purchased my “last supper”.  A truly bizarre combination of things that taste good to me right now.  Not much of it is food. Read more »

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And Justice For All part 3 Enter the Wise Husband

Al Pacino’s character in the movie And Justice For All reached a breaking point at the end.  He couldn’t live with the broken system anymore.  He snapped and told the truth in the courtroom, which got him forcibly removed.  And the movie ends with him sitting on the courthouse steps.

It leaves me with the question, What next?  How does one live in a broken world? Read more »

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And Justice For All part 2 Sitting on the steps asking, What’s next?

I have been…something… lately.

Numb?  Down?  Depressed?  Without joy?  Despairing?

I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, what I was feeling or not feeling.  It feels like fatigue.  Tired.  No energy, no anticipation, no enthusiasm.

Why? Read more »

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…And Justice For All

It is the final phrase of the Pledge of Allegience we all learned in elementary school.

It is the title of a movie directed by Norman Jewison and starring Al Pacino made in 1979.

It is the phrase I use to describe those moments in life when you break loose and tell it like it is – damn the consequences. Read more »

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Want. What do you want?

Miss America contestants know what they want…

Miss Utah?  World Peace.

Miss Michigan?  World Peace.

Miss New York?  World Peace. Read more »

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Silent Saturday

Have you ever wondered about Saturday during Easter Weekend?  There are events that lead up to the resurrection of Jesus.   We have named the days:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday.

What happened Saturday? Read more »

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