Saturday, March 04, 2006


As some of you may remember, this is a picture of my tool box:

My daughters have grown up using shoes as hammers. However, Jenni has deviated from the tried and true. This is one of the gifts she received at one of her wedding showers:

One of the tasks we undertook during my visit last weekend was buying a vacuum cleaner; assembly required. Jenni used her tools for the required assembly.

The reason a new vacuum cleaner was required was due to unauthorized use of the old vacuum cleaner. You see..... they had this clogged drain in the kitchen. Jenni remembered seeing a commercial for a vacuum cleaner which claimed that it could even be used to unclog drains. Even though their vacuum cleaner was not the same brand being advertised, she used it to unclog the drain and it worked.

Success, right?

Um, no.

Just before my visit last weekend, Jenni got out the vacuum cleaner and found a spongey white substance growing out of it. ewwwww. After removing that, she turned it on. Mistake. A sewer-like smell permeated the apartment. The vacuum cleaner was thrown out and the replacement purchased.

Here's the conversation after the purchase:

Jenni: Sweetie, I bought a new vacuum cleaner. I got the bagless kind.

Tim: Why bagless?

Jenni: Because it was more expensive than the models with the bags.

Tim: *blink, blink* What?

Jenni: In all categories, the bagless ones were about $20 more, so I thought they must be better. And the one I got picks up 100% of allergans and pollen.

Tim: *blink, blink* OK. I guess we'd spend more than $20 in bags over time.

And I totally understood her reasoning.

Fortunately, I was able to rid their house of that sewer smell. Unfortunately, the cure was burned popcorn.

Sewer smell....burned popcorn. Tough choice.

We went to check out the house they are building:

A fireplace will be in between those double windows. And the double windows will have windowseats. It's going to be great.

Jenni has had an acquarium since she was an undergrad. Several months ago, her two snails had a very large family. All of the dark blobs in this picture are snails. A couple of weeks after the population explosion, the mom snail committed suicide by falling out of the acquarium, which did have a lid. Mom snail apparently did that several times, but was returned to the acquarium in time. Well, until the last time.

Always a mystery how that happened. Jenni said that sometimes while working, she'd hear a "plop" and would find the snail on the ground. Dad snail has also ceased to exist; but they leave behind many offspring.

UPDATE: *sigh* I'm in trouble. A few minutes ago, I received a phone call from my daughter which consisted of a great deal of gasping and wheezing and screaming. Apparently, she's quite outraged that I blogged about her using the vacuum cleaner as a means of a clearing a clogged drain. She said that was a secret. I did not know that. I assured her that EVERYONE has experienced some sort of domestic disaster. So, I'm going to ask you if you've had a domestic disaster and if so, please post it in the comments section.

I will post one as well.....if I can think of one.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Looks like it's gonna be a nice big house, sly. They're in Illinois, right?

That sewer smell means: time to move.

Eleanor said...

I had no idea that snails lived in aquariums - I thought they just lived in my driveway and left little trails so you could see where they had been! :)

Snail Suicide WBAGNFAgothRB.

little sly said...

My lawyers will be speaking to your lawyers. I would settle if I were you.

By the way, Dad snail IS still kicking. I've recently learned that snails are hermaphroditic. We just assumed the smaller was a female and the larger was a male. You know what the root of assume is... Assuming also got us in trouble when we assumed that letting 1 litter (or more appropriate word a bunch of snail eggs) of eggs hatch.

Slyeyes said...

By the way, Dad snail IS still kicking.


Slyeyes said...

My lawyers will be speaking to your lawyers. I would settle if I were you.

You apparently forget where I work, Little Sly.


Tamara said...

Ok, I've got a good one, I think.

I once started a fire in my oven. I put some home-made croutons in on "broil" and forgot about them. (I usually use a timer, but the timer was in use on something else.) When I remembered them, I hurried to the kitchen, opened the oven door, saw a fire, closed the door back.

Took a breath.

Okay. Fire. [breath] Hmm. I'd hate to break the seal on the extinguisher for such a small fire. Plus, that would be a heck of a mess to clean up. [breath] Wish that smoke detector would shut the heck up. [breath] Hmm. Fire. Water? Hmm.

I removed all flammable objects and children from the area, opened the oven door, pulled forward the rack, and blew the flames out.

Ahhhh! Fire gone.

Then I did the same thing a couple weeks later toasting french bread at Punky's house. HA!! Almost. There was smoke that had to be aired out, but no fire. Funny thing was that I had been CONCENTRATING on NOT STARTING A FIRE AT PUNKY'S HOUSE. But I was cooking too many things at once.

I frickin' don't frickin' "broil" any frickin' kinds of bread anyfrickinmore.


Jeff Meyerson said...

We had one a la Tamara. Had some friends over to dinner and one "had" to make garlic bread. He set the oven on fire and flames were shooting up...HIGH.

Jackie also has one. When we moved into our current apartment we had no phone (of course) and this was before cell phones. We'd make appointments for deliveries or services and would have to wait around all day in hopes they'd show up. Sometimes they didn't. Jackie walked 5 blocks to a pay phone (as sly can tell you, there are no stores near where we live) to call on more than one occasion.

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, she waited TWICE for a guy to come polyurethane our floors who never showed up. The second time she got so crazed she decided to do it herself, despite the fact that it was getting dark and we had no lights and she didn't have a clue what she was doing.

She started splashing it around the living room and trying to spread it with a "puffy wax mop", only stopping when the stuffing fell out on the polyurethane.

I practically dragged her out of the apartment, in hysterics. We did finally get another guy to come and he fixed the damage and did the rest of the floors.

Kafaleni said...

Mine's not so much of a disaster as a series of unfinished bits & pieces. I start things with good intentions, and never finish them. At my last house, my sister said "We can knock a hole in the wall between the kitchen and living room!"(older house and the kitchen was separate but adjacent)"It will let light through and we (meaning her) can create a breakfast bar right here!" Well, we started. Then she said "You get to finish it" I moved enough and cut away enough that you could get through, but then I stopped, because I needed help. The help never came, and the person who bought my place bought it with a half-finished doorway/breakfast bar.

PS - I killed my vacuum cleaner cleaning up the dust from the renovations. The one I'm currently using is also bagless, but technically isn't mine. Okay, it's not mine at all, but I have privileges.

Leetie said...

Jeez, that's a crapload of snails!

Peri said...

That was the thing that caught my attention too, Leetie!!

I never have any household disasters. Sorry I can't help =)

Eleanor said...

My drain clogs all the time because my house is old.

Good tip!

Thanks! :)

Slyeyes said...

I one time tried to use liquid dish detergent in my dishwasher. What a mess!

Oh, wait. That wasn't me, that was my sister (also a certain Winnipegger *coughPericough*)

I'll keep thinking.

Carrie said...

if it makes your daughter feel any better, I once tried to reheat a pizza from a restaurant without taking it out of the cardboard box, it caught fire ( ?) and I dropped the flaming pizza pie on the floor where it melted my new boyfriends kitchen floor. Made my friend Sharon stay until 3:00 am to make sure he wouldn't kill me. He didn't. Stories like that are meant to be shared- not hidden!!!

Slyeyes said...

OK, I've got one, sort of. I was one angry at my younger sister and dumped a bowl of brownie batter on her head.

Oh, wait a minute. Still not me; that was an incident involving my daughters.

Still thinking......

Carrie said...

being the youngest of 4, barely surviving childhood with 3 older siblings trying in different ways to take me out, I can add many stories of sibling fights. One that stands out for me as a ( short lived) victory, I hit my sister in the head with a hammer, because she wouldn't turn around and look at me.......sisters and brothers will fight, and when we get old enough to share a drink at the Thanksgiving table, it all turns into really funny stories....

Tramp said...

What kind of dummy would post embarrasing stories about themselves on their blog? Oops, please don't look at mine. Forget I said anything.

Sarah O. said...

When I was a teenager I got my tongue stuck in the beaters of an electic hand mixer...

little sly said...

Sly HAS had many domestic mishaps - can't be that hard to come up with one...
So, here it goes :) Sink over flowing with dirty dishes. Phone rings; company is coming soon. Panic! Dishes thrown in the oven - out of sight. Phew! Nice visit with company...

Few days later...

Time to make dinner which required preheating the oven. Few moments later, platic/rubber smell coming from the kitchen.

Now, my parents were married in the era of the olive green appliances and anything else in the kitchen that can be made olive green. Her favorite olive green mixing bowl was in a gooey pile at the bottom of the oven. There were olive green goo dripping from the oven racks...

Payback's great!

Tamara said...


More, Little Sly! More!

Beastarzmom said...

Hey I blew up a baby bottle in my stepmother's microwave, resulting in formula (tg it wasn't breast milk) running all over the place, including between the double panes of the real oven doors.
Fortunately, my brother-in-law is pretty handy and we were able to take the whole door apart, wash it thoroughly and put it back together - but not before she found out...
We're not exactly welcome at Thanksgiving anymore...

wysiwyg said...

The dog ate my vacuum cleaner. Well, the hose part anyway.

And I have a healthy colony of snails in my letter box that eat the gum off envelopes.

Unfortunately they sort of overshoot and also eat part of the letters in the envelopes.

They are resistant to snail bait for some reason, and you can't get at them because its a brick letterbox and they lurk in places you can't get at.

I've learned to live with it, but I have discovered that the line "the snails must have eaten your bill" carries no weight in Oz.

As to domestic disaters, there are countless examples. Mostly involving fires started by one means or another in my parents house. That house must top the list in the suburb as being the most charred without actually having to call the fire department.

Of embarrasing moments, however, there is one that sticks out in my memory.

I used to have a big sailboat. About as big as you can get and still have it on a trailer. Soon after buying it I went to a race day for a local sailing club.

I had just planned to go down and watch, but I had taken the boat with me, so they coaxed me into entering the race. Fortunately (as it transpired), I had to have a crew member with me, so I prevailed on the son of one of the other sailers to come with me.

Off we went, tacking for the line, angling for position at the start, and off we went! We were in the lead! But the wind was up a bit, so I asked the kid to go into the cabin and get my rigger's gloves to protect my hands from rope burns.

Down he went, then came rocketing back out again screaming "WE'RE SINKING!!!"

Sure enough there was about a foot of water sloshing about below decks.

I had forgotten to screw the bung into the back of the boat before launching.

So back we sloshed to the boat ramp to pull the boat out under the noses of the enquiring other halves of those out there racing.

There was no way to hide the stream of water pouring out of the boat or of trying to explain it away.

I joined a different club shortly afterwards.....

Slyeyes said...

*arches stern eyebrow in the direction of Little Sly*

Go to your room, young lady!! Oh, wait. That won't work anymore now that you share your room with your hunky husband.

ANYWAY...there was no sink overflowing with dishes. All of the dishes were in the dishwasher, except for three; There was a large dark green bowl, a white plastic colander inside of it\, with a lighter green plastic bowl inside of that. We were at a party and invited some friends to join us at our house for the hot tub after the party. We got home seconds before the friends, so I popped the bowls into the oven to hide until later.

Fast forward two days later when I was heating up the oven. I found an interesting blob in the bottom of the oven....dark green with a ring of white with a lighter green blob.

Little Sly's dad was incredulous and couldn't believe anyone would hide dirty dishes in the oven. He suggested submitting it to David Letterman for a new segment he was suggesting "Stupid Wife Tricks. He asked me where I got such a dumb idea.

I gave him a level look and said, "From your mother."

little sly said...

Here's another one... I can't tell stories as well as mom can, so I'll plant the seed and let her explain.

Mom woke up in a sopping wet bed (please, no comments or visualizations) and realized that her waterbed had sprung a leak. Being a scholar of physics (HA!) she decided to siphon the rest of the water out. So she hooked up a garden hose to the bed and dragged the hose down the stairs but didn't quite make it to the front door in time. I don't really remember too much more of how it all transpired, but I do know that for a brief moment she decided to water a hanging plant with the gushing hose on her way down the stairs.

The reason I don't remember too much about the story is because somehow I became a very heavy sleeper that night and had no idea this was occurring. Mom, any elaborations or details to fill in?

Eleanor said...

"Water the hanging plant on the way out" - priceless! Sounds like it was a practical idea in theory, I'm always up for multi-tasking. :)

aaah, the good old days of avocado green kitchens - what were we thinking? :)

Leetie said...


Sly, if it makes you feel any better, there's a 99.9% chance that I'd water the plant too!

Slyeyes said...

The incident “Little Sly” related, which I’m surprised she remembered seeing how she was supposedly so sound asleep, happened about 9 years ago, just a few days before Thanksgiving. I did indeed wake up swimming in warm water. “Malaria?!?” was my first thought. Well, after “WTF?!?”

I got out of bed and stepped in more water. Then I found out the soft-sided waterbed had indeed sprung a fatal leak. I had been wanting to get rid of it anyway – but not like that.(the thing was my ex’s idea and then he didn’t want it when we split up….but I digress).

We had a device to link a hose to the faucet for siphoning. But I couldn’t find it at 4:00 in the AM when the ship was sinking. I tried to wake up the girls to give me a hand, but neither of them could be budged. I hooked the hose up to the bed and thought I’d take it to the downstairs bathroom and hope gravity would help. However, there was a HUGE knot in the hose and as I stood at the top of the stairs, I threaded the rest of the hose through the knot. I suppose by moving the hose all around, it created a siphoning effect, because as I was part-way down the stairs, the water came gushing out. I happened to be standing by the hanging plant, so I watered it while I figured out what to do. I then kinked up the hose, took it to the downstairs bathroom where it STOPPED draining, and had to suck on it to get it to finish siphoning. NASTY water! YUK!!!!

When the girls saw the mess the next morning, I explained what happened. They said, “Why didn’t you ask us to help. grrrrrrrrr. And I found out that either Little Sly or Younger Little Sly had loaned the siphoning device to the neighbors so they could drain their bed to move it.

The next day, the girls went to their dad’s for Thanksgiving weekend. I got the news my dad was I the hospital with heart problems and I went over there for the weekend. During that time, we had an unseasonable warm spell, and when we returned home, we were greeted by a stink from the wet carpet and dead waterbed baffles (Dead Waterbed Baffles WBGNFAgrungeband).

What fun getting all of that taken care of. But by then the girls were awake and could help. True, they didn’t, but they could have.

Jeff Meyerson said...

ROTFL from There were olive green goo dripping from the oven racks...

And true or not I loved I gave him a level look and said, "From your mother."

Classic comeback, sly!

neophyte said...

Yeah, I too loved the "from your mother come back" But I just read Little Sly's post. I actually snorted; I haven't don't that in a long time. So Little Sly, stick around and dish up more stories! Sly, thanks for watering the plant on ... the.... *giggling so hardI can hardly type* on the .... Bwahahahaha!! on the way down the stairs!! hee hee heee hee hee I needed the laugh!

Slyeyes said...

I really did get that "hide the dishes in the oven" household hint from my mother-in-law. As my ex told this story amongst our friends, still amazed that I did that, he was quite surprised at the number of people who also used that trick. He told this story to one of our friends who NEVER has anything out of place in her house. She told him "where do you think the dishes are half the time you drop by?"

Ovens, they aren't just for baking anymore.

Little Sly, didn't you say you guys are getting a double oven in your house?