Archive | November, 2016

Dust

15 Nov

What the heck IS dust, anyway? And where does it come from? I know it’s all over everything most of the time & no matter how often I “dust,” the doggone stuff is always back before I’ve had a chance to shake my mop.  It’s kinda like washing your car right before a storm. I believe FUTILE is the word I’m looking for.

I’ve thought a lot about dust. We know we HAVE it. The issue is what to DO about it. Mostly, in the scientific world, if you know what something is or where it comes from you can do something about it, even though sometimes it takes a while. In the case of dust, the drawback is that while we’re trying to discover just how to tame it, we could be buried alive in it.

Those TV ads for the Dusty Ducts guys tell us they can rid us of the heartbreak & social stigma of dust with one simple call & an afternoon spent in our homes sucking out our ducts. The ad even shows us a hose that has a diameter the size of Cleveland with which they perform their miracle act. They also show us a nice, well-uniformed young man in their commercials who enters our home, removes the vent cover from one of our heat ducts & shows us that disgusting, possibly pulsating mass just inside. Heck, he even picks some of it up to show it to us so we can get a clearer view. ( I believe he’s wearing shoe covers, which makes me wonder, “Why is he wearing shoe covers???”)

Heat duct dust seems to be a different sub-species or phylum of regular dust because what he picks up in that commercial is, as HE says, “Disgusting.” He even squishes a chunk of it between his fingers & shows us clumps & tendrils weaving their way through that mess & comments that he doesn’t know why he is TOUCHING it. I always want to scream, “Then put it DOWN!!!”

We’ve seen the commercial & now we all know what it LOOKS like but we still don’t know where it comes from, & if we’re honest, we still don’t know exactly what it is. Willy says it includes, in part, layers of dead skin we’ve been sloughing off … but that falls into that TMI category that I do NOT want to consider. And I’m not even going to MENTION dust mites because I don’t want to know what they are or if they’re a component of household dust.

We’re BREATHING that stuff!

We know it builds up on furniture in our homes in great quantities, apparently faster than it’s falling from wherever it falls … if it falls … or possibly swirls. Every now & then we even see, in the glint of sunlight, a few little floaty things drifting in the air but they are definitely NOT enough to cover furniture or make it necessary to send out a search party for your pet if you happen to have a small dog. But while I really don’t know where it comes from & what it is, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has it. There’s comfort in numbers.

OMG! Maybe it’s contagious!

Trying to find the answer to those 2 questions seems to be that exercise in futility I mentioned earlier. So maybe I’ll put those questions on “hold” & tell you what I’ve tried to do to get rid of dust.

In the grocery store on the cleaning aisle there’s a product called ENDUST. When I first saw it I thought my prayers had been answered. It was one of those “Ah-Ha” moments when you hear a distant choir humming & sunlight bathes the shelf upon which that can is resting. The moment is broken, however … for me anyway … when I notice little previously unseen particles floating in that glint of sunlight &, deep down, I know they’re dust.

Anyway, I have faith. I purchased a can of ENDUST hoping for salvation & took it home. I sprayed it onto a clean cloth as instructed &, as promised, all that dust was gathered onto the cloth … temporarily.  Having read the can label I was hoping for a Force Field that would hover for months over my dining room table & repel future dust when it reared its ugly head from wherever it comes; possibly from our dusty ducts.

I was very disappointed to find out ENDUST simply scatters the surface dust, rather than eliminating it at its source, wherever that is.  It clears the way for more dust & it’s only effective in the moment. If we were invested in absolute “truth in labeling,” we would insist that the product name be changed to reflect what it actually does … SCATTERHDUST. Sigh …

I recognize defeat when it smacks me in the face with a loaded dust mop, so my next step has been to try to REHOME my dust. The thing that makes that almost a laughing matter as well as an impossibility is that everyone has dust of their own &, like a box full of unwanted hamsters, there haven’t been any takers.

SO … if I can’t rehome it, maybe I can REPURPOSE it.

I’ve thought about using it in flower pots to transplant some of my houseplants. The problem with that is it would take massive amounts to fill even one medium-sized planter, which doesn’t really make sense. If we have so MUCH of it, why can’t we collect ENOUGH of it to plant one small geranium? Where’s the LOGIC????

I’m supposing that my suggestion in the last paragraph would also preclude a possible vegetable garden or even a simple row of potatoes, though I heard my grandmother proclaim once, “There’s so much dust on this piano you could plant a hill of potatoes in it.” I believed her but now I think she exaggerated.

If we could save enough dust maybe we could scatter it on our porch & walkways to help melt ice & snow. It certainly sounds possible but in actuality, the stuff would turn to mush & render itself useless … until it dried out & a puff of wind blew it back into my house.

I suppose it would also be useless as cat litter. Even though we now use lightweight cat litter I believe mounds of household dust would be too soft to do the job. A healthy-weighted cat would sink to the bottom & be smothered, & I doubt that it would clump. And clumping is VERY important to me.

After giving this a whole lot of thought, I’ve decided to go with my mom’s wisdom, which has gotten me through many of life’s more challenging moments.

My mother was the granddaughter of a well-known & well-respected North Carolina Baptist minister. From her birth, he & her family had ingrained in her passages & messages from the Bible &, in her later years when she was confronted with the heartbreak of household dust, she literally blew it off this way: … she said the Bible teaches us that in life we begin as dust & end as dust. She would quote, “Ashes to ashes & dust to dust” with fair reliability & would use that as an excuse to ignore the dust that sometimes built up on our furniture.

When I asked her about it she would tell me, “That’s either somebody coming or going &, out of respect, I’m just going to leave them alone …”

 

B0BJTX Butler with duster, arms crossed, portrait

 

The Secret Life of Pets

6 Nov

Our club just spent two days doing a promotional thing at a new theater that opened locally & held its Grand Opening this weekend. One of the movies showing there was the latest Star Trek film, Star Trek: BEYOND. We appeared in Star Trek costumes, had an eye-catching display & signed up 14 people who were very interested in us & want to receive our newsletter. It was a productive weekend.

On Friday we were at the theater from 11:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Our members worked in shifts for the 4 Star Trek movie showings during the Grand Opening day. Being the club president & vice president has its perks but also has its pitfalls, one of which was staying with the display the full 8 hours we were at the theater. My husband, Willy is our Second Officer & stayed the course with us because of his position but also because of being married to the club president. He said, “I’m married to you so I am here by default.” Regardless, I’m pretty sure he had a good time.

Most of us enjoy interacting with the public; telling them about our good works within the community & attempting to interest them in membership with our club. It’s one of the things we do best but I have to admit that 8 straight hours of that on Friday wore us out, plus returning on Saturday to pick up where we left off.

Sometime during that first day there was a popcorn machine malfunction, the air filled with smoke & we all came home smelling like burnt popcorn.  It was in our clothes, in our hair & in the items we had on display. We may NEVER eat popcorn again.

But it was all just part of those 2 days this weekend.

So at the end of Saturday … Day 2 … one of our friends suggested that those of us who were there go see a movie. After we beamed the last wave of Star Trek fans into the dark recesses of Theater 3, we took down our display, bought our tickets & … believe it or not … popcorn, & we went to see our movie.

You might expect that we went to see Star Trek: BEYOND. Someone actually commented, as we were beaming into our own dark theater, that we must be going to see the Star Trek movie. Our friend, Glenda replied, “Nope. We’ve seen it.” And of course we had … several times.

The movie we unanimously decided to see after many hours working in the lobby of the theater promoting our club, the movie & the theater ( my vice president commented that the past 2 days had seemed more like a JOB) was The Secret Life of Pets. It just seemed appropriate somehow. Among the 6 of us we collectively share our lives with 8 cats & 1 very loveable boxer. It mattered not a whit that it was a children’s animated film & that we were way taller … & more mature … than the general population of the audience entering the theater with us.

I sort of rationalize our movie choice this way … we’re all animal lovers. We all share our lives with pets. We have spent WAY too much time recently being bombarded with politics … & not just tedious election year politics but some VERY STRANGE election year politics. We’ve grown weary of it. We needed a fairly drastic change & an animated children’s movie about pets just seemed to be what would fill that need. A SPECIAL “thank you” to Beth for suggesting it.

Sometimes you just need to get away; to step out of whatever zone we revolve in & take a less strenuous swing at life. So we did.

The 6 of us, loaded down with popcorn, drinks & tacos took up almost an entire theater row. We watched the “Previews of Coming Attractions,” which were all animated children’s movies, under the watchful & curious eyes of the parents who were there with their children. Perhaps they found us, well, unusual if not downright suspicious; 6 adults loaded down with food, attending a children’s movie while wearing Star Trek costumes. I believe I saw several parents pull their toddlers closer to them as we sat down.

The Secret Life of Pets was a relaxing 90 minute romp into the world of fantasy & a glimpse of what our own pets just MIGHT be doing while left alone in our homes many hours during the day.

Mainly, the movie was funny. We laughed & laughed; deep belly laughs that go along with enjoying something fun with very special friends; an unspoken appreciation & acknowledgement of the moment.

The thing about our laughing that soon became apparent was that WE were the ONLY people in the theater doing that as loud & with so much gusto. Several times our row of 6 was the ONLY row laughing at all … & that was very special to us but may have seemed peculiar to the parents sharing the theater with us.  Kenny said later that he didn’t care & Beth said that made it even MORE fun … regardless of those frequently more suspicious looks coming from parents seated with their kids very close around us.

The end of the movie was touching. I love a movie that ends right & apparently so does Glenda who was seated to my right. Wiping away a few tears I heard her sniffling & said to her, “Are you CRYING?”  She sniffled again & replied, Of course not. Are YOU?”

We stayed in our seats as everyone else was leaving because we just didn’t want the movie to end. We were glad we did because as the credits were rolling there was an extra funny little snippet that added even more delight to the film we’d just seen.

We left together feeling a special camaraderie & the enhanced sense of friendship you feel when you’ve shared something special with special people. We felt not only relaxed & entertained, we felt REFRESHED & there’s a lot to be said for that. Maybe, just maybe it will help us deal with our current real world of disharmony & politics.

While I’m sitting here writing all this down I can’t help wondering if somewhere there’s a mom or dad who was at The Secret Life of Pets tonight who went home, called, emailed, texted or tweeted friends & relatives about the strange group of people (were they actually adults?) they encountered at the movie when they took their kids tonight. I can’t help but think that one of them, at least, is sharing his or her concern about the fact that those same people (adults?) were wearing Star Trek clothes. Because of our age, our clothes & our BEHAVIOR (it may have seemed a bit erratic), I hope that SOMEONE is wondering, but not daring to voice that concern to anyone (texting OR tweeting) that maybe, just MAYBE those people were aliens.

If someone IS having those thoughts then our evening has had a PERFECT twist & a perfect ending. Not only did going to see The Secret Life of Pets relax, refresh & rejuvenate US, I hope our unexpected presence in Theater 6 had the very same effect on someone else. If it did, our weekend is complete …

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