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



6 Responses to “Dust”

  1. plf6452 November 16, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    Heavens to Betsy!! I have NEVER laughed at dust like I just did….I never really took the time to try to figure out what it is or, especially WHERE it comes from!! I have definitely cursed about or directly at it before numerous times, though. I appreciate the time and effort you put into trying to find ways to repurpose or recycle it …this is where I got my biggest belly laughs!! The picture you painted so very well in each possible solution was both funny and futile at the same time. I just dusted and vacuumed my living/kitchen area yesterday. While I felt very satisfied and delighted in how everything looked, after a while, I realized that the cycle had been restarted and that the dust would soon return to turn my smile upside down……ah me, the mysteries of life, huh?? I just appreciate so much, the things you find to write about and how your .descriptives are always spot on. I am sorry you didn’t find that solution to our dust problems, which would have made you rich beyond your wildest dreams, by the way. I also love your mom’s answer to the universal dust problems …. ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Yes, indeed!! Thank you, Linda, for your charming and a bit alarming look at your personal battle with this universal issue with dust. It must help everyone to know they aren’t alone in their battle. I find a strange kind of peace and satisfaction knowing that!! You’re a national treasure and your writing proves it every time you share it with the rest of us. So…thank you and continued good luck in your battle against dust!!
    PS. I once asked what a “cob” is….you know, that creature that produces cob webs?? I believe it is a teeny tiny spider. Has anyone been able to see this creature at work producing these weird, bothersome companions of dust?? Food for thought…😊


    • heimdalco November 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

      Thank you SO much for your kind words about my writing.

      In this post-election period when the entire world seems like a heavier, darker place, I decided to write about something that was a problem but something that the world could AGREE on. “Dust” just came to me as I noticed some of the nasty stuff on my dining room table. And the subject was “light”

      I LOVE the “cob” idea. At first I thought you were talking about a corn cob until I kept reading. You could write an entire blog entry around that one word. The cob thing makes me VERY happy because it lets me know that someone else thinks like I do … LOL

      Big hugs & thank you again for reading my stuff …

      Liked by 1 person

      • plf6452 November 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

        I forgot to mention or inquire about the very first part of my content, too. Where did that expression come from, I wonder?? I have heard it my whole life as my mother used to say it whenever she was frustrated or surprised by something. In this case, I used “Heavens to Betsy!!” as a remark of surprise….with just a tinge of frustration, too! LoL
        There are many words or expressions that I wonder about from time to time….As usual, your writing is very colorful and down to earthy…very organic-no beating around the bush(oh..there’s another one!!), just pure with no bs filler whatsoever!! Keep up the good work!! I love it!! Peggy 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. heimdalco November 16, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Peggy, you have some FANTASTIC blog entry topics. Start a blog … write this stuff down. You, too, have a gift …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Willy November 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    My wife… the thinker of thoughts and she was _very_ tired the day she took on the dust from the first and second level of our home. The basement level is darker and you cant’t see the dust as easy although we know it’s there … along with the evil cobs that I find while vacuuming. I wouldn’t have thought she had the energy to write such an entertaining blog that day but she’s always surprising me with small views into her vast mind.
    Yes, I firmly believe that a majority of housedust is the skin we all slough off and included is everyone we let into the house, like the Orkin man (who does wear shoe covers), family, friends and repairmen. But I just chopped several hundred pounds of leaves and she (and probably the neighborhood) can attest to the cloud I left behind me and the “leaf sucker”, so we may have other forces at work here.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the topic and response so much that I just had to lend my part. Keep up the cosmic thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • heimdalco November 19, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

      LOL … thanks for the “at home insights,” Willy. And you see? I DO listen to everything you tell me even though I’d maybe not like to think about sloughing skin from all who visit us. And what about our cat? What does SHE slough off? Oh … I know … cat dander.

      Well, anyway, 2 levels are dust free & by the time I get around to level 3, 1 & 2 will need it again. Sigh

      Thanks for continuing to read my stuff.

      Love you …

      Liked by 1 person

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