Friday, October 05, 2007

All The News That's Weird To Print: Cleaning Favorites, Green Glittery Bones, And Second-Story Mushrooms

Sometimes I read the newspaper and I swear that I've entered another dimension, one where the time-space continuum is warped and skewed and all life is madness and real people don't exist. And I'm not reading the Politics section about Republicans or an interview with The Angel of Death about his Surge Strategy or anything, either. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Usually, it's the Inside & Out section of The Plain Dealer, the cleverly titled segment all about gardening and decorating. It contains articles full of helpful hints and stories about things that the average homeowner/gardener reads and scoffs at with varying degrees of intensity. "Oh, certainly I will rub a small amount of linseed oil into the wooden handles of all my tools such as trowels, shovels, hoes, and rakes to prevent them from cracking and drying out!" I say as I read the feature article titled Chores Galore! "I don't even moisturize my flaky legs after every shower." Soon, I am moved by how Readers' Solutions for Cleaning Get Heloise's Seal of Approval. It seems that I missed my chance to send in my own favorite family recipe for cleaning solutions with other NE Ohioans awhile back. Alarmingly, this article took up nearly an entire page and people waxed not only nostalgic but downright poetic about their favorite concoctions for cleaning windows, floors, mirrors, and you-name-it. I nearly became ill. One woman actually wrote of her Aunt Helen's recipe for glass cleaner: "as I touched it lovingly, my heart was flooded with fond memories of her. She loved to clean. She would fill an empty bottle with this concoction and away she went." Good God. Of all the things for which one can be remembered, to have it be cleaning...well...yikes. Allow me to say this: my recipe for a cleaning solution is very simple. If at all possible, hire someone.

But trust the truly insane to come from La Diva Domestique, Martha Stewart. The most bizarre sentences I have ever read in print, bar none, have to be the ones in her column Eerie Decorations for Halloween Fun. I almost had no emotion in my personal database of feelings with which to react to them. Here they are:

(^)A giant glass cheese dome, something I have had in my kitchen for many years, formed the perfect display case for green-glittered plastic skulls and bones when set atop a very large cake stand.

And this caption under a photo of the aforementioned objets d'arts:

(^)Glittered plastic skeletal parts create a dramatic and unexpectedly artful ambience when set off by an oversized glass cheese dome.



You know, it's enough to put me off my paper.

Yet, I soldiered on, unwisely, it turned out. Starting on a column innocuously headed HOME MAINTENANCE, I was intrigued by the headline Remove the Source of Moisture if Mushroom Growing in a Home. This didn't sound too goofy to me; I live in a neighborhood of really old homes, some with dirt floor basements, and mushrooms sprout up in them once in a while. No biggie. Oh, dear reader...! First paragraph: I received an email from a reader recently who found a mushroom growing on a second-floor hardwood floor and asked if this was cause for alarm, and also asked for suggestions on how to handle it.

Holy crap! Is this "cause for alarm?" your second floor a mushroom farm? No? Then hell, yes, it's cause for alarm!

In the meantime, though, since it is October, do you have a slightly oversized cheese dome and some green glitter? Then I have a suggestion....


  1. Anonymous9:06 AM


    The subject was how to make life easier by having your possessions serve a dual purpose.

    The very best suggestion came from Heloise.

    She thought it would be a great idea to make your kitchen curtains out of terry cloth so that when you washed your hands, you could dry them on the curtains.

    Why didn't I think of that??????

  2. Anonymous12:11 PM

    Oh, gawd, Martha Stewpot just has way too much time on her hands. Or glitter.

    I just had to see that cheese dome with the skulls under it:

    Amazing. Somebody needs to tell Martha that women d'un certain âge should not be holding large glittery skulls that close to their faces, as it can only invite comparison.

  3. I sure have been wondering what to do with my giant glass cheese dome. Thank goodness for Martha! Ha!

    And mushrooms growing on the second floor? I'm downright scared of that house!

  4. Gosh, I like Martha. Really.

  5. nina--I don't dislike Martha. I really don't. I just found those sentences to be absolutely incredible. Who expects those words to ever appear together? I'm still not over it.

    jenomena--I'm afraid of that much cheese, I think, when one needs a "giant glass cheese dome." Golly.

    Ortizzle--The photo was huge in The Plain Dealer. She looks very satisfied with her creation. On another note: I do hope you've had time to read the latest Tie Reports even though you've no time to comment. I've been inordinately proud of several of them. I write them primarily for you, you know.

    Nancy--I need to do that in the bathroom because Sam has never, ever hung up the handtowel in his entire 19 years of existence. Honestly, I am seriously considering it. Right. Now.

  6. I was at Michael's last week looking for decorations for Mr. P's birthday party, and what appeared before my eyes?

    A kit from MS to make YOUR VERY OWN glitter bones. Because one can never have enough glitter bones, apparently.

  7. BWTRs: Had not read all of them, but I am caught up now. And you should be proud of them. Each and every one is a polished jewel, the likes of which B.W. does not nearly deserve. If only he knew, sigh. I can see the camera crew right now, heading up your street... :-)

  8. There are many things that I long to have from the website and various stores which Martha Stewart is affiliated with. I will never long for a green-glittered skull and bones under a glass cheese dome.

  9. I read this post hours ago, and I just keep coming back to that mushroom...any photos? Was it shaped like the Virgin Mary? Do I smell a miracle?

  10. Anonymous5:16 PM

    I think Martha, child of the 60s, has been in the 'shrooms. What else could explain the glitter bones, cake stand and cheese dome?

    And I have had it with cleaning tips. I'm done. I'm tired of apologizing for not expressing enthusiasm for housework. Your advice is perfect.

  11. I simply have no response.

  12. Pardon my ignorance, but what's a cheese dome???

  13. princess--the glass cover you put over cheese/cheeses when serving them at a party. like a cake saver.

    i.h.--see what i mean?

    v-grrrl--i'm so very tired of cleaning. i like a clean house, but i'm not into being the one to do it. i've all but banished dried flowers/silk arrangements from my home. horrific dust catchers, those.

    mrs. g.--sadly, no photo. the thing that got me the most was that the emailer had to ask if he should be concerned. good lord, yes, you moron. and greatly.

    anali--and the thing with martha is that she has a staff to do her bidding, so all she has to do is come up with this stuff and someone else will do the work. see...i need a staff! but hell be damned sure i won't waste it by having it coat fake bones with glitter.

    ortizzle--you goof. no way you had to comment on them all. geeze. i do hope someone else reads them...whether they are of BW's staff or not. i like my tie reports.

    gina--are you really serious? honestly? did it come with a cheese dome? oh god.

  14. A girlfriend of mine once had a mushroom growing in her bathroom between the tub and the edge of the carpet. Which invites the question, why do people carpet their bathrooms?

  15. Gees. Now I've heard everything. Martha can stick those bones where the glitter can't shine. The bones might be glow-in-the-dark.

    "Remove Source of Moisture"--hah. My brick house is damp because it's built into the side of a steep hill. [Occasional mold spots are easy to control. But no 'Shrooms, thank God]. The only cure for this house isn't cleaning--it's either complete demolition or removing the hill! Let MS figure that out.

  16. Hmmm reading the paper is just not one of my favorite past-times (is that hyphenated? My luck, it's probably not...)

  17. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I can't even imagine having ANYONE memorialize me for something as useless and mindless as knowing how to clean. It's a SURVIVAL SKILL, people! Nothing more!

  18. wordgirl--that's what i'm talkin' 'bout!

    tera--no hyphen. no biggie.

    sputnik--trust me, martha's staff would have that hill moved or repurposed as a cheese dome in no time.

    mrs. grumpy--the carpeted bathroom is definitely an anomaly. especially if there are males in the home. ick. 'nuff said.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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