Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Miracle Cleaner, part 2

The end of February I wrote this post

And now I'm giving an update on the super solution because I've had several more opportunities to put it to the test.

1) Calvin snagged a couple strawberries off the counter AFTER being told he couldn't have any. I knew this because when I saw him walk nonchalantly into the kitchen a few minutes later, he had a red dribble stain down the front of his shirt that wasn't there before. He of course denied eating the strawberries. When I told him he had strawberry juice on his shirt he rolled his eyes, flashed his smile and gave in. It wasn't until a couple minutes after his confession that I realized if there's juice on his shirt, there certainly must be juice on the floor or furniture somewhere. I asked him where he ate them. He said his bedroom. I went and investigated. No stains on the carpet or bed. Hmmm. Maybe he really was clean about it. Then it dawned on me. Whenever the kids are trying to sneak something they shouldn't, they ALWAYS go behind the living room couch with their contraband and hide. As I made my way over to the area in question, I stumbled across red stains on the carpet right beside the couch. Grrr. That's twice he lied to me and now there's a mess to clean up. But...I remembered the Branch Basics cleaner. I sprayed some on the floor and left it for a few minutes. Which really meant a few hours because I am so easily distracted. I am seriously amazed I get anything finished in my life. When I went back to check on the stains, they were gone! Disappeared. Vanished. No joke.

2) Jared rode his bike to work one day early in the summer. There was a problem with the rear tire and he asked if I would be able to run it to the shop for him while he was still at work. In the process of getting it into the back of the suburban, however, I managed to get bike grease on my light pink shirt. Dang it. I was pretty bummed about the possible loss of this shirt. But I figured I'd hit it with the Branch Basics. Wouldn't hurt right? The stain was still there when I went to launder it, but when I took it out of the was like new! Amazing!

3) Our cat Madi disappeared a year and a half ago for about 3 weeks. We figured she was dead. What cat doesn't come back after 21 days? She did. Admittedly, I was a little irritated about her sudden appearance. I was happy for the kids, but she's peed in the house a couple of times and nothing burns me more than the acrid smell of cat urine. Nowadays, I make sure she's outside more than inside. In the spring, I realized that teenage basketball shoes, smell very similar to that of cat pee. Until I discovered this, however, I was panicking--I thought we'd have to burn our house down to get rid of the smell--cat pee that I couldn't locate to save my life. We now have a family law: shoes belonging to teenagers must stay outside. They are not even garage worthy. One day after this shoe ruling, I smelled the ammonia again. Unfortunately, it was the cat this time. She had peed on a pile of blankets that were folded on a small rocking chair, perfectly sized for little kids, that was given to us by Jared's parents. It in fact, was hand crafted by a patient of Jared's dad. Irreplaceable. The seat cushion was saturated though and I was so sad. Before I took it out to the garage to determine its final resting place, I grabbed the Branch Basics solution--for no other reason than to prove it doesn't work on cat urine. I sprayed that puppy until it was soaking wet. And then I took it out to the garage where we wouldn't have to deal with that horrible smell anymore. After about a week, I decided to give the chair a whiff. I about fell over when I smelled nothing except old fabric. I sniffed and sniffed all over not believing my own sniffer. I was elated!! I couldn't believe the awful smell of cat urine had been eliminated or at the very least, neutralized. Branch Basics saved the chair!

3) We got a new range and microwave hood the beginning of July. These are my very first stainless steel appliances. They're actually partial stainless steel since there's a lot of glass covering both. Fingerprints are definitely an issue with stainless steel and I am the kind of person who can't let them go past the end of the day. I don't know what you would normally use to clean stainless steel with, but the Branch Basics (super diluted) can do it. I spray it on just like I would glass cleaner and I can wipe the entire appliance down in one step. It's soooo great.

4) The cat puked up a hairball recently. On the living room carpet. The carpet needs to be replaced, but until then, we do whatever we can to keep it as "clean" and stain-free as possible. This particular hairball left an orange tinged stain behind. I sprayed it with Branch Basics, walked away and, well, you know the routine. The stain was gone when I came back to it. Awesome.

5) A couple of weeks ago, Cooper got his first nosebleed. About 10 whole seconds after getting into our suburban. After Tae Kwon Do. That's right. For the second time in 6 months, he got blood on his white uniform. I actually got pictures for proof this time.

It wasn't a ton of blood, but it was enough. Especially on his pristine white dobok. I sprayed it with the Branch Basics solution and tossed it into the laundry. This is what it looked like when I took it out.

Now you can see with your own eyes how great this multi-purpose cleaner is. I admit, it doesn't transform everything and it has to be new stains. But the stains/odors it DOES get out totally outweighs its limitations, saving your clothes, carpets, walls, and furniture. Still love this stuff!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tic Tacs and Typewriters

Last Tuesday Jake had a job helping a lady from our ward. Her office is in the process of moving from the main floor to the downstairs in a beautiful 1915 home nearby and needed some help with heavy lifting and some deep cleaning. They worked on Monday and he helped her finish up the stuff she couldn't do on her own, Tuesday morning.

Because they were working just 5 minutes away, I left Cooper in charge of Karcyn and Calvin. They were outside playing in the backyard. I took JJ and we went to go get Jake.

When I arrived, Jake opened the door of the office/house and said, "Mom! Come here. You gotta see this." I couldn't imagine what got him so excited. We went around a corner and he pointed to a...typewriter.

"Ah, yes. I haven't seen one of those in years." I explained to him that we had my Grandma Lee's typewriter in our house growing up. A couple of my elementary school reports were even typed up on it (thanks to my mom's mad typing skills) and I had the chance to use it a few times as well. He thought it was crazy cool that he was witnessing with his own two eyes the very "object" that inspired the computer keyboard :)

Our friend Jill allowed Jake the opportunity to tinker on the typewriter and try it out. Jake said it was HARD!  He then presented me with a letter that he had typed up for me.

He admits it took him a few times before he got the hang of it. Jill and I were reminiscing about how great and revolutionary we thought the electric typewriter was! I actually took one of those to college with me my freshman year, but the computer lab took over shortly after that.

We said goodbye to Jill and headed back home. I had no sooner set foot in the door when Calvin was coming towards me. He was holding his face and crying. Oh boy. What now?

He stopped crying just long enough to mutter he had a Tic Tac up his nose. Seriously??

I bent down and took a quick preliminary look up his right nostril but couldn't see anything. Jake got a flashlight and looked himself and he said he could see it. Great. It was 12:30. Lunchtime. Plus he and Karcyn had a play date at 1:30 and then I was supposed to run to Jared's office for a meeting. I wasn't sure how critical this Tic Tac up the nose was. So I debated for a minute. However, Calvin's wails were increasing. The main problem was the Tic Tac flavor..."Freshmint" or "spicy" if you're one of my kids. Calvin was crying because it was burning. I've had jalapeno juice accidentally find its way into my nasal passages so I could definitely relate!

I grabbed a tissue and told Calvin that maybe he could "sneeze" the candy out and instructed him to blow his nose. He did as I asked. But it didn't work. I called Jared at the office during his lunch break, filled him in and asked if he thought they could retrieve a Tic Tac from Calvin's nose or if I should just wait for it to dissolve. Jared said they could get it and told me to bring him in...even though I'd be turning right around and going back to that very place once I got home.

On the way to the clinic, I couldn't help but chuckle at poor Calvin's plight. I asked him why he put the Tic Tac up his nose. He said he was trying to make Karcyn laugh. I asked him if it worked. He regrettably said "No" and softly cried the better part of the 10-15 minute drive to the office.

Periodically, I heard Calvin coughing with a mix of superficial choking. I wondered if the Tic Tac was actually making its way from the nasal passage into his throat, but figured the more likely scenario was that the vapors of the Tic Tac were dripping down his throat and were too much for him.

When we got to the office and got out of the car, Dr. Hicken was returning from his lunch. Dr. Hicken is someone Calvin idolizes and if I didn't know better, I might have wondered if he didn't put the Tic Tac up his nose on purpose, just so he could see the good doctor. Calvin is the first and probably the last of my children who has actually begged me to take him to see Dr. Hicken at the first hint of a possible ailment.

Dr. Hicken stopped when he saw us, noticed Calvin's sad demeanor and the tissue at his nose and asked Calvin what happened. I encouraged Calvin to tell him. Calvin started out by first asking Dr. Hicken if he knew what a Tic Tac was. That's all the prompt Dr. Hicken needed because he asked Calvin "Did you stick one up your nose?"

We went inside and found Jared. One of the MAs escorted us to an exam room and Jared, accompanied by a med student, came to give Calvin's nostril a look see. The Tic Tac was way up there and if I understood correctly, kind of around a bend, so not in a great position to be retrieved. Jared wanted Dr. Hicken to take a look as well. We joked with Calvin that we were getting the Big Dog to help him.

As soon as Dr. Hicken came in, Calvin said, "Hey Big Guy." Dr. Hicken used an otoscope light to look up his nose. He confirmed with Calvin there was only one Tic Tac and only his right nostril affected. Dr. Hicken grabbed a tool, a pair of scissors with really long, thin blades for grabbing and told Calvin to sit very still while he tried to get the Tic Tac. Calvin did GREAT. About 15-20 seconds into the process, though, it started bothering him. He got a little agitated and gradually became upset again. Dr. Hicken said the mint wasn't in a position to be grabbed. He grabbed the light to take another look. Calvin interpreted that motion to mean the mega scissors were going to be used again, but Dr. Hicken assured him, by holding the grabbers his arm's length away from his body, that they wouldn't be used. He just wanted to look up Calvin's nose again.

Then Dr. Hicken said, "You know what, let's just close the left nostril and have you blow really hard, okay?" Calvin blew his nose and immediately flying out with tons of snot was a small, white Tic Tac. YAY!!!! We all cheered! Calvin was so proud of himself for getting the Tic Tac out on his own merits. I swore to the doctor that we had already tried blowing it out at home, but obviously the candy piece hadn't dissolved enough to shrink in size when we did it.

Clearly, worst case scenario, the Tic Tac would have just dissolved on its own. However, I think Calvin appreciated that we were doing what we could to help him instead of just saying, "It'll melt, Buddy. Hang tight." Lucky for us, it wasn't an inedible object. Dr. Hicken said he's had patients (or their children rather) who have stuck things up their nose but by the time they came to see him, days had passed during which bacteria and mucus had surrounded the object, creating, what he shared is the most FOUL smell ever.

As the medical entourage left the exam room, Calvin called out to Dr. Hicken, "Thanks, Big Guy!" Dr. Hicken got a chuckle out of that. Only Calvin could get away with such greetings.

It took longer for us to drive to the clinic than it did for us to resolve the issue. But I'm grateful that:

a) Jared's job is in the health profession. It has come in super handy over the years having five kids and four of them boys.
b) it took this long before we had the joy of  the "object up the nose" experience
c) that Calvin and Karcyn were still able to enjoy their afternoon play date.

On our way home, I asked Calvin if he learned his lesson. He said he did. He would never put a white Tic Tac up his nose again. But--if it was the fruity kind, it would be okay because it wouldn't burn!