Thursday, August 14, 2014

What To Clean During a Blackout

Cyalume Snaplight Stick, on Amazon

A sudden summer lightning and thunderstorm came through my town one evening this week. Lightning struck a power transformer down the road, so my neighborhood lost power around 9pm. I wish I'd had enough notice to unplug my two computers (one of them is on a surge protector, the other, sadly, was just plugged into the living room wall socket) but they did survive the sudden spike, surge and power loss.

I was standing in the kitchen when the power went out, proud of myself that I'm well prepared for power outages. Kitchen matches were at finger's reach, and I lit the candle I keep on my kitchen counter. Delighted at the prospect of a blackout, I lit a few cheerful candles around the house: bathroom, hallway, and the living room I was planning to curl up with my Kindle in.

I realized my Kindle had only 25% charge left - oops, I'd thought of charging it up earlier in the day, but became distracted by another project. So my evening of reading didn't last too long. It was far too hot to sleep - while I don't have air conditioning in my house, the fans I'd placed in several windows had really helped keep the house cooler. My dogs were freaking out because of the thunder, sitting on my lap and crawling behind me. They made things extra hot with their shaking and panting! I would have been delighted to go sleep in my tent in my backyard, but was concerned the lightning would hit the tent or us in it! I think I much prefer power outages in the winter, when one can light a fire in the fireplace for warmth and light, and cuddle under a blanket.

Faced with a miserable evening (and I'd napped earlier in the day so wasn't at all sleepy) I decided to clean a few things despite the darkness. That way in the morning, I'd have my chores out of the way and could do more fun things with my time when the sunlight had returned and the power had come back on. I grabbed my best, brightest LED flashlight, and went upstairs to my closet.

I discovered that while I had enough light from the flashlight to put a laundry basket full of clean clothing away in my closet, I was too grumpy from the heat, and gave up soon. I decided working on the top floor of my tri-level home was foolish - clearly my windowless closet was the hottest room of the house at the moment. Downstairs, I dusted my living room by flashlight. That actually was fun - the flashlight illuminated clouds of dust and I felt like I was really getting something done! I swept a bit, leisurely and slowly so I wouldn't get too hot. It was easy to unload the dishwasher and reload it with dirty dishes, but I didn't feel like hand washing some fragile items with hot water - yuck. I decided any kind of scrubbing - sinks, bathroom, floors - would get me too hot, so I dusted another bookcase and called it a night.

I went to bed cranky, but enjoyed the excuse to crack open a Cyalume lightstick to make a cheerful glow in the bedroom for us. (I wanted some light in case I needed to get up in the night, but didn't dare risk leaving candles burning while I slept). Around 2am I was awoken by the delightful sound of all the fans in the house coming back on. I'm so grateful for the line workers who went out late at night in a thunderstorm and worked so hard to fix the power for our neighborhood!


  • Make socialization plans for your weekend ahead.
  • Need to do any laundry so your weekend isn't completely full of laundry projects?
  • How are you doing on candles, matches, batteries, flashlights, and charged up ereaders? Power outages don't just happen in fall and winter!
  • How is your skin doing with summer's weather? Need to apply any moisturizing, facial masks, or scrubs?


Method Home Almond Floor Cleaner, on Amazon

Today I'm spending my half hour or so of cleaning time working on my floors. The recent rains have deposited muddy dog footprints all over my laminate and hard wood floors; and I haven't vacuumed in three days. I just mopped the kitchen floor a day ago, and it's already gross again! Also, a dog did something on my brand new white carpet this morning that needs more attention after I already cleaned it up (sigh).

How are your floors, rugs and carpets doing right now?

LOVELY BLOGS: Austenesque Reviews

I find this blog very helpful for keeping up with new Jane Austen inspired books, mashups and fan fiction. I love to read imagined continuations of Pride & Prejudice especially (as long as they don't contain graphic sex - some of them have quite shocking amounts!) Currently they're reviewing The Perfect Match (a Pride & Prejudice sequel); Mr. Darcy's Refuge (in which he has to spend the night at Huntsford Parsonage!); and a historical romance called Full Steam Ahead.

LOVELY BOOKS: The Queen of Hearts

Here's another charming vintage book to peruse on your break today. This one is the simple Queen of Hearts nursery rhyme, with darling illustrations by Randolph Caldecott.

The Queen of Hearts, at Internet Archive

LOVELY KITCHEN: Bella Shortcake Maker

I'm really endeavoring to control myself and not buy this inexpensive appliance. I know it would take up room in the cupboard (I wouldn't allow it to sit out cluttering up my counters) and I'd hardly ever use it. But it's so adorable, and what a lovely thought to be able to whip up perfectly shaped shortcakes any time I wanted! After all, when's the last time I used my waffle stick maker? Months ago. I don't need any more one-purpose appliances. I have to keep telling myself that!

Bella Shortcake Maker, on Amazon

LOVELY MOVIES: The Hundred Foot Journey

I so enjoyed this movie - a friend and I played hookey one afternoon and snuck to the fancy Ipic theater to see it. We sipped Pinot Grigio while watching the story unfold. It's such a wonderful movie, I'm hoping to see it again this weekend with visiting relatives. One thing I want to mention - don't go to the film hungry! Have lunch or dinner first. The "food porn" in the movie is overwhelming! Great movie to take a girls group or book club/knitting group friends to.

The Hundred Foot Journey (Official site)

The Hundred Foot Journey, on Facebook

The Hundred Foot Journey, on IMDB

The Hundred Foot Journey Movie Trailer, at Apple

LOVELY WEBSITES: Homefries Podcasts

I'm not much of a podcast listener, but I do enjoy some of the podcasts here. The Joy the Baker podcast is housed here; as well as The Art of Simple and a really fun party tips podcast by three guys, The Table Set.


Creating a Tea Corner (Dear Miss Kellie)

French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbs (Creative Culinary)

Grilled Salt and Vinegar Potatoes (Accidental Locavore)

Homemade Spicy Pickled Okra (Cottage at the Crossroads)

Perfect Party Hummus in a Pinch (Peas and Crayons)

Rose Sangria in Jars (Healthy Food Advice)

Salt and Pepper Heirloom Tart with Whipped Feta (How Sweet Eats)

Summer Squash Slaw: Ribbons of Happiness (Delish in a Dish)

Super Easy Coleslaw (Lovely Little Snippets)

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