Monthly Archives: June 2022

That’s the way I roll….

Some of the most amusing things I read on social media are those little questionnaires: which way do you roll your toilet paper, or how do you fold your towels? These are questions intended for people who actually participate in that activity known as housework.

For myself, a lot of times, my toilet paper rolls whatever way I manage to unthinkingly put it on. For anyone supposing because of the above picture that I roll the toilet paper under, think again. That just happens to be this application of toilet paper. It is just as likely that my toilet paper will roll sideways, because it’s sitting on the bathroom counter since I was too lazy to put it on the little roller thing!

As for towels, please. The space where I keep my towels in the cupboard is usually filled with extra shampoo or toothpaste because I haven’t folded the towels lately, they just come directly out of the laundry basket and we are just grateful that they are clean. People who fold their towels into quarters or thirds, or even worse, ROLL them up, are so far beyond my capabilities, I probably wouldn’t be allowed in their bathrooms.

It’s the same for so many other things in my house. I don’t take cookies from their packages and put them in a cookie jar. For one thing, I’m usually too busy stuffing them in my mouth, so they seldom last long enough for an actual location in a cookie jar. Coffee doesn’t ever make it out of its plastic container until it goes in the coffee pot, so I’ve never used that canister in the fancy sets that is marked “Coffee.” As for the “Tea” canister, I filled that with water and used it to root some plant clippings. Before you ask, yes, they are still in the “Tea” canister, and I may get around to putting them in a pot..someday.

I never decorate my counters with fancy little soaps and I have found that scented candles were invented so youth groups would have something to use as a fundraiser. Generally I keep those candles around so that during power outages, my house will smell like French Vanilla because I had to light something and I don’t have a container to hold my ordinary candles, either. So, I can find those fat jars the scented candles are in while it’s dark and even though they make me sneeze, I’ll have to make do with them.

This lack of system really doesn’t bother me a lot, but I suppose others might become annoyed if they need pencils and there are none in the holder or they would like to borrow some scissors and I have to call out the National Guard to locate some. For myself, I figure that a certain portion of my day should be spent in aimless searching and when I use the toilet, I kind of like the thrill of finding out how I roll on the toilet paper issue that day.

Having a system can be helpful sometimes, though. I have been putting my socks in a particular drawer in my dresser for the last two years and I have become stymied by the number of socks that either disappear completely, or worse, come back with only one from a pair. Imagine my surprise, then, when I happened to pull out a drawer I don’t normally use and discovered that my husband has been diligently putting my socks, paired and single, in that drawer, because I neglected to mention that I changed residence on my socks! It’s a great day for my socks, though, many lonely singles have been reunited and they have all discovered they are in a very large family.

When people post things on social media about how they store their magazines (what, piled on the floor by my chair doesn’t work?) or what they do to contain all of those plastic grocery sacks (I cram them in a small cupboard and then laugh when someone opens it and they spring out and attack), I simply move on to something else. Odd as it may seem, I have my own system and so far, it’s working pretty well–except for the massive amount of socks, that is.

So you all can fold your towels in threes or fours and make sure that paper towel roll is running the same way every week, but I don’t answer those surveys, because somehow, they just don’t seem to like the way I roll!

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Tangled in the Halls of Ivy

Jackie Wells-Fauth

Photo by Katerina Holmes on

I like to think I was a fairly good college student in my day. I signed up to attend a school not far from my home and with a remarkably small campus–just the way I wanted it. And when I signed up for school there, I imagine they asked for my high school records and I had to fill out certain health and financial papers to boot. I just don’t remember it clearly…it was a long time ago!

It seemed easy. I packed my minimal suitcase, filled with a few clothes, an alarm clock and a few dozen pencils and I sailed right into the post-secondary halls of my learning experience. Freshman year is always tricky, but beyond that, I didn’t give how I got there, another thought. That college diploma arrived just when it was supposed to, I packed up my less-than minimalist belongings, threw the alarm clock out an upper story window and went out into the world of teaching. Simple, right?

Now, I’ve taught for 30 years and in that time, I have had to take classes to keep my certification together and apart from the fact that I have had to learn how to use an online-classroom format, I have managed pretty well. Until now, that is.

It was time. I needed that re-certification and I was about to embark on taking some classes to accomplish this. I decided that I would try a different in-state university because I had never tried that school and they had a class or two on their summer roster that looked interesting.

I contacted the school, asking for guidance, since they no longer have one of those handy catalogues that you can hold in your hands and refer back to over and over. My e-mail: “I am interested in taking a class being offered at your university this summer. How do I proceed to sign up for it?” Their e-mail: “You are too late for summer classes (this was the beginning of May) and you must go to this link (link provided) and fill out an application to attend our university. We are so excited to have you attend!”

Oh well, perhaps I would do better with a fall selection anyway. I went to the link and filled out the application to join their university students and everything was fine, until it asked me to check the degree I was pursuing. I wasn’t pursuing a degree, but it would not allow me to say that, nor was there any place to explain what I really wanted. I selected non-specific and entered.

Next step: “Send us $28 in application fee and your high school transcript.” Now, the money wasn’t so bad, except I never remembered having to do that before. The high school transcript seemed a tad ridiculous. So I wrote a rather tongue in cheek e-mail: “Since I have a college degree (naming the in-state university) and I have been teaching for 30 years and all I want is a class for recertification, can we assume that I graduated from high school?” Their reply: “All applicants are required to submit not only an official high school transcript, but also indicate any dual credit classes they took. Admission applications will not be considered without this.”

Feeling like a 40-year alumni on a foolish mission, I contacted my high school, which thank fortune, was still in operation. They kindly chipped my transcript off the cave wall and sent it in, with the caveat that since they didn’t start dual credit classes until 20 years after I graduated, I probably didn’t have any.

Problem solved! I received notice that I was admitted! I got an e-mail from a lady saying I should call with any questions. I called. She was on maternity leave. While I was wondering what to do next, I received a new student packet in the mail containing fun things like a school mascot sticker. They didn’t say where I should stick that, but I had a suggestion. This fun packet also informed me that I would not be able to sign up for classes until I had filled out my federal financial assistance application (signed by my parents or guardians) and my immunization record.

Now, that will be tricky. I don’t have a need for federal financial assistance, as I only plan to take a couple classes. And as for my immunization records, I have two objections: a)I don’t plan to set foot on their campus and b) I am not immunized for most childhood diseases because I went the hard way and just had the diseases!

Finally, finally, I was able to contact someone other than the lady on maternity leave. I spent five minutes talking to this real live person and he made an astounding discovery: I was filed under the wrong admissions program! It only took me two months and a lot of aggravation to get someone there to understand that. He very generously told me that I would not have to re-apply or pay another application fee; they would make sure I was transferred to the correct program and he will be contacting me to let me know when that is done and I can at last sign up for the classes I want.

Now, I’m making an even bet with myself as to whether I get this information first, or if I get my on-campus mailbox number and the name of my dorm roommate for the fall. Ah, college life!

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Ode to a shoe…

This morning, I participated in a very strange ritual at my house. My husband came up to me, placed my hand over my heart, then covered his heart with one hand while holding the above shoes in the other. Solemnly, he intoned, “Dear Lord, we are here to pay tribute to these faithful shoes, which have been with me for so many years.”

I wish I could tell you that I made this up, but I didn’t. I wish I could tell you that I’ve never participated in a ceremony like this, but I can’t. In my house, when my husband throws away clothes of any kind, it is a state event bigger than a visit from the Queen. To paraphrase the great Augustus McCray from Lonesome Dove, Roy is “not one to give up on a garment, just ’cause it’s got a little age on it.”

I included a picture of the shoes in question (and yes, those are the ones) because it would be impossible to describe just how bad they had to get before he would throw them away. In fact, his son-in-law had to point out that it is possible that some of his back issues might stem from the fact that these shoes have the outsides of the sole worn completely away, forcing him to walk like a cowboy with a chaps rash!

Now, I understand the desire to not waste clothing. I, myself, have two dresses that have (one or the other) appeared at every wedding, funeral and graduation for the last several years. But I am completely outdone by my husband when it comes to clinging to clothing. This man has garments which pre-date our marriage and that, my friends, was some years ago!

His favorite everyday jacket is a so-called “ski” jacket–he doesn’t ski–that he bought while still in college. The colors have faded from what I assume was a vibrant red and blue to a washed out orange and aqua blend. In addition, so much of the shoulder seams have broken out that it looks like he’s wearing fringe down his arms. But, any suggestion I have made that perhaps it’s time to put that jacket out to a well-deserved retirement, he points out that the zipper still works and the holes in the pockets are not too big!

I admit that I have resorted to criminal behavior on occasion. He had a pair of khaki trousers that were on the knife edge of developing holes in both pockets from his wallet and comb. When I, containing my glee as best I could, pointed out that it was time to get rid of those khakis, he looked at the pockets and said, “Maybe Mom could make new ones.” Now, his mother is a fine seamstress, but I have no doubt she has mended things for him that she privately thought deserved a trip to the rag bag.

But, back to my criminal behavior; when he threatened to force his mother to resuscitate those pants, I admit, I panicked a little and lost my head. The next day, when the sorry-looking pants came through the wash, I may have hooked my fingers in the pockets and ripped them up. Don’t let this information out, however, because I blamed it on the washing machine–it likes to eat perfectly good khakis, you know!

It is just possible that I may have made certain garments “disappear” in the past. If he wears a shirt until I can hold it up and see through it, I figure it’s time for it to take a trip to garbage happy land. I can usually not use his old t-shirts for dust rags because there is not enough of them left and there are socks which should be mercifully dealt with, using the “kerosene and a lit match” approach.

Now, in spite of all my complaints, he always looks well-dressed and appropriate when he is planning to leave the house, but some of the squirrels and rabbits who have seen him walking around in the yard have been so traumatized that they won’t come back. (I realize this is probably a good thing). In the meantime, I will continue to monitor the clothes, do my best to make the old stuff disappear, and yes, continue to participate in ceremonies like the one this morning!

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Environmentally lacking

Photo by Monstera on

Everyday, during my devotional times, I pray for the environment of our earth. And I sincerely mean it, too. I would like to see more ecologically friendly behavior in the world, to try and clean up our beleaguered planet. I want this even more because I have heard from many sources that it is us, the Baby Boomers, who have critically impacted the environment.

I know this to be true. I know this, because while I am praying for a better environment, I am usually in my car, driving 30 miles to work. While I cannot presently do anything about the commute to work, I do appreciate the irony of burning fossil fuels while praying for environmental miracles from the Almighty.

I know there are other ways for me to do a better job in the environment. I have gotten rid of nearly all chemical cleaners, I only have reusable water bottles and I pick up trash in ditches, while avoiding the throwing of anything out the windows of my car. There are some things I am less good at, however, and I am here to confess them to you.

Let us consider the subject of paper towels. Yes, I know it is not good to use a lot of paper towels, but in the last week, I have used over a roll of paper towels and in some cases, like wiping up dog piddle from a nervous visiting dog, I feel I am more than justified. I don’t have to keep rags around that have cleaned up dog mess–paper towels can be thrown out. However, I also used them to wipe my hands fifty times, cover food in the microwave at least 25 times and wipe kitchen counters more often than I would care to admit. Ever since the video on what is in the average kitchen dish cloth or sponge was played for me, I have nightmares about what I am smearing on my counters, while wiping them off, so I use paper towels.

I had a friend some years ago who would hang up paper towels if the only thing on them was water and then re-use them. I tried this for about two hours one day and then I realized if I keep re-using them, I have the same problem as the evil dishrag. What to do, what to do!

I also have trouble with recycling. Is that bottle I just emptied one that can be recycled and if so, where can I take it? Do I put aluminum cans in with the tins used for tuna and vegetables? Which paper products are recyclable, is it just boxes, or could I include some old printer paper? It’s so confusing, so I finally decided that if it isn’t me burning rubber tires, spreading black smoke into the environment, then I am okay.

I have taken a serious look at cleaners in my house and since I’m not exactly a fanatical housekeeper, it doesn’t pain me too much to get rid of them. A friend advised that I use vinegar as my main cleaning agent and so I stocked up on a number of bottles. I sprayed it, wiped it, scrubbed it and ran it down the drain. I don’t know if the house is any cleaner, but the vinegar smell that hits you when you walk in my front door will drop you to your knees.

I turn lights off when I’m not using them, although I admit I’ve gone back to turning on the kitchen light when I get a drink in the middle of the night, ever since I tried to pour myself a drink of water and took a big swallow of vinegar instead! I don’t think the environment will come crashing down if I turn on the light long enough to distinguish the water from the vinegar. On a related note, vinegar spit all over you counter makes a pretty awful mess, especially if you leave it until the next day to clean up.

I don’t own any cows, I plant trees whenever possible and I never use an aerosol can for any reason. So, I feel entitled to use garbage bags as opposed to wrapping garbage in newspapers. I own several grocery bags that I routinely forget to take with me to the grocery store, but the intent is there, as I cram a new selection of plastic grocery sacks into the door where the rest are stored.

I recycle magazines and read newspapers online. I properly dispose of old paint cans and I always remember to pick up all papers from the grounds in the park. These things I do gladly as I try to make up for the Baby Boomer’s generation which hurt our environment so. And as for my morning prayers about the environment and the 30 mile car-ride; I hear electric cars are becoming a big thing. I’ll get one as soon as I have plug-in for it in my garage!

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