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Day 32. When I have Vacuums Dancing in My Head

First, the updates:
• I just did my laundry, after dark. I literally battled the spider crickets with a rake I found by the door. I whacked and thumped, and whimpered, and ran my laundry to and from the facilities. I’m sure every tenant in the house, including the people under the stairs (scary movie reference!), heard me factually stating, in the calmest of voices, “NOT HAPPY! NOT HAPPY! ENHHH! AH!” At least I have clean underwear now.
• Dottie is like Mighty Mouse in Spider form, and some things are just comical like in a cartoon. I was worried about her neat web, and her, because a large housefly kept sweeping past the white platform. If it ran into Dottie’s home, it would surely lumber around until her little corner of the world was a tattered mess. The fly itself is several times larger than Dottie’s body. The next morning, I found a comically upside down fly in Dottie’s refuse bin, legs sticking in the air. Dottie was doing four-legged push ups and forcing lesser bugs to corn-row her hair. Dottie’s home was not only not tattered, but it wasn’t harmed at all. Super Dottie!
• Because of the storms and the weekend of fireworks, Abbi has restricted herself to the house most of the day. Amazingly, she has not exploded from holding her bladder, though I’m sure several days of this in a row is not healthy. I’ve started considering conspiracy theories, since it seems that every time I am about to take out Abbi, or just as soon as we get to the “stomping grounds” where some particular whiff of the dead grass induces the desired results, fireworks or thunder begin. There are no sounds but normal traffic and residential noises until I have Abbi on a leash. Pretty soon I am demanding her respect and curious why I haven’t entered her in a sled-race competition. If the race marshal just lit some fireworks at the start of the race, Abbi would willingly drag me across miles of snow to the closest bathtub, her preferred safety spot during storms. I will say Abbi is getting more baths this summer than she ever has before because she just stays in the bathtub, or hops in, while I am showering. She smells like botanical shampoo, and has voluminous hair!

Now for the uniquely apartment stuff:

Landlord, whose note said she would return “tomorrow” to plaster over the holes in the wall, has once again deposited something in my apartment that she will never use. Her method for patching the walls is questionable to begin with. Although she told me at some point a long time ago, that she would bring sheet rock by to patch the walls, I came home last week (see previous entries) to find blue foam board nailed (!) into the moldy spaces. It is a very pretty baby-boy blue, this board, but I wouldn’t suggest leaning against those areas of the wall. It looks like packing material from a DVD player’s shipping box. Anyway, she wrote me a note saying she would return the next day to tape around the edges and lay the plaster, which is in a large bucket sitting in the “kitchenette,” to complete the job. The good news is she hasn’t been coming into my apartment on a whim, from what I can tell. The bad news is that she never even attempted to follow-up on her note, which I am saving, like I do all her notes. She is extremely consistent in her inconsistencies.
–Side Note: My Father was in town this weekend and we wanted to print tickets to go to the Newseum, because this would save us some money and some time. I was surprisingly out of paper! Then it occurred to me that Landlord uses my printer paper to write me notes. Sigh. We ended up using rainbow colored stationery that I’ve had since middle school. There is a leaping dolphin in one corner of the pretty paper. I generally only use this paper to write to my college housemates who are marine biologists and understand that I am just using paper that I still happen to have, and it has a dolphin on it.

The little flies were getting so bad in the apartment that even Dottie couldn’t keep up with them. Her web looked like GNATS GONE WILD!(TM). They are all over the place in no particular arrangement, like they got drunk at the party and passed out wherever they fell. The fact that they dive bomb into any water sitting around and on my sink, and promptly drown, adds to this frat boy party appearance. If I put out a steaming mug of water, I’m sure some lady gnats would take off their tops to enjoy the hot tub. They were becoming rather annoying in my kitchenette. I now have foam board nailed into holes in my wall, with the ever decorative, silver duct tape covering every edge. I also put duct tape over the large, crumbling hole in my bathroom next to the tub. The fly numbers have dwindled considerably, and I get to enjoy the duct tape wall decorations that are continually passed over by all the best Better Homes & Gardens interior decorators. Go figure.

At least the carpet is clean, or vacuumed anyway. As I said, my dear father came to visit me for the long Fourth of July weekend. We went to museums, we walked around in a large airplane hanger where the last Transformers movie was filmed, and we sat among thousands of our closest nation-proud friends to watch Steve Martin play bluegrass on his banjo. The American Idol also sang a Disney movie song, Josh Groban shared some of his life’s work, and Little Richard hit pitches that would have made Babe Ruth cry. In the midst of this excitement, we also vacuumed my apartment.

Up until now, I have removed surface animal hair from the carpet in my on inventive, and time consuming way: I literally comb the carpet with Abbi’s brush. It helps a little. But, oh, an electric-powered cleaning tool. So nice.

Apparently, the carpet is not a gray, muted tan like I once thought. I now think that it was originally a rather peach color. After lifting the dust, and decades of animal hair from the fibers, and after several more sweeps with Febreeze, and a small prayer said while burning sage to lift the evil spirits, it is almost livable! I think I went over every spot five times, and I edged at least twice. This wasn’t easy, because the vacuum kept breaking. My father’s girlfriend, whose vacuum it is, apologized, and easily enough, we would realign the delinquent rubber belt that kept slipping. Honestly, I think the vacuum was just feeling the despair from the apartment. It felt its days were numbered, so why not here, in this place? We kept reviving the vacuum, and it served its purpose very well, crunching along on the unmentionables long pressed into the bottom of the carpet mat.

Before my father left to return home with the saintly vacuum, such a wonderful contraption, I vacuumed again. I brushed both animals, and vacuumed in the areas where they wandered. I vacuumed the couch after rubbing baking soda into it. I vacuumed the ceiling, and jumped back when I got too close to the part of the kitchenette’s ceiling that is falling down. A few huge chunks of peeling plaster fell on top of me, and it startled me. But the cobwebs were all sucked away! I felt like such a happy homemaker!

My mother and her boyfriend are visiting in two weeks. All these family visits are highly unusual, since I started law school. Vermont is far away, and northeast, which is not where anyone lives, or particularly wants to live. Vermont also has little to offer for non-skiers for eight months of the year. Even if you love the snow and cold, it’s just mud and slush for at least two months of the year. Combine this with a stressed out daughter who has law school things to attend to? It doesn’t induce family members to pack up the car and try for a weekend getaway. Before this summer, I hadn’t seen my parents for a year, the longest we’ve ever gone without someone flying to see someone. I had finally gotten my mother to come visit at the very end of my second year, but again, it was mud season, and awful weather and there was a lot going on at school. It was a difficult visit to say the least.

Now, I am south, and in DC where there is everything to do and plenty of sunshine to do it in! Museums, some free, some not, and live music and disco techs and dance halls and folk festivals and shops and celebrities and politicians and pubic transit, oh my! Everyone wants to visit. This makes it slightly more depressing that I can’t even offer them a clean, vacuumed floor to plump up an inflatable mattress on. I had such high hopes that I’d have a full house a few times this summer. I do have a full house, because the apartment is tiny and I have Abbi and Kodak and Dottie and myself and the curious smells, but I also have enough space for visitors to at least sleep and shower here. But no, that’s not a pleasant idea and I wouldn’t subject anybody to sleep on this floor, even with comfortable inflatable furniture and a recent vacuuming. Pepe Le Pew would say, “Le sigh” at this juncture in my narrative.

And what is the one thing I want to visit with when my folks come to visit? Oh vacuum dearest, it has been so long! I enjoy your sucking abilities so much. Also, I am not a one vacuum woman. I have no problem using a different vacuum every weekend of the summer. Small or big ones, bagless ones, ones with multiple attachments; I’m not picky, so long as they work and remove the years of odor and dirt from the carpet.

I will request that my mom bring a vacuum on her visit. It is such a dear thing, that I want to spend as much time as possible with it. It’s so good to see everyone again.

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