Goodbye Mommy Duck

I was feeling icky this morning so I took some long overdue sick leave to get body and soul together. Reading, writing, and watching a little television were my morning accomplishments, and this afternoon I made a batch of Chex party mix before going in for my evening class. I also rallied long enough to do a couple of loads of laundry and take a shower.

No, the purpose of this blog is not to bore you with the mundane details of my day but rather to let you know some things I learned this morning. As mentioned above, I watched a little bit of t.v. early in the day, namely the Today Show. I was just about to turn it off when I heard some diaglogue about bath toys.  My ears perked up because not only do I have several bath toys on hand for my little granddarlings to play with when they come to visit, but they also have quite a few in their home tub. Don’t most kids?

Apparently, the answer is yes. Most children have a plethora of ducks and rings and dinosaurs to make their bathing time more special, but what neither they nor their parents know is that those toys are bad news. Full of germs, bacteria, and this sleazy, oozy, slick black stuff, the toys being shown on Today were repulsive when their surfaces were viewed under a microscope.  Since moisture is the culprit, the doctors being interviewed admonished parents to dry and put away the toys  between uses. Plus, they warned that any with holes where water could enter were especially harmful.

I marched into the bathroom and tossed the mommy duck and her babies who have been resting there for at least six months. They all have holes in them, and so does the little pad where they rest waiting for the grandchildren to pick them up to play. Sometimes I’ve seen the smaller babies put the ducks in their mouths! Never again! According to the doctor, the bacteria from the toys can cause diarrhea, intestinal upsets, weakness, and even skin problems.  

It gets worse. I also learned that in addition to the harmful effects of the bath toys, bath water itself is filled with bacteria and all sorts of creepy microorganisms from the children’s bodies. This is not the kind of information a grandmother wants to hear before 9:00 in the morning…or at any time.  

After being educated by television on the perils of bathing with toys, I came across some other  alarming information in a newspaper. Apparently our homes are so infested with bacteria and all sorts of nasty stuff that it’s a wonder we aren’t sick all the time. From the carpets to the air itself, we’re surrounded by minute particles of vileness that affect our health. Stuff lives in carpets. Well, I sort of knew that, but it’s not something I want to dwell on.

 If someone in our household is sick, he or she is constantly exhaling germs and contaminating the air. When the person recovers, those sick germs are still there IF you never air out your house. Since many Americans live in closed up houses or apartments, where do you think those germs go? Nowhere. They linger in the air just waiting for another victim.

This has got me thinking of a couple of contradictory platitudes. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss. Or should it be ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide. I’m glad that I got a little more educated today so that now I can change things to make sure my home is more hygienic. At the same time, that blissful ignorance was less stressful.

Last Vacation Day

Yesterday  was magnificent. Yes,magnificent. Not just okay or fine or great but absolutely superb. For years, as Christmas vacation grew to a close, I’d often say, “If only I had just one more day, one day of my own to putter, listen to music, hang around the house in sloppy duds, read a book, cook some homemade soup, and watch a little television.  Today I did it, all of the above and a little bit more.

First, I moved all of the Christmas stuff and wow, I liked the minimalist look. Things were bare and basic. My dining and living rooms had what I’ve heard described as the “fullness of nothing,” and it was rather nice. Have you ever been to someone’s home and felt closed in by all the stuff? I have, and I’ve often wondered why they didn’t just take some little something away. Little did I realize that I’ve been guilty of the same thing.

So I continued to putter and rearrange, and although I eventually put many items back in the exact same place, I moved others and put some away. I mean, how many candles does one need on display? How many family pictures are too many? That’s kind of a challenge because since we have a rather large family, we have tons of pictures and like having them out to look at. Some people advise that family photos should be away from public view and back in the bedrooms. I say you should decorate however you wish and that if you want a life size portrait of your grandchild as the focal point in your living room, it’s okay by me.

I’m not a fanatic, but I enjoy order and cleanliness. Mother Ann Lee who founded the United Society of Believers instructed her followers to remember that order was heaven’s first law. “There is no dirt in heaven” she said. I’ve read that the Shakers elevated order to a sacred art, and while I didn’t get that carried away, there’s only a minimal amount of clutter around there today. Too much of it creates confusion and chaos in my psyche, and I can’t even think straight or feel the inner peace I need.

Plus, my house is in feng shui order. I’m too lazy to look up an exact definition right now, so you’ll have to settle for mine: the ancient Chinese art of arranging one’s surroundings in such a way that more chi or positive energy is brought into play. Even a little bit of it can bring more harmony, clarity, and feelings of peace into a home. For instance, little things like having books in view reportedly increases insight. Having a mirror in your dining room to expands the abundance. Moving 27 things around a year gets the chi going and enhances our ability to move on with our lives. I worked on the latter yesterday, and it’s amazing what a difference little changes can make.

Sarah ban Breathnach says that when we clean and order our homes, we are somehow cleaning and ordering ourselves. I believe her. Now that my home is in order, I’m ready to tackle my working world. Sumter, here I come.