All’s well that cleans well

By Mir
December 14, 2009

So we have something of an ongoing saga happening here, and it’s one of those things where I’m never quite sure how much to say and how much to just bite down VERY FIRMLY on my tongue, but suffice it to say that I was participating in a test drive program for some SUPERCOOL and VERY SHINY large objects upon which we rely for things like clean clothes and food free of botulism, and instead of being supremely awesome it has, instead, been a carnival of How Many Things Can Go Wrong? How About One More? No, How About Two More? Hey, You Didn’t Want These To Work, Did You? Etc. And although I still believe that it will all be okay in the end (I also believe in unicorns, by the way), it has involved MANY deliveries and service calls and hours upon hours of People In My House.

(Moral of the story: You get what you pay for. Remember that before accepting things which are free, is all I’m saying.)

Anyway, as GOSH DARNED FUN as the entire process has been, the pinnacle was, without question, the service call a couple of weeks ago when a new crew came to do a whole new installation of one of these Shiny Things. There’s one particular crew that has come with such regularity and been so patient and awesome that I actually baked them Christmas cookies—no lie; I figured they’d earned them—but this particular different crew was assigned for reasons unknown, and they came to the house in the middle of a storm and completed the installation as required.

They also tracked mud all over the carpet in my office.

Now, look; things happen. I get that. But for one thing, owing to the storm and the wet, I specifically asked them to put down floor coverings. They trotted out a single, tiny mat and put it down in my kitchen, and then proceeded to walk around it (although mopping in the kitchen is no big deal). For another thing, I suspect they really did not NEED to go outside and turn off the water on the side of the house, but they insisted they did, and that’s fine, but HOW DO YOU NOT NOTICE that then your boots are covered with mud and you are now walking across a carpeted area? HOW?? The mind boggles.

[And for those of you unfamiliar with Georgia mud, allow me to remind you that Georgia does not have dirt, it has clay. Red clay. Rusty-colored, thick, incredibly staining, CLAY. I could tell you the number of pieces of clothing I ended up throwing away our first year here in Georgia, before I figured out the magic formula for actually removing most of the damage in the laundry, but that would be embarrassing.]

Suffice it to say that I freaked out, completely, as the carpet had been ruined and this was the last straw in this particular drama. So when I called The Person In Charge I mentioned the carpet and the big red footprints, and said Person was appropriately horrified. I was told that they would pay to have the carpet cleaned, of course.

So last night—after spending the entire day working with Chickadee on her Science Fair Project and working with Monkey on his Viking Project, both of which are stories of the head-exploding kind in their own right—Otto and I carried just about everything out of my office. We ended up leaving my desk, because it’s a monster, and also because we had nowhere to put it. And we left a few things (like the dog’s crate) that I could move on my own this morning. But the kitchen is filled with my office and the garage is filled with my office and once we had it all out we were able to really look around and go, “Whoa, this carpet was actually kind of disgusting even before the footprints.”

And then I started feeling kind of cheerful about the carpet cleaning, you know, because WHO KNOWS what color the carpet actually is! It’s kind of exciting!

This morning I was about to take the dog out for her last romp before the cleaners came, and I bent down by the back door there to pick up a leaf she’d tracked in, only it turned out not to be a leaf, but a slug. I know this because as soon as I grasped it it caused my entire body to convulse with ICK. I screamed loudly, executed a giant hand spasm, and the slug went flying across the room. (Licorice merely cocked her head at me, as if to ask why I feel the need to be so DRAMATIC all the time.) Now, you would think that in a room almost completely void of furniture, a slug—even a slug that’s been airborne—would be easy to find. But no. I couldn’t find it. Which I fear means it’s… somewhere on my desk.

Um. I am sort of going to miss having an office. Especially with the carpet being all clean and all. But you understand why I’ll never be going back in there, right? Right.

Anyway. The cleaner came and there is a very pleasing WHIRRWHIRRWHIRR sound coming from that room now, as I sit on the couch with my laptop. There was the usual small talk before he began, and he asked what I do and I told him I’m a writer and he asked me if I write books. I don’t know if it was the irritation over the whole saga with the carpet or that I didn’t get enough sleep last night, but I was seized with an irrational urge to tell him that I write the scripts for p0rn movies. Fortunately, I thought better of it. But I told him that I write for the web and for magazines, and he told me he just cleaned the carpets for a guy who writes for GUNS Magazine. I really didn’t know how to respond to that, so I just tried to look busy.

I figure that if this particular saga continues for much longer, eventually I’m going to get a whole new house out of it! But in the meantime, I’m hoping to hear just five little words from the guy who’s in there cleaning right now…

… “Hey, I found a slug!”


  1. StephLove

    Goo luck with that. At the house of the gun writer, he might have found the other kind of slug.

  2. StephLove

    Good luck, I meant. Not goo luck.

  3. Shannon

    Oh pretty please please please tell me how you get the clay out of laundry. Or carpets. Or both. I’m in TX but a part of TX that has The Clay. It is horrible. It refuses to come out. Help meeeee!

  4. Summer

    I am suspicious about just WHAT would need to be cleaned out of the carpets of someone who writes for Guns Magazine. If it’s what I think it is, the cleaning guy should have NO TROUBLE with clay.

  5. dad

    I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that you probably won’t find the guest slug for a while. The good news is that by the time you do find him he will be dried out and no longer icky.

  6. Jennifer Joyner

    Mir….can all of this possibly be true???? I swear, the life you lead….

  7. tuney

    Hey, Mir, you already have the slug remedy, remember? Just put a dish of beer on your desk. What self-respecting slug could resist THAT? And! You won’t have to handle it after… just toss the whole mess in the yard, or flush it. *brushing hands together* Problem solved.

  8. Tracy

    I understand completely about the slug. I haven’t been in my outside kitchen since last spring. It wasn’t a slug but a walking stick thingie. ICK!!!! In Louisiana, they aren’t just your average walking stick but a whole branch. No way am I going in there. No way.

  9. Karen

    Yes, as I think I’ve mentioned I have been wondering about the big shiny things you got. Good to know.

    On the upside, everything comes in threes, I understand, so clay footprints, palmetto bug nest and slug, you’re done, right? Here’s hoping this clears the way for a footprint free, bug free holiday.

  10. Nancy

    Bugs and Slugs – can I say that despite the snow and cold today I am happy to be in New England? Not to mention the red mud.

  11. The Other Leanne

    Hmmph, I guess the mfr that gave you all those shiny things was hoping you would write an honest review of their products, and now you can!
    Dad’s right, the slug will end up as a much improved dry, crunchy thing…unless it attaches itself to the belly of Licorice who will then lick it and swallow it and barf it up on your clean carpet. You’re welcome.

  12. My Kids Mom

    1. Never hide cold Easter eggs outdoors in GA. It took less than three minutes for every one of those dang eggs to be covered with slugs. My skin crawls to remember.

    2. Please, please share your method of cleaning GA red clay out of clothes!!!!

  13. ellbee

    Squick! As a Colorado gal, I don’t normally encounter slugs, so when I do my reaction is–loud, to say the least. I may have woken an entire neighborhood with my hollering once when encountering a slug on my foot while visiting friends in Arkansas, but I’m not telling.
    New office? I’d need a new house.

  14. Megan

    Yerg. Yup, Dad is wise in the Way of the Slug, however as you have a small male in your house I suggest you write a note to yourself and post it somewhere in the office (or many somewheres) stating ‘don’t forget! It might just be the slug,’ you know, for when you find it again. ‘Cause we all know the fun of stopping dead, shuddering a bit, and letting loose a majestic to be told Just What Exactly Is This On The Carpet??

  15. Beth R

    Have you mentioned the slug to the cleaning guy? If he’s actually keeping an eye out for it, he might find it :)

  16. Mama Bear

    Not just relating to you on the slug thing, because EW! But also relating in the shiny things that don’t do what they are supposed to. We had the repair guy here so many times on the BRAND NEW thing that cleans dishes that finally I said, “trade it! It is not allowed in my house any longer.” The next year we lucked out and the keep your food cold thing works great! (Knockonwood)But, the next year, the keeps your food free of botulism thing had the repair guy here 4 times before it worked, and what happened last week? It quit working again. They don’t make shiny things like they used to. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth replacing them.

  17. meghann

    Let’s see palmetto bugs, ticks, and slugs! Isn’t Georgia fun?!

    p.s.-please please please give me the magic clay removing recipe. kthxbye.

  18. Darcie

    I second (or quadruple whatever) the request for the clay- removing magic recipe for clothing. I have a great method for baseball pants but they are white so it involves bleaching agents. Would love a recipe for colors.

    Maybe the slug can organize your desk for you! :)

  19. natasha the exile on Mom Street

    I too need the magic formula for clay removal.

    I’ve lived in GA for over 10 years (how has it been that long?) and never needed to know how to get clay out of clothing.

    But I never had a three-year-old boy before, either.

  20. Katie in MA

    First (because I understand priorities), you should have taken a cannister full of salt and flung it about the room before the cleaners got there. It would kill the slug and the cleaner would clean it all up. Um. Don’t know what you’d do about all the salt on the rest of your desk. Moving on.

    Second, please tell me you aren’t talking about your washer and dryer. Because I am getting ready to buy new ones (a dryer, at least) and I was going to splurge and get the ones you got because you raved about them. I think if you’re test driving them, you should given an honest review – even the crappy parts. If they want you to just write the good stuff, they should make better products. But that’s just me.

  21. Lori N

    Slug yuck. Palmetto bugs = bigger yuck. Living in frozen New England and reading about your bug/slug stories…priceless.

  22. gaylin

    When we were kids my dad used to flick slugs out of the strawberry patch with a gardening fork, onto the road, where my brother and I happily ran over them with our bikes. Aw, the family that squishes together, stays together.

  23. JennyM

    @The Other Leanne: OMG!!!

    We’ve been getting our Shiny Things from the scratch-and-dent, er, “reconditioned” section at Lowe’s. Did you know you can dicker with them? It works!

  24. Half Assed Kitchen

    Broccoli worms are the grossest. Especially when you’re about to unknowingly put one in your mouth.

  25. Lisa

    The slugs here in WA (where we escaped to from FL) are GINORMOUS. Some are green, some are black, some are brown and some are leopard-spotted. And they love my garden–I have, apparently, a very tasty garden. And they thrive. Why? Because while I can’t live with palmetto bugs…I have a strange empathy for slugs. Everyone hates them so. But they’re not trying to cause any trouble, they’re just hungry. So I never put out slug bait. I never hurt them. When I come across a slug while I’m working in the yard I just throw it in the yard waste bucket I’m working with, which then goes to the big yard waste bucket which gets picked up by the yard waste crew and goes off to the compost pile in the sky. I don’t know what happens to the slugs. Do they suffocate in the yard waste? Do they survive the ride to compost mountain? I don’t know, but I figure even if they die, they die with nice, full, happy slugbellies. Which seems like a better fate than salt or bait.

    When my son was 6 or so he made me keep a few as pets. After a few weeks, naturally, he got bored with them and I was not necessarily thrilled to have slugs living in a terrarium on my kitchen counter. So we made a big production of it and took them to the edge of a greenbelt and released them into the wild, with the Chariots of Fire theme by Vangelis as our soundtrack. :) I hope they enjoyed their new home under cover of blackberry bramble.

  26. Heather

    I totally understand not returning. My thing is snakes. I saw one in my barn once and while on the run out of there yelled back to my horses, “Love you both but sorry you’re going to starve to death.” Even after it was removed by a braver person I had to force myself back in there for a while.

  27. bob

    my predictive powers (learned from Carnac the Magnificent) are telling me there’s a red-clay-cleaning post in our near furture.

    BTW, look for the trail of slime on your desk if you want to find your wayward slug.

  28. Kat

    Oh! If the cleaner is still there, ask him how he got the Hoppes #9 gun oil out of the gun magazine guy’s carpet!
    It smells good, but oh the stains under the work area!

  29. Jan in Norman, OK

    Mama Bear, you are so right about the planned obsolescence of large, shiny things. My parents had a large keep-food-cold object that lasted over 50 years, through about 10 moves. Finally, the handle broke off. (That’s how old it was; the handle was the part that actually latched it closed.) They moved it into the garage and propped the door shut with a broom handle. It still worked fine.

  30. Flea

    Your dad’s right about the slug. And salt is good, too. Sounds like you’re having a great time leading up to Christmas!

  31. Ruth

    I think “Goo luck” is quite the appropriate saying when dealing with the issue of the slug.

  32. Nelson's Mama

    We get slugs in our house on occasion. I finally figured out that they were hitching a ride on Nelson – he likes to root around in the ivy near the house and they get stuck in his fur, then fall off when he comes inside.

  33. Nicki

    Yeah, so North Carolina and Georgia apparently share the same dirt. So, if you could find it in your heart to dispense the secret to clean laundry…remembering that I, too, an raising a boy…that would be LOVELY.

    And sorry about the office. I had one, too, once…

  34. Brigitte

    Shady yard and two cold, wet summers in a row = wall-to-wall slugs. I counted over 50 of them in a 3’x3′ area (outside, of course).

    I’d be MORE afraid that the slug somehow did some loop-the-loop thing and was stuck in my long hair somewhere, but that’s just me. Yes, thank you very much.

  35. Aly

    Cold Easter eggs and rotting Halloween Jack-O’Lanterns are both excellent slug attractors. My husband decided it would make a neat science experiment to watch ours rot on the porch (?!?!). After going out there one night and witnessing the slug carnival (and the fun the neighbor’s cat was having at the slug carnival) I made him throw it out the next morning. You should have seen all the lost and confused slugs on the porch the next night though. Ewwwwwwww doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  36. joaaanna

    O.M.G. You touched a slug. GAAAAHHHH!

  37. Aimee

    Ewwwww. Slug. The first Christmas we were here in SoCal, we found a freaking GIGANTIC slug in our entryway. I freaked out. Fortunately, I have a husband who is made of steel and handled it without shrieking like a maniac. That’s MY job.

  38. MomCat

    Guys who come to service appliances or install stuff seem to all be afflicted what I have termed ‘tracking blindness.’ Their wives, if they have any, probably gave up long ago and now just put down fresh straw on the floor each day.

  39. Erin

    @Half Assed Kitchen: the broccoli worms are why we didn’t plant broccoli in our garden this summer. Because I couldn’t handle bringing in some beautiful broccoli, cooking it up and taking a bite, only to see half a worm on my fork.

    Oh? Were you eating? I’m so sorry. :)

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