Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
There are many more important things that I could (and should) be blogging about, but this amazed me so much I just had to write about it. My sister came to stay with us from out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we were preparing our back room upstairs for her to stay in, Liz noticed that the walls had some "stuff" on them.
"What is that?", she said. Sweet Pea, ever the helpful one, said "Looks like poop!" "What is it?" Liz says again, a bit more stridently. "It's smeared all over the place."
Buddy Boy chimes in "That's from the fly paper."
My heart sinks a little. The fly paper.
A couple of weeks ago we had thousands of flies swarming outside of our house for a couple of days. We called an exterminator, who assured us that this was common this time of year, and that they would go away with the first frost. Needless to say, a couple dozen made their way into the house. Buddy Boy insists that any insect must be returned to it's environment if we won't let him keep it as a pet (Andrea would love this kid), and Sweet Pea seems to think that any insect has the power to kill her instantly, and is thus terrified of them.
Faced with the prospect of dealing with both of them, I looked for a way to eliminate the problem. I looked thru our pantry and found a couple of rolls of flypaper. Thinking this might work, I put one up in the back room. Liz had me take it down a couple of days later after it became apparent that the unique sticky surface attracted curious kids more than it did flies. I didn't notice at the time that they had managed to smear some of the sticky stuff on the cream colored walls (which we don't have matching paint for).
Now, with 24 hours before my sister shows up, I was tasked to "Take care of that!"
Realizing that I didn't want to make a bad situation worse, I resolved to get the icky brownish yellowish stuff off the wall without destroying the paint (I did not want to have to paint a wall before she arrived). So I proceeded carefully.
First, I started with a rag with dishsoap on it. I scrubbed carefully and increasingly harder for over 20 minutes. I got some of it off, but most of it stayed where it was.
Like a philosopher progressing steadily up thru Maslow's pyramid of human needs, I tried what I viewed as successively more potent materials on the wall. The next material I tried was a floor and tile cleaner. I tried it carefully on an out of the way spot to make sure it wouldn't ruin the paint, then had at it again for another 20 minutes. Again, it left most of it where it was, only it turned what remained a darker shade of gray. Getting exasperated, I retreated to the mud room and tried some pine based floor cleaner, again to no avail. This was starting to get to me. I finally decided to go for the big guns-a scouring pad and kitchen cleanser-realizing that I would have to be very careful and would still probably remove some paint.
Luckily Liz saw me at that point and asked what I was doing. Fortunately it had been long enough that she had lost most of the fire out of her eye, and recommended the Mr. Clean magic sponges kept under the kitchen sink.
With little hope for successful resolution of the problem at this point, I took the sponges to task. I moistened one and started scrubbing lightly. And after spending more than an hour trying to get the stuff off, it started lifting off immediately. What's more, the paint underneath seemed totally unharmed. In five minutes I was done with those spots, and gleefully going after other spots (finger prints, putty, crayon marks, etc.).
"There's some rockin' chemist out there that hit one out of the park with this!", I said. Life is full of small miracles, and I experienced one this week.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.