Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Household "Helpers"

I guess I really overestimated the amount of time until Christmas because I sort of overcooked. I have all these handy leftovers, and it just occurred to me that I'll be leaving town in two days. I'd thought about going on Saturday, but it's supposed to rain then, so my parents suggested I come over on Friday. I suppose Sunday is also a viable option, but it's rather nice that my parents actually want me to stay for a longer visit. I haven't made that many trips there this year, so it should be fun, and the weather is looking pretty good. We'll probably do our usual celebrations involving eating non-stop and watching a lot of science fiction.

But that means I have two days to do all my laundry and get packed and organized, plus do a little baking. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to get those revision notes today before my agent leaves for the holiday (so guess who has to work over the holiday).

While doing laundry, I started thinking of the Eater of Socks that shows up in Hogfather. I have a very active one living in my house. It not only works in the laundry room, but also meddles in the laundry hamper in the bathroom. I very carefully check that I have complete pairs while I sort laundry, but they somehow manage to disappear between the bathroom and the laundry room. Sometimes, I'll find a stray sock on the floor hours later -- after I've walked that path several times. If I do manage complete pairs while putting them in the washer, one always manages to disappear during the wash or during drying. I have a sort of sock orphanage going, in case one ever returns to me (and sometimes they do), but I still seem to have to buy a whole new set of black socks every winter (my Eater of Socks generally leaves the white athletic socks alone and mostly eats black dress socks).

But I also have a few other creatures. One of the most annoying is the Kleenex Monster. As a person with fairly chronic allergies, I don't dare go too far without having a tissue handy, and those tissues are prone to showing up in the wash. I'm pretty paranoid about that, so when I take clothes off, I check and empty all the pockets. Then when I sort clothes, I check the pockets again. Still, I often open the washer at the end of the cycle and find tissue shreds throughout the load. What's really odd is when I don't find the tissue shreds in the washer, but when I take clothes out of the dryer, they suddenly appear. Obviously, the Kleenex Monster sits in my laundry room, dropping tissues into the washing machine or dryer when I'm not looking.

Then there's Scissors Man. I try to be good about putting scissors away in their proper place when I'm done with them, but they still migrate around the house so that they're never where they're supposed to be when I need them. I even have extra pairs because I've given up on finding them and have just bought new ones -- of course, when I come home from the store with the new scissors, the old ones will suddenly be out in plain sight. This applies to kitchen shears, office scissors and nail scissors. I've thought about just putting an all-purpose pair on a chain to wear around my neck, but I'm a little afraid of what the Scissors Man might do to me in a face-to-face encounter. Scissors Man has a cousin, Tape Measure Man, who is the reason I have about five tape measures. I've managed to thwart him by constantly keeping one tape measure locked in the tool box instead of keeping it handy in places where I might need it. That's the one tape measure I can reliably find.

I also have a Literary Gnome who moves books around and who likes to hide the spiral notebooks I use for plotting books or doing research. I came up with a whole system for labeling the notebooks, but then the labels disappeared. The Literary Gnome must not have been pleased with the labeling system. There was a book I bought last year that I thought might make good December reading, but this December, I couldn't find it in any of the places where I usually stash books I haven't read yet, and I went through those places very carefully. Then it occurred to me that I probably just put it away with my Christmas stuff, and I'd find it when I decorated the house. I got the decorations up and went through all my things, but didn't find it. Then it appeared on the bookcase by my desk, where I'd looked several times. I guess the Literary Gnome had finished reading it. He has a cousin who hides the cases from CDs that are in the player and who removes the liner notes from CD cases.

Of course, I would get all the creatures that add to the chaos. Why couldn't I get a nice Brownie to clean up during the night while I sleep?

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