Click here for information about Charlotte's novel, Place Last Seen
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Fools Crow by James Welch
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Body and Soul
The Julie/Julia Project
Struggle in a Bungalow Kitchen
Real Live Preacher
Blog of a Bookslut
Temptation strikes at LivingSmall: On Sunday, I clean my house. My brother takes the dogs for the day, and I clean, then go to whatever movie the Danforth Film Festival is showing in the afternoon. It's not a very big house, about 1000 square feet, so it's no gargantuan task, but I have hardwood floors throughout, and two dogs who during the midweek thaw tracked in big globs of mud from the plowed field in my backyard that will eventually be a vegetable garden. I did a little mid-week spot mopping, but by the time I got around to real cleaning, there were actual drifts of dirt in the corners.
My usual process is to vacuum everything, including the couple of kilms I have in my office and the living room, then pull up the rugs and vacuum underneath them, then mop. Here's where I almost fell off the LivingSmall wagon this week. Suddenly, looking at my house I was overcome with dreams of the Hoover FloorMate . I went online and read some reviews at epinions, where users wrote glowingly of the ease of use, of the way their Hoover FloorMates glided across hardwood floors, scrubbing, mopping, squeegee-ing up the water. I read about the trigger feature where, when one encounters say, a muddy footprint, one squeezes the trigger and the machine, the wonderous machine gives the spot a little extra juice and like magic! the muddy footprint disappears. I spent a couple of hours entranced by this dream. I came home from breakfast (sorry dogs, no walk when the temp is below zero) and came this close to walking over to the hardware store on Main Street, a mere 2 blocks away and plopping down one hundred and sixty nine dollars for the promise of effortless cleaning.
And then I remembered the EasyBake Oven. I remembered the weeks before Christmas when I fantasized about how great my life would be if only I had an EasyBake Oven. And I remember my disapointment when I discovered that the guts of the EasyBake oven was a light bulb. It wasn't magical. It wasn't wonderful. I used it a couple of times and then, tired of the rubbery little cakes that didn't taste like anything, it got stuffed in the back of the closet.
Even in my Sunday morning dreamy state, even looking at floors I really didn't want to spend two hours cleaning properly, even besotted by visions of the Hoover FloorMate, I knew that buying another machine was not the answer. I knew, deep in my heart, that the Hoover FloorMate violates the tenets of living small on several fronts: it's specialized, it's another machine, and worst of all, it requires special fluids. Anything that requires one to use manufacturer-specific fluids must be avoided. Standing in my kitchen, fighting the temptation to run two blocks over to the Ace Hardware store where this magical machine was calling its siren call to me, I thought of special fluids and remained strong.
I came to my senses. I got over it. I have a perfectly good vacuum cleaner. I have a bucket and a couple of different mops. I vacuumed. I pulled up the rugs. I mopped with a little Murphy's Oil Soap in a bucket of hot water. The sunlight came through the windows and turned my douglas fir floors a lovely honey yellow. The house smelled good. It was clean. I went to the movies one hundred and sixty-nine dollars less poor than I would have been had I succumbed to the seduction, the oh-so-professional seduction of the American advertising machine.