Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Steam = Clean

This will probably be the dumbest post I ever write.  Those who know me know that I am a bit of a neat freak.  Of course, my Mom would argue that as a kid I was quite the opposite.  I was a total slob then but I know I had that inner Obsessive Compulsive Clean Machine just waiting to come out!

We adopted two very big dogs a couple of months ago.  They are Giant Schnauzers. One is 100 lbs and the other is 90 lbs.  Our Miniature Schnauzer, the perfect princess Smokie, has been with us for almost ten years now and even she likes them.  These dogs are the BEST dogs you could ask for.  They are housebroken, they are loving, they are protective and playful, and they are so big that they have fulfilled my childhood desire of having a pony.  :)  

These wonderful "babies" are NOT, however, clean.   They track in dirt constantly no matter how much I try to avoid it.  I bathe the dogs once a week (another post altogether) and try very hard to keep them as clean as possible.  My beautiful hickory wood floors have been looking sad.  I have been sweeping daily and mopping at least twice a week just to try to get them back to the they looked when we first moved in to no avail.  (The picture above is my office a few days before we moved in.)

Yesterday, on my third trip to Home Depot to find the miracle solution - I found it... I had picked out yet another cleaning solution to try and passed by the vacuums on my way out.  That's when I saw it - the Hallelujah Chorus began and the spot light shone down on the box - THE STEAM MOP!  The steam mop looks like a small upright vacuum and has microfiber pads that attach to the bottom.  There is a water reservoir that heats up like the steam in your iron.   While you mop, you push the steam button and the very hot steam cleans the floors.

I rushed home with it, put it together, put in the water, plugged in the mop and waited.....When the light turned green, I was off!  I was like a NASCAR driver.  I mopped the entire first floor and enjoyed every moment.  I know, I am a NUT.  But I am one happy nut now because the floors look amazing, and they are not just clean they are sanitized.  (Yes, I read that on the box :)  The steam mop works on the tile and stone too so I can use it in the bathrooms and the basement where we have both.  

Steam glorious steam!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

We just returned from a family trip to Las Vegas. We went for a business convention so my husband worked most of the time while the kids and I toured the city. We had a great time together and the kids and I enjoyed flying for the first time in 8 years! There was lots to see and do such as the Stratosphere, the Lion Habitat at MGM, the Adventure Dome at Circus Circus, the awesome fountains at the Bellagio and of course the amazing hotels and casino buildings. We walked several miles each day.

To me, Las Vegas is a testament to the ingenuity of man. The man-made attractions, and architecture alone are proof to me that God exists. I'm sure that it seems like a paradox to see God in "sin city", but indeed I did. To take a vast, empty desert and create a bustling city that sees millions upon millions of tourists each year is nothing short of a miracle. The infrastructure to support so many visitors and residents is truly amazing.

Of course, I am one of those Jesus freaks - God and his miraculous works is the last thing on the minds of many of those who live and visit there promoting and participating in the lifestyle that Las Vegas is so very famous for. There is an overabundance of visual advertising and teasers for activities, shows, and clubs that made me wish I had brought blindfolds for the children. Even more sad are the countless women who live and work in Las Vegas as "eye candy".

There is a palpable desperation in the casinos and the booze flows freely EVERYWHERE. It was the first time I had seen people walking into McDonald's with their two foot tall margarita glasses (with convenient attached strap for easy carrying). The latest controversy in Las Vegas is the popularity of renting wheelchair/scooters by the young and able bodied wishing to avoid walking while consuming their alcoholic beverages. You have to laugh....

We took taxis a few times and had a memorable experience in each one. Our first driver was from Ethiopia. He was a nice, mild mannered man, until the light at the intersection a full 500 feet away turned red. His reaction was to say SH** and coast on through the intersection without even attempting to brake. My reaction was to grab the kids and say a quick "Thank you Jesus" while bracing for an impact. Miraculously there was none. My husband had a brief "meeting" with the driver after we wobbled out of the taxi at our destination. The abbreviated version of the conversation was "Don't ever play with my family's lives" followed by what I like to call his famous "killer" eye.

The "killer" eye involves a very deep penetrating look and a peacock like puffing of the body which gets across the message that pain will be soon be inflicted upon the recipient of said eye. I have seen the famous "killer" eye part seas of people at crowded concerts and miraculously paralyze even the most determined of whinos about to beg for money. It works wonders.

Our second taxi driver was from the Middle East. He gave us a very colorful history of the area and was obviously senile. Our last driver picked us up and promptly got pulled over by the police for running a red light at a turn.

My husband was able to join us for the last day of "touristing" and we had a wonderful lunch "on top of the world" at the Stratosphere. The dining room rotates at 800+ feet above ground with 360 degrees of panoramic views (picture below). We had a fantastic time in Las Vegas and did just about every family friendly activity that was available while we were there. We were happy to be together and we hope to travel more as a family this year. I'll try to post about each trip. :)

May I help you?

Super Man and I at Jamestown Island


Our 2 Giant Schnauzers and our Mini Schnauzer (Smokie) hanging out in my office. Notice Smokie rules over the big ones.