Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Mark Of Pepe - The Basement & Spring Cleaning

It seems that, at least once a year but more likely twice, I wind up doing a major cleaning in our basement. This includes a carpet cleaning or actually is initiated because of the need for a carpet cleaning. We have wall to wall carpeting in about 3/4 of the cellar. Luckily we have a dry basement so can have carpeting. Well, maybe I should clarify that. We have a dry basement when it rains, when it pours, after a few feet of snow rapidly thaw, when neighbors' basements get flooded. Whoever built our house made sure to arrange for great drainage around the foundation.

Still though, our basement gets wet, that is at least certain areas of it - most of them on the carpet. You see, we have 4 dogs. They sometimes have accidents or should i say the 3 females sometimes have accidents. We have 1 male; I don't think what he does is so accidental as it is territorial. We have been at a loss as how to break him of his bad habit of lifting his leg to leave his mark here and there in the house - mostly in the basement. He is a sneaky little booger when it comes to it and tries to do it when no one is looking. If I realize he has slunk down the stairs to the cellar, I immediately ask if he needs to go out. If so, he let's me know right away with a little circular dance of excitement. I try to leave him out at least 5 minutes longer than the females so he can run around the yard spritzing bushes, walls, trees or flower pots to his tiny heart's content. That way he seems much less likely to do it inside but he is still tempted from time to time. He now has a favorite spot in the rear of the basement, away from the carpet and on the concrete floor. better than on the carpet but still in the house. I have heard that if I clean the area well, then start feeding him snacks right atop the areas on which he used to pee, he will be cured of this bad habit. Sort of like not shitting where you eat - this just differs by the consistency of the leavings.

Needless to say, his bad habit, and the occasional accidents by the females (usually only the female Chihuahua - it is rare indeed for the 2 larger dogs to have an accident) cause one heck of bunch of messes. Albeit, the messes are usually small ones because most are from the Chihuahuas but it adds up even though I attend to the messes promptly once found and give the area a good cleaning. I soak up as much of the wetness with paper towels as I can, then clean the spots as best I can with some dog stain/mess remover that is supposed to get rid of stains and kill or prevent any odors. The thing is, it does not work quite as well as advertised. Warmer and more humid weather, such as mid spring, reminds us that under the carpet there is still some buildup that has not been broken down by the enzymatic action of the cleaner. Lately though, I did not need the reminder as the little guy has been more territorial than usual for some reason or another.

A cleaning was overdo so, last night I went to see Homer at the Depot. I rented a carpet cleaner and bought a bottle of carpet cleaning detergent made specifically for that type of cleaner. When got home, from Home Depot, I started moving things out of the carpeted room. This included moving out some furniture and leaving some that would simply be moved from one end of the room to the other as I would clean today. Today, I started the cleaning at about 0945. I was done with half of the room, including moving some furniture back and forth, buy about 1100. By 1115, I was upstairs waking my son up so he could give me a hand moving some of the heavier stuff I had left at one end of the room. We would move it to the other end, I would vacuum, then use the carpet cleaner and Brendan went upstairs to have coffee or whatever. As I was vacuuming, I got zapped a good one. Don't know how or why but somehow something sent a good bolt of electricity into my left wrist, up my left arm, through my torso, down my left leg and out my left ankle. I also got a zap in my right wrist but not as bad as the left. I almost fell over it was that strong. The vacuum wand had come in contact with the TV cable. I don't know if it is not shielded enough or if it was something else, maybe some of my perspiration dripped into the vacuum handle or into the wiring that runs down the wand to the power head(I think one of those more likely than something due to the TV cable) but I felt it and felt it bad! I had to stop doing what I was doing for a couple of minutes to make sure I was okay. As a matter of fact my left wrist is still painful and has a small burn hole where it went in. My left arm is still feeling it too. My left ankle has a tiny burn hole too, I guess where I grounded.

After that, things went on as planned. I cleaned the areas from which we had moved this or that, then called Brendan to move one other piece, cleaned there, then moved it back, then began to move most things back tot he TV end of the room. I only flipped out once, when the vacuum cleaner cord somehow got all wrapped around the carpet cleaner cord causing me to have a fairly severe conniption of yelling at no one in particular and tossing the vacuum cleaner across about 1/4 of the room. Luckily it landed on the sofa. Not that it mattered much if it had a soft landing, I just ordered a new vacuum cleaner yesterday - how shockingly timely - almost. Our current one is falling apart and I guess that was pretty evident when it almost lit me up like Uncle Fester with a light bulb in his mouth.

Well, once I got over myself getting shocked and then being an asshole and I apologized to my son for the brief conniption and we got to moving furniture back into its proper places. A few things, the bases of which sit flat against the floor will have to wait. All of the things we moved back have legs, that way the air blown about by our dehumidifier can circulate under them to hasten drying. I have got to say, it smells much better down here now. The trick is going to be keeping it that way. That will mean somehow keeping Pepe (named after Pepe Le Pew) from leaving his mark by brandishing his tiny squirting sword inside the house much as Zorro (translates to the Fox) used to leave his epee (no pun intended or was one) slash on the outside of houses. While both may have been less than the best of habits, at least Zorro's "Z" did not smell bad. As I said, there is supposed to be a way to accomplish this goal even in dogs that have grown accustomed to squirting here and there inside the home. I am going to give it a try now that everything is smelling like roses fresh carpeting again. After all, I'd prefer to keep it this way rather than him reverting to his old ways, even if his old ways sort of mimic those of one of my childhood heroes.

All the best,
Glenn B