You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘things that can save your life’ category.

(That category is a little bit dramatic, I realize.  Sorry.  I mean, “Super useful things”.  I don’t have too many of them, so when I do, I share.)

A few weeks ago, when we still had a subfloor and not a real floor, we spilled about half a gallon of Tide [liquid] laundry detergent all over the floor.  It was kind of a pain, but since it was a subfloor, we weren’t super concerned about cleaning it up in the best way possible.  We quickly realized that water wasn’t going to cut it, and I started to look on the interwebs for better suggestions.

Oatmeal:  No, clumpy mess.

Baking soda:  Glue.

Cat litter:  Gross, sandy glue.

Vinegar:  I don’t know why I thought this was going to work, because it’s essentially like making a volcano (remember the volcano?  When you were a kid?  With red food coloring?  Acid + base = volcano?)

We mopped it up as best we could, and moved on.

Well, then that washing machine died, and we got a new, high-efficiency washing machine, and we finally, finally, finally installed our floor.  (Yay!)  Which meant, of course, that we had this huge container of non-HE detergent left, and we decided to use it as a weight to train an unruly corner of carpet protecting the new hardwood floor from the cat’s litter box.  It worked perfectly.

Until, of course, it didn’t.  A few days ago, Little detected something outside the house, and he did not approve.  He went ballistic.

I have no idea what it was, but apparently s/he/it was sufficiently terrified not to come any closer.  I suppose that’s good.

What wasn’t so good was that Little obliterated the litter box, the door, and the Costco-sized container of Tide (non-HE) in his mission to protect our humble, humble, HUMBLE abode, and this time, the Tide that spilled wasn’t on a subfloor.

So I created my own method of cleaning it up.  I wanted to wait for a few days to make sure it really *did* work before I contributed to the folklore of the interwebs.  I’m telling you, the internet methods DO NOT WORK.  Try *this* internet method, instead.  I have had two opportunities to refine it, and it takes less than an hour.  (There is another solution, requiring a mop and hot water and a tub and a ringer, that takes about 2-3 hours.  Good luck with that.)

Here is what you need:

-Paper towels/large towels
-Vegetable oil
-Method all-purpose cleaner,
or another cleaner that is safe for your floor.  It doesn’t REALLY matter what you use, but I used Method.  I am not paid to mention them, but while I’m at it I LOVE Method stuff.  I have yet to use something they make and not love it.  (The important thing is that it cuts grease, but not TOO much.  I don’t know much about other all-purpose cleaners because I love Method so much.)
-NO WATER.  Critical.

1)  Grab paper towels or several large towels.  Only get large towels if you spilled the kind of detergent that can go into your washing machine.  I could not do this, since I spilled non-HE detergent and we now have an HE washing machine.  I feel guilty about this, but I really couldn’t do much about it.

2)  Pick up as much of the liquid as you can with DRY paper towels.

3)  Dispose of said towels.  If you use real towels, put them in plastic bags to be washed.  Refrain from adding more detergent to the load.  🙂

4)  Place new towel/paper towel on top of spill, to absorb extra.

5)  Walk away for 10-15 minutes.  Surf the internet and read how other people made mini-volcanos on their floor with vinegar and detergent.

6)  Repeat Step 3.

7)  Rub some vegetable oil all over the spill.  Don’t go TOO crazy, but cover the area.  Be careful not to slip.

8)  Wait a few minutes.

9)  Take Method/other all-purpose cleaner.  Spray on oil/detergent mixture.

10)  Wipe clean.  May require 2-3 passes.

11)  Add paper towels to your grocery list, since you just killed a roll or two.

12)  You’re done!  Seriously!  Isn’t that amazing?

Good luck!

Ok, this is more under the category of “things that can save your DOG’S life…” but close enough.

Last night, after I went to bed, Little started retching, like coughing/trying to throw up without producing anything.  I thought he was actually puking, so I woke up to clean it up – but found that he was just gagging.  Over, and over, and over.  And he had drooled all over the couch (and he doesn’t drool).

And he would stand up, retch, lay down, retch, stand up, retch…

So I decided to Google “dog retching”.  Which turned up several websites, all of which told me that retching unproductively was the number one sign of bloat (or gastric torsion) in large, deep-chested dogs.


Now, I will say, by this time, Little had *stopped* retching.  And, in fact, he was acting ABSOLUTELY FINE.

But then I found this site, which described how a dog had the SAME SYMPTOMS, and was happy and “wagging her tail”, who then DIED on the operating table.

If the intention of that website is to scare the living daylights out of its readers, well…it succeeded.

Little and I were off to the emergency vet.

(Thankfully, we live about 10 minutes from one, so this wasn’t nearly the big deal that it could have been at 2:00 am.)

And now…here is my second piece of lifesaving advice (for Fido…)

The vet said that about an hour before we arrived last night, another dog had come in, dead on arrival, because his owners didn’t know that retching unproductively was a sign of bloat.  They thought they’d let him wait it out, and by the time he stomach got the characteristic “bloat”, it was too late.

So if your deep-chested dog is exhibiting retching, drooling, or any of the other symptoms listed on that link – take the dog in.  It is a really easy diagnostic process.  If it is bloat, and it goes untreated, it is fatal.

Our happy ending:  $200 later…Little is absolutely, perfectly, totally fine.  He loved the X-ray machine and apparently loved having sandbags placed on him (to hold him still for the X-ray) and thought it was a great field trip at 2:00 am.  His stomach was totally fine, his other organs were in the right place (I wasn’t really worried about that, but she kindly highlighted it for me anyway 🙂 )…but hey, better safe than sorry, right?


(Although I do wish it hadn’t cost $200.)

DB and I went to a dinner the other night at one of his coworker’s houses (yes, I made it.  It was, quite frankly, a miracle, but I made it, ate some delicious food, and made it all the way home – stopping to get a snack – before puking at home.  Go me!!)  He actually switched squads at work this week, so I feel like I can mention his previous position was with a joint task force, where there are law enforcement personnel from many different agencies (FBI, CIA, state police, city police, etc).

So after dinner, we started talking about hunting (Insert Rachel thinking about sleeping at this point – like on the coffee table) and then War Stories, shared by the guy from the state law enforcement force.  Prior to his time on the joint task force, he was a normal state trooper who cruised around pulling people over and such.

ANYway – here is my point.

He said late one night, he was driving home on the interstate in his cruiser and his wife was following (in their personal vehicle) with their two young children.  They were both driving in the left-hand lane.

All of a sudden, he looked up and saw headlights coming his direction.

He pulled into the middle lane, and prayed that his wife followed him.

Thankfully, she did.

He managed to flip his cruiser around and pull over the drunk driver who was cruising the WRONG DIRECTION on the highway late at night.

OK, here is the lifesaving advice for the week:

When driving late at night, do not drive in the left-hand lane of the highway for sustained periods of time, approaching the crest of a hil, or going around a bend.

Apparently, when drunk drivers enter the highway on an exit ramp, they immediately head for the far-most right-hand lane to them (which is the left-furthest lane to law-abiding citizens).

The state police guy said he’d seen many, many, many wrecks in the left-hand lane, caused by stupid drunk drivers driving in the far-left lane (thinking it was the slow lane).

Often, the first car in a line will see the oncoming car and pull into the middle lane in time, but any car behind them will collide with the drunk driver.

The impact of this crash is essentially the effect of going twice the oncoming car’s speed and ramming into a cement wall.  (There is some physics for you!)  What is even worse is that if there are ever survivors of this crash, they are usually the offending driver, whose blood is typically thinned by the alcohol they’ve had to drink.

So:  I repeat:  do not drive in the left-most lane of the highway except to pass on a straightaway, when you have good visual clearance of the road ahead.

And if someone ahead suddenly jerks into the middle road, follow them.

That is my Public Service Announcement for the world.  The guy described these wrecks so vividly – and said that they happened so frequently – that I decided all of you (my small but loyal following) needed to know.

Feel free to forward this on.

Drive safely this weekend!