This is a courtesy notice

I live in a community, which is to say that my every breath is scrutinized by the HOA police. The homeowners’ association sent us a courtesy notice, indicating that they take offense at the green slime growing on the front of our house. This could be easily remedied by hiring a power washing service. Easy is not the way we roll.

We searched the yellow pages for someplace that rents pressure washers, and found that they are all located in North Carolina. This would explain why so many of the houses in South Carolina look like they’re molting. Not wanting to be caught crossing the border with contraband cleaning tools, we opted for a somewhat more primitive solution.

We have a ladder left by the contractors who painted our house. There’s a reason they didn’t want it anymore. The ladder has notches on it’s side, indicating all the people who died trying to clean out their eaves.

I drew the short straw, so perched precariously atop this demon-possessed ladder, I slopped bleach on the vinyl siding. My brush refused to stay screwed onto the telescoping pole, and I had bleach dripping in my hair and running down my shirtsleeves. My husband stayed safely on terra firma, squirting the hose to rinse my handiwork.

You would think that my medical condition would exempt me from hazardous duty. I’m allergic to sudden death.

All evidence to the contrary, I’m still alive. Even after a shower, I reek of bleach and Febreeze. That’s right, we Febreezed our house. If you’re going to go to all that trouble, you may as well have your siding smell like ocean breeze, or fresh linen. I thought I’d be proactive and head off any complaints from the HOA that my house stinks.

Hopefully, my neck and shoulders will have a chance to recover before our next courtesy notice regarding the placement of our ornamental Chevy. They probably will want us to weed-whack the grass growing around the blocks. The fussbudgets!

That’s why we can’t have nice things

First, I’d like to give a big shout out and thank you to the makers of Febreeze. My cat is currently playing with the belt of my robe—looking darn cute. This is the same cat who decided yesterday to use my couch as a litter box. Little wretch!

I thought that when the kids left home, I’d be able to get some nice furniture: the kind that comes from a store instead of somebody’s basement or garage sale. Turns out that an empty nest is no guarantee that your prized possessions will be immune from the seven plagues of Egypt. The Egyptians revered cats, so don’t try to tell me there weren’t any ancient couches used as scratching posts.

Not to worry. After pet odor eliminator, Febreeze, steam cleaning, and more Febreeze, my couch smells marginally better. I guess I should consider myself fortunate that the cat hasn’t figured out how to drink from a juice box.

I see shows about hoarders and think, there, but for the grace of God go I. In spite of their annoying characteristics, I love cats. Their independent spirit and failure to come when called is rather endearing. Could I become the woman living in a single-wide trailer with twenty-seven feline vandals? I could be about to find out.

My best friend is moving away in a few weeks. My husband is considering taking a tour of duty in Afghanistan for a year, and I know that he can count. If I have more cats when he comes home than I did when he left, he will notice. So I must be strong. My husband is counting on it, my furniture is counting on it, and I don’t think Wal-Mart stocks enough Febreeze if I start taking in strays.

Public Enemy #1 - Considered armed and dangerous