Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adventures of SteamMop!

My kids love infomercials. Whoever had the idea to place infomercials for household products during kids' programming on Nickelodeon is a genius, because I can't be the only mom that is hounded for stuff like Debbie Myer's Green Bags (got them), the Betty Crocker 100-piece Cake Decorating Kit (got it), and now the Shark Steam Pocket Mop, of which we are now the proud owners.

My middle child is particularly enthralled with the boisterous claims of pitchmen like Billy Mays (may he rest in peace), but I am not so fascinated, having my doubts about the quality or durability of these items. So when one day she hollered at me to come see this mop commercial while I was cooking dinner, I brushed her off. The next morning, she found me changing the baby's diaper -- "Mom! Mom! The Shark Steam Pocket Mop is on TV again! The one I told you about yesterday! It makes smoke! Come see!" I protested, "But I'm changing the baby! Hang on!" She screamed from the other room, "I PAUSED IT!" Ah, this is why we got Tivo, to make sure we don't miss an infomercial?!

Moments later I obliged her desperate pleading and watched the commercial. Oh. My. Gosh. I was instantly hooked. I had heard of steam mops before, even considered buying one last year when we got the Hoover FloorMate Hard Floor Cleaner. But I wasn't convinced then. Now, I was.

The "smoke" was actually steam pushed out of the reversible cleaning head through the microfiber towel that was washable and reusable. The unit looked light and portable, simple and chemical-free. On the other hand, the Hoover FloorMate was big, cumbersome, needed expensive chemical solutions and made A LOT of noise. I had only used the Hoover a handful of times because it was a pain to set up, slow to move around, didn't get the floor that clean, and was gross to take apart and clean out when I was done. The Shark was so easy in comparison.

I was sold.

Within an hour I had located my original receipt for the Hoover and called the store. I told them I had a FloorMate that I didn't like, and the employee simply said, "Then bring it back." I replied that I didn't have the original box, and she said, "Don't need it. Just bring it back." Woohoo for Bed Bath and Beyond's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

By the afternoon, I exchanged the Hoover for the Shark Steam Pocket Mop (not only was it in stock at BB&B, but it was cheaper than the other machine, so they gave me store credit for the difference!). I assembled it right away and took it to the kitchen. My kids were so excited, they started begging me for a turn to use it. I ran the first pass over my floor. Whoa. I knew my floors needed a good mopping, but we were all amazed at how clean they got (and how gross the pad was.) The next day, my kids were asking to mop the kitchen again. And the next day, we took turns mopping our tiny hall bathroom. By the fourth day, all the tile floors in the house were sparkling and the kids were trying to get the baby to drop food on the floor so they would have an excuse to mop.


Later in the week, we visited our favorite grocery store, where there is a kids' club playarea, supervised by a childcare worker. My kids love Miss Nicole and beg me to shop at this one store so they can play there. I must not have taken long enough with my coupons during the shopping trip, because when I finished checking out and went to pick them up, my middle child threw herself on the floor and refused to leave.

She wailed, "I didn't get enough time to play!"

I told her, "If you don't get up right now, you won't get to mop the bathroom when we get home!"

She bounced up, put on her shoes and proclaimed, "Okay, I'm ready to go!"

Nicole's jaw dropped. She turned to me with a stunned look and asked, "How did you DO that?"

I answered, "It's not me. It's the steam mop."

"Home Workspace Remodel," or "How to Find Things You Didn't Know You Lost," or "Losing 100 Pounds in Just One Day (I Mean Pounds of Junk)"

My "Year of Decluttering:" the year is proceeding at a much faster pace than the decluttering is.

The kitchen was first, and was mostly done by the time January was over. Next was the "pink" room, where I took a bin's worth of stuff out and the girls didn't even notice. In March I tackled the baby's room and in one Sunday afternoon made a huge dent in there, but it didn't really come together until we got the toddler bed in June. April and May were both assigned to the "computer room" because of the massive task it was going to be.

It's now July. Um, it's not done, but I am very proud to do a partial "reveal."

Here is the "Before" picture of our desks/workspace. It was a frustrating mess of paper, it was hard to find anything and depressing to look at. See why it took two extra months to get going on this part of the decluttering?

Here is the "After" picture of our new desks and shelving units, now nicely stocked and no longer intimidating:

The new workspace is clean, organized (what an overused but precise word), inviting and serene. The stuff we want to keep is neatly put away on the shelves, we can find important things like pens, rechargable batteries, notepaper and the pencil sharpener. There is deskspace to be able to actually get some work done--indeed, I have been catching up with some postponed paperwork (and blogging) instead of just surfing the Internet. It feels so much better to be able to overcome a hurdle like this one and throw/recycle/shred away 100 pounds of paper in just one week!

There is still more to be done in the room. Some of the paper in the "Before" picture still has to be dealt with (filing and storing, but much less of it than before) and I would like to reclaim my sewing table from the pile of little projects that need gluing, mending and tying up of loose ends (crochet ends, that is). For now, I am happy to reveal this half of the room and spend the rest of July on the other half.

You may be asking, "What were June and July's project rooms, eh?" Well, June was an "Off" month, a built-in break for vacations, summer activities, and catching up--yes, I anticipated needing the extra time for the previous project rooms. July was designated for the Master Bedroom, and August for the Family Room. The kids will be back in school next month, so I think it will be a two-fer.

Look out August! I am on a roll!