Tip #2 for the Male Homemaker

Shovel and Dustpan, JMN.

Shovel and Dustpan, JMN.

For the infrequent occasions when your dog doesn’t make it through the night and poops in her usual spot on the tile floor in front of the fireplace, an ancient ash shovel and a metal dustpan are of the essence. (The vise in the picture is incidental and not part of the required equipment.) The rustier and more battered these tools are, the better, for they will be permanently besmirched with feces residue, hence tucked discretely away in your workshop. Two utensils are essential; with only one, it becomes an exercise in spreading the poop rather than picking it up. Fling it away outside somewhere no one is likely to tread, and you’re halfway done.

Phase 2 of the tip elevates it to a true life hack, if I understand that term correctly. [Associative meander: The first time I encountered the term “hack” was in the cyberpunk novels of William Gibson. In one of them, each of the characters in the survivalist community of a dystopian future has a hack, which is a special skill or field of expertise that the person has acquired and exercises for the benefit of the eccentric, motley crew. Gibson and Bruce Sterling were prominent writers in the genre, which focused on a near-future collapsed civilization and the scrappy, resourceful people who made their way amidst the ruins. Another favorite author, Paul Theroux, wrote a good novel in this vein, too. So did Walker Percy, but I think “hack,” like “cyberspace,” is Gibson’s coinage. When I was a programmer, the term “hacking” usually meant writing code that worked OK, but was sloppy or inelegant. Hacking was often associated with creating a “kludge” (rhymes with “Scrooge”), meaning a fudgy workaround or crude algorithm. The semantic drift of jargon is fascinating. I take the word “hack” in today’s usage to mean something akin to a clever solution for a problem or chore. (?)]

Cleaner and Paper Towels, JMN.

Cleaner and Paper Towels, JMN.

A liquid cleaner of some sort and paper towels are the ancillary equipment you’ll need. Puddle up the poop stain on your tile with the antibacterial cleaner, drop paper towels on top, and walk away. Have yourself a blackstrap tea or mint julep. If most of your activities occur at the opposite end of your shed from the towel-covered stain, it’s quite possible to forget about it until your housekeeping assistant comes on Wednesday from noon until 5. That person will complete the cleanup of the stain whose cleanup  you have so considerately facilitated for that person.

Depending on the timing of your dog’s accident, and assuming your assistant comes once a week like mine, the longest the towel-covered stain could remain is one week. If, like me, you entertain virtually not at all, there will be no urgency to remove the dried towels and clean the stain yourself before guests arrive.

(c) 2018 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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