I’m trying out my new steam cleaner with mixed results

I know that I keep writing about how we don’t have any money to spare, but there was one purchase that I just couldn’t resist making recently.

On Saturday my husband and I went out and got a Shark Steam Blaster. It was on sale at 50% off it’s regular price at Canadian Tire and I’ve wanted a steam cleaner for ages!

I realized how much I needed something to make cleaning the house easier over the holidays. We have a tiny upstairs bathroom – the tub is along one wall and the sink and toilet are on the opposite wall with only about a foot and a half walking space between the tub and sink/toilet combo … so you can imagine how hard it is to clean the tub! Especially when your back has decided to get worse! You can’t even crouch properly between the sink and tub to do some good scrubbing, instead you have to stand awkwardly bent over to give it a good scrub.

So I figured a steam cleaner would make the job easier, plus I could clean the grout and the stainless steel taps much better than with chemicals and all the hard time consuming scrubbing.

I tried the steamer out yesterday in the kitchen. For some reason the last people that lived in our house not only put tiles behind the sink as a counter splash, but the whole kitchen – all four walls have tiles from the base of the wall up to about 2/3’s of the wall height. You can probably imagine how dirty that grout gets!

Unfortunately the steamer didn’t do the miraculous cleaning job that I’d hoped it would. The grout is going to take a lot of scrubbing with the scrubbing attachment on the steamer … or I might have to use some cleaning chemicals on the grout first, rinse it off and then go to town with the steamer. Either way … I’d hoped that it would instantly clean the grout between the tiles in the kitchen and well … it does look better but it’s not sparkling clean.

where the steamer did live up to it’s name was around our sink and on the outside of our stove and fridge. You know how dirt and grime builds up around the edges of the sink where it meets the counter? Well the steamer just blasted that gunk out of there. It also did a nice job on our semi new Danze faucet that we had to replace sometime last year when Chris broke the old faucet.

I’m hoping that if I use the steam blaster on the tile grout a few times that it will gradually get cleaner and cleaner.

Do any of you have an all purpose steam cleaner? If you do – how do you like it and what brand do you have? Does it work well or do you have hit and miss results like I did on my first use?

One thing that I do like about the steamer is that it has lots of attachments. We can use it to steam mop the floors (and walls), squeegee the windows and other glass clean, clean grout and other dirty grimy areas and I’m sure I’ll find some other uses for the steam cleaner.





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House guests and an end of the year wedding

My niece is getting married tomorrow! She planned her wedding in only two months or so! I’m sure she must be relieved that the big day is almost here.

They had been planning to get married in June 2010, butt her fiance joined the Canadian Forces and as a result of his upcoming training and possible deployment they had to move the wedding date up.

So they went from a beach wedding to one in a restaurant setting. Considering that it’s in a restaurant/bar you’d think it would be a small wedding, but from what I hear I think there’s going to be about 150 guests … I also seem to remember hearing that it’s going to be catered by a company other than the restaurant … I think it’s called Syracuse catering.

Right now we’re just waiting for my brother from Vancouver and his wife to arrive. They are in the air now and should arrive at the airport at about 8 pm. We’re looking forward to their visit. They’ll be staying with us until New Years eve and with luck they’ll be home in Vancouver just before Midnight on New years.

I’m sure our Lab, Midnight, will be really excited to see them. She hasn’t met my sister in law before, but she’s met my brother several times this year and she loves him. I think my brother is her third favorite person (behind Chris and I of course).

Actually, this wedding tomorrow, will be like a mini family reunion for my family. It’ll be the first time all three of my brothers, my sister and I have been together at the same time in a few years.

I just hope that my back holds up tomorrow. I was busy last week cleaning the house and cooking – standing for hours and hours at a time, and it aggrivated my back. I have a herniated disc in my lower back and when I stand too long my back really starts to hurt and so does my tailbone.

I must have really done some damage because over the weekend my left leg, which is had been numb since last January, started getting a hot burning feeling just above the knee. If I lie down once it starts the burning sensation goes away but later it gets an itching feeling. My back is a little better today than it has been for the last four days, but I know I’ll be sitting and standing a lot tomorrow and I think my back will start to act up again.

My Crohn’s disease was also acting up in the last few days. It’s a bit better today as well … hopefully it’s even better tomorrow.

So that’s two things that could ruin my good time tomorrow … but unless the Crohn’s or my bad back are really acting up I’m going to try to make the best of it. I mean, I’m really happy for my niece and I want to enjoy her big day. I’m also excited about seeing my whole family together again too.

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Finally started to do a little Autumn gardening

I haven’t been feeling all that well for the last week or so, but something drew me to the garden this afternoon.

Chris was home today – he had a day off work – and he decided to do some work on a cabinet that’s built into our backstairs. He wanted to make it as snow and moisture proof as possible so that we could store the lawn mower there over winter.

While he was outside working away I decided to come out with my camera so that I could take photos of the Azure Monkshood and Toad Lily blooms (both only bloom in mid-Autumn so I couldn’t miss those pictures!). Of course, as always happens when I go outside into the garden, I started working – tidying up the garden beds and cutting down some plants that had already succumbed to the cooler fall weather.

I think I tidied the garden for about two hours, and then I finished up by watering both the back and front yards. That probably took another hour and a half to two hours. Hey … the dog was out and she jumps into my watering stream for fun so it takes a lot longer to water when she’s out!

If I were looking to burn fat I sure got a workout. My back is aching (along with my stomach as usual). Four to five hours of bending, twisting, stretching in awkward positions … that’s my way of gardening!

Even though I’m paying for my time in the garden I’m glad I got outside and did some work today. I’ve been stuck inside for the last few days because I was just feeling awful .. hence the reason I haven’t been writing any new posts for the last week!

Do you have a garden? If so, have you started doing any Fall garden maintenance yet?

BTW in the next day or two I’ll be posting some of the garden photos I took on my gardening blog and probably my photo blog. Watch for them!

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My back is bad again

Darn it! My back is bad again! It was pretty good for most of the summer, but I guess I haven’t been quite as active in the last few weeks so it’s started hurting me again!

Yesterday I went outside to do a little gardening and to water the front and back gardens and pretty much as soon as I stepped outside, before I even did any work, my back started hurting. Same thing this afternoon – my husband and I went outside to sit on the patio and I took some pictures and as soon as I started working with my camera – bending in odd ways, my back started screaming!

Earlier this year I found out that I have a slipped disc in my lower back and it’s pinching a nerve. Pretty much anytime I lean forward (especially for an extended period of time) my back starts to ache because that position pinches the nerve even more than when I’m standing straight or leaning back. My left leg, to just below my knee, has been numb since January … it will probably be more numb than usual this evening.

I’m actually still outside on the patio, typing away from the garden, but once I go inside I think I’ll have to lie down and put some heat on my back.

Do any of you have bad backs as well? What do you do to make your back feel better?

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My garden has a hold on me!

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I was still feeling crappy yesterday thanks to yet another Crohn’s flare, but in the late afternoon I decided I wanted to go outside and at least take some photos of my Rose of Sharon tree.

You see, it just started blooming about a week ago – huge lavender Hibiscus like flowers – lovely. In fact, yesterday, while gazing at the tree I could see more flowers than green leaves. Yes, it was blooming like crazy!

While I was outside with my camera I must have had a surge of energy because suddenly I didn’t feel as bad as I had an hour or so before. I noticed that some of my plants were flopping over and that some of the roses had some dead branches and the next thing I knew I was busy tidying up my garden!

Meanwhile … my husband was in the front yard watering and as he made his way to the back I put him to work helping me tidy up some of the garden beds too.

All in all I think we were outside from about 5:30 pm until 10 pm! By that time I was in pain … my poor back was aching and my stomach was screaming in pain. So I guess I’d better be careful the next time I want to go out and take some “pictures”.

I didn’t upload the photos from my camera that I took of the Rose of Sharon tree and my other plants yesterday, but I’ll do that soon. I’ll probably post them on my gardening blog when I do! In the meantime … here’s a couple of photos of some of the other plants that are blooming in my garden right now.

Climbing Westerland Rose
Climbing Westerland Rose
Lavender flowers 2
Lovely Lavender
Climbing iceberg roses 9
Climbing Iceberg Rose

Of course there are plenty of other plants blooming, growing and or producing fruit and veggies … this is just a sampling!

We also picked raspberries yesterday evening and plan to have them for dessert this evening. Yummy!

Do you garden? If so, what’s blooming or growing in your garden this week?

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