Category Archives: House and Home

Rantings and ramblings about House and Home

Our Christmasses Are Green

Have I told you yet that our Christmasses are green?

We don’t have white Christmasses here, we have green ones. Green hills, green grass, green heat. The sky is blue. The pool is blue. It’s summer here. Maybe in the early morning when soft mist rolls in high lying areas there is a bit of white. It is soon replaced by green though.

Continue reading Our Christmasses Are Green

The Sunday Morning Breakfast Machine

I found this so funny that I just had to share it with you. Che is a regular reader of Elektor magazine. It’s a magazine that deals with everything related to electronics, robotics and related coding.

One of the articles tells the story of a retired mechanical engineer and a retired airline pilot that built a breakfast machine to serve breakfast to their respective wives on Sunday mornings.

The electronics are apparently complex and it took them a punishing 1,000 hours to build it. It is able to brew tea or coffee depending on your preference, hand you the morning paper, make soft-boiled eggs, makes toast and even clears up afterwards. That is if you consider the dishes being dumped off the side of the table into a bowl “clearing up”.

The inventors admit that the purpose of the invention was to make people laugh. This they’ve achieved.

It reminds me of the breakfast machine constructed by mad inventor Dr Emmett Brown in the movie Back To The Future. I half expected these 2 entertaining and innovative individuals to be whisked off in the flying DeLorean by Marty McFly.

Note to the inventors: Now, can you please make it run from Monday to Saturday as well, do freshly squeezed orange juice and put in some more work on the “clearing up” functionality.  Oh and while you’re at it, can you please include feeding of the dog cat as well…

Featured image courtesy of Carbon Costume.


House and Home Edition: Is Your Sink Shiny?

Like most people, there are certain things that come naturally to me and others that don’t.

Like keeping my house neat.  Now the cat’s out the bag!

I envy those people whose houses are always so neat. Photos they post on social media show stunning House and Home houses and I wonder where I’ve gone wrong. I don’t post photos taken inside my house because I’m worried that you’ll judge me harshly. My house is certainly not House and Home. Or maybe their house is not House and Home but they keep a special corner in the house neat all the time for photo opportunities.

"Let's take a photo of the family having a braai, and put it on Facebook."

"Ok, quick... to the corner everyone."

In any event, I do wish my house was neater but it isn’t. No matter how hard I try there is always laundry on the couch (the “to be ironed” pile neatly folded to minimise creases) waiting for the lady that works for us once a week to tackle.

There are books piled on the floor next to the couch, ready to be grabbed and referred to.

My handbag and laptop bags are on another chair. It’s easier to grab on my way out of the house in the morning.

Knowing that, I will not stress about it. I would rather be neater with my finances and my photo cataloguing than my lounge.

Off course, it also means that when we have people over we need at least one week to tidy up, where things do go to their rightful places, albeit temporarily.

You know the story about kipple? The word “kipple” was created by the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick. It refers to the sinister type of rubbish which simply builds up without any human intervention (Urban Dictionary).

Extract from Philip K. Dick's story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", aka the 1982 movie by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford, "Blade Runner":

JR - Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers of yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more. 

Pris- I see. 

JR - There's the First Law of Kipple, "Kipple drives out nonkipple." Like Gresham's law about bad money. And in these apartments there's been nobody there to fight the kipple. 

Pris - So it has taken over completely. Now I understand. 

JR - Your place, here, this apartment you've picked - it's too kipple-ized to live in. We can roll the kipple-factor back; we can do like I said, raid the other apartments. But - 

Pris - But what? 

JR - We can't win. 

Pris - Why not? 

JR - No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I've sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I'll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It's a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.

Kipple in our house comes and goes, depending on mood and looming visits by friends and family.

Many years ago a friend recommended a site called Flylady which helps de-kippel-ise homes with tips and daily tasks (called FLYing Lessons). It suggests starting the de-kippelisation activities with short bursts to start off with, and then gradually increase it, much like starting an exercise routine. The purpose of this process is to build a habit. It also helps the de-kipple-iser to start feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Such timeboxing is valuable because it forces me to focus on what’s been done already rather than what’s still to be done. That’s still a good matra to have when trying to cultivate a desirable habit.

One of the FLYing lessons is to shine your sink. It’s cunningly clever to start off the lessons with this because in order to shiny up your sink, you first have to empty it of dishes. There is one of 2 ways of doing this:

  1. Hide all dirty dishes under the sink, or
  2. Actually wash, dry and pack away the dishes.

Either of the two will clear your sink so that it can be shinied. But only one is the most useful and productive one.

There is a third option – get a dishwasher but since I don’t have one (yes yes, shock horror!) one of the above two will have to do.

I haven’t tried this technique yet but having a lovely shiny sink does sound lovely!

I know what I like doing and make time for those things – things like reading, blogging, photography and spending time with my husband and family. And playing with my neighbour’s cats (they’re so cute). And swimming. And sleeping…

Those things that don’t come naturally to me to do get put off to be done another day, because I would much rather be blogging or watching The Blacklist.

So now that my secret is out of the bag, tell me, how do you keep YOUR house de-kipple-ised?