"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mr. Toast's Household Hints

Well, tomorrow's the big day: I say "arrividirche" to Mrs. Toast, who will be heading across the Big Pond to begin her 10-day adventure in Venice. This has been a busy week, between packing, last-minute checks with the airline, making advance arrangements for her water-taxi from the airport to the hotel on arrival, as well as coordinating with the three other ladies who will also be escaping their husbands for a week to go on this trip. She's quite excited about it, naturally, and has a long list of restaurants, museums, and other must-see spots.

Venice is one of those places that I think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Who knows, in another 100 years it may not be there any more, as the city is being ever-so-gradually reclaimed by the sea. "Decaying" is a word often heard to describe it these days, as its population of permanent residents today stands at only about a third of what it was in the 50's. Recurring flooding and rising tides have left many palazzos decrepit and uninhabitable, and at night parts of the historical city center are as abandoned as an empty movie set. Yet, when I was there in 2002, I was totally fascinated, awed and inspired by this place that is unlike any other on earth, and its graceful, sophisticated ambiance must be experienced firsthand to truly be appreciated. But while Venice indeed belongs on every traveler's "life list", there is a paradox there as well: the place is already completely overrun with tourists, and the more people that come, the more damage is done to the fragile ecosystem of the lagoon. There is also a danger of the city absorbing too much of the "foreign" culture of its visitors, to the point that it begins to resemble a parody of itself. But it has survived this long, and is resistant to change -- even if maintaining those old traditions can sometimes be difficult:
“Venice is an incredible, fragile city,” said Anna Somers Cox, the chairwoman of the Venice in Peril Fund, a British organization dedicated to protecting Venice from flooding. In her experience, she said, the city hews to the preservation of its cultural past at the expense of adaptation and rational city planning. “It matters terribly if you can’t introduce a new idea to help run the city,” she said.
Although I've been trying to help my wife prepare by getting her acquainted with the area around her hotel in relation to the other places to see that I remember from my own visit (with considerable help from Google Earth, I should add), I still feel slightly depressed about not being able to go this time. And, to be perfectly honest, the prospect of fending for myself for ten days is a bit daunting as well; I'm ashamed to admit that my cooking skills since marriage have deteriorated to the point where doing much more than opening a bag of Cheesy Poofs or microwaving a frozen burrito can be a bit challenging for me.

However, no need for you to worry, readers -- I will survive, if for no other reason than with the help of the following tips that I received today from our local weekly ad-rag. Frankly, I never realized some of these things would actually work but I'll have ten whole days to try them out and see for myself:
  1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
  2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
  3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
  4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
  5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads
  6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
  7. Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
  8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
  9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
  10. Arthritis? WD-40. Spray and rub in, kills insect stings too
  11. Bee stings - meat tenderizer
  12. Chiggerbite - Preparation H
  13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
  14. Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures almost hospitals)
  15. Stinky feet - Jell-O!
  16. Athletes feet - cornstarch
  17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks Vapo-Rub
  18. Kool aid - clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff?)
  19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint. Also try Kool Aid in Dannon Plain yogurt, or as a finger paint. Kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
  20. Peanut butter will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper
  21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
  22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands. Keep a can in the garage
  23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
  24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on
  25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar!
  26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour into an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
  27. Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
  28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!
  29. A "Slinky" will hold toast and CD's!
  30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste
  31. Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt And watch it absorb into the salt.
  32. To remove wax, take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
  33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with peanut butter!
  34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener sheet and the static from the Bounce will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets, soak overnight!
  35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate Toothpaste and brush it!
  36. Dirty grout - Listerine
  37. Stains on clothes - Colgate
  38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
  39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola, It will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
  40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax - Sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.
  41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer, add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspirin, or just use 7-up instead ofwater.
With the help of this list, I should be more than prepared for any contingency. Now please excuse me while I go get some Kool-Aid and a bag of Cheesy Poofs; I feel a case of Orange Fingers coming on.


  • At 5/20/2007 01:41:00 PM, Blogger Sphincter said…

    The Clorox in the flower water thing is true--I learned it on a Saturdat AM kid's show, along with a pinch of sugar. Bleach keeps the water from getting nasty and sugar feeds the flowers, I guess. Good luck fending for yourself! There's always pizza delivery...

  • At 5/20/2007 05:41:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Thanks. I'm exaggerating (slightly) about my lack of cooking skills, but I do in fact plan to patronize the pizza guy and the take-out Chinese place fairly often next week.

  • At 5/21/2007 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Bake Town said…

    I went to Venice last summer. All I can say is Amazing!! oh, and EXPENSIVE!!

  • At 5/21/2007 07:06:00 PM, Blogger Daisy Martin said…

    There was a piece on Venice on the travel channel this past weekend. It looks so beautiful.

    I've heard that about the bleach and sugar too. My daughter used to be a florist.

    Do you have the pizza delivery number memorized yet? Or is it on speed-dial? LOL

  • At 5/21/2007 10:01:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Actually, I'm not doing too bad. I grilled me a steak on the BBQ last night, and whipped up some soft tacos with a side of beans & rice this evening.

    I need to buy a copy of your cookbook, don't I? :-)


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