Shoe Cleaning Station

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my very first Shoe Sunday post – I showed you where my shoes live.


I do own a lot of shoes, and every single pair gets a regular clean. What I usually do is wait until a rainy afternoon, when I can’t be doing anything useful outside, and all my other chores are done for a bit, so I do not feel even a tiny bit guilty about spending a good couple of hours with my much loved shoes..


First up, I cover the work space with a floor mat – the kind you might use in a bathroom. It is good to use something with a bit of thickness to protect the work space, as there will be times when I am removing stones from the shoes with a metal nail file. I always make sure to have a pair of nail scissors and a metal nail file handy at my shoe cleaning station, because your shoes may have some surprises for you.. like this –


I recently sat down with a couple of freshly arrived TV episodes – Homeland and Downton Abbey, my anti-bacterial wipes because there is a lot of flotsam and poopsam on the soles of shoes. The outside of the shoe get a decent wipe down, the place where my foot sits also gets a decent clean, plus the soles get a really thorough scrub. Here is a pair mid scrub, you can see the suds. I’m using the Kirkland Antibacterial Wipes from Costco.


Below you can see one clean sole, and one ready to be cleaned sole.


I cleaned 13 pairs in the space of a pleasant couple of hours, while watching teevee. Once the shoes are clean, they are placed on a clean towel so they can dry off. These shoes all went off for a photo shoot right after being cleaned, for future Shoe Sundays here on the blog.


Tell a story about your shoes on your blog, and link up below!

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germophobe, health, Home, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2014, Shoe Linkup

My Lemon Scented Friends..

Being a mere $2.49 per packet from Aldi, may I introduce to you my Lemon Scented friends, of whom I recently brought home 8 packets..

Lemon Scented Power Force from Aldi

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right? A germophobe has to do what a germophobe has to do. These packets generally last me a month or so.

I have been trying to buy these for some months now. Each time I would go to Aldi I would look for them and when I did not find them I would put on the sad face. It seems that they are not a regularly stocked item but something that appears from time to time. I didn’t know when I would see them again, so I stocked up.

This is one way you can really save money by shopping at Aldi – the cheapest I have ever seen the equivalent thing in Coles and Woolworths is $4.99 and that is on special.

They smell amazing – much better than the ones I used to use – I can’t even remember the brand name of those now.


I think I thought I saw you try..

When I go to sleep at night, the road back from from the place I want to live flashes before me. Big tall trees on either side of the road but it’s like I’m flying so fast, they all blur. And my fear is, something’s gonna jump out in front of me and I’ll hit it. The faster I go, the more things I see threatening to jump out. I know I have to keep going. Moving forward.

I am not a perfect person. I am many things, and germophobe is one of them. You know those people who can’t go out of their house because they’re scared of germs? I’m not there yet, but I can see there from here. Germophobia is different for different people.

For me, I have trouble with –

– door handles
– sponges, teatowels, tablecloths
– food preparation – things have to be clean, clean chopping boards, clean knives, clean utensils
– needing to have clean hands
– people sneezing in my presence
– germ overload when I touch too many dirty things I begin to freak out
– getting to a place where I throw my hands in the air and say “I can’t deal with this” (such a place might be called germ overload)

I am in the process of making positive changes in many areas in my life, and today I have taken a big step towards a goal I set myself recently, which is having a cleaner house. You see for me, it is easier to live with dusty surfaces than to clean them. Cleaning becomes a big deal because if I am going to do it, I want to do it 100% all the time but I don’t have the energy to do this. An Olympic athlete does not have the energy to make things as clean as I would like them.

I have recently decided this all or nothing approach is a really bad idea. ;) Spending 8 hours cleaning one bathroom is really not for me and in the past, it has been easier for me to just throw my hands in the air and say “I can’t face cleaning it” than to do a “lesser” job.

Carl Jung said – “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”

I accept that I have a problem with cleaning. I accept that I am a germophobe. I accept that it is better for things to be somewhat clean than absolutely spotless or very unclean.

The serenity prayer says “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

I cannot magically snap my fingers and make myself a non-germophobe. I have to take baby steps towards making things better, and I have the courage and will to do this. I can create positive change. I cannot solve all the problems in the world, but this I can work on.

So recently I accepted that wiping things down with an anti-bacterial cloth once a week was a good idea and a positive change that I could make that would help me get to a place where I wasn’t throwing my hands in the air, unable to act. Over the past couple of weeks I have spent some time cleaning things obsessively.

3 days to do my bookshelves, come on you guys, that is NOT normal, it is not like I have an entire library here, there’s two book shelves with a total of 24 alcoves in them. Not only did I clean the shelves, I cleaned each book, each ornament on the shelves, all the picture frames, anything nearby. Obsessively. They are now spotless, and this means I can just wipe the shelves over, wipe the books which are getting dusty. If I do that once a week, I’ll feel a lot better.

Today I tackled the difficult subject of the bathrooms. I have been putting it off. The other day the other half said to me that he had no idea how someone who claimed to be a germophobe could live with such a bathroom situation. They were filthy. I said this germophobe could not live with having to clean these bathrooms. Whoever designed them is a real idiot. There are many spots for germs to hide. To clean the vanity tops usually takes me 2 hours alone and it is backbreaking because of the height of the darned things. They were designed for very short people.

That’s not even getting into cleaning the toilets. There’s not enough anti-bacterial hand wash in the world for me to cope with that. So I’d rather put it off, and put it off, and keep putting it off until I can’t take anymore.

When one does put in the hard yards and does the work, one feels a real sense of accomplishment. Now, I intend a quick wipe over once a week, and then I won’t have to do this evil backbreaking hours of work chore because it won’t get that bad. The trouble is having stuff on top of the vanity means you have to move all that stuff when you want to clean it. That’s what was stopping me from cleaning the bookshelves for so long. Too much stuff in the way which I’d have to move, and clean. I’m thinking a box with a lid would be a lot easier.

I just went into the bathroom before to wash my hands, and took great pleasure in the clean surfaces. I have to remember that when I start to think I can’t reach this goal. I can reach it. I know I can. And who put can’t in my vocabulary? I don’t like that word. Will not, sure. May not, fine. Do not, okie dokie. Can not – it has to be one of the previous three.

I’m so tired. I’ve been up since 7:30am and most of the afternoon was spent in a cleaning frenzy. I’m going to sleep for hours. ;) Tomorrow it’s weekly wrap up time.

germophobe, life lessons, music

Kaos with a Kapital K.

So I figured yesterday I would do a little cleaning of my bookshelves, because it’s been a while and I wanted to add all my books to librarything. Being the germophobe that I am, a cleaning task which seems simple to most can turn into absolute Kaos without me even noticing, but at least there has been some order in how I’ve been doing it.

I bring each shelf full of books over to my desk. I catalog them in library thing. I then wipe the books over with paper towel which has a little anti-bacterial spray on it, taking off any dust which has settled there. I then put the clean books to one side and go and clean a shelf for them to go back to. Then, I put the books away.

There’s no point trying to have a logical order to my bookshelves, this I have learned over the years. I’ve tried various ideas, grouping by author is probably the most organized things will get here. Even that isn’t 100% because some of the books are too large to fit together, so I have little pods with the larger books.

I still have a lot of work to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. The room is starting to feel a lot cleaner to me. Here’s the bit I’ve finished, sort of. Click the image below for a larger image –

books (1)

Check out my librarything author cloud – it shows who I have the most books of by size of text, which is kind of cool. I’ve doubled the amount of my books on there over the last 24 hours – going from 110 to 220 books.

But before you go all crazy and start your own library thing, I got up to 200 books then found I had to pay if I wanted to add more. I did pay $19US for a lifetime membership, because having worked in insurance I know the value in having these kinds of things listed in a location other than your own home, and because I like the easy way librarything works and how it shows the covers of books, and yes, partly because I was in the middle of the job and I wanted to finish it, and I was a bit annoyed about it but when I checked the home page it did state it clearly on there. I probably didn’t spot it.. If only I could find something for DVD’s that was as good.

I have to do The Other Half’s books next. He doesn’t have as many as me, though. It’ll still take me most of today, I’m thinking. I’m in night mode at the moment, sleeping during the day. Today I made a huge error in picking up the Gene Kranz “Failure Is Not An Option” book when I finally crashed into bed around 10am – it grabbed me and I read solidly for 2.5 hours, getting up to the point where they landed on the moon. Wow. The amount of work that went into doing that – this is the first book I’ve read that really gives you an idea of that. Which is why I imagine those guys must be really upset by the “they never landed on the moon” conspiracy theories. Imagine having your life’s work questioned in that way?

I’ll be back a little later with two posts, one about the little cards I have on my desk, and the weekly wrap up.


A delicate area

How does one tell one’s mother that her cooking is making one ill?

I’ve mentioned before that I am a germophobe, you know this. My mother is *not*. My mother never did year 12 catering at school, where they take a black light and show you how many germs are on your hands, then they tell you to go and wash them, then they show you again with the blacklight and you can see the spots you missed. My mother has no care whether chopping boards are clean, whether things are kept properly in the fridge, and my God, the woman uses tea towels instead of paper towels to wipe her hands. I must be adopted or something.

I ate there Friday evening, and was so ill for the next 24 hours, I do not even want to go into the details. Unfortunately this is not the first time this has occurred. Suffice it to say that the experience has me thinking I have to say something, or else avoid eating there all together. She will be very offended, this I know. She gets pissy at me enough about my germophobia, she says “Well you survived it for the first 20 years of your life”. I don’t like to mention that one of the ways I survived it was sneaking out to the kitchen in the middle of the night and madly cleaning everything I could find.

family, germophobe


Rock star : Supernova the band is coming to Australia! In March next year. And the ticketing website which is selling the tickets is currently not working so I can’t even find out how much it is or even put a link here to it. grrr. Apparently Toby Rand and Juke Kartel will be the support act which is fantastic news. I definately want to go. ;)

Today we went shopping, we did not go to see the movie I wanted to see because my other half is a pain in the ass about movies, he’s a right snob about what he will and won’t go to see. But he’s happy to watch those silly anime cartoons for hours on end! I’ll probably end up going to see it on my own :(

Then we cooked dinner for my parents, a yummy Jamie Oliver recipe. Except I just use normal mushrooms, remove the thyme and add bacon. I also use half a cup of wine and half a cup of water otherwise the wine can be a little bit much. I’ve tried a few of his recipes and they always work out well.

I have an admission to make to you all. I am somewhat of a germophobe. Not to the point where it’s keeping me from going anywhere, but at times I think I can see there from here.

The two biggest issues I have are food preparation and door handles. I don’t like touching door handles and (this is hard to say) if it is somewhere really germy I sometimes open them with my jacket sleeve instead of my hand. Especially if I’ve just washed them in a public bathroom.

With food prep I absolutely hate tea towels and and refuse to have them in my kitchen at all – paper towel is your friend, I find. I don’t like using sponges and try to avoid them where I can and certainly would never use one to wipe a bench top. I also tend to wash my hands a lot in between handling different foods. It’s probably excessive but we all have to find a way to live with our little insanities, right?

But to a germophobe, my mother’s kitchen is an absolute nightmare. Tea towels! Sponges used all over the place! Dishes not perfectly clean even though she has a brilliant dishwasher, she throws the dishes in there with chunks of food still on them (ugh! I can’t watch her do this, I have to walk away) and no matter how good a dishwasher is there’s only so much it can do.

When I openly show how this situation makes me feel, it makes her mad. She’s like “Well, you managed to grow up in a house where the kitchen was this way” – what she is forgetting is that often when she had “cleaned” the kitchen I would sneak in there when she wasn’t looking and do it again to my level of clean-ness. And as soon as I moved out of home, I was insanely strict about the kitchen must be clean before *and* after you cook in it.

Today she had to go to the dentist and she wasn’t feeling well, when we dropped in before we went shopping she was having a nap. This was a great excuse for me to come back here with all the shopping, cut everything up on my clean chopping boards and do things my way, and then put it all into little tupperware containers, and take it over there mostly done. What a great idea, I never thought of it before but I will be doing that again.

Here’s an example of an argument we always have – about mushrooms.

Mum sees me rinsing the mushrooms off in the sink

Mum – “Why do you need to rinse them, they’ve been washed already at the supermarket”

Me – “You see all these little black spots of dirt? You know what that is? They grow these things in manure, you know, that’s what that is, and I really would rather not eat shit if I can help it”

Mum – “I don’t know why you have to be so picky about everything”

Me – “I’m not picky about everything. I’m picky about this. “

Mum – “I never did this when you were growing up. You ate them like that all the time”

Or the other night –

My other half was about to cut up onions for hamburgers –
Me – “Stop, that knife is filthy!”

Mum – “I just used it to cut the skin off the onion, it’s only onion on there”

Me – “No it’s not, it is something dried on from the dishwasher”

(the other half walks to the sink and starts cleaning the knife)

Mum – “You’re being ridiculous”

Me – “I’m not being ridiculous, I just want to have things cut up with a clean knife, that’s not too much to ask”

(the other half returns and it is still there)

Me – “That’s not clean, it’s still there!”

(the other half starts scraping it off with a knife”

Mum – “, That knife is perfectly clean”

Dad – “I don’t think it is, he’s trying to scrape it clean with another knife and it’s still not coming off”

Mum – “Just use another one”

The other half got it clean and washed it again but in the meantime she’s handed him another filthy one! I quietly say to him – use the one you just cleaned.

She thinks I’m too fussy about it but then again, I have to live with *her* insanities so she should live with mine! What’s her insanity?

When shopping and you make a purchase, you must take that purchase out to the car before entering another shop. And of course she’s parked in the furthest park from the supermarket, so you have to walk a kilometre anytime you buy something.

I do not complain about this. I just recognise that she has an issue with that, and deal with it. It’s annoying, don’t get me wrong! I mean the bag has the receipt in it, and even if the other shop does not sell that product, there’s no talking her out of this. It just is.

cooking, family, germophobe