Month: April 2011

I shouldn’t laugh.

You know my moth problem?  It was mainly centred on my two living room rugs and that would explain why they used to shed all the time. They looked all right from normal glancing distance but they were absolutely crawling and infested with moths.

As soon as I realised, I rolled up the rugs and took them outside because I couldn’t stand to have them in the house another second. I was going to call a waste disposal company this week to take them away. But now I don’t need to. Somebody stole them.

Oh my god. Little do they know what horror they have brought into their home. I feel awful for them. But also … LOL.

If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If a pair of nice looking red wool rugs has been left outside someone’s house by the dustbins … there is a reason.

Running: I levelled up!

Hooray! It is a proud day. I commenced Level 4 of my beginners’ running programme. It went well! 

In Level 4, you do a total of 20 minutes(!) of running. It’s like this: you jog for 4 mins and then walk for 1 minute, and you do that five times. I am so proud!  I have only been doing this programme for a month, I am making much better progress than I thought possible, especially being an ex smoker.

I have totally earned a Health point today.

Readers: there are lots of different versions of the Couch to 5k programme out there. I do the Running Mate one, which is also known as 5k101. Coach Todd is really encouraging and plays club tunes. You can see the schedule here. I recommend it and might send Todd some fan mail for helping me to get fit.

Girls just wanna have fun.

I am not having very much fun. I need to do something fun.

At the moment I am:

  • going to the dentist a lot;
  • doing LOADS of cleaning and hoovering because of the bloody bastard moths;
  • writing down what I spend money on.

None of the above is fun, not even a bit fun, although there is a sense of achievement.

I am also:

  • running. This is occasionally fun. In the park there is a downhill part and when it occasionally coincides with a bit of music that I like, that is fun. For a few seconds.
  • doing Chinese homework. This is kinda sorta fun but I have done a lot of it recently when taking a break from cleaning and it is not making me roll around with all the hilarity.

Gah! What can I do that will be fun?! I suppose I should see a friend or visit my sister but strangely enough, although I am genuinely very fond of these people, I find it difficult to motivate myself to actually see them. It all seems so complicated and effortful.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and have perfect teeth already. If I had perfect teeth I would make a move on this super intelligent German boy in my Chinese class, even though he is half my age. He looks like he would benefit from getting laid. But I am not trying to pull anyone until I’ve had my teeth fixed, especially not Germans, they have all got perfect dental hygiene and think it is a basic part of reponsible adulthood. Which it is.

If anyone has any great suggestions for things that are fun, please leave me a comment.

Spending diary week 2

Right, let’s claim a Finance point and examine this week’s spending diary. I am afraid it is going to make last week look frugal. As previously, it doesn’t include household bills and it also doesn’t include dentistry.

  • I recorded zero spending on only one day: Monday 25th April. Slightly worse performance than last week.
  • Bus journeys: two. Excellent. Down from four last week. Although it was a bank holiday weekend with time off work.
  • Groceries: £99.62. More than double last week’s bill, although I did fill up the freezer this week.
  • Household and personal care items. This includes cortisone cream for a rash that is still lingering from my L’Oreal adventure, a lot of ibuprofen for my neck strain, special dentist mouthwash and household items such as toilet paper and cleaning fluid. The dentist mouthwash was £7.95 all on its own and everything else came to £17.28.
  • Moth Wars. Vacuum cleaner £27.99. A huge arsenal of different kinds of moth repellent eg moth balls, stinky anti moth pads, dried lavender, room spray, moth killing spray, moth nest foam, all different sizes of ziploc plastic bags to protect my yarn and knitting and a stack of 10 moth traps which were over £50 all by themselves: £148.37. Motherfucking moths.
  • Other discretionary spending. Tub of coffee for dear son £13.45.  Online services £12.

And that’s all this week’s finance news.

A quick points round up.

Well, it has not been quite the weekend that I had in mind, thanks to Moth Wars, but I have managed to score a few points.

On Saturday I went running again and did a bit better than the time before, so 1 Health point. Will try to go again later even though I am completely exhausted from a sleepless night.

I am having 1 Home point because the main feature of this four day weekend has been bloody cleaning and putting textiles in two layers of plastic bags. God.  I’m about one-quarter of the way through bagging up the yarn. I just don’t know how long it is going to take to get the house clean, by which I mean completely free from moth eggs and hermetically sealed. It could be a couple of months. We are going for a whole new level of Clean. The kind that involves furniture removal and repainting.

I am also having a Chinese point because, rather miraculously, I have at times managed to stop cleaning long enough to do Chinese homework.

Meh. Happy Easter.

Moth advice

I’ve just seen a long comment on the reviewmylife blog with such good advice about moths that I’m going to quote it here because I would despair if it disappeared. At the time of writing, in 2010, she’d had moths for nine years. NINE YEARS, people. And that is with good moth control habits, see below.

Goblinf commented:

I’ve never had quite as bad a moth infestation as some posters, but I thought it might help if I explained how we’ve managed to keep the clothes moths ‘under bearable control’ in our Edwardian c.1900 London flat with it’s permanent low (but higher than acceptable) level of infestation.

I have a LOT of fabric (both animal and plant derived – wool, silk, cotton, linen, sheepskins etc) in every room incl. wall hangings, although we do have synthetic carpets. We’ve only got the standard golden coloured moths and woolly bears type prevalent in S. England. The key is to be disciplined with the cleaning and the tidying up.

The moths arrived in around 2001, and over the years we have developed the following routine, and stuff is very rarely eaten now (including woollen tapestries out on the wall all the time) – it only gets eaten if I get lazy…
1. Hoover the synthetic carpets and skirting boards & edges ONCE EVERY week in every room, moving easy to move furniture at the time, and shake out all cushions etc. This disturbs the newly hatched insects of all sorts. We have a cat who likes socialising with the local foxes (well terrorising them) and it keeps ticks/ flea problems away also.
2. ALWAYS have a Mottlock or similar Moth Pheromone Glue Trap in every room, and replace them at the recommended intervals (don’t be tempted to leave them longer). Yes it’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as replacing carpets/ cashmere jumpers etc. This removes the males from the equation as they get stuck on the traps – then any hatching females are less likely to get fertilised – eventually you end up with very few females getting fertilised and then they lay unfertilised eggs, then there isn’t much to actually hatch out. Then the problem becomes controllable by a decent cleaning routine. It’s also a good indicator of the scale of the issue.
3. KEEP all clean folded clothes in plastic boxes – we’ve got an Argos shelving unit with 10 plastic boxes for tshirts/ trousers/ jumpers etc. ALWAYS keep lid on box unless actually using it AND NEVER EVER leave any animal fibre (woollen) clothes out & about in the house for more than a couple of hours. Yes, it’s boring being this tidy, but it works!
4. Have cedar blocks and cedar balls and the Sandalwood powder sachets (sold by John Lewis & Lakeland Plastics) in the Wardrobe (it’s an open fronted wood/cotton one from Argos). Keep rubbing cedar balls with Cedar Oil (get from Health Food shops) as I can’t be doing with all that sanding down – about once very 8 weeks, but don’t put them back with clothes until oil has dried.
5. EVERY MONTH take out all clothes from wardrobe and shake them onto a sheet on the bed, which is then itself shaken outside and put into the wash. Checking if there are any holes or obvious signs of larvae etc. ONCE a year, hang out clothes on washing line outside in strong sunlight. Also do the same for coats hanging on general coat rack.
6. EVERY QUARTER move ALL furniture and hoover underneath & around it. (It was monthly until we got it under control).
7. Every QUARTER (if no obvious infestation) or every MONTH (if there is, or more often if necessary), take down wool tapestry hangings from walls & other furnishings and gently hoover them (tie a duster around the vaccuum hose and put on lowest setting if it’s very delicate textile)and SHAKE THEM OUTSIDE (weather permitting).
8. Keep dirty washing in a similar plastic box, don’t leave the ironing around not done for ages and keep moving and airing clothes. The moths hate light and movement.
9. Use the cleaning routine as an opportunity to assess whether I really want the stuff I’m shifting around, or whether it can be given a good home elsewhere (once I’m sure it’s infestation free – by keeping it in sealed plastic bag for a month, if no sign of moths after that, it’s ok to go.
10. Use the steam cleaner on Wardrobe clothes when there is an upsurge of infestation.
11. Don’t panic and don’t get depressed. Accept minor losses occasionally as part of life.

So, if I’ve got it sorted, why am I looking on the net for advice? Because we’re leaving the flat, the belongings are going into storage and our clothes & us are moving in with the parents. So how do we make sure that we’re not taking the infestation into storage/ parents’ house? This is the plan:
1. Only pack stuff into boxes that has been cleaned OR which has been living in plastic boxes and is infestation free anyway. (It’s easier for me as I’ve got the problem under control and I’ve never had the experience of ‘nests’ of eggs – just one or two larvae every month now on the clothes).
2. To clean – wash at high temperature OR dry clean OR freeze OR steam OR hoover OR iron (or any combination) – depending on the article. And if it’s a textile that has Keratin in it (wool/silk etc)put it into one of those plastic vaccuum bags (I don’t believe moths can live without oxygen!)
3. Don’t mix newly cleaned and non-cleaned items, keep them separate to reduce cross-contamination.
4. Aim to take over the empty chest freezer at parents for all clothes to reside in temporarily on arrival to minimise problem. Then, keep airing & moving clothes & checking them and use Mottlock glue traps to keep tabs.

Sorry it’s so long, but this has worked for us to get it under control, it’s been relatively cheap and we’ve managed to avoid pesticides.

Moth Wars: 29 weeks in.

They are here and they are all going to die.

I’ve seen three today. One that had drowned in my jug of water (nice). That set me to work hoovering the living room rug, whereupon I found one trying to crawl under the sofa. So I threw the rug out. It wasn’t new and was more full of dust than I could easily vacuum out. Then I found a third one crawling around on the loose covers that go on the sofa. So I have thrown those out and I am getting rid of the sofa as well, it came with the house and that means it is probably 20 years old. I wish I had enough physical strength to haul it down three flights of stairs by myself.

… and the sofa is out. Thank you dear son for helping me expel it from the house. I will call a waste disposal company this week to come and take it away but in the meantime at least it is not in my living room.

… today’s moth count is now 4. I’ve just found a dead one in one of the crates where I keep sock yarn. That means they’re definitely in the bedroom as well as the living room.

… now we’re getting somewhere. 2 larvae on a cotton bag from the bedroom that had knitting in it.