Making mistakes - or not.
Raphi makes a mistake

Air fresheners and randomness

I don’t know if I watch the wrong kinds of shows on TV (mostly just Trading Spaces…when I can), or if I’ve spotted an actual trend out there, but there seems to be a whole lot more interest in air fresheners than I had ever imagined. It seems like every other commercial is for some spray, fan, heated oil, or candle that will whisk away those offensive odors.

I’m starting to feel a little self-conscious. What are they trying to say about my smell, anyhow?

There’s this one commercial, in which a woman stands, observing her air freshener, which is plugged into the electrical outlet in the wall. This clearly displeases the woman, who wants the air freshened over HERE, by the coffee table. She proceeds to YANK the outlet out of the wall, ripping electrical cords through the drywall, tearing down parts of the ceiling, so she can move the little freshening unit to the middle of the room. A man comes along (one assumes he’s her husband, although the more I think about it, the more I suspect she’s just some woman he picked up at a party, where she strode across the room, fixed him with an intense gaze, and proclaimed her intent to own his soul, and since he was just SO DRUNK it sounded like a good idea at the time, but NOW? With a hangover? It’s beginning to look like she’s just kind of psycho and he’s wondering how he’s going to get her to leave and what did she say her name was anyway?), and he watches her tearing up the house in horror. Next comes a shot of her, enjoying the NEW PRODUCT, a battery powered air freshening unit, that can be moved anywhere at will. He’s patching the damage to the wall (and pondering restraining orders, I’m sure), and shaking his head.

Ok, two things. First of all, that woman? Needs to stop listening to the voices in her head, because they are not her friends. And secondly – what the heck? I mean, isn’t the air freshener thingy supposed to spew its smell a good distance? How far can you get in any house from an electrical outlet at any time? HOW IMPORTANT CAN THIS BE? Maybe I just don’t understand what these things actually do. Maybe “freshens the air” is code for “gives you a high that makes OxyContin look like baby aspirin.”

Personally? I don’t actually USE air fresheners. My house smells like…I’m embarrassed to admit this…a house.

One with three kids, a dog, a cat, three adults, and a large collection of Power Ranger toys. After bath time, the house smells like soapy-clean boys and lotion. Before dinner it smells like food. Sometimes it smells like flowers (if there are actual flowers in here), and sometimes Mom bakes bread and it smells like heaven.

And yes, occasionally it smells like damp dog, or sweaty boy feet. But who has time to spray masking odors in the air when I need to wash the dog or order Tre into the shower? Honestly, to make my house smell like Meadow Rain would probably require a pact with the devil. It just doesn’t seem worth it. I mean…not that I have something else in mind that WOULD be worth it…heh, heh. HI, FATHER PHIL!

Well, the whole air freshener mystery is just one more example of how I’m not a real woman. My cousin Melyssa (who is more interesting by far than a “real woman”) has this theory that some of us women are real women, while the rest of us are amateurs. Real women carry compacts in their purses. They generally have lipstick on, and just KNOW the proper way to wash a bra.

I am NOT a real woman, I am an amateur. I will never understand compacts or maintain my lipstick properly, and the deep need for air fresheners eludes me.

Oh well.

It could be worse. I could have violent reactions to the placement of an air freshener.

Ok, before I let you go, I have to tell you two stories from my day. Totally apropos of nothing, deal with it.

This afternoon Raphael hit Max over some offense or another, and was sent to serve time on the couch. As he stomped out of the room he muttered sullenly, “Max called me a BAD BOY.” Max, who was playing quietly on the floor, looked up, DEEPLY OFFENDED.

“I DID NOT,” he declared, “I never – EVER - called him a bad boy. Today.”

Tonight, after a long and arduous bedtime, I went into Max and Raphi’s room to see if they had ever indeed gone to sleep. They had, and Raphi was turned completely around and sleeping with his head hanging off the foot of his bed. These sorts of gymnastics are not unusual for him. I picked him up to reposition him, and he stirred and muttered something. I put him down on his pillow, and he muttered again. “Ah have an octopus in me.”


His fingers were feebly working at the zipper to his jammies.

“Dere is an octopus.”

I helped him unzip his jammies, and sure enough, plastered to his belly, was an orange plastic octopus. I removed it and zipped him back up.

“Hey, Honey? Don’t put octopuses in your jammies anymore, ok?”

He nodded and grinned.

“But dat WAS funny.”

Well. I have nothing to add to that.



No air fresheners here either! Last year, I was in the hospital for a few days while they tried to induce my 11-pound baby to come on out a little early. Meanwhile, my mom was at our house feeding the cats and freezing casseroles for us. When we finally made it home with our big boy, there were stacks of neat tupperwares in the freezer and air fresheners in all of the bathrooms. Mom, you trying to tell me something?


Okay but look -- those things? They are ADDICTIVE. We put them up when we had our old house on the market. TO make it smell like a place you would want to BUY.

OH DEAR LORD. It was so CHEERFUL. SO SO CHEERFUL. The kitchen smelled all the time like baked goods, the bathrooms smelled crisp and citrussy and delightful, my son's bedroom smelled like a MEADOW and my daughters bedroom smelled like...a meadow with a diaper genie in in it. But still.

I have of course let it all LAPSE and the new house smells like a HOUSE. But man, I can see the appeal of those things. Not to the point that I am willing to WRECK THE WIRING. But that girl I think was fresh off lithium.

This, by the way, was a fantastic blog entry. I was giggling like a LOON.


As an amateur woman who knows many professional women (including my mother) thank you for labeling my condition. I may have to make an "Amateur Woman" button for my site. Want one?


Did I miss the instructions on the appropriate way to wash a bra, or maybe I won't ever need that skill in the future?


Dat WAS funny! The octopus, too!


All I can think of when I see that commercial is that the damage she does to the wall takes the shape of a martini glass! What does that say about the kind of woman I am? Ha ha ha!


Oh my goodness...I laughed SOOOO hard over the octopus in the jammies, I can't even tell you. Thanks for a great blog!!


You mean there is a wrong way to wash a bra????
OK guess you can add me to the Amateur Woman list.

As as for the octopus in the jammies thing? I think you have the makings of a children's song writer there! It sounds like a Fred Penner song! ( or ann murray....hippo in my bathtub kind of song!)


Who needs air fresheners when surrounded by the refreshing world of your dear children? There doesn't seem to be anything amateur about your mothering, by the way! I must admit to embracing incense and candles for the romantic effects!

Rachel Claret

Hi Kira,

My mom (Laurie Weiss) met you at the Colo Author's league last month and told me about your blog. I have three boys too (6, 4, and 5 mos). Makes me wish I still lived in Colorado - I think we'd probably be friends. Although I've been reading for a month (on the rare occasion that Ari lets me sit at my computer), I just had to finally write to say hello - and I can TOTALLY relate to Octopi in Pajamas! :)

Linda Sherwood

OK, what I don't get are the commercials where the women are delariously happy about cleaning. Like the woman who dusts her friend's house? Or somehow holding a swiffer makes you smile and WANT to clean rather than mutter under your breath about the ungrateful filthy people you live with who think you are the maid. Or maybe that's just me. Great story. Maybe Raphi's a Red Wings fan who just misses the Octi being thrown out on the ice. ;)


So are you not going to tell us the proper way to wash a bra?!


I can tell you the proper way to wash a bra, but it isn't because I came with this information intact, as apparently a "real" woman would... It is because a little over twelve years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was shamed into the information by the twenty-something, blue eyed, hair spray plastered, perfect make-up, compact-carrying attendant at a maternity shop when I tried to return the bra that my washing machine tried to eat. Dripping with condescention, she stood in front of my eight-months-pregnant-swollen-nosed-and-footed (well really everything was swollen) body and informed me that everyone knew you weren't supposed to wash a bra in the machine... well, everyone but me I guess. I left the shop with the ruined bra, sat in my car and cried in the parking lot for a good half hour for my lack of real womaness. It took quite some time for me to decide that it didn't make me less than a legitimate woman just because this bit of woman knowledge had escaped me.

The attendant's recipe for a clean bra - for those with time and who care:
- soak in cool water in a sink with Woolite or some other such mild detergent
- agitate gently by hand
- rinse with cool water
- reshape and dry - preferably on some store bought drying rack and not a ratty old towel

My recipe for a clean bra:
- wash with like colors in whatever temperature you like
- dry with the other clothes
- buy a new one when that one wears out

Melyssa - An Actual Woman


I have been watching a lot of tv lately and so has my male best friend (we are 35) and we have noticed being innundated by these air freshener/candle commercials. There are SO many brands of them and they are so specialized. We have been wondering if more people are passing gas and need a fresh meadow to cover the smell. Just our theory LOL

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