Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We don't use a lot of green onions at our house, and whenever I buy them for specific use in a recipe, the ones I don't use lie on their backs in the crisper drawer and slowly liquefy.

My husband stopped at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and picked up some things he wanted for salads and such. I walked into the kitchen some time later and in the windowsill, next to my basket of meds, was a plastic insulated glass of water with a bouquet of green onions submerged into it, their tops splaying out the top.

"What's the deal with the green onions in the glass of water?" I asked, and he answered excitedly, "I saw it on the internet! It's a way to have green onions all the time! You keep them in water and cut the green part off the top as you need it. Because they still have the roots on them, they'll keep growing new green tops! I HAVE DISCOVERED PERPETUAL GREEN ONIONS!"

And I'll be damned if it isn't working. 

He fusses over them every few days, changing the water. Then he decided they would get more light if he moved them from the window above the kitchen sink to the window above the eating space at the counter.

And that was his big mistake.

Because the other morning, he came downstairs ahead of me, entered the kitchen, and said, "What the hell happened here?"

"Where?" I asked, walking in behind him, where he was staring at the counter below the windowsill. The windowsill that USED to contain a bouquet of green onions in a pink plastic vase and which was now on its side on the counter, water puddled around it and soaking into what I hoped weren't terribly important financial aid papers belonging to the College Boy (and which shouldn't have been lying on the kitchen counter in the first
place). There were little footprints on the counter top.


Convincingly conveying innocence.

"In all fairness," I said to him, "it might not have been Ruby. Fletcher likes to look out that window at night when we aren't there to catch him on the counter, and he likes green plants. He even chews on artificial plants."

My husband tenderly picked up his little green onion garden, gave it fresh water and put it back in the window above the kitchen sink while I cleaned up the water and laid the wet papers out to dry.

His little crop of green onions seems not to have suffered after their ordeal with Ruby (OR FLETCHER - she may be innocent, but I really doubt it). And if all goes well, we shall have green onions into perpetuity.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

We live in a very old house, as in around 90 years old. I don't have a fancy laundry room; I have a basement with a washer and dryer in it.

The dryer vents through a rigid metal vent pipe that comes up from the back of the dryer, then takes a right turn and heads uphill at a slight angle. There is flexible plastic exhaust ducting that attaches to the end of the rigid duct (with duct tape - duh!) and makes a fairly sharp left turn as it joins the opening through the basement window to the outside by our carport (also held in place with duct tape). The rigid vent pipe was in place when we bought the house, and we simply hooked our dryer up to it. The previous owners shored the vent pipe up with a couple of wires attached to the ceiling, because gravity.

Now on occasion, the duct tape holding the flexible duct hose loses its grip, usually always in very hot, humid weather while the dryer is going. And even though the dryer is in the basement, you can tell from our bedroom on the top floor, which is about as far away from the dryer as you can be and still be inside the house, when the duct has pulled loose, because very damp, hot, linty air that smells strongly of clean laundry puffs its way all over the house. Which is precisely what happened this morning other day, when I was on my fourth load of laundry.

The simplest of fixes, it only requires more duct tape, which I got out and laid on top of the washer. The breach in the system was where the flexible duct hose joins the rigid metal duct, but as I was peeling the old tape off the flexible duct hose, I noticed a bit of a build-up of dryer lint at the opening of the rigid duct. No worries, I'd just wipe it out a bit, and here is my first brilliant idea: wrap duct tape around the handle of the broom, sticky side out, and stick it up the pipe and kind of swirling it around as I pulled it back out again (no jokes, please, although they beg to be told right about now). As I pulled the broom out of the pipe, an enormous ball of lint rolled out with it and fell into the utility sink next to the washer with a poof of linty dust. And when I say enormous, I mean as big as a softball, although not as dense (it's LINT). 

(To be noted is that the pipe contained not only lint, but a fine lint dust, about the consistency of flour, that went EVERYWHERE without provocation.)

Whoa! I had no idea that pipe would be that full of lint. Could this lint build-up be a fire danger? I shone a flashlight inside. It was time to be the daughter of a hardware man and get this sucker cleaned out.

The first section of rigid pipe was about three feet long, and I pulled it away from the rest of the pipe, scattering lint dust all over the top of the dryer and myself. I set the pipe down into a small bathroom-sized trashcan, where the whole thing promptly fell over. Twice. More lint dust on the floor. 

Then the lightbulb went off: I have a brush for reaching cobwebs and dusting on a stick the length of a broomstick. Slightly reminiscent of a chimney sweep brush, only with much softer bristles that were about 6 inches across. Slowly, I pushed the broom through the pipe, holding it over the trashcan, when it suddenly burst through the bottom end of the pipe in an explosion of lint dust. It was in my hair, my eyes, my nose, my lungs. It left a fine coating of dust on my skin, on my clothes, and ON THE CLEAN LAUNDRY.

I said a really, really bad word that may or may not kind of rhyme with "duct."

I then swept up the pile of lint dust on the floor, brushed as much off of me as I could, and went for the second section of rigid pipe, which was slightly shorter than the first but just as bent on tipping over the trashcan twice as the longer piece. Carefully, I pushed the broom through, because fool me twice, shame on me, when the broom again burst out the pipe in a magnificent cloud of lint dust.

And I swept that up.

And put the pieces back together.

And duct taped the flexible duct hose onto the rigid hose.

And resumed drying.

And when I told the College Boy about the whole debacle later that day, his response was, "Things Best Done Outside for a thousand, Alex."

That's okay, College Boy. Go ahead and laugh, because I know there is lint dust in what you think is clean underwear.


  1. I just may have to try the green onion "garden". I always end up with a bunch of wilted tubes in my crisper. :(

    I will, however pass on the duct cleaning. I always wanted to move anyways. ;)

    1. Surprisingly, it works.
      The duct thing was necessary, only I didn't know it.

  2. Bwahahaha...things best done outside. He's funny. Great post! You're back! Woot!
    OK, the little onion garden - I've seen that but never tried it. Apparently, you can do it with celery, too. I'm picturing your hubby tending to these little onions so carefully and that is just so sweet.
    I should be in bed, but I just had to read. Yay!

    1. He's a hoot, isn't he?
      My little onion farmer was very proud of himself.

  3. The green onion "garden" seems worth trying. Fortunately, we don't have any cats and dogs in our house. :-)

    1. With no pets, you should be able to grow green onions without any disasters, Romi!

  4. You are brilliant in your own messy way. I never thought to put tape on a broomstick to clean the vent pipes!
    I don't think I use green onions enough to warrant a project like yours. And yes, it would be a project. We couldn't even keep a cactus alive. No joke. We couldn't keep up with the 1 tablespoon of water per month it required.

    1. It seemed like a good idea at the time. All of it. I couldn't see across the basement after that big poof of lint and dust came out of the end when I poked the duster through the bottom.
      If you used a LOT of green onions, I don't think the little guys could keep up.
      I kill every plant that enters the house.

  5. Hmm. I may have to try the green onion project as well! I also have a load of seeds for various fresh herbs I have been meaning to plant for, not kidding, like 3 years and haven't actually gotten around to it. Perhaps you have inspired me. Even though my cats will probably knock it over just like you suspect yours did. LOL!

    1. It's good to know someone else's cats would get up on the counter and knock the onion garden out of the windowsill as well.
      I have had two dead hamsters in my freezer for five years. Maybe when you plant your herb seeds, I'll finally get the hamsters buried!

  6. Hilarious story. I have some green onions I bought for a recipe I never used. If they are not liquid today, I am taking them out of the fridge and making a lovely hypo-ponic (is that right? grown in water?) planting for the windowsill. And good for you for saving your home from a fire hazard, without too much of a choking hazard. I guess your son gets his sense of humor from you.

    1. Hydroponic? Is that it? Whatever it is, it's not good to do when there are nosy cats in the house.
      It never occurred to me that there would be that much crap in the dryer vent. And that it would scatter so very much!

  7. okay, so this is one of those things that I hate. I hate it when someone has a horror story for you about something that you we're talking about. For some reason I don't hate it when people give me the horror story but I hate to be the person relating the horror story. Anyway, excellent job on the dryer hose. We lived in apartments our entire lives with eight children from the time the youngest was an infant because lints in the vent hose caught fire and burned down our underinsured house. I clean those every three months. Good catch!

    1. Holy shit,Ivy! Now I'm not sorry I poofed dust and lint all over the basement!

  8. *snorks*

    You mojo'd this one GOOD! I'm very glad you wrote, and that you shall have Green Onions of Perpetuity, and that you won't burn down. Listen to Ivy - she's a smart cookie.

    1. Too bad there's no demand for dryer lint; I could have made a fortune if I could have sold it.
      A perpetuity of green onions is a lot of green onions....