Maxine’s Top Ten Tips to Entertaining

  1. When one hosts a dinner party, it is essential that all the place mats match, or, at the very least, that they all come from the same fast-food restaurant.
  2. Entertaining in your backyard? The key to a nice-looking lawn is a good mower. I recommend one who’s muscular and shirtless.
  3. My favorite party game is “Pin the Cleanup on the Guests.”
  4. Nothing in the world is quite so entertaining as pouring old milk into new containers before having guests over.
  5. A good host must always be a STICKLER for attractive food presentation! I always take the foil COMPLETELY OFF the TV dinner before serving.
  6. Getting your home in tiptop shape for a party can be fun if you think of it as kicking dust bunny tail!
  7. Take short cuts! I used to offer my guests instant coffee. They kept whining for hot water to go with it.
  8. The best way to prepare a roast is to make an aluminum foil tent over your roasting pan. Similarly, the best way to prepare for relatives is to pitch a tent in the backyard and stay there until they leave.
  9. When decorating for a party, be creative with regular household items. Some people might just see a moldy shower curtain with torn eyelets. What do I see? A new tablecloth.
  10. The better you cook, the more likely your guests will return. Which is why I’m not usually too hot in the kitchen.

Signs Found in Kitchens

  • A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen and this kitchen is delirious.
  • No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
  • A husband is someone who takes out the trash and gives the impression he just cleaned the whole house.
  • If we are what we eat, then I’m easy, fast, and cheap.
  • A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
  • Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.
  • Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.
  • A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
  • Help keep the kitchen clean – eat out.
  • Housework done properly can kill you.
  • Countless number of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.
  • My next house will have no kitchen — just vending machines.
  • I don’t do mousework! (With a picture of a kitten.)
  • Self cleaning kitchen. Clean up after yourself. Mom’s off duty.
  • This is *my* kitchen. I am the boss! If you don’t believe it…start something!
  • I’m the MOMMY, that’s why!
  • Caution: Cook At Work!

How to be Handy Around the House

  • If you can’t find a screwdriver, use a knife. If you break off the tip, it’s an improved screwdriver.
  • Try to work alone. An audience is rarely any help.
  • Despite what you may have been told by your mother, praying and cursing are both helpful in home repair … but only if you are working alone.
  • Work in the kitchen whenever you can … many fine tools are there, its warm and dry, and you are close to the refrigerator.
  • If it’s electronic, get a new one … or consult a twelve-year-old.
  • Stay simple minded: Get a new battery; replace the bulb or fuse; see if the tank is empty; try turning it to the “on” switch; or just paint over it.
  • Always take credit for miracles. If you dropped the alarm clock while taking it apart and it suddenly starts working, you have healed it.
  • Regardless of what people say, kicking, pounding, and throwing sometimes DOES help.
  • If something looks level, it is level.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.
  • Above all, if what you’ve done is stupid, but it works, then it isn’t stupid.

10 Clues That You’ve Gone Overboard On Home Improvement

  1. You’ve built a drive-thru car wash in the second slot of your 2-car garage.
  2. You’ll use any excuse to add a new room onto the house, including needing more space for the newest addition to the family — your daughter’s goldfish Buffy.
  3. Even Martha Stewart has deemed your multi-level, hydraulically-operated kitchen is “a bit overdone.”
  4. You’ve converted the standard stall shower into a “bathing waterfall,” complete with tropical plants.
  5. Your rear-projection, surround-sound TV room can comfortably seat 43, and you’re trying to make arrangements with Universal for first run films.
  6. Your dog has a duplex dog house out back, even though he sleeps in bed with you every night.
  7. The local building department says you can’t add a fourth floor to a house that was originally zoned as a single level dwelling.
  8. You bought and demolished your next door neighbors house to make room for an Olympic size swimming pool.
  9. You’ve installed a small freight elevator going to your attic.
  10. You’ve built an FAA-approved helipad on your roof.
© 1996 Sandy Lindsey

Cooking Terms

  • Tongue

    • A variety of meat, rarely served because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of dead cow.

  • Yogurt

    • Semi-solid dairy product made from partially evaporated and fermented milk. Yogurt is one of only three foods that taste exactly the same as they sound. The other two are goulash and squid.

  • Recipe

    • A series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you forgot to buy, in utensils you don’t own, to make a dish the dog won’t eat.

  • Porridge

    • Thick oatmeal rarely found on American tables since children were granted the right to sue their parents. The name is an amalgamation of the words “Putrid,” “hORRId,” and “sluDGE.”

  • Preheat

    • To turn on the heat in an oven for a period of time before cooking a dish, so that the fingers may be burned when the food is put in, as well as when it is removed.

  • Oven

    • Compact home incinerator used for disposing of bulky pieces of meat and poultry.

  • Microwave Oven

    • Space-age kitchen appliance that uses the principle of radar to locate and immediately destroy any food placed within the cooking compartment.

  • Calorie

    • Basic measure of the amount of rationalization offered by the average individual prior to taking a second helping of a particular food.

Clean with Coke!

Just when you thought you knew everything…

  • To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl. Let the “real thing” sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.
  • To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
  • To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
  • To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
  • To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan; wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.
  • To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.
  • It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

This is why we drink PEPSI products!! We’re too busy CLEANING with the Coke!!

Thirty Minutes to a Cleaner House

You have company arriving in 30 minutes. Your house is a mess. WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first session of Housekeeping Tips for Regular People. If you’re a Martha Stewart type of housekeeper, this column is NOT for you.

However, for the rest of you, this is your chance to learn 15 Secret Shortcuts to Good Housekeeping that your mother never told you.

  • Secret Tip 1: Door Locks
    If a room clearly can’t be whipped into shape in 30 days–much less 30 minutes–employ the Locked Door Method of cleaning. Tell anyone who tries to go in the room that the door is intentionally locked.

    CAUTION: It is not advisable to use this tip for the bathroom.
    Time: 2 seconds

  • Secret Tip 2: Duct Tape
    No home should be without an ample supply. Not only is it handy for plumbing repairs, but it’s a great way to hem drapes, tablecloths, clothes, just about anything. No muss, no fuss.
    Time: 2-3 minutes
  • Secret Tip 3: Ovens
    If you think ovens are just for baking, think again. Ovens represent at least 9 cubic feet of hidden storage space, which means they’re a great place to shove dirty dishes, dirty clothes, or just about anything you want to get out of sight when company’s coming.
    Time: 2 minutes
  • Secret Tip 4: Clothes Dryers
    Like Secret Tip 3, except bigger. CAUTION: Avoid hiding flammable objects here.
    Time: 2.5 minutes
  • Secret Tip 5: Washing Machines and Freezers
    Like Secret Tip 4, except even bigger.
    Time: 3 minutes
  • Secret Tip 6: Dust Ruffles
    No bed should be without one. Devotees of Martha Stewart believe dust ruffles exist to keep dust out from under a bed or to help coordinate the colorful look of a bedroom. The rest of us know a dust ruffle’s highest and best use is to hide whatever you’ve managed to shove under the bed. (Refer to Secret Tips 3, 4, 5.)
    Time: 4 minutes
  • Secret Tip 7: Dusting
    The 30-Minutes-To-A-Clean-House method says: Never dust under what you can dust around.
    Time: 3 minutes
  • Secret Tip 8: Dishes
    Don’t use them. Use plastic or paper and you won’t have to.
    Time: 1 minute
  • Secret Tip 9: Clothes Washing (EEWWW)
    This secret tip is brought to you by an inventive teenager. When this teen’s mother went on a housekeeping strike for a month, the teen discovered you can extend the life of your underwear by two …if you turn it wrong side out and, yes, rerun it.

    CAUTION: This tip is recommended only for teens and those who don’t care if they get in a car wreck.

    Time: 3 seconds

  • Secret Tip 10: Ironing
    If an article of clothing doesn’t require a full press and your hair does, a curling iron is the answer. In between curling your hair, use the hot wand to iron minor wrinkles out of your clothes. Yes, it really does work, or so I’m told, by other disciples of the 30-Minutes-To-A-Clean-House philosophy.
    Time: 5 minutes (including curling your hair)
  • Secret Tip 11: Vacuuming
    Stick to the middle of the room, which is the only place people look. Don’t bother vacuuming under furniture. It takes way too long and no one looks there anyway.
    Time: 5 minutes, entire house; 2 minutes, living room only
  • Secret Tip 12: Lighting
    The key here is low, low, and lower. It’s not only romantic, but bad lighting can hide a multitude of dirt.
    Time: 10 seconds
  • Secret Tip 13: Bed Making
    Get an old-fashioned waterbed. No one can tell if those things are made up or not, saving you, oh, hundreds of seconds over the course of a lifetime.
    Time: 0
  • Secret Tip 14: Showers, Toilets, and Sinks
    Forget one and two. Concentrate on three.
    Time: 1 minute
  • Secret Tip 15: The Bathtub
    No, don’t clean it. You don’t have time, and your guests aren’t going to look there anywhy. You can use the bathtub to hide all kinds of things from the rest of the house. Just pull the curtain closed and hope nobody looks there. This won’t work on your mother, sadly.
    Time: 3 seconds
  • If you already knew at least 10 of these tips, don’t even think about inviting a Martha Stewart type to your home!

The Homeowner’s Guide to Basic Tools

  • Hammer
    In ancient times a hammer was used to inflict pain on one’s enemies. Modern hammers are used to inflict pain on oneself.
  • Screwdriver
    The drink ordered at the local bar after you call in a professional repairman to undo the $500 in damage you did while trying to change out a light socket with your handy screwdriver.
  • Phillips Screwdriver
    The bar drink that you order when the damage estimate is over $1,000. Contains twice the vodka.
  • Pliers
    A device used to extend your reach the necessary few inches when you drop a one-of-a-kind screw down behind the new wall it took you two weeks to install.
  • Multi-Pliers
    Contain a handy assortment of sharp and dangerous tools. Best left in it’s leather sheath and worn on a homeowner’s belt to increase testosterone levels.
  • Electronic Stud Finder
    An annoying device that never goes off when you point it at yourself.
  • Halogen Light
    A worklight that lights up your backyard with the incandescence of a football stadium, causing you to cast a heavy shadow over the area you’re working on so that you need to use a flashlight anyway.
  • Cordless Drill
    A device that lessens your chance of electrocution 90% over a standard plug-in tool.
  • Cordless or Cellular Telephone
    The handyman’s 911.
  • Air Compressor
    A mechanical device similar in principal to harnessing the power of your mother-in-law’s nagging complaints and using the resulting airflow to blast old paint off the side of the house.
  • Chainsaw
    Allows you to cut your way out of the shed that you accidentally built completely around yourself.
  • Vise Grips
    A pair of helping hands that doesn’t critique the job you’re doing or offer advice.