Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning 5/1/09

Spring Cleaning 5/1/09

Heavy overcast
Rain and thunder storms
Wind 10-25 mph
Temp currently 70.9F

What inevitably comes with Spring? Spring cleaning, of course. Here Sister Cindy is admiring the hyacinths in the dry cleaner's window. We miss the flowers of spring that we have at home in Sacramento and this cleaner, The Green Earth Cleaners, had bulbs growing in the window even while the ice still graced the landscape.

While the temperature was below freezing, I discovered that you cannot wash the outside of the windows. I was my own "Jack Frost" this past winter as I learned that principle. However, now that the temperature is cooperative, I have cleaned the windows several times, including the screens a couple of weeks ago. Well, now we are in a different cycle of environment; dust.

It seems that the sand used to make the roads less slippery contains a significant portion of dirt that becomes aerosolized when dry. With the prevailing westerly Siberian winds meeting the obstacles of the newly constructed buildings, those structures create a Venturi effect that compresses the air and magnifies the velocity of the wind as it is funneled between the buildings and lifts everything up to the size of a small dog off the ground. The following is an explanation from Wikipedia:

"The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of pipe. The fluid velocity must increase through the constriction to satisfy the equation of continuity, while its pressure must decrease due to conservation of energy: the gain in kinetic energy is balanced by a drop in pressure or a pressure gradient force. "

For those of you from Rio Linda, it makes the wind REALLY windy. As a result, the dirt constituency of the sand used during the winter is lifted, along with the small dogs and untethered infants, and we get it on our 9th floor windowsills.

As you look at the picture to the left, remember that I washed the windows and screens within the last two weeks. After several of those windy days, this is what we have. Not only is it accumulated on our windows, but it coats everything in the apartment. You can run your hand over a counter that was washed, not dusted, but washed, last week and come away with a palmful of black grit. It has the feeling of ultra fine sand, but it is black and sticks to everything. As I run my finger across the sill, most of the dirt stays on the sill or falls to the floor.

At left is a paper towel I ran across the sill. You can see the powder on the counter that just fell off the sill. I have started using a dry paper towel for this because the dirt WILL NOT wash out of a cloth towel or rag. I have tried heavy soap concentration, bleach, and physical scrubbing but the stain remains.

Here is a bucket of detergent water after cleaning the two windows and sill in our bedroom. I had to change wash water after each window and even at that I could not get the cleaning rag clean. This stuff is tough and takes a lot of dedication to keep it out of your life.
Here are the dregs of one bucket of cleaning solution. I thought about saving the solids to add to my garden of pots in the Cabo Room, but decided that it might contain stuff that I don't want in my veggies so down the drain. I also followed the cleaning session with a little "drain-doctor" in the tub drain, where I dumped the water to help insure no plumbing problems.

I thought about the possibility that this black stuff was soot from the power plants across the river from us, but gave up that theory because the dirt comes only after a windy day. Certainly there is a lot of particulates (for Rio Linda that's "stuff") in the air and they don't use scrubbers so it was a real possibility, but I'm still not sure of its origin.

Nevertheless, it will come and go during the spring until it too has run its course.

What a country.


Trisha said...

I feel that my house is that dirty all the time. However I am the maid. Good job.

Shannon Simmons said...

Yuck. There is a lot of dirt in the world, but we just get to keep cleaning it up :) keep cleaning.