Sunday, April 27, 2008


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Herbie and Callie April 2008!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Have you ever just had one of those days, and

you just can't seem to get anywhere no matter what you do? Now, I'm not unhappy that I am having a bad hair day, 'cause I finally HAVE some!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sourpuss Babies? The poor dears!

Such cute little ones - all puckered up! By the way, there is a cool song that goes along well with this video. I'd never heard it before - until this year - when a friend of mine played it on the piano, especially for me. But, I digress... meet the babies! If the video fails to load, click here.

To steam or not to steam - THAT is the question!

Profound disappointment. That about sums it up, and even the dry erase board is forced to agree with me (but I will come back to this little memo board in a moment). With winter behind us, or nearly so, spring cleaning is something I look forward to every year, it just makes me feel good to open all the windows and feel the breeze throughout the house. I decided to buy a steam cleaner so that I could clean everything in the house without chemicals. I'm talking the walls, the windows, the bathroom, the oven, and yes, even the white oak hardwood floors, so I did a lot of research and I finally bought a Shark EuroPro Steam Pocket.

The pros: Right out of the box, this steamer (see images below) impressed me because it was chock full of attachments and even a floor cleaner was included! I was sure that I got a great deal, especially since this steamer retailed at $99.99 and there was an immediate $20.00 discount at the register. I was thrilled with this purchase, and I just couldn't wait to get started. Once I got home and opened the box, I discovered the steamer had a very handy "on-board" storage compartment, which houses two brushes (one nylon and the other brass), a precision nozzle, and a squeegee for doing windows. Since I am a short person, I was equally thrilled with the the extension rods, which were made extremely well, and the O-rings made for a nice tight fit, so I felt safe with using this steamer.

The cons: Two years ago, I bought a steamer, a McCulloch 1275, and that steamer got HOT! The Shark, in comparison, although the advertisement indicates that it can steam/pressure wash automotive parts and even barbeque grills! Ha! This steamer fell far short of extreme disappointment. In all honesty, the steamer did a decent job in cleaning a mildly dusty plastic lawn chair, but my garden hose and a sponge would have worked far better - and faster too! Then, I tried to clean my back door, and I could have done a better job, again, with my sponge and a mixture of bleach and some mild dish detergent. Was this thing just not getting hot enough, I wondered? The "ready light" indicated that it was, so I continued on. Again, there was nothing impressive about this thing at all. The pressure wasn't bad, which was stronger than that of the McCulloch, but the temperature this thing generated (or, should I say, SHOULD have generated) . . . HA! This steamer comes with a warning that it can damage fabrics, skin, etc, but in all honesty, John, ever the "tough guy" who swore by his "Steam Buggy" (that is apparently no longer available) absolutely stuck his hand, palm exposed, right in front of the precision nozzle while I was trying to steam clean a pet cage. NOTHING! Although you could see "steam" rolling out of this thing, you could easily place your hand in front of this thing and not even come close to being burnt!

Ok, that sounds sick, and let me assure you, no one around here is into self-mutilation, but this steamer is completely and wholly inadequate, and it goes right back to the store tomorrow.

Bottom line: The Shark isn't anything but a wimpy and sickly little minnow, and as you can see above, it didn't even clean the dry erase board effectively!

The Cheap Thrill: Now, a few months back, I bought a portable hand steamer for smaller jobs around the house at Walgreen's for just $29.99, which came with a $10.00 mail-in rebate. So, for $19.99, that cheap little steamer out performs The Shark! What's with that?

The only real problem with the little steamer is that it only holds about 250 ml of water, and so it requires too many frequent refills for larger jobs. The Perfection is also "Made in China" and I HATE THAT. I'm surprised that this little steamer is still on the market, though. There should be some recalls, I would think. The hose attachment, which goes into the unit itself, is VERY loose-fitting, and it does NOT lock into place. Since this little steamer does get hot and has quite a bit of pressure, there IS some risk of injury, unlike that of the inadequate and wimpy Shark.

Now what? I guess I'm going to have to fall back on my granma's tried-and-true never fail method for spring cleaning. A gallon of Clorox and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Now, if money were no object, which of course in this economy with gas prices being close to $3.50 a gallon, money IS an object -- but if it weren't -- I'd absolutely buy a Desiderio and stop fooling around with these "wannabes".

For more information on how to properly choose a steam cleaner that will meet your specific needs, I'd highly recommend reading up on this material, provided by Vapor Clean Products.

Note: This review is entirely based upon my own personal experience with choosing steam cleaners, and in no way, am I receiving any kind of kickback (or any other benefit) from Vapor Clean Products for such a glowing endorsement of their product line.

Photo record:

The Shark. What can it do?

The Shark's on-board storage compartment - very handy!

The back porch door. John just bleached the entire porch down yesterday, since we're grilling out tonight, but our dogs, Dewey and Fang, got loose and splashed some mud on the door. Shark should be ashamed of itself. This mud can be wiped off with a finger!

A stubborn little spot in the corner of my kitchen table also remained "untouched" by The Shark. Clorox and a small scrub brush can take care of this easily!

Here' "the cheap thrill" - but if you buy this steamer, beware: there is NO locking mechanism that keeps the hose firmly attached to the base unit. It's kind of tricky. I twist the hose around to hold it in place, but this IS a major safety concern. Now, it does take two hands to operate the portable, so if this hose were to become loose, you'd better have fast reflexes!

I'd not let any teens use this unit for the safety concerns mentioned above. Here, you can see the "steam activation button" just above the handle. So, I hold the steamer in my left hand and spray with the right, but the black hose can easily slip out of the red "snout" on this unit. I honestly can NOT recommend either of these steamers.