Interesting Care Instructions

King Richard’s Faire is in about a month and lately I’ve been thinking about including information and care instruction cards with my purchases. I wanted to see what other people did, so I looked around on the internet. This opened a huge can of worms as I’ve been reading all kinds of crazy things.

I know. Crazy things written by people on the internet!? Get out. That never happens.

I was hoping that I’d get some easy direction on what to include based on what others do, but instead, I still haven’t decided on whether or not to actually include care instructions. I am leaning towards yes, but I actually noticed that these are completely missing from the online stores and websites of some of my favorite potters. My guess is that they’re relying on common sense and answering questions on a ‘one on one’ basis when they’re asked.

Then there is are a lot of claims that I’ve never heard before, even in the most misinformed and superstitious circles. I plan to blog about it at some point… but I’m not sure I can handle that kind of angry and ranty post right now.

Instead, I want to share some of the other mind boggling things I found: the obvious.

Here are some examples of care instructions that I think would make even the most ignorant of layman face palm. I’ve started off with the worst and tapered off to some that you might see as being necessary when thinking of some people you know.

Maybe you have an Uncle Fred that put laundry detergent in the dishwasher or a friend named Sam who sets the stove on fire a couple times a month.

Avoid Dropping

Let that one sink in.

Hey there! I know you were planning on dropping your pottery ON PURPOSE, because why try to avoid it, right? You bought this specifically for dropping, and you expect it to hold up when you use it for this purpose. So, I’m here to make sure you realize that you’re actually NOT supposed to be trying to drop your pottery. I won’t tell you what happens if you do drop it, but I will tell you: Avoid Dropping.

Furthermore, if I include that, does that mean I need to also say things like, “Not recommended for juggling”? Wow. I’m going to need more space for all of these care instructions!

After I told someone about this, they also helpfully recommended the following: “Avoid throwing, hitting, punching, chewing, attempting to eat, dropping into vats of acid or lava, throwing at people, throwing at pets, throwing at dragons, using to stop cars, using to stop rampaging wild life. Not a substitute for modern medicine, clothing, transportation or travel. Please consult your local pottery expert before use.”

Wash before first use.

…because I would directly eat out of something people at a fair have been picking up all day.

Actually, this is really pushy. Technically you don’t NEED to wash it before your first use.

Maybe you’re one of those people who like to live on the edge. You are the type of person who won’t wash your hands before leaving the restroom. It only says ’employees must wash hands’, and you’re a customer, so that obviously doesn’t apply to you.

So are you going to waste perfectly good room in your sink or dishwasher!? Heck no. It’s a bowl whether or not you wash it before using it. It will hold your cereal just as well either way.

Ew.

Dry thoroughly before storing.

Wait. There are people who put away their dishes when they are wet!? Dishwashers have ‘dry’ settings. People who wash by hand use ‘drying racks’ or ‘drying towels’ (aka dish towels, as in, for using to dry your dishes).

Who are these people who need to be told both to wash their dishes AND make sure they’re dry before putting them away?

One friend of mine put it to me this way, “Babe. Common sense isn’t common.”

May become hot when used in microwave

Did you know that things become hot when you put them in the microwave?

But wait, ceramic bowls get hotter than a plastic bowl! Maybe we need to let people know that heating up soup in the microwave with their new handmade pottery bowl may result in a really hot bowl.

It is true that some ceramic dishes get hotter than others… but this is not a factor of handmade pottery by any means. For instance, a friend of mine mentioned some dishes she got at Ikea that get hotter than her other dishes. She was okay without the warning. Her first instinct wasn’t to cuddle her dishes full of hot food that just came out of the microwave and is careful when she takes them out.

Sad part is, this is one I’m actually giving some consideration and thought to. Thanks, internet. I think you broke me.

Do not use directly on stovetop.

Apparently some people are confusing pottery with pots. I can see that. These two words use a lot of the same letters.

Yes, I know there are special pots out there that claim they can be safely used directly on the stove top, but this is a special feature. There are also glass pots and pans that can go on the stove, but we know not to put any other glass on the stovetop. In general, if it’s not metal, why would you assume it goes on your stove top?

How are there not more fires and dead people in general?

Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended…

…and it goes on to say how it’s safer to hand wash things.

Look, I don’t know how things work in your house, but I break more things hand washing. I honestly don’t feel comfortable judging if you’re someone like me, or someone like the people writing this care instruction. That’s right. I found this in multiple places.

Dishwasher means I pick it up and put it in the dishwasher. It stays in there safely washing and drying until I open the dishwasher, lift it, and put it away. I guess I could drop it putting it in the dishwasher or taking it out, but I don’t usually prewash stuff, so it’s not very slippery when I put it in. It’s dry when I take it out.

Hand wash means it soaks and clinks around with whatever else is in my sink being washed (don’t clink too much!). It gets picked up, soapy, and handled while slippery until it’s clean (don’t drop it). Then I rinse it (don’t drop it), inspect it to make sure it’s clean (don’t drop it), and put it on a towel or in a dish rack (don’t knock it off the counter).

It’s not just me either. I’ve had roommates break their share of pottery (and other stuff) handwashing. I haven’t had a single dishwasher casualty yet, and all of the pottery goes in there.

Someone even talked about things ‘clinking around’ in their dishwasher while it was running. Maybe it’s time you got a new dishwasher, or maybe you don’t load things right? If I put a cup in X spot in my dishwasher, it is in X spot when I open it. It’s not a clothes washer… If your dishwasher has a spin cycle, yes, I recommend hand washing.

Now, I do know some pottery is not suitable for the dishwasher and needs to be carefully hand washed, but then your care instructions should say “hand wash only”, and that’s it. If you think your pottery is going to ‘loose life and luster’ over time being washed in the dishwasher (whatever that means), maybe you should say ‘hand wash only’. More importantly though, let’s talk about how your pottery is alive. Personally, if I had sentient pottery, it’d be allowed in the bathtub and shower.

Note to self… Only use literal language when writing care instructions in case someone like me is reading them.

Honey, I’m Going To Kill You

The number one question I’ve been asked lately is, “How are you liking your new place?” or some variant of it. Really, what I am being asked is, “Are you ready to kill your boyfriend yet?” since I just moved in with him at the beginning of last month.

That question is understandable, since if you’ve spent any length of time with us, we might have slipped up and said to one another, “I am going to kill you,” while in your presence. If that is the case, let me explain.

I don’t know who started it, but it’s really an endearing expression of affection between us. If we start to drive each other nuts we say, “I’m going to kill you. No really. I. Am. Going to kill you.” Sometimes we accompany that with graphic details about how, when, and with what. Other times this will be punctuated with noises like “AAHHHRRGG!!”.

I’m sure that’s this is inappropriate. A couples counselor, if we saw one, would shake their head and put little notes in their pad. They may tisk and ask us, “How do you feel when she says she’s going to kill you?”

“With a super sheep,” I add helpfully.

“With a super sheep-”

“-from the game Worms,” I add to make sure she has the proper context.

“From the game Worms-”

“You know, that will probably just end up killing both of us, and maybe even the cat,” I muse out loud.

“…”

“I feel… frustrated,” admits the boyfriend, “It’s so easy to blow up yourself in Worms. The more fun the weapons, the easier it is to destroy yourself. It’s confusing. I don’t know if the point of the game is to actually win or just blow everything up. You know, either way I also feel like it’s kind of fun. So to answer your question, it feels frustrating, and confusing, but also fun.”

I squeeze his hand because I know exactly what he means, “We can play a different game if that makes you feel better, sweetie. We don’t have to play Worms.”

Our couples counselor, who we don’t actually have, scribbles down some more notes. I imagine it would have in all capital letters, with a lot of punctuation, a circle, and a underline. It is probably the word worms. I’m going to assume that is because she hasn’t played the game and is going to download it when she gets home, but I might be wrong.

On the bright side, neither of us ever make good on our threat. I feel like it makes me feel better to say it, and it makes me feel better to laugh in his face when he says it.

“I’m going to kill you.”

“Hee hee hee.”

“No really.”

“Aw, you’re so cute when you’re homicidal. Let me pinch your cheek!”

But really though, if he doesn’t clean whatever crap he spilled all over our stove I’m going to kill him. I don’t even know what it is. It’s yellow. What could he possibly been cooking that is yellow. It’s kind of gelatinous in some spots and crispy in others. So I asked him what in the name of names he spilled all over our stove that was freaking me out so much,

“Yeah. I don’t know what that is.”

“There’s a lot of it.”

“Yeah, hun. I don’t know.”

“You must have done it last night. But what is it?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t look like anything I cooked. I don’t remember spilling anything.”

When I lived by myself I was annoyed enough about cleaning up after a cat. Now I have a big hamster with opposable thumbs to look after too. No, he doesn’t chew the sides of his house or anything like that. I don’t know why I’m calling him a hamster exactly. I just wanted to call him a pet of some kind. Otherwise I’d have to call him a child, and I don’t need a child that’s almost thirty. Then again, I don’t need a really tall hamster either.

He’d say something like, well at least this hamster can cook (if he’d ever play along and call himself a hamster).

And well, I like his cooking. However, cooking is fun. Scraping a yellow entity off of our stove isn’t. If I cooked, this inter dimensional being now attached to our stove would never have been called into existence. I am very good at both cooking and not summoning disgusting other-worldly beings that adhere to kitchen appliances. I’m convinced that when the boyfriend cooks, he opens a series of portals, and instead of being useful portals that allow him to reach across the kitchen while still standing at the stove, they are portals to other planes of existence which allow things like whirlwinds from the Elemental Planes of Air to come swirling into the kitchen and take everything out of all the cabinets and scatter them all over the counters. Air Elementals are notoriously messy eaters and will also taste everything and leave tiny bits of it all over the floor, counters, and stove.

I don’t think the yellow thing on our stove was from the Elemental Planes. I think we need to look in H. P. Lovecraft books for this one folks. This worries me because I have enough to deal with without Cthulhu running around our apartment fighting with the already present Air Elementals.

Did I just hear the yellow thing on the stove mutter Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn? I swear I did.

I mean, if someone said, “Hey, I’ll do all the cleaning if you do the cooking,” I’d say yes too. That sounds amazing. I’d be the next Master Chef. I’d cook even when I didn’t want anything.

On a serious note, I’m not saying that the boyfriend is a slob who sits around who does nothing. He does a lot. I know not everything is going to be a 50/50 split. It’s impossible, and we shouldn’t be keeping score anyways. But if I clean everything else, I do want to be able to say, “Hey, I did everything else in the apartment- can you clean the kitchen floor please?” and have him say, “Of course! After you slayed that ochre jelly monster (turns out it was a Dungeons and Dragons monster, not Lovecraft) and saved me, I am eternally in your debt. It is the least I can do. Let me also make you a mojito.”

He does make me mojitos, but so far the asking for help has been met with mixed results. I understand that Skyrim has been enslaving a lot of the geek race recently. However, what about my video game needs? If I’m spending all this time slaying real life ochre jellies who want to be the next Master Chef, when do I get time to decompress and play the new officially released Minecraft?

I’m also not asking for the privilege of redoing tasks later. “You want your floor clean? Here. I dumped some water on it. The cat even helped me. You know how he loves to knock over his water bowl. Problem solved!”

Maybe my cat isn’t being a jerk. Maybe he is trying to help me clean the floor. He has no thumbs. That’s so sad. I just realized this whole time I’ve been yelling at my poor cat who has a no thumb disability but still insists on trying to help me with chores. I’m a terrible person. My cat is the Tiny Tim of cats.

I also don’t want to hear, “I got the worst of it” meaning that all the dirt was swept under the rugs. We don’t have rugs, but I’m just thinking of those cartoons where people sweep all the dirt under the rug. Don’t they realize that they’re putting as much effort into carefully sweeping under a rug as they would to sweep it into a dustpan and empty it into the trash? This is doubly bad since we don’t own rugs. Imaginary rugs don’t conceal dirt at all.

I’m not asking for perfection. Depending on who you ask, I am either a neat freak or a slob, so taking an average, I think I’m moderately reasonable about how I want the living space. The boyfriend, however, has a sight disorder when it comes to whether something is clean or not. He doesn’t notice. He cares and knows how to clean. He just doesn’t know how to tell when it’s time to clean. I can help here. Honey, it’s dirty. YOUR WELCOME. And if you don’t help me, I’m going to kill you.