Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shedding Some Light On My Perfectionism

Working in a living history museum where modern conveniences like light switches and flashlights are non existent, we must go the period appropriate throw-back route and use things like oil lamps and candles. For portability we put candles in lanterns kinda like the one in the picture, only not with  big honkin' pillar candles as shown. We use and abuse these candle lanterns, especially during the Christmas season program called Lantern Tours.  They end up absolutely covered in wax and soot, the glass sides are broken, etc.  It's quite the hot mess.

Anyway, a charity group is renting our establishment this weekend for an event and they requested to use some of our lanterns, i.e. someone needs to clean them beforehand.  That someone would be me...

Day 1 of cleaning lanterns I did have help, a co-worker took the job of cleaning the metal frames themselves by scraping the melted wax off the bottom with a putty knife then giving them a bath in industrial strength degreaser to remove the soot residue.  We might have gotten a little high off the fumes.  I set to task getting the wax off the glass panes themselves.  To do this I modified a little trick I learned years ago to get wax out of clothing: Pick off any big hunks of wax, then place a paper bag over what remains and iron the spot.  The wax will instantly melt and absorb into the bag.  Ta da!  For the lantern glass I didn't have paper bags so I just found an old thin cloth rag and laid that over the panes, ironed, and ta da again, clean glass!

Day 2 of lantern cleaning was me alone scrubbing more frames. More getting high. At the end of this day, there were 21 totally clean lanterns ready for the event.  My boss said that should be enough, and I breathed a sigh of relief thinking I was done.

Yesterday was Day 3.  My boss texted me around noon and said that the co-worker in charge the rental had just informed her that the renters wanted a total of 50 lanterns for their event.  50.  5-0.  As in, more than double what I had already finished.  Oh boy.  I drove on down there and got back to work, but this time I knew I wouldn't be able to be as thorough as we had been before.  Working alone I had time to de-wax, but not to de-soot.  By the end of the day I had chipped the wax off the 29 additional lantern frames, but still had to go in today to de-wax the glass.

Day 4- (Today) I de-waxed the glass and was able to leave with 50 completed lanterns ready for use this weekend.  The only thorn in my side was that the final 29 never got de-sooted (is that a word?)  In my mind I had a mini-fail because I couldn't get them as clean as they could be (and the first batch was) due to the time constraints I was under.

Later this afternoon my boss texted me again, and part of our convo went like this (she is white and I am green):

Apparently even my boss knows I'm a FlyLady Flunky/perfectionist at heart...


Anonymous,  September 23, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

I'm proud to have a Flylady perfectionist on my staff!

Historical Ken September 24, 2010 at 11:26 PM  

I could use you here for my lamps and lanterns - - do you hire out as a domestic? (LOL)
Great post!!

Anonymous,  October 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

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Historical Ken November 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

Hey! Congratulations on your cover and feature in the latest Citizens' Companion!!
I had the last issue, and you have this one - - how cool!