AllClean Softwash - October 2019

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Why I Love Horror Movies Happy to Be Scared

When I think of Halloween, I think of horror movies. Don’t get me wrong; I get excited about every aspect of the holiday, but horror is a genre I unabashedly love. I watch horror movies and read scary novels all year-round, but even more so in the fall when everyone’s in a spooky state of mind. I can’t even tell you when my fascination with horror began. It goes back to my earliest days. When I was a kid, my favorite movie wasn’t “E.T.” or “The Goonies.” Instead, it was the 1979 cult horror classic “Phantasm.” How I ended up being introduced to this decidedly adult movie as a child is a mystery lost to the sands of time, but whatever the case, I loved this movie. You probably know a child who’s watched “Toy Story” or “Moana” enough times to have it seared into their brain. I was that way with “Phantasm,” with the Tall Man serving as my Buzz Lightyear. Once, we even ran into Angus Scrimm, the actor who played the Tall Man, at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. He was very surprised to meet a fan so young. From “Phantasm” grew a love of horror movies, a passion I shared with my dad that persists to this day. If that gives you a sense of just how much of a nut I am for this stuff, it will come as no surprise that I’ve spent years trying to get our daughter, Justine, to join in the family tradition. For most of those years, she resisted. She was just too scared to enjoy them. But eventually, as if possessed by an ever-growing force you’d find in a horror movie itself, Justine became curious about giving horror another shot. Maybe it’s the popularity of horror-adjacent shows like

“Stranger Things,” but horror seems to be having a bit of a moment right now. Aside from massive superhero flicks and Disney movies, horror movies seem to be one of the only constants in the theaters these days. Larger cultural trends aside, Justine’s first foray into serious horror came in the form of this year’s “Pet Sematary.” (Why on earth did Stephen King decide to spell it that way?) To be honest, I thought the movie was a bit of a dud, nothing compared to the book or previous adaptation. More important than that specific movie, though, was the fact that Justine made it through and seemed to enjoy it. If she thought “Pet Sematary” was cool, I reckoned, she’d be blown away when I showed her the really good stuff. My first pick was “The Shining.” Can’t go wrong with a classic, right? It was a huge hit, frightening and delighting Justine in equal measure. Since then, we’ve been making our way through the horror canon, exploring different subgenres and having a hell of a good time. Horror movies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m glad they’ll be something I can share with my dad and daughter for many years to come. How do you celebrate Halloween? Are you into the tricks, the treats, the scares, the costumes, or all of the above? What scares you? If it happens to be cleaning your gutters or washing your windows, I happen to know a bunch of great folks who can take care of that.

–Jennifer Ricca

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Pumpkin Screams 5 Tips for Longer-Lasting Jack-O’-Lanterns

Jack-o’-lanterns are an iconic part of the Halloween aesthetic, but they can quickly backfire. If you carve your pumpkins too early, you may end up with a moldy mess on Halloween. The first rule of jack- o’-lanterns is to wait as long as possible before you start carving. Here are some other tips to help you achieve the perfect jack-o’- lantern this year. FIND THE PERFECT PUMPKIN. A great jack-o’-lantern starts in the pumpkin patch — or in the grocery store if you’re short on time. Look for a fresh pumpkin with a sturdy, green stem, no bruises, and a flat bottom so it’s stable when you’re carving. Size and shape aren’t important, so long as the pumpkin sparks your creativity. Just make sure you don’t accidentally bring home a small sugar pie pumpkin, which will be harder to carve. WASH YOUR PUMPKIN. Before you start carving, mix 1 tsp of chlorine bleach with 4 liters of water and wash your pumpkin to help prevent mold. Be sure to wear gloves! CUT FROM THE BACK. Cutting the top of the pumpkin is traditional, but it removes the stem, which helps keep the pumpkin fresh. It also threatens the Meet Taylor Jamison The Southerner in Our Midst

structural integrity of the pumpkin. Cutting from the bottom is not good, either, because all the liquid inside the pumpkin will ooze out. For the best results, carefully cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin. APPLY PETROLEUM JELLY. After you’ve scooped out all the “pumpkin guts” and carved your masterpiece, apply a little petroleum jelly to the cuts. This will help seal in moisture. The Farmers’ Almanac also recommends spraying your pumpkin with anti-humidity hairspray to lock in freshness. GO ELECTRIC. Using a real candle heats up the inside of the pumpkin, causing it to decompose faster. An LED tealight with a flickering effect will create that classic spooky jack-o’-lantern look and keep the pumpkin cool. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any trick-or-treaters getting burned if they accidentally trip over your pumpkin.

These tips are to help your jack-o’-lantern last longer. When it comes to designs, feel free to let your imagination run

wild! The best jack-o’-lantern is one you’re proud to show off on Halloween.

Taylor Jamison joined All-Clean! SoftWash as an assistant SoftWash technician in November 2018. In addition to being a relatively new member of our team, he’s also new to the area. Hailing from Louisiana, Taylor’s excited to be a resident of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, one of Taylor’s favorite parts about his job is that it allows him to explore his surroundings in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

In addition to the people, Taylor is especially enjoying the lushness of the flora in Oregon and Washington. “You don’t see a ton of green down in Louisiana,” he says with a laugh, “so being able to spend my days outside in this beautiful environment is something I don’t take for granted.” Being surrounded by beautiful nature inspires Taylor and the rest of our team to make sure the homes of our clients look just as gorgeous. Given his enthusiasm for the natural wonder of the region, it comes as no surprise that Taylor spends much of his time outside of work exploring all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. “I’ve been going to the lakes, kayaking, and hiking,” he says. “Last winter, when I was getting settled, I missed the snowboarding season, but I promise that won’t happen this year.”

“Working at All-Clean! is the best introduction to the region I could’ve ever asked for,” Taylor says. “Every day, I have the chance to see a new area, different types of properties, different types of landscapes, you name it. I also have the chance to meet all sorts of wonderful people. I know the South is known for its hospitality, but I’ve found the people here to be as friendly and welcoming as any I’ve ever met.”

Thank you, Taylor, for all you do at All-Clean! You’re a valued member of our team and a welcome addition to our little corner of the globe.



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What’s Lurking in Your Gutters?

The Craziest Items We’ve Found

CRITTERS It’s not just plants that get comfortable in your gutters. When they’re lined with a covering, gutters make excellent shelter for all types of animals. Rodents like mice and squirrels can thrive in an unkempt gutter. Once there, it’s only a matter of time before they find a way to burrow into your home. And if you think of those little guys as merely cute inconveniences, consider that gutters are also the ideal shape for a snake to slither through. TOYS Like school rooftops and the space between couch cushions, gutters are a magnet for toys and balls. Unlike in Hollywood, those toys probably aren’t in danger of coming to life and getting revenge on the children who’ve left them to rot, but they still don’t belong up there. A HIDDEN STASH What a child discovers, an adolescent takes advantage of. If that toy lasted years in the gutter without being discovered, it might make a good hiding place for other items.

In horror movies, monsters tend to hide under the bed, in the woods, or anywhere large numbers of promiscuous teens congregate. When it comes to our homes, though, dangers tend to lurk in smaller environments. Basements and attics get the most focus, but your gutters can also be hiding some seriously scary stuff. In addition to leaves and debris, here are a few of the wildest things that may be hiding in your home’s drain pipes. LIVE PLANTS Dead leaves are a telltale sign it’s time to clean your gutters, but if you ignore that sign long enough, you may end up with some living flora among them. Because they are wet and full of what is essentially compost, gutters can become a great breeding ground for plant life. Over time, these plants can grow so strong and heavy that the gutters themselves give way.

Want us to find out what’s hiding in your gutters? Call All-Clean! today at 503-ALL-CLEAN (503-255-2532) to schedule a cleaning.

How to Assemble a Veggie Skeleton


Those who eat paleo may struggle to find a Halloween treat suitable to their diet. But no matter what your dietary restrictions are, everyone can enjoy some raw veggies with a healthy dip. Here are some tips for constructing your very own veggie skeleton — a spooky twist on a time-tested treat.

FOR THE HEAD Your favorite paleo-friendly dip makes a great canvas for a face. Pour it into a bowl and build features on top using different veggies. FOR THE RIBCAGE Sliced cucumbers make for great vertebrae, and bell pepper slivers can be used to simulate ribs. Alternate between the two to give your skeleton some backbone. FOR THE ARMS AND LEGS Any long and straight vegetable will do the trick here. If you want to be anatomically accurate, consider using some spherical vegetables for joints.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and wacky with your veggie skeleton. The whole point, after all, is to have some fun and give people a reason to smile.

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THE REAL LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW PAGE 4 Hayrides and Headless Horsemen Halloween Celebrations in Sleepy Hollow

In 1790, a school teacher named Ichabod Crane was riding home alone from a harvest festival in the village of Sleepy Hollow when he encountered a mysterious rider on horseback. Crane, horrified by the horseman’s missing head, turned and ran in the opposite direction. The Headless Horseman gave chase, hurling his own decapitated head at the terrified teacher. Ichabod Crane was never heard from again ... or so goes “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. This story, first published in 1820, has become a Halloween favorite. The legend is so beloved that in 1997, the village of North Tarrytown, New York, where many events of the story take place, officially changed its name to Sleepy Hollow. Today, the town becomes one big Halloween party during the month of October. Sleepy Hollow is home to many historic landmarks, including the Headless Horseman Bridge and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Washington Irving himself was laid to rest. Evening lantern tours of the cemetery are a popular attraction, and Irving isn’t the only spooky celebrity buried there. Fans of the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” will be delighted to enter the crypt of famed vampire Barnabas Collins.

the faint of heart. During the event, the 300-year-old Philipsburg Manor is transformed into a living nightmare, where vampires, witches, ghouls, and undead soldiers lurk in the shadows. They all serve the dreaded Headless Horseman and are determined to make sure guests don’t leave alive!

But it’s not all scares in Sleepy Hollow. There’s plenty of Halloween fun for all ages. Sleepy Hollow boasts relaxing hayrides, tours

of Irving’s home, live readings of famous Halloween stories, performances of a brand-new musical based on Irving’s spooky tale, and the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, an incredible exhibition of over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins. If you want a real Halloween experience, you can’t go wrong in Sleepy Hollow. Just be careful not to lose your head!

Another highly anticipated stop for many guests is Sleepy Hollow’s premier annual attraction, Horseman’s Hollow, an experience not for



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