Happy Victoria Day + Thoughts on Pen Cleaning

It’s Victoria Day Monday here in Ontario, which is a holiday. Weekends and holidays and “normal days” are all sort of rolling into one.

It’s a real holiday here, though, because I got Caleb to clean out all my pens. My biggest thought about pen cleaning is that if you can find someone willing to do it for you, that person is very special and you should cherish them for it forever, even if the plan is for them to eventually grow up and move out of your house.

Otherwise, I guess you should do it yourself every once in a while.

I’m kidding. Caleb does a decent job, although he needs help disassembling converters. But actually I find it quite meditative to get through a pile of pens, flushing them out, watching the water come through clear and clean. It’s also a good opportunity to refill a few pens again, and there is nothing better than having freshly filled pens.

These days I find I’m writing more than normal (signing orders, journaling, making notes, scrawling illegibly) and I’ve been steadily working my way through the shop pens, discovering new inks, new nibs. I’d forgotten how well the Opus88 pens write, and I’ve been writing with extra fine nibs, a rare experience for me. It’s a nice thought, all the ink and words flowing out of my pens while we’re quarantined.

My only real tip on pen cleaning is, if you’re going to wait to clean them all out at once, to fill up your empty pens with water while they’re waiting for a full clean out. This prevents the residual ink from drying up in your feed, and speeds up the cleaning when you do get around to flushing them out. I guess this is only a tip for procrastinators, or people who let things pile up.

Otherwise, the old standby: the more you write with your pens, the more the ink will flow and the less you’ll need to clean them. The pen world version of use it or lose it.

After the pen cleaning, Caleb and Naomi cleaned the sink. It was more residual life than it was residual ink from the pens, but who’s keeping score.

They have a very specific hierarchy of responsibilities, as in all things the two of them do together. Caleb is in charge of the soap dispensing, given Naomi’s penchant for squeezing out entire bottles, causing small mountains of soap bubbles to come up both drains.

It’s funny to watch the two of them, Caleb shrieking “SCRUB! SCRUB! All the soap is going down the drain! You’re WASTING IT!” and Naomi going “I need more soap! MORE SOAP!” It’s very high energy operation.

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