October 23, 2010

Perfuming the pig...

Have you ever met a woman who from a distance struck you as perfectly lovely, gracefully draped in a seamlessly coordinated outfit and accessories, make-up and hair just-so, every aspect of her appearance intentionally selected, though she makes the whole look seem effortless?  But then as you get a closer look at her you notice that her outfit has a stain she’s trying to hide with a big scarf, her necklace is positioned to cover a hairy mole, her make-up is causing some crow’s feet more harm than good, and her salt and pepper roots are sneaking their way into that perfectly coiffed blonde up-do.  That woman, my friends, is all four of my bathrooms.  As an example, let’s take a look at our master bathroom, shall we?

Perhaps pretty from a distance, but upon closer inspection it will overwhelm the queasy among you.  Brace yourself...

I would love to tell you that this highly unpleasant close-up is the exception to the normal state of things here, but sadly it is more the rule.  I’m not a fastidious housekeeper.  Not even close.  But to be perfectly honest and blunt, I don’t care.  There are only so many hours in a day, and I don’t want to spend any of them with my face close to a toilet.  I clean the bathrooms in a triage approach, like a medic on a battlefield, rather than through preventive medicine.  (Judging from that close-up, we have a man down, severely wounded and in urgent need of care.)  Some women keep their bathrooms spotless with a cleaning schedule and routine, but I am not one of them.  I simply try to keep up by cleaning what’s dirty and germy when I have time, or when I absolutely have no other choice for the sake of my family’s health and well-being.  I do love to decorate though, so I have been known to avoid cleaning a bathroom by repainting it, hanging artwork, and placing knick knacks just-so, hoping it will inspire me to want to clean the room more frequently, and at the very least that it’ll all cover up some filth.  The inspired-to-clean thing has never been effective long-term, but for a time the makeover will distract the casual observer, preventing the sludge on the toilet from being the focal point.
This topic was a special request from a friend from high school, Marlene.  Her question was really about keeping several bathrooms clean while also keeping an eye on young children.  I’m afraid I have to confess that I don’t believe both can be done perfectly well at the same time.  So let me offer this brighter thought:  my children don’t have to wait for my attention, my help, their dinner, fun activities to start, or really anything else simply because I needed to get those bathrooms clean.  And since I consider myself their mother first and their maid something like 632nd, I’m good with that.  Children grow (as did mushrooms in our previous home’s bathroom – no, I’m not kidding) and there will be ample opportunity for cleaning later, when they are all taking care of their own children, listening to synopsis after synopsis of SpongeBob episodes or its future equivalent, putting band-aids on barely-there scrapes, answering questions about why the Lord made this-or-that a particular way, and so on.
Besides, by that time we won’t need four toilets!  My husband and I will be able to downsize to a little bungalow with one bathroom, and I’ll have plenty of time on my hands to repaint and redecorate it over and over, just to take your gaze away from the grime.


  1. You have freed my heart! It really helps me make it through the craziness hearing other people's reality. Thank you!

  2. Yikes, Truth in advertising. Couldn't you have told your fabulous readers that you do indeed have iron in your well water which adds just the right shade of brown rings in the toilet?

  3. My pleasure, Marlene! Though I must admit that seeing that toilet on a computer screen, knowing it's been exposed to the whole world, made me desperately want to clean it! And after only a day or two I finally did. The truth is, everybody has things like this to share with the world. Most of them are smarter than I am and keep it to themselves!

    And "Isobel" for those who don't know, is my sweet mom who wants to protect my reputation. Isn't she a great mom? (I wish those stains were just the iron!) Thanks, Mom!

  4. I instantly thought it was iron in your water!! (A similar sight I've seen at Camp.) How do you get that out?!