Cleaning the Bathroom

I hate to clean the bathroom. I don’t mean that in a cute, prissy, girlie way. I mean that in the most sincere, shudder-as-I-do-it way. Trying not to breath as I scrub down the toilet. Wearing gloves and washing my hands, changing my gloves more than once.

I’m a freak.

I love a clean bathroom. I could tell you all the businesses in Madison that have bathrooms you want to rest your bottom in, and all the places that you should hovercraft OR avoid, for fear of losing your cheeks. It might be considered an obsession or phobia. I don’t really care, honestly. It’s me and I can’t seem to change it. I’ve (literally) lived in fear of the possibility of peeing my pants after entering a bathroom, finding the facilities not up to par. Wetness on the seat, crud around the base, dampness in front of the toilet… I’m having a hard time typing it because the visuals come to mind. Not to mention the sink – if it looks like my hands will get dirtier by using the sink – oh no. No thank you.

My obsession knows no boundaries — public or private bathrooms, must be clean.

Yes, give me a cool, shiny bathroom (warmth and humidity exacerbates any unsightly, uncleanliness in a bathroom, in my opinion) with sparkling throne, clean scent, wash basin and towels… ah. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Perfectly clean and sanitized is a bonus, but absence of P & P (figure it out), clean smell, clean throne and floor, sink… I can do it. I had a friend who would scour her bathroom before I came over, concerned it would not be “good enough” for me. I didn’t know I was that transparent.

At home, for the longest time, Frank would clean the bathroom, bless his heart. I was either pregnant or nursing, or cleaning other things. But, honestly he didn’t do a job up to par with what I like. Some days I wouldn’t want to use my own bathroom. Yeah. It was like that. So I started doing it myself again. I’ll tell you, do it often, and it isn’t so bad, but let it go and pay the price. We ended up getting yellowish scum under the rim of the toilet and around the prongs on the seat, which gave me heebie jeebies. I think it smelled, too. “Frank, do you smell that? The toilet? No? I can smell it. It’s disgusting.”

I clean the bathroom about once every other day, wiping down the base, giving the inside a good once-over, and Swiffer-ing the floor. Even though I’d clean the bathroom, though, there was this nagging sense (and scent), saying something wasn’t right.

It was the stuck on yellow scum on the inside of the toilet, I was sure of it. Five man boys using a toilet over an extended period of time, and you’ve got ring-around-the-toilet. No matter how hard I scrubbed, how much I cursed, or how many drop-in toilet bombs I lit off, it remained. Until this – taking a pumice stone to the toilet.

One day while cleaning the bathroom, close to blacking out from the realization of it all, it dawned on my brain to try a pumice stone. I had either heard, read or seen it referenced somewhere as THE best way to clean toilet scum, filed it in the messy cabinets of my brain, and without knowing it, sent a page to retrieve it that day. Good boy.

Pumice stone, pumice stone? Where can I find a pumice stone? Like a headless chicken I circled and clucked, asking my brain page to help me out once again… All I had was the old stone I’d used on my feet a few times, but it would do. I gloved up, grabbed some baking soda (figured a paste of soda would help?) and got to scrubbing. By golly. The sight of flaky, crusted peediddle, and the stench of it’s wonder being released into the air was enough to let me know it was working. I scrubbed and scrubbed that stone down to a little nub, cleanliness as motivation. I likened it to a diaper explosion where you KNOW you have to clean it, vile as it is, but once you’re done you’ll be very pleased.

And I was. It was as if I had received a brand new toilet. The smell is gone, the unsightly piss ring is gone, and now when I clean my toilet you see sparkling porcelain and smell clean air.

Back to School

My 5th graders went back to school today. I can’t quite believe it. FIFTH grade?! How did that happen so fast? Praise God, my son that was hit by the car is able to go, walking fine, no crutches, cast, splint – nothing. Last week he was given the go-ahead to be free. He has 1 month to still lay low, and then he can do as he pleases. I still can’t believe it.

The last time I saw him with a backpack on was five months ago, when the ambulance crew was contemplating if they should cut it off of him. I was frustrated, listening to such a trivial decision being made. It’s been quite a long haul, and though we’re not quite at the end of it, I can see a clearing in the woods for him. Today is a small triumph. He was nervous but excited, and maybe a bit sad, since he still can’t do gym or play soccer at recess. But he can go to school, he can walk the stairs.

This week will be a challenge. I’m back to work 100% now, for the first time since the accident. I never really stopped working, but did go down to 10 hours a week, then bumped up to 20 with “flexible days” and now will start back regular hours, regular times. With all the struggles of the last year, this too, feels like a challenge in itself. Just as I gain time with the kids going back to school, I lose time by getting back to work. Go figure. Heh.