There is nothing better for the procrastinating housekeeper than the anticipation of company coming to make her tackle those rooms left alone to defend themselves against the dust bunny population.
Dust bunnies are real, and frankly, I’m afraid of them. Maybe it was the whole growing up in a trailer thing that kept me in the dark about how real and frightening dust bunnies can be. I mean, 5 people living in a single-wide trailer doesn’t leave much room for the dust bunnies to gather strength and overpopulate the undersides of beds and closets left unused. There were no spaces left unused in our house. And my mom was a good housekeeper. And besides that, dust bunnies prefer old farmhouses with nooks and crannies and chinks in the walls to escape through when they might happen to be inadvertently discovered. You know, like when you’re not actually cleaning but happen to glance under the bed in search of the missing cell phone that disappeared in the hands of a 1 year old 3 hours ago, only to be absolutely horrified at the myriad of enormous out of control dust bunnies staring back at you, mocking you, daring you to get out the broom and dust pan.
Yeah, I don’t mess with them until it’s absolutely necessary, such as when the bed actually has to be moved to another room and there’s just no way you can put a new bed in there until the dust bunnies have been exterminated. Thankfully they’re not cute and I don’t have to deal with my kids screaming in my ear, “NOoooOO!” while I’m doing the awful duty.
But it wasn’t dust bunnies that I dealt with this week. Dust bunnies were last week when we switched around everyone’s bedrooms. This week it was the bathroom.
Ah yes, the bathroom. The place that needs deep cleaning every single day when you have toddlers potty training and little boys who have no concept of “aiming”. But, alas, it usually gets done – well, when I can’t stand it anymore. Sometimes once a week (yeah right), sometimes twice a month (well….), and sometimes once every six weeks or so. Of course, I do the basics more often – cleaning the toilet, wiping down the sink, sweeping the floor – I’m talking about the getting down on the hands and knees and scrubbing away the gunky build up from behind the toilet.
Yes, company coming dictates I do these things so that no one spontaneously throws up in said toilet the minute they walk in the room, or nervously tries to hide the shudder at the mention of the bathroom the entire time they’re staying at my house.
The best time to clean the bathroom is when the toddlers are in the tub. The girls are big enough to not need me hovering in a back-aching position over the edge of the tub, but not quite big enough to be left alone for long, so I toss them in the tub to soak and I clean the toilet while they play.
On Sunday I walked in, the girls just having gotten into the tub, set my big basket of heavy-duty cleaning supplies down on the floor and assessed the situation. *sigh*. It ALL needed to be done. And the very FIRST place I was going to start was with the old toilet seat. Ugly and cracking, it has been begging to be replaced for oh, a year or so now. I’ve even had the new seat ready to go for a few months, but dear hubby had not yet done it. Well, I can conquer this thing, I thought, and went to work.
5 minutes later I stopped trying to unscrew the corroded screws on the bottom of the seat because I finally realized they actually had nothing to do with holding the seat unit onto the toilet. Okay then. Blonde moment. Recovering quickly, I found the bolts that did the real job and jumped up to run out to the garage to grab a wrench. I grabbed open a drawer from the toolbox, selected a wrench that looked just about the right size, then thought to myself, I probably ought to grab one that’s a little bigger and one that’s a little smaller just to be sure. I shoved the drawer back into place and turned to run back to the house, but stopped myself just short of the door. I paused, looking down at the three wrenches in my hand.
“You know,” I said outloud to no one at all, “I seem to remember doing this before…”. I turned each wrench over in my hand to read the little printed numbers.
Let’s see… first one: 14 mm.
Okay, second one… 14 mm. okay, well, honest mistake.
Third one! …. 14…mm… great. Definitely turning into a blonde day.
Quickly went back, replaced two wrenches and picked up two more of actual different sizes and went back. Thankfully one of them actually fit the nut needing to be loosened up, and we were back in business. 3 hours later, the girls were complete prunes and I was still grunting under the edge of the toilet trying to pry them loose…
Okay, it wasn’t really that bad. I did have to wedge myself down between the toilet and tub to get a good angle on that nut, but that was really just cheap entertainment for the girls as my pony tail stuck over the side of the tub and they took turns dumping soapy water on it. When it was all done and the new seat on, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Look at the Pretty Toilet!!!” which my girls promptly echoed back to me and now you know why you may randomly hear them talk about pretty toilets.
I got the girls out of the bathtub after that, got them dressed and turned them loose in the living room. I went back in to my bathroom-cave and scrubbed the floors. It’s amazing what sort of things you find looking up from the angle of scrubbing the floor. Like how long was that toothpaste on the underside of the sink? And how did it get there? By the time I emerged the bathroom was sparkling from top to bottom, ready for guests. One job done and crossed off the list.
Meanwhile… the living room looked like a tornado hit it. I saw from the corner of my eye a two year old, armed and dangerous with two uncapped markers, ran across the room, tackled her and took her down accordingly before something got hurt.
Not that it really matters much. There isn’t a flat surface in this house that hasn’t been marked up, drawn on, or had random greasy/sticky/gross things smeared on. Our whole house is one big advertisement for why you should never rent a house to parents of small children. But I do try.