Are You In There?

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my decades as a wife and mother, it is that an uncanny number of questions and discussions require my immediate attention while I am in the bathroom.

I’ve never been one to spend much time primping–I often don’t even blow dry my hair–so the odds of these consultations having to take place through a bathroom door because they couldn’t wait five minutes are mind-boggling.   Odds be damned–the questions kept coming and I kept answering lest the earth tilt from its axis.

Homework questions, can I go out? questions, do you know where my navy socks are? questions,  are we out of milk? questions. . . . Like Clark Kent’s transformation when he entered a phone booth, I experienced a toilet transmogrification.  Crossing that threshold,  I instantly became Mrs. Wizard,  sought by all in search of the secrets of the universe.

If I had a quarter for every time I muttered,  “Just let me wipe and wash my hands. . . .

We should have installed a red phone like the one in the Oval Office.

Now that the children are grown and have their own families,  I like to think  a question, a tattle, or the sound of the dog puking is triggered somewhere within their house any time they close the bathroom door.

Now, however, in this house –with two and a half bathrooms and only two people and a neurotic dog in residence–I expected to at last experience blissful bubble baths with time for quiet contemplation, be it on the toilet or in the tub.

My expectations were waaaaay off the mark.

That closed bathroom door piques Dearly Beloved’s curiosity  (“Are you in there?”) and inspires in him a desire for conversation, second only to my leaving whatever room we happen to be in together.   (The sight of my departing back triggers an involuntary reaction in his throat and a question bubbles up like a root beer-driven burp.)

Out of sight, out of mind?

Apparently not.

Dearly Beloved is Mr. Neat and Tidy,  but not into cleaning– my diametric opposite.    My kitchen floor will be mopped, but the table is often covered with sewing machine or some craft project.   If someone needs to eat, there’s a perfectly good floor available for their dining pleasure.

Of our three children, it is our son who is neat, tidy,  AND a clean freak.   I hope his wife understands that it is not my fault.   He is coming to see us today, so logically I should have spent a day or two cleaning.

Logic is not one of my strengths.   The painters were here,  the distraction level was high, and I decided that the library table I bought seven or so years ago in Indianapolis had to be painted.   Instantly.  Not even simply painted,  but the top had to be faux painted to look like leather.

When I went into the laundry room to get some rags for the project, I opened a cabinet and saw a grout restorer I’d special ordered from a tile store several weeks ago and stashed there.  It was blinking USE ME TODAY!  USE ME TODAY! so in between the coats of browns, ochres, and tans I kept applying,  I worked on DB’s bathroom floor with the dingy grout which has stymied me as long as we’ve been here.

I scrubbed it, then applied this stuff with a small nylon brush, tile by tile.  It was fabulous!  Worked like a charm!  It’s not a small bathroom, but with my trusty bucket and mop, a stack of cleaning rags, and the little brush, I persevered.  The floor  had to be scrubbed and the restorer applied tile by tile.   The small inset tiles in the pattern were a special pain,  so  I was on my hands and knees for a long time,  but inspired by the results I was getting.   Amazing.

I had worked my way across the room to the tiles behind the bathroom door when DB stuck his head in.

“Are you still in here?


“I heard something on television while ago you might find interesting.  The Wall Street Journal just wrote about a survey which found that couples who lived in a neat, clean house enjoyed sex more and wanted it more often.”

Wonder why newspaper subscriptions are declining?  Mrs. Wizard has the answer.

Just knock on the bathroom door .


8 thoughts on “Are You In There?

  1. Sounds so familiar! I’m married to another “Mr. Neat and Tidy.” The instant I put down the newspaper he asks if I’m finished and carries it out to recycle. When he was working his closet looked like something from a magazine…all the white shirts together, then the blue, then the gray and the suits sorted as well. The shoes were neatly on a shoe rack. Every spring the winter suits were moved to the cedar closet and the summer suits lined up in his closet. All this neatness from the man who will walk right into the house tracking dirt on his shoes.

    I do so understand the kids and the bathroom thing. And not once in their lives did they EVER ask my husband a question while he was in the bathroom. Why is it always the mom?

  2. Sounds familiar to me to, except for the insane amount of stuff you just accomplished! My husband’s favorite time to talk to me is as I am gathering up my purse, keys in hand about to walk out the door. Every single time.

  3. Cute! Our youngest Granddaughter often shoves a book under the door while I’m in there saying “Gwamma you busy? You read me now?” I guess she figures I’m just sittin’ around! ha! Thanks for the chuckle.

  4. You are a talented writer Marylee! I almost forgot about all the “questions through the bathroom door” times! lol

    My pet peeve now is: “I Can’t Hear You When The Water Is Running!” Both of us say it! 🙂

  5. I love how you tell a “story!” My husband is also “tidy” but clean? No. A resounding NO. And I’m like you – a little clutter here and there does not bother me but a dirty kitchen or bath (or grout that need re-grouting!) sends shivers up my spine! And we still have kids at home – so depressing to hear when they move out I’ll still have to answer through a closed bathroom door!

  6. lol. Great post! one year at my annual exam/pap my ob asked me all the screening questions, like are you taking vitamins? are you getting enough rest? are you peeing with the door closed yet? To which, i yanked my head up from the table to look between my legs and said “Um, WHat?” . She told me that one of the greatest things I could teach my two girls is that moms, women in general, deserve to have some privacy and deserve to have the freedom to NOT BE ON CALL for minimally, the amount of time it takes to pee- with a door closed.

    She’s a good one that OB. I do not answer a question or solve any problems, sew on buttons or sign school forms while on the throne. It’s the little things, eh?

    : )
    -A. Woz.

  7. renovatingrita

    When Ms Piggy learns to open the door, as my pup does, you will have the complete package. My hubby and I do not understand why she wants in so badly only to turn her nose up and leave. I wish she would close the door when she leaves.

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