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?
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 .