Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Elbow Grease

Those of you who have visited my home have no doubt noticed that our bathrooms don't typically exude that "We Were Expecting You" feel, even if we were, in fact, expecting you. We knew you were coming, but still, it wasn't enough of a nudge to clean the damn bathrooms.

First of all, I apologize. I love a clean bathroom as much as the next person, but for some reason I just don't get enthused about cleaning my own, and there are a million other things to keep clean: dishes, diapers and duds immediately come to mind. What's more, a bathroom in my house stays clean for about forty-five seconds (just like the litter boxes). Maybe there's a bat-signal I don't know about: Clean bathroom! Clean bathroom! So although it makes no sense, there's little encouragement. At least I can admire my clean sink until the next meal.

Well, back to the bathrooms. Did you notice the toilets were not as sparkly as they should be? That they even had stains in the bowls? Why am I asking? Of course you noticed. Who hops onto a toilet without looking in the bowl? No flies on you. The toilets were atrocious.

Well not anymore, I smugly report. I whipped them into shape. So come on over, 'cause they're clean as new and we all know they won't stay that way for long. I'm not going to include a snapshot, because you know what a clean toilet bowl looks like. You haven't seen one in my house, so all the more reason to stop by. Have a drink. Visit the powder room.

But my post, though brimming with satisfaction, is not simply about Mission Accomplished. It's the means, my friend, not the ends. "Scale remover" topped my grocery lists for the past month because I was too miserly to spring and exorbitant eight bucks for a bottle of mystery chem. I absolutely hate spending money on something like that, potent but undrinkable. Gawd. If I'm going to get a bottle of whoopass, it's bleach. Bleach is bleach. Cheap, mean, and gets the job done. End of story. It's my version of having a gun in the house.

So no scale remover. Just me versus the toilet. I did use some bleach, let it sit, let it think about the possibilities. Not much help. Then, scrubbing away with my yellow gloves and scrubby sponge, I began to think of other tactics. What is this stuff like? It's the question I ask when I don't have the right word, or tool, or technique. It should have been so obvious, perhaps: removing toilet scale is like getting my teeth cleaned. Scrape scrape scrape. So I grabbed a small flathead screwdriver and got to work, carefully chipping away. It worked like a charm. Pretty nifty.

Now I'm thinking of all those other chemicals people use in their home, and I wonder how we'd all make do without them. We'd probably have stronger, well-greased elbows—and minds too.

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