Monday, December 19, 2011

The Pee Goes IN The Toilet!

People who know me know that there are a lot of things I don’t do.

I don’t cook. I tried to cook when we got married 23 years ago and the things that were coming out of the kitchen were not even remotely edible. I can remember one dish (not what it was exactly) that I wouldn’t (couldn’t) even taste, it smelled so bad. I think we got pizza that night. Luckily, we discovered that Justin is very good at cooking and now I am more of a clean up the kitchen after dinner kind of gal. And I'm great at takeout - as long as Justin phones it in.

But…cleaning the kitchen is about as far as I go when it comes to cleaning. I do. not. like. to. clean. And cleaning really aggravates my fibromyalgia, which gives me a really good excuse reason not to clean my house myself. I convinced Justin that the best thing to do was to hire someone to come in every other week and do the “heavy cleaning,” meaning dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, and mopping the lower level of the house. This arrangement has worked out well. I have fewer fibro flares and the house gets cleaned a lot more regularly than it would be if I was in charge of it. I can put off cleaning a bathroom longer than Jamie can put off a geography project.

I confess to being a lousy cook and housekeeper. Yes, I am a stay at home mom and I am very involved in making sure my kids get to all medical, orthodontic, and dental appointments. I attend their parent-teacher meetings. I am in charge of the special education meetings and documents for Joey. I help with homework, I encourage children who are falling behind or not doing their work, I dole out punishment. I even do secretarial duty for Justin by making his appointments for him, balancing the checkbook, paying the bills, and running interference with telemarketers and Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I do not clean.

So every other Thursday, the woman we hired comes and does the work that I no longer want to can do. She dusts, vacuums, scrubs bathrooms, and mops floors. The house stays clean and smells good for about 12 hours, until the dog again starts shedding puppies all over the floor and the kids have hit the bathroom one time.

We have four bathrooms in our home. This was actually a consideration for me when we bought the house, because I did not want to clean four bathrooms. When I saw the size of the master bath with its soaking tub and separate shower stall, I believe I emitted a groan. Most people would be thrilled to have so many bathrooms. With three boys and a husband, four bathrooms should be a good thing, right?

And we have this wonderful person coming every other week who scrubs those bathrooms. So, what’s the problem?

When you walk up my stairs, the younger boys’ bathroom is at the top of them. And The Smell hits you about halfway up the stairs. There’s no mistaking it. It’s urine. I wonder how a 13 year old and a 15 year old can constantly miss the very large target of the inside of the toilet bowl. You hardly even have to aim, right? But apparently, at least one of these kids is missing the bowl. Is it really that hard to put the pee inside the toilet???? And…it’s not just pee. It’s also poop! (I'm really sorry for the visual; you can imagine how I felt.) How do you get poop on the outside of the toilet bowl and on the woodwork around the door? Do you put your contacts in before or after you use the toilet? This brings up all kinds of issues I don’t even want to think about.

Yesterday, I got sick of The Smell, thinking anyone who came into my house would think either (a) I am not changing the cat litter or (b) we allow our dog to pee indiscriminately around the house. Since neither of my cats is marking its territory and I know the dog would rather die than pee in the house, it has to be my kids. Especially since The Smell hits me going up the stairs. The dog is not allowed upstairs.

Where have I gone wrong? Apparently my potty training skills missed the mark. Literally.

I steeled myself with a bucket of warm water mixed with Oxy-Clean and a wire scrub brush, went into the bathroom, and turned on the lights. Are they serious???? I am embarrassed to have the cleaning lady come and see what is on that toilet. And she comes to clean! She doesn't bring a bio-hazard suit.

I set to work first wiping up as much of the mess as I could with some Lysol disposable cleaning cloths. Just ewwwww.

I then took the wire brush and scrubbed as hard as I could around the corners and the inside of the seat, wiped pee off the floor, and tried not to look at the dirty, urine (and…) stained water flowing from the brush into the bowl.

The more I scrubbed, the less white the seat got. But at least it appeared to be approaching clean. And then I realized that I had scrubbed the paint right off the seat. I couldn’t quite bring myself to give a toilet seat CPR, so we are probably going to be going to Lowe’s for a replacement shiny new seat that they will ruin within the first week of it being attached to the porcelain underneath.

I don’t ask much from my kids in the way of chores. They do their homework (occasionally), have weekly trash duty, help with cutting the grass (on occasion), shovel snow if forced, take the dog for walks, unload the dishwasher if they happen to be unlucky enough to open it right after it’s been run, and they are responsible for keeping their rooms neat. Every other week. Other than that, they play video games and raid our pantry and our wallets. Their lives are pretty sweet. The younger ones even get an allowance for these few chores. We are free rent, food, and an ATM all rolled into one.

Let’s face it. As a parent, I pretty much suck.

Every other Tuesday, I warn the entire family that the cleaning lady is coming on Thursday and they need to straighten their rooms. I remind them again on Wednesday. By Wednesday night, I am yelling. Last time, I peeked into Ben's room and saw something like this:


Okay, it wasn't quite this bad. But it's what I thought I was seeing.

I know college kids are messy. But, this college kid lives at home and is supposed to be putting his clean laundry in the dresser and picking up his books. He's 20 years old, for God's sake! At what point do I get to stop being the maid?

Two weeks ago, after a request that he straighten up his room so the cleaning lady could clean it (I don't pay her to pick up after you!) and having a result similar to what you see above, I went into Ben’s closet and cleaned out the lower portion just to spite him. (Because doing that for him clearly will make him understand why he should be picking up after himself). I came up with four pairs of shoes he’d outgrown (with shoe boxes), two quilts, a duffle bag I’ve been looking for for months, his high school diploma, an honor roll certificate (bent in half), a memoir he wrote for twelfth grade English class that I had never seen before, three pairs of never worn jeans, and a pair of work pants. And that was just on the floor of the closet. (There was more, but I wasn't taking inventory out of shock.)

On Thursday, when our wonderful cleaning lady rings the doorbell, Ben will pile everything that is on the floor onto his unmade bed so that she can dust and vacuum. He will leave all of his crap out on the counter in his bathroom for her to clean around and his wet towels on the floor for me to grab before she gets here.

I think I will “clean” out his desk next.

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