Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ode to Cleaning

Warning:  If you enjoy meticulous house cleaning practices - Do Not Read This Post!!  It will cause you great alarm and might even make you lose sleep due to its graphic descriptions!  On second thought, if you are like my Kristin (a cleaning whirlwind) read on.  It will probably serve to delight you with your own abilities by comparison!

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

(If you're reading from another country or culture, please ignore that opening!)

I'm aware that I should probably write a lovely post about gratitude and counting our blessings and choosing to be thankful.  Hopefully, you're already doing all of these as part of preparing for the Christmas season.   But that's not today's topic.

Today I would like to confess to you that I hate cleaning my bathroom!

There.  I said it.  Plain and simple.  I've always hated cleaning my bathroom.

I've worked multiple jobs that required me to clean the bathrooms of others.  A restaurant bathroom.  And even a public bathroom once.  (Cleaning the church bathroom occasionally is just part of being in church leadership.) Those tasks never really bothered me.

But cleaning my own bathroom takes the determination of a Himalayan mountain climber!  You've set out to conquer this monster and conquer it you will!

Now, some of you may be envisioning a large en suite sporting double sinks, a garden tub and perhaps even a bedette.  Nope.

The bathroom I'm referencing is rather small by American standards.  One sink, one toilet, one stand-up shower.  More like the English-style water closet.  Not much square footage at all.  And it took me an hour and a half to clean it today!

During those ninety minutes of grueling effort, I made a few discoveries.  (If you are squeamish, please remember that I tried to warn you!)

Bathroom Discoveries:

1.  The counter is two shades lighter than I thought.  It only appeared that dark because of the thick layers of hair spray accumulated there.

2.  The grout in my shower is white, not gray.

3.  The shower door does NOT have a decorative, cloudy effect as I had supposed.

4.  The rubber stripping is light gray, not dark gray.  And when you use a cloth to wipe away that much mold, the cloth is rendered useless and must be thrown into the trash.

5.  The "shadow" under my bathroom cabinet was actually a pair of dust bunnies hopping around joyfully anytime the door opened or closed.

6.  My toilet has multiple nooks and crannies that can only be conquered by a cleaner's willingness to assume the "hugging" position.

7.  Hairspray also compromises the cleanliness of the wall and floor tiles directly opposite the mirror.  "Swiping" with a clean cloth isn't sufficient - scraping is necessary for its removal.

8.  Speaking of hair.......  I kept finding and kept finding and kept finding strands of my dark brown locks.  So much hair that I'm sure it would have qualified for a small wig!  I couldn't see the gray hairs but I could sense them mocking me as they lurked just beyond the brown ones.

9.  The shower stall is a place I only ever "see" without appropriate eye wear.  Who wears glasses or contact lenses in the shower?  Not me!  (Refer back to point 2.)

10.  It's a miracle that spontaneous combustion had not already taken place due to the excessive amounts of dust clinging to the coverings of my light bulbs.

Because some of you are empathetic, you're thinking, "Oh, Sheri!  It couldn't have been that bad."  It was worse!

A couple of readers are shaking their heads in total disbelief.  Believe it, my friend!

Some of you (who love to clean) are just aching for an opportunity to come teach me the finer art of "staying ahead" of the project.  Won't work!

I've read countless articles and books.  Compiled extensive check lists. Even created a "cleaning box" filled with 3X5 cards that rotated projects monthly in an effort to keep the uninspired cleaner interested.  Lost the box!

The only consolation of the day is this - the bathroom should hopefully stay clean long enough for my dad and his wife to come for a visit this week.  And that causes a deep sigh of contentment.

Of course, I gleaned several object lessons while working on my project today.

1.  Proper evaluation takes place only when we see the situation clearly!  I look at my shower and counters multiple times each day.  But without the help of my glasses, everything appeared just fine to me.  We all need the help of an objective friend from time to time.  Or a clear look through the perspective of Scripture occasionally.  Those who think they need no help are probably a couple of shades from true.

2.  No one likes exposing their faults!  I would much rather tell you I learned these lessons while gardening or while caring for my practically perfect grandchildren.  Having to admit that I don't clean my bathroom as often as I should is humbling; embarrassing.  I don't mind admitting that I even feel a little vulnerable.  But if honestly admitting my faults encourages someone else to get up and try again, then it's worth my discomfort.  Others relate more easily to our failures than to our successes. 

3.  After we "address our issues" there comes a wonderful flood of peace and contentment.  I always waste energy dreading the day that my bathroom must be attacked with scrub brush and cleansers.  But once tackled, it seldom ever is as difficult as I imagined.  And when the task is finished, I feel such relief and accomplishment. Mary Poppins says, "The job begun is half done!"  Is there a task that you've been dreading?  May I encourage you to get to it?!  Clean that clutter.  Make that phone call.  Offer that forgiveness.  Then sit back and wait for the flood of contentment that surely follows.

Well, I have a Christmas tree lying in my living room floor.  Ornament boxes litter every open space.  And a half dozen nativity scenes need unpacking.

With company due to arrive tomorrow, I'd better get to it!  Whew!  Sure glad I've already cleaned the bathroom!




  1. agree with you 100% - it was my job as a child and still my job even as my mom's caretaker and all through my life. I always said I was going to have a maid if just to clean the bathrooms - HA! Blessings to all of you Becky in NC

    1. I truly LOVE your suggestion of a cleaning person! Let me know when you find the ONE who enjoys bathrooms! :-)

  2. Sure am glad I'm not alone in my extreme dislike of bathroom cleaning and not doing it as often as I should! Love your practical insights/life lessons. :-)

    Deb Mantik

    1. Glad our hearts are connected in practical ways too! LOL

  3. I have two tiny bathrooms as well, and usually don't clean either until they are slightly worse than the bathrooms at your average truck stop or gas station. **hides in shame**

    1. Melissa, Your comment made me laugh out loud! Thanks!

  4. Yup. I recently discovered that it is absolutely imperative that I clean with my glasses ON as well as getting much closer to the object, floor, etc. I, too, found surprises in my bathroom when I did so. Oh my goodness.

    Cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite job of all and I don't do it nearly as often as I should. I'm glad to see that I am not alone. :)

    1. Oh My Goodness is Right! And no, you're certainly not alone! :-)

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