HO– USEWORK (Dedicated to Our Valiant Female Ancestors)

Eve didn’t know how good she had it there in the Garden of Eden. She and Adam didn’t live in a house, so she never had to clean. They ate with their hands, so there were no dirty dishes. There was no laundry, either. That’s why they called it Paradise.

Things have not been the same since.

Because most men would rather not be caught alive or dead with a mop in hand, housework fell to the women. They knew if they didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. The men got to do all the fun things, like going hunting and fighting wars. If they didn’t get killed by a mastodon or the tribe across the river, they could run for Chief. The women were too busy having babies and cleaning up after everyone to have time for fun.

Fast forward to the year 2013. The people who manufacture cleaning products would like us to believe that the average woman looks like this when cleaning house:

I'd like some of whatever she's been smoking!

Most of us look more like this:

Unhappy Homemaker (2)

My grandmother earned the cliché compliment, “You can eat off her floors.” Unfortunately, I did not inherit the gene that causes a person to become dedicated to scrubbing things. If you try to eat off my floors, at best you will get a mouthful of cat hair and at worse you will come down with some terrible disease and die in great agony. Equally unfortunately, my apartment won’t get clean unless I either do it myself or pay someone else to do it.

So here I am, looking like the woman in the second picture, only a few decades older and a lot fatter. And I am trying to clean the bathroom.

Bathrooms are obviously designed by: (a) men; (b) sadists; or (c) both. To illustrate my point, have you ever tried to clean the floor behind a toilet, especially in a bathroom the size of a walk-in closet?

So I’ve taken the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and made the tub, the sink and the toilet look as white as they are ever going to look. I have squirted the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet and left it to do its work of murdering germs and making the whole bathroom smell like artificial pine perfume. The Swiffer Wet Jet has done a great job on most of the floor.

There’s just one problem. The f*&^ing Wet Jet mop won’t fit behind the toilet! I would gladly give up and just forget about that spot, but there is a three-month accumulation of dirt and gunk back there. I swear things are growing in it. If I don’t clean it up, that spot is going to grow until it takes over my apartment, then the world.

Two more bumpy swipes with the Swiffer convince me that the only way I am going to get at the mess is the old-fashioned way: with some Lysol, a big sponge and my own hands.

I can hear Grandma in the recesses of my mind, saying, “I told you so!”

A few minutes later, I have a big wet sponge in my hands and a bottle of Lysol. I kneel in front of the toilet, reach behind it, spray the muck with the Lysol and give it its first swipe with the wet sponge. A whole lot of dirt comes off on the sponge. Another whole lot of dirt stays on the floor.

The only place to clean the sponge off is the newly cleaned bathtub. I mutter half the curse words I know as I wash the sponge, filling the tub with new muck.

I repeat the procedure several times, until the floor behind the toilet has been scrubbed so hard it would have lost two layers of skin if it were a person. It looks pretty good, too.

Except there is one little dirty spot left, and I can’t reach it.

I kneel again, and this time I am hugging and almost kissing the toilet tank as I stretch my arm as far as it will stretch and give the dirty spot as violent a swipe as I can under the circumstances. I can’t see the spot because I am hugging the toilet tank, but I think I got it. I slowly pull my arm out, lean back and look.

I got about half of it. The other half is still there, making faces at me.

By this time, I don’t care. Let it laugh. Sticks and stones and all that. I’m finished hugging toilet tanks for the day.

I clean the tub again. Then I put every last bit of cleaning stuff where I won’t have to look at it or even know it exists – until the next time.

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6 thoughts on “HO– USEWORK (Dedicated to Our Valiant Female Ancestors)”

    1. LOL! I had dogs once, too. (May they rest in peace.) They make pretty good instant mops when you drop food on the floor!

  1. Jill Y and I do our equal share of the housework. This is not by choice mind you. If I don’t pull my weight, she makes me watch The Voice with her. As I said, we do our equal share of the housework!

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