Tuesday, March 2, 2010

let's trade chores

I love the smell of a clean house. I love vacuum tracks. I love seeing bare counters and surfaces free of fingerprints and smudges. I love everything in its place. I even rather enjoy the process it takes to get those things I love. Except.

I absolutely positively seriously passionately wholeheartedly detest loathe, even HATE, cleaning bathrooms.

I will do just about anything to avoid it. And, I must admit, I often do. I can change sheets, make beds, do four loads of laundry while baking bread, making yogurt, stirring feijoada,  and addressing promotionals for Joel, talk on the phone, help with homework, play games with kids, fix my washing machine, organize the garage, then reorganize the garage and clean my refrigerator/freezer inside and out, front and back (it's like they're Sloth from Goonies compared to your average dust bunnies). But get bathroom sinks, toilets and showers?

Maybe it's that it seems like the soap won't stop multiplying to the point that I just give up and get out a towel to wipe it all off the counter. Maybe it's that toilets are just gross (not helped by less-than-frequent scrubbings - I KNOW). I don't know what my problem is, but the entire time I'm cleaning, all I can think about is that there are a million things I'd rather be doing. Like pulling out my toenails.

When I was younger and Allison and I had to do Saturday morning chores, my mom always wanted our bathroom cleaned, bedroom dusted, and the house vacuumed. I could vacuum all morning and be totally ok with it. So I would approach Allison like this, "How about one person does all the vacuuming and takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom floor and cleans the sinks and the toilet, and the other person cleans the shower and does the dusting." I hated (and still do) dusting, too. And I the shower was my most detested bathroom fixture. Allison actually liked dusting (she'd claim) and so of course since the weight of the work was balanced in the opposite (and intended) direction of the vacuuming, she'd happily take the shower. I think we both walked away from that satisfied.

Except that there's nobody to bargain with here. Joel, actually, is awesome at the shower. Especially if I spray cleaner all over the shower floor and leave a sponge in there. I'm about as subtle as a punch in the face, no? (look, sometimes when I'm carrying laundry downstairs to fold, I can't handle all the baskets, so if I know Joel is tucking kids in I'll leave one basket in the middle of the hall where it blocks his way and he knows to bring it down. I've done this several times. Usually he is great at following through. Last week he came down empty-handed. "You didn't bring the basket?" I asked. "What basket?" "The one in the hall. That you probably stepped OVER to get past?" He claimed not to see a basket. "I put it in the middle." "Are you sure? I don't think so," he protested. I walked up the stairs to double check. My giggling brought him to observe. "How in the world did you get downstairs without stepping over that thing and maybe even tripping? Did you fly?" He maintained it was NOT there. Apparently I have magical laundry baskets. Too bad they just move around, don't actually produce folded clothes.)

And the kids...well, the kids have a knack for marrying the sponge with the soap and creating billions of baby bubbles and pretty soon I have an even bigger mess to clean up and in the meantime everyone requires a wardrobe change and now the bath rug is soaked and maybe I'm coughing now from the overwhelming cleaning smell.

Yesterday as I scrubbed gunk from the faucet caps (all or nothing here, and I'd chosen the nothing for too long), I fantasized about living in a neighborhood where everyone picks a job they would do for everyone. Like, I would be the vacuumer. Just make sure stuff is picked up off the floor and every Tuesday (hey, that's today!) I'll show up with my beloved Dyson and vacuum your house. And then every Thursday someone would show up and do my toilets. And every Monday someone would put my trash out. We can rotate jobs, in case someone else loves vacuuming! Look, I'm an equal opportunist! But everyone gets to pick one thing that they will never ever have to do.

I pick bathroom sinks.

What would YOU pick?


Angie said...

Sounds like Joel just need a couple more wives:)

Laura said...

Since the vacuuming is already taken, I'd have to pick dusting or dishes.
I have the same detest for bathrooms as you! BUT I have 4 boys so you can only imagine the condition of my bathrooms... just ask your sister Allison, she is my visiting teacher.
PS I do (at least) wipe down the guest bathroom before they come. BUT she had to go upstairs once to fetch Mabes and I am sure she was horrified but too polite to say anything.

Lisa said...

I'm with you--cleaning bathrooms is lame. I think it's the comination of 1) grossness, 2) many, many surfaces that need to be cleaned, and 3) when you sit on the couch and soak in your clean house, you don't actually SEE the bathroom. You only notice the bathroom when you're there to dirty it up. But a vacuumed house and clean kitchen? I get to enjoy those more. Those are my reasons.

I call no shower cleaning. I'll dust.

Jo said...

I think your Mom was onto something. Make the kids do it! I am very sympathetic to the detestation of bathroom cleaning. So I have enlisted help. Using (probably wastefully) a big box of chlorox wipes, my 7 year old cleans the sink, the counter, the toilet seat and outside of the toilet, and the floor. He also empties the trash and the diaper pail. This leaves only the toilet bowl and the shower for the grown-ups; a much more manageable situation, in my opinion.

Nataluscious said...

Sarah, we need to be next door neighbors. Because I absolutely positively seriously passionately wholeheartedly detest loathe, even HATE, vacuuming. (and mopping and sweeping for that matter)

I'll dust till the cows come home and as long as I've got on rubber gloves I'm more than happy to do tubs, sinks and toilets (I really don't enjoy the shower, but that's Bryan's job too).

So - how do we make this arrangement? Damn the travel time!

laura said...

Well, you know I'm up for kitchen-cleaning and dish-washing (especially if you're doing the cooking).

Allison said...

First of all, I did the sinks AND shower/tub. It wasn't that unbalanced. And I didn't mind it at the time, the tub was like one big sink. For some reason, sweeping the bathroom floor gives me the heebie jeebies.

I pretty much hate everything about bathrooms now, except the mirrors. I could clean mirrors all day. Maybe because I love the smell of windex. That's probably not a good thing.

I'll go ahead and take bathroom sinks. But not the toilets or floor. And I still like dusting. Ooooh, and I'll do baseboards! Maybe not a weekly job, but I love dusting baseboards.

Oh, and if you want to make the kids do it, have them clean with vinegar. While I don't love the smell (though Dave, oddly, does--it reminds him of barbeque), it's a natural disinfectant and you don't have to worry about them ingesting it. And no bubbly mess. I "let" Mabes mop with it and she thinks it's fun, and she does a pretty good job. It can be messy, though. I should have her try to clean her bathroom...

wanda said...

I think Becca always got the toilets. Being the youngest and all...