June 22, 2006

E-Coli Runs Rampant

As I was cleaning the master bathroom the other day I thought about my ex-sister-in-law. I always think about her when I clean the bathroom – any bathroom. Not when I’m using the bathroom, just cleaning it.

It’s a really long story; suffice it to say when my brother announced that he was getting married I so sexistly thought, “maybe now that he’ll have a woman in the house the dishes will get washed once in a while, the bed will get made once in a while, the carpets and rugs will be vacuumed once in a while.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. Serves me right for assuming all women are compelled to keep house and most men aren't. In fact, one of the reasons my brother fell in love with this woman was because she didn’t put a lot of value in the “superficial practice of presenting a home for the approval of others.” More simply put, she didn’t care that he was a slob because she was one too.

The women in my family are plagued with a specific gene which generates the need to present a neat house. We know there are good feelings that come from keeping a house – nesting, per se. We value our homes and want to make them comfortable for our families. We keep things clean to keep the rodents and bugs outside where they belong. We incorporate cleaning, laundry, and cooking into our weekly routine. It’s just as natural as breathing.

However, my brother’s wife came from a completely different type of family. They didn’t put a lot of stock in the value of, say, a stove that doesn’t have five years worth of grease baked onto its surface.

One day the ladies (me, my mother, my sister, and my then-sister-in-law) were talking about housekeeping, for some weird reason or another. I think we were trying to subversively turn my brother’s wife into someone who could take pride in her home; in other words, make her into someone she wasn’t and never would be. Anyway, we were talking about the parts of cleaning we liked least. My then-sister-in-law said she hates to clean the bathroom, which nevertheless, she manages to do on a quarterly basis.

Then came something out of her mouth I simply couldn’t believe. She told us that she cleans that little area of floor behind the toilet with … the toilet brush! Not a toilet brush used solely for the purpose of reaching behind the toilet, the toilet brush, the same one used for scrubbing my brother’s disgusting skid marks out of the bowl itself! I thought we “clean” girls would just die, while my then-sister-in-law looked at us wondering why we were dry-heaving. Needless to say after hearing her confession I never used their bathroom unless it was absofuckinglutely necessary.

So now, every week when I’m cleaning a bathroom, scouring the tub, polishing the chrome, and wiping down counters and mirrors, I think of my ex (thank God)-sister-in-law and wonder if she’s still flicking that poopy toilet brush all over her bathroom floor. Oh my God. Oh my effing God.

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