Let me begin by saying that I am not a germophobe. Maybe mildly but it is a very selective form of germ phobia that has rules that seem to lack rules, or at least rules that need to be followed or make sense. Hell this is my germ phobia dammit so I can make and break the rules all I want. For example I have no problem eating something that fell on the ground as long as the ground is sanitary to whatever standard I have set at the time. This is also dependent on the deliciousness of said food that may have fallen. Skittles – Yes, brussel sprouts – NO! Also how sticky was the food that dropped or the floor it landed on? There is never a time where peanut butter toast face down should be consumed after landing anywhere because that is just wrong!
When my daughter was born people would look at me in horror when my dog would lick her face or when she tried to drink out of his water dish (so cute). Seriously folks he is a dog but he is my family. People who spit on napkins then wipe their child’s face on the other hand disgust me. You might find this odd but if you really think about it we have all kinds of super gross bacteria in our mouths and you just used it as a cleaning agent on another human? Most bacteria is species specific so there is very little chance my child will contract harmful bacteria from my dog but whatever is in your mouth could kill her. Ok, maybe not kill her but if you have a cold she will catch it now. In order for kids to build up immunity they really can benefit from a few mud pies and dog kisses.
Generally speaking I avoid busy public places due to the large concentrations of people and the possibility of running into someone I know. Social anxiety mixed with cleanliness and mild claustrophobia equals online shopping!!! I work in eCommerce, socialize via the net and also do whatever shopping possible without leaving my computer. It has been years since I have purchased underwear in an actual store and only 1 out of ever 10 items I own required getting out of bed. Some of my best purchases were made through an app while sleeping. Nothing like getting those surprise emails that my order has shipped when I have no recollection of what I ordered … oh cute shoes!! I wasn’t always this way though as I did work in a mall for a short time. It wasn’t until I was 21 and diagnosed with mononucleosis that the germophobia hit me. When I asked my doctor where the heck I picked it up she said “the mall” and that ended it for me. I now wear gloves or long sleeves to open doors whenever possible. I do still love to shop sometimes but have to be in just the right mood to tolerate it.
Public washrooms make my skin crawl but are a necessity so I won’t even get into that topic. I have always hated a dirty bathroom. It is a place where we go to get clean and has drains to wash the dirt away yet for most people it is the dirtiest room in the house. My past house had 3 bathrooms that were generally very clean, despite having been married to a man who couldn’t brush his teeth without covering every surface with toothpaste spray. Now I only have to deal with my daughters inability to rinse the sink and that is a minor issue with only one bathroom. The slight chaos of the unfinished bathroom in my basement apartment drives me a little crazy but it isn’t worth the investment to complete a room in a house that isn’t mine.
So what does this have to do with me cleaning other people’s bathrooms? Post separation I had a 2 year friendship with the worlds messiest bathroom people. When I first started spending alternate weekends at their house they had employed a cleaning lady. One week she just stopped showing up and they never heard from the company again. I suspect now why that is … they are slobs!!!! This couple lived in a very large house in a very expensive neighbourhood. Two people with 4 bathrooms so one might expect at least one of those would be clean but no. It started when I noticed dried soap in the powder-room sink that was still there a month later.
I was staying there biweekendly (yay I made a new word) so there was lots of time to inspect their house. They had a huge master bathroom with double sinks, 9 foot long counter, corner tub, separate tile shower with glass door but it looked like it could have been part of a frat house! The wife had more hair in the drains and on the counter than was on her head, hair brushes full of it too. He must have shaved every inch of his body daily because there were razor clippings on every surface with the majority at his sink. The clippers were always out and a pile of hair underneath them. Between the two of them they had every special moisturizer, hair, wax, soap, paste and gimmick product on the market completely covering every inch of that sticky counter. The cupboards were dangerous to open and the toilet, yuck! The shower didn’t hardly drain and they spent tons of money dumping chemicals down it that didn’t help. Lets just say if cleanliness is next to godliness, God did NOT use that bathroom!
They seemed like nice people (more on that later) and both worked long hours. I assumed this was simply a result of not enough time and I decided to do my good deed by cleaning their shit up, literally. Every surface was disinfected, every bottle was cleaned, taps polished, floors washed, tub scoured, toilet set on fire and prayed over! Then I moved onto the shower drain … not only hair but the thing was completely blocked with mineral deposits. The drain took me a solid 2 hours to chisel clean with a screwdriver and hammer but when it was done the thing ran perfect and looked brand-new. I bleached the shower and honestly it was some of my proudest work. I find cleaning bathrooms therapeutic and this one was by far the biggest before and after breakthrough ever!! When they came home my friend was shocked, grateful and slightly embarrassed. His wife seemed pissed off that I made it nice so I am guessing she liked it messy … or hated me … turns out probably both.
Since I was staying there so often, cleaning the bathrooms became my entertainment. 4 bathrooms and they were all equally dirty. While house sitting one weekend I took all of their sink drains apart as all of them were slow and discovered all kinds of strange things growing in them. Sometimes I even took pictures and sent them to my sister just to gross her out. I brought my own cleaning supplies and did it out of the kindness of my heart. Also they wouldn’t let me clean the kitchen which was more of an salmonella factory and I’m surprised I never died from food poisoning. Eventually I started to get annoyed at their inability to keep any of the bathrooms clean and I started only using and cleaning the bathroom in their basement. As time progressed our friendship went to shit and took a flush down the drain , honestly it was a huge relief LOL. Watch for a future post that I might title “I untrashed your house now leave me alone”.
I was always one to polish taps in every bathroom I used but it is hard to stop at just the taps and people wonder when you spend too long in their bathrooms. When I visit my sister her bathtub gets a good scrub and the counters get a wipe. Overall her’s really isn’t much of a challenge but the stuff on the counter drove me to the point of installing shelves for her decorative items to be stored and freeing up space. Now she is moving far far away so I am losing her bathroom as a source of therapy.
The bathroom at work I shared for 14 years with my male coworker. He is awesome and our bathroom was absolutely spotless. Recently my boss decided we needed “Men’s” and “Women’s” washrooms. Now I share the bathroom with the only other girl at work and it is not great. She is a nice person and I really like her but why the hell can’t some people rinse the soap away!!! I don’t totally understand how it gets so dirty. I want my old bathroom partner back 😦
Just when I thought I would have to go back to my therapist to talk about alternative outlets for gratification, I met a clean man. He might be … no he totally IS the most amazing man ever. Not only is he incredibly tall, handsome and kind, he has an impeccably clean bathroom and doesn’t complain when I take it from “clean” to “sparkly” … or when I speak. Seriously no excessive bathroom potions covering every surface. He keeps his shampoo in the cupboard when not using it! Some might even call him too clean but it is so awesome because there is hardly anything to move when I come over and decide to scrub down the bathtub for fun. Just the right amount of chrome for me to polish and mirror to shine. Sigh, it is almost as lovely as he is. He seems to have accepted me, my bottle of Vim and my rubber gloves 🙂 I have made future plans to remove the hard-water minerals from the shower head and can hardly contain my excitement. No I am not kidding, I don’t joke about shower cleaning joy.
It has been suggested that I should tap into my love of cleaning and maybe offer my services for financial gain. Sort of pimp out my bathroom cleaning abilities if you may. This could be a good idea and solid business venture that will require further research. I also like to wash floors, kitchens, dust, walk dogs etc but I draw the line at laundry unless I really really really like you (I do my sisters laundry). If by chance they find a cure for social anxiety and I come to visit you, know that when I leave your bathroom will be cleaner than when I got there 🙂