I have a fettish for cleaning products. Nearly every visit to the grocery store, I stroll down the household aisle, admiring the Scrubbing Bubbles that promise to "work hard so I don't have to." Next year I think I am going to ask for Valu-Pak of Lysol Disinfecting wipes in my stocking. And I am dying to try that triangle shaped swiffer mop that's supposed to clean the hard-to-reach corners of your bathroom. I do, on occasion, splurge on a luxury cleaning item, but for the most part, I use old rags and generic bleach to do my housework. In all likelihood, my methods probably clean just as thoroughly as the fancy cleaning gimmicks, but I sometimes try to pass off the mediocre cleanliness which prevails in my home on the fact that I don't have the right potions and time-saving gadgets necessary to really disinfect this place.
I also have a little known habit of logging on to Oprah.com most mornings to see what the day's show is going to feature. This Thursday's episode was one that I really wanted to catch, but Henry and I were out of the house for the afternoon, so I tuned in to the 8:00 rebroadcast. Nate was pretty thoroughly annoyed with the whole proposition because I impatiently rushed us through scripture reading so I could catch the show, but somehow I coaxed him into sitting and watching it with me. The episode was centered around the question, "How often should you..." and Oprah and her germ-specialist-guest were addressing issues like, how often to replace pillows, wash your sheets, switch out your kitchen rag/sponge, etc. Nate and I were both slightly grossed out when we saw the magnified findings of the kitchen sink swab from one, seemingly tidy, lady's home. But we were completely aghast at the magnified dust samples taken from her pillows which revealed millions of dust mites feasting on sloughed epithelial cells. I can say honestly that I didn't have any ulterior motives for having Nate watch the show with me--I just wanted to spend time together, but I couldn't have been more pleased with the effect the program had on him. In the very instant the TV went off, the vacuum went on and Nate proceeded to vacuum every square foot of our house. He also disinfected Henry's high chair tray and scrupulously scrubbed the kitchen sink. He finally seems open to, even encouraging of replacing our pancake pillows. And I have a hunch that if I walked through the door with an armful of those pricey disinfecting wipes tomorrow, I wouldn't be met with even so much as a raised eyebrow of disapproval. I felt a strange sense of satisfaction that night when we got into bed and wasn't the only one itching. (If you'll recall a few chronicles back,) I knew we had bedbugs! Turns out we just can't see them! The fact that we are so unsanitary that we do in fact have mites is, admittedly, a childish thing to feel vindicated about, nonetheless, I do feel relieved to know that my nocturnal itching and suspicions about bed bugs weren't just phantasmas of my imagination. Nate and I have always been tidy, but we have successfully been scared into being more sanitary.
Though the house is cleaner than it's ever been, we've let a few things slip into the depths of dirtiness. My mouth, for example, was dirtier than it's been for a long time the other night during our budget pow-wow. And Nate's wasn't so spic and span on the stressful Saturday afternoon that we picked up the piano. Oops!
Well, in an effort to leave you on a positive note, let me briefly highlight the brighter spots of our week. We love, love, loved having Richard, Kristen and baby Sofia Beaton come to visit on Monday. The playpen where Sofia slept is still set up in our spare room, and every time we go in there, Henry looks in and asks, "Baby Sofia go?" Our only regret about their visit, is that they couldn't stay longer. Henry and I had a fascinating outing to the pet store on Wednesday. We saw two potbelly pigs (those were my favorites), lots of colorful fish and frogs, and Henry got to "hold" a baby bunny. He also learned how to count to ten this week! Well, I don't know when or where he learned to do it, but this was the week he decided to show us that could. It surprised me at the park, as we were walking up the steps to the slide, to hear him start counting. I was impressed, but was sure he'd stop at three. To my great astonishment and maternal delight he went all the way to ten, only missing five and six. I love to hear him count; I ask him to do it several times a day and sometimes I call our friends and relatives and try to make him do it over the phone. I'm sure he (and they) are getting sick of it, but sometimes I just get swept up in the foolishness of a mother's pride. He usually gets stuck on "Fee and Fow." The sequence sounds something like this, "Un, Dow, Fee, Fow, Fee, Fow...Fee, Fow...Ten!"