Time to scrub the shower, tidy up that room

Sharon Kennedy

Every time I step out of the shower I promise myself I’ll clean it, and the second I pull the shower curtain closed, I forget about it. It’s not memory loss or old age that makes me forget. It’s because I don’t want to clean the shower. It’s a difficult, boring, monotonous task. Difficult because I have to stand in the tub and squirt some miracle cleaner on the surround and hope the spray doesn’t bounce off the plastic and land in my eyes. It’s boring because nobody wants to scrap soap scum off the surround. And it’s monotonous because it’s repetitive.

You know what I mean. You don’t want to clean your shower or tub either. It’s bad enough we have to give the toilet bowl a quick once over every day and run a rag around the bathroom sink. We don’t have a choice where these two porcelain fixtures are concerned, but the tub? Who cares? It’s hidden behind a clean shower curtain.

Fifty years ago I took a dislike to the tub and embraced the shower. The idea of stepping into a vessel of warm water filled with thousands of floating pink bubbles would have been most welcome when I was two, but we didn’t have a bathtub, we had a washtub. I missed the opportunity to splash around like a rainbow trout. Naturally, I didn’t know I was missing anything. If you’ve ever been plunked in a granite washtub, you know perfectly well nobody’s going to bother with bubbles. You’re in for a quick scrub, then out so the next kid can get in.

Since I left the farm, I’ve probably relaxed in a tub a dozen times, no more. It’s nice until the water cools and the bubbles pop. I’ve never gotten the hang of “relaxing” or “unwinding” after a day of hard labor. That flaw is genetic. Mom’s idea of relaxing was patching overalls while she waited for the bread to raise and the kitchen floor to dry so she could wax it. When I was a kid, the only time I saw her sit still for 30 minutes was once a week when the Don Messer show was on television. Even then she jumped up during commercials and straightened a rug, threw a log in the stove, or reminded Dad of all the chores that needed doing the next day.

When they moved into this trailer, Mom kept everything immaculate. My standards are not as high as hers, but they’re good enough. She used to say her floors were so clean you could eat off them. I wondered who would want to eat off a floor. Dad agreed the floors were spotless, but he gently pointed out the cupboards were so full opening one might lead to a fatal blow from a can of soup or a wayward peanut butter jar.

My opinion regarding housework is it’s a thankless, endless task. Every woman knows it’s impossible to keep a house ready for company unless some of the rooms are roped off with thick purple cords resembling those found in museums. And who’s going to live like that? Nobody, that’s who, not even an old maid like me. Well, I’m not really an old maid, but you know what I mean. Since Little T went to kitty heaven two years ago, it’s just me inhabiting this trailer, but is it ready for unexpected company? No way.

It’s like this. I’m a neat fanatic, but when you have more stuff than you have room, you’re in trouble. I used to live in a seven room farmhouse, the one my grandfather built. Not even a magician could take that many rooms, each full of furniture, and squeeze them into a tiny two-bedroom mobile home. It’s an impossible task. So how does a neat freak keep her crowded rooms looking pristine? She doesn’t.

The other day I wanted to find a story I wrote a long time ago. I knew it was in my desk drawer, but I dreaded the thought of getting to it. In order to pull out the drawer, I had to move numerous 3-ring binders, my printer and scanner and the small table that holds them, and a dozen other items crammed against the drawer. Once everything was out of the way, I had no problem finding the file. The story is a pretty good one about what happened one day when my relatives were deer hunting. I’ll use parts of it for something I’m writing for the monthly magazine, the Mackinac Journal.

My desk drawer is full of stories so I want your advice. Should I leave the mess I created in the middle of the room or should I put things back where they were? That means each time I want to read an old story I have to move everything out of the way again. Is it worth the bother? What would you do?

Oh, never mind. I already know the answer. You would do exactly what I’ll do because, like me, you also struggle to keep your house neat. By the time you read this, everything will be in its rightful place and my work area will be tidy. Now, if only I had the same zeal to scrub my shower, this place would be spotless. Maybe.

Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past. She can be reached via email at sharonkennedy1947@gmail.com. In addition, Sharon has compiled a collection of stories from her various newspaper columns. The title of her book is “Life in a Tin Can.” Copies are available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.