Today I was in the shower, minding my own damn business, when I noticed something.
A....spot? A piece of something. A piece of something stuck to the wall, there. Right on the tile.
Hm. I bent closer. It was low, a few inches above my knee over in the corner. As I got closer and peered through the shower spray, I realized that there was another.......something. Stuck there. On the tile.
And then, a little higher. Another spot. What was that? I reached out (even though every fiber of my being was screaming "DO NOT DO THIS") and gingerly touched one of these......things.
And then, my hand shot back. I knew what this was.
Someone had stuck buggers on the shower wall. Someone had gotten into a nice hot steamy shower and began to relax in the warm water and then, one thing led to another and THEY STUCK THEIR FINGER IN THEIR NOSE, PULLED OUT A BUGGER AND STUCK IT ON THE WALL.
I gagged. I washed my hand. I scrubbed my hand with body scrub. I climbed out of the shower soaking wet and went over to the laundry closet and pulled out the bathroom cleaner and got down n my knees and scrubbed the wall of the shower like I was trying to clean my SOUL. Like, my life depended on getting that shit off of that tile and making sure that it was well and truly gone. Like if I scrubbed hard enough I might scrub the memory from my brain.
This is not the first time I have found snot in inappropriate places. It damn well better be the last.
So as I squatted there with the shower beating down on my back, scrubbing frantically at the tiles and muttering under my breath, I began to think of other disgusting habits that I want to make sure I break my children of before they leave my direct supervision and go off into this great big world as an example of my parenting.
1. Snot goes in a tissue. Or a hankie if that's your thing (but it is definitely not mine *shudder*). Or some other appropriate place. Not your clothing, the wall, the floor, or any other damn spot you find convenient. You blow your nose into something, and then you get rid of it. You do not display it for all the world to see. And while we're at it, feel free to excuse yourself and go blow your nose in private. I don't need to listen to you clear your sinuses, thanks.
2. The toilet seat is always left in the closed position. This is imperative. I work in an office that has a communal half bathroom right off the reception room. There is no stall, it is just a toilet and sink. All day long, people use that bathroom. It is located not 5 feet from where I sit and work all day. And yet they see absolutely nothing wrong with leaving the seat up, the light (and exhaust fan) on, and maybe even a paper towel on the floor. I find myself compulsively turning off the light and closing the door, but I just cannot bring myself to lower the toilet seat. A lady shouldn't have to do such things. It is unbecoming. And it should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: wash your hands every time you use the bathroom.
3. Brush your teeth before you leave the house. Please. For the love of god. It's not just the stinky breath. (Although the stinky breath is really gross.) It's the fact that having dirty teeth - just the very concept of having scummy, unbrushed teeth, is absolutely disgusting. Sometimes I can SEE the stuff on people's teeth. I'm not talking about "Hey, you got a piece of spinach stuck there". I"m talking about YOUR TEETH ARE DIRTY GO BRUSH THEM. And when you're done? RINSE THE SINK. I am tired of seeing the bright blue smears of toothpaste every time I wash my hands. Which is every time I use the bathroom, by the way.
4. Clear your dirty dishes from the table. Unless you plan on leaving me a tip - cash only - I expect you to bring your dishes to the sink or where ever you are directed to leave them. Every time. Same goes for eating in a public space like a food court where they provide you with a tray to carry your food to the table. If you eat a meal, if you have a snack, if you drink a glass of WATER you had best clear your place and return the empty plate/bowl/glass/container/tray to the appropriate place. And the silverware too. And your napkin.
You don't use a napkin?
Were you raised by wolves? USE A NAPKIN.
5. Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Eventually we will move on to do your own damn laundry, but frankly their father hasn't quite gotten that one down yet and has ruined so many of my clothes that he is now terrified to operate the washing machine. He certainly never puts anything in the dryer anymore. And it's better that he doesn't, because after replacing a few cashmere sweaters we decided it was a very expensive way to "help". But if there is one thing I cannot stand, it is finding a pair of damp, dirty, balled up socks on the floor just inside the back door. Or next to the couch. Or in my car. Or the pair of pajama pants on the floor outside of the shower. Or in a heap on the floor in front of the toilet. Both of which are mere feet away from the hamper. And while you're in there? Wash your hands.
6. Take care of your sheets and towels. While we are on the subject of laundry, there is a spirited debate about how often one needs to wash sheets and towels. When they smell? When they are visibly dirty? When they have lost that fresh feeling? Weekly? Monthly? Daily? When you have company coming? This topic is important to me. Important as a woman who has broken up with men because of their dirty sheets.
There are ground rules. Always having clean sheets and towels for company is obvious. Washing your sheets and towels regularly is imperative whether you have company or not. Haven't you seen the investigative news shows with the blacklight in the motel room? That shit gets nasty. Wash it. My mom used to strip the beds and wash the sheets every Sunday. Including the mattress pad. It was a nice little ritual to start the week with fresh sheets and towels. And between washes, your damp towel should be hung (preferably across a towel bar) so that it can dry thoroughly. Otherwise, bacteria will flourish and you will basically get dirty all over again (possibly dirtier than before you showered) as soon as you towel off. Living in the tropics, we wash towels frequently. Maybe not every time we use them, but frequently.
Even more important than washing your OWN sheets and towels, is washing the ones you use at someone else's house. When staying in someone's home, offer to strip the bed and collect all of your towels and other linens, and ask your host if you may wash them before you go. It's just the nice thing to do - after all you are a guest in their home. If they don't have a washer and dryer, all the more reason to make the offer - bring them to the laundromat down the block and drop them off - paying for the wash yourself of course.
I think that if my kids can master these basic concepts, they will move through life without embarrassing me completely. There is more, of course. Much more. These are just a half-dozen things I have realized (some more recently than others) are important.
Because it is important not to be gross.
9 minutes ago