Sometimes when I begin a blog I have to add a few words of warning before proceeding and so let me do so now.
Warning number one: This blog may embarrass my mother. Yes I know I am a grown woman, and have been grown for many more years than I chose to remember, however I am still completely capable of shaming my poor mother, who did in fact try very hard to teach me all the womanly homemaking skills to which she so excels and to which I so expel.
Warning number two: This is a crazy busy summer. I’m in the process of working on three books all of which are in the mid or final phases of writing, editing and all of which have interested third parties who are harassing me on a daily basis for final results. The kids are home which means more of everything except quiet writing time. I had to stay up till one three nights in a row to finish a baby quilt I’d agreed to make for a good friend’s, son’s eagle project. And thought I am trying to change my lifelong image (see warning above) I am not a Hannah Homemaker.
The downstairs bathroom has always been the safe house of toilets when it came to entertaining guests with over filled bladders, and noses in need of wiping. When someone would ask to use the facilities we would point them toward the stairs with the words, “Down and to the left. It’s really the safest one in the house.”
The reason this bathroom was so designated was first, because only my youngest daughter uses it, and secondly, without brothers to mess it up, she usually keeps it pretty clean.
So about a week ago this same daughter woke me up at four thirty in the morning to tell me that she had lost-her-cookies all over her bedroom floor and into the bathroom. Now when both she and I were much younger I might have dragged myself out of bed, cleaned up the stinky mess and tucked her into bed. But those days are long over.
“I’m sorry sweety,” I mumbled. “Just clean it up and go back to bed.” Then I fell asleep and forgot about the whole incident.
It wasn’t until the following afternoon when the older kids began to complain of a strange odor emanating from the downstairs hall that I recalled my daughter’s sickness from the night before. (Did I mention the memory thing going as I get older?) So I tracked down said child, who was watching chick flicks on her DVD player, and suggested she might want to clean up the bathroom.
She too remembers the days of her childhood when her job was to spew and my job was to mop up, and she isn’t too happy about the change in responsibility. But after some moaning and complaining and a really dirty look, she finally agreed to handle the problem.
I returned to my writing, assuming the issue was taken care of. (Remember note above about memory loss).
Again, she is the only child who uses the bathroom, and I rarely descent into the darker regions of the basement, so it was probably two or three days later when I sent a friend down to use that bathroom.
Fortunately, this was a very good friend, and when she returned with a strange look on her face, she was quick to explain the dilemma.
“Have you been into that bathroom recently?” she asked.
“Uh…. Noooo,” I responded hesitantly. “Why?”
She grimaced, widened eyes and drew her eyebrows up to her hairline. “You might just want to.”
Of course, I headed down there immediately and opened the door with more than a little trepidation.
The floor, normally a white and blue speckled linoleum now had tiny specks of black mixed in. Ants. Dead ants, covered the floor. Hundreds of them, maybe more. It was like those places you hear about in Africa where elephants go to die. My lower bathroom was the doorway to the great ant beyond.
However, looking closer, I discovered what had been the cause of so many insect’s untimely death. Apparently someone (and I won’t name any names here) in an effort to clean up a mess of already digested food, had poured bubble bath all over the floor.
To this day I don’t know what the logic was behind this. Maybe she was hoping to let it soak and then come back and mop it up. Maybe it spilled during the cleaning process and she thought if she spread it around it would just dry and harden like wax. Who knows.
But what it turned out to be was a monumental ant trap. Apparently every black ant in the neighborhood got word of a strawberry scented floor, conveniently located in the basement of a nearby house, and headed over to join in the fun. Little knowing that this room of delight would turn out to be a sticky mess from which they would never come out alive.
I sighed deeply as is best when confronting a humiliating situation, then turned to my friend.
“You might have better luck with the restroom at the Mobile gas station down the street.”