Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Grit's choice

Dig takes the kids out for the day. Well, OK, the afternoon, because first he makes a few telephone calls for work and then I make a picnic lunch for everyone, and then he can actually depart.

Now what can I choose to do with my afternoon off? Do I skip into town, splash out on a new perfume, sparkle with a new lipstick, or even try a new hat because hey! I might be a person who could wear a hat! We never know until we try! A new hat might just point me in the direction of being a new person! Or maybe I will wake up tomorrow with my new hat and look like Audrey Hepburn because where there is a new hat there is new hope, right?

Of course I do not choose those things. Perhaps because there is no hope. Or perhaps I am a woman in despair. In despair mostly, at the state of the bathroom. So I eject Dig and the kids from the house because Something Must Be Done.

The bathroom we are referring to here is the kid bathroom. It was not always the kid bathroom. Once it was MY bathroom and I painted the walls white, and hung white and gold stuff everywhere and when I was in that beautiful palace of a stylish bathroom I felt like a Princess who had just eaten the last Turkish Delight and got her fat tummy tickled by a perfect prince.

And then three toddlers arrived from nowhere and overthrew me. No-one was interested in taking returns or even offered to come and collect them. They were here to stay. And to bypass the screaming and squealing at bathtime, Mummy Grit, over three evenings, went downstairs, probably in despair, and painted stuff like this all over the walls, ceilings, tiles and doors of my beautiful white bathroom.

Apart from Mr Tiger getting whitewashed three years ago when Shark said he was going to eat her, they have remained more or less there, on all the bathroom walls, tiles and ceiling, long after we have outgrown them, staring and grinning at us, just like that.

The problems started straightaway. And my first problem was one that I did not forsee. Because in this egalitarian household of ours, we could not then say to our child No you must not paint on the walls. We could not say Well I know mamma painted on the walls. But hers looks like art and yours bloody looks like scribble, so YOU cannot paint on the walls but I CAN. And so, to the extended arm to metre height of a toddler there is a huge lot of daubing in paint, crayon and pencil, and we have put up with this because this is the KID bathroom, and this is one of the by products of EGALITARIAN HOME ED.

I would like to say the kids are the worst culprit. But there is problem number two.

Several years ago we had a constant drip drip drip in the office bathroom which adjoins the kid bathroom; a steady seep of water trickled through and soaked off most of the plaster to knee height. For several years Dig declared 'This is nothing to do with me'. Right, matey. Just as well you did not use that line when three screaming kids arrived because if you did, you would be standing there right now without fingernails.

Now my third problem is a consequence of all this kid and water damage. Which is unfortunate, because no one can reasonably use this bathroom without first being chemically sedated, or having a bag forced over their head so they cannot see the mess, and then pushed into the bathroom and told By the way, there is problem number three. The toilet does not work.

I cannot remember now why the toilet does not work. It just does not. Ask Dig.

If this was not bad enough, there is problem number four.

In pursuit of knowledge and a well rounded education, the bath, sink, shelves and toilet top have been a main place of science experiment for the last eight years. Here we have exploded fizz bombs, made sludge, painted Blutina's hooves green, tried volcanoes, boats, ice hands and put soil and oil down the toilet.* Consequently, there is quite a bit of collateral damage from industrial strength paint and chemical product.

If only the problems could all stop there. The green forest background now hides mould, spider webs and darkens the entire room so it looks like a mildewed cave in a woodland. Confused, a blackbird flew in here the other day and when it finally escaped, was so drenched in mould and cobwebs it looked like Miss Haversham straight out the Amazon.

Well I can take no more. I have to clean up. First because this bathroom is going to be ripped out and replaced, and I cannot bear to have the workmen actually see the bathroom in the state it's in, and second, because we may have a visitor passing through The Pile and I am thinking Ohmygod what if she wants to use the bathroom?

So I arrange for Dig to remove the Gritlets so they cannot see what I am about to do to their Gritlet sty which is attack it with a large can of whitewash and other cleaning essentials.

After three hours scrubbing, whitewashing and weeping, I am recalling Mr Pooter painting his bath red. He clearly used the wrong type of paint. I have to remove the top millimetre layer of the entire surface to get our bath clean. And after an hour, the top of the non-working toilet still looks like this:

And this, sadly, is how I choose to spend my free afternoon. Or forced to, by necessity and despair. Scrubbing a toilet top, washing down mould, pulling off plaster and whitewashing walls.

I bet Audrey Hepburn never did the like.

* Without parental consent.


Expatmum said...

Hmm .... that is rather sad - the bit about you tarting up the bathroom before the workmen come in to DEMOLISH it. That beats cleaning up for the cleaner!

Kelly Jene said...

Wow. I admire your drive. I hope there isn't a mutiny when the artists return home!

the mother of this lot said...

That nail varnish on the toilet seat's a bugger to get off. Take my (experienced) word for it.

Dori said...

I. Feel. Your. Pain.

And I was in our bathroom scrubbing the floor the day before we went in and ripped it all out!:D

sharon said...

hmmm, will it help to know that I not only cleaned and then used wood-filler in some chipped/scratched pieces, but also polished(!) some furniture we were giving to the local charity shop before it was collected? Other than that I can only say that using your 'free' time to do household chores is just like my weekends were when my boys and their Dad went visiting exciting places without me. What sad lives we lead. The peace and quiet was nice though :-)

Minnie said...

I know someone who used to tidy up before the cleaner arrived!!

Kitty said...

I think I'd be tempted to go to a discount shop and get a new toilet seat/lid to replace the one which can't be cleaned. I admire your industry - will you be posting pics of the transformation once it's done? Good luck with it. x

Elibee said...

"First because this bathroom is going to be ripped out and replaced,"

Well, this is no fun. I have a routine. I first stagger in an alcohol induced haze towards the kiddie bathroom and then you start shouting at me like we are playing pin the tail on the donkey 'no, no, left, left, down, down.' At which time I throw myself down the basement stairs, try to dodge the pile of tiles in the basement bathroom and get lost on the way back as I am always side-tracked by the interesting stuff laying about in the sowing room. Are you telling me I have to give all this up? I may never visit again.