Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just because you are in your 30s...

Last week, I wrote about how "Just because you are in your thirties does not mean you can't party like a rock star."

Today, I will start my post with this:  Just because you are in your thirties does not mean you know how to clean your house. 

I know that many people don't like to clean and choose not to clean, but I don't believe I am your average person.  My problem is that I really don't know how to clean...without disinfecting.  Here's the real dilemma:  I have a fear of cancer-causing toxic chemicals and so disinfecting safely without (1) contaminating the house with poison that will eventually kill me, my husband, and my pets AND (2) spreading some type of germ, bacteria, or virus all around my house, is quite the challenge.  This is my Everest.  

Let me paint you a picture of me attempting to clean...

One minute I am innocently wiping down the kitchen counter and the next minute I have gone through 10 dishcloths (because using a dishcloth that cleaned one mess would result in contaminating the entire kitchen), my hands are bleeding because I washed them about 45 times over a 15-minute period (an average of about three hand-washings per minute sounds about right - again, all in the name of preventing cross-contamination), and I have gone through about three rolls of paper towel (because all of the dishtowels are soaked from all of my hand-drying and after some serious thought, are my hands actually still clean after I dry them on a dishtowel?  I mean, what if I didn't get all the germs off my hands during my last hand-washing and then I dried my hands on the dishtowel?  Well, I will tell you what - the germs would now be on the dishtowel.  And why, for the love of God, would I dry my clean hands on a contaminated dishtowel?).  If I lost you, please reread because I promise you that I make a thought-provoking point here.

Let me paint a more specific picture for you...

Let's say we just finished making chicken for dinner.  I begin to wipe the counter, but then I realize that raw chicken may have touched the section of the counter I am cleaning.  I pause to think about where I can set the dishcloth without contaminating another surface and then decide that saving the dishcloth is just not worth the risk and I immediately throw the dishcloth in the garbage.  Next, I turn on the faucet to wash my hands and then turn it off - but wait,  I just touched the - ummm - faucet handle?  Well, that just sounds weird.  But, okay, I just now contaminated the mother-loving faucet handle with my hand that possibly touched raw chicken.  Shit.  (Just to clarify, there is a period after the word chicken.  As in: I possibly touched raw chicken.  Not: I possibly touched raw chicken shit.)  Okay, now I need to spray down my sink with that natural stuff that disinfects without using harmful chemicals (don't ask me how this works.  In my mind it just does because the bottle says so.  Please don't give me another thing to obsess about).  By the way, I don't think I have ever used the term "mother-loving" before, but it just felt like a good time to use it.  I'm not really sure if it should be hyphenated or if it is an open or closed compound word.  Oh well.  Forgive me if I used mother-loving (or mother loving or motherloving) incorrectly.  There.  You can't make fun of me now.  

The million dollar question is: how do I get to my disinfecting-but-non-toxic spray without contaminating my cabinet door and the bottle?  I think I got it!  First, I will wash my hands and then I will grab a piece of paper towel - scratch that - I will grab like five pieces because one is just too thin, so will I fold the five pieces of paper towel to make a thick, salmonella-blocking barrier and use this to turn the water off.  Now I throw the contaminated paper towel in the garbage!  Ugh...the garbage is full with all the damn paper towel and dishcloths that were just not worth saving and now the lid won't close.  Well, I can't really worry about that right now, can I?  My hands are clean and I am not touching the filthy, disgusting, contaminated garbage.  Now, I will open the cabinet, grab the spray, and spray, Spray SPRAY!  Spray the sink (inside and all around the perimeter).  Spray the faucet handle.  Spray like there's no tomorrow.  Well, now that I have started, why wouldn't I spray the counter?  Not just the section where the chicken was, but the entire counter because I am sure that raw chicken has touched the other areas at some point and we have probably been living in a salmonella-infested breeding ground for months, maybe even years.  In fact, the salmonella has probably started to multiply and mutate into something much, much worse.  Like some kind of flesh-eating bacteria or that virus from Outbreak.

Before you know it, I am out of dishcloths, paper towel, hand soap, and disinfecting-but-non-toxic spray.  My hands are bleeding profusely and to add insult to injury (literally), I have nothing left that I can use to wipe the blood.  I am utterly exhausted after the two hours I spent cleaning my kitchen (in actuality, I spent two hours disinfecting one small corner of my kitchen).  I am disgusted by all of the life-threatening filth that remains.  I will never eat anything that is made in my kitchen again.

If you think that my cleaning issues only involve the kitchen, you give me way too much credit.  You should see me freak out about spreading dirt all over my house when I attempt to wash the floors (and trying to decide what's worse: spreading the dirt from the dining room to the living room or from the living room to the dining room) or contaminating my house with the cord of my vacuum cleaner.  You know, all power cords contain lead that can cause cancer, reproductive harm, and/or birth defects.  If you don't believe me, just ask California.  

And don't even get me started on trying to clean the bathroom.  That is a story for another time and could quite possibly be the reason my husband will divorce me one day.

Please do not judge my pink kitchen.  I like to think of it as vintage.  Plus, maybe somebody will see this picture and offer me a free kitchen makeover.  (P.S. I added the grit with some photo editing.  My kitchen isn't quite that gritty in real life.  Most of the grit that is there - like the salmonella grit - is microscopic and would not show up on this photograph.  There's your science lesson for the day.)

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