Monday, July 29, 2013
Cleaning Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
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Aside from the usual cleaning hazards (inhaling fumes, bleach burns, slippery floors, vacuum cleaners left longer than two weeks in the hallway, spontaneous combustion of cleaning sponges, marital problems started by Mr. Clean), cleaning can also be hazardous to your loved ones.
Granted, I do not clean, I mean REALLY clean, all that often. While some adhere to the traditional spring cleaning, I am more aligned with the Mayan calendar, which means I haven’t really cleaned since Dec. 21, 2012 when their calendar ended. But yesterday I decided it was time to scoop out the house and engage in some hard core cleaning.
Most of the time my cleaning consists of moving the clutter to a different room, rearranging the clutter in a more organized manner, or hauling the clutter to the barn. In moments of desperation I have actually been known to sweep, mop, and vacuum all floors at the same time regardless of whether or not the floors are covered in carpet, wood, tile, or cement.
Most of the time I give the carpet a quick vacuum in the high traffic areas and as my grandmother used to say “give it a lick and a promise.” This particular day I decided to shampoo all the carpet; after all, it had been six months since the Mayan calendar ended.
I started in the twelve-year-old’s room. After removing enough wrappers, bottles, paper plates, and coke cans to start my own landfill, I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet. Who knew the carpet was really blue instead of dove gray?
Inspired, I went on to the eight-year-old’s room. I removed all the throw rugs. Seeing the spot where I had tried to remove a stain last month reminded me to double check my cleaning solution to make sure there was no bleach in it this time. No bleach. Whew! Carpet vacuumed, shampooed, and fans turned on high to speed the drying process. Now I am really motivated. On to the living room.
This was more of a challenge. Furniture pieces had to be tilted back and the coffee table moved to the other side of the sofa. I was on a roll. Spitting out white foam and sucking up water that would make the Mississippi seem clear; my carpet shampoo machine was doing an excellent job. I was surprised to see that my carpet was a solid color and did not actually have a pattern in it, that I shampooed it again; this time the water really looking like the Mississippi River. This resulted in a soggier carpet which needed more drying time. Off to our bedroom.
By this time my carpet shampoo-er and I were both running low on steam. I turned the TV on and discovered a “Matlock” marathon and took a little break. In between episodes I managed to do a little more decluttering, cleaning, and shampooing. Later during more sporadic cleaning and episode 9 of the “Matlock” marathon, Dr. Hubby came in to take a shower. Before settling down to join me in watching episode 10, he decided to get a little snack from the kitchen by way of the living room.
I heard the crash, the splintering of wood, and the thud of a body on newly shampooed carpet before I heard the screams from Dr. Hubby and the frightened children. I scampered to the living room to discover Dr. Hubby sprawled out on the floor. The coffee table, which I had moved to the other side of the sofa while the carpet dried, was now missing two legs. He, fortunately, still had his legs attached.
“Who put a coffee table in the middle of nowhere when there hasn’t been anything there for the past ten years?” he yelled between knee spasms, words describing questionable heritage, and clinching his teeth.
“I shampooed the carpet so I moved the coffee table until it dried.”
“You couldn’t put it back?”
I helped Dr. Hubby to his recliner after I determined an ambulance was not necessary and supplied him with a handful of Advil. Then I began to laugh out of relief or at the comedy of it all. Dr. Hubby, even at his age, can shoot the eye out of a black eyed pea at 30 yards but can’t see a 2x4x3 foot coffee table in the middle of an open space in broad daylight.
“He’s going to be ok, right? Cause it wouldn’t be as much fun without him. You are ok, but just not as much fun,” worried the eight-year-old.
“He will be fine,” I hoped.
The twelve-year-old and I moved the coffee table back to its customary place and used books to replace the now missing legs. I put the vacuum cleaner and the carpet shampoo-er back in the hall closet exactly in the same place as outlined by the dust print. Don’t want any more accidents.
I thought about my day of house cleaning, carpet shampooing, and coffee table vaulting husband. Even without a calendar, the ancient Mayans have spoken:
Excessive cleaning can be hazardous ...to somebody!