I started this blog on Tumblr to kinda get a feel for it in a familiar place. I used to have a personal blog on Tumblr a few years ago. I didn’t use it for much, just some recipes and things. But I really felt that God was directing me to do a better, more regular blog, so I started here with the idea that I’d move to more permanent digs once I got the feel for blogging.
Today’s the day! I’ve moved to WordPress and MoreThanHappier.com! Come check it out!
My best friend posted that on my Facebook page. It is a truth we’ve lived by for the last 11 years. Most my friends feel the same. If we can’t sit in the first row, we’ll begrudgingly take second or third row. It’s not that we’re snobs, and we’re certainly not groupies, but we are spoiled to it.
We like the front row for lots of reasons. Mostly because we like to be where the action is! My friends and I want to feel like that band is playing just for us. We like to be part of the party. I feel like that at church, too. I like to sit in the first few rows. If I am farther back, I get too distracted by the other people in the audience. Farther back feels like watching your favorite movie on an 11” TV instead of the big theater screen!
The other reason we like to sit in front is we are all mad concert photographers. Not professional, mind you. The only reason I take decent pictures is because I’ve been doing it a while now. I’ve picked up a few pointers, but mostly this one little trick. I have found if I take 500 pictures at a concert (Thank You God for digital photography!), 200 of them turn out good, 100 of them are really nice, about 30 of them are kind of awesome, and about 5 are what we call “money shots”. I don’t know why we call them that. None of us have ever sold a photo, although some of us have had photos used on other websites.
It’s always a thrill to see your photo on a music website, especially if they actually ask first and credit us without having to remind them. A good rule of thumb when right clicking and saving someone else’s photo is to save their name with the picture. Then if you ever post that photo anywhere, always ask the photographer’s permission and put something like photo by: Soandso Jones in the caption. The photographer will love you for it.
I’ve gone to concerts and
sat stood in the front row without my camera. Boy, is that awkward. I don’t know what to do with my hands! Especially if I don’t know the words to the song. I’m so afraid the singer will look my way, and think I didn’t listen to the record enough to learn all the words.
I like to make the artist on the stage feel appreciated. I clap, sing, smile, dance, and show them that I’m having a great time. That’s why I don’t understand why people sit down at rock concerts. Rock music is meant to move you! These folks up on the stage are working hard. Look at them sweat! It’s not easy to get up there and pour your heart out to a different audience in a different city every night. Artists feed off of the energy of the audience. The more fun the audience is having, the more fun the band has, and the more fun the audience will have. It’s a circle of love!
As I wrote most of this post, I was minutes away from trying to buy tickets to see one of my favorite bands, NEEDTOBREATHE. (That’s not me shouting. That’s how they spell it.) I was a nervous wreck! I checked my blood pressure and pulse, and they were each up 10 points! I love buying tickets, and I hate it. It’s like riding a roller coaster, thrilling and terrifying at the same time! All the while we are screaming, and laughing, and feeling sick, and praying.
And really, I have no business going to this show. It’s in Longview, Texas, and the day after this show my husband and I have tickets to MUTEMATH (they like their name shouted, too) in San Antonio! That means we have to get up the next day, drive six hours, stand in line for another couple of hours hoping to get in there before everyone else, and then stand up all night, because it’s a GA (general admission) show! I mean seriously. Is that anyway for a couple of 51 year olds to act? Of course it is! (Note to self: Pack Geritol and Starbucks gift cards, lots of them.)
But it’s worth it. Whether it’s just me and the hubs, or me and my friends, or any combination thereof, we always have such amazing times at concerts.
So how did I do with the ticket buying? FRONT ROW BABY! It’s going to be an awesome, awesome weekend seeing two of my very favorite bands back-to-back with my hubby and friends!
(Breaking Good? Part 2)
Anyway, what I really wanted to say when I got lost in telling you about bonding with our kids over Breaking Bad was how things stick with us and sometimes consume us.
It has become our habit to watch Breaking Bad on Sunday afternoons. We usually watch three to five episodes, two and a half to four hours at a time.
The first time we did this was a couple of Sundays ago. After watching five episodes of Breaking Bad we couldn’t stop talking about it. For two or three days, and in my dreams, that’s all I could think about. “I’ll bet they’ll…” “Oh, I get why they…” “That pink bear was all over the place. I wonder if it means anything.” “What would I do…” And on and on and on.
Then a thought occurred to me. How can we make church do that? How can we make people think about God constantly, and be that preoccupied with questions and a need for Him? What could the church do differently that would make believers and nonbelievers alike run home after service and Google parts of what they just heard to learn more, to have after-church lunches that last hours because the participants are so lost in discussion, every Sunday?
Or not even church. Our small group time, or just our study time, our alone time with God. Anything!
I want to spend three to five hours, one day a week, with God, learning about Him. I want to give Him my full, focused, undistracted, uninterrupted attention. I want that time to be so deep and involving that it’s all I can think about for days. I want it to make me questions and search my mind and my heart and His word and the internet for answers. I want to talk to others about it and have them be on the same page as I am, and as blown away by His awesomeness as I am!
But it seems a lot harder than doing the same thing with Breaking Bad.
Why? Why is it so easy to get so involved with a TV show that is about a guy in a situation I will never, ever be in, doing things I will never, ever do? Shouldn’t it be easier to get deeply involved with a God who knows me personally? With His book that is a love letter written to me and has the answer to every situation I will ever be in?
Maybe it’s because I grew up knowing and loving God. Being a Christian is not new to me. It’s not some shiny Christmas package I’ve just discovered in the back of Mom’s closet that drives me wild with curiosity, which is kinda how I feel about this show. I’m used to Christianity. It’s always been a part of who I am.
I guess it’s like eating chocolate cake for the very first time. You would perceive the taste, smell, texture, the lusciousness of each bite of that cake a lot differently than you would if you were someone who had cake after dinner every night. If you are a Christian, you remember what it was like when you first gave your life to Jesus. I was so excited, so turned on, it was all I wanted to talk about for the first few months. Now it still excites me just as much, but I’ve calmed down, learned to live with it.
And there it is. Light bulb!
When I first started writing this, I had no idea where I was going with it. It just bothered me that it’s so easy to get so deeply involved with a TV show or movie or book. We’ll look up things about it on the internet, follow the stars on Twitter, join Facebook groups, try to get others to watch it, anything to get more involved with it. And it’s only meant to be entertainment, not a lifestyle.
Christianity is meant to be a lifestyle.
Our interest and involvement in entertainment can burn bright and hot, but when it does, it burns out quickly. We could not sustain such involvement at such a heat for long. We get excited about things, and they are all we talk about, but sooner or later the excitement of the newness fades. Some are long lasting interests. These we learn to incorporate into our lives. They take their place on the shelf with the rest of our interests. Life goes on, enriched but not dominated by this interest.
In our walk with God, we do have times of deep immersion. I’ve gone on retreats or done Bible studies that totally enveloped me. He was all I wanted to occupy myself with, and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, we can’t live like this on a daily basis. While we may have the desire, we just don’t have the time. There’s an old saying, “If we’re too heavenly minded, we’ll be no earthly good.” If we were too completely absorbed with any one thing, be it God, a TV show, a hobby, or whatever, after a while our friends would start to fade away, and no one except those as obsessed as we are would want to listen to us or even be around us. We’d lose our jobs. Our homes would be an unsanitary mess. It’s just not how our lives were meant to be. Even Jesus took time to just hang out with His friends.
So yes, I think we need to have times where we are completely occupied by our pursuit of God, but He put us here to live a daily life full of a variety of things. It’s okay to look up from the Bible and take in everything around us, and enjoy a little bit of whatever He puts in our path, be it good friends, family, food, music, or even television shows…with relish…as long as we remember to put Him first. We just need to keep ourselves in check and not go overboard with our little obsessions.
No problem there. This is the last season of Breaking Bad. ;)
Every summer A comes home from college and says, “You have to watch this show!” It’s usually some show we have heard of or seen previews for, but doesn’t appeal to us for one reason or another. But A can be very insistent, so the hubs and I usually relent and watch a few episodes with him.
I believe in giving most things a chance. I want our kids to know we value their opinion, and although we don’t always agree, we’ll listen or watch and weigh their suggestions, if it seems reasonable.
To be honest, the biggest reason we watch any of these shows is that it gives us extra family time with our boys who aren’t boys anymore, but men. It gives us a common ground with them. And we’re so glad they share the things they are interested in with us, no matter what it is!
Most of the shows A has gotten us into are shows we could take or leave if the kids weren’t watching with us. I can’t remember the last time I watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother or Arrested Development on my own. Not that they aren’t good, but not my favorites. Of course, I never watched Spider-Man or Sesame Street without them, either. (Although, Hubs and I did watch an episode of Beast Wars the other night on Netflix. Love the characters on that show!)
I didn’t know that the child-parent television habits would continue into their adulthood, but I’m glad they have.
We don’t always say yes to the shows they try to get us to watch. I watched three episodes of Dexter, and that was more than enough for me. I can’t watch a show when I don’t like the characters. And it’s kind of hard to root for the serial-killing main character in that one. Although, I do love Michael C. Hall’s ominous Dexter voice-overs on the Dodge commercials.
This summer, the show A got us into is Breaking Bad. Then he went back to Austin. Hubs and I would have been fine with dropping it right then, but J and his girlfriend Andi wanted to watch it with us. So this is some of our family fun, weekly marathons of Breaking Bad on Netflix. We look forward to it and miss it if we haven’t done it in a week!
I described Breaking Bad to my mom as a show about a middle-aged, very square high school chemistry teacher (who could have been so much more) who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He wants to find some way to make some quick cash to pay his medical bills and take care of his family after he’s gone. His family consists of a teenaged son with Cerebral Palsy, a wife who is very pregnant with a “surprise” baby girl, a kleptomaniac busy-body sister-in-law, and her husband who is a machismo DEA agent. With our main character, Mr. White’s science background, and through a chance event involving a former student, Jesse, he decides he’s going to provide for his family’s financial needs by making and selling meth. Yep. Illegal drugs. So together he and Jesse (who is a small-time drug dealer himself) delve deeper and deeper into the drug trade, picking up pointers and hardening themselves to the side effects of the business along the way. It’s one of those climbing the ladder of success stories, except instead of up, the ladder our main character is climbing decidedly down into a deep, dark pit.
My mom said, “That sounds terrible! And depressing! Why would anyone want to watch that?”
Exactly! But somehow we do. And somehow it’s not.
I love shows that uplift me, make me happy about what’s going on, not that bring me down. I don’t care for dark entertainment at all. But this show doesn’t give me that depressed, dirty, scratchy in my soul feeling that I expected when we first started watching. It’s a very well written character study. It’s serious entertainment that makes you think, not my usual fluff fare. So it’s not bad, just different for me.
And knowing me like I do, I shouldn’t like it, but for one thing. In a show about chemistry, that in and of itself is the shining factor of the show. It’s what makes us want to come back each week. Bryan Cranston (Mr. White) and Aaron Paul (Jesse) play off each other so well and have that chemistry that every show needs to make it. It makes their alliance believable, and provides unexpected laughs…big laughs, and endearing moments that keep me coming back episode after episode.
So yes, this show is a little dark, and can be pretty violent, and is not the kind of show I would normally choose to watch. But I do like it, and it does provide a family bond, something we all enjoy doing together. So we watch it together and enjoy it quite a lot.
I guess it could be worse. If we’d have had daughters instead of sons, we’d be watching the Kardashians or the Real Housewives of Someplace.
Anyway, this isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about. This is just laying the ground work for what I really wanted to say, but after 900 words, I think I ought to give you a break and let that go until another time.
A couple of years ago, I cleaned out the boxes in our “attic”. I got rid of the stuff we thought we might use again when we put it in the box, but was now obvious we never would. When I cleaned out the memory boxes*, I got rid of all the things I couldn’t remember why we’d saved or what they were. There were little bits of paper, champagne corks, broken toys, pressed flowers, and other things that brought no recollection of any happy time enjoyed with them. I’m sure these objects were important to us at one time. I’m certain that if I could remember when we got them or what memory they stood for, it would warm my heart and maybe bring a tear to my eye. But at this moment, it was nothing but stuff taking up space.
That’s when I started labeling our memories.
I don’t have the best memory to begin with. Thank God for the advent of digital photography. Without the thousands of photos I’ve taken over the years, I probably wouldn’t have much memory of individual events at all. And here’s where I should be telling you that I print out a small photo of the event that goes with the memory item, and put both in a Ziplock bag so they stay together when I put them into the memory box. Then when I go through the memory box in years to come, the photo instantly brings back a full recollection of the day.
But I’m not that organized. And I just thought of that idea this minute. And it might take too much effort to find and print the photo. I tend to like to do things the most expedient (read: easy) way.
So what I did do when I cleaned out the memory boxes was to write little snippets of the memories on small pieces of paper and attach them to every item that might not be remembered the moment it was again discovered. A baby’s shirt might say, “J wore this to the first baseball game he ever attended. Nana & Papa came with us” and the date as best I could remember it. I didn’t write out all the details, just enough to bring to mind the rest of the story.
And just this moment, I decided I’m going to call this “Captioning,” because it is just like putting a caption on a photograph.
Now when I put stuff into our memory boxes, I put a tag on them of some sort, a caption. What use is a memento if you can’t remember what it stands for?
I do this on lots of stuff in different ways. My favorite is the wine corks. I only started liking wine on my 50th birthday. Four people gave me red wine, but I wasn’t a wine drinker at all. I wanted them to know I appreciated their gifts, so we opened a bottle at the party. I was surprised to find I actually liked it! Since then, Hubby and I have been exploring wines a little. So when we have a bottle on a special occasion (or a Wednesday), I write the date and what we were doing on the cork, and then save it in our big glass jar. It’s a funky scrapbook of family memories.
Someday someone is going to replace our laminate flooring. When they do, they are going to find the memories all four of us wrote on the sub-floor the day we installed the flooring.
I caption the scorecard when we are playing any game that requires the score to be kept on paper, like Scrabble or Password. I write at the top of the score pad who’s playing, what else we did that day, and the date. When we play again, we can go back through the memories of other fun times.
I also (now some of you may cringe at this, especially if you love antiques) write on the undersides of old furniture. Hubby and I love to look at old (especially mid-century) furniture and household things and speculate about the life they have lived. Who owned this? How long did they have it? Was it a happy home? Things like that. So for the sake of whoever owns some of our pieces later, I’ve written some of the history on a hidden part of it. We have a lamp table from Hub’s grandfather’s house from the 1940’s or 50’s, an old drop leaf table Hub bought for me when I was away at a ladies’ retreat in 1985, a clock his parents got when they first got married, and a few other pieces on which I’ve written the history as I know it on some hidden part. Monetarily, it might decrease the value, but historically and sentimentally I think it increases the value.
So what about you? Do you do anything like this to help you and those who come after you know what made special objects special?
*Memory Boxes: I have always kept a box with a lid on it in each family member’s closet. They are marked with their name, dated, and numbered in succession. When there is a memento from a special event, it’s labeled and dropped into the memory box. It’s lazy scrapbooking, but it works. When the box is full, it goes into the attic, and a new box is started. I only hope is that now that my kids are getting to the stage of leaving the nest, they going to take all their boxes with them!
Yesterday, Dan Haseltine, lead singer of Jars of Clay, tweeted, “Officially Pronounced: Hass-el—tyn e (silent e) or Hassell tine. or Hasselhoff without the hoff but with the tine. not teen.”
I know how he feels. All my life people have been mispronouncing my name. Even as I sat in the doctor’s office waiting room yesterday reading that tweet, the doctor walked by and said, “Hey Corrine! I’ll be with you in a minute” pronouncing my name incorrectly, as if there were no “e” at the end.
I usually only correct people if I am meeting them for the first time. After that, I don’t want to embarrass them or myself by saying, “Um…we’ve known each other for a while now, and you still can’t seem to get my name right.” It’s usually somebody that I don’t see very often, so what’s the harm if they say my name in that way that sounds like fingernails on the chalkboard…I mean…if they say it incorrectly? It’s better than embarrassing them.
Or is it? Sometimes the people you don’t see very often become people you work with, and then it gets uncomfortable.
We have been going to our church and have known the staff casually for about eight years, but not in any way where they had to use my name much. I guess I wasn’t even really aware that everyone at the church pronounced it wrong. Okay. I was very aware. But heck, how do you correct the entire church staff?
Once a year, our church puts on a concert. I’m in charge of the volunteers and selling tickets. A year and a half ago, we were getting ready to bring in Phil Wickham. I got a message on my phone from our music pastor. It was the first time he had ever called me and gotten my voicemail. His message started with, “Um…I noticed I have been pronouncing your name wrong for years. You should correct me.” We were both embarrassed, but we laughed about it. The fact that it was funny made it easy to spread the story around to others in the church, and thus correct everyone at the same time. Of course, now that I let them pronounce it wrong for so long, it’s even harder for them to remember which is the right way. But they do try, and I love them for that.
I may never meet some of you in person, but when you read my tweets and this blog, you should be able to pronounce my name properly in your head. So here is a very short tutorial.
I was named after the French movie star from the 1950’s Corinne Calvet. As my mom sat in her high school typing class typing the name and dreaming of her someday when she would be a wife and mother, she changed the spelling to Corrine, and decided on the pronunciation.
My name, Corrine, is pronounced Kor-REEN . Think of it like the stuff in bleach, chlorine. They end the same, “rine”, which you’d think would be pronounced “ryne” with a long “I” sound instead of a long “e” sound. That’s the way computer voices pronounce it, Ko-RYNE.
Mostly people call me Corinne, which is pronounced Kor-RIN. I know they don’t mean to say it wrong, but that pronunciation just grates on me. I don’t know why. I guess because it’s not my name. I think it sounds harsh that way. I often wonder which I’d prefer if I just came upon the name, and it wasn’t my name.
Click here to hear the difference between how I pronounce my name (the first entry) and how you should not pronounce my name (the second entry).
I’ll also answer to KREEN or Ker-REEN. Seems like a less-formal version of Kor-REEN. That’s how my family has always said it, so it feels homey. My cousins always sang “Corrina, Corrina” to me, or “Kreen in my coffee, dirt in my toes” while they were teasing me. I don’t know where they got that last one from, but at least they pronounced it correctly.
It’s Monday. Not only is it Monday, it’s one of those Mondays. And they don’t necessarily have to happen on Mondays. It can just be one of those days. I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about, those days when you don’t know where to start, or can’t get started at all.
I know I want to blog, but if I sit down, I may not get up again. I have a whole day ahead of me, so it would be a great time to clean my office. But it’s been a week since I cleaned the upstairs, and it’s time to do that again. If I don’t do it today, I don’t know when I’ll get to it, and then it will take longer because it’ll be dirtier. I also need to make a grocery list for the dinners I plan to make this week; it would be great if I could knock out the shopping, too. There are a few bills I need to pay, and some stuff I need to get ready to mail, and some phone calls to make, and on, and on, and on.
And really, this is most days, isn’t it? But on one of those days like today, my energy level is low, and my brain doesn’t seem to want to do anything but lie on a cerebral couch and eat mental bonbons all day.
For us women, I blame hormones. Those little chemicals dance around our brains and change us from week to week back and forth in varying degrees between super-women who are conquers of all we set out to do, to blobs unable to do much but retain water.
I know your first thought is, “Coffee!” But sadly, caffeine and I have a love/hate relationship. We can get along for a while, and then BAM! It turns on me, collecting in my body and causing anxiety attacks. What kind of friend does that to you!? So I try to stay away. Even when I can take it, it rarely helps me go-go-go. So the drug of choice for the masses is usually a dud for me.
Days like this, I can spend so much of the day trying to decide what to do that there ends up being no time to actually do it. And then I’m depressed that I wasted the day.
I have found that inactivity breeds inactivity, meaning the more you sit around doing nothing, the harder it is to get started. When you don’t know what to do, just do something! Anything! And one thing usually leads to another, and another. Next thing you know, you’re checking things off your to-do list and feeling like a champ!
I didn’t mean to go all Little Mary Sunshine on you. This piece of advice sounds much easier than it is. And it is the kind of thing our moms said to us when we were teenagers. We usually rolled our eyes and huffed at her, maybe throwing in an “Oh, Mo-ther” in that annoyed “You’re so yesterday” tone. But she was right, and if we can just kick ourselves in the butt a little and get one little victory somewhere, it helps to get us going.
That’s what I call anything I accomplish, a victory. It’s a victory over the to-do list and procrastination, and that feels so good!! Once I finish this blog entry, it’s a victory! And that gives me a little rush of excitement, a little adrenaline, and fuels me a little to start towards the next victory.
What about you? What is your secret to getting going when you don’t know where to start, or don’t feel like doing anything at all?
“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” - Lord Chesterfield
Earlier, I said I was going to talk about how to clean a bathroom. Today’s the day! I can feel your excitement right through my keyboard as I type. (If this were on Twitter, I’d be hashtagging it #mundane.)
So yeah, it’s not the most exciting thing to talk about. In fact, cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite job in the whole repertoire. But it’s got to be done, or things get smelly and nasty and just plain unsanitary.
I thought twice about posting this, thinking there must be lots of other sites that had this information. When I looked I found that most make the job too hard. Some start with taking everything out of the bathroom that can be removed, including the shower curtain. Really? Every week? Not this girl. I like to do a thorough job, but keep it simple at the same time.
I’ll tell you what products I have found to be best, but really the most important products are elbow grease and a good sponge with a scrubby side. And the order you do things is up to you, as well. I usually start with the toilet, because I don’t want to be kneeling next to a dirty toilet as I clean the tub. Sometimes I start with the shower, because it’s the biggest part of the job, and I want to get it done first. It’s a mental trick I use on myself to make the job seem easier.
Ok. Here we go. (Basic instructions in bold text.)
- Remove the rugs, give them a shake or five, and then sweep the floor. It’s easier to sweep before you clean, when it’s dry. The floor tends to get wet when I clean the bathroom. I sweep the bathroom dirt out into the hallway, before I vacuum the hall. Easier than using a dustpan. And yes, you should take the bathroom rugs outside and give them a good shake, but that takes longer, so I shake them the best I can inside without getting stuff everywhere, but well enough to remove all the dirt from them. Leave the rug outside the bathroom until you’ve finished cleaning.
- Flush the toilet, lift the lid and seat, and then squirt toilet bowl cleaner up under the rim of the bowl. You don’t have to use a lot, just enough to go around the rim once and cascade down into the water. Use a good toilet bowl brush (good = enough bristles so you don’t scratch the bowl with the metal part, and doesn’t come apart when you use it) to scrub (and I mean scrub) every inch of the inside of the bowl. Don’t forget up under the rim where the water comes out and mildew hides, and down deep where the water leaves the bowl, and along the water line where stains hide. Flush the toilet, and rinse the brush in the clean water. I keep my toilet brush in a plastic cup in my bathroom cleaning supplies box, which I keep under the bathroom sink in one of the bathrooms. It’s much simpler to keep all your supplies together in something plastic in which you can carry them around, than to have to gather them when it’s time to clean.
- Using a disinfectant wipe or a paper towel and window cleaner, wipe down the entire outside surface of the toilet. Start at the top, because it’ll be the cleanest part. Be sure to turn the wipe over and use clean surfaces as it gets full of dust and hair. It might take two wipes. I start with mine folded, and unfold and refold as needed, and try to just use one. Depends on how much hair we’ve all shed this week. This is, without a doubt, the nastiest part of the job, especially if you have little boys.
- Take the shampoo, soap, etc., out of the bathtub/shower and spray the walls with cleaner. Let the spray do it’s magic on the walls for a couple of minutes before you scrub. These cleaners work well, so let them do as much as they can before you start wiping them off. I really like Mr. Clean Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner. I also like the Scrubbing Bubbles spray, but I think the can runs out a lot faster and ends up costing more. I’d love to learn to use vinegar and water, but I have to get over the mental block that it’s not clean unless you use chemicals capable of taking the skin off your hands or killing you if you accidentally mix them and inhale. Scrub the walls with the scrubby side of a wet sponge. Rinse the sponge as it gets dirty. I scrub the walls in with a circular motion, because even though the spray bottle may tell you no scrubbing necessary, soap scum and hard water build up always need a little help. You can tell that by the way it’s a little harder to scrub the parts of the walls the shower water hits. If your perfectionism is flaring, use the edge of the sponge to scrub the grout between the tiles. Rinse the walls. If you don’t have a handheld shower head that allows you to easily hose the walls down, get one. Those things are invaluable for washing dogs and kids, too!
- When you rinsed the shower walls, you should have gotten most of the tub or shower floor wet. If not, wet the tub/shower floor. Sprinkle with a powdered cleanser like Ajax or Comet, and scrub the entire inside of the tub, soap dish, and faucets with the scrubby side of a really wet sponge. Rinse the tub well. Dry the chrome surfaces with a clean towel so they shine. I actually spray the tub with bathroom cleaner, then sprinkle it with cleanser. I find the two work better together than separately. You could use Soft Scrub, but it doesn’t work as well for me, and it’s more expensive (Comet & Ajax are less than $1 in my area for a nice sized can). Of course, if you have delicate surfaces like natural marble, please use whatever works best for that. Always read the warning labels of any cleaner before you use it. If your tub is extra dirty and weekly methods just aren’t doing the trick, do what I did here.
- Dust the shelves, picture frames, top of the shower curtain rod or shower doors, top of the medicine cabinet, and the top of the tile where it meets the wall. A damp towel or sponge is good for this. Damp, because in the bathroom dust doesn’t just lay there, it’s stuck there by hairspray and humidity, so it needs a little water on the sponge to get it moving. It’s best to take everything off the shelf, wipe off the shelf, and then dust/polish the things as you put them back on the shelf. This is more thorough and really easier than trying to dust around your perfume bottles and whatnot.
- Scrub the sink, faucet, and area around the sink with cleanser. Dry the faucet and area around the sink with a towel and make ‘em shine! I always save this for almost last, because I need the sink to rinse out my sponge when I’m doing the other things, and to wash my hands after I clean the toilet. Oh, didn’t I mention that part? Please wash your hands, or your rubber gloves, after you clean the toilet!
- Wipe down and polish the knick-knacks around the sink. I have a cup for holding toothbrushes, a decorative liquid soap dispenser, and a three ounce Dixie Cup dispenser around my sinks. I use very hot water and some of the liquid soap to wash the toothbrush cup, then I dry it and fold a paper towel to put into the bottom to catch water that drips off the toothbrushes, so the bottom of the cup doesn’t get slimy and mildewy. I change the paper towel when I clean the bathroom. Then I refill the Dixie Cups and soap, as needed. Put out a fresh hand towel.
- Polish the mirror. I use Windex and a paper towel to clean the mirror, but this is another area where I want to learn to use white vinegar and water. Someday. Cleaning a mirror is hard, because it tends to get streaky. Here’s how I do it. Fold a paper towel in half, then in half again. This gives you several sides to work with and gets the most use out of that towel. Spray the mirror (or half the mirror, if it’s a big one) with a quality window cleaner like Windex that contains ammonia. Clean the mirror with the paper towel with big, sweeping motions. Wipe with one side of the paper towel to clean it, and then turn to a dry side to polish it. It may take two spray/wipe sessions if the mirror has toothpaste splatters on it, or turns out streaky. So one turn to clean it, and one turn to make it shiny and streak-free. The key to no streaks is to leave the mirror a little wet. So if you have streaks, spray lightly with the window cleaner and then wipe it lightly. Another thing to try is to polish it with no window cleaner but lots of elbow grease and a microfiber cloth or dry towel (not a fluffy one. A worn out towel works better.)
- Mop the floor. Be sure to rinse the mop really well after you mop around the toilet, otherwise you just push that stuff around the floor. Ideally, we would mop the area around the toilet last, because it’s more sanitary to clean from cleanest area to dirtiest, but the toilet is seldom by the bathroom door, so you’d have to walk over your wet floor to do that. It’s not like you’re going to leave dirty footprints, so you could do that. Just be careful and don’t slip on the wet floor. When the floor dries, put the rugs back.
- Stand back and admire your work! After you put hard work into any job, you should always take a minute or two to pat yourself on the back. You’ve earned it!
Once in a while, you should also wash your decorative towels, rugs, and shower curtain. You can also make your shower curtain liner last longer by putting it in the washing machine with some towels to clean it.
So how do you know it’s time to clean your bathroom? Ideally, you should clean it once a week. At least, those are the parameters my mom set up when I was cleaning our 1.5 baths at home as a teenager. So I strive for that, but there’s not always time to do a thorough job. When that happens, just clean the toilet bowl and shine everything else up real quick with a paper towel and window cleaner or a towel. The goal is to keep nature from letting you know you haven’t cleaned it in a while with mold and mildew growing in the toilet and shower. Don’t ask how I know this happens.
And when that does happen, tell your family it was a test to see how long it would take them to pick up a toilet brush and clean it themselves. Then go into a rant that if skillfully done, will end with them sending you to a spa for a much needed day off while they clean the whole house for you. Yeah. That never happens, but a girl can dream!