Sunday, 7 March 2010

Rage Against The Mr Sheen

The perils of office life

I'm on my knees scrubbing a toilet. I like to start with the toilet, as it's the worst bit. Baths and basins are easy, plus, you get to shine the taps. It'll soon be one bathroom down, three to go. After that I get to wash towels and sheets. Sigh.

It wasn't always like this. I used to be an Executive. I had ties that I didn't wear, because we dressed down. I had a PA who fielded my calls and brought me tea. I went out with other executives, and we relaxed with manly jokes1. I had a pen that went 'click'.

But I only have myself to blame. Back when I was young and stupid2, it was fashionable to set life goals, so I did. One of my goals was to be able to stop work at 40, so I did. We sold the company, paid off the mortgage, did some clever investing3, and hey presto. Mrs G and I can now cruise along quite happily, provided we avoid extravagances like holidays, and eating.

Well guess what? Mrs G, after many years of looking after kids, and me, has decided she needed to 'experience the workplace again', and gone and got herself a job. How selfish is that? I could have told her about the workplace. It's all sitting down; in a car, on a plane, at a desk, on the loo, in meeting rooms, on the photocopier4, and on the job.

Except Mrs G's job is all outdoorsy, and horticultural, and people-oriented, so it's not a proper job at all. And it's only half-time. Where's the stress? Where are the repetitive strain injuries? Where are the office intrigues? Where are the incomprehensible coffee jugs? Where are the nylon carpets that send 5,000 volts up your bottom when you scoot your chair around? Where's the photocopier?

Anyway, Mrs G's job is for another post; today is about me.

So: I'm a house-husband two-and-a-half days a week. It's ghastly, but fascinating. Look what I've learned in a short time:
  • The hardest substance known to man is left-over Weetabix

  • Domestic vacuum cleaners are unsuited to Autumn leaves, especially when they're wet

  • You can have too much Tupperware


  • Twiglets are not good with breakfast

  • Drier lint is surprisingly inflammable

  • Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing

  • The postman always rings twice. No idea why

I've also learned that I don't like it much, so grudging respect to Mrs G for putting up with it for so long. Time for some new life goals, I think. In our next life, we will live on a beach, which never needs cleaning. And has no toilets.

1 - Like 'Why haven't women been to the moon? Because it didn't need cleaning.' Oh, the shame. You wouldn't catch me telling a vile sexist joke like that now
2 - As opposed to middle-aged and stupid
3 - Savings account, premium bonds, and roulette. And we sold the pets
4 - At the Christmas party. Ahem


  1. I cleaned Restaurant Restrooms for a living not long ago. All of us need to be humbled in some way or another...It does us good.

  2. I'm right there with you Uber. Cleaning toilets are the worse.
    If you lived on a beach without toilets, no, never mind. I don't want to know.

  3. Ovens! Give me a toilet to clean over an oven every time. That didn't sound right but you know what I mean.
    Hoovers? Even less suited to cat litter and certainly not advisable when wet litter is involved.
    Fresh orange juice - an even greater staying power than weetabix and especially the juice with 'bits'.

  4. It's well known that the hardest substances known to man and breakfasted beast are, in ascending order:

    3. Dried porridge
    2. Dried weetabix
    1. Mixed dried weetabix and porridge because it's all I could find in the cupboard and stock cubes didn't seem appealing at 7 in the morning.

  5. I hate dried on Weetabix! It is one of my many pet hates! Dried in Muesli has to be the next, along with the greasy water that goes along with gravy!
    Toilet cleaning I don't mind, I love to have a nice shiny bathroom, and I just adore jumping into a freshly made bed, but I hate the struggle with changing a duvet! Many of battles have been fought, and won with the damn things, but I get there eventually.
    Doing the laundry is my pet hate. If I can get away with just folding the clothes, then you can bet that I will do it!

  6. I shall send Cat across the water to roll on your carpet. He will leave behind several samples of dirt for your cleaning pleasure.

    Don't you hate scrubbing toilets to find that you must immediately use one have explosive decompression?


  7. i agree--toilet cleaning is the worst. but the bright side is you don't have to work in an office. how sweet!

  8. Blase ~ Can't argue with that! I do miss my clicky pen though

    MWBTB ~ Don't worry. There are fish, and other filter feeders around

    PW ~ Would you like a trade? Ovens for loos?

    Trys ~ You're quite right. I stand corrected.

    Alice ~ OK, we've got a thing going on here. If I do Petty W's ovens, and your duvets, you guys can come and do my bathrooms. Sound good?

    RefGeek ~ I think that's just Evil Twin talking. I know what you mean about the explosive decompression thing though

  9. Where are my twiglets? I was promised a bumper pack.

  10. Best. Title. Ever.

    Beach life would pall, I'm sure. All that sand everywhere.

  11. Bah, posted a comment and it vanished. Bleedin' Google.

    Trust me, it was great.

  12. I always knew you would make a good wife one day.

  13. I had to look up Weetabix, so while I was at it I finally looked up Twiglets as well. In the process I learned a few new things about British advertising, sitcoms, and youth movements of the 1980s. Weetabix characters designed to look like skinheads--genius! Oh, and it's good that you are now appreciating Mrs. G's contributions to domestic maintenance.

  14. I once spent three hours cleaning an oven because a chef was so incompetent he managed to create food that explodes when it's too hot. Ovens are worse than toilets.

  15. Sarah ~ Trust me, the office option is looking better and better...

    Raj ~ I'm sorry, I forgot. On order

    lbtw ~ Don't worry! They're both there, look. Google: better late than never

    Mala ~ I'm working on it. Still some areas that need work, alas

    Blissed-OG ~ Ah ha! The marmite ads are good too - check out the Blob one in particular

    RT ~ The oven vs loo debate takes on a new dimension. How do you feel about duvets? (See Alice's comment)

  16. Excellent title!
    I don't envy you cleaning FOUR bathrooms...I can barely cope with one and a half. It's dust that really gets to me....and blue fluff! How do WHITE bathroom towels result in BLUE fluff on all surfaces?

  17. If it annoys you so much, stop eating so much Weetabix. And take your boots off when you come in.

  18. Bahahahaaaa! If you live next to the beach than of course there won't be any toilets. The ocean is the worlds largest can, right? LOL

  19. Have you tried cleaning the loos with dried-up Weetabix? Mrs G. will swoon. I see she's already preparing in your very apposite illustration.

  20. It's good to know that you are still open to new learning experiences. Although I did think for a brief moment that you were talking about that nice Mr. Michael Sheen, the actor. Then we'd have had a fight on our hands.

  21. I'm not sure about the duvet thing, I never do change sheets myself. When I need to change my sheets I get my neighbour to do it. She complies on the condition I leave her alone.

  22. 'I had a pen that went 'click.' Laughed out loud at that one Grumpy. I'm sad, i know...

    You're right about the weetabix though. You don't rinse your bowl out immediately after eating those and that sticks like s*** to a blanket.

    Would you ever consider getting a part time job? Surely the pen that clicks enticing enough?

    Great post. :)

  23. What is the post-breakfast twiglet threshold? One hour? Would be good to know.

    And hey, surely you can still click a pen as you do your house chores?

  24. Nat ~ Got me on the blue fluff thing. It's probably relativity, or something

    Mini ~ Yes Mum. Oi! You're not my Mum

    MiMi ~ Now there's the voice of sense. Spot on

    Christopher ~ This could catch on! I'm trying to imagine the advertising campaign

    Mme D ~ Yes, but what about Charlie? Eh? He's a wrong 'un

    RT ~ You old charmer, you

    Lou ~ s*** to a blanket is a new one on me (so to speak) and strangely evocative. I like it

    mo ~ Experiments are called for. 11 a.m. Twiglet break, here I come; I'll get back to you...

  25. Thank you for sparing us the pictures of you in your French Maid outfit.


  26. Serves you right you should have stuck to guitars

  27. House-husbands of the world unite!

  28. Love your pictures--they are deliciously vintange!

  29. I am tormented by Tupperware. It's no wonder I drink so much....

    My biggest beef with the whole concept is that only a small percentage of Tupperware actually gets used. You have to buy a combo pack consisting of twelve different shapes and sizes, but you only need one. Grrr...

  30. Well shit. Where is my comment???

  31. A life without toilets? That's a lot of stinky holes in the ground.


  32. Have you considered hiring a maid? I hire chimps when the jungle estate needs tidying.

  33. Crikey you know way more domestic stuff than me - and now I know why the hoover hasn't worked since I used it in the garden.

  34. Not sure what weetabix is.

  35. You clean? TOILETS?
    Please consider this my online marriage proposal.

    SwearToGod, a man who cleans is way sexy. Just don't bring your wheatabix or twiglers or whatever.

  36. Oh, I hear you about Weetabix.

  37. Great post, love the pic of the french maid outfite. I am so not wearing that.

    I'll raise you weetabix and raise you frozen vegetables labeled "besst before aug 2003".

    As for cleaning toilets? So second tier an issue.. how about HOW MUCH CAN ONE FRIGGIN BEAGLE SHED? Literally buddy I just vaccumed the basement, then the upstairs, and now I gotta do the basement again? You were beside me barking at the vac, how did you even find two minutes to shake your fur? Holy crap...

  38. Oh God I feel your pain
    yes you can have too much tupperware - I have masses of mismatches containers and lids in my cupboards
    Also re weetabix a good househusband knows always to soak the bowls in the sink until such time as he will have time to scrub em!

  39. Moooooog ~ What do you mean? That is me

    Hunter ~ You too eh?

    Sadako ~ Thank you, and welcome

    DDG ~ That's Ikea for you

    JenJen ~ Well shit. Dunno

    Christine ~ Yes, but they don't need cleaning...

    Gorilla B ~ I like your thinking. Marwell Zoo is pretty close

    Lulu ~ Ah ha! I ought to write a book

    Christie ~ Don't worry; you haven't missed much

    MommaK ~ You should see me in my Marigolds. Grrrr

    HPH ~ Yup! It's the truth

    Brahm ~ Welcome! Beagle eh? Did you consider wrapping it in clingfilm before commencing cleaning duties? Cutting holes for the nostrils, obviously

    EmmaK ~ Thanks for the tip. I know that now, obviously. Sigh

  40. quick question - HOW did you discover that dryer lint was flammable?

  41. Back in the day I was a cleaner. Cleaning out the crapper was always the first thing I'd do, at like 5.30 in the morning.

    A) If you do that first, you know it's all downhill after that.

    B) There's nothing in the morning that's going to wake you up faster than the sight and smell of a public lav.