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February 02, 2009

Mop Wars

Susan Warning: ridiculous rant ahead.

It’s not the big things that get us down. Sure, we’re all worried about the economy. Yes, the two wars we’re fighting weigh heavily on our minds. And I know that global warming threatens our very existence. These issues are a constant, steady burden — too big, too complex to push me into hyperventilation mode. 

No, the straws that break this camel’s back are the little things, the final insults that make me scream “I can’t take it any more.” This week, it was my mop.

As housekeepers go, I have my moments — usually when we’re about the have company or when I’m really angry. If I’m perfectly honest, the reason we have company at all is to get the entire house clean at the same time. And there’s nothing like getting your mad on to make that porcelain shine.

The trouble with six people and a dog all under one roof is that getting the house clean and keeping it clean are two entirely different processes. When we are preparing for company, I clean one room at a time, forcing the family into smaller and smaller living quarters until the event has past. The night before Thanksgiving, we all slept in the front hall closet. For days beforehand, I sounded like a banshee screaming “Don’t go in there, I just cleaned that room.”

But now it’s mid-winter. The holidays are long past and there isn’t a hosting event in sight, so things have slipped a little. The kitchen floor, in particular, had reached a critical point, somewhere between my slipper sticking to that spot of spilled juice by the refrigerator and the health department shutting us down.

This was not entirely my fault. I needed a new mop head, as my old one had turned into a crusty, flattened germ dispenser, and I kept forgetting to buy a new one. Here’s the beginning of the rant: why, oh why, don’t mop makers make replacement heads that fit my mop? On Sunday’s trip to the grocery, I actually remembered to buy a new mop head, but made the mistake of leaving it on the kitchen counter. Who knew this plastic wrapped blue sponge would prove so enticing to the dog? She ripped it to shreds. Seven bucks down the drain.

So, on Monday’s trip to the grocery, I actually remembered to buy another one. I even double-checked the brand of my mop before I left to make sure I would buy the right one. Yep, this was it: attaches with two screws, folds in half and has a little red scrubby thing that you put on the edge.

I got it home, took off the old sponge head and put the new one against the frame only to discover it was an inch and a half too long and the screws were in the wrong place.  Why would the company that sounds like afternoon delight do this to me?

I was furious. I was incensed. I was not going to be beaten down by corporate greed. I took my new mop head to the basement, used a hacksaw to cut off one of the imbedded screws, used an awl to poke a hole in the right place for the screw and took it back upstairs, victorious. That floor would be mopped, and it would be mopped now.

It didn’t work. The mop head was off center and when I tried to wring it out, the newly located screw popped off and flew under the refrigerator.

Did I give up? No! I found a rubber band (see photo), which lasted exactly long enough to get the floor mopped — once — and then I threw the whole thing out. Another seven bucks down the drain, plus the cost of a new mop. Well, I better start searching — we’ve got birthdays coming up in a couple weeks and company’s coming.

This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post. When Susan isn’t ranting about cleaning supplies, she can be found writing at Two Kinds of People and The Animal Store Blog.


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