I prefer porcelain

Today the mood to scrub out my bathtub struck me. It’s a rare mood, so I took advantage of it.

For some time I’ve been meaning to at least smack down the rust ring caused by my shaving cream can with some Barkeeper’s Friend. Today when I went to shave my legs I was finally disgusted enough by the ring to do something about it. And while I was at that task, I realized the entire tub could use a scouring.

Our apartment was renovated before we moved in. While we weren’t explicitly told this, I’m pretty sure no one lived in it before us after the renovation. The appliances were brand new, and there were no obvious signs of wear and tear anywhere. (A few non-obvious signs had been patched up and painted over.) Further, the bathroom tile, sink, and tub had the look of having never been used.

Another piece of evidence that makes me think we were the first to live here after the renovation is the fact that over time, whatever sealant the contractors had put on the tub and tile actually started stripping away.

It first started on the soap dishes in the tub. The act of simply keeping soap there apparently degraded the coating, such that it broke and flaked off. Then the bottom of the tub started to discolor; washing had no effect. Today, while scrubbing at the corner of the tub where my shaving cream usually sits to get at the rust ring, I realized my brush had knocked some sealant off the very tiles. Even the tiles had been coated over with something! (I also noticed that the inside front of the tub, which one doesn’t normally look at, is spanned by a line of dry drips from where the sealant was originally applied.)

I am not a fan of plastic tubs in general, and this rapid degradation–we haven’t even lived here a year and a half!–is really disappointing. If I ever own a home (which seems unlikely), I will eschew plastic entirely in my bathrooms. And renovations will not consist of simply spraying a coating over everything.

Idea: Tidy Tea

I have an idea that could help people with two growing problems: the tedium of household chores, and the lack of time to spend with friends/family. I call it the Tidy Tea.

One day a week, a small group of friends plans a traveling tidy-up get-together. They start at one house, tidy up, pause for a short break, then move to the next. During the cleaning the friends get the chance to reconnect, to talk, to enjoy each other’s company. For the break they could have a small healthful snack and a nice cup of tea and just sit back and relish their handiwork.

At the last house, everyone could pitch in and cook dinner, and then more friends/family and spouses could arrive and everyone could eat together. The dinner might only happen once a month rather than every week, but it would be a lot of fun.

The cleaning would need to be limited to certain things: dusting, washing windows, etc. No house should get more effort than another–at least, not consistently. We know emergencies or bad weeks happen, and that would be taken into account, but it wouldn’t be cool for someone to leave their house a horrific mess for their friends to clean up.

Ultimately, having a tidy crew come through each week should inspire each participant to keep everything put in its place instead of lying all over the house, so that the cleaning work would simply be routine maintenance, and not cleaning up someone’s messes.

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