Mar 27, 2008

Dirty little secret

Remember the boys' escapades with food coloring last week? I mentioned that some extra effort would be required to remove the red stains from the floor tile grout. Yesterday, armed with Scrubbing Bubbles and a toothbrush, I decided to tackle the tile.

Instead of being satisfied with my work, I came up with a whole new problem.

To the untrained eye (situated five to six feet above the ground), our beige floor tile is held in place with chocolate brown grout. While that is a lovely thought, Garry and I really know that it's original amber color has just gotten so dirty that it appears brown. This is extremely disgusting when I stop and think about it. In spite of being a pretty good housekeeper with a particular fetish for clean floors, my kitchen tile is probably crawling with microbial unmentionables. Dirty floor grout is something I have relegated to the cobwebs of my brain, along with my soapy dish sponge and the mysterious spill in the back of the fridge. I don't disturb the cobwebs very often because I'm afraid that a big germophobic spider will eat me.

Yesterday, however, in my zeal to remove red food coloring from the grout, I also removed several layers of chocolate brown. I stopped trying to scrub out the red because I was so horrified that the clean amber grout was showing through for the first time in four years. Instead of removing a stain, I revealed my secret. My floor isn't really clean.

One option, of course, would be to clean the entire floor. I haven't calculated how many linear feet of grout exist in my kitchen, dining room, and adjoining bathroom, but I'm sure the number is close to a zillion. That's a lot of effort. Stanley Steemer would charge me about 300 bucks to professionally clean the tile. That's not happening. Maybe I should send out party invitations and force the guests into slave labor once they arrive. Twenty scrubbing toothbrushes would get the job done in no time. That actually sounds kind of fun, but then twenty people would know my secret and I'd have to dispose of them.

So I'm on a new quest. I need to re-brownify two spots on the grout. Please vote on which readily-available substance I should use:

(a) mud
(b) chocolate syrup
(c) compost
(d) brown crayon
(e) food coloring
(f) _________ (the write-in candidate)

In the meantime, a bright red dish towel sits on the floor next to the fridge, cleverly concealing the only spot of clean grout in the kitchen. Maybe I'll just forget to hang it up before our two house showings today. I can always blame that on the boys.
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