Calling Mr. Clean

Calling Mr. Clean

From Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul

Calling Mr. Clean

Maybe it was nesting on steroids. Possibly it was my less-than-neat twin toddlers. Or perhaps it was a compulsive desire to maintain the illusion of order in my life. Whatever the reason, during my last pregnancy I just could not stop thinking about cleaning things. I just couldn’t get enough of All Things Immaculate.

So when I saw the sponge, yellow, five inches thick and really squishy looking, I had to have it. Had to have it in a way only a pregnant woman has to have something. It’s bizarre, but I actually salivated when I saw it. Had I ever seen anything more useful, more amazing? And for a mere ninety-nine cents! Who could pass up such a bargain? Certainly not pregnant old Pavlovian me.

Myriad cleaning endeavors starring the sponge and myself tap-danced glitzily around in my head. I would try it out first as my own personal bath implement. Unfortunately, it made a squeaky noise as I pulled it across my skin, so I had to nix that idea. I used it to clean the bathtub instead. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’d giddily daydream, planning our next encounter. Maybe tonight it would be the bathtub again. Or the kitchen floor. Or maybe even the car.

And it didn’t stop with the sponge. Other cleaning implements, things that I hadn’t glanced at in years, let alone used, became tantalizingly attractive to me. The white scouring brush under the sink. Brillo pads. Bottled cleaning products. I couldn’t keep my hands off them.

At the supermarket, instead of standing pondering ice cream bars in the frozen foods aisle as usual, I stood transfixed by Ajax, Soft Scrub and Pine Sol. Mr. Clean winked seductively at me, and I fantasized about just how sparklingly clean I could get my bathroom faucet if only I brought the burly fellow home with me.

I scoured the finish off the linoleum in the kitchen one night. I washed the car every day for a week. Masked and gloved, I obsessively sprayed, spritzed, rubbed, wiped, waxed and polished my way through my last trimester.

And then I had my baby boy, and the romance was over. Whatever hormone it was that caused my sponge fetish thankfully exited my body with my son, leaving me once again a comfortable slob, unconcerned about suds and sparkling appliances. The scrub brush got tossed back under the sink with a shrug; the brigade of impulse-purchased cleaning supplies was relegated to the back of the linen closet. I stopped returning Mr. Clean’s calls. The wonder-sponge sulkily disappeared into the basement. I wondered, perplexed, just what I’d seen in the thing when I stumbled upon it about a year later. I held it in my hand and tried to rekindle the old flame. Nothing doing.

And then a couple of days ago, we were at Sam’s Club, and there it was. Another sponge. A big, meaty, make-everything-sparkling-clean yellow sponge. My heart skipped a beat. I could practically taste the bone-tingling satisfaction of a cleaning job done right. I started to drool.

And that’s when I knew.

That sponge and I were going to be very busy for the next nine months.

Karen C. Driscoll

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