Opinion – 1/3/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Panolian: OPINIONS – Rita Howell

From the 1/3/06 issue of The Panolian :                 

Hold the pine oil, hold the commode cleaner:
     cat and wait staff reside here

John gets bomb threats. Sherry Hopkins glues her thumb to a star. They get all the good stuff to write about.

Nothing ever happens to me.

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Thursday’s garbage day, a high point in our week, but who else cares?

Thursday is also the day our wonderful cleaning lady comes.

When I went back to work, the cleanliness of our home suffered. So we hired someone to clean up for us once a week. When we get home on Thursday nights, the house is clean and fresh.

I never see her. She comes and goes while I’m at work, sort of like the good housekeeping fairy.

I have only two minor complaints. One is with her choice of cleansers. Many people swear by pine oil, but it reminds me of the girls’ bathroom in the old two-story red brick building at Batesville Elementary School when I was in the fourth grade.

Don’t get me wrong. Pine trees smell great. But when you concentrate that odor and bring it inside, it’s overpowering to me. Give me lemon, peach, or better yet, chocolate instead.

Now I didn’t want to discourage our cleaning lady because otherwise she gets the job done.

But I just couldn’t get used to walking into that heavy piney smell every Thursday night.

We communicate by notes, so the next week, just before I departed for work, I left her a note: "Please don’t use pine oil."

Then I started looking for my bottle of Mr. Clean. Rupert was looking at his watch, the car was running outside, and I couldn’t find my Mr. Clean.

How could I ask her not to use pine oil when I didn’t offer a replacement cleanser? Did I expect her to use shampoo on the kitchen floor?

Pine oil or water. That was my choice. I chose water. And walked out the door.

Apparently the cleaning lady improvised. We came home to a sanitized, orderly house minus the pine scent.
About that second complaint…

We have a cat, Margaret Jane, a beautiful calico who likes to drink out of the toilet occasionally.

Our good housekeeping fairy was leaving some fresh, fragrant cleanser in the toilet after she finished cleaning the bathroom each week. My fear was that the cat would get to the toilet before I had a chance to flush away the chemicals.

So for a while, every Thursday evening when the cat and I walked in the door, I ran around flushing.

I finally got up the nerve to confess to the fairy that I needed her to stop leaving the stuff in the commode because I was afraid it would kill the cat.

Now I have removed all doubt (in her mind and yours) that both my cat and I are crazy.


Rita Howell can be reached rita@panolian.com or by writing to P. O. Box 1616, Batesville, MS 38696.


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