Ever since I moved into my apartment I’ve been plagued by the endless details of keeping it clean. The carpet, at first, still had cat hairs from the previous tenant. The stove top is going to need new burner liners. The baseboards don’t get scrubbed often enough. I never remember to dust the blinds, or clean the windows and windowsills. And I never get around to the porch.
I have learned, slowly, which items work best in this apartment. The bleach-based cleaner that keeps my sinks and tub looking… well, clean. The air fresheners that actually freshen the air and don’t just add more scent to it. The need to keep Febreze handy, even in this small location. What to use when I vacuum. How often to clean my kitchen cabinets — take everything out and scrub them.
Then there are the challenges that are specific to this spot.
Example: there’s a hard-water stain in the toilet bowl that I’d been unable to remove, no matter what I tried. I bought every over-the-counter toilet bowl cleaner I could find. I scrubbed and I scrubbed and I scrubbed. I soaked and powdered and gelled and bleached and tried and tried. And the stain just seemed to get worse.
The weird thing is that I saw it as some sort of visual representation of my failings as a homemaker. It was as if this one glaring ring was a reminder of all the other things I never get to and never have done well. And, probably because of that, I never asked for help.
That changed this week.
I don’t remember what conversation I was engaged in that prompted me blurting out that I’d been cleaning the bathroom that morning and that I couldn’t get rid of the toilet bowl ring. But I did blurt it out to one of my coworkers. And she told me that she reads Heloise and that she had cut out one that gave a recommendation on what to do. “Use straight vinegar,” she told me. Since I had a bottle of vinegar at home, I just poured the whole thing in when I got home. I let it soak, then I scrubbed. And it disappeared.
The toilet bowl ring is gone.
I’m going to go into work tomorrow and let my coworker know that the advice worked beautifully.
And I’m going to remember to ask for help next time. Maybe I’ll even remember not to obsess over things that aren’t my fault.