Thursday, August 11, 2005

Perhaps I Should Get Those Little Booties...

So I have no clue if I fall into the realm of "normal" when it comes to germs and dirt. I think I am somewhere in the middle, although I have yet to ask many people to describe to me their exact tolerance of dirt in the house.

I don't allow shoes in the house, at least for the three of us. Part of this has to do with the fact that all of my floors are freakin' white, my friends. Yes, not just white, but freakin' white. White ceramic tile and "oatmeal" carpet. Oatmeal is as good as white to me. The other reason I don't like shoes in the house is because it gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about what I have been stepping in all day, and the fact that I am bringing it into the house. I can't remember when, I think it was when Mr. Personality was about 6 months or so, that I contemplated all the crap we walk in with our shoes. I mean, literally crap. Urine, vomit, gasoline, oil, you name it and it is on the concrete of the parking lot. I went dizzy with disgust, and so only guests are allowed to wear shoes, although I get a little twitchy when they walk around.

I also will not allow us to sit on our furniture with clothes that we have worn out. Let's say we go to dinner and come home, well, before anyone's butt hits the couch, pants must be changed. I mean, Mr. Personality stands up on the seat of the booth that we are sitting in, and toddlers do it all the time. Thus, I am sitting in exactly what I described above, and the last thing I want to do is transfer it to my sofa. Again, this does not go for guests, of course. Unless I invent some kind of butt protector to hand out to people when they come over, I'm pretty much out of luck when that situation arises.

I keep things fairly clean, but things are cluttered in our small living space. I would have to say my biggest nemesis is dust. But I don't dust that often, so my priorities may be misplaced. I try to use a vinegar solution to clean most things, like our kitchen floor and Mr. Personality's bathroom. I have no sound proof that household chemicals are bad for him, but it makes me feel better, even if it may be misguided. I know some studies have been done that say too clean of an environment is not a good thing for children. I wouldn't call my house that clean, but I still don't like the thought of strange germs lying around where I can't see them.

When obsessing about these things, I always flash back to a passage in one of the James Herriot books (which are all wonderful, by the way). He was describing his visits to the house of the local knacker, and he was struck by the extreme healthiness of the knacker's children. They were perfect specimens with rosy cheeks and who were rarely sick. This amazed him, for they were constantly playing around dead and diseased animals, yet seemed to suffer absolutely no ill effects.

The phrase "God made dirt and dirt don't hurt" plays in my mind when Mr. Personality gets dirty. I think, heavens, children have been getting dirty since time began, and most are fine. But then I think about weird bacteria I don't know about, and I have to fight the urge to wash his hands off this instant before he touches his mouth or eyes.

Perhaps I just have too much time on my hands. Maybe I need to get a little dirt on them instead.


Sue said...

LOL!!! I'm afraid you sound a bit like my mother-in-law, who joked that she wants the phrase: 'Dirt was her worst enemy'on her tombstone.

I don't think my house is particularly dirty, but to me people are far more important than furniture or floors. I don't even think about bacteria, most of the time. We have four cats who sit on the furniture (I've never heard of anyone changing clothes before sitting down) and we wear shoes in the house because we have marble floors, and without shoes our feet ache. We do wipe our feet on a mat if it's muddy outside...

I'm actually quite amused that in your previous post you admitted to drinking diet coke. Now THAT is a poison I don't allow in my house!

(I hope this doesn't sound critical, it's a bit tongue-in-cheek but I know the internet is renowned for creating wrong impressions. I just wanted to say that I think I'm middle-of-the-road as far as dirt goes... the house isn't filthy, but I certainly don't worry about it. Oh, and none of us has been sick other than the occasional cold for about 15 years)

Cuppa said...

What a good idea. A box of those booties.

We are a "take your shoes off at the door" family too. I do it automatically even when I go to someone elses house. The shoes always come off, but I have never thought of changing pants on entering the house.

My house has to be tidy, but I am not obsessive about washing walls or disinfecting corners. I don't like clutter, but a bit of dust doesn't bother me.

When I was in my busy, young family phase, and had a big project to tackle, I alwasy scheduled a house cleaning day just before starting the project. That way I didn't have the housework hanging over my head when I sat down to start my other task. Worked for me.

The only time I freak out and clean every inch of my work surface and anything else I might touch, is when I am cooking chicken or turkey. I disinfect the counters, put bleach and hot soapy water in the sink and everything that might have even looked at the chicken or turkey as it was being prepared is put in a bleach bath.

Anvilcloud said...

He of the bad feet thanks you for allowing guests to wear shoes ... and keeping their pants on.

I agree that the James Herriot books are wonderful. A few of his stories have been made into kids' books. Have you seen them?

Mel said...

I like the idea of being sanitary and all and I admit to obsessive handwashing on my part, but I'm afraid we wear shoes in our house sometimes and I never take off my pants before I sit down, much to my husband's chagrin. I just surrender to the dirt and yet, we hardly ever get sick and in fact, almost never throw up.

Gina said...

Ok, so apparently the changing out of the pants is putting me in the realm of "not normal." But it's not like we walk around in our underwear, for goodness sakes, we put another pair on, usually one that is more comfortable anyway!

Besides, before this, no one but Hubba-hubba knew about the changing of the pants thing, so my guests have never offered to bring along a change of clothes!

Don't worry Sue, I didn't find your comment critical at all. :)

Believe it or not, I do know a couple people that are more obsessive than me.

Elizabeth said...

Hubba hubba bubba bubba heart so goes out to you, dude. I know, she's an amazing woman and a fine human being but you gotta change your pants?! Before sitting down on the couch?! Lord love a freakin' duck!

Look, we can do an intervention. Just let me know. At your convenience. Is breakfast good? It's a little intense in that we make her sit on a couch full of cake crumbs and dog hair and little, bitty, unidentifiable foreign object stuff with the same pants on (and shoes...bowling shoes) for six days but after that...she's good to go. You'll be amazed at the transformation. Money back guarantee. You've got nothing to lose except the wacko you married.


Karla said...

After growing up in a home where my mom worked as a cook in a hospital and was a compulsive clean freak, I can very much relate to what you're saying. Her home was always hospital sanitized clean.

If you sneezed or coughed at the dinner table, you were sent away to wash your hands before you could finish your meal even.

My hands are always so dry from washing them so much now. I hate touching doors in public places, and if I have a sleeve long enough, usually wrap that around my hand before I touch it.

I change my pillow case every day, and my sheets every three days because I hate the thought of sleeping with bed bugs.

Of course, no shoes in the house in my home either.

I agree with Cuppa on the bleach bath when preparing meat in the kitchen too. Got that trick from my mom.

Sometimes I put the jam knife in the peanut butter jar when my mom comes over just to bug her ;-) Even that is cross contamination.

Oh…I keep a box of rubber gloves on hand in case I have to touch something nasty. Close enough to those little booties I think.

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red fish said...

I work in a hospital microbiology laboratory, and some things I am obsessive about, and other things less concerned than the average person.

I'm with cuppa when it comes to raw poultry. I can't disinfect enough. However, after looking at a hundred throat cultures a day, all with the same bacteria, I just can't get excited about my kids sharing a straw or spoon. I don't encourage it, but don't worry about it either.

You are much more likely to get sick from sick people than from the environment. As long as you disinfect and cover wounds and don't let Mr.Personality eat dirt, eat animal poop or drink unclean water, (lake water, puddles, etc.) I wouldn't worry about most bacteria. They are not only harmful, but helpful.

My latest obsession is raccoons. Don't let your kids play near where raccoons hang out, and if you find raccoon feces on your property, burn it. If you have a strong constitution, google "raccoon roundworm" to find out why, but please don't go if you are grossed out easily. Just take my word for it.

WordsRock said...

Yo Gina, that shoe and pants thing is a bit freakishly obsessive. I suppose you could bill it as part of your charm...

I did, however, share the same obsessiveness with keeping my son clean. Poor boy. We'd go camping and I always made him bathe each night. And heaven forbid he ever go around with food on his face, a snotty nose or dirty hands. That's just too wrong for words.