My mom has this pair of friends. They met in the nineties when us kids all played soccer in the summer, and Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey were a hot enough item to score their own TV show. Because I highlighted my hair blond, and was charmingly clueless about all things domestic, the husband of the pair started calling me “Jessica.” The nickname stuck around longer than the show, only to be reinforced later in high school when I:
- accidentally started a small fire in the toaster oven while Mom was out of town
- stopped the fire by pouring an entire box of baking soda over it and then left the oven out on the patio for a week
- tried to salvage the toaster oven by cleaning off the week-old, caked-on baking soda by using my makeup brushes.
It’s been hard to live that one down.
So, my mom and this friend, and, well, all my mom’s friends will find it highly ironic and amusing that I spent my first day of married life in Florida cleaning two bathrooms. Yes, an entire day. But without makeup brushes. OBVIOUSLY not because I like cleaning. I don’t. But out of necessity. You shouldn’t have to wear flip flops in your own shower.
I now own these:
Except I did not look as glamorous or as happy as the model when I was elbows deep into a toilet bowl. Maybe someday I will. Dare to dream.
This played in my head the whole time:
To be fair to my husband, bathrooms and tropical climates aren’t a good match and he’d been out of town for two weeks, then basically living at school for two more to meet a deadline. I also don’t think he sees dirt. (We use separate bathrooms for a reason.) Maybe it’s a variation of color blindness. Because I love the color pink. But I do NOT love it around my drain. Around all the drains.
I used Comet for the first time in my life. Never knew what that was for, but I bought it, and then Googled what to do with it. First Google search of married life: best uses for Comet. (Hot.) May not have heeded the warning not to mix with toilet bowl cleaner close enough, though. Did have a brief coughing fit and had to lie on the floor to get the chlorine gas stink out of my lungs. Got up and made my own half and half of vinegar and water in a nifty spray bottle. Tried out a few of Bob Vila’s bathtub cleaning tricks, found a winner. Unclogged a few drains. (Threw up in my mouth a little, but refused to vomit in the now partially-cleaned tub.)
It was quite a workout. Scrubbed mildew and mold away with such vigour that I felt the backs of my thighs jiggling as I was bent over the tub. There’s some imagery for you #amIright. Now my new Kate Spade shower curtain hangs proudly in my sparkling bathroom. And I got my first wifely praise from my husband. Verbatim: “Wow, babe, the bathtub is so white!” (Don’t ask what color it was before…)
It wasn’t quite the start to my new life here I’d envisioned. The next day, I sat in my underwear, eating ramen while watching Gilmore Girls. I ate ramen because it was literally my only option in the apartment aside from eggs or whiskey. I had no ability to go to the grocery store because in DB, you need a car. And I couldn’t Uber because I live in a gated community, but did not yet have my name on the lease, so had no swipe access to operate said gate. It was a weird week, one where it rained every day and my only outings from the apartment were to Walmart and Publix, chauffeured by my husband.
But by end of Week 1, the sun came out, and I had a US phone number, my own key to the gate, a FL license, and my dream car. Things were coming up Laurida! That’s right – MY DREAM CAR. In Barcelona Red. (Kalen knows.) The Corolla. I’m actually not joking. I loved my Yaris for seven sweet years and it kills me she’s still for sale back home. But whenever someone rear-ended me (happened more than you’d think) and I needed a rental, I always ended up in a Corolla and it felt luxurious by comparison. Even the Daytona Toyota salesman seemed a bit dazed and confused by my enthusiasm for it, but he happily showed me all of its features. I now have BLUETOOTH in my car for the first time. He showed me how to make phone calls and tried to dial my old boss’s cell as a demo. “Please don’t call Allan Hawco. It’s 11 pm NL time,” I had to ask. Then he synced my iTunes. He was definitely confused at this point. Bach. Beethoven. Barry Canning. (HA! And I bet you thought I was going to say Brahms.)
What more could I need?
Now with my own wheels, life here really begins. It was a humbling experience not being able to drive myself after a decade of being able to go where I wanted, when I wanted. Having to wait on someone (worse, a man) to come fetch me to take me where I needed. Three days in and it started to break my spirit a bit. But now I feel I’ve got my independence back a bit. Back in business.