A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: boys

Does your bathroom smell like a truck stop men’s room?

Today for Just the Tip Tuesday I’d like to step outside of my comfort zone and talk about something I normally don’t discuss: pee. You know, urine, number one, tee-tee, tinkle, piss, mellow yellow, the golden stream of relief, that which is produced when the main vein is drained.

It’s obviously outside of my comfort zone because I clearly prefer to talk about poop. But I had a pee-related problem, I needed a solution, and I found one worth sharing. I’m a giver, what can I say.

I have three kids. One of them is a five year old son whom I affectionately refer to as Bucket Head. He is pretty popular around here.

But what you might not know about this curly headed cherub of a boy is that Bucket Head has terrible aim when he pees. I don’t know if he gets distracted or he just doesn’t give a hoot, but that child sure makes a mess every time he takes a whiz.


I would tell him to just go outside all the time, but I once caught him pinching a loaf in the front yard (with his back to the street, no less!) Also, he’s about to start Kindergarten and I just can’t afford the ramifications of him not fully understanding when it is and is not acceptable to go outside.

So inside he stays and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remove the toilet seat and scrape the dried boy pee off the back of my toilets. It really bums me out.

And let’s not even discuss the fact that I foolishly chose to install white semi-gloss wainscoting in my powder room, the only room in my home that we’ve completely remodeled.

Well the other day, while using said powder room, I noticed a horrible smell. I kid you not, it smelled like a truck-stop men’s room (just guessing). It was absolutely disgusting. I figured that Bucket Head had gone in there and done a fire-hose impersonation and that all I needed to do was clean the toilet (and possibly wipe down the walls).


Nothing I did worked. I scrubbed and scrubbed, and still…the smell of old urine haunted that room as if it were being visited nightly by a hobo convention.

I was pissed! (See what I did there?)

So I did what I usually do, and I Googled.

And I found a potential solution! It was from Anna Moseley of Ask Anna. She’s a lovely lady. I have used her cleaning tips a number of times and I actually met her at the Haven conference last month. (At a Waffle House, where I was getting my hash browns on…smothered, covered, and capped, yo.)

Anna wrote a post all about getting rid of “boy bathroom smell.” I followed her directions to the letter and it worked!

In a nutshell, Anna said to:

1.) Make a paste with baking soda and freshly squeezed lemon juice (a natural disinfectant.) I used one lemon, it was plenty.

2.) Apply the paste liberally to all the places around the toilet that get a lot of over-spray, especially the base of the toilet.

3.) Let it sit for 15 minutes.

4.) Then spray it with white vinegar and wipe it down with a damp rag.

She also suggested spraying white vinegar on the other surfaces surrounding the toilet and then wiping that with a damp rag too.

I had to take that one step further because of the wainscoting and I used an old toothbrush with the vinegar to get all the caked-on pee out of the grooves. It really didn’t take that long. I was in the zone; rather zen-like actually. I might do this more often.

And I’m proud to tell you that my bathroom no longer reeks of old urine. So I have that going for me.

Here is the original post by Anna if you need any clarification on the steps. Please tell her I said hello!

Sincerely, and now with less stank,



(Please note: the following blog post was originally published in 2008, when I was clearly still on the sauce. Proceed with caution.) 

I love that my 9-year-old son is a Cub Scout… I do. He has a blast and it is always very wholesome, good clean fun, which I suspect is good for growing children. Soap carving, anyone?

But I have two problems with the whole Cub Scout camp-out thing.

1.) They have a very strict rule that no alcoholic beverages are allowed at camp.

2.) The other moms and dads are very nice. I mean VERY nice. Like the nicest people I have ever met.

In other words—I do not fit in there at all.

And being in the balmy, great outdoors around very nice, responsible parents and 30 loud little boys running amok with sharp sticks and pocket knives really makes me want to soothe myself with a cocktail or two.

But I muscled through the pain and managed to really enjoy myself, and there were a few high points that I’d like to share with you.

First, let’s talk about Cornhole.

Cornhole is a bean-bag tossing game that originated in Ohio. The board looks like this:

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

Apparently, people who play this game are very passionate about it. The dimensions of the board are strictly regulated, as are the bean-bags, the distance between the player and the board, the scoring, etc. However, I had never heard of this “game” until Cub Scout Family Camp when one of the dads asked me “if I wanted to play Cornhole” with him and I almost crapped my pants.

“Excuse me?” I stuttered.

At which point he tossed me a bag of dried corn, pointed to the game board on the ground, and taught me how to play. And you know what? It was really, really fun! But I was DYING, y’all. Because I couldn’t control myself and made a snide crack about how I had never heard the term “Cornhole” outside of the prison movies I so enjoy watching and HE TOTALLY DIDN’T GET IT. He cocked his head to the side and made a “Huh?” face and I quickly realized that I should probably not attempt to joke around with Cub Scout Dads about anything remotely related to S-E-X, prison style or otherwise. These dads are very nice. And very straight. And to some of them, Cornhole is no laughing matter.

But thank God for my husband. As soon as I finished my Cornholing session with Mr. Ohio, I ran as fast as my stumps could carry me to tell my man about the game and we giggled until our faces hurt. We don’t do that very often—my husband is actually one of those Nice Cub Scout Dads—but luckily for me, I must have rubbed off on him a bit (wink wink) because he does appreciate a good dirty joke from time to time. Not often enough, I say, but we’re working on it. I’ll keep rubbing.

So one more really funny thing to share, if you don’t mind.

The Scoutmaster organized an “Iron Chef” competition between the campers. The kids were divided up into three teams, given access to a pantry of processed foods, and taught various outdoor camp cooking methods, one of which is the Dutch Oven. Honestly, I should force my son to stay in Scouts just for the material.

After the cooking demonstration, the three teams were each assigned a secret ingredient to incorporate into their dishes. My team’s secret ingredient was popcorn. Now, I was just lurking on the edge of the group, having to follow my 19-month-old son, Bucket Head, around and make sure he didn’t wander off and get eaten by a bear, so I wasn’t really helping the kids choose the menu. But watching these other nice nice moms and dads strategize was fascinating.

The main rule of this contest was that the kids had to do all the cooking—the parents could only supervise and control the cooking fuel. But when I learned that my group was stumped about how to use the popcorn in their dish, I just had to butt-in. They had just settled on a simple trail mix of popcorn and nuts when I sidled up to one of the more assertive moms and asked her if we had access to marshmallows and butter. I then planted the seed in her head that if we made popcorn balls out of the popcorn, it would be a real crowd pleaser and something that the kids would have fun making. Wouldn’t you know it? That nice mom hopped on my idea faster than an Ohioan on a stiff ear of corn.

Now, I’m not used to being listened to by anyone other than my team of well-compensated, highly skilled psychiatrists, so suddenly being thrust into the mix of an Iron Chef competition with a team of eager scouts and parents reporting to me was quite the power trip. Suddenly, Bucket Head was fending for himself and I was melting butter and marshmallows in a Dutch Oven, fixin’ to lead my team to victory. You know that phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Well, imagine the extra chaos of an outdoor camp style kitchen with propane fueled burners and a very enthusiastic team of very competitive nice nice parents and their 6-year-old sons. It was mayhem. But the popcorn balls were my idea and I was not going to let my team down, dammit!

Well we oiled up the hands of these seven little kids, and I gotta tell you, I don’t think their hands were all that clean. But rules are rules and we had an Iron Chef style ticking clock to beat, so we greased ’em up and let them dig into the pot and grab handfulls of gooey popcorn and mold them into balls. It was messy. It was sticky. It was germy. But it was really cool.

Thank GOD it worked.  Just look at my glistening balls. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fast forward to the judging. My husband, who has a talent for garnishing, helped the boys plate up the other dishes and deliver them to the judges with those germy popcorn balls decorating each plate like something you’d see in a real restaurant—and I’m talkin’ about a classy joint like Cracker Barrel.

You should have heard the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” from the judges and other campers. The popcorn balls were a HUGE hit. In fact, the lead judge exclaimed that he hadn’t eaten an old-fashioned popcorn ball since he was a child and the nostalgia of it really touched his heart. Yep, those germy sweet and salty balls o’ mine won our team first place! The nice nice scout leaders even recognized me by name in the award ceremony; it may be one of my proudest moments. (Note to self: never underestimate the power of balls, and also, I really need to get out more.)

© 2008 The Bearded Iris


My husband recorded part of the Olympics several nights ago to show the kids.  It was the Trampoline Finals (WTF? Who even knew this was an Olympic sport?).  We have a trampoline in our back yard and my kids think they are the shiznit when they do a summersault on it.  “Look Mom!  LOOK!  WATCH ME!  Are you watching?  Mom LOOK!  I’m gonna do a flip!”  So I watch.  And it is just a summersault.  Not a flip.  But of course I say “Great job honey!” Then I start to panic because I remember reading an article about the dangers of over-praising your kids and I shout “That’s a great summersault!  Keep practicing…you’ll be doing flips in no time!”  So when we watched the Olympic trampolining together and witnessed these incredible young women bounce 3 stories high and do multiple twists and flips and contortions in mid air, you would think my kids would say, “WOW! That is amazing! I wish I could do THAT!” But alas, they did not. My 8 year old son said, completely straight faced, “That is almost exactly the same way I do it.”  And my 5 year old daughter said, “She’s not very pretty.” OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!  Where should I begin?  

Let’s start with the boy. Crap!  I have clearly over-praised this first born son. But, I’m actually rather impressed by his inflated sense of self.  Maybe this will serve him well in life.  If you believe it, you can achieve it, right?  Perhaps I could learn from this child and have a little more faith in my own abilities. Clearly I have done something right as a mother for this boy to have such a positive self esteem.  Now if only I could figure out what that is and apply it to the other two.  

Now for the girl. Oy. I just have one thing to say to all you Disney Princesses out there: FUCK YOU.  My daughter is so amazing.  She is fierce and strong and funny as hell.  She is spirited and spunky and smart. So how is it possible that this feisty young girl, this fruit of my womb, could watch a jaw dropping Olympic feat of strength and skill and not be able to appreciate it because the gymnast wasn’t pretty?  Isn’t strong pretty? Isn’t skill pretty?  Aren’t confidence, determination, focus, and dedication pretty?  I need to do an intervention with this child. Now.  

Disney Princesses, I blame you. You are everywhere my daughter turns. Not just on TV or in movies, but on toys, birthday party invitations, gift wrap, and even little panties. You are in our faces with your animated and unrealistic beauty. You have no moles, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, gray hairs, or pimples.  Your teeth are perfectly white.  Animals come to you when you sing.  That is charisma!  Every little girl I’ve ever met wants to be you.  But I am here to say that I see through your cartoony facades.  It is time that someone took you bee-otches back to school.    

Cinderella, yes, your father let you down by not providing for you in his will.  We all have Daddy issues…get over it.  You should have kicked your stepmother’s ass or at least taken her to Royal Court for a portion of the estate.  You did not have to stay there and cook and clean for those bitches and you certainly did not need a charming prince to rescue you. You are no role model, sister. You are a doormat. A very pretty doormat, yes, but not a role model.  Stay away from my daughter.  

Snow White, same to you.  With those organizational skills and innate abilities at communicating with forest animals, you could have had a fabulous career in Zoology or dog whispering.  Shame on you for squandering your talents.  Next time, listen to your parents and don’t talk to strangers bearing gifts.  

Sleeping Beauty – stick that gold plated spinning needle up your animated ass.  Your parents and legal guardians were morons. Nobody should have let you out of their site on your sixteenth birthday.  But they did and of course you touched the needle and poof you are dead….at least until that kiss.  But again with the whole Prince Charming thing….ack.  

Princess Jasmine and Ariel….oppressed by fathers, rescued by princes, yadda yadda yadda.  Can’t we get a good father figure for once here?  And where are the mothers for God’s sake?  No wonder these girls are such a mess.

Belle, I like that you are a voracious reader and want to get out of that poor provincial town.  Yes.  Bravo! However, your shallowness disturbs me.  I do not like that you were unwilling to publicly profess your love for the beast until it was seemingly too late, and that you were rewarded for your lack of committment with his extreme makeover into a handsome human prince.  Good Lord, another prince.  Belle, your behavior perpetuates the practice of judging a book by its cover…ironic, considering your love of books.  You should know better.  (Also, weak father figure and no mother….I’m seeing a pattern here….hmmmm.)  

Mulan, you kick ass girl.  And I like that you defend your father’s honor.  That is good stuff.  Too bad you have to pretend to be a boy in order to achieve your goal.  I guess that doesn’t really promote the “just be yourself” principle.  Damn, thought I had a good one for a minute there.

Thank goodness for Princess Fiona and Shrek, although that is not a Disney flick, which explains a lot.  Well, at least that is a step in the right direction.  Especially in Shrek the Third when all the princesses band together to kick some ass. Good stuff. Unfortunately, I think my daughter is about as impressed with chubby green Fiona as she is with the Canadian gymnasts.  

So, I guess we’ll be doing a Disney Princess moratorium here for a little while. I am also going to take her out of Ballet class before she develops an eating disorder and enroll her in Karate.  I will take her to the library to read books about women like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman and Rachel Carson…women whose contributions were world changing and totally unrelated to their looks. I will make a concerted effort to stop praising her for looking cute or pretty and instead recognize her for good deeds and fierce determination.  I am going to stop saying things like, “Let’s ask Daddy to fix that when he gets home,” and show her some real girl power when I fix it myself.  I am going to stop making comments about others’ looks and start commenting on others’ contributions to society.  And I am going to stop watching “Bret Michael’s Rock of Love II” reruns.  That shit is just crazy.

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