Friday, July 28, 2006


I am here to report on the woman who told you to wipe the Windex from your lives, to kick the Comet, to breathe freer with out the Frebreeze, to cleanse your lives of chemical cleaners of all sorts…the green guru who researched natural cleaning alternatives until the pads of her fingers burned and then announced that the smell of vinegar is cleaner than the smell of the “clean” most of us grew up appreciating…who is forcing her cat to forego the Frontline in favor of brewer’s yeast and lemon rinses.  That woman.  The Earthy Avenger.  The Chemical Crusher. Her.  I am here to report she entered willingly into a scuffle with a Rustoleum Tub and Tile refinishing kit and lost.  

She was looking for a new drain plug in a hardware store when the Rustoleum Kit blindsided her with it’s promise of a porcelain sheen.  She imagined herself chopping vegetables in the kitchen, laughing next to a sink glowing with clean.  Her dirty, bluish, stain-magnet of a dull sink would be a distant memory.  Nobody could be depressed in a kitchen with a sink like sunshine.  Her baby would bring baby friends over and say, “Look at that fabulous sink my mommy made.”  That’s the future she deserved, she felt it deep in her bones, as she plopped the Rustoleum Kit into her bag without even checking the long list of toxic hazards it contained.  

Fast forward a few days.  The plummer has already removed her water spouts and the drains.  Baby and Daddy have been sent off to watch a movie at Heather Auntie’s.  The Guru of Green has already scoured her sink, as per directions, with Barkeeper’s Friend and Barkeeper’s Lime Remover.  Her husband calls and tells her to open the kitchen window.  She does.  Then she sands the sink’s surface, and wipes it.  Finally, she is ready for the fun to begin.

Miss No-Toxicity-In-My-House-Pants stands at her trusty kitchen counter with can A, which is a clear liquid that smells like it could contaminate one of the smaller Great Lakes.  She pours can A into can B, which looks like paint.  Together they are thinnish paint with fumes so potent she doesn’t even notice how high she immediately becomes.  She is so high she forgets how she has turned a leaf against hanging out in noxious fumes, and she paints her sink with a baby paint roller.

In the hour before she applies coat two, she feels faint.  Just as she begins dipping the roller into the paint, her neighbors pop over and notice her eyes are glazed.  They prop up a fan in her window, which they open entirely; they make her keep her door open, even though it let in the mosquitoes; they tsk-tsk before leaving her alone to finish the work, which she does.

Afterwards, she escapes the fumes by hiding in her bedroom.  But she doesn’t really escape them.  She thinks of two separate emails she has received from her husband earlier that day, with the subject lines:  WE SHOULD WASH THE CURTAINS (they contain allergens, the body explains) and NO SANDING (of the cabinets, until they are checked for lead).   Her husband is in the middle of a book called, How To Raise Your Children Toxic Free.  He will be arriving any minute, with baby BabyG, who Miss Greeny-Two-Shoes and her husband have long ago agreed not to poison.  

There is too much storage under the bed to be able to hide there, plus, she is finally old enough to realize hiding doesn’t solve anything (especially bad smells).

So calls hubby and asks him to stay away, but now how bad the fumes are.  None of her friends are home, when she tries them, in her hopes hubby will be less angry if she finds a place to sleep for the night ahead of time.  Because the fumes are that bad.  She writes a vague message on her blog until she hear’s hubby calling her from outside the front window.  The baby is crying.  He says the whole backyard is full of fumes.  He knows the names of the fumes, and calls them by name, but he tries very hard not to be very angry, which makes her feel worse.  They end up sleeping on an air mattress in the empty garage apartment behind their home.

But the sink looks really good.


Fiddler said...

Will we get to see photos after you move back into your home?

GreenDaddy said...

It smelled like my childhood. Volatile Organic Compounds. Mmmmm. I can't believe how saturated my life was with things that scare the crap out of me now.

I kind of had fun sleeping in the empty garage apartment. It was like camping. In the tent you pitch in your own backyard.

The best part of Miah's filling our whole house with toxic fumes is that we were motivated to air the whole place out, in the middle of summer. I'm sure there were other toxic things in the air that got aired out at the same time. So maybe we came out ahead?