For quite a while now, we'd been down to one teenager in the home. Only one backpack in the hall. Only one pair of shoes -- oh, what am I saying? -- only one size of shoes scattered in the hall. Only one person making impromptu snacks in the middle of the night. And only one set of "products" in the bathroom -- and, since Rebekah has curly, dry hair, she doesn't wash it daily. So, only every-other-day showers, with their accompanying wet towels and piles of discarded clothing.
And then came Aisling.
Aisling, in fact, puts her shoes ON THE SHOE RACK. (Imagine!) She takes her backpack TO HER ROOM. She does make snacks in the night, but she (mostly) clears up after herself. She HANGS HER TOWELS after her showers.
But toiletries, er, excuse me, product?
Aisling does "product" like I've never seen it done. She has product for her skin -- one for her elbows and knees, another for her face, a third for the rest of her body. Product for her face -- exfoliants and pore-unpluggers and acne cream and concealers and, and, and... Product for her body hair -- shaving cream and shaving mousse and depillatory cream and bleach... Product for her hair -- OH! The product for her hair! Stuff to straighten it, stuff to smooth it, stuff to volumize, stuff to shine, stuff to enhance colour, stuff to... I don't know what all that stuff is for.
Suddenly our bathroom was full-to-bursting with bottles and jars and tubes and tubs and spritzers and puffs and scrubs and razors and ... STUFF!
(And that's not including make-up. Make-up she does in her room.)
I've never seen anything quite like it. And me? I hate clutter. Hate it, hate it, hate it with a fiery passion. It's not that we don't have it: we have a small house, we have stuff. There is clutter here, but I wage an ongoing battle to minimize it. Aisling's bathroom clutter was turning my decompressing, serenity-seeking shower time into a stress-out of clutter claustrophobia. I needed a Strategy.
So first I invested in a few of these:
Everyone has one. Everyone keeps their favourite stuff in there, and ferries it with them into AND OUT OF the bathroom. I began to see surfaces in the bathroom once more. Nice, shiny, clutter-free surfaces. And my serenity started to return.
And then we decided that Aisling's preferred shampoo and conditioner could become the family's, because, really, do I care?
Nope. Soap is soap.
So now we have a giant bottle of shampoo and one of conditioner. All her seventy-five pounds of product can be toted to the bathroom her her caddy, and otherwise stay in her room.
Except. When my husband came back from grocery shopping (with a side trip to the pharmacy for The Right Product)... he purchased this:
when he was supposed to get this:
Apparently, there is a Big Difference between the two. Big. (More than the red accents vs blue accents, apparently.) And, because he is a very nice man (aka "soft touch"), he actually went back to the pharmacy and got the Right Bottle. And Aisling is happy. Me, not so much: Now we have a jumbo bottle of the "wrong" stuff. What to do?
If you are a very nice, undevious person (like my husband) you just use it yourself. But that would put that extra bottle back in the bathroom, and I'd just decluttered us down to a very lovely two bottles, one bar of soap, and two shower puffs. For four people! Ah, serenity. I don't WANT an extra bottle in there, not even for the month or so it would take Stephen and me to empty it. I ended up putting it in the closet in the hall, but that doesn't solve the problem. We still have that extra bottle.
Good thing I'm not a nice, undevious person, or I'd be stuck with it forever.
When you open either of the bottles, you see the same thing: thick, white, goop. You smell the same thing: lightly floral. You feel the same thing: slick, soapy slime. It looks, feels, and smells exactly the same...
For the past two weeks, every couple of days, I've been emptying the Wrong Bottle into the Right Bottle, big, soapy glop by big, soapy glop.
It looks, feels, and smells exactly the same... and apparently it works exactly the same, too. Nobody, even Aisling, has noticed a thing. The Wrong Bottle is almost empty now, and soon we will have only the Right Bottle in our bathroom.
Whatever that is.