We threw a sponge mop away last week. It wasn’t really worn out, but we got a new one anyway. We bought a new broom, too, because the old one had curled up from lack of use.
Back in the “good old days” when our eight children were little, even though our house seldom looked like it, we probably used up more brooms and mops in less time than most homes in this area did.
We always had four brooms on hand. One was upstairs, one in the kitchen, another in the basement and one outside. It was supposed to save me a lot of steps.
Somehow the plan never really worked. We usually had one broom in use, one to play with, another to fight over, and one lost at any given time.
We seldom had more than two sponge mops in action at a time. When a new one was purchased, the old one was sent up to the bathroom, and as far as I could tell, the oldest one just disintegrated.
We had white kitchen floors when our children were little, so I should have mopped it every day, and usually did mop it every other day.
Then one summer day as I regarded the fresh footprints and assorted spills on the linoleum, it occurred to me that it was time for the messers to become cleaners. I summoned them to the kitchen, armed one with a mop and bucket, and the others with paper towels. The mopper scrubbed the soapy water over the floor, and the dryers wiped it dry
They had seen a wringer bucket and a string mop. We bought the set, and they thought it was great. I felt like Tom Sawyer with a bucket of whitewash as I dispensed the floor-mopping privilege each day. A whole month went by without my hand touching a mop.
But then one day I heard a splashing crash during the mopping exercise. Somehow the whole bucketful of soapy water had been upset. As we formed a mop and broom brigade to sweep the water off the floor and out the back door, I recited the “thou art clumsy” litany. When the guilty party tried to explain how it happened. I interrupted with, “Nothing but sheer carelessness.” I should have listened.
When the kids returned to school in the fall, the footprints and spills lessened, and I was once again swinging the mop.
The first time I used the new wringer bucket, I discovered it required a combination of balance and acrobatic ability I sadly lacked.
Following the instructions, I filled the bucket with hot soapy water. Then I jammed the mop into the bucket, placed one foot on the sturdy metal tab on the floor, and then lifted my other foot to depress the pedal that would cause the wringer to wring the mop.
To this day I’m not sure what really happened, but as I sat there on the kitchen floor with the water lapping gently around me, I surely did miss those kids. It isn’t easy to sweep a bucketful of soapy water out the back door all by yourself.
Today I don’t miss mopping the floor daily, but sometimes I really miss having the messers and moppers around every day.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on Oct. 12, 2001.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.