I have a compulsion today to not just clean my house, but to disinfect it. Somehow the sight of mountains of used up tissues from my cold-laden daughter just inspires me to tell that mountain to MOVE. Strangely enough, it won’t just stand up and march to the trash can all by itself. I strategically place trash cans all over the house in areas where she is prone to be — coffee table, work table for homeschool, beside the bed. It doesn’t help that the dogs think all tissues are magical toys. One of them eats them whole, and the other one shreds them to bits. So it’s not just used tissues I’m dealing with around here. We have to put the tissue boxes up high so the big dog can’t reach them…otherwise he’ll just have himself a nice snack full of lots of fiber. Likewise with the trash cans. Currently I have one trash can on a coffee table, another one on the kitchen counter for the recycling, and another one sitting on top of the table in the homeschool room. (The cans in the bathrooms are all on top of the toilets…not that you were wanting to know that tidbit of info!)
I like everything that gets rid of germs. Antibacterial wipes. Antibacterial hand cleaner. Anything with bleach. Sprays, gels, foams…you name it, I like it. I have my eye on those toothbrush sanitizers that sanitize using UV light. When someone in the house has a cold, I go around wiping down the doorknobs, faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cordless phones, etc. Think I’m crazy? Tada! I’ve been vindicated! Some scientists at the University of Virginia did a study and found that people suffering from a cold leave a trail of contagious germs behind on items that they touch. Think door handles, refrigerator handle, remotes…even salt and pepper shakers! (tell me I’m crazy the next time I use hand sanitizer after handling the salt and pepper at a restaurant!!) The research showed that the germs were living on the surfaces up to 48 hours after the sickly ones touched them.
And that is why I shop at Kroger’s. They have a complimentary Clorox Wipe station so customers can wipe down their carts before they shop. It’s why I don’t take my child to restaurants, to gymnastics, to homeschool co-op, to piano lessons — basically anywhere — when she has a cold or other sickness because I know she is shedding those buggers everywhere. As much as I hate germs, I hate sharing them even more!
It’s also why I have never let my kid play with the toys in the doctor’s office. When she was a baby, I packed a bag of our toys. Now that she’s older, she plays with my phone. I know it’s probably dirty, but at least it’s OUR dirt, right?
Now, I know not everyone follows the same OCD path as me. When I was a teacher, parents brought their kids to school with fevers. They brought them in when they’d just been throwing up. They brought them in with lice, with impetigo, with strep throat, with rashes. I became an expert at checking for lice. (Sometimes the school nurse would go get sheets and then we would wash them at the school because the family did not know how to get rid of them or did not have the means to do so.) I taught my students to wash their hands before they ate, after going to the bathroom, after they cough, after they sneeze. I understand that most people are normal. They aren’t obsessive like me about the germ thing. Funny thing — I wasn’t always this way. I developed it when we had family over for Christmas one year and everyone got the flu except for the one person who had received the flu shot. The company was so sick (think: ER visits!) that they had to postpone flying home for an entire week. So I was sick as a dog and had a houseful of sick-as-a-dog relatives to take care of. I was purified by fire those two weeks, that’s for sure! Now I get my flu shot every year. And I’ve got my can of Lysol ready…
The other day I was in a restaurant and observed an employee leaving the bathroom without washing her hands. She told me, “I’ll wash them in the kitchen.” But of course she touched the door handle with her DIRTY hands as she left. So naturally I was vindicated in my habit of using a paper towel to open the door after washing my own hands…because there are buggers on the handle from people like her.
Isn’t he cute? ThinkGeek and other establishments sell these lovable microbes.
We were talking our daughter through her “miserableness” last night. God has designed our bodies in such a magnificent ways! We have a multi-layered defense system against germs, from the surface of our skin, to the temperature of our bodies, all the way down to the molecular level as we create virtual ARMIES inside ourselves to defeat those which don’t belong. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of the Almighty! From one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 139:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
One of my favorite movies of all time is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I’m not Greek. I didn’t have a huge wedding, either. I looked on YouTube for a clip of the Windex scene but couldn’t find it. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. The bride wakes up with a huge zit right in the middle of her forehead on her wedding day. The aunts and female relatives say it’s a mosquito bite. Her dad takes one look at it and then reaches for his “cure-all” — Windex!
The reason I’m laughing so hard even now is that my own dad’s “cure-all” isn’t Windex…but it’s another household cleaner. It’s PineSol! I remember him using it to get rid of chiggers. It worked so well for him that I’m tempted to try the Windex thing on my zits to see if it works…remember, I like everything that cleans!
So even though I’m not Greek…I’m still a fruit!