We just reminded ourselves of the most perfectly illustrative example of why I don't do home improvement projects.

It was back in our suburban Atlanta compound, late 1990s, and we were "having guests". I have no idea who, but they were sufficiently important that we would be cleaning the toilets (in no way am I suggesting that we don't always clean our toilets before "having guests").

Anyway. Mara was doing 312 things simultaneously and I was just...not doing anything useful. This was before we'd really figured out how to assign housework tasks, so basically I would just do one useless thing of my choosing for an hour, like "organize the CDs", while Mara would do everything other damn thing that actually needed doing. She was also handling most of the cooking at this point in our relationship as well, so you can imagine that by the time the first guest rang the doorbell, she pretty much wanted to kill me.

This particular evening, I was finally starting to wise up, and requested that she "please give me something useful to do so that you don't kill me", and she said over her shoulder on her way to mow the lawn or paint the porch or something, "honey why don't you clean the bathrooms, thank you".

Awesome. I can do this. I went into the kitchen to retrieve the "bathroom cleaner", a toxic spray rather famous in the minds of Americans my age because of their TV commercials, which advertise that this product's "scrubbing bubbles" do all the work "so you don't have toooooooooooo". In the commercial this last sentence is heroically bellowed by one of the animated scrubbing bubbles as he slides down the now-sparklingly-clean drain, the bellowing bubble rather pleased with himself and decidedly upbeat despite the fact that he is almost definitely about to end up in some kind of permanent sewage situation.

Discursive writing can be exhausting, I apologize. So I went into the kitchen. I reached under the sink to grab the can of Scrubbing Bubbles spray. I went into the downstairs bathroom and thoroughly doused the toilet with the poisonous foam and then left the room so that the Scrubbing Bubbles could do their work, "so I wouldn't have tooooooo" etc etc etc.

After who knows how much time, I guess the amount of time it took me to forget and then remember that I was in the middle of an important task, I went back into the bathroom with a roll of paper towels and confidently/optimistically gave the seat a quick swipe. My paper towel stopped immediately in its tracks, almost as if it had been, well, glued to the seat.

For a second or two I seriously thought I was having a stroke or other major brain incident: I'd used these Scrubbing Bubbles before, so my expectations were high, I knew how to do this...and these results were so thoroughly illogical and opposite....it just didn't make any kind of sense.

Maybe I'd applied it wrong? Was that possible? Maybe it was past its "use-by" date? Who knows. I looked at the can to check the instructions. As you can probably already imagine, it was not in fact the Scrubbing Bubbles can. It was a can of Spray Mount, which, according to the 3M website, is an "artist's aerosol adhesive, that bonds practically any lightweight material instantly, yet allows work to be lifted and repositioned."

Needless to say, much hilarity ensued around the perfection of not only this failure but the resulting brainstorm of purposely using Spray Mount on all of the toilet seats and seeing what our guests had to say about it afterwards.


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