This morning, like every morning, I went to brush my teeth. The toothpaste was not on the countertop next to my sink. Nor was it in the drawer next to the sink (which is where it actually belongs.) It wasn’t in any of the other drawers, either. In fact, it was nowhere to be found in my bathroom. This is the second time this week I have been unable to find toothpaste of any kind in my bathroom. The first time I couldn’t find it this week (which is different from the times I couldn't find it last week or the week before), I went and got a new tube of toothpaste. This morning, I was forced to go into the children’s bathroom and use Spongebob’s Bubble Fun toothpaste, which feels like brushing your teeth with blue tinted corn syrup.
How do you lose toothpaste? Toothpaste isn’t the kind of thing you use anywhere but near the bathroom sink. It isn’t like your keys, which you carry all over the place and could have put down anywhere. It isn’t like pens, which other people have a tendency to grab up. It is toothpaste. It is a one dollar tube that only has one purpose.
Of course, I say this like I don’t know the answer. How do you lose toothpaste? You have two children. Not too long ago I found a half tube of toothpaste in my glove compartment. While I very publicly blamed my husband, my son later confessed to being the culprit, though he could give me no rational explanation.
I’m thinking that probably two or three man hours of work each day are lost in my house simply by the time it takes looking for things. How are both shoes not in the same room? Why are all the cans in the pantry not in the same basic part of the pantry? If everything has its place, then you always know where everything is.
I’m not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who has been to my home or my office knows that. But my office, at least in the little room that is Mine, I can find any piece of paper at any time. Everything is alphabetized, categorized, and labeled. It may look like a disaster to the untrained eye, but it is highly organized, and when anyone moves anything to Somewhere Else I feel violated in a very personal way.
In my house, I have no such control. I don’t have my own room or my own bathroom. I live with a grown man who is incapable of organization, a son who is capable, but who is 10 years old and just can’t help himself, and an 8-year-old daughter who is following in her father’s footsteps.
Take hairbrushes, for instance. My daughter has very long hair, and it is wavy, so it gets knotty very easily. Before she came along, I happened to own two paddle-type hairbrushes from back in the day when my hair was long. I have also bought her brushes of her own. Not too long ago, I was at Walgreen’s and they had a clearance bin of items for a dollar, and I bought an armload of small hairbrushes. Guess how many we were able to find this morning? Yup. Zero.
Where could they go? Hairbrushes, even small ones, are not tiny little items, they hurt if you sit on them, they can’t easily be swept under a rug, and our house is not all that large. I can see them being used in the bathroom, or in the bedroom. Where else? Where else could they possibly be? Somewhere in my house there are about 15 hairbrushes, and I have no idea where any of them are. Somewhere in my house are about 15 partially used tubes of toothpaste, but the only one that can’t seem to get lost is the Spongebob Tube o’ Artificial Colors and Flavors.
I know I have OCD tendencies. We have these colored plastic cups, green, blue, and red. It irritates me if they are put away without stacking them in a logical pattern. I like all the cans to be in the same place in the pantry, and I like all the labels to face me so I don’t have to turn it to see what it is. Heck – I can’t even walk if there is music on unless my left foot goes down on the downbeat. (You marching band geeks know what that is all about.) I’m not imposing my insanity on anyone else. I think my standards are incredibly low. I’m just asking very, very nicely, for my family to keep the toothpaste in the bathroom, and at least one of the hairbrushes in a findable place.
I know my family is not the target audience for the Patch, especially the toothpaste and hairbrush losing sections of my family. But if there is anyone out there who finds herself wandering into the laundry room with a tube of toothpaste in her hand, please, go back in the bathroom and put it away. Or at least put it somewhere obvious. I promise you your mother will be grateful.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Walgreen’s to buy another armload of Pepsodent and hairbrushes.