We Need To Talk About Hygiene

Although I’ve long since passed my Unwashed glory days of bathing once every moon cycle, my daily routine still averages only half a shower. For the most part, this works well, any untoward odors can quickly be covered up by a statement about spotting a dead skunk in the vicinity, or passing the blame onto a slovenly coworker, preferably the one who sports a perpetual mustard stain on their shirt. However, in the summer, two days often stretches to three or four, until I’ve become a ripe dirt-squirrel.

This summer, out of deference to my hosts I’ve kept to my usual routine of showering once every two days. That is until yesterday. I had decided in advance that I would have a leisurely Unwashed style weekend; lots of cooking, quiet activities and of course no bathing. It was delightful, exquisite even, I luxuriated in my own grime. Then came the evening, and with it the moment of critical dirt mass.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of critical dirt mass, it is the point when it becomes just as easy to remain filthy as it is to bathe. Choosing to ignore this moment and remain in an unwashed state can lead to living in the forest, growing a beard and being mistaken for a sasquatch. In essence this dirty path is my life’s dream. If left to my own devices I’d likely be sporting a Duck Dynasty style beard and eating roasted mice in the wilds of Canada.

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

This man clearly has his priorities in order. (Photo Credit: sekvoice.com)

When I stay at with my parents my mother seems to be able to sense this moment, as well as my desire to remain in my disgusting, filthy state. The morning before the critical dirt mass, my mother will make statements like “Think about bathing today, Unwashed”, or “The shower has been reserved just for you”. As the critical dirt mass moment approaches and I begin holding up the cat at funny angles in front of my face to imagine what I’d look like with a beard, my mother gets serious. Standing outside the bathroom she will threaten to get out the hose if I don’t bathe. Sitting coated in grime yesterday evening, I realized that there was no one here to spray me with water for my own good.


Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: www.peanuts.com)

Me at 8pm last night (Photo Credit: http://www.peanuts.com)

At the beginning of the program, one of the directors made a speech about how the students were to make our beds, never be openly smashed in our hosts’ homes and that we were absolutely not allowed to have members of the opposite sex in our bedrooms. As much as I was delighting in my unwashed state, I didn’t want to be the reason why “You must adhere to a basic standard of hygiene” was added to the list of rules at the beginning of the program. Hence, I bathed. It wasn’t pretty, I didn’t enjoy it, but it had to be done.

Green Confessions and Naughty Neighbours

I’ve never mowed a lawn. I went almost thirty years having never pushed a mower, cut grass or done any sort of yard work beyond a bit of weeding. I’d say I’m ashamed but the fact the matter is lawn mowers are ungainly, heavy tools and frankly they scare me a bit with all their blustering and vrooming.

My non grass cutting life was going fairly smoothly until I bought a house. Happily this house came with a lawn mower. Unhappily this lawn mower was one of the loud, gas guzzling variety. I allowed it to sit in it’s angry den until one day I arrived home to the following note left by an anonymous neighbour.

 “You are an embarrassment to the neighbourhood. Mow your lawn! Even Gladys* did a better job than this. SMARTEN UP!!!!”

For the record Gladys is the eighty year old woman whom I bought the house from. She used a walker. Effectively my gardening skills are inferior to that of the extremely elderly.

So away I went to purchase a push mower, the kind that ran on my own sweat but hopefully not blood. I got the mower home and away I went. The satisfaction was immense and immediate. I discovered that mowing a lawn is like vacuuming but better because the effect is so drastic, one moment your backyard is overrun with weeds, the next it’s a perfectly cultivated,  fragrant paradise. I went up the lawn, and back, then turned and went diagonally across it. I swiveled the mower and made a loop-de-loop on the lawn. To finish, I made progressively smaller circles.  

A friend who had not witnessed my lawn cutting revelery came to visit on Sunday, by that point the patches I had missed in my erratic fit of yard work were becoming obvious as they seemed to grow by the minute in the sun.

“You’re supposed to mow in a pattern” he said helpfully.

“I did” I answered beaming with pride over my now not so newly cut lawn. “Paisley!”


*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those kind enough to gift me a gas guzzling, terrifying lawn mower.


Also for the record, I am the naughty neighbour in the title. Prior to cutting it, my lawn may have looked like something that Indiana Jones would have to take a machete to while trekking through the Amazon in search of a skull, or the death star. I never watched that series of Harrison Ford movies, regardless, I’m sure my lawn made an appearance somewhere.

The Life’s Goal Of Every Sixteen Year Old- To See As Much Elderly, Wrinkled Skin As Possible

Once upon a time when my butt lived further north and I thought that shoes were something you wore for fine dining, I was a lifeguard. That means that I have spent an inordinate amount of time in pools. But I’ve spent an even greater amount of time watching people in water, specifically older people.

For three summers I sat next to pools in condo complexes and in between slathering approximately 16 litres of sunscreen on my skin, I catalogued the patrons’ behaviours.

The Three Main Types of Adult Pool Swimmers

The Noodle Group

Age: Mid forties to approximately three thousand and a half years old

Bathing Suit: A one piece with something to cover their hair for women.  The men generally sport long trunks and enough gray chest hair to make a sizeable throw rug.

two very fat men

These men decided to spice it up by floating on the noodles. (Photo credit: Max Nathan)

Swim Style: Don’t be fooled by their polka dot flotation devices, these people are not here to have fun. In fact if hit by a rogue splash from a nearby game they will start talking about the “good ol’ days” when the strap was used and you could openly shout at someone else’s children. The Noodle Group’s favourite thing to do is stand in the pool for hours on end. This is not so much a way of swimming as a way of creating human shaped obstacles for the next group of swimmers because the Noodle Group must always stand in the very centre of the pool.

The Getting In Shape For Their Vacation Crowd

Age: Anywhere from thirty to late forties

Bathing Suit: Any type of suits, these fitness minded people can be recognized by the presence of their Gatorade bottle and the way they swagger onto the deck as though they are going to “own” the water.

Swim Style: Their swim begins with a dive despite the many signs posted in the area dictating “Shallow Water, NO Diving”. After surfacing and a short chat with the lifeguard The Getting In Shape Crowd take off from the wall like they’re in a high speed chase. Once this crowd reaches the opposite side of the pool they pop their heads out of the water and take a loud, deep breath as though an invisible assailant had just stopped choking them. This routine continues for approximately five lengths at which point The Getting In Shape Crowd will rest their elbows on the wall and smugly watch The Noodle Group stand around. The previous performance will be repeated two to four times at which point The Getting In Shape Crowd will climb out of the pool and ask the lifeguard for the time. Without fail they will always be stunned at how little time has passed since they got into the pool. Regardless, after mentally patting themselves on the back they’ll call it a day.

Genuine, Bonafide  Swimmers

Age: Twenties to thirties. Actually I have no idea, I’ve never seen one of these people.

Bathing Suit: According to lifeguard lore these athletes appear in Speedos or an equally high quality swimsuit company brand. 

Swim Style: They jump into the pool, swim at a confident, even speed around the Noodle Group and the erratic Getting In Shape Crowd. The Genuine Swimmers continue this way for quite some time and then leave the pool area in a flash of terry cloth and Coppertone SPF 30. In the world of condo pool lifeguarding these swimmers are like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny; you just have to believe they exist.

As much joy as I took from watching the various kinds of swimmers the purpose of my job was to watch for the types of drowners. I will be covering some of those in an upcoming post.

In The Event Of An Emergency Send Spun Sugar and Large Inflatable Reptiles

When I was a child I was ticked off, absolutely enraged by the fact that there is no new TV in the summer.

And then I stopped watching television so it became a moot point. Recently however, I discovered why there are only poorly made, low budget, reality shows to be found on television during the warm months- no one’s home.

Now my blog was doing pretty well. I have approximately a squillion and a half family members give or take five, who check my blog fairly frequently and a handful of followers who aren’t related to me that also like my work. Then July came, and everyone and their brother went away and the stats for the Great Unwashed tanked harder than Arrested Development’s Nielson ratings. So now the only people reading the Great Unwashed with any sort of regularity are my Mom and Roscoe’s Mom.

Actually Roscoe’s Mom reads it more often than my mother but that’s because Roscoe is a boy which means he doesn’t call his mother to say “Mom! I just watched the news and my inflatable crocodile is underneath the shelf next to the door in the basement if you need it.”

Just an FYI there was a MASSIVE flood in Toronto. My parents live near said giant throbbing metropolis. (That sounds vaguely dirty but is really meant to express my feelings about the city. I think I just made things worse.) Anyway so in the event of a flood I wanted them to know where the pool toys were.

Because that’s what you need in a flood. Pool toys. On a different note, the Red Cross wouldn’t hire me.

Red Cross- A country has just endured a horrible life changing crisis. What do you send?

The Great Unwashed- Cotton candy! I like to eat it when I’m sad about things like my parent’s cats being sick.

English: Pink Cotton candy. Deutsch: Rosa Zuck...

These people are prepared for anything from a child’s birthday party to a earthquake.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting back to the original point of this post – The Great Unwashed is now going into reruns. Not really, but I am re-posting the part one of two Liebster award posts because part two will go up on Saturday. Or Sunday. There’s an issue with me changing time zones on one of those two days and although I’m good at many things, figuring out times in other countries is not one of them. Roscoe even made me up a table so I can figure out what time it is in Ontario while I’m away. Supposedly this will prevent me from calling him at odd hours.

Even still I have no doubt that I’m going to shock him awake at 3 AM while I’m away. He’ll bolt right up in bed hearing his phone ring thinking that he has to dash back to the hospital to prevent someone from bleeding out and it will just be me, calling to tell him about a lizard I saw.

I’m an excellent wife.

On with the reruns. Also I promise, promise part two will actually go up Saturday.

Or Sunday.

Blasted time zones.

Neil Patrick Harris Declined My Offer To Host This Award Post

Posted on June 12, 2013

However the show must go on, and this is an awards show. For me. Just me. Here at The Great Unwashed we are super self involved but we are also about family. Big family. That last sentence may have been foreshadowing. Or it would be if Roscoe would let me have my way. On with the show.

Dear Faithful readers,

The day has finally arrived. I was nominated for an award. Not a big award. More like WordPress’ version of a participation award but gosh darn it, it’s an award. And I’m chuffed.  Now there are multiple steps to follow for this award, so many that I’ve decided to break it into two blog posts.

First you need to acknowledge and thank the person who nominated you. So thank you Erica Funi of  Finding The Funi, I do so appreciate being nominated, I was so thrilled that I called my Mom, who already knew because she went on my site and saw, but didn’t call me because that’s the kind of mother she is. Actually she may have texted me in her excitement, I’ll have to check my phone to see if there is a cryptic “k” from the day that you nominated me. This is my mother’s electronic way of communicating with the world- one indecipherable letter at a time. Sometimes she’ll put a “u” or an “i” in there just to mix it up.

Getting back to the award. Erica is a wonderful writer. She also has a nice smile. And I have it on good authority that she does not smell. Erica, I don’t think I could have written a more winning recommendation if I tried. Thanks again for nominating me, I did my best to answer your questions which was of course the second step in the process.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People asking about my pet peeves.  No that’s not true, like most people, I love to be questioned about the things that are bothering me. Most recently my biggest pet peeve is Roscoe’s refusal to take a second wife. I’ve gotten into the show “Big Love” of late and the concept of polygamy is really growing on me. I just love the idea of someone else cleaning and grocery shopping and vacuuming. Roscoe claims that I don’t fully understand the idea of multiple spouses.

Car-mel or Car-a-mel?


Are they both edible? Yes? Then why are we having this conversation and not eating sweets?

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

I can tell you who it wouldn’t be – my imaginary sister wife. I left her alllll of the laundry. The pile is taller than me, which isn’t saying much, but it’s also taller than Roscoe. I’m going to consider that an accomplishment. We’re out of laundry detergent but I’m sure my imaginary sister wife can take care of that.

What is the last website you visited?

Hold The Condiments. Occasionally I feel it necessary to send windy, rambling messages to other bloggers. Before that I wrote a fan letter to the Byronic Man.

Wait did I answer the question? No matter, moving on.

Toilet paper. Over or under?

Once again, I think you’ve missed the forest for the trees, or in this case the forest for the products of the pulp and paper industry. As long as you have TP, you’re good. Unless of course you have a house full of riotous teenagers and it’s Halloween, in which case you’re probably going to be out of toilet paper shortly. Also you’ll owe your neighbours a cake. I’d hide the eggs before you start baking too.

What was the first concert you went to?

I feel like you don’t want me to answer Raffi.   I’ll go with someone much cooler instead- Hanson.

What is your favorite quote?


Is that not a quote?

MMMBopThey’re definitely cooler.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you take your coffee?

In litres, preferably in the morning.

Or in gallons for all my Southern reader friends.

What are you having (or did you have) for dinner tonight?

A sandwich, I was supposed to be making wheatberry salad, but then I started watching “Big Love”, and answering a never ending series of questions.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I feel like this is more than eleven questions, or possibly I’m answering more than eleven questions, or maybe it just feels longer because I keep asking questions.

Let’s say my ability to count.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Polygamy, but I haven’t actually done that, I just imagine other women cleaning my house and then making me litres of coffee. So let’s go with eating all of Roscoe’s special yogurt out of the fridge.

Stay tuned for part two of the Liebster award posts. There’s going to be a bar fight.