Saturday, October 26, 2013

Soap Struggle

For about six months now there has been a constant struggle in my only functioning bathroom. Now before you go thinking anything weird or disgusting is going on, allow me to explain. I am generally a clean person and I like to have clean hands. I’m not obsessive about it; I just know that when my hands are dirty I should not go around mucking things up with my cruddy paws. Being a tinkerer means that they tend to get dirty a lot and as a result I end up washing them frequently.

               In the beginning there was a bar of Dove soap sliding around the top of the sink causing soap scum to gather at an alarming rate. This required a frequent cleaning of the sink which I doled out to one of the subordinate house mates. Once this command was handed down it caused furrowed eyebrows to ensue and before long a squirt container of soap appeared on the sink in a proactive attempt to keep it cleaner, longer.

               All was well in the Kingdom of Sinkdom for a time. The effortless washing of hands graced our humble home. Squirt after squirt provided a sort magic that warded off illness and odor alike. Then one day I went to wash my hands and gave the pump a nice tap to get a healthy squirt into my awaiting hands. With great force a liquid shot over my grasp in an arc not unlike a shell of artillery landing a target that soon became my shirt.

“What the Hell?!?” I cried out.

               I picked up the bottle to inspect it and noticed that someone had replaced the contents of the container with water because it had run out of soap. “Why is that even and option?” I thought.


               I cleaned myself up and headed to the store later that evening. Into the beast (Wal*Mart) I entered to look for a decent buy of pump soap. I approached the soap area and predictably like every other product, there was a wide selection. Anti-bacterial, scented, moisturizing, I even thought I saw flavored in there somewhere, but that would be silly, right? Surprisingly they were all expensive, however standing in a Wal*Mart amongst an array of cruddy people, I would venture to suggest that soap might just be a valued commodity.

               While I stared down my nose at all the other patrons in the soap isle I came to a revelation. I already had a pump, so why not just buy a refill for it. I searched around a bit and sure enough I found a “Great Value” brand of soap refill. Furthermore it was priced incredibly cheap. I snatched it up as if the wall of them was the last one on earth and headed to the checkout.  Do I even have to say anything about Wal*Mart checkout lines? I didn’t think so.

Once home I triumphantly filled up the pump and took it for a test squirt. All seemed well, even though the soap was a little thicker. It still shot into my hands with a labored soapy burp. However it took a little longer to wash off. No matter it was something I could live with. I vanquished the thought of ever going back to using bar soap on the sink. Never again would the thin veil of soap scum grace the surface of this part of my bathroom!

               Days pass, and like clockwork one and then ALL the vehicles in my care needed some sort of service. So I took off my programmer’s hat and put on my mechanic’s hat and set to task. Many hours and busted knuckles later I was done, and the vehicles were back in service. The only thing left was to wash those dirty hands. I actually looked forward to using the newly filled pump. Let’s face it nothing says "clean hands" like a big healthy squirt of soap into one's mitts.
               I arrive in the bathroom, turn the water on and prepare for a smooth transition from dirty to clean. I tap the soap pump while simultaneously cupping my one hand to receive the anticipated squirt of soap.

Sputter, sputter, SPLOCK! The pump farted out and freckled the sink with no soap arriving at my hand. I press the pump lever again.

Pssssst, POP, splutter.  The flatulence continued only this time It launched a dried out soap booger into my hand.

“What the hell?!?!” I exclaimed.

Apparently the soap was drying out while in the pump, and it was now ruined. Darkness then swept over the bathroom once again and the bar soap return to the sink, sliding around the top of it like an ice-skating goblin mocking my very existence. I would need to take matters into my own dirty hands. This time cost was no issue.

I will spare you the yarn of a second soap purchase but suffice it to say I opted for one of the better soap pumps. This one not only dispensed soap, but somehow mixed it with air so it squirted a nice foamy lather into your hands. SCORE! Mike: 3 Universe: 2. Take THAT you continuously expanding realm of hidden cosmological constants!

               Many dirty hands were washed with this new soap dispenser. I even came to love it, and often thought of celebrating its one month anniversary in our home. One day I pumped some soap into my hands and a light sputter occurred, almost like it was gently reminding me, “Please feed me more soap, so I can service you master.” I remember I had the soap refill in the closet and set task to refilling the container. I topped it off and went on my merry way.

               Dinner time rolled around and it was pizza night. “Oh boy this is gonna be good!” The thought of stuffing pizza into my gaping maw made my mouth water and as a bonus I had beer in the fridge as well. Initiate frothing of the mouth! A few sparks of delight graced my corpus callosum and informed me, “You may move forward with your gluttony, but always remember that clean hands are hands that are fit to be fed with, NOW LETS GO WASH THEM HANDS!” I navigated the staircase three steps at a time, slid into the bathroom, and slapped the facet on. I briefly gazed into the mirror, and uttered, “THIS guy is gonna eat himself some pizza!” I slap the pump head, and it farted out big clumps of soap into my hand in diarrhea like fashion. I look down into my hands puzzled, and then briefly looked around the sink where similar attempts were made to dispense soap.


               So for a time I just gave up, and fell into a dispenser based depression, looking to get my foamy freak on in strange bathrooms that had foamy soap dispensers. I didn’t look forward to using our home bathroom any more, and took to washing my hands in the sink with dish detergent. Every once in a while I would be forced to use the bathroom sink to wash my hands but it wasn’t the same. It just seemed to open up old wounds. It was like the dispenser mocked me with every fluttered shot of soapy crud into my hands.

               Then about three weeks into this I was forced to use the bathroom sink to wash my hands because my wife wouldn’t allow me to touch her with mechanic hands. I squinted my eyes and turned away a bit to shelter myself from the abomination of a poorly functioning soap dispenser when to my surprise a nice lathered foamy mound of soap was in my hand.

“What the hell?! Whatever! Welcome back old friend!”

I inspected the dispenser closely and it appeared that someone had refilled the soap dispenser with the refill soap but only with a little and then mixed it with water. Apparently the refill soap is too concentrated and needed to be diluted. So it would seem a delicate balance must be maintained.

Now the only thing I need to figure out is why it took me so long and so much writing of this to finally figure this out. And in reality it is not so much the silliness or the mundane properties of these sorts of events that I find interesting so much as the daily struggle of maintaining a home these days with scarcely little time.

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