Handling Those Chores Even A Mother Would Hate

SATURDAY'S HERO

June 15, 1991|By Rob Kasper

Most people have one or two household jobs they hate. I have a long list.

The other day, instead of working on any of these loathsome tasks, I wrote down why I detest them.

It made me feel better. Besides, typing a few lines was a lot easier than scrubbing the shower stall.

That was one of the first hated jobs I thought of.

Primarily I hate scrubbing the shower because it is such hard work. But I also don't like it because it is job nobody appreciates. A clean shower stall gets less notice than the nation's vice president.

Another problem with battling mold in the shower stall is that the

mold always wins. Time and time again I've hit that mold with everything I have. I've bombarded it with scouring powder, ammonia and liquid cleaners so powerful they attack the very container they sit in.

I've weakened the mold. But, like an irritating relative, the mold never stays away very long.

I also hate putting a portable bicycle rack on the car. The rack teases me. First of all it never fits the way it should, the way it looks in the photos in its instructional brochure. Then, once I get the thing on the car and start driving down the road, the rack will invariably start to shimmy. I see it shimmying in the car's rear view mirror. It moves, ever so slightly to one side of the car.

So I stop the car. I tighten the straps holding the rack. Then a few miles down the road, the rack starts to dance again. This time, to the other side of the car.

Moreover, bike racks are particular about where they sit. No bike rack I ever met has agreed to work on two different cars. Despite what the instructions say, and what the photos in the brochures purport to display, bike racks do not willingly jump from vehicle to vehicle.

Instead they are real parochial. When they find a car trunk they like, they latch on to it. Try to make them work somewhere else, and they fall apart.

I hate prying open stuck windows. Again, the windows always seem to win. I've tried tool after tool and strategy after strategy for freeing a stuck sash. I have used a putty knife, a razor, even a pizza cutter. I've plied the sash with soap and pounded it with a rubber hammer.

I have come to the conclusion that stuck windows are like temperamental opera stars. You can schmooze them, lean on them, even pound on them to perform. But there is no guarantee any technique will work. What is certain is that if you overdo it, things will shatter.

Pulling plantains, those pesky weeds that poke out of the sidewalk, is yet another job I hate. They're such sneaky little plants. You think you've got a grip on them and are about to send them and their roots to the compost pile, and they slip away.

Or, you may think you've yanked out the whole plant, only to end up only with a handful of plantain leaves. Meanwhile their power base, the roots, remains intact. In a few days the plantain is back.

I used to shoot them and dandelions with weed killer. But since then I have become overwhelmed with environmental guilt and can't pull the trigger on any weed killer.

So these are a few of the jobs I shun. There are others, such as vacuuming the coils on the bottom of the refrigerator, getting the refrigerator icemaker to behave and cleaning the basement, that I used to hate.

But lately I've learned to extract some measure of satisfaction from these once dreaded tasks.

Now when I clean the refrigerator coils I revel in it as a small victory against the dirtballs of life.

And the last time the fridge ice-maker went on the fritz, I fixed it XTC by making the refrigerator level. Now every time ice cubes plunk into the bucket, I regard it as proof that life works best when everything is on an even keel.

As for cleaning the basement, I have come to terms with it by thinking of it in a new way. Now I no longer regard it as a weekend project. I think of it as a new career.

*

Maybe you have a few tips on how to beat the household job you hate. If you do, call me with them, using the directions below. In the meantime, go scrub the shower.

Using a touch tone phone, dial 783-1800 (in Anne Arundel County, 266-7736). Once SUNDIAL answers your call, enter code 4800. SUNDIAL is a local call in the Baltimore area.

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