Lately I’ve been appalled at the state of the bathroom.

There is an over-population here that can only be blamed on the raising of seven children, but now, at the cusp of that number plunging to two, the ammassment of toiletries here is looking more and more extravagant, possibly diagnosable.

Let’s just address the lotions of the house. No, let’s just address the lotions of this one bathroom, for I do not have the time or interest in the shock that might come through the inspection of the other two bathrooms, nor the six bedrooms.

IMG_20180428_142120.jpgAt the time of this writing there are three different bottles of lotion on the bathroom counter in front of me, crowding the sink. They are all at least half-empty. One of them dates back to my childhood. A quick inspection of the medicine cabinet above reveals nine more, without consideration of the Badger Balm tins and Vicks Vap-O-Rub. When I turn around there are another twelve creamy lubricants hanging from the closet door. They hang there deposited in several of the twenty-four pockets of a cloth over-the-closet-door shoe rack. The shoe rack was employed to swell the capacity of the existing closet. Ingenious? Yes. Shaming? Also yes.

We shouldn’t really even talk about the community of sunscreens and bug balms flourishing here. Nor the backlog of shampoo and conditioner of a brand we no longer use in the closet itself. Let’s not look at the bins, where may still live three cans of shaving cream in a house where no one shaves, next door to six econo-packs of toothbrush-heads for the Sonicare. It’s hard to look away, but let’s avert our eyes from the exploding bag of DEET on the floor, a dozen cans at varying levels of toxicity and emptiness, the oldest compressed in there in the years before I was even born.

Aw, hell, let’s just look.

It’ll be fun.

Now that we’re in the closet, we won’t spend so much time inspecting the contents of those decidedly shoe-shaped pockets hanging from the door.

Up top, amongst the industrial strength cleaning agents that we swore off a decade ago, and the variety-pack of Dyson attachments with which you might vacuum everything from your ceiling fan to your indoor plumbing, we have a plastic bag holding eight unused squeeze bottles. I have no idea what these ever might have been intended for. Also, a half gallon of liquid soap.

Next up (or down), alongside the (conveniently witheld number of) shampoo bottles, we have a first aid bin the size of my kitchen sink, overflowing with enough band-aids to cover a human body twice-over, ten bars of Ivory (I make my own goatsmilk soap… backups?), and three full-sized bottles of baby oil. I have never in my life used baby oil. One of the bottles is yellowing menacingly in it’s plastic prison.

Next down, an infrared therapy device once used to bring peace and tranquility to my ankle, five moist heat packs, and many towels. Towels which have been arranged by a two-year-old.

Next: The vintage Wahl hair clipper and accouterments, allowing me to buzz you (or me) down to anywhere from 1.5” to bald as a cue ball, an Amazon Minions box of the aforementioned goat soap, and an entire bin of booty from the dentist offices of the world. Brushes, pastes, flosses of all shapes and sizes. 750 cotton swabs. Enough cotton balls to fashion a full-sized pillow.

Bottom shelf: Bins of travel accessories. Toiletries bags, tiny bottles of inscrutible liquids, 750 more cotton swabs, tupperware bowls homing slivers of soap, more lotion, a half-full bottle of biodegradable castile soap, two quarts of hydrogen peroxide (full), a seemingly new bottle of urinalysis reagent strips. More bug spray.

And back on the floor, next to the anthropomorphic study in bug spray through the ages: The usual reserves of toilet paper and other essential hygiene items, two gallons of vinegar (one white, one apple cider), and two full bottles of Original Listerine—hearkening back to the good ol’ lice infestation days, and the natural treatment thereof. A Land-o-Lakes Family Size ice cream bucket (Vanilla) of, get this: lotion bars. A tiny plunger of the sort one might employ in the declogging of the shower drain. And two mysterious boxes. In the back, the better part of a 24-count box of instant icepacks. Handy. In the front, under the bucket, inexplicable contents leaving me agape and chagrined. Eight sealed dropper-bottles of Yarrow (stored neatly upside down in their hive-like cardboard dividers) and a small snack bag of what my shnoz tells me is none other than pure ceremonial tobacco.

A small aside: It occurs to me that it may help here to understand that we’ve spent some time over the years with the local Medicine Man. The Native American type. I have no memory of needing mass quantities of Yarrow, but apparently memory is once again not an accurate gauge of reality. The tobacco I do remember prescribed, but clearly never burned. Oh, the trips you can take in your closet.

I have long said that Colfax is the Nexus of the Universe. I am now seeing this theory played out in my own house. Rather than attracting people, the foundations of my home are now pulling in all the abandoned toiletries of the universe.

What does it all mean?

I think this is a wake-up call. A message. That as the children trickle out of our house, so too must we purge the corners and crevasses of the house, before their inhabitants attack us in the night. I can’t imagine a scenario where we’ll successfully slather our way through all that lotion before judgment day, but it certainly won’t happen if half the stores are hidden under and among an artillery of toothbrushes and cotton.

It may be time to weed through and straighten up. Could a day come when I no longer require the shoe pockets? I’ll let you know.

If you need me, you know where I’ll be,

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