Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can't it wait?

One of the most vulnerable positions that I find myself in far too regularly is when I'm in the shower, hair slathered in shampoo which is dripping down my face like lavender-scented lava rendering me temporarily-but-effectively blind, and then someone opens the bathroom door.

"It's just me," says Love Chunks, "I've got the folks from the flats next door over for a coffee and thought I'd show them around, heh heh."

From the steady trickling noise, I can assume that his weak joke means that there's only a party of one and that party had asparagus for dinner last night. But with the foam from so-called organically gentle nurturing herbal essence natural goodness follical strengthener with Vitamin E and walnut oil inexplicably stinging my eyes like a cruel blast of Mace and wart remover, I am left standing in my birthday suit groping for the hot tap, knowing that our open shower is in a direct line with the door and the mirror by the open window can provide an additional viewing for anyone putting their recycling out in the flats' shared bin area by the fence.

I may be on the modest side when it comes to my displaying my body but nobody likes being naked and blind - unless they're Stevie Wonder with a groupie after a gig.

We've discovered that having one toilet poses a privacy problem even for a relatively small household of three. It's nice to know, however, that we've developed some unspoken but strictly adhered-to bathroom rules when someone's in the shower. No ridiculing the way they choose to wield a shower gel puff sponge (we all have our orders of washing - face, torso and nethers for me or feet, butt and bonce for someone else; it's a free country), or leaving dried semi-circles of toe nail clippings on the vanity. Don't, whatever you do, lean on the towel rail. It's heated and likely to leave you with a pink tattoo of prison bars on your arse.

Sapphire is allowed to clean her teeth when I'm on the throne because even though she can see the lovely side-view of my naked bottom-half in the mirror when she leans to spit out toothpaste in the sink, she's usually too busy reading. Electric toothbrush in one hand (thus deafening her) and a book in the other = No looking at Mum or being unduly disturbed by any unsavoury noises as well as sights.

Number twos are NOT allowed when others are washing their hair, their bodies or their teeth but only when the room is empty for the eager abluter and they've secured the door. Sure, there are times when the bowels are begging for release and Sapphire's having a luxuriously long soak in the radox or Love Chunks is using the clippers but usually sitting still in the loungeroom and trying to focus on something riveting like reading the program guide for Channel 31 can get me through. That and screaming, "HURRY UP, I'M GONNA BLOW IF YOU DON'T LET ME IN!'

And this lack of privacy is not limited to the bathroom either. In the bedroom we might as well have a swinging saloon door for all the walk-ins I endure on a daily basis.

Calm yourselves, I don't mean the folk from next door having paid seats to any Nocturnal Nookie starring Limber Love Chunks and Kinky Kath, I'm talking about the times when I've just showered and have streaked across the passageway to get dressed. Most particularly when I'm half bent over, half-hopping, trying to put my first leg into my knickers. That's when Sapphire wanders in (does she time it to heighten my humiliation?) wanting to know if I've remembered to sign her excursion permission slip or where she's placed her viola case.

Her stunned silence is the first indicator that my pose - everything all flopped, folded or dangling beneath my bowed, bent-over back - is enough to make her forget whatever it was that was concerning her a mere moment ago. Her second reaction is to stare more intently and then comment: "Mum, surely you have nicer pants than those ones?" to the puzzled, "So what would you look like if you didn't do any running?" to the more poignant, "So when did you know you were old?"

My third most vulnerable spot to be found in is on the treadmill in the shed. I'm not naked, nor am I excreting anything more gross than sweat but if someone pops in during my dripping, gasping, grunting stagger I feel a bit violated. If they do decide to wander in, just before they approach the shed door they're likely to hear me grunting out about every seventh word to what I can hear on the iPod:

You've got a great car
Yeah what's wrong with it today
I used to have one too
Maybe I'll come and have a look
I really love your hairdo, yeah
I'm glad you like mine too
See what looking pretty cool will get ya......

Or: You've *gasp* - what's *gasp*- to *gasp*- and *gasp*- your *gasp*- mine *gasp*- will ..... *gasp* ........

I'm as 'naked' as the times when I'm nuded up in the shower in the sense that what I'm doing is equally as unflattering (jiggly bits, like the knicker hopping by the bed each morning), noisy (singing badly, puffing heavily, grunting loudly) and the blindness caused by shampoo is replaced by deafness due to iPod. So, Sapphire or LC walks into the shed and find me with my eyes closed, drops of sweat attractively dangling for dear life at the tip of my nose, chunky-trunks for legs thumping on the treadmill and groaning out every seventh word to the song I'm running to.

It's bloody scary when I'm in my own private zone like that to then be tapped on the shoulder. If you're clackering along on a machine at 12.6km per hour, occasionally emitting a few sonorous farts in time with the music, drenched in sweat and you miss a beat, you'll find yourself flung like mobile monkey dung straight into the shed wall via the very painful exercise bike that is inconveniently in the way.

Perhaps we need a portaloo in the shed and a trip wire......


Sarah P said...

thats gold kath - we are a one bathroom house too, and its getting to the point where some rules need to be put in place!

Cat J B said...

Thankfully, our loo is separate from the bathroom, the house is 50's style and while we have updated it, we left that as it was. As for streaking, when I race from bathroom to lounge to try and find something in the enormous clean washing pile, my four year sings out "I can see your buuuutttt!". But nothing more innocently insulting than that, yet...my kids being boys, there will come a day when there will NO disturbing mum in the shower or on the bog AT ALL!

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Sarah - rules are very important when it comes to one's ablutions - way above leaving an empty milk carton in the fridge or farting in a bean bag...

CatJB - your kids will get worse and, sadly more critical, as they get older!

eleanor bloom said...

Ha! word verif is: rudede !

thanks for the laugh. loved the lolcat too. (and i've just gone and watched that cartoon you mentioned - awesome!!! esp when i was just weakening again and thinking of getting a cat.)

funnily enough what disturbed me most was the notion of 'Limber Love Chunks and Kinky Kath'. for some reason i imagined a xxx rated episode of kath and kim (ie. kath and kel... *shudders*)

and to continue with our little synchronicities kath (after the ovenmitt), this morning the delivery person arrived bright and early. yesterday they were female... today a young male stood at the door as i popped my head round the door, and then a bit further round because he was hiding from me and the rain, only to have him then present himself and catch me dashing behind the door again as i was yet to put any trousers on. 'DO I HAVE TO SIGN?' i yelled from behind the door. and i did, and did so, once i had pants on. poor kid. my lily white legs and hair up on end, sleep in my eyes throwing morning breath in his face with a casual 'Sorry mate, and you're in the rain too.' He literally ran away and hooned off in his van. That will teach 'im to come so bloody early eh?

drb said...

lock the door!!!!
I wouldn't be able to cope in your household.

Brought up locking the bathroom and loo doors. Only one amentities room for 3 adults (including granma) and 4 kids, so we were supposed to announce long duration of occupancy and give others to dash in-and-out for short activities like tinkling or brushing before we locked the door and commenced our own activities in private. Very civilised.


drb said...

My dad spent the longest time (>1 hour) in the bathroom or loo.
So whenever he announced that he would be using the amenities in 5 min, all of us would scurry and jostle to get in before him....

franzy said...

And on the anniversary of Appreciative August we're discussing bathroom logistics?
Oh Kath ...

Q: When did you know you were old?
A: When I was nine and a half. Go do the dishes.

Word verf: dishi!

Deep Kick Girl said...

We have two bathrooms, including the one in the "kids' wing", but for some reason they both insist on using ours for both showering, bathing and toileting.

This results in all four of us crowding around in our rather large ensuite quite often. Someone will be on the loo, someone will be in the shower, someone will be washing hands and I'll generally be picking up dirty clothes off the floor.

The nudity thing is kind of strange. We are all happy to be nude around the house. Since Will is now 10 I am starting to worry that seeing my floppy old body in the nuddy will scar him for life. However, it's hard to think of a way to curtail our open nakedness policy. The kids will think it very strange if I suddenly start locking myself in the bathroom and getting dressed in privacy.


[Great post!]

Benjamin Solah said...

Margo can see me do just about anything but I always get embarrassed when she catches me dancing and mouthing to music, like those times when I'm in a private moment.

That's because I know I look like a douche doing it.

River said...

You make everyday stuff so hilarious, Kath. We're a one bathroom home too and I like to dress in the steamy warmth especially in the winter, so I've learned to towel off and knicker hop at a goodly speed. Summer is a different story. Wrap in a cotton sheet and wander the unit until I'm dry.
When you can run and sing all the words without gasping you'll know you're aerobically fit.
Perhaps Sapphire could have a 5 minute wait after she hears the shower turn off? It'll give you time to hop into your knickers at least.
Can you hang some type of curtain, screen or blind at your bathroom window?

Helen said...

Doesn't an open shower leave a lot of water on the floor?

I would DIE in your house! I like my privacy, I thought it was bad that my bedroom is opposite the closest bathroom to everyone (the others are closer to bedrooms) but you've got a much trickier setup!

I finally got the courage to run from the bathroom to my room in a towel, but I'm trying to trin my family to knock first when they try and come in and i'm canging. Either way I lighting-fast behind-the-cupboard-door-and-yell-HEY! reflexes...

the projectivist said...

so funny!
i am loving the comments too.

we have separate bathroom and toilet so no problems there, but i will quite often forget my brush or some item of make-up or need my knickers from the washing line and chance a run naked across the living room.

we have big glass sliding doors and a public walkway along the canal in our back garden.

i've not been caught out yet.
i don't think.

ms lottie said...

I have sore abdominals from laughing so hard. And my mascara has run very attractively down my face. Cheers for the giggle!

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