Because Life is Sticky: A Countdown of My Top Five Favorite Onerous Household Chores

via and Erma Bombeck

Disclaimer: If you’re not a stay-at-home mom, house dad, homemaker, or someone else who spends a substantial amount of time cleaning up after your family, you may want to skip this fun little list as its grossness factor is high and its only real entertainment value is in commiseration.

Note:  I have omitted anything involving blood, pee, poo or vomit for being too evident. Everybody knows that no parent likes changing diapers or cleaning up after sick or injured children or pets. This list concerns a few of the disgusting chores that get less attention but may be even more onerous by virtue of their long-term (i.e. well past potty-training) and frequent occurrence.

5 – Scraping fruit stickers off the sink, counter, or furniture. Do your kids do this? Take the sticker off the apple or banana and carefully press it onto the edge of the kitchen sink or other handy surface? This is one of the many things that sometimes makes me wonder what my kids really think of me. Do they really believe I have nothing better to do than to scrape away the sticky left by a Granny Smith apple label? Look kids! Here I am, putting my college degree to use with the dull edge of a butter knife. Thank goodness for Goo Gone, the wonder product that removes all residual stickiness! (And the fact that I just wrote that sentence with genuine gratitude makes me want to stick a fork in my eye right now.)

4 – Cleaning in and around trash cans. Nothing more fun to me than picking up used Kleenex or dental floss off the bathroom floor because our sons just missed the trash can. (Not the only thing they miss, but I promised not to mention that.) The kitchen trash can is even worse.  Ours has a lid because otherwise our dogs would help themselves. How does a kid manage to lift the lid, deposit the item, close the lid, and then manage to spill food on top of the lid (and wall and floor)?

3 – Cleaning out the bottom of the refrigerator after discovering that somebody has spilled something liquid and sugary in the not-so-recent past (giving plenty of time for maximal microbial and fungal growth before I discover the bulk of the spill hidden by the bottom drawer). Last time I think it was a mixture the juice from a can of black olives and some kind of red soda.

2 – Reaching into the spaghetti pot soaking in the sink to remove whatever my family has thrown into the water. Do your loved ones do this? Why do they do this? I need to know. I fill the pot with hot soapy water to soak so I can scrub it clean in the near future. But if I leave it in the sink and do not get back to it quickly enough, my family, rather than rinsing their post-dinner dishes and putting them in the dishwasher or other side of the sink, will simply dump every utensil or plate or glass they use into the pot. So now I have to reach into cold, greasy, rehydrated tomato-sauce-water (which now contains a rich, varied mixture of other organic debris) to retrieve a glass that originally just held someone’s after-dinner iced tea but is now coated in a viscous residue from the dirty orange dishwater soup. Ugh.

1 – Reaching into the garbage disposal to retrieve whatever is making the horrible noise. So far I have found spoons, forks, broken glass, bottle caps, lemon or lime rinds, a marble, a handful of pennies, a Lego Guy, and just today, a white jelly-like sack of something that looked like a breast implant with a tough pulpy core that I can’t identify and sincerely wish I had never handled.

Some days, I love my job less than others.

So your turn. What’s your favorite housework to hate? What chores make you feel like an underappreciated, domestic grunt with dishpan hands?

Leave a comment


  1. Once again, you are the best blogger!

    Number 2: when I reach into this disgusting, fetid mess, I half expect a giant squid to reach back and pull me in. No. 4: I am the ONLY one to do this. But it’s the same sitch here: dried tissues, Q-tips, etc. WTF? Don’t get me started on No. 3.

    We don’t have a garbage disposal in the house, but in our last place, there was a permanently wedged housekey in there. And the disposal still worked! As for No. 5, well I like to do that still. Or I take the “Ripe and Ready to Eat” sticker and place it on my wife’s hindquarters : )

    • A sink squid! That’s awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever reach into a swampy pot again without thinking of that.

      The housekey is impressive. When the pennies got dumped down our sink, one got wedged, and the disposal most definitely stopped working (and began to shriek instead). Fortunately, my brother was visiting and he took it apart for me, retrieved the penny and put everything back in working order.

      I wonder how your wife responds to being stickered? (Or your daughter to the evil clown painting?) You must be a hoot to live with!

  2. Anita Gallagher

     /  July 9, 2012

    It’s about time you wrote something! Loved it and you, Mom

  3. How about picking up the dog poop in the back yard? I know that involves, well, poop, but it’s gross, gross, gross. Great list, Tori! Have a wonderful week, free of all of the above chores!

    • Picking up poop in the backyard is definitely not my favorite either, but I hate it even more when we take them for a walk in the neighborhood, and I have to bag it and carry it home with us. Not having a chore-free week but it’s a good week just the same. Thanks, Kathy! Hope you are healing quickly.

  4. Is it bad that your post made me throw up a little in the back of my mouth as I thought about doing some of your list? 🙂

    • Honesty is never bad. I think. Most of this stuff makes me do the same. So I figure venting is better than resenting the heck out of my family. Good thing I took up blogging, right?

  5. I used to pack my kids lunches in Tupperware. So,finding something from a school lunch that’s been sitting around and forgotten (for maybe months) in the closet or under the bed, etc. could get pretty gross. Seriously, why did I ever open those up? That’s pretty close to #3, but maybe stinkier. Your #2 really hit home, though! And, yes, my loved ones do that too. #4: Oh yeah!

    • Ooooh! Forgotten school lunches. That’s a good one. I found the remains of a peanutbutter sandwich in a damaged ziplock bag squished at the bottom of my son’s backpack after it had sat in his closet all summer. Not pretty. And my partner brings home her lunches from work (after several days sometimes) – all in Tupperware – and I swear sometimes I’d rather throw them away than open them.

  6. My worst are cleaning out the fridge and washing dishes. I procrastinate so bad with the fridge you could play the mystery meat game. I am trying to improve. I don’t know what it is about the dishes. I’ve heard some people find washing dishes relaxing, but not me.

    • The fridge is never fun, is it? As for doing dishes, I could probably go my whole liife without ever washing another dish and be completely happy (and relaxed).

  7. Is it bad that I relate to the list? I live alone. 8)

  8. As bad as the fridge is – can I add the “garage fridge” to the list? I’m talking the Christmas Morning Casserole that still resided out there on Easter!

  9. The filter in our vaccuum is my arch-nemesis.

    • That’s a good one! I have serious issues with my vacuum too. (Sorry for the late reply. for some reason, your comment went to the spam folder and I forget to check it.)

  10. The fridge always has something lurking in it – ewww! The kitchen sink is just as bad at times too – another ewww, especially if you have to go there – the garbage disposal. I am not a big fan of cleaning toliets either. Great Post – Happy Tuesday!

    • I hate things that lurk in the refrigerator. Nothing in there should ever be lurking. (What a great word that is! I just want to use it in every sentence now. See how it lurks in this one?) Thanks reading as always and giving me a fun word for the day!

  11. The fridge is bad, but I think it’s mostly my own doing. #1 is just awful. I can’t say that’s ever happened to me. And I hope it doesn’t! The horror!

    • Okay, that one’s not so gross but it just drives me nuts. My partner has confessed to being the primary sticker culprit. I knew this and wouldn’t mind so much, but I think she has taught the children. The horror!

  12. S Foy

     /  July 16, 2012

    I’m a little late to the game. I don’t know how I missed this post. My #1 is the same as your #1. Nothing is grosser than reaching into the garbage disposal. There have been times when I’ve walked away from it hoping it would magically fix itself. This is always a huge mistake. Whatever gross thing is causing a problem only gets grosser with time. I would add the bathroom sink to your list. All the tooth brushing and spitting and splatter on everything within a mile radius really turns my stomach.

  13. This is hilarious. Don’t know how I missed it but glad I read. Laugh, laugh, laugh!
    Mine? Cleaning the pet bowls. They get so scummy and hairy, I can hardly bear to touch them! I love my furry friends, as you know, and they don’t do it intentionally. But yuk! It’s probably my lifelong aversion to anything that consists of slime. Includes snotty noses. 🙂
    Thanks for the laugh!


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