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Bathroom: Coming Clean

Stories of the Loo

Stories of the Loo with Ms. Fresh N. Clean

I've lived in homes with one bath. I've lived in homes with five. I've shared baths with parents, sisters, roommates, a husband, our kids. Heck, even the family cats like to hop into the shower after I'm done.

There's a lot of business that happens in the tiny rooms where we take care of our business. We shower. We bathe. We brush and we shave. We do our hair, makeup, primp and pluck. Our kids laugh and splash, and toss bath toys about. We make messes. Drop hairs. Leave behind globs of toothpaste and hair gel. Kids throw up. And tissues fall down. Mascara gets on the mirror. And on a good day we offer our reflection in the mirror a "not so bad" as we head out the door.

Of course that door is a rotating one. As you head out, someone else heads in. And sometimes that someone is a friend, neighbor or (gasp!) your cleaner-than-you mother-in-law. Our bathrooms say more about us than we'd like to think. (My husband likes to remind me that if the restroom at a restaurant isn't clean, what can you expect the kitchen to be like?) So I try to keep one bath looking great. And keep the family bath just that. For the family.

I subscribe to the idea of making the bath that's used for guests something special. I lined ours with a favorite wallpaper. Problem is, it's the one closest to the kids' art room. So even though I let them go crazy where they create. Not so much where they clean up. "Careful of the wallpaper!" Even my seven-year-old rolls her eyes at me.

I'm a third generation bathroom wallpaper girl. Back in the '70s my very hip grandmother chose a black and white paper covered in artfully illustrated nudes. That made for lots of trips to the bathroom and lots of giggles between my cousins and I. Mine is a more family-friendly trellis pattern. Nothing to giggle at, but it certainly makes me smile.

My powder room may have memorable wallpaper, but it's the upstairs family bath where we've created family memories. I think about the face makeup I've applied for my children on Halloween. Hair curled for holiday concerts and dance recitals. So much bath time playing with Prince Eric, Ursula the Sea Witch, King Triton and Ariel the Little Mermaid. That's the true good stuff. No wallpaper necessary.

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