Beginning with the Ending

My vacation is over… I am back to work as of today.

Well FOF, how was your vacation?

Let me begin with the ending.

On the last evening of my vacation (while shopping for the boys’ Scout camping trip) I happened to be driving by #1 of 5’s new “Bachelor Pad”. It is a small one bedroom efficiency apartment. Since we had not heard from him in over a week because his cel phone was disconnected, we decided to pull in and see if he was around.

Disconnected?? Why?? Well, depending on whom you ask it’s for either not paying the bill -or- because he no longer wanted to stay with the same carrier, and decided to stop paying the bill as a way to “cancel” his month to month agreement.

I’ll let you decide.  Either way - we have not way of reaching him, and he has no way of reaching us.

We pulled into the lot, and… Viola! There was #1 of 5’s car! Looks like he is home!

So we went into the apartment, and knocked at the door…. Nothing. We knocked a second time, and sure enough, after a short wait, looking a little disheveled, there was #1 of 5 answering the door.

#1 of 5 is hearing impaired… While it is possible that he did not hear our knocking, he is also “nocturnal”. If left to his own demise, he would sleep all day and be up all night. I suspected the latter, which was later confirmed when he admitted that he had been up until 5am playing video games.

Convinced I was NOT going to get a “HI DAD!” or a “HEY!! SO GLAD TO SEE YOU GUYS!”, I was not too surprised to hear “What are you doing here? I was uh… I was just cleaning the place” – which led me to believe that I was about to step into something that looked a lot less like an efficiency apartment, and more like a back alley dumpster.

I was not disappointed.

I entered the apartment, and as I passed through the hall, and into the living room, I had to step over dirty clothes, socks, and shoes.

Confirming my idea that he was asleep, I spied his chair pulled up to his couch (a couch with an indentation of his body in the cushion on one side) set up “ottoman style” (or was it “feet up, and asleep style”). The controllers for his PS2 were stretched out across the room and sitting on the couch, and there was a bowl of spaghetti sauce still sitting on the couch next to the indentation.

CD’s/DVD’s/Video Games were spread all over the place - on the floor, in on and under the entertainment center, on the TV, and all over the floor (both the loose CD’s and the empty cases). There were some in cases, but if they were, then they were in the wrong cases. Papers, both important, and of the “junk” variety – strewn about, some even mixed together – and then, there was the dirty dishes with dried bits of this and that, on the chair, next to the couch, and on the floor – but all within reaching distance of that same indentation in the couch.

07-31-09_1910aI could go on and on here… but I imagine you get the idea.  I really thought the placed looked horrible, until…

GASP! (Cue the horror movie music)

…until, I saw THE KITCHEN!

The kitchen sink was stacked with what I can only ethically describe as a weeks worth of dishes (with a week’s worth of food still in, on, and around them). The left side of the sink was piled with dishes soaking in water.

“Water” being a term I use loosely here.  It appeared to be more of a semi-translucent gelatinous mass, with chunks of food, grease, vegetables, noodles, and bits of this-and-that suspended within the clear Jelly-like substance.

The other half of the sink was piled high with dishes that appeared to be cemented together with a hardened adhesive that I imagine may have once been food or perhaps condiments…  I was afraid to check.

07-31-09_1911aTrust me when I say that the cellular phone photos I have here do not come close to justifying how horrific it looked...  There was no way I was touching that "science experiment gone wrong"... NO WAY!

Being a little hungry, I peeked into his fridge, only to find… Nothing (or as close to nothing as you can imagine)..

Along with a jar of mayo, mustard, spagetti sauce, and three out of a dozen eggs, there was a loaf of pumpernickel bread, and some margarine in the fridge.  I thought about making myself a little toast – until I noticed the expiration date on the bread said…

April 09 (Folks, It’s August 09)…

The question “Um, #1 of 5, where did you get this loaf of bread” was answered with an “I don’t know, it was here when I moved in”…


07-31-09_1912aIn disgust, I left ground zerothe Petri dish, the kitchen, and proceeded to sit down, and watch my two oldest boys do what older brothers do… (Careful, this news may shock and surprise some of you…) – They started playing video games.

After about fifteen minutes of watching them (and being bored out of my mind) – I got up and started straightening the living room…

I put CD’s in their cases, DVD’s in their cases, Video games in their cases… Cases neatly put away, clothing put in the bedroom, shoes in the closet, papers sorted stacked and filed. Garbage was picked up, furniture returned to its rightful place… All in all, it was looking pretty good even if I do say so myself!

I sat back down and surveyed my moderate success at cleaning the living area of the apartment.  It felt good!

After a few short minutes, the boredom set back in. Reluctantly I got back up – every so carefully inching my way into the kitchen.

I looked around…

Yes, the sink was BAD, and so were the countertops, stove, and microwave.   But, I decided I’d give it the ol’ college try – just to help “inspire” #1 of 5 into cleaning a little further (on his own).

After all, how bad could it be?  At least it did not smell… Right?   Right!

(Cue the even scarier horror movie music.)

07-31-09_2025aThat was until I turned on the water, and the stream of water punched a hole through the skin of the gelatinous mass…

Three instances…

Yes, it was three separate and distinct instances of me turning to the garbage can.  

Three separate and distinct instances of lifting the lid. 

Three separate and distinct instances of involuntary gagging. 

Three separate and distinct instances of  being sure that I was going to vomit into the trash can with the open lid.

After regaining my composure, I started worrying that one of the neighbors would call the Medical Examiner thinking someone had died (about a week ago) in the apartment.

When the Medical Examiner never showed up, I was certain (if nothing else) the paint would peel from the wall above the sink.

I'm almost positive I saw fumes rising from the sink.

07-31-09_2023a Ok... Maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit here, but folks... That sink stunk, and stunk like there was no tomorrow...

#2 of 5 (not knowing what I was doing) yelled from the other room, "Dad, what is that HORRIBLE smell?"

I rolled up my sleeves and started digging in...  Saving Pulling dishes and silverware from the gelatinous mass - rinsing them off as best as I could, and setting them aside to wash.

Then, I had to clean the SINK.  It was culturing bacteria (bacteria yet to be discovered by man) all over both basins... ("After" photo to the right.

This was the point I discovered #1 of 5 did not have dish soap. 

Sigh... My hands were covered in a greasy, gooey, oily slick, and try as I might - I could not seem to get it off...  It was like hand lotion for ogres... 

I located the next best thing.  Hand soap.  About 1/25 of a bottle of Vanilla scented hand soap, and a bottle of  "therapeutic aromatherapy" bath bubbles (lavender scented to help calm and relax).. 

Thank goodness, because I was needing it by now..

Rinsed dishes then went into the left basin and were soaked (to loosen the petrified food), and washed (in HOT water and vanilla scented hand soap).

Dishes that were rinsed and then washed (in vanilla scented hand soap) were then moved to the right basin and washed AGAIN in HOT aromatheraputic lavender scented (to help calm and relax) soapy water.

Dishes that were rinsed and then washed (in vanilla scented hand soap) then washed AGAIN in HOT aromatheraputic lavender scented (to help calm and relax) soapy water, were set aside, and rinsed one more time.

Finally, dishes that were rinsed and then washed (in vanilla scented hand soap) then washed AGAIN in HOT aromatheraputic lavender scented (to help calm and relax) soapy water, and rinsed one more time - were then moved to an area of the counter that I had previously cleaned, and then dried with a drying towel that I had to capture as it tried to run away from me was less then what I would call clean (or even sanitary).

By this time, it was getting late (and I was starting to look a little "green around the gills"), so #2 of 5 and I needed to leave.  As we left, I reminded #1 of 5 that he would still need to CLEAN his dishes before using them.. 

07-31-09_2024a"Why Dad?"  he asked.  I asked him to "feel" one of the dishes, and tell me if they still felt slippery (greasy). 

"Yeah, so what if they do?"


We are going back in the next day or two with a care package.. (a care package that WILL include dish soap along with some real food)...

My money is that SOME of those "cleaned" dishes (the ones that I "cleaned" and asked #1 of 5 to finish cleaning) will still be in the same place I left them (see photo to the right).  Double or nothing that the ones that are not still there will be piled up in another (new) gelatinous mass in the sink (indicating he used them anyway)...

Anyone want to same some of that action???


  1. Pretty sure #1 was my roommate in a previous life.

    Good job dad!

  2. Yeah.. Maybe exaggerated a wee bit, but...

    A. It WAS really, really gross, and there was a film on the water, and the dishes were "crusty"..

    B. I do so enjoy embellishing just s smidge..

    Let's not forget (as guys) that most of us have had a "moment or two" similar to this...

    (I know I'm guilty!)

  3. Ahh to be a bachelor again....

  4. I'm currently a FoF[our] later this year it will be FoF[ive] as well. My oldest is 13. I suspect that this will be his apartment once he decides to go out on his own. Looking at his room on a daily basis almost confirms it.

    But we can only teach them.. We hope they use these teachings when they move out..

    But you're better than I was.. I would have left the crap there.. Because I'm sure my sons grandmother will more than likely come by once a week to clean his place..

    You know.. because he doesn't have enough time to do so.. With the sleeping and the eating and the mafia wars and all..

  5. Feel free to stop by Weaselville to say hi and clean up while I play video games. I can even guarantee that you won't gag or put your hands into any gelatinous water or anything else for that matter.

    You were a nice Dad (and I too can not sit still in those kinds of messes), but he needs to start caring for himself. A girlfriend coming to visit should do the trick.

  6. This is hilarious!!! Good thing the medical examiner wasn't called!!! Maybe he is culturing his own penicillin!!!

  7. Many years ago, I had to leave town to help a dear friend when her son died. I farmed out my children to various friends. However, they all returned home for Sunday dinner with their dad. Put all the dishes in the sink, filled it with water and left it. When I came home at the end of the week, the sink was BUBBLING. Scary.


    If he'd had a girl in there with him...:)

    Wait...yeah, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...oh and also, BARF!

  9. Just read "Clarification". No worries, we know that you love and are proud of #1.

    The pictures in "Clarification" are amazing. The place looks great. He could hire out. I need him, but cannot afford him.

    Do not, I repeat, DO NOT come and take pictures of my house!

  10. You sound like you all had some good-natured fun!
    You like washing dishes? Stop by anytime. I don't even care if you take pictures.Of the house.

  11. Just for the record, I thought this was a beautifully written and funny post about parenting. I loved the satire.


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