50 Humorous Top Tips For Cleaning Up Vomit…affiliated with BAD HOUSEKEEPING…

OK, who am I trying to kid? First off, there is NOTHING humorous what so ever about vomit, nope, never, not even slightly….especially if I am anywhere in the vicinity of said chunder and particularly if I have to be involved in the clearing up process ūüė©

Secondly, who in their right (or wrong, very wrong) mind could even think of 50 separate ways to clean up puke (don’t flood me with ideas, I really DON’T want to know) unless you are some weirdo with a peccadillo for emesis (posh word for barf doncha know). If you fall into the latter category and have a predilection for all things vomit relating/inducing, I can’t decide whether you should move in next door to me so I can call on you in times of desperate need or whether I would like you to remove yourself from my blog readers ūüėȬ†I’ll ponder this further after a very strong coffee to reconstitute myself after this morning’s endeavours which as you may have succinctly deduced involved clearing up the outpourings of a poorly G Man.

Despite being the mother of 4 children, the oldest of whom is now 17 and started out his life as a prolific refluxer plus various nauseous pets over the years, I am spectacularly bad when it comes to the whole shenanigans associated with dealing with THAT bodily function – see I have to carefully allude to the literally stomach churning matter since even discussing it starts to make me feel more than a little queasy.

I’m not quite an emetophobe but probably not far off it. For example, there are many, many memories accrued over the years that I could recall in technicolour detail that involve vomit which really shouldn’t be the defining high point (or rather low) of the recollection:

The journey to school aged 9 when my brother and youngest cousin were playing some game in the back of the car involving bogies which prompted my brother to be sick all over my cousin, my cousin was then sick all over me and my dear Dad (he of the famed what goes on in the car stays in the car” quip) instructed yours truly to clean everyone up!! This made me sick which then made Dad sick… you get the picture!!

Then there was the time hubby and I (pre kids/marriage) went on a fabulous trip in the Florida Keys on a glass bottom boat – totally marred by the cutest little girl shouting “mommmeee, mommeee, I blew chunks and look the fishies are eating it!!”..and sure enough the glass-bottomed and partially open viewing platform was no longer such a relaxing mix of cerulean blue and darting fish… cue me having to run on deck and gasp unattractively for air, hand flapping, rocking and muttering oaths. ¬†Unbelievably hubby still chose to marry me less than 2 years later…I know right? #whatacatch#

There was the flight home post an amazing sun-baked, cake and booze fuelled relaxing holiday in Eilat with hubby, kids and my parents when my eldest, then aged 10 and Minx, 14 months, were unwell (an understatement!) Poor H perforated an ear drum mid-flight and the pain made him upchuck prolifically, all over yours truly and Minx unable to swallow her saliva, having difficulties with increased secretions and oxygen saturations because of the reduced air supply eventually managed to bring everything up all over me.

That particular trip culminated in being met by an ambulance airside at Luton and being transferred with 2 poorly children to the local hospital clad in linen trousers, wispy thin short-sleeved blouse and flip-flops covered in the UNMENTIONABLE from head to foot. I had managed to grab our passports but no handbag or warm clothing so coming back from 30+ degrees heat to a miserable late night in Blighty in single figures temperature wise was never going to work out well anyway but quite how I persuaded the poor gentleman in the taxi to take us to our hotel once the kids had received appropriate treatment, medications etc, sporting ‘eau de vom remains one of the great mysteries of the world….

Then there was a Christmas Eve morning that still makes me shudder: Martin had been at work on an early shift but was due home mid-morning. Imbued with the festive spirit, (and I don’t mean having drunk it!) ¬†I decided to make a Bouche Noel (fancy way of saying chocolate Yule log) as a last-minute dessert.

 

All 4 kids were occupied, seemingly playing nicely (probably should have foreseen that as a clue!) so when hubby called me to say he had landed and was off to pick up his Mum, did they need to come straight home or could they pop to the shops, I gave a tinkly little laugh and assured him that all was under control. Oh how that would come back to bite me on the bum….

Festive songs on the radio, fridge fit to bursting, I set about with the flour, sugar, eggs & whisk… Shortly after I had prepped the mixture on to grease proof paper ready to pop in the oven, feeling smugly all Nigella, the shrill, panic-stricken tones of G Man yelling¬†¬†“Mummmmmmeeeeeyyyy” shattered my ear drums from 2 floors above.

All parents recognise the particular siren call that indicates real TROUBLE and possibly DANGER so I high-tailed it up the 2 flights of stairs half expecting to find a severed limb or child dangling from the ceiling light and whilst my initial reaction was relief that this wasn’t in fact the case, it very quickly turned to revulsion and then to despair when I realised Martin wouldn’t be home for some time to assist.

A bit of context: Minx being strong-willed had decided in the October of that year, before she was 2, that nappies were a no-no and with an early glimpse of the determination that has gone on to be both a blessing and a curse, set about the valiant efforts of toilet training herself (and with my reluctant support) with remarkable aplomb.

So on this fateful Christmas Eve, G-Man being ever helpful and adoring of his little sister had ‘helpfully’ brought her Peppa Pig potty in to his bedroom on the top floor of the house where they were playing with Lego.

Whilst I’m sure most of us would agree that our own poop doesn’t exactly smell of roses, it should be noted that Minx was taking numerous medications, several of which meant she emitted an especially noxious odour in matters of toileting.

Thus it was, eyes watering, ears ringing and nose almost bleeding, I greeted a truly horrific scene: Minx still astride her throne, 4 pieces x 2 squares of toilet paper that G had thoughtfully laid out in front of her. G sitting atop his cabin bed, Lego scattered far and wide… and copious amounts of vomitus. But to add to the awfulness, G having retched at the potty odour from on high had proceeded to be sick all down the side of his cabin bed, on the Lego… and worse still, atop Amelia’s head!! ūüėęūüėę She then & I guess understandably in the circumstances, had also let loose.

By this point, the combination of aromas in that room were making ME gag. I threw open the velux windows as wide as they could possibly go & screeched at the elder 2 to avail me of plastic bags, buckets, disinfectant, paper towels and baby wipes STAT!!

When they arrived duly laden, they also began to heave. Major flaw in my plan so yelling afresh, I got them to leave the immediate vicinity of hell and set to work cleaning up.

If you’ve never experienced the heinous task of gathering up vast amounts of sharp, multi-coloured pieces of plastic of varying sizes and shapes covered in vomitis (and why would you?!) let me be the first to tell you it proposes a logistical nightmare. How to scoop, run and get to sink without creating further devastation??

If I didn’t have the littlies to bear witness, I would have cheerfully disposed of the lot in bin bags, nary a thought of the cost of those pesky bricks (and to be honest after 4 kids we had enough Lego between them to construct our very own Lego land anyway!!) but their beady eyes were following my every move and frankly I couldn’t face the thought of adding crying and snotty tears to the already over crowded bodily fluids in that room so I (ahem) sucked it up (not literally!!) and used a bath towel to traverse back and forth to the bathroom until the vile task was done.

Of course it wasn’t over then because I still had kids, floor, bedding etc to clear up. And so it was that Martin returned home some hour or so later to find me lying on the floor alternately sobbing and swinging from the cooking sherry, muttering dementedly. Even 6 years on, that has to be up there as one of the nastiest events of my life!

So without further ado, let me share with you some if not exactly cunning and mind-blowing tips, useful pointers I have gleaned over the years:

Make yourself reeeeeallly reeeeallyy bad at clearing up vom – but only if you have some (sort of) willing partner/friend ¬†sworn enemy around to take over the clean up, in the hope that you will botch it all so badly, they will tsk tsk at you through clenched teeth and insist you GET OUT OF THE WAY AS YOU ARE JUST MAKING MATTERS WORSE stylee….. *whistles nonchalantly*

Pay someone else to deal with it. Extravagant? Undoubtedly but worth every penny if you are phobic.

Napalm – if in doubt and with no willing helper/employee annihilate the fall out zone… NB¬†best to evacuate anyone nearby, (even if you don’t get on with the neighbours) check your home insurance policy wording first and see what your mortgage lenders T’s & C’s are if you have one.

Haz-mat suit –¬†chemical showers and self-contained oxygen supply …. for obvious reasons… although difficult to come by…

Sell your house immediately and if news reports are to be believed, do it quick before we all end up in negative equity (be prepared to take less than market value anyway unless the buyers have a cast iron constitution on viewing the vomity areas)

Give your house away/to charity.…less likely to be fussy/complain and more willing to clean up.

IGNORE, DENY EXISTENCE, CLOSE DOOR, ACT SURPRISED, ¬†upon discovery with a n other present then revert to point 1….

Drink yourself into oblivion –¬†preferably alcohol rather than any old household products, then tackle the task… NB¬†careful judgement needs to be used to ensure you are the right side of not giving a hoot and merrily tipsy rather than blind drunk which potentially may see you adding to the mess…

If all else fails and you really have to do the clean up, arm yourself with gloves (plastic/rubber/latex NOT woolly!) plastic bags, kitchen towel, baby wipes, antibacterial spray, pet soiling clean up spray (it breaks down the enzymes and gets rid of that lingering sick smell that’s so difficult to get rid of) and mentholated vapour rub (e.g. Vicks/Karvol or similar) and smear liberally under your nose, septum and philtrum (medical jargon for the bit between your nose and top lip!) I decided to try that little tip after reading a book about how bad dead bodies that have been in water smell and the pragmatist of the story attending a post mortem using ¬†Anyway, I digress… Throw windows open as wide as you can for added ventilation (assuming there are windows) and leave the top off the mentholated vapour rub for emergency sniffing if it all gets a bit much. If you happen to have a room spray of some description, give the room a good blasting – even LYNX does the trick although I’m not sure that’s what the manufacturer intended it for ūü§Ē Once you have removed the worst of the offensive matter, carpet cleaner, preferably in the form of a dedicated machine rather than something you spray or sprinkle on is your friend.

So there you have it; not 50 tips but maybe, just maybe something that might make you giggle…

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The Rules…..

It’s funny how sometimes an idea for a new post comes upon you…this one came to me as I was cleaning up after one of my littlies had been sick.(thank you reflux) and therefore I am sure Dear Reader, you are just dying to read on aren’t you?!

So THE RULES…..Hubby and I have a very old fashioned, what used to be termed traditional marriage, especially now that he is the sole bread winner (to be fair, with me, 4 kids and 2 cats, he’s more like the crumbs winner than the whole actual loaf but I digress) since I gave up a “proper” job 2 years ago to be the main carer for our children.

Any feminists might want to stop reading further since I am sure I will be inundated with outraged responses that I am setting women’s lib back 50 years at least. However, personally, I think the whole women’s lib thing might just have shot us well and truly in the foot and not just because I actually do like wearing high-heels and don’t consider them some enslaving device of patriarchal oppression. ¬†Woman these days are expected to want it all, have it all and be it all but at the expense of what?

Having been both a working Mum and a “non working” one, I don’t pretend to have the answer as to what is best for anyone else but in our family, it was glaringly obvious that something had to give and it was going to be my sanity if I carried on working in regular employment and juggling hubbies shifts, child care, medical situations and the like, especially when he went to work away and I was left being Mum and Dad as it were.

Some woman manage it all with aplomb; I am more than slightly envious of those sleekly put together, glossy haired, designer-handbag toting women who waft calm, serenity and Jo Malone and seem to have both their immaculate, perfectly behaved small folk and board room big wigs eating out of their hands. They also somehow manage to sit on the PTA, have organic, paraben free ¬†nic-nacs ¬†everywhere and do a Nigella in their ¬†kitchen. (Actually, I have often wondered if those women are not some visiting alien/stepford wife experiment, judging by the amount of amazing yet frazzled women I meet in the “real” world). ¬† I doff my hat to you, ¬†however, I can’t and I’m not too proud to admit when I’m beaten.

Maybe it’s the sheer number of kids we have or the fact that 3 out of the 4 have extra needs; maybe it’s having a hubby who works shifts and for which weekends off are rarer than rocking horse poo. All I know is that whilst the extra money I earned was very welcome, it ultimately was a case of boom or bust in more ways than one and with only a slight reservation I handed my notice in to concentrate on events on the home front.

Of course, being a stay at home mother, does have it’s own drawbacks, not least of all and like many of those “wonderful” FB meme’s proclaim, you are at the whim of a small army of crazy folk, all of your own making! Added to that they share 50% go my gene pool so I am often battling mini versions of me…..(hubby has my full respect)

I do have days where I miss the comraderie of working with other grown ups but my last job was working from home anyway so it’s been quite some time since I got to partake in office gossip and bicker over whose turn it was to put the coffee on…it’s not quite the same having the argument with yourself and the office Christmas party was very dull ūüėÄ

Since taking on the mantle of full time motherhood/carer, we have fallen into largely traditional roles: he takes the bins out and mows the lawn, checks the tire pressures and that sort of thing and I am responsible for  keeping the home fires burning and all that entails.

I am very lucky (and happy) to have a throughly modern man who does help round the house and with the childcare especially but frankly it’s a bit rubbish to expect him to go out and earn a living and then come home to do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing as well…..(isn’t it???)

Anyway, back to the focus of this post: RULES. ¬†Being a virtuoso parent of some 15 1/2 years I have dealt with my fair share of dirt, snot, pee, poop and blood and I am generally a hardened veteran on these fronts. However, there is a point I well and truly draw the line at and it was established very early on in to the days of parenthood: VOMIT (I’m getting to the point of the post soon I promise).

Give me a small child saying “here Mummy!” and thrusting a revolting, crusty bogey in my hand, I barely bat an eyelid; wee that’s flooded every where but the toilet bowl – well I have 3 boys (4 if you count the hubby), I can whisk out a wipe quicker than you can say Cillit Bang. But PUKE…nope, not ever, not even slightly. I am vomit phobic; in fact, this is actually a pucker phenomenon and goes by the time of emetophobia. I’ll be honest, even talking (writing) about it gets to me.

Pre children, I really wondered how I would cope with this aspect of child-rearing and it did make me question whether I was cut out for motherhood at all. (There have since been many others aspects that have me questioning that but it’s a bit too late 4 children on ūüėČ ) I however reasoned that vomiting kiddos was not an every day occurrence and was prepared to take the plunge.

I didn’t of course factor in refluxing children (3 out of my 4 little treasures have had major reflux issues and didn’t grow out of it until an advanced age in the case of the oldest and the little 2 still suffer regularly despite meds, surgery etc) who could do an impressive performance that would rival something from The Omen and cover walls a spectacular 8 feet or so from me, even managing to hit the ceiling on various occasions. Baby vomit from milk was manageable but only just. Add in food and it’s a whole different kettle of fish.

Hubby can still regale you with the tale of when we were away with our  firstborn. He had been suffering from  a truly horrible ear/throat infection and having been off his food for a while, managed to consume most of a jar of food in Boots, Brent Cross and then techni-colour yawned prolifically all over the baby change facilities.

When I started making that harrumphing noise, eyes streaming and ashen in the face, I was despatched unceremoniously into the shop to find clean clothes and purchase enough baby wipes to reach the moon and back. Apparently he was not prepared to clean up me too. Very unreasonable I thought.

So early on in our parenting roles, it was established and agreed that Martin would be responsible for clearing up vom-related incidences. In hind-sight and if I had my time again, I would have had it written in as an actual clause to the marriage vows and every employment contract he ever signed. Actually not a bad plan going forward….

Since the vomiting incident that inspired this blog post transpired at 5:30am one Saturday morning and hubby was of course at work, I ¬†was most put out. Being roused from slumber to the less than welcome tones of “I AM FINISHED” (bottom wiping) is bad enough but vomit is a whole new level of no no.

Would it have been unreasonable to ring his company and ask them to send him home to clean up? I really don’t think so….although I accept that could be difficult when he’s at 30,000 feet (pilot by profession). Nonetheless, I think there’s many a mother who would agree with me that it’s not too much to ask that he¬†delay his flight to some¬†frivolous¬†¬†European destination so that I don’t have to clear up under these circumstances…right??? (Don’t all shout at once)

Upon proffering a glass of water, cuddles and reassurance to the G man responsible for the “deposit” in his bedroom, ¬†it briefly (not that briefly) occurred to me to just shut the door on it and leave it, especially as G sleeps in a cabin bed and had produced his offering all down the side of it, on to a pile of lego and clothing as well as the sheets and carpet.

My befuddled, sleep fogged brain tried to calculate how long it was until hubby’s return but maths has never been my strong suit even under the best circumstances and so I gave up even trying to guess and resigned myself to a date with the rubber gloves, dettol, bucket and kitchen towel.

One amazing tip I have discovered is that Vicks Vapour rub smeared prolifically under one’s nose is nothing less than a god-send when having to tackle this hideous task. I think I was inspired to try it by an episode of Silent Witness or similar when they had a “floater” ¬†– dead body that has been in water for some time ¬†– to autopsy (FYI, floater means something entirely different in this house). Whilst it doesn’t stop my own stomach trying to add to the mess, I can usually manage to dry retch my way through the clean up. Try it next time you are faced with such a situation…or leave it to your other half….definitely my preferred option.

So, when hubby returned later that day and the children pounced on him as he walked in the door for apps, X Box codes and the like, he found me unamused and grumpy waving a hastily scribbled appendix to be added to the marriage vows, entitled THE RULES:

THOU SHALT NOT GO TO WORK/PLAY/CYCLE/ AND LEAVE THOU’S WIFE TO CLEAN UP THY CHILDREN’S VOMIT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES….EVER…EVEN IF THAT MEANS DELAYING YOUR WORKING DAY/PLAY TIME.

Funnily enough I can’t seem to get him to sign it……ah well, off to google “an idiot’s guide to legal contracts” and see if I can find a loop hole…..

Until next time…oh and Happy New Year 2016…may it consist of all things ¬†lovely….and no vomit…