Yesterday I got a bug up my butt to get the kids' play-set water sealed. Why this idea occurred to me right smack in the middle of planning season for school and a day before company comes is a mystery even to myself, but nevertheless, the idea wouldn't let go. Then I, much like any red-blooded American, put it off till "tomorrow." That means, I did it today instead; the same day company is coming. Smart.
Anyway, I put out the kiddie pool for the littles, made sure drinking water was available, and set to ignoring my kids pleas of boredom so I could begin my work. After 4 hours of back-breaking work and 2 containers of Thompson's Water-Seal, plus several reapplications of sunscreen, and a 10 minute break to wallow in the mudpit my children created out of the kiddie pool, I was a whole new level of dirty. I possessed on my skin several alternating layers of water-sealant, sunscreen, sweat, and mud. Pretty though, eh? I don't need to tell you how welcome that shower was. :) Aaaah.
So, while I was showering, it occurred to me that I have several gradients of dirty for our family,
scaled according to the type/level of dirt and how it gets removed (from simple to downright nasty):
1. Balmy: This level is what occurs just through ordinary play or a walk outdoors on a humid day. In my house it means a scrub down at the sinkside with a washcloth and occasionally, but not often enough, a new set of clothes. Why? Because too many changes in a day means more laundry, dernit, and I am as cheap as I am wordy.
2. Murky: A trip out to the play-set sandbox or the kiddie pool with sunscreen on results in "murky". A mixture of the white, nasty oiliness of sunscreen plus muck creates a muddy sheen on the kids skin. Off to the shower and the laundry room for you!
3. Crusty: this is the level my family gets to after a good long day of gardening or yard work. Layers of dried mud plus grass and, in some cases, insect carcasses (yes, we've been there, esp. after the caterpillars invaded our yard the other day...picture my kids frolicking through the yard with glee, covering their feet and clothes in caterpillar parts). Get a hose and leave your clothes on the front mat- you aren't worthy of the tub, yet.
4. Zoo-Worthy: After a day at the petting zoo loving-on (squishing) chickens and rolling in the hay (covered in goose poo), and perhaps kissing horses, I sometimes consider just leaving them there to continue to wallow while I grab a Starbucks...
Well I consider it, I didn't say I DO it.
This level requires a hose, removal of the clothes, antibacterial scrubs for the shoes, and a extra long shower. Plus bleach for the clothes. And Starbucks.
5. Swamp-thing. - At this level, they've been allowed to run a little too freely in the woods, and probably should be left to live there as they're already nicely camouflaged and insect-proof from the dried mud. They also probably have contracted some sort of gastrointestinal problem from the pond water and would be better off left behind, rather than suffer thru what it will take to get the filth out of their hair and orifices. This level involves burning/trashing clothes, plastic sheeting over carseats and upholstery on the way home, and small people moaning about how mean mom is that she makes them scrub the bathroom and clean the floors after they've walked thru the house and showered (and after being hit with the hose outdoors, as well).
Today I think I hit Zoo-Worthy. Pity that I don't have the gumption to hose myself off, because now I need to vacuum my path back up the stairs and start a load of laundry. On the upside, I am now waterproof in some parts of my body :) And I need Starbucks, cuz now I have to go clean the house up for company, lol.