Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I arose at five this morning and Swiffer®ed my glass-block shower walls.  Stroke of genius.  I don’t know what possessed me to arise at five and Swiffer®, but that’s what I did.  I felt so self-righteous that I proceeded to Swiffer® the floor of my 30-square-foot shower.  I don’t recall ever having mopped a shower floor, much less Swiffer®ed one.
You can’t imagine the power you feel when you Swiffer® your shower.
Thus invigorated, I decided to clean the rest of my bathroom. 
My bathroom is funky, but not funky in a bad way; funky in a good way.  When I bought this house (Don was taking a Sunday afternoon nap.  When he awoke, I said, “I bought a house while you were asleep.”  He said, “Oh.  Do we have any chips and salsa?”) I told the contractor, “I want a huge bathroom in my bedroom in the attic.  Tear out the tiny bathroom, the two little hallways, and the mini-bedroom and make one huge, funky bathroom.  Huge.  And funky.”
He said, “I have been building and remodeling houses for 40 years.  Nobody has ever told me that they wanted a funky bathroom.”
“Well, I do.”
“I don’t even know what that even means.”
“You’re an old white guy.  Of course you don’t know what it means.  I’ll teach you.”   
I handed him pictures cut out of magazines.  A clawfoot bathtub and a pedestal sink.  Walls a color that no one has ever named, but are a cross between watermelon and terra cotta (I call it meloncotta).  Purple towels hanging from hooks on the walls; no towel rods.  Suntube.  Hidey-holes. A glass-block o-p-e-n European-style shower: clunky glass walls that don’t go to the ceiling; no door or curtain.  Big as a ballroom.  Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey could waltz in it.
Antique furniture instead of cabinets. 
Because I live in the attic, my sloping ceilings are already funky.
I looked up funky in an online etymological dictionary. 
First known use of funky: 1620’s. Definition: having an offensive odor.  This was not the funky I was going for.  Used in French from the Latin fumigare.  Smoky smell.  Evolved into meaning musty smell, especially as associated with cheese. Not what you want when you remodel your bathroom.  Not at all what I had in mind.
But in the 1900s, funky began to have a positive meaning associated with jazz: strong, earthy, deeply felt.  Earthy.  That’s going the right direction.  I wanted my bathroom to proclaim me as earthy.  I wanted it to evoke strong, deeply-felt earthy emotions.
By the 1960’s, funky meant fine, stylish, and excellent.  My definition was building. Stylish and earthy.
The Oxford Dictionary defined funky as modern and stylish in an unconventional or striking way.  People from Oxford should know. 
Merriam-Webster added: odd or quaint in appearance or feeling; unconventionally stylish.  That completed my ideal bathroom plan: A fine, odd, quaint, earthy, unconventionally stylish place.  A Deeply Felt retreat where I could take bubble baths and feel free and unenclosed by shower walls.
And so it is.
So the New Year will be here in a few hours, and I will have a freshly-scrubbed bathroom. I commend New Year’s Eve bathroom cleaning to you.  Clean your bathroom.  Swiffer® your shower. Then get funky and take a bubble bath.  Unless you think that’s hinky, of course.