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The Bad Housekeeping Seal:

Of “Slack”. Almost certainly.

This time the joke was on me. And I’ve no one but myself to thank.

Ma was a “spotless housekeeper”— of which she would have been the first to inform you. In this case it was neither a lie nor an exaggeration. She kept house like nobody’s business. She never stopped. I somehow never quite manage to start.

I have never pretended to be any sort of a housekeeper. “Keeping” a house is something that I do to as a minor sideline to keeping the rain off of my possessions. Well, to be truthful, not really even that. I seem, somehow to have absorbed that reactionary attitude that; ‘them as goes out to work, shouldn’t have to clean’.

And, in an apartment the age of the one in which I live, after the sort of hit-or-miss maintenance it has gotten over the past 40+ years, cleanliness is next to impossible. Old places that are clean are generally that way because they were never let to get dirty and stay dirty. Grunge manages to intrench itself very effectively in old buildings. New ones too, I suspect. I’ve never lived in one, though, and would as soon never do so.

In any event, I have the kind of place where the dust bunnies come out from under the furniture and follow you around begging for treats. What I can’t abide are stinks, and the invasion of the ant people. Or the cockroach people. Any of the above will generally manage to jump-start my — exceedingly latent — housekeeping skills.

Well, over the end of a year, a number of years ago, I’d been obsessing on a Monster Project since about mid-October and letting things slide. The clutter wasn’t a big deal. Like most people who live alone, I have a couple of clutter depots and things generally pile up there rather than wandering all over the house. A forced afternoon to deal with the clutter depots will usually settle them.

The floor and its dust bunnies are beneath me.

No. The point of issue this time turned out to be the kitchen sink.

I have a reasonable relationship with my kitchen sink. Like most people who live alone, I rarely actually cook. Most typically I heat things up, or make up a pot of something and eat off of it until it’s gone, interspersed with salad-for-supper, or evenings of bread and cheese, or something of that nature.

For that kind of cuisine I do not wash dishes with soap. The dishes get held under the hottest tap water and scrubbed with a brush and left to drain. My germs are my own and my system is used to them. Every few days I’ll take the sink trap and upend it over the trash bag and knock out whatever will come loose by hitting it against the nearest stationary object. Every few weeks it sits in a little dish of bleach to get rid of whatever won’t (sodden bread crumbs, usually).

Well, somehow that routine was sliding along with everything else. It wasn’t making a stink. It wasn’t attracting ants. The sink drained more slowly than usual, but it drained, and I was busy. I’d get to it when I got to it.

And, then, about two weeks before Christmas it was bourne in on me that those little green leafy bits in the sink trap were on stems.

I had tomato plants growing in my sink trap.

To be fair, I do not know for certain that they were tomato plants. But I cannot think of what other kind of seed could have landed in the sink trap without first being cooked.