The Rise and Fall of a Modern Bathroom

There are times when I wonder if the Martha Points compound. Like interest? When the laundry (folded, unfolded, some indeterminate in-between stage) sits on the chair day after day, should I be exponenting those points? Should I be levying additional negative points for each day the laundry sits there, literally feet away from where they should be if I could get my act together and put them away?

The corollary to that rule would be that everything that stays in a relatively Martha-esque state earns me points on a daily basis. And that’s probably not an equitable distribution. I know it’s random and principally based on my own personal whim, but there needs to be some integrity in the system somewhere. So my ruling is no, a point (positive or negative) for a certain condition can only be awarded once. The condition may repeat, and for that I may again win or lose points, but unless a circumstance has changed in some way the points cannot be counted again.

So there.  Having wrestled with that particular moral imperative and won handily, I can relay the following sad story to you with a clear conscience.

When Himself and I bought our house, this is what the vanity in the master bathroom looked like:

Among other challenges, the vanity only went up to our knees.

A circa 1975 laminate-topped vanity. Not vintage enough to be charming. Not vintage in any way. Not charming in any way. Not attractive. Not functional. A room full of not. (Also not charming in any way was the burlesque-dressing-room-style light fixture.)

So, Himself and my mother’s gentleman installed a new vanity and light fixture.


Ignore the paper towel reflected in the mirror. I had to polish before photographing.

Isn’t that lovely?

We were so pleased with this. We were less pleased with the discarded corpse of a 1975 vanity lying listless in the side yard while we waited on a hauling service, but hey, at least we didn’t have to look at it. We got to look at this instead.

But now, now there is a blight upon the face of Denmark.

Now we have this:

Trust me, you're happy that I polished.

Need a closer look?

Looks like a mutant frog, doesn't it?

Yes, folks, that is a child safety product.

And I hear you thinking, “Why?” Why, in a household of teenagers, do we need a child safety lock on the bathroom cabinets? Are the teenagers abusing the sensitive-teeth toothpaste? Are they experimenting inappropriately with the discarded cosmetics? Do they have a history of setting fire to the house due to reckless use of a hair straightener?

I’m pleased to report that the teenagers are not the reason for the above atrocity.

No, the blame for this little piece of decorating nightmare – this monstrous drain on my Martha Points – lies here:

Don't hate him because he's beautiful...Hate him because he's a destructive pinhead.

This….this…creature cost us $500 and a weekend worth of worry after opening the bathroom cabinet, pulling out the trash can and eating  things that you are simply not supposed to eat if you are not a landfill.

We then decided that our decorating mojo would need to suffer the ignominy of a child safety latch for the sake of the health of the cat. Yes, we’re just that  kind of crazy.

You may be asking why we didn’t opt for the inside-the-door latches. You mean, like the kind we had to install in the kitchen? The answer is, sadly, that the shape of the undermounted sink (which we loooooove, by the way) keeps that kind of latch from fitting. And yes, this is a major, major bummer. In fact, I would classify this as  a Major General Bummer. First class.

So yes, I’m grateful that my Martha Points only have to take this hit once. I will levy the negative points just this one time and my conscience can be clear. I will be able to sleep tonight.

To the points!

I’m really in the dark here. I have no good sense of where I may be, only that I’m starting out with a ding for that dang child safety lock, and that I’m now irritated at the cat.

Previous score: + 5 points

  • Child safety lock destroying the otherwise lovely aesthetic of our bathroom cabinetry: -10 points
  • First round of lovely photographs with new camera: +4 points
  • Already losing the lens cover for the new camera: -2 points (my mother suggested it might be in the TootsiePop nest, but I looked and it’s not)
  • Box o’ styrofoam, packing, paper, plastic and otherwise cluttery packing crap from camera sitting in bedroom: -3 points
  • Finally putting laundry away: +5 points (did not involve folding or ironing, so no double award)
  • Maintaining a general sense of the color of the hardwood floor (ie, dark): +3 points
  • Cleaning the bathroom counter in preparation for photo shoot: +3 points (I think this would have scored higher if there was any genuine intent to reach a Martha standard, but I really only cleaned so I wouldn’t be embarrassed by taking a picture. So while it counts for something, the lack of sincerity has cost me at least 2 points. See how brutally honest I am with myself about this process?)

Today’s score: +5 points

It is really hard to get any traction going here. I may have to get radical and consider wallpapering something to get ahead.

Perhaps a certain cat.


  1. Your mother’s gentleman has had great success around here with rare earth magnet closers. The strength of the connection can be infinitely varied, and if it’s placed directly behind the pull it doesn’t put any stress on the door.

    Have your people contact my people. :)

  2. could you just keep the door of the bathroom closed? annoying sometimes from a “wide open spaces” perspective (I don’t like closed doors much myself) but we had to do this with my daughters’ room after the cat successfully caused the homicide of one Christmas hamster a mere month after it joined our family. and I would have loved to just not get another rodent, but, as it was the BIG gift for C-mas, I felt like that would be sort of unfair (but lovely!! heehee)

    1. Oh! Poor critter! Hope the replacement is faring better!

      The problem with the door, or the cat depending on your perspective, is that it’s a folding style door and the cat (of course) can open it. We discussed putting a hook-and-eye to keep it closed, but as the door is a bit flimsy, he’d likely be able to just shove underneath it.

      One entry on my neverending-list-of-projects is to get an actual *door* installed on the master bathroom. Then I can 1)not worry about the cat getting into the trash, and 2)not worry about the cat getting into the shower while I am taking one.

      I think that perhaps he is part monkey? ;)

    1. I have to explain to people who are stymied trying to get into the trash in the kitchen *why,* when we only have teenagers, there’s a safety latch on the cabinets.

      Although sometimes I’m tempted to ask, “Didn’t you hear about the new baby?” ;)

  3. zomg! I guffawed seriously because we have to do similar things but to keep the cats from locking themselves IN the bathroom. Gozer likes to close doors and they’re obsessed with the faucet in the tub and voila 8 hours in tiny room together with no food, and no litter box.

    Nimbus the center of the universe…see he has his own gravity well.

  4. Nimbus is beautiful. And has a beautiful mind. Like the movie, but with perhaps slightly less mental illness. I hope. For your sake.

    My cat Teva is obsessed with opening doors and cabinets. I tried securing them with rubber bands. But guess what? She EATS rubber bands. So in the sake of fewer bowel obstructions, all cabinets in my apartment must remain open at all times.

    1. As long as she’s not then running amok with your false eyelashes…Or anyone’s false eyelashes.

      Unless she can totally rock the false eyelash look. In which case, go Teva.

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