Prior to beginning our home renovations, I had never been in my wife’s bathroom. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to pay an occasional visit to her private domain; I just didn’t know the combination to the lock.
Once construction began, I assisted Mary Ellen in clearing out all the bathroom cabinets so new vanities could be installed and fresh paint applied. As I deposited items into cardboard boxes, I realized that many of the toiletries and cosmetics did not have expiration dates, thus providing Mary Ellen with the perfect excuse for having squirreled away so much stuff over the years. Tossing out a 30-year-old jar of anti-aging cream would be an insult to the product itself. How could it possibly get too old?
Under the sink I found refreshers, vitalizers, restorers and scrubbers. I am sure Mary Ellen has not used any of these products over the years, not because she doesn’t look refreshed, vitalized restored or well-scrubbed, but it was all tucked away in double zip-lock bags where I assume it was being readied for the eventual apocalypse. Living in a bunker for four weeks with no food or water is frightening enough, but you can’t ask a woman to go a month underground without a moisturizer.
I did a quick grocery-list inventory of my wife’s stash. There were jars and tubes containing mint, avocado, lemon, pineapple, almond and cucumber. A woman’s bathroom is very different from a man’s, where most of the facial products are meat based.
In one drawer I found 16 tiny tubes of toothpaste, all different, each from a different hotel where we once vacationed. I was going to give Mary Ellen a hard time about taking all these free samples, but I have 400 old “USA Todays” in the basement, so I totally understand compulsions.
Of course, I also have my own cabinet full of goodies that have piled up over the decades. The biggest supply was old vitamins and minerals, all purchased about 15 years ago when I had serious leg cramps and decided to take everyone’s advice on how to stop them. The problem was that everyone had different advice. Let’s see: magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, turmeric, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium. I finally discovered the quinine in tonic water helps a lot, although I think it’s more apt to be the gin that makes the pain go away.
In my wife’s bathroom, I also discovered Ultimate Flora, a product that claims to have 100 billion different types of bacteria cells in one bottle. And this was the travel size. There was Kiss My Face Deodorant, obviously for people with really bad aim. Then there was Absolute Eye Serum for people who love their premium vodka, but want to cut down on their drinking.
I thought I had pretty much rounded up all my wife’s cosmetics when I noticed a tube of something called liquid grout colorant that had rolled behind the door. I am hoping that this was left by the workmen replacing the floor tiles, because if it fell out of Mary Ellen’s cosmetic draw, she has a lot of explaining to do.