Mom ventures into ‘The Man’s Domain’

I know there are people who believe that walking into a boy’s bathroom is not a scary ordeal. But you show me someone who says it’s not surreal, and I’ll show you someone who’s never darkened the door of a boy’s bathroom.

I have seen a boys’ bathroom; I have cleaned the boys’ bathroom and although I’d deny it in a social setting, I have, in a moment of desperation and weakness, used my boys’ bathroom.

Allow me to say here that it’s certainly not for the mild-mannered or for the faint of heart.

Our boys call their bathroom "The Man’s Domain." This means that they don’t notice the odor or the filth. It also means that they feel free to decorate the area with sports magazines, dirty clothing and enough disposable razors to cleanly shave the faces of both Shaggy and Scooby Doo.

For reasons we may never understand, I cautiously approached the doorway to the boys’ bathroom yesterday. Since I’ve learned to draw on the wisdom of past occurrences, I took the time to adequately equip myself. I donned goggles, chore boots, antibacterial gloves and enough good luck charms to make a leprechaun salivate.

Then I stretched my arms out wide, crouched down and said to no one in particular, "Cover me! I’m going in! "

Once inside the bathroom, I held my breath for as long as I could before I gave in to the need for oxygen. Then I braced myself to be hit with an odor reminiscent of motor oil and bad cheese.

Strangely enough, I didn’t encounter the rancid stench that I’d anticipated. Rather, the scent that hit me was quite pleasant. In fact, what I smelled could have come from a Glade Plug-in.

Color me perplexed. And quite frankly, I haven’t been that pleasantly surprised since the last time I pulled a quarter out of the lint trap. The pleasant in the surprise didn’t last long, however. In fact, it only took me about 30 seconds to realize that this scent was coming from a bucket of melted ice-cream that sat on the bathroom counter; spoon and all.

I’ve encountered some strange things in the boy’s bathroom during my 17 years of experience. I’ve seen enough dinosaurs and pterodactyls to fully stock Jurassic Period. I’ve fished turtles out of the sink, mutant super heroes out of the shower and once, during an experience from which I may never fully recover; I pulled a misplaced garter snake named "Harry" out of the dirty linen basket.

But ice cream? Come on! What kind of thought process leads to the consumption of a dairy treat in the bathroom? And a boy ’s bathroom, nonetheless.

According to my "Leave No Stone Unturned: A Handbook for the Resilient Parent," mothers such as myself are encouraged to get to the bottom of crimes as perplexing as this. Therefore, I started by questioning my eldest son. "Vernon," I said as I shook him awake from his post-golf, pre-bedtime nap, "Were you eating ice cream in the bathroom?"

Wiser mothers would never question children like Vernon. But hey, the investigation had to start somewhere.

"Some fool eats ice cream in the bathroom?" Vernon replied as he opened one fuzzy eye, "and you’re actually bothering me with it? That’s just sick."

When I approached Lawrence, he was stretched out in front of the TV with his head on his hands. "Lawrence," I started with an accusatory tone, "did you eat ice-cream in the bathroom?"

Lawrence snapped to attention. "You bought ice cream and you didn’t even tell me? Why do I always get left out of things? What’s next, the family loads up and goes to Disneyland and leaves me to fend for myself like that little kid in Home Alone?"

I didn’t stick around for the full diatribe. But as I walked away, Lawrence was demanding equal rights and lobbying for privileges for middle children.

I approached the final two boys and got the same story. Although they didn’t readily deny it, no one appeared to have a clue as to how the ice cream ended up in THEIR bathroom.

I went back upstairs and there I found my beloved spouse, (a man who’s been sentenced to live out his days on a low fat diet) head deep into the freezer. "What are you doing?" I asked with love and adoration.

"I was looking for something that I know we had just the other day. "

"Wouldn’t have been this, would it have?" I asked as I held up the gallon of melted ice cream.

"Well, you always buy things that you know I shouldn’t eat. Why would you buy things like that? "

"Because it does a great job of deodorizing the bathroom, duh!"