I am not a neat freak. I’m really not. Yes, I like things clean and tidy and I can’t abide a mess, but I know I’m not a neat freak because I know actual neat freaks. You can read more about that here.

In my townhouse, I had a galley kitchen with some vinyl that didn’t even take me ten minutes to sweep and clean. I preferred to clean it on my hands and knees, because as Cinderella and my mother know, that is the only way a floor is really clean.

Second apartment, same.

First house, dining and kitchen, same. But I wasn’t even thirty yet, so I didn’t struggle, and I made Bubba and Sissy do the area around the table.

Second house, different flooring in most every room. Very quickly we pulled up the CARPET IN THE BATHROOM and I tiled it in a day. Who puts carpet in a bathroom? That is just gross. Sicky, icky, ew.
The Mister broke a Wonderbar pulling up layers and layers of flooring in the kitchen and dining room because there was carpet in the dining room and the tile in the kitchen was beyond ever looking clean EVER and drove me outta my mind.
By then, you see, we had two school-aged kids and two babies, a dog, and two cats. Cleaning floors daily was necessary for basic sanitation.
We tiled those rooms.
I enjoyed my heavily sealed original wood floors in the rest of the main floor. Broom, dust mop, damp mop — voila!
We had some crazy-ass tile floors from 1960 in the basement. They were not in good shape. We had more kids than monies, and thus became fans of rugs.

Then we moved to Georgia, into a very white and light and did I mention white? space.
Then we had two tweens and two toddlers, just one cat, and a serious fire ant problem.
White walls, white cabinets, white trim, and those stupid light-colored floors.
Floors became the bane of my existence.

[I will briefly explain things I barely understood:
When you live on a military base, housing is determined by the size of your family and somewhat by your rank.
We were lucky to get assigned to new, big housing. Old, big housing was available, but The Mister picked our house: new duplex on the corner.
Military housing is not free, or is free, depending on how you look at it. The military pays a Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH. Let’s say it was about $800 a month then. Now, this is tax-free income, additional to taxable salary, used to pay for your basic living expenses. So, if you’re us, you give up your $800, take the huge house on post, and don’t pay for water, or heating and cooling. If you’ve got one kid, you take your $800, get a two-bedroom apartment that costs substantially less, pay your bills, and bank the surplus.
The military doesn’t pay you more for every kid you have, nor do they give you a larger BAH. That’s a weird urban legend. If military families are often larger I think it’s because a) homecomings = sex like whoa b) healthcare is virtually free and c) the tighter the ship you run, the more passengers you can handle.]

As I said, our home was nice and new, in comparison to other homes on base. People envied my flooring. They didn’t know any better.

Oh my God those fucking floors. When I lived in Georgia, when I wasn’t bitchin about the heat and the sun and the sand and the goddamned fire ants, I was bitchin about cleanin my floors. It was an epic battle. More than a thousand square feet of some faux wood stuff. I have no idea what it was, really. It had grooves. All the SAND went into those grooves and gave the floor a dirty, distressed look. I, in turn, was often distressed about my floors.

One of my neighbors told me the floors were supposed to have been sealed. She’d seen many sealed floors. One night, while her family slept, she used two boxes of Magic Erasers, scoured every inch by hand, and put a wax on them. She did this once a month so that she could effectively mop them.
I was amazed at her dedication. I thought if I swept several times a day and mopped after dinner, I’d be fiiine. I was wrong.

Here’s a photo that shows some floor:


this is a game called ‘get daddy before he gets you’

Quickly, I realized mopping was not effective and as soon as I’d drop down to scrub them, I’d see the entire floor was really dirty. The Mister bought me knee pads. This made for lots of dirty jokes.
I became one with my knee pads and my scrub brush.

Here’s a picture of me after scrubbing the back of the house, just the dining room and office, not even tackled the hall or kitchen at this point. No room for vanity here y’all. My deployed husband Skyped me in the middle of the day and this is what he got.


Yes, that is ALL SWEAT.

Subsequently, that same neighbor bought a Hoover Floormate and when my husband came home, he bought me one, too. Little bristles whirring through those grooves, suction pulling up all the dirty water, ah, sweet relief! Then I only had to do the few inches around baseboards and under cabinets on my hands and knees. God love the Hoover people, bless them each and every one.

When we moved out, I was terrified of what the home inspection would reveal about my floors. I was sure we’d be charged nine gazillion dollars for the floors. I swept and collapsed.
When they came to inspect our house, they went on and on about how clean it was. I apologized for the floors, told them I’d been far too tired to clean them properly. They couldn’t believe how clean my floors were.
“Seven years? You’ve lived here seven years? With how many kids? We have people who haven’t even lived here seven months and they’re not anywhere near this clean.”
I felt better, but I knew they weren’t actually clean.

This house has a lot of different flooring, like our other old house. It annoys us for various reasons.

Keeping carpet in the entryway clean is quite a challenge, let alone when you live on a damp, wooded lot. I live in the city proper, but nature is here in a big way. Leaves, all up in my house, for one.

I do not want tan, shaggy carpet in our bedroom. I would prefer something with a low nap in a less golden hue.

I don’t mind my laminate. This being the first laminate I’ve had, I’m actually rather impressed. Knowledgeable people have told me that it’s not just laminate, but cheap laminate. I say, “Hmm. I love it.” Wouldn’t mind more of it.
Do y’all have any idea how easily cheap laminate cleans up? It’s a freakin breeze. It’s like dirt doesn’t even like to lie on it. I swear it’s dirt-repellent. It refuses to stain.
Like I said, I loved my old wood floors, but I prefer this cheap laminate. No lie.

Now, my kitchen floors. They’re gorgeous. They’re porcelain tile, lain on the diagonal. Look like stone. Nice colors, grays and tans and a bit of green-y blue or blue-y green. People come over and they say, “Oh I love these floors! I love this tile!”
Then I say, “Yes, yes, it’s really beautiful. To look at.”


They are awful, awful, awful floors. Just, I mean, I have had two homes on a slab and I’ve spent years working in heels and I’ve worked retail on concrete floors and I mean to tell you, these are the most painful floors I’ve ever encountered. They’re excruciating. Feet ow. Lower back ow.
I finally broke down and bought a coupla memory foam mats and they really help a lot.
These gorgeous floors are also reliably cool. Y’all know I like cold things, but I am surprised I do not get frostbitten when I fetch my morning coffee. It’s the kind of cold that goes right through slipper socks.
Annnd, as if that’s not enough reason to hate the gorgeous floors, anything you drop on this floor shatters into a million tiny pieces. I have kids, so sure, more stuff gets broken, but I am personally responsible for cracking the edge of a Pyrex measuring cup (!!!) as well as breaking a glass and a bottle of maple syrup.
Don’t make me tell you how much I love my pretty, colorful plates. I’m not a materialist (obviously, given my love of cheap laminate) but I do scream things to people like, “Hold that with two hands until you exit the kitchen!” and gasp as I shout, “Two hands! That color is retired!”

What do I want in my kitchen?
Not like what people call linoleum, not vinyl, actual linoleum. Like rubbery, prolly what was in my kitchen in 1920, linoleum.

Neither of the bathroom tiles bother me, but then, I don’t stand in there for hours a day, either.

One day, when we can afford to spend a week elsewhere, while also paying thousands of dollars, we will have the floors re-done. I’ll probably still yell at people to be careful with my dishes, but in a scratchy granny voice.

Thanks for reading all that, if you really did. It’s too long for a blog post and too shallow for therapy, but I really needed to bitch. Do you have any floor issues you’d like to vent about?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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46 Responses to Floor-Me

  1. mihrank says:

    that is so great and sweet post…well done!


  2. Carpet in a bathroom?? *huuurck* O_o

    I was a kid when my dad was in the Air Force. For some reason, I remember all of our base housing and especially the floors. I don’t know what those floors were, but they were like a cross between linoleum and stone, marble, something. Really purple, really hard, really glossy, large close-set tiles that didn’t need grout. My mom was a legend because of her floors! She had one of those honking HUGE industrial floor buffers with the big circular buffing pads, the kind with the long handle with the controls on it, that you had to haul back on with all your weight if you didn’t want it to sling you across the room. Her floors were so clean, you could eat off of them, and so shiny you could ice skate on them. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She sure was something. 🙂

    Good memories… enjoyed this post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      We had those tiles you describe when we had that basement. Ours were aqua and cream. I call it hospital tile.
      I’m glad your mother was a big believer in clean floors, too, and I’m so glad this long post brought you a smile. Thanks so much 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hospital tile! Yes, that’s it! It was kind of disturbing to look back and realize I didn’t know what to call it, Lol~ I can’t stand dirty floors now and avoid them like the plague, haha. You’re welcome 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. baldjake70 says:

    I hate the uneven nature of our floors. I would understand it better if we were in a split level home, but we are NOT! Also, I hate the kitchen flooring too. I hate the immediate need to go to the restroom as soon as you step on those frigid floors.
    As for our base housing floors, our floors were cleaner than most. They were not lying when they said it. On the worst day imaginable, our floors were cleaner than most homes out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sknicholls says:

    My kids are grown and gone now, so my husband and I chose flooring that matched the dog hair as closely as possible.


  5. Anxious Mom says:

    You’d love cleaning LM’s floors. We knew nothing about putting down floor and did it anyway. We didn’t know to make the slats lock in place so now the whole floor has gaps. Yeesh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benson says:

    I love the line about the tight ship. Life is like a boat ride. You may not be a neat trip but you do have a few issues about floors,don’t cha’. Being male I am a natural born slob. However I feel as you do about the proper cleaning of floors. Non-carpeted variety. Hands and knees, bucket and brush. Anything else is a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our house is very old — in the 140-year+ category — and the floors in the living room are wide wood floors … those wide old wooden boards that they no longer make anymore because it’s too time consuming and expensive to do that. They are old and worn, but I won’t give them up. So, we are in constant care mode … gentle dust-mopping, no harsh chemicals, and basic hospice care. I’m afraid to scrub them and wear any more of them away.

    But, my other floors yearn for me to get down and scrub them. I think about how beautiful they would look if only I did. But, then I get distracted by dusting or another cup of coffee — things I know I do better. I never thought I would start this morning by reading a post about scrubbing the floor. But, as always, your tale was wonderful. And, now I’m inspired … but first, one more cup of coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      It’s a good workout, cleaning floors, and it’s nice to sit back and admire them a bit. (It’s always too brief for me!)
      I wouldn’t wanna give up old wide-plank floors either. I can see why you feel that way. They add so much warmth to a space.
      The most ‘chemical’ solution I ever put on my original wood floor was olive oil and lemon juice in water. And only when the kids were away and I could buff them up and let them sit.
      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂


  8. La Sabrosona says:

    I did it. I read the whole thing. I’m fascinated with your fascination with clean floors. I think if my floors were children I’d have the floor protective services on my ass!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    When we moved into our house 14 years ago I was surprised to find carpet in the master bathroom. Like you, I wasn’t having that. We replaced it with tiling. I’d never seen carpet in a bathroom before. Very weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion says:

    It’s hard to imagine sitting and reading someone talking about floors on a Sunday morning, but I totally enjoyed reading this. We tiled one room when we bought this house. Like the mister, I tore up levels and levels of previous floor. Then, after the effort on my knees to tile and grout and seal that floor, we realized that the dog couldn’t walk on it. She looked like a character in Loony Tunes. It’s covered with rugs today.

    I think you can still get real linoleum. It might not come in a lot of colors, but I think you can still get it. It’s used mainly for commercial flooring but you should be able to talk someone into getting you some. Just show them this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      I CAN get linoleum, the big brand name is Marmoleum now, but I bet there are others.

      I totally lol’d about the dog not being able to walk on it! After all your hard work! Oh that’s a bummer! I should have mentioned that gorgeous porcelain tile is also slicker n’ snot when it’s wet, too. We can all have the Looney Tunes moment if so much as an ice cube melts on that floor!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Carpet in the bathroom?! I have to agree, totally gross. We lived in Rochester, Minnesota for one year, my husband got there two months before me and rented a cheap apartment that had…carpet in the bathroom!!! I definitely would have picked a different place. What an awful mess to live with that.
    Great post, have a happy Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. April says:

    I like that laminate flooring…it’s tough stuff. We have it in the house we are trying to get the years and years of smoke out of. We have treated those floors very roughly and they shine up every time I scrub them. My only complaint is about wood flooring that everyone seems to like. It is so hard to keep looking nice with two large dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Luanne says:

    Our first house in California (we had 2 houses in Michigan before that) had vinyl floor in the kitchen, and my kids were really little and it was their job to clean the floor. They were GREAT at it. I would give them a bucket of soapy water and sponges and rags and they would get the floor nice and wet and slide all over the place scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing. Then we got uppity and replaced the flooring with ceramic tiles, 12″. Horrible. Yes, bad on the feet and back, cold, and everything that spills runs into the grout. Never again. Now I have fancy wood floors of alder or some other soft wood. I can’t let anybody in with high heels because the floor is so pocked from people I DID let in with those damn shoes on. I like clean floors and I like off-white cotton rugs in the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s sort of a fetish or something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Like soft, low, off-white rag rugs? I can picture this.
      I love the way you’ve phrased this comment, with uppity and fancy. Sometimes uppity and fancy is just not what we thought it would be, I reckon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        I’ve always gotten them at Bed Bath & Beyond although I was in there today and boy has that place changed. Now it’s just like World Market or something. Not happy with it. They are off-white cotton things–loopy, both regular and bathroom rugs–little things that aren’t part of a set and I don’t know what most people do with them. People think “white” rugs are so silly, but I love that I can see the minute they get dirty and throw them in the wash.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I was silly enough to get a light yellow carpet for the sitting room (which leads out into the back garden)! As you can imagine, with a dog and the lovely British weather, it is a real bugger to keep clean!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I used to clean my floors on my hands and knees. Oiled the hard wood every other week or so. Now I don’t look down unless company is expected. Then I get someone else to clean the floors.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know someone with white carpet in the kitchen. She keeps it clean. I wonder if she eats.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Floors are a source of frustration for me too. In our old home (built in 1928), the floors were all hardwood, which is charming until the stuff between the boards comes up and you get splinters. Then, you price having them sanded and resealed and curse them.

    In our newer home (built in 1990) it is laminate wood upstairs, which I love, and lots of ugly 90’s tile downstairs, including grout that will not get clean (I bought a Shark steam mop in the hopes that it would clean the grout, but no dice.) I long for new tile, but what I dread is the cost and dust. So, for now, I scrub and scour, on my knees, and remind myself to be grateful.


    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Grateful I am as well. Much like the weather, I think “Well I don’t love these floors, but I’ve had worse, and look at me, havin floors!” 😀
      I’m glad you also like your laminate. I’ve never had wood splinters with any of my wood floors. I’m even more grateful. Kinda detracts from the charm, Fondly Elizabeth.


  18. reocochran says:

    So, even though I work long hours and have to get up in 5 hours, Joey I had to come visut. First of all, have had a brand new house, chose white, cream and tiny pattern on kitchen linoleum flooring. It was indeed beautiful snd easy, bright and cheery, too. When we finished the basement, the bar area was stocked with ice cream soda and sundae fixings. Occasionally, our wine rack was stocked. 🙂 We put down this pebble looking Congoleum. It was gorgeous, browns, tans and so cool to look at. Nothing cute since it was a recent room. We had the short looped carpet which has a nice name but I am too tired to think of it. Oh, Berber. If ever I own or rent snd I have choices to make I would choose the basement treatments.
    I am very impressed at your techniques to get the floors clean, Joey. I don’t mind dust; but sticky just won’t “do!!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. markbialczak says:

    We put Pergo over our real hardwood circa 1940 floors in the living room, hallway and two bedrooms because my dear wife Karen and I decided it looks nice and new, it’s really easy to care for and clean, and when we go toes up in a couple decades the new owners can worry about taking the laminate up and refinishing the ugly, scuffed up hardwood. Too big of a project for us, Joey, simple as that. And oh, what a diverse flooring life you’ve lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. We’ve owned 8 residences and rented a couple in between. I’ve seen lots of floors and could go on and on. But, currently we have sheet vinyl in the two baths and those are easy to clean, and the carpet in the bedroom is fine. We researched engineered wood flooring and picked Bruce for the rest of the house. Eight years later, I could pull it up and pitch it as far as I can throw it. I vacuum regularly and spot clean with water because no matter what else you try it streaks and looks UGLY and dirty. If you spray something and then someone walks on it with bare feet or socks, you have the print of their feet on it. If we didn’t have a whole house of it, it would be gone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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