You know how it is with spots | Living with Gleigh


I labored during Labor Day weekend. Not extremely hard, but I decided to take care of a task I'd been meaning to get to for awhile. I put it off because it’s inconvenient and takes time away from my every day TV watching (just kidding, kinda). It’s not really something you can do quickly because it takes a lot of prep time and requires the effort of the whole family.

I shampooed the carpet. We own a shampooer, so at least I didn’t have to schedule rental time or a service to come out. And as carpets go, we don't have much. The house is small and the only carpet we have is the living room and hallway. But it's one of those things I keep meaning to get to while it's warm out so it dries quickly. Even though we are working toward a new record without rainfall here in the Northwest, it feels like fall in the air, so I knew the sun wouldn’t last forever.

It's when I start considering replacing the carpet that I think perhaps I should shampoo it first and see if it can be revitalized. We are only the third owners of this 45-year old house. The owners between us and the original owners bought this house to “flip it.” So they purchased inexpensive carpets and cabinets and wallpapered every wall they could.

None of their work or money has been appreciated by me because I’ve spent the last 20 years slowly undoing everything they did. Their choice of carpet was one of those things I eventually changed. It was light grey and absorbed every mistakenly spilled drop; somehow doubling and tripling it in size the longer it remained. I tolerated the carpet when we were first married, it was only a year old and we didn’t want to spend the money replacing a new carpet. Then we had kids; kids spill even more. Plus you don’t want to replace a carpet before they are trained to drink out of a cup at the table and potty trained.

My oldest daughter was a very easy baby. She did not want to roll over onto her stomach; she just figured everything she needed was right there on her back. So if you put her in the middle of a blanket on the floor, there she stayed. My youngest, however, rolled over at a very young age, would work herself to one side of the blanket, then would spit up just over the edge. I must’ve put the blanket down in the same place in the living room all the time, because by the time she was a toddler, there was a definitive square of spots in the middle of the living room floor.

One day I decided to have the carpet shampooed because my cousins and their wives and kids were coming over; I even hired someone to do it, because it was in the days before I owned a shampooer. It was going to be a big group and I wanted to show off my home. The spots had to go! But that day I learned you should never do anything out of vanity, because it will come back to bite you.

During the party one of my cousin’s kids was feeling ill. He didn’t tell a parent or me for that matter, but headed to the bathroom. When someone was in the bathroom, he did what any sick child would do, he threw up on my clean carpet right in front of the bathroom. Here’s the most pitiful part – we have another bathroom, which was not occupied, with only linoleum outside of it.

Shortly after that fiasco, we had that grey carpet replaced. My youngest was about four years old. She'll be 15 this week. I shampoo it every year or two, so it was time; meaning I was tired of looking at the spots and being able to identify their origin.

I thought about doing it on a day when everyone was gone, but since they were home, we emptied the whole living room of all the furnishings. I would've only shampooed the periphery if I had been alone (I knew I let them stay home for a reason).

And the shampoo job did what I thought it would: brightened the carpet and removed the spots - at least temporarily. You know how it is with spots.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read her column every week on and more of her writing and her daily blog on her website

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