Monday, April 5, 2010


David and I have cleaned up a few messes since we've lived in this house.  Messes that always seem to occur at the worst possible times.

There was the night that we were both worn out from long, tiring days and we were--at long last--winding down in the living room with Chinese take-out, TV, and a bottle of red wine.  I had my glass of wine on a TV tray next to me when Little Mac jumped up on the sofa (she wants nothing to do with us until we have food).  It was one of those scenes that I could see unfolding in slow motion but I was powerless to stop it.  Mac hit the TV tray on her way up and the glass of wine went flying.  In the aftermath, it looked like I had picked up the glass by the stem and just flung the contents across the room--wine was all over the carpet and had splattered up the opposite wall.  Our long, tiring day got even longer as we busted out the carpet cleaning supplies, the steam cleaner, and the magic erase for the wall.  We ended up reheating and eating our Chinese food about an hour later.

When Cooper was a puppy, we'd only had him a few days when we spent an entire Saturday outside working in the yard.  It was another long, exhausting day, and before we collapsed into bed that night we put Cooper in his house (we kept insisting that we were crate training him).  He was whining and whimpering and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep, no matter how physically tired I was.  I told David to just get Cooper out of his house and put him in bed with us.  The sweet puppy snuggled up happily between us and we both sighed with relief and prepared to get some sleep.  That lasted about 30 seconds, because then Cooper peed all over the bed.  All over the sheets, all over the comforter, and a little bit on David.  And so our good night's sleep was delayed further as we had to get out of bed, strip off the sheets, treat the mattress cover and mattress with water and puppy-pee cleaner, blow-dry the cleaned-up wet spot, and eventually remake the bed.

This last disaster, though, was a mess of catastrophic proportions and this time I couldn't blame it on a dog. Like the other messes, though, the timing could not have been more inconvenient.

David didn't have to work on Good Friday so we were heading out the door Thursday night to drive to his grandparents' for Easter weekend.  Our bags were packed and we were getting ready to load the car when I glanced down at my flip-flops and decided my pedicure could use a touch up.  I grabbed a bottle of nail polish to throw in my bathroom bag.

I keep my nail polish in a plastic tub with a snap-on lid on the top shelf of the hall closet.  I used to keep it in the fridge but that became a hassle because it turns out that the tub took up room we actually need for things like food and wine and beer and ketchup and Crystal Light.  So now the tub lives on the top shelf of the hall closet, sitting on top of its lid because it is so full the lid won't fit on it anymore.

Anyway, I rummaged through the tub of polish, grabbed the bottle of Cajun Shrimp nail polish and shoved the tub back up on the top shelf of the closet.  As I turned to step from the hall into the bathroom to put the polish in my bag, I heard a terrible noise.

In that split second, the tub evidently got hung up on its lid that was loose up on the shelf somewhere and instead of sliding back into its place, the entire tub tipped forward, flipped over, and fell out of the closet, crashing onto the floor and spilling its contents.  Not to mention breaking a few bottles of polish.

Not one, not two, but FOUR bottles of nail polish.  Completely broken and splattered all over the carpet.

And not clear nail polish.  Or Bashful Pink or Galapo-Ghost or Blushing Bride or anything light colored.  No.  Of course it was the darkest, deepest reds and maroons.  Shattered and splattered.

I had a couple of moments where I stared in horror, then started screaming, "No!  No!  Oh no!" and then David came running.  I think I started crying then because he looked so horrified but then he was nice about it and said it was an accident. 
I figured that since it was nail polish, the only way to remove it was nail polish remover.  So I grabbed my bottle and a white cloth and I set to work immediately. 

But the remover only smeared the polish around. 

Now I was feeling panicky.  The remover wasn't working and my carpet was ruined.

It was time for Plan B:  Call my mom crying.

My mom has the wonderful ability to be both sympathetic and level-headed, so I sobbed the situation to her over the phone and she suggested Google.  So she and David simultaneously Googled "How to get nail polish out of carpet" while I kept at it with the ineffective nail polish remover because it seemed better than doing nothing.

We got a list of recommended solutions from anonymous Internets and David was off to the store.  He returned with this:

And then we started experimenting.  Acetone nail polish remover (the kind used to remove fake nails) turned out to be the winner.  So David went back to Target and bought all the bottles they had.  We ended up with five total.

Clean up was a painstaking process--pour a little bit from the bottle into the cap.  Pour the capful onto a small area of the spill.  Daub and dab and soak up the color with a paper towel while cursing and trying not the inhale the fumes and vowing to never paint your nails again.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  

For three and a half hours.  I do not exaggerate. 

The fumes from the acetone got really bad, so we paused to open all the windows, turn on the fans, and tie winter scarves around our faces.  My fingertips were sore all weekend from scrubbing and digging into the carpet.  But at least we were making progress.  

After we'd soaked up as much as we could, we put Oxyclean in the steam cleaner and went over the mess again.  It's still not perfect, but it's about as good as we're going to get. 

We left for David's grandparents' house the next morning.

Over the weekend, we made a visit to Home Depot and checked out the laminate and the click-and-fold hardwood flooring.  We've been talking about replacing our (not very high quality) carpet for a while, but this might have been the impetus we needed. 

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