861CA596-8FCD-4DCC-BD73-15A4A38C4DE3Part 2, to go along with week 2 on the job …

1. “Why can a girl janitor go into the boy’s bathroom ?”
Perplexed for a brief moment, I then had the wits to gesture to the empty room and ask him, “well do you see anyone in there?” He shook his head, no. I shrugged back at him.
2. Children are remarkably inventive when it comes to bathroom messes. Managing to get an industrial size roll of toilet paper wet…while it’s in a covered and locked holder? Check. Smearing the soap from the soap dispenser into an even layer over the floor (envision the complication of mopping this up, if you will)? Check. Sights better left unsaid? Check …
3. One’s personal hierarchy of food items changes significantly when one is the cleanup crew for said food items. Some particularly undesirable items I have encountered thus far? Cheese—any kind. Chocolate cupcakes with rainbow frosting and sprinkles—or any sort of celebratory treat, for that matter. Blueberries—yes, even this delectable fruit has its, er, dark side ;)
4. If night shift does not show up, it is possible-if not preferable-to clean 20 bathrooms before 7:00am.
5. When attempting to hoist industrial size garbage bags into dumpsters, keep in mind that they are not impervious to large quantities of unfinished milk boxes. Depending on how many said boxes are in the bag, it is possible to end up lodged in between the bag and the ground, without managing to get it actually inside the dumpster. If this happens, you will likely end up with a decent amount of milk spilled on you (remember the “not impervious “ part?)

Today marks one week as a full-time school custodian. As much as I would like to just melt into my current exhaustion, in the precious home hours remaining (it is currently 8:00 pm. I start work at 6:00 am), I feel compelled to make real this bizarre reality I have entered—to make it real by putting words to it. So here goes: a rapid-fire shortlist of some of the things I have learned this past week.
1.Children are remarkably observant when a new adult appears in their daily frame of reference. On my 2nd day of the job, one 3rd grader stopped while his class filed out of the cafeteria. I was on my way back in, after responding to a poop call (no, not the official term, but one that is aptly descriptive). He nodded towards the mop bucket I was pulling behind me and asked, “Why do I always see you with that thing?” My reflexive reply? “‘Cause you guys are always making a lot of messes!” He of course shot back with, “Nuh’uh-not me!” Of course not . . .
Today a little one asked me if I was the new janitor. Not sure if I should try to correct her terminology, or explain that I was technically a sub, I simply told her that yes, I was. She triumphantly told me then that she knew it . . . because she had seen me wiping the lunch tables. Yes indeed. That I was. 8 long tables, each comprised of 3 pushed together. Approximately 9 times a day, after each class files in and out, over the course of 2 and 1/2 hours.
2.Industrial backpack-style vacuum cleaners give one the appearance of stepping out of a Ghostbusters movie. Or at least I must assume as much, inspiring ““who ya gonna call?” comments as I walked past classrooms wearing the body-armor-looking gadget.
3.A/C units installed in the ceiling may require occasional mouth-siphoning from a tube if the drainage function is not operating correctly. You may then have a mouthful of water that you do not necessarily want to ingest. You may then need to holler to the nearest teacher, as she stands with her kindergarteners, to fetch you a wad of paper towels into which you may need to spit the offending water. This may or may not have actually happened. I may or may not have been involved in the process.
4.Some people go into a weight room armed with workout gloves, prepared to perform tasks designed to increase their muscle strength. Others go in armed with latex gloves, a leaf blower (to evict a summer’s worth of dust and fossilized critters), and a faithful, ever-present mop bucket.
5.If you spend an hour each day behind an industrial strength mop/scrubbing machine, scouring each spot on a large cafeteria floor, you will feel as if you have just run a half marathon. I can assure you that this is literally true. I have not felt the slightest twinge of physical lack of my formerly daily runs.