Friday, August 20, 2010

Cleaning the house and blue cans

I am at a stopping point in my bathroom remodeling venture. It will resume once our relatives vacate the premises.

I put my Bob Villa skills to the test and it is coming out rather well. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but as long as the grout holds the freaking tiles together, I don't care.

I hate to say it, but as my wife and I fumbled around the mess I created, we let the rest of the house go to shambles. Dishes piled and laundry scattered about, the house looked like my old apartment dwellings during my pizza slinging days.

As I mentioned, we have relatives staying with us for a couple weeks, so we had to get the house back in shape, with or without a completed upstairs bathroom. After all, my wife's relatives are Brazilian, and to them your only as good as how clean your house is. We don't want them to label our house a "favela" as her brother has done in the past.

As my wife and I were getting things in order, she asked me to make a quick sweep of the rooms with the disinfectant spray. It's not that our house was filthy to warrant an emergency disinfecting, it's just that we genuinely like the scent (and the disinfecting is a nice bonus).

Needless to say, between the remodeling and work, I was tired and useless when it came to deep cleaning, but I could manage spraying down the rooms, right?

I made my pass over the furniture, the hallway, the curtains, and the stairs. Afterward, I returned to the kitchen to begin washing the mountain of dirty dishes.

My wife came up from the basement and asked, "What did you spray?"

"Disinfectant," I said.

"No," she said, sticking her nose in the air for a few full sniff of air. "No, that's Pledge. You sprayed Pledge polish all over the house!"

I scoffed. No, I used the generic brand of disinfectant. The blue can. There's no way I would mistake the blue disinfectant can with a can of Pledge which is...

Yeah, I soaked our stuff in Pledge wood polish.

I looked over at the disinfectant, and while the color of the can is indeed blue, the label looks absolutely nothing like the Pledge can.

Later, this incident got me to thinking about how we use color for communication in our design work. The green coffee can is decaff, the cherry flavored candy is red, and pastel pink or blue on a cereal box is most likely a vanilla nut healthy cereal aimed at women.

In my case with the disinfectant, I simply remembered that can's color is blue. When asked to use it, I reached for the blue can. I ended up polishing our carpet and curtains in the process.

I looked both of the blue cans over and discovered that they are both a pleasant "outdoors" scent. Two different companies use the color blue to say "outdoors". Interesting.

Along the same line, my toothpaste is a cool mint flavor and my hemorrhoid cream offers a cooling sensation. Is there a color to represent "cool" because I sure as hell don't want to mix the two up.

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