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Oooh That Smell

July 18, 2012

I have a frenemy. Yes, you heard me. I don’t know what to do. I couldn’t possibly live without this friend and yet it spends most of it’s time shanking me in my side like a dirty cop. It’s so bright and cheerful and friendly, and then, WHAP-POW what is that smell? Can’t you smell that smell? Oooh that smell. That was Lynard Skynard, but he definitely captured my kitchen when I haven’t cleaned it in 36 hours. The smell of death surrounds you.

Yes, this friend and enemy is my kitchen.

I am a stay-at-home mom and wife and babysitter, I cook three meals a day for my family and the little baby I watch. I occasionally cook meals to take to friends. I occasionally have people over to eat. I spend about a third of my life in the kitchen. Half of that third is pure joy, it’s a clean wonderful place to be that smells of simmering chicken broth and pine-sol. The other half (I KNOW it’s a sixth, right?) I spend in sheer terror. Where did those ants come from? Gasp, why are there fruit flies coming out of the trash can? WHAT IS THAT SMELL? If this never happens to you, don’t comment, don’t tell me. I don’t wanna hear it.

I’m not repulsive or anything, the smell is sometimes a bit of food we threw out, a wrapper, a burned on something from the griddle, the sponge that was left out. Granted, I’m also extremely sensitive to smells. I went to too many loud shows when I was younger and now my nose is compensating for the fact I can’t hear my television unless it’s all the way up. But the point is, I have not made peace with this frenemy.

It’s even worse when my husband is there when I cook. He likes to follow me around the kitchen putting stuff away and throwing things out. And he’ll make cute comments like, “Ducky (our dog) where do you think this onion peel goes?” and “Are we hosting an art exihibition of potato peelings later on that I don’t know about?” And then I make cute comments like “We don’t need therapy, we need a maid,” and “a housekeeper is cheaper than a divorce, plus I need someone to clean up the body. Ooops.” Then he’ll make cute comments like “I’ve been recording this conversation.”

We may watch too much law and order.

Anyway. It was really yucky yesterday. I did a bunch of cooking, like chopping every messy vegetable in the house cooking, like using all the pots and pans in the house cooking, like deboning a chicken cooking, then nap time was over. Have you ever tried to do dishes with an 18month old underfoot? You only have to see them rooting around in the silverware caddy for knives once when you realize, this is not gonna work. So I play with them, and leave the kitchen for later. My boy and his little fair-haired accomplice spend the afternoon in sensory play with cool water beads then squish them into the carpet. Then with play dough, and squish that into the carpet. Then hurling legos as far as their little arms will allow, preferably under and behind stuff so I have to root around to find them and they can get into further mischief while my head is behind the couch. Then the little baby’s mommy comes to pick him up, daddy comes home. I feed everybody dinner and it’s 7:30 and the only thing I want to do in the kitchen is stick my head in the oven.

I’m just kidding of course, a little Plath humor, I have an electric after all.

So. I’m in this standoff. With my kitchen. I’m trying to see if it will clean itself. It’s only been a day, but I believe I put my money on the wrong horse. There is a possibility, albeit a small one that if I leave the dishes long enough they will be carried away by ants in the night. Those suckers can haul a lot of weight. I’m crossing my fingers.

When I was a kid, my mom was a terrible housekeeper. She’s better now, she got  a little obsessive compulsive and now she only uses paper plates and plastic utensils so her kitchen is immaculate. I remember coming home one day from school and our dog Sarah was in the front lawn sitting in the planter pleased as punch with the trash strewn all over the lawn. But that’s not the worst part. Dishes. There were dirty dishes all over the lawn. We looked at her with saucer eyes wondering HOW the dishes got in the trash and she looks at us and says dryly, “Well, you guys weren’t going to wash them either.”

It was a funny story to tell, but now I feel her pain. There is a sinkful, nay, a counterful of dirty dishes giving me the stinkeye. Agatha Christie once said “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” The woman wrote like a bazillion best sellers, so she must’ve had about the same amount of dishes I have in my sink right now. I found that thoughtful quote when I was rooting around the dank musty corners of  internet procrastinating on cleaning my kitchen. I googled “inspiration for cleaning quotes.” Oh yes I did. Like Mr. Google was going to come save me with a dishrag and a mop for that sticky floor.

Well, I guess I better go work on my novel while the babies continue to sleep.

Or I could google more quotes to get me inspired. Like this one from my all-time favorite author Erma Bombeck, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be.  No one else cares.  Why should you?”

She was a wise woman, that one.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea Wurm permalink
    July 19, 2012 2:20 am

    I battle my kitchen on a regular basis. Equipped with gloves and apron and hair knotted in top of my hair. It’s a no win situation. It always wins. I’ve lost the war. I’m attempting to train Jaxson to load the dishwasher and put away food stuff. So far I’ve had success. I had something funny to say, and now I can’t remember what it was…nope. It’s gone.

    • July 19, 2012 11:59 am

      I know right. I dirty kitchen is not funny. And it’s only cute writing about it if you then clean it. True story.

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