Monday, August 21, 2006

Mission Accomplished

If you ever find yourself in need of a fright, if you have the hiccups or want to scare away a relative, go move an appliance or a large piece of furniture that has been sitting in the exact same spot in your house for the last seven years. I know that because last weekend, in the throes of a cleaning frenzy, I got the bright idea that I would really REALLY clean the kitchen, that sort of once a decade cleaning that you don’t ever have to do if you move often enough. So I moved the refrigerator out of its refrigerator-sized hole in the kitchen cabinets in order to clean behind it. The refrigerator that had been sitting in the exact same spot for the previous seven years. Until I moved it.

Let me tell you, I am not a neat-freak, but what I saw behind that refrigerator was the scariest thing I’ve seen in this lifetime. I know for a fact that new life forms were evolving in the layers of dust and drippings and god-knows-what that coated everything. We have been living our lives (and actually cooking food!) within mere inches of unmitigated filth. If I had let it go another couple of years, something back there would have grown a nervous system and attempted to communicate with the outside world. How in the world would that much dust accumulate and how could something get splattered back here and what is THAT?? I was freaked out.

So I did what I always do when I’m met with more dirt in one place that I can face. I grabbed the thing that is always there for me, the thing that makes it all go away. The vacuum cleaner. It sucked up everything that wasn’t stuck on, including any previously undocumented species. (I apologize to any disappointed biologists out there.) Then I scrubbed the exposed surfaces and removed whatever it was that was left on the wall and the fridge itself. I definitely worked up a sweat.

Phase two was the inside of the fridge. I pulled all the little baskets out of the freezer side and discarded some lumps that were so covered in frost that they couldn’t be identified. I wasn’t interested in taking core samples to see what I had. (If it isn’t recognizable, it goes in the trash. That’s my rule. I hate to be such a hard-ass, but if you don’t have your principles, what do you have?) I then cleaned the frozen beer out of the bottom of the freezer section. How does a pool of beer get into a freezer? I don’t drink beer, so I know it wasn’t me. Hmmm, maybe we have little, alcoholic gnomes that visit in the wee hours of the morning and like to make beer slushies. Gnomes who don’t know how to clean up after themselves. Yes, that’s probably it. Must remember to put out the baited gnome traps later….

Then, on to the refrigerator side. Things were looking up. There was no rotting vegetation liquifying in the “fruit and vegetable” drawers! Woohoo! However, there was some bluish-green cheese in the “meat and cheese” drawer that scared me a little. There were also some individually wrapped slices of American Cheese Food Product that I expected to be ready to throw out, but, no, they were still good, even though I know they are at least two years old. What ARE they made out of?? No time to think about that now…. I cleaned out all the little crumbs and bits and tossed some mummified apples and a couple of limes that were growing their own antibiotics. I methodically went through DC’s condiment collection, and examined each and every bottle of hot sauce, mustard, dressing and marinade, checking for expiration dates and/or mold. Most made the cut and were allowed to live.

Once the fridge had been thoroughly cleaned and expunged, inside and out, I shoved it back into its cubby, and I was now one major appliance closer to a completely clean kitchen. At this point, I readjusted my goals for the afternoon. There's only so much dirt one person can deal with in an afternoon and remain sane, and I had already exceeded my limit. My need for an impeccably clean kitchen was transformed into a need for an impeccably clean refrigerator and a couple of episodes of “Project Runway.” And look! Mission accomplished! GW, I know exactly how you feel.


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