01 January 2010

Fixing in the New Year

Today, I decided to put my kitchen back together after a two week frenzy of baking and cooking (aka - Christmas). It started out with turning on the self-cleaning cycle on the oven. I question the sanity of such a decision and the rightness of having such an option; for I am sure that heating up the oven to the equivalent of a warm night in Hades is not a safe procedure, despite the auto-lock on the oven door. The stench that it produced made my eyes water and my throat burn. I opened the windows, lifted the glass panel in the screen door, and turned on fans – all this on a chilly winter night – in a desperate attempt to expel the toxic air that has filled my home. While trying to watch a movie I sat on the floor in front of an open window so that I could get a few whiffs of fresh air. Surprisingly the smoke alarm never went off despite looking in the window at one point and seeing burning embers at the bottom of the oven.

After poisoning myself with the cleaning cycle I moved on to sorting out the under sink cabinet. Two weeks ago while preparing for a girls brunch at my house I managed to stop up the kitchen sink with potato peelings. After a few attempts at fixing it myself with no luck I called in the big man – dad. In a desperate phone call I asked if he could bring over the snake and fix the drain, pronto! Before the girls came over, if at all possible, please. He obliged, but wasn't sure whether or not that he had put the pipes all back together tight enough not to leak. So we moved my tower of storage baggies and kitchen papers to the garage and left the bucket under the sink instead. Tired of going to the garage to fetch a baggie, it was time to move them back under the sink since the bucket was still dry two weeks later. Everything had just been put back in place, I was closing the cabinet doors when the left door started to hang at an awkward angle and there was a distinctive clink and tink; that of a screw falling from its intended place and bouncing around. After five years in this home and struggling with this particular cabinet door, I was forced to finally deal with the problem. Kneeling down, I removed everything that I had just so nicely put back, laid down partially inside the cabinet, with a flashlight gripped between my teeth to figure out what needs to happen. A few attempts later, a self-education on hinges, and my cabinet door is working just fine now, better than it has in five years!

Next up was cleaning the inside of the microwave. My bean and rice taco thingy exploded and made a mess... almost two weeks ago. As I scrubbed to get off the baked on bits of pinto beans that are almost melted into the walls, I think this job would have been much easier if I had cleaned it when it happened, instead of letting it sit in there while I continued to use the microwave for the past couple weeks. It is all the fault of one bean, which exploded and shot rice everywhere. At the time I was thankful that I had let the plate sit in the oven after the timer went off so that the mess was contained. But now I'm thinking that if it had been on the counter, I would have been forced to clean up the mess at the moment and not now.

I start to philosophize in my head about why it isn't until something is broken and demands our attention, or when we finally get fed-up with something, that we get around to dealing with the issue, instead of addressing it when you notice the symptoms. But that is too heady for tonight. All my procrastinating by getting the kitchen back in order has only delayed the inevitable task that must be accomplished tonight – de-ornamenting the tree and un-weaving the lights so that it can be recycled tomorrow morning. Removing the Christmas d├ęcor is one of the saddest tasks for the entire year. The tree is the first thing to go. I would put it off for another week if it wasn't already prime tinder and if I didn't have a very healthy fear of Christmas trees spontaneously combusting.


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