Someones got to do it!

cleaning day

I am predicting pain on the horizon.  No, I’m not being negative, just realistic.

It all started when I decided to wash up a few leftover dishes this morning.  No, I don’t always have leftover dishes, but I think most of us do leave a few on occasion although I’m not proud of it.

I had washed a plastic bowl and was going to put it away and couldn’t get it to fit anywhere properly; it was at that moment I decided I had procrastinated long enough.  The corner cabinets in my kitchen, the ones with rotating Lazy Susans in them, needed attention and there was no more delaying it.

These are located in the corners of my kitchen.  One of them holds dishes and the other, food items.  The cabinets are oak and the revolving shelves are white of course.  After all why on earth would they be a color that actually hides dirt and gunk?

I was on a roll with the one that holds dishes; it wasn’t that dirty since it holds clean dishes. I had a bucket of hot soapy water, my purple plastic gloves on and a rag ready for business.   It was no small feat because I had to get down on my hands and knees and bend into the cabinet to get to the back and I had to spin the carousel and try to get underneath it in sections, all without spilling my now amber colored bucket water.

As I was leaning in scrubbing, my husband entered the kitchen and asked, “What are you doing?”  As I unfolded from my contortionist position I replied, “What does it look like I’m doing, love?” not a hint of sarcasm in my voice.  He quickly made himself scarce after I explained my plan to do a little early spring cleaning today.

After a bit, I had that one done and all of the dishes loaded back up, a couple of things in the trash and had started a box for the local thrift shop.

It was time for the other one.  As I began to drag out the food items, it occurred to me (mostly because of the dates on the packages) that I think I must have skipped this one the last time I did cabinets.  This was not going to be fun.  There was plenty to throw out and it was empty, but dirty.  How does a cabinet shelf get dirty when you are putting clean containers on it?  I don’t understand, but since it had been longer with this one, I had to employ a toothbrush and comet thanks to the grooves in the carousel.  I understand why they’re there, but what a pain.

I was practically standing on my head trying to capture a stray tea bag and pick stray pieces of something unrecognizable out of the cracks in the back of the cabinet when the phone rang.  Of course, it did.  Does it EVER ring when you are lounging in your chair, wishing someone would call and talk to you?  It was my daughter and I was thankful for the interruption, but soon told her I was on a roll and didn’t want to lose my motivation.  She completely understood and said, “Go, get off the phone, and go clean”.

I finished with the kitchen a little later and sat down to eat some lunch.  It was then I felt the elbow pain.  And I began to realize that I was probably going to be in for it tomorrow.  With that realization settling in, I thought I’d sit down and write a while and now that I’m sitting, I think my big cleaning binge is over for the day.  However, I still feel pretty accomplished as it’s only 2 and I’ve conquered the kitchen.

A recipe for memories


Hershey’s thumbprint cookies; photo by Morgan

Mm mm, I love the smell of cookies baking at Christmas time (well actually at any time), but there is something special about it around the holidays.  My kids always wanted to bake sugar cookies and decorate them.  Thank God when they were younger I had their granny to come over and help me.

We would put my kids and whatever nieces or nephews were here all around a table in the middle of the kitchen and give them icing and sprinkles and they would create their little masterpieces.  By the time they had licked their little fingers multiple times and piled icing on an inch thick, I never could make myself actually eat one, but they had fun and that was what it was all about.  Oh, the mess!   We’d have cookie batter and flour, and icing from one end of the kitchen to the other.  Yes, there might have been a mess, but they were making sweet memories in the process.

Toll house cookies

Toll house cookies; photo by Morgan

Their favorites were the Christmas tree and stocking shapes, so we had the occasional battle over who got the next one.  They would do their very best and wait for us tell them how beautiful their contribution had turned out.  You had to be careful and dole out the praise very equally or one of them would notice and call you out on it.  If I can be totally honest, at the time, I was usually glad when they finished and got bored with the whole baking scene and went back outside to play (this was because at the time I hadn’t learned that they would only be young a short time and the house being clean really wasn’t that important).  Now I am so thankful for those precious memories and that we took the time to let them make them.

Today we did the annual cookie baking, but it was an older crew.  Our youngest member is now 16.  We worked together and got several batches done in no time at all.  I enjoyed being in the kitchen together; the laughter and joking with one another.  Well, mostly it was Kim (a family friend) and I laughing at my daughter, Morgan and her granny.  They are hysterical because they are so much alike.  It was different and some of the players were missing, but it was still enjoyable.

We made Hershey’s kiss thumbprints, pumpkin spice cookies, and toll house cookies with pecans.  I tasted all of them and now I’m sitting here in a post-sugar haze, wishing I hadn’t.  I’m sitting here reflecting on the times I made light of things or rushed through them to satisfy my selfish, control-freak personality.  Gratefully and by the grace of God, I’m once again thankful for age and wisdom and the ability to realize how precious every moment spent with loved ones really is.

Won’t you do the same?  Stop and consider time and its relentless passing and prioritize carefully.  You won’t regret it, not for one moment.

Mitch Teemley

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