I Only Have My Shelf to Blame

Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity. – Erma Bombeck

Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance? – Phyllis Diller

Above are quotes from two women who could be me, except for the fact that they are famous, made much more money, and are decidedly deceased. God rest their souls.

But they could be me because they apparently hated housework as much as I. Never mind the fact that both of them probably had live-in help once they became famous. I know I would not be cleaning my own toilets if I had big bucks. I also wouldn’t be making my bed, doing my laundry, or cleaning my kitchen floor. Oh wait. I don’t really do those anyway. Mostly Bill makes the bed because he sleeps later than I, and he almost always blinks first and washes the kitchen floor. When it comes to scrubbing the floor, I can be blind to dirt for a mighty long time. I do, in fact, do the laundry.

Bill and I spent all day yesterday putting a few things back to order. We moved a several pieces of furniture (those we can do by ourselves) back into their proper place. Bill made some progress to get his office back together, though there is still no room on our kitchen table to eat. Maybe a few more days when we can get somebody strong to help us.

But I did do some housework yesterday. Sanding and staining the floors required me to remove the bottom shelves from my pantry and remove everything off the pantry floor. Yesterday, Bill put the shelves back in place, and I began putting appliances and food and everything else that lives in the pantry back where they belong. But one thing led to another, and somewhere deep inside me I got some energy and willpower, and I began a thorough cleaning of my pantry. I didn’t know it was going to happen, so there were no Before photos.

I started with the shelves that hold my canned goods. Here’s a common practice for this nana: I want to make something for dinner that involves, say, cream of mushroom soup. I do one of two things. A) I add cream of mushroom soup to my grocery list without checking to see if there is any in my pantry, and there often are a couple of cans; or, B) I manage to walk the seven steps to the pantry from my kitchen table, look at my can of cream of mushroom soup, notice the expiration date was sometime during the Clinton Administration, PUT IT BACK ON THE PANTRY SHELF, and buy a new can which I use in my recipe.

So, with tremendous determination – and lots of noise – I went through my cans, one by one, and threw away any cans with expiration dates prior to October 2017. Longtime readers might recall that I did something similar one other time a number of years ago, and actually found a box of tea that had expired in the 1980s. The irony of that particular find was that it was a tea that I didn’t particularly like, but its expiration date told me that I had moved that tea to at least two different houses.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t find an expiration date any earlier than 2007, and then only one or two that went back that far. I filled up two big garbage cans with products that either carried an old expiration date, didn’t have an expiration date at all, or had a code that made no sense to me. In addition to expiration dates, I also threw away products that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I would never use. Oddly shaped pastas, cereals that I had tried and disliked, boxes that had only an eighth of an inch of product left and should have been thrown away a long time ago. I tossed raisins that had hardened to pebbles and marshmallows that wouldn’t soften in even the hottest hot chocolate. And by the way, I tossed a box of instant hot chocolate that barely made it into the 21st century.

I gathered appliances that I never use or were duplicates, and began yet another Goodwill pile. The only thing on my pantry floor now are big jugs of vinegar (and, by the way, in case there is some world crisis that requires the use of white vinegar, I have my entire neighborhood covered), and my toaster oven. I combined packages of napkins and paper plates. I threw away dozens of white Styrofoam cups, most of which were crushed or dirty, and which are supposed to give you cancer anyway, or so I’ve been told.

I filled up our big garbage can outside with my discards and waved goodbye when the trash man came later in the day and picked up the can and dumped it into his truck.

And while I don’t have a before photo, I do have an after…..

Now I have plenty of room to stock up on Thanksgiving necessities. Erma and Phyllis would be proud.

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