Messy Kitchen

I wanna thank you Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
And clothes scattered all over the floor
My never ending messy kitchen
And dirty dishes.
Noisy kids are happy kids,
And slamming doors just means we live
In a warm and loving home
Your long hours and those dishes in the sink
Means a job and enough to eat. – excerpted from Dirty Dishes, by Scotty McCreery

I love to open up Pinterest and see just what it is in which they think I’m interested on any given day. For a long time, Pinterest was offering me suggestion after suggestion about how to build chicken coops and what is the best thing to feed your chickens. I found these posts particularly puzzling because the closest I’ve ever gotten to looking into raising chickens is perusing recipes for frying them.

More recently, Pinterest has apparently decided I’m looking for creative ways to wear a pony tail, interesting in that my hair has been like this…..

…..for at least two decades. Should I ever try to wear a pony tail, it would be like the two little sprouts you see on some 18-month-old girls.

But recently, what popped up was a post entitled 10 Tips for Cooking All Day Without Making a Mess. The title struck me for a couple of reasons: 1) I wonder when I last cooked all day; and 2) I quite literally can’t cook for 15 minutes without making a mess. So, I bit. I clicked on the link.

The author of the article started out by saying Cooking all day is fun! (No, it isn’t.) Especially if it’s blizzarding outside. (Still no. If it’s blizzarding, I want to curl up in front of my fireplace and read Agatha Christie.)

But, by that time, she’d hooked me, so I kept reading to glean the tips to cooking without a mess.

Suggestion 1: Start with a clean kitchen.
So, here’s the problem. My kitchen is never clean. There are always dishes in my sink. My coffee cup stays on the kitchen table where I left it after breakfast until I get ready to set the table for dinner when I finally put it in the sink. So, see above: there are always dishes in my sink. The bread I pulled out of the bread box to make toast might not make it back into the bread box for three or four days. The toaster crumbs don’t get swept up until I finally break down and wipe off the sink when it becomes so sticky from the jam on the toast that the napkin sticks to the counter.

Suggestion 2: Make a game plan before you start.
She suggests that you plan all your meals for the day, and then chop all of the vegetables, zest all of the citrus fruit, cut all of the meat, and measure all of the sugar or flour for all of the dishes that you will be preparing that day. Such a great idea, but seriously? I generally don’t know what I’m making for the next meal until about 20 minutes before it’s time to eat. Unfortunately, my lack of planning not only prevents me from chopping all of my veggies for the day, but requires about three trips each day to the grocery store.

Suggestion 3. Pick the right tools for the job.
Her example is to make sure you use the right sized bowl for the job so that you don’t have to switch bowls halfway through, thereby resulting in dirtying two bowls. Another good idea, and one which I seem completely unable to embrace. I seriously say — OUT LOUD TO MYSELF — at least three times a week, “Kris, do you think you get a prize for using the smallest bowl/baking pan/skillet?” as I dump ingredients into a larger container.

Suggestion 4. Have canisters large enough to fit your measuring cups.
I have that one nailed. I’m dying, however, to buy one of the two-cup measuring cups that The Pioneer Woman uses, thereby rendering my canisters too small.

Suggestion 5. Measure over the sink.
My sink is filled with dishes.

Suggestion 6. Use a plate as a giant spoon rest.
Great idea. Then you can use it to hold measuring spoons, knives, and so forth, resulting in clean counters. Except see above: My counters are never clean.

Suggestions 7 and 8. Aluminum foil and garbage bowl.
Done and done.

Suggestion 9. Tidy up as you go.
Really? I’d be happy if I just remembered to close the cupboard doors. That way I wouldn’t hit my head quite as often.

Suggestion 10. Schedule cleaning breaks.
The thought makes me tired. Maybe I should schedule nap breaks.

The reality is that I am truly a very messy cook. I spill. I really do leave cupboard doors open. The food on the floor by my feet looks like what I would feed my chickens if I did, in fact, have a chicken coop as Pinterests suspects. My Roomba works way harder than I. Still, most of the time, I wouldn’t be too awfully horrified to have someone drop by.

As Scotty McCreery said, dirty dishes and a messy kitchen are the signs of a happy home.

This post linked to Grand Social.

Thursday Thoughts

Religion from Roomba
In my blog post yesterday, I talked about the newest member of our family – Rosie Roomba. I neglected to show you a photo…..

Even as I was writing the post, Rosie was busy vacuuming our bedroom floor. When she finished, I went to check out the results…..

You have all heard of the people who see images of the Virgin Mary on their toast or in their mashed potatoes. Well, I think Rosie might be giving me spiritual messages. Can you see the cross clearly imaged into the carpeting? Hmmmm. Well, at least she’s not leaving me Satanic images.

I Spy
I probably go to my neighborhood King Soopers nearly every, sometimes a couple of times a day. While I always have good intentions, I rarely (and I mean RARELY) remember to bring my own bags, despite the fact that they are almost always in my trunk. That, my friends, simply means I’m too lazy to walk back to my car to get them. Anyway, yesterday I was making at the grocery store, and for a change, I had my own bag. It was sitting in my cart. I went through self-check, something I nearly always do. I had scanned the first item and laid it in the bagging area when the scanner (in her friendly female voice) asked me Do you have your own bag Dummy? Well, the truth is she didn’t say dummy, but she did ask me – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER – if I had my own bag. I’m pretty sure King Soopers has joined ranks with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Comcast and is spying on me. How else would she know that I had my bag with me? I wish I could use their spying tactics to make the world a better place.

Slimy Business
When Kaiya is anywhere around, there is likely at least TALK about making slime. And, much to her delight, her cousin Grace (who was one of the visiting dignitaries from AZ this past week) is a slime connoisseur. So, not surprisingly, this happened….

Aunt Bec was there to provide supervision. Cole and Faith are steadfastly sticking to Play Doh, thank you very much.

The Heat is On
I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I’m about ready to have the temperatures cool down a bit. Today — when it was supposed to be a bit cooler — my car thermometer showed an outdoor temperature of 63 degrees. Day before yesterday, it hit 81. But just wait. The first cold and snowy day, you will hear Nana’s Whimsies complaining!

Ciao.

Meet George Jetson

When I was young, I loved all of the Hanna Barbera cartoons: The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Magilla Gorilla. In fact, I know all of the characters to this day, their sidekicks, and could sing the theme songs for most of the programs if you held my feet to the fire. My favorite by far was The Jetsons, a story about a family that lives sometime in the future and somewhere in outer space. The animated program ran in prime time in the early 60s, and then again in the mid- to late 80s. Apparently television writers didn’t feel the need for originality like they do now. Ha.

Meet George Jetson
Daughter Judy
His Son Elroy
Jane, his wife.
– Hoyt Curtin

Baby Boomers, you know you are singing the theme song along with me. The song became a hit in 1986, which just goes to show you what the state of music was back in those days.  Take that, Madonna.

One of the main characters was the Jetson’s maid, a robot named Rosie. Though the Jetsons did most of their work by pressing buttons that made things happen in space-agy ways, Rosie did the rest. She not only cooked and cleaned, but provided family counseling as well.

Enter the 21st century.

A few years ago, Jll was given a Roomba as a gift from her sister. Almost immediately, Jll began singing the praises of this contraption, proclaiming that it changed her life. At least her cleaning life. With four children and a full-time job, every extra minute helps.

Roomba, for the uninitiated, is a robotic vacuum cleaner made by a company called iRobot. Once it is charged up, you turn it on and it makes its way around your house, vacuuming as it goes. It seems to follow no particular pattern, but travels around willy nilly. Eventually, it is supposed to vacuum the entire house.

So when Bill and I began seeing light at the end of the hardwood laying tunnel, I began seriously considering the purchase of a Roomba. Because, you see, I don’t vacuum. You have read my past blog posts in which I have proclaimed myself to be a horrible housekeeper, and this fact is further proof. A Roomba seemed the perfect answer.

One of the things I noticed is that Jll referred to her Roomba as Candy. It surprised me somewhat because Jll simply doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would name her appliances. After four kids, one would think she would never want to name another thing in her life. Nevertheless, she would talk about what a great job Candy did the night before, or tell the kids put the chairs on the table so that Candy can do her job.

What I quickly learned after purchase of my Roomba is that when you fill out the warranty, one of the questions asked is the name given the appliance. Yep. I’m telling the truth. iRobot expects you to name your robotic vacuum cleaner.

So what did I name her? Rosie, of course. There wasn’t another alternative, really.

These days, Bill and I spend our mornings sitting in the living room watching Rosie do her job. It’s mesmerizing, really. She stops short of the step leading into our living room. She disappears underneath the sofa and reemerges on the other side like a big black beetle. She moves from room to room unless you block her path. She doesn’t however, provide family counseling. Perhaps the next generation of Roombas.

The first night after our purchase, we turned the switch on Rosie and let her go do her thing. We went to bed, and listened to her not-so-quiet efforts downstairs. All at once, we heard a crash. Bill went to check it out. When he returned, he explained that she had knocked over some TV trays.

“To tell you the truth,” he added, “she’s kind of creepy.”

And, to tell you the truth, she kind of is. But she cleans my floor. Good ol’ Rosie picks up the dust and dirt like a cleaning champ.

Now, iRobot, get to work on those hover cars.

Automatic Response

Recently when my sister was out here visiting, we were at a restaurant having lunch. We had been doing some shopping and quite a bit of walking, and a trip to the rest room was needed. After we ordered our food, I excused myself and headed to the ladies’ room.

FBP5L1JFCHYOABY.MEDIUMWhen I opened the door, there was a clearly disgruntled woman – probably a bit older than I – who was frustrated because she couldn’t get paper to come out of the dispenser. She was moving her hand below and in front, but no paper emerged. She expressed her frustration to me, and I concurred, telling her that I frequently am unable to get the automatic sinks to work or the automated paper towel dispenser to do its job. We exchanged crabby looks and made cynical remarks about how automation doesn’t always make our lives easier. She left, drying her hands on her pants as she walked out.

I went into the stall and the entire time I was in there, I worried about whether or not the automated paper towel dispenser would work for me or if I was going to have to wipe my hands on my pants as well. After I was finished, I washed my hands and gritted my teeth and went over to the dispenser. I moved my hand below it. Nothing. I moved my hand in front of it. Nothing. Sigh.

It was about that time that I noticed a handle on the dispenser. Oddly enough, when you manually pressed this handle, paper emerged. Weird, huh?

Yes, my friends, we are so used to having automation in our public restrooms that it didn’t occur to this woman, and almost didn’t occur to me, that we actually had to manually express the paper towels. It’s true, I’m afraid, that there have been many occasions when I have placed my hands under a water faucet only to realize that I actually needed to turn a handle. I’m blaming this mental hiccup on drinking sloe gin fizzes as a college student.

However, I feel compelled to tell you that for some reason, I really do have a problem getting automatic water faucets to deliver water to me (even when they actually ARE automatic). I approach them confidently, place my hands where I think they should be, and nothing happens. I move my hands up and down, and nothing happens. I move to the next sink and it doesn’t work. Just then, a young woman will step up to the first sink that failed me and water will come pouring out like Niagara Falls. Young whippersnapper, I will think to myself, as I move down the line of sinks hoping for a dribble or two.

Sometimes automated bathrooms can go too far. One day I took then-3-year-old searchMylee to Lil’ Monkey Business — an indoor playground for small kids. Before we left, I took her to the bathroom to wash her hands. She did so, and headed to where the paper towels should be located. No paper towels, only one of those automated things where you stick both of your hands inside, and air blows like Hurricane Katrina as you slowly pull Kaiya Mylee Zoo (2)your hands out of the dryer. Unless you’re 3 years old and the entire thing — the way it looks, the sound it makes, the gale force wind it emits– scares the bejeezus out of you. Now, who thought that was a good idea, I thought as we walked out of the bathroom, Mylee wiping her hands on her pants.

For the most part, I embrace technology and automation. In fact, if I could figure out a way to automate cleaning my house, I would do so in a heartbeat. That way the house would be, well, clean. The closest thing I’ve discovered is the Roomba, and I’m thiiiiiis close to buying one.

I will leave you with a funny story about the Roomba. My daughter-in-law Jll received a Roomba as a birthday gift. Their entire house has hardwood floors, and she will run it at night downstairs and run it upstairs during the day. The Roomba apparently knows not to go down the staircase. Don’t ask me.

They were out of town one weekend shortly after receiving the Roomba. Prior to leaving town, she had given me some zucchini that had been given to her and I volunteered to make zucchini bread while they were gone. I did so, and stopped by their house to drop it off so that they would come home to a lovely loaf of freshly baked bread for the next day’s breakfast. I walked in, set the bread on the counter, and turned to go. Just then, the Roomba came shooting out of their coat/cubby room and zipped in front of me on its merry way to the family room. I nearly jumped out of my skin.

Automation can be dangerous to your health. Just ask Mylee.

This post linked to the GRAND Social