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.

When the Cat’s Away…Well, Not Much

myersbriggs2Many years ago when I was still employed and got paid to write, the company for which I worked administered the Myers-Briggs personality test to its employees. The company was big on personality and motivational testing. For a bit of time, they actually printed the Myers-Briggs personality type next to the employees’ names on the internal phone list. Knowing the personality score of the person you were calling was supposed to enhance communication. Failed experiment.

I don’t remember what the test indicated my personality was (ESPN? IPAD? ETSY?), but I remember it was the one where the person requires being around other people in order to be energized and motivated.

I knew immediately that was incorrect because being around a lot of people absolutely WEARS ME OUT. I want to go behind a tree and hide. I like people, but then I just need some quiet time to unwind. I quickly figured out that the reason my score was so skewed was that I had answered the questions the way I wanted my personality to be instead of the way it actually was. I lied to both Myers and Briggs.

All of this is to say that when Bill left early yesterday morning to spend the day watching NASCAR with my brother, I danced a little jig as soon as they were out of the driveway. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband and enjoy spending time with him. It’s just that when we are in Arizona, due to the small size of our house and the fact that we only have one car, we spend probably 90 percent of our time within sight of one another.

I had the entire day ahead of me to do WHATEVER I WANTED. Heaven.

Here’s how my day went….

I decided to start with a walk. Bill and I exercise regularly, but since he’s taken to working on the outdoor kitchen he’s building from the twitter of the first mockingbird at dawn until I drag him in for dinner, exercise has been put on the back burner temporarily. In fact, Saturday morning he was eyeing the electric drill and the power saw hungrily at 7 o’clock in the morning. I knew if he started power tools at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, our neighbor (who you might remember is often naked or nearly naked; if you don’t remember, read this…) might come storming over, and we definitely didn’t want that. I took him out to breakfast instead.

Anyhoo, yesterday, I set off on a two-mile trek.

Almost immediately, a man about my age came out of his driveway and started walking as well. I figured I would lose him when I turned west towards Superstition Mountain, but nope, he went the same direction, just a bit ahead of me.

As we walked, it became apparent that I was walking about a millionth of a second faster than he. What to do, what to do? I knew I would eventually overtake him, but oh so slowly. Should I just let it happen naturally, which would likely result in him being creeped out as I slowly inch toward him? Or should I bolt ahead of him at an unnatural and uncomfortable pace? I elected a version of the latter.

I raised my arms and began swinging them like a runner, up near my heart. I pretended to be a power walker – walk, walk, swing, swing – until I surpassed him. I kept up the charade for about 10 minutes until I was safely passed him, and then slowed down to a comfortable pace. Crisis averted.

Food choice also dominated my lovely quiet day. Now, understand, Bill never complains about what I cook, and he almost always goes along with where I want to eat, despite the fact that I groan every time he chooses the dining place – always pizza. But yesterday I salmoncould eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted as much as I wanted.

Sushi for lunch, grilled salmon for dinner. See what I mean? No meat on Friday is no sacrifice for me.

I’ve mentioned before that I heartily dislike housekeeping, and put it off as long as I can. In fact, it would be safe to say that Bill does much, if not most, of the housecleaning. But yesterday, on that day by myself, I spent an hour-and-a-half cleaning house. I turned on my ipod, set it to shuffle my country songs, and played it loud and sang along while I cleaned. Dusted, scrubbed floors, changed bedsheets, did three loads of wash, sang along with Scotty McCreery and Taylor Swift (back in the olden days when she was country).

And then there were the movies. While I persuade Bill to go to places of my choosing to eat, I don’t even try to talk him into watching chick movies. So I watched three movies yesterday afternoon that he wouldn’t want to see – Mystic Pizza (have I mentioned I love Julia Roberts?), Stand By Me, and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which I plumb forgot is probably my favorite movies of all time.

All in all, a totally pleasant and quiet day.