I went to the local dollar store today and picked up some shelf paper and a couple organizing boxes. As I was checking out, the smiling cashier mentioned my purchases.
“Oh, I see you’re getting your kitchen in shape for the holidays!”
I sighed. “No, in my case, it’s more like an exorcism than a cleaning!” I remarked.
She looked at me oddly, clearly wondering whether a call to the manager was in order. “I’ve, uh, never heard of anybody exorcising their kitchen before!”
“Honey, some people have a junk drawer. I have FOURTEEN junk drawers in my kitchen. I’m probably going to have to call in a priest to cast out some of the demons lurking in the bottom.”
She thought I was kidding. If only it were so.
See, I’m a perfectionist. I will not do something unless I can do it thoroughly from top to bottom. So when I say I need to clean out a drawer, that doesn’t mean I straighten it out a bit. Nope, I remove everything in the drawer down to the liner paper, scrub it out with detergent and bleach, pull out the drawer, check underneath, check the drawer glides, check to see if the handles need tightening, perhaps take the handles off for repainting, put in new liner, and then move on to the next drawer. The contents of said drawer are piled on the table for redistribution to their proper places or a trash receptacle. I have not been blessed with an overabundance of time in the past few years so I might quick yank everything out, vacuum the interior, then shudder and pile everything back in. Having grandchildren around is not a good time to clean. Having SwampMan around is even worse.
I have been wincing every time I look in a drawer for something. I got up this morning, and decided that today was the day. Today I would cast the demons out of the drawers!
Well, I’ve been casting them sons-a-bitches out ALL DAY. The drawers are all nice and clean and lined. I’ve taken a trash bag full of obvious trash outside. I have a lot of mystery parts scattered about. And every available countertop is loaded down with stuff. SwampMan came home this afternoon while I was outside feeding and asked “What’s for dinner?” I told him that since I was cleaning out the drawers in the kitchen and couldn’t see the countertops OR the table, a trip into town for food was in order.
How bad was it? Well, just from one shallow drawer, I have something like 37 pens, permanent markers, highlighters, about 50 paperclips, two screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, a couple address books, bobby pins, hair clips, a new wallet (sadly empty), two boxes of .22 shorts that were open with rounds all over (and I have nothing that takes a .22 short), a box of .22 longs (okay, maybe those were mine), a nail set, 8 tapcon screws, two thermometers, a nail clippers, adhesive tape, a rusted rose pruner, three pairs of scissors, masking tape, a 9V battery, loose AA batteries, one D battery, three C batteries, a box of crayons, a box of birthday candles, several hypodermic syringes, several needles, expired telephone books, lots of rubber bands, two squeegee replacement blades, straight pins, safety pins, darning needles, a spool of thread, and a package of magic erasers. There was also a petite jacket pattern. There is nobody petite in this house.
That was just from a shallow drawer 4″ deep. Most of them are 8″ deep. And they’re 24″ long.
“So, what are you going to do with all this?” SwampMan asked as I stood there staring rather hopelessly at the mess.
“Beats the hell outta me!” I answered. My kitchen drawers were all nice and clean and empty. I didn’t want to put anything back in. “First of all, I have to decide what I want to go back in.”
“Well, I suppose you could put some of those antique telephone books on Ebay!” he suggested. I glared at him. He laughed and started off to bed, but not before snagging a Buck skinning knife that I’d found in one of the drawers. “Hey, that’s my knife!”
“Um, no, that’s MY knife!” I answered.
“You may have stolen it from me, but it is MINE.” Whatever. I still think it’s mine. He’d just finished telling me that those .22 shorts couldn’t possibly be his because he never puts anything in the kitchen, so the knife HAS to be mine, right? And the wallet wasn’t his but, since it was exactly like the kind of wallet he likes to carry, he’d take it.
“I don’t want you to sit here all night worrying about whether you’re ever going to need a vacuum cleaner bag for a vacuum we don’t have anymore, so I’ll help you!” he said, getting out a clean trash bag for me. “So, is there any reason that you have a telephone book from….let’s see….1993/1994 for Arizona City, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, Maricopa, Picacho, Sacaton, and Stanfield?”
“I dunno. Sometimes I just like to look us up in the book to remind myself that we lived there for awhile.”
“Oh, well, that’s easy. We lived there then, now we don’t.” He tossed the book in the trash.
“I guess you’re right.” I threw the tapcon screws in the trash bag.
“HEY! Don’t throw those away!”
“Well, why not? I don’t need them!”
“There’s always a need for tapcons!”
This is going to take awhile. I picked up a bag of aluminum tubes, slightly flattened, tapered, and closed at one end, that were packed carefully in a bubble wrap bag. “What the heck are these? I’ve been cleaning around them for years, and have no idea what they belong to. I thought it might have something to do with an appliance, but I really have no clue.”
“Why would I know? Maybe it’s a popsicle mold.”
“It’s not watertight.”
We stared at them some more.
“Maybe it’s a jello mold.”
“It’s not watertight and it doesn’t open.”
“Well, if neither one of us knows what it is, how important could it be?”
There is a logic to that, I have to admit. Still, it’s packed pretty carefully, so it must be important. On the other hand, I don’t really want to periodically take it out and ask plaintively if anybody can please identify it. The kids might have it buried with me. “Well, what the heck is it?” the undertaker would say.
“I dunno, but she always kept it in this protective bubble wrap bag and had it for years, so it must be valuable to her…”