The Gremlins in Our Kitchen
If anyone had told me that half of adulthood is just cleaning up your kitchen, I doubt I’d have been in such a hurry to grow up.
If I have to wipe down another countertop I think I might scream. Where do crumbs even come from? I haven’t eaten anything crumbly in seven years! And why is this spot so sticky?
But you know what? It’s not even the counter-tops that are doing me in. It’s the dishes. How are there so many dishes?
The other day I spent a solid hour hand washing dishes (because the dishwasher was full and running). I cleared the sink and took some time to stretch my back and play with Chief. When I came back to the kitchen for water, there were dishes in the sink! So. Many. Dishes!
My first thought was Gremlins!
MisterE says my first thought tends to be a tad irrational, so I inspected further and, like a forensic scientist, I pieced together a timeline.
Mister E had warmed up a bowl of food for Hurricane, and then used a spoon to empty that bowl into a different plate for her. But that plate was too small, so he transferred the food to another, bigger plate. She was then given a fresh spoon with which to eat her meal, which she dropped on the floor, and subsequently received a brand new spoon.
So we’re at one bowl, two plates and three spoons so far. Hurricane drank water from her regular cup, then asked for chocolate milk with her meal, and so two cups ended up in the pile.
Meanwhile, MisterE had warmed himself a bowl of food. While he was waiting for the microwave to do its thing, he made himself a snack plate with cookies, nuts and chocolate. He added in a glass of orange juice. This is a real thing that he does, I kid you not. No idea how he maintains his physique!
The snack plate and cup ended up in the sink, and then he ate his lunch. He decided to have a beer, so that was another cup for the pile.
Then, there was a bowl of ice-cream for him and his daughter. Not a shared bowl, no. That would have been too cute. Separate bowls.
If you’re keeping track with me, that’s four bowls, three plates, four cups, five spoons, a fork, a microwave cover, and an ice cream scoop. All in the space of 20 minutes! I just stood there in disbelief.
When I finally snapped back to reality, I announced that from that moment on we were moving to a zen-bowl system. Everyone in the house would be assigned their own bowl and spoon. Just one. We would each need to wash our own bowl+spoon immediately after eating so it would be available for the next meal.
“If you fail to wash up, you can eat your next meal on the lawn with your bare hands for all I care!”
It sounded reasonable in my head, but the thing is: two year olds are not particularly good at washing dishes…
Hurricane stood at the sink for five solid minutes with my faucet on full blast. I finally got up to check on her and nearly broke my neck when I slipped on a gigantic puddle on the tile. I grasped the edge of the counter and pulled myself up. In the sink were Hurricane’s bowl and spoon, untouched. She had, however, done a wonderful job of sponging down all parts of the sink, faucet, and granite she could reach.
Naturally, I scrapped the whole zen-bowl thing.
I thought the next best option was to ensure that the dishwasher was loaded every night, and emptied every morning. Again, perfectly reasonable, right?
Wrong! MisterE and I, for whatever reason, hate putting dishes away. So we would empty the dishwasher in the morning and instead of putting things in their rightful place, we would just stack them up on the island until someone else decided to put them away properly. By the third day there was no counter space left and we had to spend 20 miserable minutes putting dishes away. Oh, the joys of adulting!
So we returned to our usual, endless cycle of washing dishes we didn’t remember using. A small part of me remained convinced there were, indeed, gremlins sharing the kitchen with us.
One day while washing my fourteenth spoon of the afternoon I asked MisterE, “But why do you use so many spoons?” He responded, “I don’t know…they’re easy to wash.”
I simply dropped the spoon and walked away from the sink. I did not return to the sink for three days. I was on strike, goshdarnit! The gremlins had won.
When I was able to face the sink again, the stack of dishes seemed insurmountable. I suggested to MisterE that we just dump everything from the sink into the trash and start our lives anew. “Think of the possibilities,” I cooed. “We could just buy paper plates, and never wash a single dish again!”
My husband, ever the environmentalist, just smiled and patted me on the rear. He cued up a movie and stationed himself in front of the sink. For three and a half hours he washed, rinsed and dried without complaint. I’ve never been more turned on in my life.
Three hours, you ask? He washes slowly because he likes to watch TV as he goes. In fact, we bought our house specifically because the kitchen sink directly faces the wall where our TV is mounted. It’s all about the ergonomics. We’re just practical like that.
Truth be told, MisterE does most of the dishwashing in the house, because he’s stoic like that and I just don’t have the stamina. So somehow, with his help, I’m starting to accept my kitchen… gremlins and all.
What is the one chore you absolutely abhor? How do you convince yourself (or your partner/housemate) to get it done?
Hey there! I am...
A homebody with wanderlust striving to balance the thrill of travel with the comfort of home. On the road, I am a photographer and storyteller. At home, I am an interior designer and personal servant to my two kids. In all cases, I seek out good food and belly laughs.
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