24 January 2012

kitchen duty / my lightbulb moment

go green / gorgeous kitchen via revelment

lots of time spent in the kitchen yesterday. i told dan the other day that i love cleaning my kitchen way more than i ever have. this is shocking. why would i have grown to like the daily grind of kitchen duty, i wonder. have i finally matured and owned up to the fact that doing dishes is a daily (if not, three or four times daily, more if you make your family a healthy meal!) required task? (so why moan and groan about it?) or could it be because i don't have a tv anywhere near the kitchen, so i'm not pulled in the direction to just sit and veg out to ellen? or maybe because it's a house and not an apartment, so i feel some sort of housewifery ownership over it? not sure; but i'm glad.

i'm glad i've finally succumbed to the feeling of satisfaction that comes with sucking up crumbs underfoot with my nozzle vacuum hose attachment. you have no idea how happy i was to change my vacuum bag after the holidays. (it was stuffed to the gills, like santa's pack on christmas eve.) all those pine needles; all those party crumbs; all that clean-up. i felt some sort of strange accomplishment which, i assume, only a woman can understand. guys just get the job done and move on. ladies like me revel in knowing that this task completed is a giant black mark slicing through words on a carefully written to-do list.

and isn't it funny how madly you clean a house before guests arrive and five minutes later it's a complete wreck!? (dan always jokes with me, reminding me we haven't invited the queen to our house.) chocolate cake crumbs, ice cream melted on the tablecloth, dirty dishes piled high. but laughter is abounding and kids are playing and you have this feeling of ahhh. that was fun. we should do it again. making the mess (and eventually cleaning it up) was worth it. and yet, here i am again, cleaning my kitchen. and there i will be, tomorrow, doing it again. i guess i've finally gotten over thinking i wish it would just stay clean. because it won't. because we are living here. and living here means making messes. and if it were always, always clean, then that would mean there ain't a lot of living going on which would make me super sad. so, i'm over it. and i'm counting my blessings. i have a kitchen to clean. and people–better yet, a family–who help me dirty it up and even a little one who leans over (tip-toed on his stool) to wash his own dishes. we have hot water and bubbly soap and a dishwasher and no mice or cockroaches (add the no mice or cockroaches part to any statement and you'll realize how lucky you feel)! it's a simple thing, but a happy thing. and i'm learning to appreciate the cycle; super clean. tidy. unclean. messy. crazy dirty. sleeves up. apron on. mopping and wiping and scrubbing and sorting. shiny plates out, sloppy plates in. a heap of dirty dish towels, the vacuum unplugged and a sack of garbage tied into a neat knot is my personal job well done.

other random tidbits // do you have an old-fashioned egg beater? i highly recommend having one. they make scrambled eggs a cinch. not that whisking yolks is all that hard; but something about the wheel and beater mechanics makes it all the better. my kid loves it. in fact i let him whir water and cinnamon and salt together all morning long. have i mentioned he loves creating concoctions. he even said, mom you go clean and i'll keep baking. monday should be declared our cleaning day. but usually when i declare something, it doesn't ever end up happening like it should. so i quit that habit long ago. i even busted out the blind cleaner gadget. do you have one of these? i picked ours up at home depot awhile back and am finally getting around to actually using it. dusting blinds is right up there with watching paint dry, but this little gadget does help. a wee bit. so there are my two tiny recommendations; an egg beater and fuzzy wuzzy blind cleaner. so, there's that. oh one more. yoga pants from costco. i am a believer.

p.s. i just discovered tinkerlab, thanks to pinterest, and am all motivated to get back to (intentionally) providing homegrown preschool projects for benj. we're off to purchase some foam sheets and sparkly pom poms for our art supply bin. what is more fun than being three and getting to egg-beat cinnamoney salt water and glue sparkly pom poms onto construction paper?! do you have any kiddo activities and/or awesome kitchen gadgets i should know about?


summer said...

you, miss marta, are awesome.
i will no doubt be appreciating the cycle all day long. really, life would be a lot more empty without those bottomless dishes. :) thank you for spreading the encouragement into my kitchen today.

and, love the photog choice for this post! basically my dream kitchen. that green is too good.

JJB said...

that might just motivate me to clean the kitchen (and the bathroom) today. they've been on my list for a couple of days now... but i think that rotten apartment vibe has gotten the best of me lately. can't wait until we're in a real house again... surely that will make all the difference :)

cecilia said...

I have certainly gone through phases of cleaning apathy. (It'll just get dirty again, I'll just let the clutter, dirt, etc. pile up). It's such a bad attitude.

I'm in a mode much like the one you're in now. Where I'm grateful that we cook most of our meals and share our home with others. The other day we had a play date in which every single toy made it off the toy shelf (I love how a new friend helps my daughter rediscover her old toys), and it was awesome to marvel at how lived in our house was in that quiet moment after our friends had gone back home. I savored it for a moment, then quickly tidied up for the next mess to be made.

lesa said...

hi. You seem happy and like you are getting settled into your new place and new surroundings.

Enjoy your post today!

Travelin'Oma said...

You can even make cleaning sound fun!

Elise said...

Love, love this post!

I had luch bunch at my house the other day, I was drenched in sweat (eww TMI) from cleaning my house for it. Then I had to turn around and do it all again when they left. But it was Oh so worth it, all those girls and their dozen + kids had such a great time!

About the kitchen...I think when the kitchen is a mess the whole house is a mess. I've embraced the whole thing too, I don't even mind doing it myself.

We just got a Dyson and all the dirt and "crumbs" go into a clear bin so I can see how much dirt I just sucked up. After the job is done you can find me on my hand and knees checking out our grime. :) I proudly tell my hubby, "that is just from the UPSTAIRS." I know, I'm wierd.

Off to clean up my kitchen. ;)

Elise said...

Me again...I have a question. A while ago you posted about a fun indoor activity where Benji was blowing bubbles in the bathroom. I caught a glimpse of your shower curtain, it is soooo cute, where did you get it? I've searched high and low and can't find one that I like, I even went to the fabric store yesterday, I might just have to make my own.

Anna said...

I Bought some " Mrs Meyer's Clean Day Dish soap in Orange clove scent". I am susually so frugal about such things but I remembered visiting a friends home and she had used the countertop spray and how wonderful it smelled, in a natural lemony clean way. I have to be careful with our asthma what I bring in mind you. Back to shat I was saying, This soap really smells heavenly and Ive been enjoying washing the few things that wont fit in the dishwasher and wiping the counters down. Ive been shocked that something that smells pretty, happy, clean has changed my attitude. You are also right about perspective, when we take thoughts captive and find things to be thankful for instead of focusing on the YUCK of it all.....

sandi said...

is this your kitchen? love it! so homey and inviting looking.

christine said...

Do you want to come clean my house Marta? LOL ;)

Anneliese said...

i got a working dishwasher for christmas! i feel like i have been transported from the 50's (all hand washing, or recleaning the ones that came out of the dishwasher that actually made my dishes dirtier) into the new century! i have been enjoying cleaning the kitchen ever since. and yes to the costco yoga pants! my mom surprised me with some for christmas! wow, best pants i have ever owned!

Miranda said...

I tell you what, I have been thinking this EXACT same things since the first time I cleaned our kitchen after organizing it. I think it has to do do with the fact that it is MINE! That way if something isn't working, or is old and grimy and won't get clean, I can fix it!

P.S. Thanks for the tinkerlab link. I needed that!

Karen said...

"ladies like me revel in knowing that this task completed is a giant black mark slicing through words on a carefully written to-do list."

Marta, you have such a beautiful way with words!

I love your thoughts in this post. I too have had those moments where I actually revel in the housewifery tasks . They are not my constant attitude about keeping house, but I treasure those moments up to keep me going.

Brooke said...

Hi Mart! Just wanted to say I loved this post, it was a goodie. They are all goodies, just saying this one is too :) Several, "You, too!" moments.
Ps. Glad you are still blogging!
Pss. The egg beaters! I love it! You know what they remind me of? The Bagley thinnies, of course! My dad still won't use anything else but those old beaters to whip them up. They're perfect for the job!

*Dream Weaver* said...

Morning Marta,
When I moved into my new apartment, I wanted everything to be super tidy, worthy of a Marta Stewart award... but now, much like you, a house that has messes is no longer a house that is lived in but it becomes a home.

And its such a joy to get the cleaning and dish washing done after every house party or gathering of friends ~ Thanks for making me feel less of a wierdo.

Jessie said...

what a wonderful post!! funny, these exact same topics were on my mind yesterday! i felt like all i had been doing all day long was cleaning up...but it is so important to remember that i have a family to help keep it dirty :) however, how do you balance everything? i want a clean house, but i don't like feeling like that is all i do.

also, thanks for the link to tinkerlab. this is the other thing that has been on my mind (i feel like i spend way too much time cleaning up, and not enough time playing with my children! that's just not right.) i found a lot of awesome ideas.

rachelle | tinkerlab said...

I'm in the process of purging and reorganizing my home, and we're just around the corner from finding ourselves in a story just like yours. I have a small home with too many things, and I know that once I whittle it down to what I really need, cleaning up will go faster and I can focus more attention to other things -- like hand-held egg beaters! I loved playing with these in my childhood, and will have to hunt one down for my kids. They'll adore it. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing a link to my blog. Huge gratitude, and I'm so glad you found me! ~rachelle

acmiller said...

Thank you for the inspiration--the kitchen is the one part of the house I have to force myself to clean (though I love the results when it's done!).
My 2-year-old has an old-fashioned eggbeater from Goodwill that he loves showing off; we'll definitely have to try beating actual liquid!
One fun (free!!) thing we love to do in winter is break ice. I don't know if it gets to freezing regularly where you live, but we love to throw rocks into the stream near our house. It's even BETTER when there is thin ice on the top to break (or say, Oh! Try again! when it doesn't even crack). :)

Amanda said...

This post was fantastic; I found myself nodding in agreement with all of your sentiments.

I don't have a kitchen gadget but I do have a poem that is perfect for appreciating dirty dishes! I shared it here: http://ajigreer.blogspot.com/2011/11/dirty-dishes.html. It completely changed the way I thought about them.

And I am going to have to check out yoga pants from Costco. You are the umpteenth person to recommend them.

elisa said...

i have a beloved eggbeater, my children and i adore it too. that object, and all the things you say, about enjoying the simple work now, immersing yourself in it, no longer resisting it, is just what i love. the everyday. it changes everything. i had a yoga teacher who said everything is yoga, and when my kitchen becomes beautiful as i clean it, i believe her! x.

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