It’s no secret to my friends, family and anyone wandering the cleaning aisle of the local grocery that I don’t enjoy cleaning. I enjoy cooking, eating, reading, reading about eating and cooking and so on. I do not enjoy cleaning. It’s a necessary evil that can’t be avoided. While cleaning, the only time I stop complaining is when I’m gagging while cleaning my boys’ bathroom. (I will never understand how a man can be trained to hit a target at 1,000 yards away but hitting the space inside a toilet eludes him?)
It’s the time it takes to clean that bugs me most. When I go at it, I go at it with both barrels. (Just like when I doubled down on the freshmen 15 in college.) Everything gets cleaned and organized — even the toothpaste cap and pantry. There are times when someone “pops” over without notice or I agree to host a jewelry/cooking tool/clothing party when I must rush the cleaning process. This is what I call giving my home the “illusion of clean.” Don’t open a door, you might get hurt.
My youngest child is very much like his dad. Major Type A personality. He knows where his shoes are and probably yours. His room is always clean. He’s the child that’s with me when I lose my car keys, can’t find a pen or run out of gas (don’t ask!). When he shows me that my keys are hanging in the front door lock or points to a pen stuck behind my ear, there’s always a note of sarcasm in his gestures and a look in his eyes that say, “When I’m old enough, I’m putting you in a home.”
With three teenagers, we are always rushing. That being said, there are times when cleaning the refrigerator out gets overlooked… many, many times. So a few days ago, I decided it was time. Mostly, because I had run out of plastic storage containers and it was either buy more or clean out the fridge.
If it were a crime to purchase produce, take it home and let it sit in the back of the fridge until it changes colors and shrivels to half its normal size; I’d be serving a life sentence in prison.
After spending two hours throwing away, washing out and swearing that this will be the last time I ever wait this long to clean it out, the task was complete. It’s amazing how much brighter that interior light is when there’s not so much stuff crammed in. I don’t mean to brag, but it looked brand new.
A few minutes later, I heard my boys bound down the stairs most likely heading to the kitchen to get a snack. When the pantry door shut I knew the fridge was next on their quest for sustenance. Suddenly I heard my youngest scream out in a terrified voice, “WE’VE BEEN ROBBED! WE’VE BEEN ROBBED!” My husband and I ran into the kitchen where he was standing in front of the open fridge with a very confused look on his face.
When he saw me he said, “Where’s all the food?” I had the opportunity to tell him the truth. That this is the way a refrigerator is meant to look. But, that would mean I’d probably get that all too familiar look from him. So I did what I had to do.
“Jackson, WE’VE BEEN ROBBED!”