Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Saw The Best Minds Of My Generation Destroyed By Madness

I don't think people understand how even the simplest maintenance tasks can be daunting for those of us less gifted, shall we say, in the arts of housewifery. One of my friends refused to come to the pool with us today, because, as she said, "I have to clean out my refrigerator. It's so full, I can't fit anything else in there."

[I assume all of you use this criteria for refrigerator cleaning, also? If not, move right along, nothing for you to see here. Go visit your cute little Martha Stewart chat groups, all right?]

"Can't this wait until later?" I asked. "I hate going to the pool by myself."

"No, this is a major job. I have to do it, and I have to do it now." This last was uttered with the grim determination of a fireman heading into a burning building.

"Okay," I said, "I've been there. How about you wait until tomorrow and I'll come over for moral support?" [Yes, I am a good friend. The best, in fact...] "I've seen it all, so far as food mismanagement goes. Nothing will surprise me."

"No, tomorrow my father-in-law will be here; I can't do it in front of him." Oh, yes, the perils of household mismanagement and its attendant shame! "He'll be sickened by the amount of wasted food. I'm wracked with guilt every time I look in my frig."

Who knew that a household appliance could be the source of so much angst? But she's right - there must be a hundred things in my house that scream at me, "You're doing it wrong! What is your problem?!" The piles of unsorted mail on the kitchen hutch, the stray socks and underwear littering the floor in front of the washer and dryer, the laundry basket full of I-don't-know-what that has become a permanent fixture in my bedroom - they all bear silent testament to the fact that, as far as running a household with the calm efficiency of a June Cleaver or a Donna Reed character, I am an utter failure.

"You don't understand," my friend continued. "There are strawberries in there so old that they look like they're covered in cream sauce." Silence. Then, the sound of weeping.

"Hey, wait a second. Pull yourself together," I begged. "Old food isn't worth this. You went to law school, babe; you can't let this bring you down."

More weeping.

"Look," I said, feeling desperate. "I want you to know, you're not alone in this. I'm going to take pictures of the inside of my refrigerator and e-mail them to you. It's a sickening sight, but if it would make you feel better..."

"You'd do that for me?" she sniffed.

"Hey - what are friends for?"


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54 comments:

  1. And so to make the rest of us feel better, I plead with you to post those pictures here for all to see. I need reassurance too!

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  2. Go on. I dare you!

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  3. What about your blog friends? We need to feel better about our shortcomings as well. And I'm sure seeing your fridge would help us all to feel like better mothers and home managers!

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  4. Oh yes, we are all in this together. There are just way too many opportunities to feel like a failure with this work. I'm going to start focusing on what I'm getting done, rather than what I'm not getting done. Doesn't that sound sane?

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  5. This has been the most therapeutic post I've read in a while. I am NOT alone in my food wasting, non-fridge cleaning habits.

    Not that I want to waste food, mind you. That's why they're all there growing things in Rubbermaid containers.

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  6. Why do we do this? I swear I would save 10% on my grocery bill if I just bought what we would actually eat, instead of throw away in 6 weeks when it's disgusting! Yuck.

    I want to see pictures too!

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  7. I try not to waste food, but it seems that every time I unpack food from the supermarket, I have to put half the existing contents of the fridge in the bin. Furry fruit is one of the worst things.

    Just occurred to me that I haven't seen green furry mould since I stopped buying tomato puree in jars and bought tubes instead...

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  8. Oh how I understand this. I really feel that the fridge is my nemisis. (On a lighter note, I have been looking for a nemisis! And one was right here in my kitchen). I am helpless against it's moldy kryptonite. We play the shove and close game here. It is pretty high stakes. I used to have a babysitter that LOVED to clean out the fridge. I know! I know! I would come home to happy kids and a clean fridge. I think she was an angel. And then she graduated from college and went to get a real job and I am stuck here at home with all this old food...

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  9. I tend to save fridge cleaning for when I get home from the market. I just grab things out as I put things in. Otherwise, we go through the fridge on Saturday mornings before the dump trip. Especially in summer, who wants food sitting in the garbage (even the outside one) for several days before it gets taken to the dump? Yuck.

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  10. This is why I only keep water bottles in mine. Well, a little wine, too, heh heh...

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  11. No condiments? I'm overwhelmed by the condiment situation. I think I need professional help.

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  12. I want to see the photo!

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  13. Condiments multiply in dark refidgerators! My mayo and horse radish have produced a hybrid offspring, I think...
    My DH has an inability to LOOK for things in the fridge...if it isn't right up front, he doesn't know that it is there...drives me nuts.
    The fridge is even worse than the pantry...stuff just gets so YUCKY in there! I can surely empathize with your friend...especially with company coming! UGH!

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  14. Condiments?? I have at least 4 bottles of ranch dressing on my fridge door. Each one open and partially used. At one point I realized my kids would eat vegetables if they were smothered with the stuff. It's like ranch dressing roulette trying to figure out which one isn't 8 months old.

    Oh, and the BBQ sauce bottles seem to multiply on their own. There have to be three or more in there.

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  15. Unsorted mail is my downfall. It just piles up on the table by the door until someone calls and says they're coming over. Then I just grab it and shove it somewhere. One of these days I'm going to open the fridge and mail will fall out.

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  16. Condiment companies love me. We got a second fridge to store the overflow. I usually have about 8 pickle jars - each with exactly one pickle in it.

    And this woman went to law school? I feel better.

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  17. This sounds just like my life ... someone could conduct an archaeological dig on my pool table. There is mail, laundry, a charity pile (someday, the clothes & electronics will get there - honest!), and even some kids toys. It makes me squirm just to think about it.

    Mr. Man would probably have a heart attack if he ever came home and the pool table was clean.

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  18. I love you for posting this.

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  19. Even without pictures.

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  20. Post the fridge pictures--I'm sure we won't be able to identify your kids from pics of your fridge interior. Mine are going up tomorrow--following Hen's call.

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  21. What I would like to know, is who decide that glass shelves were good in a fridge? All that does is make me, who can not STAND streaked glass, more neurotic than I already am. As it is I spend way too much time cleaning the patio doors and glass topped table. Seeing food spilled on glass shelves puts me over the edge.

    I did manage to solve the unidentifiable, spoiled food problem. We put ALL leftovers in tupperwares and then directly into the freezer. Clean fridge. Not so much clean freezer, though.

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  22. I want to see the frige pics! Then I won't feel so alone....

    Our fridge is constantly full of veggies that I SWEAR I'm going to eat. You'd think I'd learn. I have plans to make a worm bin to recycle my unused veggies into compost because I throw away SO many of them...oh, the wasted $$$$$$!!

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  23. Ok, we want to see the pictures too!

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  24. We have like 5 bottles of mustard scattered throughout our refrigerator, and at least 3 jars of pickle relish. I'm not even sure how many partially used bottles of barbecue sauce are in there.
    I once found 2 pickle jars with no pickles in them. Just juice.
    "But mom, there was still something in the jar, I thought somebody might want it!"

    Pickle juice?

    Yeah right.

    I clean out my refrigerator not only when it's too full to fit more food, but also when we run out of storage bowls.

    Or when my inlaws are coming.

    I have two kids who think that the laundry room is their personal dressing room, and they leave all of their clothes (dirty and clean) on the floor in front of the washer.

    As for the mail piled high on my kitchen counter..............
    I don't think there's anything that can be done about that.

    Post the picture. Don't you love the rest of us too?

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  25. My fridge usually isn't too bad but the rest of the house? Maybe I should just live in the fridge.

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  26. You are a good friend! I know, my pals get the same sorts of panic attacks. All I can do is be supportive and loving:)

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  27. NO!!! Don't remind me! I need to clean mine out and I don't wanna...
    I triple dog dare you to post those pics.

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  28. Mama Hen - If I do post these pics, you definitely do not want to see them.

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  29. My children don't leave food in the fridge long enough to have to worry about cleaning it out.

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  30. Becky in KCMOJuly 22, 2008

    Does anyone out there have one of those swanky new fridges that are on top with a freezer that pulls out in drawers on bottom? My hubby and I were drooling over them at Best Buy last week, and it seemed to me (or it could have just been frig lust) that if everything were at eye level, then it would get cleaned out as soon as it started to get bad. Also, those things aren't very deep, so there's not much room for stuff to get shoved back into the abyss of old pickle jars and applesauce jars with the bottom just covered.

    As far as paper clutter goes, a wise older lady from my church once told me that in a properly run household, all flat surfaces should come to a point!

    Loved this post! Thanks!

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  31. I love you already, but my love for you will grow EXPONENTIALLY if you post gross food pictures. Would LOVE IT. Nothing like gross food porn!

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  32. You are a good friend. Wow. Perhaps you should offer lessons in friendship - I'd sign up; I need all the help I can get!

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  33. You mean you're supposed to clean out the fridge when its full? Oops.

    Seriously, mine only gets cleaned when we're having a party or when the in-laws are coming over. So, bascially, about three times a year. Surely that's enough? :)

    C'mon---I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

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  34. de-lurking to say...there is another way...
    www.flylady.net

    It works...when you do it! lol

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  35. Just Me - I'm a devoted flybaby, you know...but it sure doesn't mean things are perfect! Just good enough...

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  36. Thanks for this post and congrats on being blogrolled on SITS!

    Forget the fridge - it's still an "ice box" to me ;-)

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  37. You really are a great friend. I don't think I'd email pictures of the inside of my refrigerator unless you paid me enough to buy a new one.

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  38. I'm with Happy Campers -- I transfer my don't-wanna-clean-it energies to good intentions like the worm composting bin. ("Worms ate my garbage!") I actually bought the two rubbermaid bins to make one from, but... they're in my garage!! Do you do garages? ;)

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  39. Great post - it never ceases to amaze me how women (do men do this?) compare our own reality against public perfection. I do it too. I am sitting here looking at my unswept kitchen floor thinking "no one else lets their floor go unswept." Even though I know that's not true... still I think it and feel inferior.

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  40. Here is a sad admission: I only clean out the fridge when Mr. G. isn't home-waste makes him nuts. The worst part: I have trained the kids to bury the evidence below the top garbage trash bag so their dad won't see it. I know, I'm quite a role model.

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  41. My hudband doesn't like me to throw things out of the fridge. He has belief in a higher shelf-life than I do.

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  42. We're almost like a rioting mob, here, Sub! We want pictures!

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  43. I just cleaned mine out, but only because nothing new would fit (that's the tipping point here at our house...or if we're having company).

    You've made me feel so much better.

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  44. Eh? Fridge?

    My husband says that once he puts something in there, it becomes invisible to me.

    I say, In where?

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  45. Pictures! pictures! pictures!

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  46. I agree. Pics are a necessity. I also need to see I'm not alone in supporting the landfills of America.

    Ever have a friend say "I moved the washer and dryer and scrubbed the floor finally. It has been almost a year since I last did that." Huh? I though that little pile of sticky goo was a welcome gift you left the next owner of the house?

    Congrats on the SITS blogroll this week!

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  47. I am so anal about my fridge. I clean it out every week. I know, it's a sickness.

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  48. LOL. That's an excellent solution.

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  49. I cleaned out my fridge today too. It took me one big garbage bag, half a roll of paper towels, some Windex and ten minutes. The trick? Don't get too attached to your tupper ware (Is that one word or two?).

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  50. I didn't clean mine out, Leanne (although I do buy the cheap generic gladware to store food in, so I don't feel as guilty throwing out the container). Tomorrow I'll be cleaning it out and I think I'll start a new weekly feature - What's in SC's fridge?

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  51. truly we are twin souls...first the library fines and now this!

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  52. A REAL friend would have said, "Oh, just throw it all into a picnic basket and meet us at the pool. Your fridge is empty, you win. I get friendly company for the afternoon, I win. The kids get lunch, they win."

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  53. You are the best friend. Ever. I vote for pictures.

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