Saturday, November 26, 2011

Housework and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”

You know that story? The one that starts “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk” and goes on from there until the house is a mess. Well that’s the feeling I get when I do housework.

Take bathrooms: If you clean a toilet, you have to clean the floor behind the toilet. If you clean the floor behind the toilet, you may as well clean the entire floor because it does need it and you have the tools out. Then since the floor is clean, you really should wash all the bath mats. Since you’re doing that, you may as well wash the ones from the other bathroom as well, since you need to fill up a load anyway. If you’re doing that, you should clean the floor in that bathroom too, since you wouldn’t want to put clean mats on a dirty floor. Then you really ought to clean the toilet at the same time. See what I mean?

It works in the kitchen too. Today I’m making a turkey. Well, after trying to get it thawed completely (hopefully) in a cold water bath, I need the roasting pan (which I don’t use very often). Then I decide to try to fit it into the crockpot. It doesn’t fit, but I decide to make stock out of the neck and “package” so I can use the crockpot for that. So I unwrap the turkey, rinse it out, wrestle it into position in the roasting pan. This is where it’s helpful to have a husband handy to fetch and carry so I don’t have to wash my hands every 3 seconds and create the need to disinfect the other half of the kitchen afterwards. Season, rub with olive oil, throw an onion and some garlic in the cavity and it’s ready to go in the oven. But that’s only the beginning. I’m always nervous about raw meat, and turkeys are so big and unpredictably splashy. Because my crock of utensils was near the space I was working with the turkey, I went ahead and washed all of them and the crock. I disinfect everything I can think of and wipe it down, and then wash everything I used with the turkey.

Then I decide that this time I’m really going to move the utensils away from the works surface I often use to handle raw meat, since I think about it every time but haven’t gotten around to it. So I move all the items from that section of counter-top and clean it. But then I have to figure out what to do with the bread machine and the toaster. I decide the bread machine can go on top of the fridge when not in use. That requires clearing off the top of the fridge, putting a few things away, and of course then I see that this surface too must be cleaned before I can do anything else with it. I clean it, then move things from another counter section over to the original one that I’ve cleaned off. The toaster will go there, and so can the coffee maker. Then I have to rearrange the jars of flour on the first counter space. Then I have to stop in the middle of things to put bread in the bread machine.

I can’t tell until the bread is done and the bread machine put away, but I think I’m satisfied with the new arrangements (for now). I’m not sure it completely solves the problem created when handling raw meat, but most things don’t have as much potential for messiness as a whole turkey does. Who knew putting a turkey in the oven would result in rearranging the kitchen? This is what I think about many times I'm working around the house. I bet you thought I couldn’t connect a children’s story with housework, didn’t you? I’m just that good.


  1. this is TOO FUNNY. i am the exact same way. and i always think the same thing about my crock of utensils! they have all gotten thrown in the dishwasher more than once, and moved around the kitchen too!!!

  2. I'm glad to know I'm not alone:)