January 9, 2000
First things first: a big thank you to all who wrote with their kind thoughts about my kitty. Things are back to normal around here, pet-wise, and Natasha is once again sleeping with me. She still spends her days lounging either in the guest bedroom or in Zoe's room, but every night since her reappearance, she's been in my bed when I turn in.
Today being Sunday, my day was filled with chores. Most notably, kitchen-related tasks.
First things first: clean the kitchen. As usual, the dishwasher was filled with clean dishes, and the sink full of dirty ones. I was about to get started when I discovered that Chuck was actually emptying the dishwasher. You gotta love that.
But, ut oh. If he's doing that then I have to do something. There was only one thing to do. The one thing I've had to do for a while. The thing I've been avoiding like the plague: clean out the refrigerator
When Sister #1 and I moved out of my parents home and into our first apartment, my dad got us a fridge. There was never much in it besides a dozen eggs, a lot of condiments, and a bottle of vodka in the freezer.
Time passed, roommates changed, lifestyles changed, boyfriend moved in, and there were groceries in it. Groceries mean cooking. Cooking means leftovers. Leftovers mean science projects.
You know what I mean. Those unidentifiable mounds you find wrapped in plastic, aluminum foil, or Tupperware. Usually there's fuzz on it. The fuzz is usually blue. And it always smells really really bad. It's scary. Really really scary.
Shortly before I started going out with Chuck the refrigerator stopped working. The freezer stopped working first. The fridge limped along for another couple of months. It wasn't super cold but cold enough to keep water chilled. Milk would last a couple of days. That was OK though. I would just buy it in the really small containers.
Finally enough was enough. I had to get a new refrigerator. I ended up buying a slightly used fridge from a coworker. When that refrigerator was moved into my kitchen I made a vow. No. More. Science. Projects.
I was going to stay on top of the leftover situation. If it didn't get eaten within two days it would go in the trash and I wouldn't have to throw the container away too. New life forms would no longer be spawned in my kitchen.
That lasted for a long time but old habits die hard.
About a year or so ago, we bought a new refrigerator. Well, we bought two but that's a whole other story.
With the new fridge came no ridiculous vows that would only be broken.
So, this morning I attacked the contents of the fridge--before the contents stood up, leapt out of their packaging and attacked me.
Here's the thing...I have not quite mastered the art of cooking for small groups of people. This is absurd since we're only three, but there you have it. If I had to regularly provide for a family of say, eight, we'd be fine. Nothing would be left over. Instead, I cook like we're eight, and then dutifully wrap up the leftovers and stow them away.
Here's the other thing...no one in this house is good about eating what's left over. It's not like it wasn't delicious the first time. It's just that there's going to be something new to replace the previous meal. So, it ends up sitting. And sitting. And then it gets shuffled around a few times. Top shelf front. Second shelf in the middle. Then the kiss of death, bottom shelf, all the way in the back.
There it sits. And sits. And sits. It goes bad. It grows fur. Blue fur. Sometimes odd liquids leach out of the wrapping (this is particularly true of vegetables, which turn to crude oil if neglected).
It's not pretty. I'll admit it.
It's wasteful. I'll admit that too.
But there it is.
So, today I donned my gas mask and rubber gloves and had at it.
I emptied mysterious lumps into the trash. Some packets were not even opened. I'm not that stupid, thankyewverymuch. Condiments were culled. Glass containers, plastic containers, and plates were emptied and went into a sink filled with soapy water and were immediately washed. Shelves and bins were scrubbed.
I was left with 25 pristine cubic feet of space space space space space.
So what's a girl to do after she cleans out her fridge? Yup, you guessed it....a trip to the market.
I confess, I've quit my one-woman boycott of Ralphs. I still hate the store but they remodeled the Ralphs, formerly Hughes, that was my favorite, and have expanded the selection of groceries. The deli counter personnel are stupider than dirt but the rest of them are actually almost helpful.
Armed with my freshly cut coupons and a list I had at it. Lunch meat, juice boxes, pet food, soda, bread, you know. You shop. You may have a family, and if so, this all sounds familiar.
Well, a funny thing happened when I arrived at my newly remodeled Ralphs. Half the parking lot was cordoned off. They had just put down new blacktop and had painted new parking spot lines. Like airline seats, I'm certain they made smaller spots, to absolutely ensure that we all have doors full of dings by the time we leave.
So, I parked in what was not actually a designated spot. Actually, it would be considered the middle of the driving lane, had the area not been cordoned off. But what the hell. There was flimsy rope with cute red ribbon bows secured on shopping carts. The area was closed off anyway so I may as well park there.
Fast forward an hour and a half. I'm on my way out of the store. Two grocery carts filled with bags. The box boy is behind me pushing the heavier of the two carts. But wait a second.
Some time after my arrival they opened up part of the lot again. The part of the lot where my car was right smack in he middle of the lane. Oops.
And just as the box boy was commenting on the idiot parked right smack in the middle of the lane I told him that I was that idiot. I assured him that the area had been blocked off on my arrival, but that I guess it wasn't anymore. Again....oops.
It sure was a pleasure to fill my newly cleaned-out fridge this afternoon.
Until next time...
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