Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fed Up!

I am just going to take a moment to record a few recent housekeeping triumphs. This is the first thing I see every morning when I walk into the kitchen. Whose genius idea was it to make a white coffeemaker? Coffee penetrates and stains plastic, people!




I cannot tell you how much it bums me out to see that permanently stained thing every time I am in the kitchen. I don’t even use it. It belongs to B who, like many guys, is not bothered by its scuzzy appearance. He bought it about six years ago, when an identical white (and brown) Mr. Coffee croaked during an extended summer heat wave. He went out immediately and bought the one we have now—even though black coffeemakers (a color that does not stain) were available!

I couldn’t believe he had screwed up a legitimate opportunity to replace soemthing I hated with something I would like, but I don’t remember why I didn’t go exchange it. Possibly the packaging had already been destroyed by the time I learned of the new purchase. Anyway, since my upbringing does not allow me to replace something unless it is broken, I have lived with this loathsome eyesore for six or so years, and endured daily spasms of honked-offedness whenever I look at it and the way it imbues the otherwise bright and cheery kitchen with dinginess.

But as part of the ongoing clutter-elimination rampage (which is coming along nicely), I have decided that I am going to do away with all esthetically displeasing things that impinge upon my quality of life. So yesterday, when I happened to see a black Mr. Coffee* on sale for $17, into my cart it went. I feel positively joyful about the prospect of taking the white (and brown) one over to Goodwill today and being shut of it forever!

I’m also fed up with this.

Kettle o' Disgustingness

Horrifying and esthetically displeasing in the extreme. I’m not sure quite how it reached such a fever pitch of disgustingness. I’ve tried without success to clean it several times. Yesterday, while in the grip of the same force that impelled me to buy the Mr. Coffee, I purchased a product called "Goo Gone" that combines “Citrus Power and Scientific Technology to defeat the toughest stains and gummy messes.” Just the ticket! I spent about 25 minutes this morning directing Citrus Power, Scientific Technology, a Heavy Duty Scotch Brite scrubby sponge, and a quantity of Elbow Grease at the surface of the tea kettle.

Burnished and Bright

Not bad. And I must say, Goo Gone smells delightfully of oranges and tangerines. I’d take a swig, but it contains petroleum distillates.

I’m not through being fed up, though.

65-Year-Old Window

This is what the view out our living room window looks like every time it rains—i.e., all winter long. Cold outdoor air strikes the outside surface of the window and makes its way through the single pane of glass where it meets warm indoor air. Result: I am blinded by science. Horrific view-obscuring condensation forms on the inside of the pane and black mold multiplies on the wooden watchamacallits that divide the pane into segments.

Now that I think about it, it is somewhat incredible that we have lived with these single-pane, 65-year-old windows for nearly five years. There are no storm windows for them or screens. You can’t open them in the summer either. I guess the main reason we haven’t replaced them is that I am under the impression that it is going to cost an arm and some fraction of a leg to get new windows. I also believe I read somewhere that replacing the original windows of your “period” home can reduce its value. This has just got to be a spurious claim. You’d have to be a halfwit to prefer heat-leaking, dripping, mold-encrusted windows you can’t see out of to insulated, double glazed, mold-free windows.

How is it that I have all this time to devote to buying new coffeemakers and scrubbing tea kettles? Don’t I have work to do? Aren’t I supposed to be writing a novel? The short answer is: no and yes. I took yesterday and today off because I am temporarily between assignments. (I love it when that happens. It will end tomorrow, though.) And, as for the novel, well. I’ve been working on it, but I really don’t think it needs to be novel length. I think it should a long short story, so I’m not going to kill myself to make that 50,000-word quota. I think I’ll shoot for 20,000 or 30,000. That way I can still have a life. Maybe.

*I know that there are probably better brands of coffeemakers out there, but B once read a Consumer Reports article that rated Mr. Coffee as the best coffeemaker for its price, and he will countenance no other brand. He also things Yuban coffee is acceptable. I don’t—which is why he uses the Mr. Coffee to make his awful Yuban and I use the tea kettle, a single serving cone filter, and a sustainably grown, organic decaf blend to make my coffee.


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