Entries Tagged as 'Chores'

BuzzFeed: 10 Life-Changing Things To Try In June

June 2, 2015

Furminator

Like the Furminator! See the full list on BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed: This Sock-Folding Technique Is Basically Life-Changing

April 10, 2015

Laundry day just got a tiny bit better.

sock

via

See the step-by-step tutorial here!

Thoughts on ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’

April 7, 2015

After reading a bunch of articles about the KonMari method, I decided to read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book for myself and it really resonated with me!

the life changing magic of tidying up

Photo: @lyrebirdkate

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing presents a new way of purging/de-cluttering/sorting your shit. (People call this method “KonMari” for short.) Here’s how it works: Following a very specific order, you go through your items by category, taking everything out. (So ALL your clothes out of your closets/drawers, for example, or ALL your books off ALL your bookshelves.) Once you’ve collected everything in the category in one place, you go through each item one at a time, picking it up and asking yourself if it brings you joy. Only items that truly spark joy get to stay. (And to answer the sort of obvious question, Kondo says that functional but not particularly exciting necessities spark joy in their own way, because having them there when we need them is joyful. Though if you’ve ever hated your annoying piece of shit garbage can for three years, you know that the right everyday objects can bring a certain level of joy.) Kondo says a shift takes place when you start asking yourself what you want to keep instead of asking yourself what you need to get rid of and that tidying becomes much easier in this context. She says her method is truly life-changing, and that once you sort your entire home this way, you’ll be changed for life.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of the things she recommends for the past few months, though sort of unintentionally. When I came to Brooklyn with just a couple suitcases back in December, I could only bring the essentials so I chose things I knew I’d really need, but also the seemingly silly things I knew I’d want. (I also experienced this when I moved from Michigan to Texas in 2010 and could only bring what we could fit in my Blazer.) While I found myself missing a lot of my things before we did the big move, I also got a sense of what possessions I really care about and how much stuff I really need/want to have around me. I found myself missing things that really do make me happy, and very clear on the things that I was hanging onto out of guilt or obligation.

Another one of Kondo’s main principles is that everything should have a place, which was remarkably easy to do when I had about 20 percent of my stuff and a sizable, mostly basically apartment to house it all. I found myself being way tidier than I had ever been before, and it came very naturally; it just felt right and good to put things away each evening. I don’t think of myself as a super tidy person (I’m not a slob but I’m also not anal about stuff) so this kind of surprised me. But as I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a lot of what I’d been experiencing clicked, and I was motivated to be more intentional about pursuing that feeling.

Eric and I are still in need of a dresser, which is causing a huge number of organizational/clutter hurdles in our apartment right now. (I really had no idea how much stuff we actually put in our dresser! Probably because I couldn’t SEE it all, but we’ll get to that in a second.) Until we get one, there’s really no point in doing the entire KonMari method because we don’t have a place for everything. (Though I suspect that once Eric KonMaris his clothes, we could get by without a dresser. We’ll see.) Anyway, I can’t speak to how putting all her tips into practice at once works—though I definitely will after we go all-in!—but I wanted to share some of the best tips I took away from the book.

1. You don’t need a million storage units. “Storage units do not solve the problem of how to get rid of clutter,” she writes. “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem as been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and ‘easy’ storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral.” She also won’t give you permission to go buckwild at The Container Store. (Sigh.) Kondo says if you do need storage, you should just use shoe boxes or other cardboard boxes because they work well and there’s no magic storage container that will solve your problems.

2. Organizing your shit can and should be simple. “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first. This principle does not change.”

3. Every item in our lives serves a specific role. Kondo says you to keep this in mind when struggling to part with an item that’s still in good condition or that hasn’t been used much. “Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will be a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the important lesson of who you do like, so you will appreciate those people even more… You’ll be surprised at how many things in your life have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.”

4. Consider how much “noise” branded products add to your space. This was a major takeaway for me, in part because I also recently read this New York Times piece about the sheer number of ads and branding we’re subjected to—without our consent—every day. Labels force information upon us and can make a place feel cluttered even when it’s very neat. Even when it’s hidden away in cupboards (like in a medicine chest), we’re still affected by all that information. “The neater the home, and the more sparse its furnishings, the louder this information feels… Tear the printed film off packages that you don’t want to see, such as deodorizers and detergents. Spaces that are out of sight are still part of your house. By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t spark joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” This is one of the things I’m most looking forward to doing.

5. Clutter happens when items don’t have designated spots. “The existence of an item without a home increases the chances that your home will become cluttered again. Let’s say, for example, that you have a shelf with nothing on it. What happens if someone leaves an object that has no designated spot on the shelf? That one item will be your downfall. Within no time that space, which had maintained a sense of order, will be covered in objects, as if somebody had yelled, ‘Gather round, everybody!’ You only need to designate a spot for an item once.” She says doing this will cut back on buying more items than you actually need.

6. Store things where you will put them away. “A common mistake is to decide where to store things on the basis of where it’s easiest to take them out. This approach is a fatal trap. Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore storage should reduce the effort to put things away, not the effort to get them out. When we use something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Clutter has two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.”

7. Being able to see and touch the things you own is crucial. “Most people realize that clutter is caused by too much stuff. Why do we have too much stuff? Usually it is because we do not accurately grasp how much we own. And we fail to grasp how much we own because our storage methods are too complex.” I also like this point because it (like many of the tips in the book) is also really important if you’re trying not to spend all your money.

8. “Store everything similar in the same place or in close proximity.” Seems obvious but it’s crazy how often we don’t do this.

9. Don’t create piles; opt for vertical storage instead. “If you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can get stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it harder to notice the increasing volume.”

10. Don’t let your family see you tidying. And don’t send all your extra stuff to your parents’ home (or accept their offer to house it all) because you can’t bring yourself to get rid of it. “It’s extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard. The sheer volume of the pile can make parents anxious about whether their children can survive on what’s left… When they see what you have chosen to discard, they may feel guilty at such blatant waste, but the items they retrieve from your pile just create unnecessary burden in their homes. And we should feel ashamed of forcing them to carry this burden.”

11. Decorate your closet with secret delights. If you have a collection of things that are purely for your own enjoyment (like memorabilia, charms, and other kinda weird items that you love) but don’t want everyone to see, display them in your closet. “Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure.”

12. Don’t save clothes that don’t really spark joy with the plan to just wear around the house. “The real waste is not discarding clothes you don’t like but wearing them even though you are trying to create the ideal space for your ideal lifestyle. Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love.”

13. Tidying using the KonMari method builds your self-esteem because you get more confident in your own tastes and interests. “Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills. People who lack confidence in their judgment lack confidence in themselves.” She also writes about how this process has played out in her own life: “When it comes to the things I own, the clothes I wear, the house I live in, and the people in my life, when it comes to my environment as a whole, although it may not seem particularly special to anyone else, I am confident and extremely grateful to be surrounded by what I love, by things and people that are, each and every one, special, precious, and extremely dear to me. The things and people that bring me joy support me. They give me the confidence that I will be all right. I want to help others who feel the way I once did, who lack self-confidence and find it hard to open their hearts to others, to see how much support they receive from the space around them and the things that surround them.”

14. Our things are important. “It is important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” I think it’s easy to dismiss her notion that things bring joy as shallow, but as someone whose love language is gifts, this makes perfect sense to me.

15. Tidying in this way can actually be extremely uncomfortable. “The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past… The things we own are real. They exist here and now as a result of choices made in the past by no one other than ourselves.” She also says that once our homes are tidy, we have less distraction and have to think about the things that are really bothering us.

16. The way she tells you to fold socks is goddamn mesmerizing. Watch!

While the idea of being told to get rid of SO MUCH STUFF or having strict rules about the way you do it can seem intimidating or stressful, I actually found the book very warm and friendly. It’s not tough love so much as a kind friend asking you why on earth you own things you don’t like. She has a lot of love for all the things you don’t need; she basically says they deserve better than to be in a home where they are tossed aside because they aren’t useful.

She also doesn’t preach a minimalist lifestyle, which I really appreciate. I find minimalism in design so intimidating and cold, and I don’t want my home to be devoid of things. I love things! KonMari is all about figuring out what amount of things you should own, and that number is based on how many things truly make you happy.

Eric and I are currently listening to the audiobook version of the book—I wanted us to be on the same page if we’re going to KonMari our lives. And for now, I’m working on emptying my bag every evening, getting rid of more non-joy-sparking stuff as I come across it, and trying to find the right dresser for our apartment ASAP.

Further reading…

Read an excerpt from the book

Will Tidying Guru Marie Kondo’s Cleaning Advice Really Change Your Life?

Marie Kondo Will Change Your Life

What Happened When I Tried KonMari On My Toddler

Marie Kondo’s Reddit AMA

Kissing Your Socks Goodbye

Three things about clutter

February 19, 2015

Packing is terrible for a number of reasons, but mainly because it makes you hate yourself and your life choices. Why do I own this? Why didn’t I throw this thing away three years ago? Why am I so goddamn materialistic and wasteful? WHY DID I WANT TO MOVE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

clutter

In the midst of packing hell this week, I happened upon a few interesting articles about clutter and how to get rid of it. The first, The Clutter Cure’s Illusory Joy, was just an interesting read on how different cultures feel about clutter. Meanwhile, my friend Dallas is currently doing the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. And finally, this article had some really good advice on getting rid of things (even if you aren’t going through a breakup). Here are the three best tips I took away from it:

1. Take everything out (of the closet, bookshelf, etc.) first. As you go through each item, ask yourself “Does this item spark joy when I touch it?” This helps you to think in terms of what you want you want to keep, versus what you need to get rid of. It also helps with the feeling that you’re being wasteful.

2. De-clutter by category, not by location. In order, you should do clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and mementos. I actually didn’t do this with packing (I’ve been doing it by location, but have also been jumping around a lot) but last night I righted the ship and went through my closet.

3. Scan paperwork and toss the original copies. Logically, I’ve known this is a good idea for a while…and yet I’ve never really felt compelled to do it. But now that I have a great scanning app on my phone (Scanner Pro is legitimately amazing), I’m feeling motivated to try it. I haven’t started tackling the paper yet, but when I do that tonight, I think scanning some of it will be really helpful!

BuzzFeed: 25 Tutorials To Teach You To Fold Things Like An Actual Adult

January 3, 2015

Bend like a boss.

15 MOLA

March 27, 2014

Do 15 minutes of light activity (15 MOLA) each day

A few weeks ago, I suggested Eric and I give ourselves a little spring challenge: do a daily “15 minutes of light activity” (also known as “15 MOLA”). The light activity can be done at any point during the day, and it’s basically just doing a little something around the house beyond everyday chores…so it could be sweeping, running a load of laundry, running an errand we’re avoiding, etc. It can also be taking the dogs for a walk. I figured the activity and the more organized/cleaner space would be good for morale, and since it’s light out in the evenings, it’s a little easier to find the motivation to do it. Eric was game, so we’ve been trying to stick to 15 MOLA since then. While we’ve missed some days, I’m definitely getting a boost from it. Some days I get more motivated once I get going and do more than 15 minutes, while others I just do one task and call it a day. (Also, continuing to wear sneakers each day totally helps me get it done!) Now my desk is clean, our fridge is sparkling, we don’t have baskets of laundry all over our room, and my office floor is no longer covered in bits of gold star confetti. (Because yes, there was recently…an incident.) 

12 Things I learned from ‘My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha’

March 10, 2014

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag ...and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha

I’ll admit, I never really read Ask a Clean Person, Jolie Kerr’s cleaning popular column, regularly. Her advice was always so specific and it never really applied to me. But I’ve really been enjoying her posts on Jezebel (I love “Year of the Clean Person”), plus I’ve been weirdly into laundry and laundry products lately. I was ready for something new to read last week and then saw an ad for her new book, so I told myself I’d buy it if the Kindle edition was under $10 and…it was $7.99! Sold!

My Boyfriend Barfed in my Handbag is basically a would-be adult’s guide to cleaning stuff. I have long felt if I just knew how to clean properly and efficiently (instead of just haphazardly scrubbing things with the wrong kind of cleaning supplies) I’d be more likely to do it, so I’ve really been wanting this kind of information, preferably presented in an interesting and easy-to-read way. (Or a Home Ec class for adults. Seriously, someone, please make that a thing.) I was basically this book’s target audience! And it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I found her advice solid and her mild disgust for all of our gross non-clean-person habits quite charming. 

Here are some of the most interesting things I learned! 

  1. When it comes to an all-purpose spray for your kitchen, Kerr recommends a white vinegar and water solution (she recommends that for a lot of things), or Windex. I didn’t know either of those were so great, and (wrongly) assumed that all glass cleaners were about equal. She also recommends Soft Scrub as an abrasive and ammonia mixed with water or Dawn soap mixed with water for degreasing the kitchen.
  2. Palmolive dish soap is boss. 
  3. If you scorch a pot, you can sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of it, fill it a third of the way up with water, and then set it on the stove to boil. Then remove it from heat, let it cool, and wash it with soapy water. I had tried boiling water to help clean really burned pans, but didn’t know about the baking soda trick. 
  4. If your dishwasher smells gross, you can fill the bottom with a half gallon of white vinegar and run it empty…or try a product called Dishwasher Magic. 
  5. A paste of baking soda and water will take food stains off of plastic cutting boards and plastic food containers.  
  6. The best way to clean a microwave is to steam something (1/2 cup white vinegar + 1/2 cup water; dish soap + water; a lemon cut in half) in the microwave for 2-5 minutes and then wipe the interior out. 
  7. You should totally clean your floors on your hands and knees
  8. Use Scrubbing Bubbles and a damp sponge to clean your bathroom. 
  9. You can microwave your loofah to disinfect it. 
  10. Immediately pouring a heap of table salt on a red wine stain will help draw out the wine. 
  11. Never, ever use fabric softener on your towels. (WHAT!!!)
  12. I cannot wait to try bluing on my white jeans. 

Magic, right?! The book is filled with a lot of other interesting information and advice, and made me genuinely excited to try the products/techniques Kerr recommends. But I actually don’t think it’s knowing how to clean properly and effectively that’s motivating me…it’s the fact that I now get to buy new stuff to help us clean. Even if it’s just a spray bottle for my white vinegar/water solution, I can so get into that. Eric bought our Palmolive and Windex at the store last night and we’re well on our way to becoming adults. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! 

Note: this post contains affiliate links. That means if you buy something on Amazon after clicking my link, I get a (seriously teeny tiny) percentage. 

How to split the chores with your partner (& keep the peace) [Freelance Article]

May 22, 2013

typewriter

I’m working with The Nest this month as part of their Merge and Purge campaign. My first post is about splitting up the chores, something that finally, after two years of living together, I feel like Eric and I are getting the hang of.

Read How to split the chores with your partner (& keep the peace) on The Nest

 

Chore monsters, feminism, and zombies [Freelance Article]

January 13, 2013

vintage typewriter keys

The best days as a writer are the ones when you get hit with an idea for something you want to write and it pretty much writes itself in the time it takes you to get from wherever you are to a computer. My most recent post for A Practical Wedding was one such idea. Go over and read it if you’re interested in the heated conversations I have with inanimate objects around my house, and how I’ve been dealing with them.

Read Chore Monsters, Feminism, and Zombies on A Practical Wedding.

Drained

January 10, 2013

water pouring from above into a sink with drain

Wednesday night was the night of 1,000 kitchen disasters in our house. I’m still recovering.

It was Eric’s turn to make dinner, and he was going to make the crisp chicken marinara from Cooking Light. He asked for some help with the recipe, which surprised me initially. After all, it was one of those fast and easy dinner recipes, right? But I needed a break from my laptop and I wanted to make that roasted sweet potato winter salad for my lunch this week, so I agreed to join him in the kitchen, figuring I’d make my salad and I’d also be able to answer any questions he had about the recipe since I’d be right there.

So we got started in our already kinda-dirty, “We need to run the dishwasher tonight” kitchen. Just two honest kids with a dream of making a couple healthy meals. It was rough from the start, mainly due to the lack of clean dishes. (WHY do our knives go SO FAST? The answer, I’m loath to admit, is that I’ve somehow managed to lose half of our knives somewhere between our house and my office.) But every time we’d manage to find some buried-at-the-bottom-of-the-drawer utensil to get the job done, something else would go wrong with Eric’s recipe, which was way more of a hassle than I had originally realized. And I couldn’t help him because I was getting out my fourth Ziploc bag after the first three had split as I pounded out my chicken breast to prepare it for grilling. Each time I would yelp with frustration and stride across the kitchen, trying to stay out of Eric’s way and awkwardly trying to keep the chicken and/or its salmonella-packed juices from sliding out of the bag, basically feeling like I was doing some sort of relay race that involved running back and forth balancing a broken condom.

After getting my chicken marinating, I peeled the sweet potatoes for my salad. I rarely peel potatoes for recipes because those skins are good for you and also, I’m lazy. But Wednesday night, for some reason, I decided to do things by the recipe. It was a decision I’m still regretting.

I peeled the potatoes over the sink, as I’ve seen my grandma do numerous times as I’ve watched her make her famous-to-my-family potato salad. This was how I knew it was an OK thing to do. I finished that task, added the onions, covered everything in olive oil and smoked paprika, and got them ready to roast in the oven.

Meanwhile, Eric was struggling. It’s hard to explain why this seemingly simple recipe was so troublesome, but it just had a lot of little steps, steps that involved more dishes. The search for dishes, as well as the thickness of the chicken tenders meant that the timing was completely messed up. So there was a lot of waiting around, turning off one burner while we let another part of the recipe catch up on another burner. After helping him briefly, I decided I’d clean up a bit and decided to run the garbage disposal. I shoved all the orange potato peels down it and ran it. And for the first 90 percent of the peels, it worked. And then it stopped.

Well, crap. The garbage disposal was clogged. And worse, it was clogged and it was totally my fault. That meant I was going to be on the front lines when it came to solving the problem. .

Rather than immediately make plans to call a repairman, I decided, in the spirit of DIY, to see if it was something I could easily fix myself. And, turns out, it was! God bless Google for making “how to unclog a garbage disposal potato skins” fill in automagically. Focusing specifically on potato skin clogs gave me better advice, because apparently, not all clogs are created equal.

The advice told me to use a plunger. It also said not to be a disgusting human being and use the same plunger you use in your bathroom. At this point, it was after 8 PM and I had no desire to go to the store for a new plunger; it would have to wait until morning. We were stuck with this clogged drain for the night and we were just going to have to make the best of it.

We continued with our cooking and I loaded the dishwasher as best I could, but there came a point when we had to start filling the non-clogged side of the sink with pans and dishes and such. And it was just one of those nights when the dishes were all so disgusting. There was greasy olive oil. There was marinara sauce. There were chicken bits. There was sticky, sticky honey. My sweet potatoes were taking forever to roast. Meanwhile, Eric was moving onto the more tedious parts of his recipe: breading the chicken with panko and then browning it for two minutes on each side. It was getting close to 9:00 and we were both so over it at this point; I think all either of us wanted was to just go sit down for five minutes. As for dinner, it was becoming less and less important with each passing minute. If we had had any clean spoons, I think we would have just called it a night with some cereal.

Eventually, we made it through the browning phase and then it was time to make the pasta (in water that had taken an absurd amount of time to boil) and then move onto the broiling phase. (Nothing caught on fire, which was a small personal victory!) When we finally sat down to eat, using a paring knife to cut the chicken, the victory felt hollow in the aftermath of our horrible-looking kitchen. The chicken was good but it wasn’t that good.

We cleaned up as well as we could, but it was a lost cause. When we left the kitchen, our dishwasher and sink was full and our counter was stacked with pots and pans. I did some yoga and then snuggled with Eric and the dogs, figuring I’d deal with everything in the morning.

Kitchen: 1. Rachel & Eric: 0.

I woke up on Thursday dreaming of plungers. I knew this task couldn’t wait; I was going to fix this thing this morning. After Eric left for work, I bleached our plunger and then headed into the kitchen.

I’ll admit, I felt really self-satisfied at this point. I’m going to fix my garbage disposal, I was thinking. And I’m going to be so proud of myself when I do! I’m going to totally handle an adult home repair like it’s no big deal! I was probably actually strutting with my plunger as I entered the kitchen, which is pretty gross, and sad, and probably means I deserved what happened next.

Per the instructions, I put the stopper in the left side of the sink. Then I started to plunge. When I did, the little spout where water comes out when the dishwasher is running burped out a little spurt of water. Uhhhh whut? No one told me that was going to happen. I pumped the plunger again. Another little spurt. I did not like that one bit. With each subsequent push of the plunger, it belched more water over the counters. The water had bits of sweet potato peel and spinach floating in it; though it was odorless, it looked like a combination of shit and barf, so the experience of watching it flow over my kitchen counter was just really unsettling.

But still, I pumped the plunger. And just when I got a good rhythm going, just when I started to think that I was going to clear this clog, just when I was thinking about how I was going to write a blog post over my victory over this goddamn disposal, the little spout got that “I don’t feel so good” look on its face and threw up all over me before I could get out of the way. Chest to thighs, I was covered in the dirty dishwater.

Fuuuuuuuuuuck this. Fixing the garbage disposal was going to have to wait until I got home from work.

Kitchen: 2. Rachel & Eric: 0.

While I was at work, I did some more research online and talked to my coworker Jesse, who is quite knowledgable when it comes to things like this. While one blog post I read said to use Drano at this point, it was a recommendation that came with caveats. Jesse also warned me that using Drano is risky because it can really mess things up if it comes in contact with other parts that can’t handle it. At this point, I was over the ineffective plunging and ready to take the whole damn thing apart. In trying to figure out how to do so, I ended up on Lowes.com, which said that when plunging, you needed to plug all areas where water could escape. Hm. Was it the little spout that made my plunging so ineffective?

When I got home from work, I put on what I call my superhero outfit: thick rubber gloves and an apron I keep specifically for cleaning. Then I put my hair in a ponytail. The layers and the hair tie make me feel transformed into the nothing-scares-me version of myself, comfortable handling any household task, no matter how disgusting it is. I felt like I had been pushed around by a bully at the bus stop before school, and now, after school, I was marching over to the playground to kick that bully’s ass.

I tried to fill the left side of the sink with water so I could plunge it into the right side, which several websites and my mom recommended. (My mom also told me that my grandma peels potatoes into the sink, but she always puts a plastic grocery bag down first, so she can then just pull it out and throw them away. Curses!) But turns out, that side of the sink was totally fine. Since that was a no-go, I just put the stopper back in it and then wrapped the little spout in a towel, per the instructions from Lowe’s. I started to plunge. Water flowed through the towel freely; it wasn’t plugging a damn thing. I briefly considered going out for some super jumbo pads with wings to strap on to it, but I pushed through. Every time I pushed on the plunger, more water would soak through the towel. There was a lot of water, but it was coming in big spurts, coughing and hiccuping and really forcing itself out. I had no idea if this was good sign or a bad sign, but I did take a moment to scrape out some of the potato peels that were stuck in the spout before I continued.

Eventually, I realized the only way I could do this alone was with one hand holding the towel tightly on the spout and one hand (which really meant chin/elbow/boob) pumping the plunger. I gripped the spout and pumped as best as I could, feeling quite hopeless.

But then — was that…was that water I heard? It was the tiniest sound of water draining from the unclogged side of the sink. I had no idea if this was what I wanted to happen but I chose to take it as a good sign and started plunging with a renewed sense of vigor. The left side continued its tiny, slow drain, the spout continued to hiccup large amounts of water, and my chin/boob continued to work that plunger. Finally, I felt confident enough to flip the switch on the disposal again and, amazingly enough, it began to grind.

At that point, I dropped the plunger like I was dropping a mic and strutted out of the room like a total badass.

Well, not really. First, I jumped up and down and squealed like a teen girl watching the newest “Twilight” trailer. Then I just started cleaning everything in sight. While I was really proud about what had just happened, I was still embarrassed that it needed to happen. So I ran the dishwasher and then scrubbed everything else in the kitchen. Then I mopped the floor. Then I swept and mopped the whole first floor of our house. I wasn’t ready to start cooking dinner at the scene of the crime just yet. I needed to atone a little bit first.

Eventually, all was clean again and I got out the ingredients for my fast and easy beef stew. With every step of the process, I was so grateful that the garbage disposal was working and that the kitchen once again looked like a place where you’d cook a meal, rather than cook meth.

Kitchen: 2. Rachel & Eric: 1.

I don’t like those numbers, so I’m going to end this with an ominous look and a clear threat for vengeance:  You haven’t seen the last of me, kitchen. One day, I will seek justice for what you did to my home and my family. 

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