Wednesday, November 28, 2007


If I had any doubts before, they have been overrun and drowned in Pine Sol. I am nesting.

Yesterday began innocently enough, as I faced a rather dingy kitchen. First I decided to reorganize the drawers (once the dishwasher was already running, of course). Halfway into drawer #1 (the junk drawer), I realized that I should probably dust off the range hood. OK. The exterior shed its dust easily enough and then I foolishly peeked underneath.

I've read in my housekeeping books that these things should be scrubbed down and degreased at least twice per year... but I uneasily ignored that advice, hoping it could be banished to the realm that shelters such notions as keeping hand-crocheted doilies covering all horizontal surfaces and teaching the servants to properly polish the silver (and counting it when they're through). No such luck. In thirty-two years, I've managed to never take apart or scrub a fume hood. Until yesterday.

Short recap of things that don't work: Soaking the metal filter in soapy water does nothing to degrease it. Scrubbing does little more. Dishsoap won't cut through years of grease built up on the underside of the hood. Comet will, but it will get all over your brand-new stove and give you panic attacks about scratching its pristine surface. Elbow grease? Overrated. Chemical arsenal? Good clean fun.

What ultimately worked: letting the dishwasher do its pots and pans thing on the filter and lightbulb cover. Straight-up pine sol (orange scented - I'm not a barbarian) and a teflon-safe abrasive sponge cut through the years of grease build-up like nobody's business.

While the dishwasher was coping with its job, I tossed A (tutu, cowboy boots and all) into the car and we went to the local hardware store. For those of you who grew up in my homeland, I thought I'd mention that this hardware store makes me nostalgic for Linton's Big R. They have the same kind of stuff... everything from Wranglers and Ropers to John Deere ride-on toys and veterinary supplies for livestock (and 2-3 times per week they have a mobile veterinary clinic in their parking lot... wally world could learn something about one-stop shopping). They also have furnace filters and hardware. So A and I bought two furnace filters and some wall hooks... and then I noticed that they also have the big old-fashioned bags of candy, so I bought some of that, too (cinnamon bears (remind me of my Dad), pink wintergreen candies (Grandpa used to always buy me those) and circus peanuts (I don't know why I like those)).

A and I came home and binged on candy. She wasn't terribly impressed with the cinnamon bears. Woo Hoo! A whole bag of candy I don't have to share! I think I'm beginning to see why my Dad liked them so much.

After that fine, nutritious lunch, I changed the filters (hauling all necessary ladders out of the garage, up the stairs, put them away, etc.). After all that, I also did the "normal" stuff of sweeping/vacuuming/dusting, etc. Then the day was gone and it was time to make dinner.

I think I've mentioned that I instituted family-member request-specific dinners. Tuesday nights are A's dinners. I made pork lo mein stir fry.

One last little helpful bit of information: Cast iron skillets are fabulous for most things. Not so much for stir frying.


  1. I truly enjoyed reading this. All sounds so familiar. And yeah, stir fry sticks to the cast iron--cooked on globbies of crusty sauce. Dangit!

  2. Excellent description--I love your story telling. :o) My dad loves circus peanuts, therefore I like them. And concerning cleaning, I understand the snowball effect. Living with several people, I've gone into the kitchen to to cook an egg or something simple, but found no clean counter space, and proceeded to clean for the next two hours--all to cook for five minutes!

  3. Crap! You are making me want to be Martha Stewart'ish. *gag* Nah, really I need to get back on the wagon with meal planning. I like your idea about family members having their night of what they want. Too bad I hate cooking. I wonder if it I'd grow to like it though?

    Ok, tattooed punk rock Martha Stewart it is. Where to start???

  4. I go through nesting phases, Im hoping I go through another soon. I have so much to clean and organize! Linton's was a great place, I remember going there with my mom. I wonder if its still there?

  5. Man, now I'm homesick. I remember Linton's Big R so fondly...wandering through the isles. I remember the way it smells and running into all my grandma's coffee friends while we were there. I want to go home!! :D

    Thanks for sharing the tips. I have a new hood myself (posting pictures soon) and I want to make sure I keep it clean.