Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

Today, on this episode of Quarantine Adventures, I decided to clean out my kitchen cabinets. Since we began sheltering in place, I’ve been completely unmotivated to really do much around the house, especially since Marty and I have been online teaching full time. It’s completely exhausting and by the time I actually finish for the day, around 9 or 10:00, I don’t want to do anything else. Seriously, we have assignments and questions coming in 24-7 and it’s a lot more difficult to grade online work than it is on paper.

That’s also a reason I haven’t been writing much lately; I’m at the computer all day long and by the time I’m done working, I just don’t want to type anything else. We do take breaks during the day, but it feels like we’re constantly working and we can’t step away for long. Hence, there is not much going on in the way of deep-cleaning at our house, except for the linen closet I emptied out a few weeks ago.

BUT! This is Memorial Day weekend and although I have a billion more e-assignments to grade (just the thought of that makes me want to cry), I’m actually taking a couple of days away from online school. I’m not even looking at my email right now. After reading for a few hours this morning (Delicious!!!) I decided that we needed chocolate chip cookies. I mean, when do we not need chocolate chip cookies?

While rummaging for ingredients, I noticed that there were a lot of items that had been there for a while. And when I say a while, I mean a really long time, so I started going through them.

Oh, my goodness.

There was a lot to see there, folks.

Our cabinets go back ridiculously far. I know I’m short, but one would need 6-foot-long arms to easily reach the back of these cabinets. That means that as we go shopping and add more stuff, items that don’t get used get pushed all the way back and out of the sight line. It’s a really stupid design. There were a lot of things pushed to the back. Undeterred, I got out my trusty step stool and tried not to dislocate my shoulder.

Here are some examples of things I threw out today:

  • Two boxes of cornstarch, one expired in 2014, one in 2016.
  • Lasagna noodles, expired 2015.
  • Cherry Jell-O, expired May 2013 (at first glance, I thought it said 2003.)
  • Club crackers, expired 2018.
  • Lemon extract, expired 2014. (That one smelled up the whole kitchen when I poured it down the drain. Mostly lemony, but also icky.)
  • Instant coffee that was technically not expired but had consolidated into, well, a solid.
  • Arborio rice, expired 2016.

And the oldest thing I found today: A box of chamomile tea that expired in 2010.

We’ve been here since 2001, so all things considered, it wasn’t horrible, but still. As I was cleaning, episodes of Hoarders kept going through my mind. (Do you know how old this is???) I mean, at some point before 2010, I had obviously done this before.

It was very therapeutic. I LOVE purging and throwing things away, I love the way things look and feel after it’s done. I’m proud to say that every food item in my cupboard is, for the moment, unexpired and all of the emptied boxes/jars/cans are in the recycling bin.

Guys, this was a major achievement today. I feel accomplished. However, it may be another ten years before I do it again.

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Unless you’ve been meditating in the desert for weeks like Jared Leto, you know that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. How long will this last? No one knows, but we can make it better by doing what is recommended: staying away from people as much as possible and washing our hands. It seems trivial to some, but my dear friend in Italy has seen just how bad this is. She and her family are fine, thank God, but so many are not. There are hundreds of deaths every day in places where there used to be such joy. I watch video from Rome, Florence, and Venice and remember how full of life those cities were when I visited just five years ago. The streets are empty, the obituaries are many. This is serious business, folks.

I don’t think I really have to explain the term “social distancing” since the entire world is doing it. If you’re not right now, you should be so we can get rid of this stupid virus and hug people again. I don’t know about you, but I miss hugging my friends. I hug Marty, obviously, but he does not want to be hugged all the time. Hugging Youngest Child is like trying to hug a rock right right now and he makes funny noises when I do. It will be good to hug other people again. Someday.

Like everyone else, we’re trying to find things to fill all of the extra time at home. Of course, there are always things that should be done, but aren’t pleasant. I’m forcing myself to do some of that. Things like scrubbing the kitchen cabinets. Or individually dusting all of the books in a bookshelf and then moving the bookshelf to clean the years of dust bunnies behind and underneath. I know, I know, I’m enjoying myself way too much, but it has to be done. Sigh. Sidenote: I hate cleaning. I keep a (mostly) clean house because, well, I don’t want to live in a dirty house and I love it when the house is clean, but I actually hate the process. I used to think I was a domestic person, but I’ve come to realize that I’m not. My mantra is, “Someday, I will hire a maid.”

Youngest Child has also decided that we are going to work out this entire time and that my running and sit-ups aren’t enough, oh, no. In the spirit of Jillian Michaels, he has added push-ups to my routine, six sets of an increasing number every night with a minute rest in between each set. Last night, I made it to six sets of seven. I hurt now. Marty wryly watches me struggle from the couch as the six-foot-tall teenager says that it’s good for us, that we’re going to be “ripped” this summer. Tonight, I’ll be up to six sets of eight. I don’t like push-ups.

Marty and I are also teaching remotely from home, which has been an interesting experience. We have apps that we can use to help us assign work and the students are familiar with the apps, but getting all 100+ of them to go online and do the assigned work is some of the problem. Most are, and they’re doing a great job, but some have limited internet access, even though the school lent out laptops to those who needed one. There are also others who are choosing to not do anything. We are grading their assignments, but at this point, the grades don’t count. The behavior management part of this has been FABULOUS, though. I haven’t written anyone up of kicked them out of my class in a week, although I did turn off a kid’s camera on Zoom yesterday for flipping everyone off. I was not shocked at who did the flipping off, either. It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes in the coming weeks.

There is no theatre right now. That’s something I’m super sad about, as are many people that I know. My cast and I were at least able to perform one weekend of The Glass Menagerie with wonderful reviews before we got shut down and there’s still a possibility that we could have one more performance to record, with no audience, and a cast photo once things settle down. Other theatres around here didn’t even get to open their March shows at all. Many are postponed until at least May or are cancelled outright. And that really, really sucks. I don’t want to get too deeply into that because I’m still having a hard time dealing with it. I know that there are many others in the same boat, but that doesn’t make it any easier. In the meantime, I’m still going over my lines every day, just in case.

With no theatre, I’m trying to focus back on writing, which is a good thing. I’m very close to finishing my sequel to Traveler (which is, by the way, available on Amazon. Hint hint.) and I have have a couple of other projects going as well.

I’m also focusing more on meditation. I’m very much in a learning frame of mind with metaphysical things and this has been a great time to explore, really be quiet, and let it happen. More on that later.

There’s time to read for fun again. I have a long way to go before I catch up to where Marty is, but I’ll try. I have about five books that I’m reading simultaneously at the moment.

Oh! I’m also planning my garden. I’m making a Shakespeare garden, kind of a big deal, with plants that Shakespeare references in his works. There will be a lot of new landscaping and I ordered a bunch of seeds that should be here any time now. I’ll post before and after pictures when things actually begin growing. Marty is scared.

So, what are you doing during this time? Drop a message in the comments or give this post a like. I’d love to hear from you. Reading comments gives me an excuse to not clean the basement.

Stay safe, everyone.

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