On Thursday I stopped thinking about cleaning out the refrigerator, and started actually cleaning it. Longtime readers of this blog will know that cleaning the refrigerator is an annual event in the Common Household. For some reason, I am the only one in the house who participates in this important ritual.
Thursday I had managed to clean the top shelf of the fridge. Then it was time to make dinner - spinach and cheese quiche. While I was sautéing the onions, I got a call from my credit card company, who said that my account was past due. I checked, and sure enough, the bill sat in the usual bill pile, clearly labeled, “Pay by Nov 3.” For some reason my husband had paid the other bills, but ignored this one. Grrr. I got the quiche in the oven, and took care of paying the bill.
This so taxed my brain that I absent-mindedly turned off the oven when the quiche was only halfway done cooking. When I realized this, we had exactly 30 minutes before leaving for the piano lesson. I fired up the oven again, and it turned out to be just enough time to get the quiche baked.
There was no time, though, to let it cool down on the counter. I had to snatch that quiche from the oven and immediately stick it in the fridge, since we would be away for the next 2 hours. Holding the hot quiche with the oven mitts, I said to the kids in my emergency voice, “Open the refrigerator door so I can put this in there!” As they opened it, the gleaming top shelf caught my eye, and I said to them, “Note the pristine condition of the top shelf of the refrigerator!” I was very pleased with my work, and wanted it noticed.
Son looked, and said with horror, “Does ‘pristine’ mean ‘does not have enough food’?!”
Youngest Daughter gasped and said, “Does ‘pristine’ mean ‘bare’?”
Son pressed further. “What did you do with all the food? What are we going to eat?”
He does not know that a lot of that stuff in the fridge is just ‘filler’ like very old salad dressing, expired cottage cheese, and nearly-empty ketchup bottles, that make the fridge look full, but aren’t actually edible. Also, he does not like spinach quiche, even though it has his favorite food group, cheese, in it. He was fearing for his next meal and all future meals.
Then this morning before anybody else was up, I worked on the fridge some more, finishing everything but the door, where the really interesting stuff lurks. By about 10 AM, my husband hobbled downstairs. After his breakfast, he said, “I guess I’m going to the casino for the tournament.” He sounded rather glum, I think because he is just tired of dragging around a broken leg.
Me, with a heart of compassion: You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. You could just stay here. I’ll be cleaning out the refrigerator door, doing the laundry, baking pumpkin muffins, and getting Youngest Daughter to rake the leaves.
Husband, switching to a kindly overlord sort of look: There is a rule about husbands when the wife is cleaning the house. The husband should be out of the house when the wife is cleaning.
Me, bristling at his 1950s viewpoint. I mean, I just voted in an election to avoid the 1950s viewpoint, but here it is in my own house!: And what about the wife when the husband is cleaning the house?
Husband: The wife should be out of TOWN when the husband is cleaning.
My thoughts at this comment were not pristine thoughts.