Saturday, March 26, 2011


If you remember (don't go and look), in January I made a number of resolutions, including that each month this year, I would do some major housekeeping project that I had not done in ages. In January I self-cleaned the oven, which had needed it for an eon. That was good. Then, I missed February. I figured that if I got two projects done in March, I would be back on track. So far this month, I have donated to the Goodwill more clothes than I kept, gone through our pen drawer and thrown out the ones that don't work (don't laugh. This is a serious item), and gone through all my boxes in the shed, thrown out almost everything, and repacked the remainder more securely. I believe I am now caught up.

I still have a number of things that remind me of my total failure of diligence and housewifely responsibility, and I believe that my weekend social obligations are to blame for my failures. So this morning, I skipped brunch with my husband and friends, and started the second load of laundry (2 out of 2 for the weekend), started cleaning the bathroom, and had lofty ambitions to fold the laundry, wash the dishes, finish cleaning the bathroom, and do the grocery shopping. It was an ordinary, if more than usually productive, day. The sun shone brightly. All appeared safe and serene in my quiet suburban neighborhood.

You know how Lady Macbeth (a choleric, obviously) calls her beloved husband "infirm of purpose"? This unreliable husband of hers is, I would imagine, a melancholic. (I certainly understand what it means to be married to a melancholic who constantly promises to get things done but always seems to be enmired in depression and/or some useless hobby and never actually gets around to them, forcing me to nag him unceasingly.)

I really feel for Lady Macbeth, marching through life amid a sea of indecisive brooders. Like her, I am not infirm of purpose. There may be things I try to get out of doing or whine about for ages, but once I've determined to get something done, I will proceed in spite of all obstacles and, if need be, in defiance of right reason. The task to be accomplished which stymies me is the enemy; and should it put up a serious resistance, I will conquer it even if I should destroy the good I originally was trying to secure. There is no balancing of priorities; there is only winning. Two summers ago, a once very reliable microwave fell victim to this phenomenon when it failed to recover from my washing of it with a violent-spray garden hose attachment. The microwave was weak.

We may hope that the refrigerator is stronger.

The refrigerator was a perfectly ordinary rental refrigerator; white bumpy-surface epoxy enamel, freezer on top, a little shorter than I am. At some point I discovered that it had collected mildew underneath all the takeout menus and church bulletins I had stuck there with magnets. I considered this an unwelcome turn of affairs indeed, and after ignoring the problem for a few weeks, I cleaned it with bleach and moved all the magnets to the side. Problem solved. A few months later, it started showing significant signs of rust. The rust grew progressively for over a year while I glowered at it. Periodically I mused on the can of spray appliance epoxy I have under the sink (never you mind), but I left the refrigerator alone. I thought cleaning agents would probably make the problem worse.

This morning I learned a number of things. One is that steel wool is, as I suspected, a great way to remove rust and loose enamel from an appliance. Another is that cans of spray appliance epoxy do not remain usable forever if you don't clean the nozzles. A third is that $1 Home Depot all-purpose spray enamel for furniture will also adhere to a refrigerator. A fourth is that my spray-painting technique has not improved since I painted the printer stand. Finally, I learned that my appliance epoxy and my all-purpose white enamel are two different colors; the refrigerator is a third color. All of the colors are also, in some sense, white. And all of them are now on the refrigerator. On the brighter (well, whiter) side, what is no longer so much on my refrigerator is rust. We will see how long this lasts. My kitchen also smells like an industrial chemical lab, but I believe it is now time to wash the dishes.

Be strong, refrigerator. Remember what happened to the microwave...


  1. Hahaha I loved this post!! I was cracking up.

    And I COMPLETELY get you on the pen thing. I am starting to think our pens are breeding.

  2. I'm dying laughing!

    Can't we all get together and agree on one shade of white for paint? Seriously. I had the same problem with two different brands of interior white paint.

  3. You're so funny!!!

    I got rid of our extraneous pens in the summer and it felt SO GOOD! As a teacher I am inundated with stationary supplies!

    I love cleaning out the fridge. Mr. JB insists on putting away the groceries and (almost) never purges. I am always finding decaying bits that should've been thrown in the green bin (our city collects food compostables, it's great!).

    And lastly, St. Joseph is listening to both of us. You're definitely not more of a pain in the neck than I am!

  4. This is brilliant! And, you are a Saint!