About two weeks ago my buddy had friends over to his apartment because he had gotten a new job and wanted to celebrate. He had chips and dip and other assorted snacks spread out all over his apartment and plenty of adult beverages for everyone who stopped by to say congrats. Eat, drink, be merry – that sort of thing.
But the real kicker was that he’d prepared a feast; chicken cutlets and pasta with a thick tomato sauce, to go along with a large house salad and bread sticks. I never expected my friend to be a culinary savant but I guess the lesson here is never underestimate an Italian in the kitchen. The food was delicious! By the time we were done, we were all thoroughly impressed….and totally stuffed.
We left that night excited for his new job, full of chicken, pasta, and wine, and none of us thought twice about cleaning up. Hey, it happens.
Well, I was over there again just the other night and – while he had done a decent job making his place presentable again – he had clearly forgotten about his cooktop, which we’re all guilty of from time to time (or always). I joked that the food still baked on to the surface looked just as good as when he served it to us a couple weeks earlier. It was the only thing in his apartment that didn’t go right back to looking like it had before he had guests over and, unfortunately for him, it showed.
Cooktops are a relatively small surface in a kitchen but they can really affect the overall appearance of the home. Everyone’s been a victim of a gross-looking cooktop, but it’s how you recover from that gross-looking cooktop that brings the room together. Something about that shine and reflection off the surface can really create a germ-free feel and a total sense of cleanliness.
Luckily for my friend, he knows a guy who was able to hook him up with affresh Cooktop cleaner and it made all the difference in the world. Now he just owes me another meal!
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day and, looking back, I was pretty lucky to have been taught by a lot of great teachers! My second grade teacher, Mrs. Roethel, was pretty awesome in that second grade way of looking at things. She was fair, gave us a lot of playtime and was really nice. My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Cytryn, definitely gave me special treatment because I led our classroom to victory in the school-wide reading competition (I read more books than anyone in school, including the fifth graders…pretty sweet). So obviously she was alright in my book.
But the one teacher who really stood out was my eighth grade home economics teacher, Mr. McMahon. Picture this. You walk into home ec on the first day of school and you think you must have the wrong room because standing at the head of the class is, what looks like, a fratboy ex-football player. Burly, macho and a big scowl on his face. Found out later, Mr. McMahon had just graduated from college with a teaching degree and a concentration in social studies. He took the only job he was able to get. Home Economics.
That night, I went home and wrote in my journal that I liked all of my teachers on the first day of school, with the exception of Mr. McMahon, because he seemed mean. By the end of that school year, I had come to dislike every teacher I had except for him.
I like to think of that class as a learning experience for the teacher and the students. Mr. McMahon tried to teach us how to sew (tried being the operative word), he taught us how to maintain a household and we were also given a lesson in balancing a checkbook. And he often peppered in his own personal advice.
The few times I’ve seen Mr. McMahon since then, we’ve laughed about his first teaching position. He knew he couldn’t sew, but he put his heart into that home economics class and was subsequently rewarded. He became a bit of a legend and they also let him teach social studies the following year.
We’re all here because of some pretty great teachers. Tell us – what did your favorite teacher teach you?
Well it’s happened.
I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my range clean. And I use my range. A lot. Every weekend I cook up enough food for the entire week.
Open and shut goes the door as I move through sweet potato hash casseroles, Brussels sprout chips, roasted asparagus, baked sweet potatoes, baked chicken, the list goes on …
I wrap things in foil, line the racks and the pans and do whatever it takes to make sure there are no spills, no drips, nothing that will take any elbow grease in cleaning when it comes to my range.
But then the sweet potatoes were left in too long and I forgot to line the rack so they dripped onto the hot bottom. There was an unfortunate incident with a dropped baked apple. Juices from a roast chicken.
Ugh, I have to clean it and … wait for it … There’s no self cleaning option on this range of mine. That’s right, we go old school up in this piece.
Last night when I threw in some left overs to warm up for dinner – I realized I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Except for the four days I’ll be out of town, thinking about how I’ll have to clean the range when I get home.
Will I get through it? Will I come out of this dog fight with a clean range and no visible wounds? Will I consult the experts – my mother and grandmother – on their techniques or will I go rogue?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Until then – tell us your tips on how you clean the ranges, cooktops and the appliances throughout your home. I – er – some of us may need the help.
I’m still waiting for the Jetsons robot that swirls around the house and cleans the house, dusting lamps, vacuuming under sofas and loveseats, making the bed and washing to dishes.
Until then – I take a little comfort in my mobile devices making chores a little more enjoyable.
I don’t know about you but I don’t like to clean in silence. It just makes the whole fact that I am cleaning and not, oh I don’t know, shopping or enjoying an espresso and a good book – well, not fun.
So I got in the habit of throwing on a movie as I moved from living room to kitchen to bathroom to bedroom. But I had to turn up the volume so I could hear it over the vacuum or while I was moving from room to room. Then I got myPod. And Aretha Franklin, Adele and yes, sometimes Metallica was in my ear while I did the dishes.
But then I couldn’t hear my phone if it rang.
So I used my phone.
But then I got tired of the music.
Now, though… Now I do dishes while watching old episodes of “The West Wing.” Sometimes it’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Sometimes it’s “Cheers.” And to be honest it’s like a break in my day. A break from the endless news cycle, the newspapers, news alerts, the stack of books on my coffee table waiting to be read, the stack of books on my nightstand I’m in the middle of reading… And don’t even get me started on the emails.
It’s funny how a small adjustment can turn what felt like a chore into a bit of recreation. I’ll take it.
What is your accompaniment of choice? Music? Movies? Tell us!
When my family decides to come and visit me in New York, it’s pretty infrequent and everyone usually makes the trip at different times. However, this past month my mom came for a weekend and then my dad, step-mom and two half-siblings visited the weekend immediately after. From a cleaning standpoint, this was ideal (from a resting standpoint, not so much).
I have to admit, my apartment is not always ready for guests. I sometimes wonder what I would do if cell phones didn’t exist or if I lived in the suburbs and the threat of “drop-in” company had to be factored into my life. It actually might be better if I was forced to keep everything clean. But since I always have ample notice when people are coming by, I tend to clean up just for them.
Knowing that I only had to do one big clean and then just slightly maintain it for the week between visitors really made me happy.
My bedroom is where I jam stuff that I don’t want out in the open. So when we have friends over, I just close the door so everything else looks presentable. I knew I couldn’t get away with that this time and that I needed to do something with all of the clothing that’s scattered around. My husband has an ever-rotating “floor pile” of dress shirts that need to go to the dry cleaners, and honestly, once I got rid of that I was really motivated to keep going. I dusted the blinds, made the bed, washed and folded everything…it felt so good!
The bathroom is something that should be easy to keep up with, but just isn’t. My hair sheds everywhere, so even after I mop and wipe the surfaces one good session with the hair dryer really defeats me. But it’s so much easier to keep up with it when you do a really thorough job the first time! (Have you ever tried affresh kitchen & appliance cleaner on your bathroom sink? I love it!). It makes me want to keep my apartment tidy all the time.
And since the kitchen is the first room that everyone sees when they walk into my place, a clean cooktop and sink are really important. Luckily, I was already on a roll so I just went at it. The affresh products really cut through grime and I felt like the time I normally spent was cut in half. Plus, was I actually enjoying myself?
I was probably just excited that I was going to be getting so much family time in, but I have to say that I was proud to show off my sparkly apartment. And it makes me want to keep it looking nice for as long as possible.
Maybe I can get my sister to visit me next…