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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Were They Thinking in the 50s, Anyway?

Tonight my knee is just throbbing. Oh, there was no accident, I didn’t twist it, slip or even sleep on it wrong. It’s not from too much time only recumbent bike, either. It was hours and hours of standing up bent over a kitchen counter.

Oh, I’m really not complaining about the activity that wore out my already worn out knee. About this time every year, I start into my clean sweep phase. The holidays are coming and David and I will have friends over for our annual Christmas gathering, UNO and The Fabulous Dessert Bar. That tradition started Christmas evening in 2003.

It was our first Christmas without Mom and the entire schedule for Christmas day had changed. Dad had pretty much said okay to any idea I came up with and I wanted to do an open house and just invite everyone to stop in at any time for a snack, a drink, a meal, just stop by. My family of friends, the Zoo, all had other things with their families of relatives during the day, but said they’d stop that night. I think they wanted to make sure I was okay, my first Christmas, as I put it, as a grownup. Well, we ended up gorging on the desserts and Divinities I’d made and we played just a huge table of UNO. The tradition began!

In 2005, after David and I enjoyed a Christmas brunch for two, the whole gang was over in the evening for the festivities. However, we were not in Michigan in 2006 on Christmas Day. Christmas was on the weekend, so we spent it in Connecticut with his family, since the work holidays made it easier to take an extended weekend. We had UNO and The Fabulous Dessert Bar the Saturday before. Last year was my first year in Toledo and we moved the gathering officially to a Saturday right before Christmas since many of the guests had an hour+ drive!

Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated at my home, “Operation Clean Sweep” doesn’t have to be done before the end of November, but it does before the tree goes up shortly after December begins, so I have time to bake and get ready for the party!! David does the vacuuming because our vacuum cleaner is pretty heavy and I generally can’t pick it up and twist my bum knee all over when I try to use it! But I do lots of washing and dusting.

We have a sweet 1950s era house. The kitchen is totally 50s with the exception of our awesome digital oven! I love our oven! The first time I made cookies in it, before I lived here, I knew I would love calling that oven “my oven.” David and I agree that we don’t care for the original equipment push button electric stove, but we have a difference of opinion as to which is the better alternative. He says gas, I say modern electric. When the day comes that we start to build that model train layout and have to build the house over it, we’ll discuss that more in depth!

But what I dislike the most, what I just don’t get, is the counters. The counters in our sweet 50s kitchen are tile. I mean slippery, glazed tile squares joined with grout. There is no being careful. The grout will get icky. It will turn blotchy brown and wiping it will not make the grout white again. A few times a year I have to totally move everything off the counters and get serious! We have tile counters in the bathroom too and today was grout whitening day!

Grout whitening consists of very hot water, Soft Scrub with Clorox and a DT (disposed toothbrush). Yeah, I’m serious, use the toothbrush to fill in every line between the tiles and let it soak a little, the go back and scrub every line with the toothbrush until it’s white. So, my knee is very sore from all the standing, my back hurts a little from bending across the counter to get the back corners and my hands are stinging and dry from the bleach, but the counters look great!

(But I still maintain that a man came up with the idea for the tiles countertops in the 50s because his woman would have to clean the grout! grr....)

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