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Family Chatter

more bad housekeeping

So it's come to this: a recent Sunday morning (day of rest, ha!) found me on my hands and knees, head stuck in my oven (IT WAS OFF, guys!), squirting cleanser and scrubbing while swearing under my breath. It was not one of my finer moments.

Any of you who've read this column before are aware that cleaning is not my forte: http://bit.ly/1e6MtvP and http://bit.ly/1cxs95q

I actually love a clean house, so my ineptitude at keeping it tidy is a huge source of frustration. I survey the mayhem that surrounds me and it's not with a "Ha, ha, I'd rather be drinking Chardonnay anyway!" feeling. No, I am totally, "I suck. This house sucks. Everyone else I know lives in a pristine Southern Living spread." When these feelings get strong enough, I go on a mini-rampage. The usual routine of basic dusting, Roomba-ing and picking up toys is no longer enough. No. I have to Take a Stand. Most recently, the stand involved the inside of my oven.

The interior oven, being infrequently viewed (Surprise! Cooking is another of my non-skills.), exists in a "don't ask, don't tell" zone. I don't use it much and I don't look at very carefully when I do. Most importantly, the rare guests who come over don't look at it. However, on the day before this battle to reclaim a clean cooking area began, I dropped my 8-year-old, Joe, off at a friend's house (we'll call her Lisa). During the course of our brief chat, she did the unthinkable; she opened up her oven and showed it to me; regaling me with the tale of the cooking mishap she recently had, the greasy coated oven that resulted, and her plans for a major scrub down.

Internally, I writhed. This filthy oven that was causing Lisa so much angst bore more than a passing resemblance to my own, from what I could vaguely remember. As Lisa continued to vent about her oven situation, I started to edge toward the door. I had to get home. I had to take action. I had to get my own oven under control. Apparently expectations have been notched up among the well-educated suburban set that I find myself in. Built-in coffee station (which I don't have), custom cabinetry (another negative) and glass counter tops (do you even need to ask?) are no longer enough. Now the freaking inside of the oven has to be sparkling. Maybe I can't afford the coffee station, the cabinets, or the counter tops but BY GOD I COULD CLEAN THAT OVEN OR DIE TRYING.

I made a valiant effort, guys; I pulled out both shelves and scrubbed hard. I got a lot of grease off and, wow! The shelves are actually a silver tone, not a dull gold-ish color. I even scraped off several layers of grease from the clear window on the door. I may be able to hold my head up the next time I have Lisa over. I may even offer her a peek inside my oven. Or not. I'll give the self-cleaning function* a whirl first, as a final touch, before I dare to show it off to her.

*To any of you asking the logical question: Why didn't Mary try the self-cleaning function first?" I respond: "Because I forgot it exists." This is the sad truth.

Mary Becelia lives with her family in southern Stafford County.

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