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©July 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg


Horror Beneath the Kitchen Sink









Sometimes it's that "Blue Skies" sort of thinkin' that can do me in.  For years I thought I was a pessimist, then a realist, and finally I had to own up to being an optimist for all my veneer of denial bluster.  STILL, the trip outdoors this morning was grand.  Everything was so wonderful that all I wanted to do was to stay there and enjoy it the way I'd done countless times as a kid.  I could have wiled away the whole day beneath my favorite tree and enjoyed the puffy clouds as they rolled by on that canvas of blue.


But that wasn't to be.  Today wasn't just the normal of the straightening, scrubbing of bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming, and dancing with a wet mop—oh no!  Today was also the day I needed to challenge that space beneath my kitchen sink.  Did I even want to know what was under there?  Well, not really but it was way past the point of putting off.  We won't even discuss the calendar when trying to peg the last time I'd done this very same thing.


I have a secret habit, a horrible one.  I will actually store things where they belong—quite unlike the other members of this household.  But there is one reality that I can't escape—I will overbuy, horde, and then never sort out the old stuff, the half-used stuff, and the doggone nearly empty stuff the I precisely "store away."  This does not bode well for that cabinet.


And while I'm not a builder/carpenter/or anything like that, I don't know exactly how big that "base" cabinet is.  Oh, hubby could tell you but I wasn't about to ask him.  He put it in after all.  Yet that's not the point.  Let's just call it standard-sized with double doors.  Okay? 


What the point IS is that everything in there had come to, ahem, what is known as "critical mass."  So critical in fact was this crisis that the cabinet's very weight likely had the density of plutonium along with its explosive properties.  I had been envisioning the floor beams giving way and the whole thing freefalling until it arrived in China. 


So I returned within the house and tried hard to shun the allure of the outdoors and any weak excuses I could contrive on the spur of the moment.  I took a deep breath and took the plunge—I opened both doors.  Gasp!


It was full from bottom to top—quite literally.  But I was mentally prepared for it and had my secret weapon at hand—many Hefty® trash bags.  It took a while to empty the contents of the cabinet and it was done with all the care of a bomb-expert defusing a complicated, "live situation." 


The items up front I used often and daily.  They were welcome friends.  As I dug deeper I found things that surprised me.  Things I hadn't deposited in there.  Items like "instant smoke" to test smoke detectors, leather polish, Ronson® lighter fluid, a bottle of ammonia cleaner, foam tire cleaner and polish and other sundry stuff Don placed there and promptly forgot about some time long ago.  Oh, I did find 5 cans of very effective flea spray from 4 years ago when we had that "episode."  Four cans were uncapped and one half-used.  I trashed that half-used can and kept the other four—just in case. 


I shuttled my daughter out and away from the kitchen.  She didn't need to see me tossing half the kitchen that had been condensed into such a tight spot.  I was a madwoman at this point.  The trash bags were filled and hauled clinking and clanking outside where they might just NOT ignite.


Once the cabinet was emptied I had to stop.  That vast space was a bit dirty but I was amazed at its size.  It wasn't very big after all.  How on earth had all that STUFF that now littered every available spot on my kitchen counters and table resided there? 


You could feel the air in the house go from DEFON 1 back to DEFON 4 in minutes.  The house actually sighed. 


Then it was time to scrub it all up and make it shiny, squeaky clean before the second part of this operation began.  A little bleach, a few sprays of cleaner later and a general mopping up did the job. 


Me, I took a break and walked back outside to gaze up and enjoy the treasure of the day before heading back in.  It was a sweet respite.


When I came back I was nearly overwhelmed.  Just where was I supposed to put all this STUFF?  Even after tossing two fully loaded 30-gallon bags of stuff OUT, I had way too much STUFF left over to restore and redeposit back under the sink.  Was this an optical illusion or was that space just a black hole that could accommodate anything?  I didn't think either was the case—but I still wasn't wholly sure.


I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, and dove in.  Once you begin you cannot stop for if you do then you become lost in the quandary over just  where to put what, should I keep it, and that utter favorite "just throw it out!" 


I ended up disposing of a 3rd 30-gallon trash bag before finishing up.  The horror beneath my kitchen sink has been quelled for another undetermined amount of time.  Everything that belongs there IS there and some of that weird stuff got the toss pile.  Just don't ask me to own up to having 5 different bottles of dish-soap or just how many cans of Bon Ami I will buy and keep.  Hey, it'll get used—eventually.


The crisis is over and guess what?  I found the Static-Guard® that I was hunting for last Christmas! 



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