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Monday, January 28, 2008

Maternal Guilt: Of Bras, Underwear--Stay With Me Now--Teenagers' Rooms, Rescue Workers, And Microwaves

Remember when your mother used to admonish you about wearing clean underwear or making sure your bra had no safety pins by presenting to you the scenario "What if you were rushed to the Emergency Room! All the doctors and nurses would see that!"? My sister Patti and I would roll our eyes and stomp upstairs muttering about how stupid Mom was, and later in life we'd reminisce and talk about maternal guilt and confess that we'd say the same thing to our own kids. (Well, she'd say the bra thing to her three daughters; I had two boys and could employ the clean underwear line on a fairly regular basis.)


As Jared and Sam became teenagers, I found that I could improvise upon my mother's basic salvo and apply it to their lair upstairs. Sad to say, my sons were no different than any other teen boys: the room they shared was a disaster all of the time. Dressers were unused because the floor was much easier. The cordless phone was located only by calling it from the cell phone and using an advanced system of echolocation. At one point, Rick forbade me from even going upstairs because I became a madwoman unleashed. "What if something happened and emergency services had to break into this house for some reason? Firemen or rescue people would come up here and see all of this! What would people think!? The headlines would read: LOCAL TEACHER'S HOME A MESS--HEALTH DEPARTMENT SUMMONED!" I'd yell.

Truth is, the only person who any of that works on is the mom. I truly believe that my mother's only objection to our safety-pinned bras was that someone else might see them. And, if my boys wanted to wallow in squalor of their own making and I didn't have to see it, well, then, okay, but I didn't want to have to take the fall for it. Know what I mean?

And here's what made me wax philosophical about all of this.

Cleaning my microwave.

Seriously.

Cleaning my microwave.

First of all, I have no freaking idea how my microwave gets so crappy. I cover every darn thing I put in there, I don't cook in there, and no one is around here to use it but Rick and me. And Rick does not use it. I have major issues with a dirty, grungy microwave, but as you know, it is a bitch to clean because you can't just fire up the old Mr. Clean and go to it. (No, you can't! You can't use a chemical in a microwave and transfer all those polymers and carcinogens to your food! Ugh!)

But I digress.

So, I started getting really complacent, and then when I put in some meat to thaw, I saw it. Oh my God, I thought, What if someone comes over and sees this? They'll think I'm a pig. I got the old Pyrex measuring cup out, and steamed that baby up. Totally clean now.

Sadly, I feel so much better. So! If there is some sort of emergency--heaven forbid--at the Dept. and rescue personnel are involved, they damn well better look inside my microwave!

19 comments:

  1. I seriously don't know how to clean a microwave without using chemicals. I try scrubbing with water and a sponge, but that only does so much! I take it you're supposed to heat up water and let the steam work on the...crud? I'll have to try that!

    Luckily, in the places I've lived on my own the microwave comes with the place and I wait until I move out to do a heavy duty (chemical) clean (with spot cleaning, of course). I try to wipe it out with water after, so hopefully no one will get cancer after using microwaves I've cleaned!

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  2. Nancy8:37 PM

    I can see it now: The frantic call to 911:

    "Please hurry, my son has sprained his ankle and I can't pick him up."

    911 operator:" Be brave now, Mother. We'll help your boy. Is he in his room?

    "NO,NO,NO!!!!!!

    "Is he in his bathroom?"

    "NO,NO,NO!!!!"

    "Well, Madam, we have to locate him. Where is your boy with the sprained ankle?'

    " HE'S IN THE MICROWAVE WITH CLEAN SHORTS ON" HURRY.........

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  3. Bwahahahahaha!!!

    I'm laughing because I can totally relate to that! :)

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  4. Use vinegar....

    And I can't begin to express my disappointment that photos of your shiny microwave weren't included with this post.

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  5. v-grrrl--you know i loathe taking pictures. trust me when i say it is pristine. completely. i am totally serious.

    ck--name one mother who can't. how sad are we?

    nancy--i know. I KNOW. and do NOT get me started on laundry, even. i think gina over at "Just Another Day" has covered that ad nauseum.

    jenomena--have you ever heard of "the google?" you can type in "how to clean a microwave" and it will tell you. NO LIE. seriously, just pop in a microwave safe cup of water, let it steam up for a while, and wipe it all down. it works wonders. if you have more crud than THAT, well...erm...YIKES. LOL LOL. (there's a freebie dose of Mom Guilt for ya!)

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  6. Last semester I cleaned an industrial-sized double oven/six burner stove/griddle every week. After that, anything in my kitchen seems trivial.

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  7. Haha, I think I just never thought of looking it up. I'm ashamed at my lack of dedication to "the google". Don't worry, our microwave isn't too dirty!

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  8. Nance, what will you do if you ever have a gas leak and the emergency workers have to move your stove?

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  9. I've just realized that I washed my microwave with detergents! Does that mean that I'm slowly poisoning myself? Now, I'm scared. : (

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  10. I clean mine with the scrubby side of the sponge, and hot water. Seriously, it's not that hard. For awhile, there was something wrong with the pipes from the hot water heater, and we got NO hot water in the kitchen, and everything was pretty gross. Once we got someone in to fix that, AMEN! Wish I had known the hot water steaming up the place trick then. How do you steam up your whole house like that, though? I mean, since I live in the arid west, not the humid part of the country.... ;)

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  11. Shirley6:08 PM

    Probably all of this will be TMI, but ...

    I learned recently that if your dish cloth smells funky, it's due to bacteria and the best way to get rid of that is to nuke it. So now every other day I am nuking the wet dishcloth 30 seconds before I throw it into the wash. It steams up the microwave so after it cools a bit I just wipe down the microwave. I am always amazed at how the microwave can get dirty, too, since it's not used that much in our house.

    As far as the son's room that you avoided going into completely ... BTDT. And still do, to a certain extent when he's home from college. The blessing is that he got a chinchilla a while back and unless he picks up to a certain extent he'll get dainty little chinchilla poop on his stuff. If he picks up, no poop on his stuff and the poop can be easily vacuumed up :-). (Sometimes life offers up hidden blessings. LOL)

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  12. shirley--did you ever hear about how people started causing minor kitchen fires because they were nuking their sponges in the microwave without sufficiently wetting them first? LOL

    j.--let me tell you, the day i can steam up my whole house and wipe it down and call it clean just by pushing a few buttons on my microwave, that will be the day i can retire.

    anali--holy crap. let's hope not. but stop it immediately.

    nina--you brat. remember when you USED TO BE my friend? lol.

    i.h.--i thought you were a MATH major, not restaurant management. LOL.

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  13. News Flash! Micowave at Apathy Lounge spawning mysterious growths. Film at 11.

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  14. Oh my God. That is the thing that worries me most...my grungy, icky microwave. And what if someone with a baby needs to *gasp* heat something up and sees all the exploded butter on the ceiling (of the microwave) etc... So, once a month or so (because I am one of those people who gets right on things) I scrub it out with a plastic scrubby thing. I am afraid of using chemicals for the fear that they will somehow leach into the heated up leftover pizza and/or popcorn and poison my family. This is an excellent entry.

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  15. laura--oh, thanks! and seriously, the chemical thing is a major concern. the fact that we use the word "nuke" to mean "heat up an item in a microwave" already is a concern. let's not add to our worries the fact that we are allowing toxins and their fumes to seep in and alter the structures of our nutrients as well!

    ab--you are a shameless self-promoter! lol.

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  16. I totally attribute always wearing clean underwear to my Grandma.

    I believe there are species of things growing in my sons' rooms.

    I will kick someone's ASS if I see spatter in my microwave!!!

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  17. tera--trust me, there ARE things growing in your sons' rooms. experience speaking here.

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  18. This is how the microwave gets dirty in my house:

    1. My husband does use it sometimes. Without covering anything, and he often also heats things in handmade ceramic (read "extremely valuable to me and not meant to ever go into a microwave oven") bowls. Or something plastic that melts.

    2. My head won't turn 180 degrees so I can see the crap that sticks to the top (not that I know why that would be dirty, either, but....)

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  19. ortizzle--perhaps your husband should not be permitted to do anything but attend directly to YOUR needs. LOL.

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