Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hell Kitchen: Part Two

So the chefs may have been gone, but there was still plenty of prep work to do in this corner of the kitchen. Let's turn our attention to the red cabinet. 

During escrow, our home's previous owner tried to sell me every piece of furniture she owned even though I kept insisting modern Southwest wasn't really my thing. When we arrived at this cabinet, instead of offering it for a fair price, she offered to have her husband remove it altogether. Built from scrap wood and a re-purposed corner entertainment console, I guess it was only ever meant as a temporary fix for holding the extra crap that tends to accumulate in a kitchen.

I didn't love it either, but I also knew better than to part ways with a storage option, so it stayed. And as you can see, it became the home of our pet food, fruit, the busted Keurig, cook books, dog ear medicine, and the extra toaster.

For the purposes of painting, though, it was going to need to get out of the way. This meant unscrewing it from the wall. And that meant I finally learned what a socket wrench is.

A positive side effect of home improvement projects is learning the tools that belong to names you've heard thrown around your whole life. Now I know what a socket wrench actually looks like, what it's used for, and that we didn't own one and had to pick one up at the store while we grabbed our wallpaper removing supplies.

With the cabinet out of the way, I enjoyed my new found open space. Dirty, paint splattered open space.

This will one day be the ideal spot for a breakfast nook. Something with custom built benches. That day is not today.

In order to clear the cabinet I first had to rid it of its contents. Once I'd thrown away the excess and found new homes for the good stuff, it wasn't lost on me that I'd essentially proven the cabinet to be useless.  Should I just get rid of it?

As a compromise I elected not to reinstall the shelf, but to keep the cabinet because, for now, at least it filled the empty space. And I needed a place to keep pet supplies and the rotting oranges I will inevitably possess in the near future because I never learn we are incapable of finishing a bag of oranges.

The cabinet appeared to be unfinished wood that was spray painted red.
Red matches zero furnishings in my home, so this would need to change.

Luckily, I am always looking for a good reason to spray paint something, and I was thrilled that this was such a substantial target. So it went from apple red to mocha brown. And this sucker took nearly two full cans of paint to cover. And they were double coat cans so that's like four coats, if I did the math right.

Now I had a new and improved cabinet I wasn't entirely sure I wanted. Perfect!

But back to the kitchen. There was still more work to be done before I could actually shlap on a fresh coat of paint.

And here's where it gets embarrassing. My kitchen was disgusting.

That's not even the worst example of the grease and dust built up everywhere. But it's the worst example I am willing to show you. While I swear to you that I frequently scrub down all cooking surfaces and counters, I think no one had cleaned the walls possibly ever. It may have been even grottier than a truck stop diner that only narrowly passed health inspection thanks to a certain flirtatious waitress. But I didn't have a flirtatious waitress; all I had was a bucket of soapy water and some rags.

Cleaning off the walls was easy and immensely gratifying. But then came the ceiling. Its ornate pattern of dark grease swirls indicated that someone may have tried to clean it at some point using one paper towel and splash of tap water.  Clearly I'd need a different approach. Preferably one that didn't involve back bends at the top of a step ladder while dripping dirty water in my face.

This is when I remembered a conversation I had with my cleaning lady, Maria. One morning as I scurried around getting ready for work she asked me where I kept my Swiffer Sweeper. All of the others homes she serviced had one and they were her preferred device for cleaning floors. I confessed that I did not have one, though I didn't consider it an oversight as much as a hateful, intentional choice.

I'd previously purchased a Sweeper quite quickly after seeing a commercial that convinced me someone had finally improved upon the broom. Of course in this day and age there had to be a better way! Hooray for modern technology. Hooray for American ingenuity.

I'm not sure what was the more shameful judgement call on my part: blindly believing what advertisers told me, or thinking that shoving a tissue around the hardwoods would magically eradicate the human/pet hair tumbleweeds. Turns out (surprise, surprise) Sweepers don't stand a chance against the chaos that builds up on my floors during the average five minute time span.

(BTW I take no issue with the Swiffer Wet Jet. That's my jam.)

So I'd long ago gotten rid of the sweeper. But I went out and bought a new one for Maria because she didn't use it for its original purpose. Rather, she liked to attach wet rags and swap them out as needed to better scrub the floors.

And THAT, my dear readers, is the solution for cleaning a ceiling. A bucket of soapy water, a lot of rags, and the Sweeper. No back bends or step ladders necessary.

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