Friday, April 24, 2009

Third Step

So I'm not a cleanie by any means, but my fridge was getting gross. Something that had been smelling stopped smelling--a bad sign. Maybe it just gave up hope of being found, or petrified (putrified?) into something else. Whatever the case, there was nastiness that needed to be dealt with. Even I have my limits! Plus I couldn't use the whole back half of the second shelf because of stickiness, so my "shove" method of putting things in was not working. This clearly called for some action. I informally enlisted both of my kids to help, Charlie during Clare's Thursday school, and Clare during the rest of Charlie's nap (since she has some insomniac nap days at 4 yrs of age, which I truly want to keep as limited as possible because I like to have my quiet time then and sleep too). Really they probably started helping because it looked cool and different.

Charlie was way into it for the first hour (impressive time span for him) and even washed his stepstool. A boy with a scrub brush is a beautiful thing. But later he resorted to washing his cars and animals in the sink, which was fine with me because he was already soaked. Mommy had to say, "Excuse me buddy, I need to wash this shelf" while he tried to drive cars over it. I thought that the 2 hours during Thursday school would be enough, but it got really tight toward the end: "Oh no, I have all this milk & food out and still have to clean more shelves and wipe down the walls and floor and put it all back together again in half an hour!" So Charlie was banished from helping at that point. Plus my mom called: "Are you busy?" "Yeah, mom, I'm balancing a massive piece of glass as big as both sinks that smells like whatever rotten brown stuff dripped from the second shelf..." I guess cleaning woke up the smell again--it was not going to go without a fight.

Method: I filled the sink and added regular Dawn dishsoap, then a capful of ecover all purpose cleaner, then the juice of an old sad lemon. I also filled a bowl with the same combination to keep closer to the fridge. In the end I ended up using only 4 paper towels, but needed many dishtowels to wipe and dry things. I found ecover lost its steam after a while, at least in terms of bubbles, and I had to add more a couple times. So after washing the drawer or shelf in the sink I started spraying it with biokleen all purpose cleaner and wiping it dry. I also made sure to wash the bottom of jars etc. (Charlie dipped in the sink first and I wiped with a towel) so that they didn't get the original scum on my new shelves. I ended up getting rid of some old dressings, preserves, fancy condiments we never used, so there was enough space to put all the bottles and condiments in the door instead of floating around on the shelves and getting knocked over by my "shove" method of fridge loading. I also put in a bin for yogurt containers, loose items and things that could potentially get messy, so then they would just scuz it up with sticky circles or spill in the bin (I really don't think of things like this usually, must be pregnant nesting hormones). I was in a rush when I put everything back in, but I think it makes a little more sense. And I now have a shelf for the big plain yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, pickles to be on--those are things that always hid in different places and tended to secretly expire. One thing that was tricky was sorting and getting stuff out without losing too much cold air. Maybe I should have turned the fridge off, but, ahem, I can't move it out at this stage of my pregnancy (you know, because when I'm not pregnant my bionic woman powers come back).

We got the fridge as a wedding gift from Robert's parents to replace the original one that had lime green innards, and honestly, I don't think I have cleaned it like that in 6.5 years of marriage. So it was like a second honeymoon when Robert got home, hahaha. He was so proud. He did help adjust a shelf so that the eggs fit on the 2nd shelf without affecting the tall stuff on top. Brilliant spatial minds baffle me! The natural cleaners did the trick though--don't be afraid to just buy one at a health food store and try it instead of attempting to make your own. Here's to a third step and a brand new fridge! I get goosebumps every time I open it.

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