Last weekend I had a spring cleaning kind of weekend. I did a lot of housework, all of which was necessary and satisfying. The best part of the weekend was cleaning around and behind the oven and the refrigerator. I unplugged the fridge, pulled it away from the wall, and cleaned it all up. I vacuumed the floor, sucking up years of dust, a pile (?!) of cat food, and several cat toys. I found two corks from forgotten bottles of wine (were they even mine?). I vacuumed the back of the refrigerator which had grown fuzzy with dust, cat hair and cooking grease. I scrubbed the floor beneath the refrigerator.
I moved the oven away from the wall and swept first, discovering charred kale, a burnt mushroom, layers of borax, and a wooden spoon. Then I vacuumed, and then I scrubbed.
I've been avoiding just these tasks for some years. I've been afraid of them, worried that what I would find around the oven and behind the refrigerator would be disgusting, possibly even frightening. It wasn't. It was only mildly embarrassing--I waited so long, and for what?
Now my kitchen is wonderfully clean. It is a pleasure to stand in front of the stove. I have not dreaded getting out of bed so much these past mornings. I feel more relaxed at home, even in other rooms.
The relief I feel in having a clean kitchen has had an effect elsewhere. I am prepared to overhaul my outline for chapter three, for example. I am prepared to let go of Northanger Abbey and, just maybe, to take up Antony and Cleopatra instead. I'm sailing the Pequod to Egypt. I don't think I could have done so if my kitchen hadn't been clean.