A couple of weeks ago Second Born decided it was time to show just how brave and fearless she could be in the face of danger. She volunteered to clean out our refrigerator.
My first text message from her went something like this.
“Just so you know, I’m about halfway through the fridge and I’ve already found one thing that definitely expired in 2009 and another that may or may not have been best before some time in 2001.”
Have you ever investigated what’s been hiding in your fridge only to find what used to be identifiable items, along with at least a dozen different types of miniature mustard and jelly jars crammed into every spare space? I don’t know how we accumulate them or why we don’t use them. Our intentions are good but somehow these items, with enticing names such as pineapple blackberry jam or buffalo mango marinade, never make it to the point of consumption.
As my courageous offspring plunged her way through the fruit and vegetable bins, even venturing toward the stuff behind other stuff (you know, the stuff that gets tipped over and ‘lost’ against the back wall), I wondered if she should be wearing a hazmat suit. She continued with her fridge free-for-all for well over an hour, purging several items that should have been consumed when she was in middle school (she’s a college senior). But she didn’t stop there. She was on a roll.
She headed toward the bathroom closet.
By the time you finish reading, I’m thinking at least a few of you will be wandering into your own cabinets and maybe taking a look at some of those lesser used items, such as the seven tubes of anti-itch cream that have managed to gather on one shelf. What the heck was itching that badly? Or how about the cans of hair spray that dried up or the curlers that were used once in 1995 by your then six-year-old who is now married and living in Atlanta?
Second Born’s bathroom closet texts were a cross between wonder and wisecracks.
“I’ve already found two things that expired in the 90s… it’s like a time machine in here.”
Almost an hour later she resurfaced, still alive and feeling victorious. It cost us an order from Domino’s that night but it was worth it to have a willing volunteer for this sort of thing.
Here’s the real mystery - we moved to our house in 1999. Why did these things follow us? I can only imagine that I was too overwhelmed with the move itself to worry about a few items that may have been close (or a tad past) their expiration date. Besides, we were moving to a bigger place with more room. Who would even notice?
That’s the problem. Nobody did. We just kept shoving more Band-Aid boxes and toothbrushes and old shavers into that dang closet until things started falling off the shelves every time we opened the door. At the moment there is no door because Spouse plans on building a replacement door (I don’t dare complain – I have a new floor, working sink, toilet and tub – life is perfect), so our medicinal mess is out there for everyone to see.
I’m extremely grateful for my kid’s cleaning (mostly dumping) spree - I’d hate for someone to think the Benadryl from 2006 would still do the trick. In fact, I’d be terrified to see what tricks it may do.
There are a couple more trouble spots in our house but I’ll give it a little time before I think about bribing Second Born to pick a closet or drawer (or room) and work her way through it. Every house has at least one area that could use a good going over, right?
For now we’ll just keep going around.