I Cleaned it up before she got home…

This is a story that starts by saying "I cleaned it all up before she got home," which I did. Like the opening in a balloon that is flying around the room, it seamed that the pressures of far too much entropy discovered a weak spot, and that the quickest way out was through my hands in the kitchen.

But like I said, I cleaned it all up before she got home.

The beginning was probably when I noticed what looked like some tomato sauce on the far wall in the dining room, a good 3 feet from the dining room table.

Now mind you, this was not my mess, or at least not my mess from this morning, as it was quite dried and had apparently been there for some time. Just how long, I can’t really say for sure. So I got a wet cloth and started wiping it off, only to see that it was taking the paint off the wall along with the tomato sauce. So I tried to strike a balance somewhere in the middle. Really, it does look much better as a scuff on the wall rather than tomato sauce, but that was just the prelude.

We like to get the kind of peanut butter that has fewer additives in it, which means that the oil and peanut butter separate. When we open a new jar, we stir it up really well, then refrigerate it, and it the oil stays mixed that way. The hard part is stirring it when the jar is first opened and there is very little space between the top of the oil and the lip of the jar. Neither of us like doing this task, but it somehow seams to fall to me most of the time.

Now, at this point, I have to mention that what I’m about to tell you, I have already done numerous times before with no ill effect…. until this morning.

You see, we have an electric mixer with one of those blades — a single blade — that is spiral shaped for mixing just this sort of thing. The important part to remember about mixers is that each of the two sides on the mixer will spin its blade in opposite directions. Apparently, all the times that I have used the mixer in the past, I have placed the blade on the left, which on our mixer will spin the spiral in the downward direction. On this fateful morning, it would appear that I put the blade on the right, causing the spiral to spin in the upwards direction. I’m sure you can see where this is going to lead, but I’ll continue with the details anyway, just for completeness.

I might also add that I always remembered the lowest setting on the mixer being considerably slower than it actually turned out to be. Suffice it to say that in what could not have been more than a second or two, the blade had made several dozen revolutions, driving itself deep into the bottom of the jar of unmixed peanut butter like a motorized cork-screw, through to the bottom of the jar. Having reached the bottom of the jar and still spinning at considerable speed, it proceeded to expel a sizable amount of the remaining oil and peanut butter at the top of the jar over the lip, onto the counter, and down to an overly joyful dog.

The dog, while utterly baffled as to what or why I was doing this, was nonetheless happy to help clean up with her tongue, which is even now still licking the roof of her mouth as I compose this brief message. Of course, in that brief moment of panic when I realized that something was going terribly wrong, you must also realize that removing the mixer from the peanut butter was, in retrospect, probably worse than sticking it in there in the first place. That is, of course, how there came to be splatters of peanut butter both on the wall behind the counter, on, over, and in the toaster, and over the better part of my front side.

So while the dog was busily lapping at the floor, I began to wipe up the mess. Oils are quite difficult to wipe up, mind you, so even if I did manage to get it all clean, I’m quite sure that between the dogs breath when she gets home, and the scent of peanut butter in the kitchen, she may still know that something went terribly awry. With any luck, if she happens to look at the jar of peanut butter, she will simply assume that I went hog-wild on the PB and J for lunch. In any event, I’m just glad to have a washing machine that’s considerably easier to use than a jar of peanut butter.


Copyright (C), 2002, by Ashley Guberman

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