Spilt Milk

Yes, I spilt it, but no, I didn’t cry. I cussed.

I live at close quarters in a studio apartment. Sometimes I forget how close things are, like how close the milk pitcher (from which I pour milk into my morning tea) was to the edge of the bread board. It didn’t fall far; in fact, it didn’t fall at all, it only tipped over onto the counter on which the bread board sits..

It was, however, nearly full. So —

Spilt milk.

The counter is crowded, so the milk puddle spread under the three-tier carousel on which my herbs and spices sit, and under the holder on which my places are stacked.

Hence the cussing, which is to say the percussive string of four-letter words that alarmed Tam enough that he came over to check things out. He might already have realized that we were going to head out for our morning walk a little later than usual.

Because there was no way to clean up the milk without moving the plates, the spice carousel, the bread board (on which were teapot, two mugs, butter dish, and the three knives I use most often), and all the tea containers behind it.

And because the spice carousel hadn’t been cleaned in a while, because cleaning it means taking everything off it and putting it all somewhere else. When you live at close quarters, somewhere else is rather limited. In this case it turned out to be the floor.

Readers, I did it, rearranging some spices so the most frequently used were easier to reach and tossing a few surplus empty jars into the recycle bin.

I have to say, I’m rather pleased with the orderly, cleaned-up corner of my kitchen counter.

The cleaned-up corner. The culprit milk pitcher is in the foreground, still too close to the edge of the bread board. No, I don’t have a “before” picture. Are you kidding?

History repeated itself later in the day, this time with spilt [sic] orange juice. The orange juice was in the fridge, and it didn’t actually spill: it dripped. It dripped because it was lying on its side (the top was on, but it had been opened), and it was lying on its side because there wasn’t enough room on the top shelf for it to stand upright. I’d forgotten to prop it up enough that the juice level was below the mouth of the bottle. (Screw-on tops don’t do well under pressure.)

After sponging up the spilt juice, I decided the time had come to adjust the top shelf. In a big kitchen this would be easy, but — close quarters, remember? Thanks to the adjacent counter and cupboard, the refrigerator door can’t open more than 90 degrees, and that’s not enough to slide the shelf out. So I wriggled the fridge out of its almost form-fitting enclosure and turned it far enough to the left that the door swung wide enough open to let me move the shelf to the next-lower slot. Then I wriggled the fridge back into place. The orange juice bottle now stands upright. No more spilling.

I’m no one’s idea of a clean freak, but I’m rather pleased with the result. Tam and I did get our morning walk in, by the way. That’s non-negotiable.

Notice orange juice bottle now standing tall between water bottles and lemon juice.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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