Confessions from a Busy Mom

     Have you ever been rushing around in such a hurry you put your zip-up sweatshirt on upside down? I imagine you are thinking, "How is that even possible?"  I wouldn’t know either except for that’s what I did this morning.  I’m responsible for how busy I am but it just seems like there are always millions of things I should be doing.  Yes, I have lists.  Yes, they are divided into tasks. Yes, I write down what needs to be done each week and each day of the week but it still doesn’t prevent my mind from thinking about it.  I’m going to make a few confessions because there are things people, even ones who know me real well, may not know.

     The first confession is, I know how to cook.  If you ask my kids if I know how to cook they will answer, "Yes." "Mom can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ramen noodles, soup from a can and spaghetti."  They know I can also pour a bowl of cereal, make a smoothie, cut up fruits and throw a pizza in the oven but that doesn’t count in their book.

     Along with the, "I know how to cook" confession is that I actually enjoy cooking when I have time and am good at it.  The thing is I really like things to be neat, clean and organized before I do anything.  If you’ve seen my house then you’re probably thinking, "Who is she trying to kid?"  I once told a friend I was "anal" about housekeeping in general and she actually laughed so go ahead and laugh too if you need to, but it’s the truth. 

     The problem with wanting things neat and clean is not only am I a Mom but also I am an outfitter.  I’m an outfitter who shares a kitchen and most of my private space with a crew of  2-13 people for almost half of the year.  Contrary to popular belief we don’t live in the whole lodge and our actual living space isn’t very big.  Again, laugh if you want but it’s a small living space when you cut the lodge in 1/3’s. 1/3 are the two lodge units, 1/3 is the lodge/dining room and 1/3 is our apartment with the shared kitchen as part of it. 

     We do have the downstairs as well but just a tiny part of it is our actual living space.  Most of the downstairs is the store, office and storage.  Our laundry room is down there but believe me when I tell you we can rarely walk through it to the office because of all of the stuff that gets put in there.  Whether it’s a guest’s laptop, a neighbor’s laundry, a UPS shipment, clothes our staff left somewhere or resort laundry the inventory is constantly changing and the laundry room is always full.  Poor Josh can barely get to his 8×10 bedroom.(I’m not positive on the size but I know his single bed barely fits width wise).  

     We do have a couple of closets downstairs for storage but one is filled with all of our Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department stuff.  Mike and I both have Wildland Firefighter gear and EMS stuff including portable oxygen, a backboard and our jump kits.  It doesn’t leave too much room for anything else.

     So, you get the picture and I’ll get back to the kitchen.  It too is a catch-all room similar to the laundry room.  Staff clothing, c.d.’s, mail and other things find their way into the kitchen.  Also kept in there in the summer are Elsa’s sewing machine and boxes of sewing stuff.  We always end up needing her to repair something so rather than getting it from outfitting each time she needs it, it just stays there.

     The kitchen is normally Elsa’s domain but she and Ron left in September to go to the Phillipines.  That means there has been over two months with it being a community kitchen.  There hasn’t been one single person responsible for meals or clean up and that is why I’ve been spending hours upon hours in the kitchen and not cooking.

     Today I finally washed some remaining outfitting dishes that have been in the kitchen since September.  I know that is sad and when people ask us what we do all winter you can see why we really have no problem filling our time.  The outfitting dishes were primarily those plastic egg carriers and silverware.  I brought them into the kitchen from outfitting so I could wash them while I was cooking breakfast for guests one morning.  I had washed a ton of other dishes but got called away before I could finish them all.  So there they sat on top of the dishwasher in the kitchen for weeks while no one paid them any attention.  Except for me.  Every time I passed by them they called my name and taunted me.  There will be no more taunting out of those egg carriers.

     With all of the cooks in the kitchen you can only imagine how many food items had piled up in the refrigerator without Elsa here to manage.  Not knowing how long some of the items have been in there or where on earth they came from I spent a good portion of time dumping food into a 5-gallon bucket for composting. 

     That brings me to another subject.  I bought rain barrels and a composter at the beginning of the summer.  I loved using the rain barrels but I have yet to use the composter.  I have read the directions and assembled it but it has sat outside of the back door of our lodge, empty all summer.  I am planning to put some items into it today, hence the 5 gallon bucket of food stuff sitting next to it outside.

     As with any kitchen it needs to be deep cleaned every so often.  Walls need washing, outsides of cupboards need scrubbing, doors of the appliances need cleaning, underneath appliances need attention and the stove and oven need to be dealt with.  Sitting in the middle of my pretty much clean kitchen is the stove, with griddle and 2 ovens.  It too has been neglected and after Mike taught Abby how to make fried rice last night it really needs attention.  

     Unfortunately I ran out of time to spend in the kitchen today and there the dried rice sits on top of the stove.  Now instead of the outfitting dishes taunting me the rice and crumbs on the stove top are doing it.  Tomorrow when I deep clean the stove top and griddle I’ll find something else to taunt me.  I don’t actually need to find anything else, there are a variety of other things to do that are calling my name as I try to put my sweatshirt on upside down.

     I would love to cook a meal but unfortunately my time in the kitchen is limited and since I don’t have time to finish cleaning it I can’t cook.  Will the kitchen ever be clean enough for me to cook in?  There’s already food spilled on the floor so I should mop that again, the garbage needs to be taken out and it’s been a long time since I cleaned behind the kick plates beneath the cupboards and the silverware holder should really be washed out. 

     These are just a few of  the confessions of a busy mom who really likes things clean and organized but just doesn’t have time to do it all.