This week I cleaned the oven, inside and out. I have even replaced the bulb in the oven so we can check if dinner is
burnt cooked without opening the door. I think that makes me eligible for some kind of award? An award with a shiny trophy and the right to never have to clean the oven ever again? Historically, I only clean the oven when I am nesting, during that hormonal pregnant frenzy where no surface of the house is safe from my sponge and me. I can guarantee you I’m not pregnant, therefore this crazy spring cleaning can only mean one thing: I am officially a Grown Up.
I moved out of home when I was 19 into a small, poorly insulated 3-bedroom brick veneer down the road from uni, shared with my then boyfriend and a male friend. The boyfriend at the time was a strong contender for The Laziest Man on Earth. When we ended our lease, cleaning the house for the final inspection became my responsibility. He would have happily forgone our bond to escape the chore of cleaning. (NB: while lazy, he was incredibly smart. In hindsight, he may have been on to something).
By this stage of living out of home, I had a handle on laundry, cooking and grocery shopping. I didn’t mind vacuuming, even occasional ironing for job interviews. But cleaning the oven: who does this? Could we just put it out on the curb as hard rubbish and buy a clean one? Who designs such a big, vital household appliance and then neglects to protect it from baked-on-muck anyway? Shouldn’t it be made of gunk repellant titanium or something? It seemed like poor design, if not downright irresponsible.
It took me 2 hours and several sponges to clean that thing, and I planned to avoid a repeat performance in the future. The plan involved lots of one-pot meals, and NO MORE OVENS.
Not so easy to avoid the oven with a family (yes, I tried). During the cooler months, our oven has a daily workout. The oven has often been my second-in-charge during dinner times where everyone is tired and hungry, and Mr Karen is not yet home.
My biggest beef with cleaning the oven, aside from fumes and protective gear, is that even if you start with some enthusiasm, after coating the inside with foam it then sits there overnight. And just as the thick foam thins out and loses its volume over the course of the night, so too does my interest in finishing the job. Let’s face it, spraying foam isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s actually quite fun, sanctioned grown up mess making. Once the foam is on, you can close the oven door and forget about it until tomorrow. This is my kind of job. I am very good at putting jobs off until tomorrow. Hooray for mess making and door closing.
But then tomorrow comes, and the dinner rush is approaching. You can’t just leave it for mum to finish it because … well, you are mum.
Several sponges and a soft tissue injury later, and the oven is sparkling. That’ll teach me to leave my spring-cleaning until February.
What was your first (or worst) lesson in being a grown up? Are you a grown up, or just a kid with too many responsibilities?