October 14, 2014

Clean and Be Thankful

I cleaned my oven this morning, and the job was done with a parade of cleaning products including vinegar and baking soda, SOS pads, dish soap, Mr. Clean and a lot of elbow grease. I knew it would be much simpler to spray on some Easy-Off, leave it to do its magic and then simply wipe off the grime, but the last time I did so I was sick and swooning from the toxic fumes for days. That stuff is nasty.

I do not enjoy cleaning my oven, to say the least, but this morning while I scrubbed a couple of months' worth of baked-on cooking I got to thinking. (Who are we kidding here? The last time I cleaned my oven Mark Zuckerberg was trying to get into a fraternity.) Music played in the background to keep me company but my thoughts ran free - when I was not singing along to the Mamma Mia soundtrack at the top of my voice, that is, something I am only allowed to do when no one else except my youngest is home. She sings with me of course, being a Musical Theatre kid.

Two of my three living-away children were able to come home for Thanksgiving this past weekend. The third had to work and celebrated the holiday with a dinner cooked by his roommates. The rest of us enjoyed all the comfort and cheer of being together at home. We cooked and baked together, sang (ABBA was strictly forbidden) and were silly together. And while we cooked and baked the oven smoked. In fact, every time I basted the six and a half pound chicken the fire alarm went off.

Anyway, while I was cleaning the oven I was telling myself I had better not complain about the task because, as much as I detest that particular chore, I was lucky. Lucky enough to have an oven in the first place. Lucky enough to have a beautiful, plump, organic chicken carefully raised by some farming friends to cook in said oven. Lucky enough to share that chicken with a loving family, even if one of us had to be absent. Lucky to have enjoyed the delicious leftovers in front of the TV with my youngest after her siblings left to go back to their respective post-secondary institutions and her dad worked late. Lucky to have a gainfully employed husband. Lucky to have children who desire to further their educations and make something of themselves. Lucky to live in a democratic country which, while not without its problems, remains a relatively safe and reasonable place to raise a family and build a future.

I remember when I was a girl and would be out walking with my mother. As we strolled down the hills of Nelson with the timeless view of the lake below and the streets lined with trees in full flame of fall colour against a blue, blue sky my mother would invariably say, "Aren't we lucky to live in such a beautiful place?" I would generally agree. I also remember when I would whine about being hard-done-by or some such teenage complaint she would invariably say, "Just be grateful." Well, with the news the way it is these days, Mom, I can honestly say I am both lucky and grateful to be where I am and with whom, enjoying the benefits of your healthy and wholesome upbringing filled with books and walks, love and talks.

My oven looks a lot better now. I baked some apple muffins after lunch and my youngest is enjoying two as an after school snack. The fire alarm remained silent throughout.

This Billy Joel song cheered me up the other day when I heard it after a particularly bad news day in the media. The video even features a smoking oven.
 We Didn't Start the Fire


  1. My oven needs a good cleaning, too! :)

    Your Thanksgiving family gathering was a good one. What could be better than good food and family fun, as well as all the other blessings you've listed. Your mom planted good seed.

    I've missed reading your posts during my unintended blogging sabbatical. It's good to be back. :)

    Oh, I listened to a little of that tune which was, and still is, a classic.

    1. Yes, it was a wonderful weekend. I missed my kids last night.
      I hope you and the family are well. It is so good to hear from you!
      I have always liked Billy Joel :)

  2. I loved this piece of thankfulness, but nagging away at me was the thought, 'Why hasn't that woman got newspaper on the floor to catch all the burnt grease that is surely running off the oven door?'

    1. Yes, indeed! Why? She's just creatiing more work for herself, which was not the idea in the 50's...or indeed in any age :)
      Very glad you enjoyed the post, though.

  3. hey i will take apple muffins....smiles...and yes there is def reason to be thankful...so much of the things we have are far beyond what many people have...we still have a few months before we get to thanksgiving...and will look forward to seeing family...maybe i wont have to clean moms oven...smiles.

    1. Your Thanksgiving is the beginning of your one long holiday season, right? That's pretty cool.
      I still have a couple of muffins left, so...:)

  4. Happy belated Thanksgiving! And what an appropriate attitude for the holiday. Now I want a muffin.

    I have to tell myself that too, when I'm doing necessary chores I don't enjoy. Like grocery shopping - UGH! Complaining about buying food. There's a first world problem!

    1. Well, come on over! There's one left.

      Yes, we all have to remind ourselves how NOT hard done by we are, but I did groan about the busy, congested parking lot at the Superstore this afternoon!


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