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It's The Little Things

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

The chipped Dansk Christianshavn mug.

As a preface, I just want to say how grateful I am. My family is safe. We are all comfortable and fed. I figured out how to use Netflix. And I have wax earplugs that drastically reduce the noise from Mr. Hockey’s snoring.

Having said that, the wash, rinse, repeat aspect of our covidian life has become a bit stifling. Not that I’ve washed my hair a lot.

As the days run together, niggling things are getting on my nerves.

For instance, we own forty-six coffee cups and I only like three of them.

I’ll only drink coffee from one of our three matching Dansk Christianshavn mugs. Designed by Niels Refsgaard in 1977, this off-white cup is straight, simple, with a blue line near the rim. It’s large enough to hold ten ounces of k-cup coffee, two generous spoonfuls of Truvia and an over-indulgent amount of half and half.

One of the cups has a chip in the rim but I will still use it over our other forty-three undesirable mugs. I’d rather fish the chipped Christianshavn out of the dirty dishwasher than use the starfish mug (ugly), the handmade pottery mug (wrong shape), or the Notre Dame football mug (too thick).

This wasn’t a problem before the lockdown. I didn’t drink homemade k-cup coffee then. I went to Starbucks every day and ordered an iced venti non-fat latte with an extra shot in my large insulated personal cup, to which I added seven packets of Splenda and an over-indulgent amount of half and half (coffee’s sole purpose is to be a distribution system for fatty milk and sugar substitutes).

I can’t say I miss the iced venti non-fat lattes. Plus, I’m saving tons of money. I think what bothers me about my Christianshavn-or-bust k-cup coffee cup is that I’ve realized I’m really picky. I used to think of myself as a placid, I’ll-use-whatever, type of person. Mr. Hockey is snickering as he reads this. But I see now I must come to terms with the cold covidian Christianshavn fact that I’m fussy.

I can’t come to terms with the fact that we own forty-six mugs. Is that normal? I thought I had thoroughly cleaned out of the kitchen cupboards to rid us of all the ugly, unmatching cups years ago. We must really love Scrabble because we own a “Scrabble Rocks!” mug. We love The Beatles too, but do I want to drink from a cup where Paul McCartney is crossing Abbey Road barefoot? That’s too unhygienic for these covidian times.

So, yes, I’m finicky. Only the functional aesthetic of a mid-century Scandinavian designed coffee mug will do.

There are other kitchen-related things that have been driving me a little nutty these past few weeks. I’m sure, like us, you’re using your dishwasher more often. Maybe you can tell me why it’s so difficult to get the rinse aid into its miniscule receptacle? Why isn’t the pin hole opening larger? Why are we pouring it in one measly ounce at a time? Doesn’t the dishwasher have a rinse cycle? Why does it need aid?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this rinse aid conundrum smacks of a Big Dish Soap industry scam to get us to buy more stuff to stick underneath our sinks. Much like Big Hotdog Bun’s conspiracy of only putting eight buns in a pack when hotdogs come ten to a pack.

While I’m talking about the kitchen, our freezer and refrigerator are so full of the think-ahead shopping and can’t-bear-to-throw-out leftovers, that any addition or subtraction to them turns into a food version of Jenga. Just getting butter is like an archeological dig. It doesn’t help that one of the hockey pucks is learning how to pickle. One section of the fridge looks like the specimen shelf in a biology lab.

All of the pickling requires that we save the jars from every jam, mustard, and pasta sauce we finish. I wonder, what does a girl have to do to get a Ragú label off the jar? Do I need a PhD in adhesives chemistry? Could the rinse aid work? I’ve got a giant bottle of Jet Dry from Costco that I mete out one ounce at a time.

One of the things filling up our fridge is swiss chard. When the covidian times began we were lucky to get a vegetable delivery service from Share the Harvest Farm. Once a week, they sell us a bag of whatever veggies are available. Apparently swiss chard is always available. This has taken us out of our vegetable comfort zone, which was pretty much broccoli, broccoli and broccoli.

Because of the swiss chard, I’ve developed a hate-hate relationship with our salad spinner. With its multiple pieces made from cheap plastic, there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about it. If only Niels Refsgaard had designed one!

I loathe every moment I spend with the salad spinner – using it, washing it, drying it. I can barely reach the cabinet where we store it. Sometimes, when I’m fumbling to put it away, I mumble “Christianshavn” under my breath.

The ugly mugs, conspiratorial rinse aid, and profusion of swiss chard are annoying, to be sure. Thank goodness they are the only things I have to complain about right now. Unless I get on the topic of the ratio of packaged hotdog buns to hotdogs – don’t even get me started.

Published in The East Hampton Press, May 19, 2020.

Photo by ME!!!

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