Or, How to Get Your Kitchen Clean on a Leisurely Sunday Afternoon.
1. Collect a bunch of eggs from your chickens and pop them in an incubator.
2. Watch the chickies hatch.
3. Feed the Chicken Littles till they become Chicken Bigs.
4. Kill them.
5. Several months later, pull two of them—now Chicken Chillies—from the freezer and set them on the counter to thaw overnight.
6. The following morning, nestle them in your glass-lidded, sixteen-quart stock pot and boil them till the meat falls off the bones.
7. De-bone the chicken, returning all nonedible parts to the stockpot.
8. Boil the bones till bedtime. Turn off the pot and go to bed.
9. Boil the bones in the morning. Turn off the pot and go to church.
10. Boil the bones after returning from church.
11. Settle the kids for rest time and head into the newly arranged downstairs room to visit (no funny stuff) with your husband.
12. Talk, chaw on Starbursts and Swedish fish, munch on naked pita chips, and talk some more. Contemplate taking a snooze.
13. Suddenly—CRASH! BANG! SIZZLE! CLATTER!
14. Sit bolt upright and then freeze, straining your ears. Say, “Hon, you better check on that,” and then hightail it out of the room after your hubby.
15. Reach the kitchen and screech to a halt. Do NOT enter the kitchen. It is wet and hot, covered in bones and fat.
16. Take a few seconds to be confused. You have never seen this situation before. Disorientation is allowed in cases like these.
17. Your husband says, “The pot exploded.” Absorb this.
18. Note that the lid, after rocketing into the air, landed on the stove top and did not break. Count your lucky stars.
19. Note that the explosion somehow turned on your husband’s cell phone. Also note that there is broth pouring out of the innards of the house phone.
20. Note (there’s a lot to note) that the now broth-coated counter that is usually mounded high with papers was devoid of nearly all paraphernalia (minus the phones) at the moment of explosion. Count your lucky stars again. They are few in number, so this is an easy task.
21. Note that no child/adult was present. There are no burns or injuries. This is a very large, shinning lucky star.
25. When your husband says, “Where is the camera?” go fetch it, for he almost never suggests that you take pictures.
26. After splashing through the greasy broth to capture the chaos from different angles, snatch some dirty towels from the laundry, fill up buckets with hot water, step out of your Sunday skirt, and start scrubbing the floors in your blouse and panties.
27. Ignore your husband when he tries to make you nervous by rapping his knuckles on the door frame.
28. Mix copious amounts of hot water and soap with the oily broth and slip-slide your way around the kitchen, scooping up bones and fatty skin as you go.
29. When the worst has been cleaned up, get the kids up from rest time, pop them in the car, and drive them into town. (Don’t forget to step into the tub to wash up your feet and put your skirt back on first.) Drop them off at a birthday party and head to a café to write, drink coffee, and eat a strawberry scone. This allows you to gain perspective and gives your husband space to finish cleaning up the kitchen (which includes taking the top off the stove to mop up the large pool of broth that has collected there, as well as taking apart the phone to try—to no avail—to fix the answering machine).
30. Return home and sigh happily over the spotless kitchen.
31. Listen as your husband solemnly accounts for the cost of this particular pot of broth: a new answering machine and a new cell phone. Ouch.
32. Make a mental note to never, ever, ever boil broth without first cracking the lid.
33. Unless you are desperate to clean your kitchen. If you are desperate to clean your kitchen, then this is definitely the way to go. It produces an element of … pressure.
34. But there are easier ways, ways that don’t kill your answering machine, cell phone, and your Sunday afternoon in one fell swoop.
About one year ago: Sticking my neck out. Speaking of butchering chickens…