Ring Around the Stove-y

Young Housewife, Oil on canvas. The Russian Mu...

I’ve had my fair share of moves.  With each home, whether it was as a child and my parents bought a house or as an adult and we have rented, there has been an indeterminate quantity of cleaning that needed to be done.  Some places required more than others.  Some jobs were so “icky” at our previous house that I had to outsource to my husband.  He just *loves* it when I give him a good “icky” job to do.  😉  With out current home, we lucked out.  The previous tenants did an amazing job getting things cleaned up, patched up, painted over, etc.  Of course, I wanted to have the bathrooms recleaned to satisfy my own standard, but really it was pretty low maintenance.  That being said, there were a few hidden offenders.  Those little reminders that this has not always been your home.  Those little things that make you daydream for a moment about keeping your own house and having everything just as you like it…

I will say that cleaning out the microwave vent was a special gem of a task.  There are not words to describe that monstrosity, and I would be horrified and embarrassed to show pictures of that cesspool on here.  My other recent adventure has been with those lovely rings on the ceramic stove top.  You know the ones.  They’d accumulated after years of spill overs.  You can spray them with cleaner to your heart’s content, but they’ll still be there glaring at you, leaving bits of brown on your paper towels as a sort of trophy attesting to the fact that they had won another battle against the cleaning agents.  I even brought in the big guns:  my mom.  Alas, not even she could easily get up the rings around the burners.  Yesterday, I decided that enough was enough.

I equipped myself with a brand new Magic Eraser, some 409, paper towels, and my handy scraper.  The poor Magic Eraser never stood a chance.  It put up a good fight, but the rings remained, and after just one extended use, the poor thing already looked like the “time to throw it out after many uses” image on the back of the box.  RIP little Magic Eraser.  You lived an honorable life.  It was down to my scraper.  When you are sitting there with a blade in your hand scraping away bits of debris, it’s hard not to let your mind wander pondering what meal had created this crud that now sits before you, coming off the stove now one fleck of dust at a time.  After several hours of scraping, I am proud to say that *half* of my stove is now beautiful.  I even temporarily resurrected my Magic Eraser to give it a final victory lap across the surface, cleaning off the final bits of grime, heading now not to the corner of the counter but to its final resting place of the trashcan.

I’m the sort who takes pleasure in those tasks and hobbies that give concrete results.  At the beginning of the day yesterday, I had a giant ring around my two big burners.  Now at least, half of it is gone, and I have a date with the other half on Friday.  Much like the childhood nursery rhyme, “Ring Around the Rosies,” which can both seem so simple and yet hide those hidden indicators of the plague, my rings around the stove were just like two big eyes of filth staring me down from the otherwise shiny gleam of the cooking surface.  I know that until I come to a day when my husband and I decide to build a house from scratch, there will be other “Rings Around the Stoves” laying in wait for me in each home in some incarnation or another.  I suppose that’s a small price to pay for the adventures that are our moves.  There really is a thrill to it, and I refuse to turn my husband into a geo-bachelor.  If he goes.  I go.  Well, so far as the Navy will let me anyway.  Besides, it’s nice to have the satisfaction that I have left each home a little better than I found it in some respect or another.  I feel like it’s my duty to do so.  For my family.  For myself.  For the military community.  Maybe the last is a bit of a stretch, but I know that each individual’s actions have the opportunity to impact the reputation of the group at large.  So if my stove rings are the plague, I guess that makes me the vaccine, and a cure has to start somewhere, even if it’s in but the smallest and most unassuming of ways.  Just one of many of the jobs of the Navy wife:  saving the world one stove ring at a time!

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