This will either be the most boring post ever, or you will learn a lot about how my brain works. You will see that I am possibly insane.
I hate kitchen clutter. Raising dogs from puppy hood taught me some important kitchen organization lessons. First, keep the counters free and clear of anything that you value. Dogs, especially puppies, will grab anything that appears interesting and/or edible from counters. (In a bag on the counter, gone, on a plate on the counter, gone, on the stove, gone. No matter how small your puppy, they will figure out a way to get up there.) Second, put locks on the cabinets. All of them. (My dogs easily figured out cabinets, including metal cabinets that had a magnetic latch--I said bye bye to my entire Tupperware collection, all of my wraps and baggies, miscellaneous and numerous food items, and a gallon of extra virgin olive oil.) Third, put the trash behind a door that requires opposable thumbs to open. Failing that, put it behind a door with a strong baby lock. Failing that, burn your trash outside until the neighbors complain.
The focus of this post will be the clear counter. My kitchen does not feature a handy bucket of kitchen utensils within easy reach of the stove. (I lost one early in puppyhood to the chewing, and decided to never replace it.) Nope, the utensils are (neatly) stashed in a drawer. There are no containers of tea bags (edible), no flour jars (edible), no sugar (edible). On the counter you will see my giant cutting board, my toaster oven, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, my blender, dish soap, and the dish drainer. (If the dogs were not elderly, the dish soap and drainer would be hiding under the sink.) Basically, I keep out the big heavy items that if attacked by a curious pet, would knock them unconscious and teach them a lesson in counter avoidance. On the stove (back burner, far from curious paws), until yesterday, you would have also seen my glass tea kettle. We drink a lot of tea.
I've been through four of these kettles since CPM and I began cohabitating (that would have been 15 years ago). The whistling top has a tendency to melt. They are sometimes hard to find. (I always bought two at a time.) Still, I far prefer them to the "regular" teapot. I like being able to see my water and to know that the inside is actually clean of crud.
Lately, I've developed an interest in the electric tea kettle. I read about them on some blogs. I had deep internal debates. Did I really want another thing that would hang out on the counter? I decided this past weekend to make an exploratory trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. I found one that I liked, at a price that I didn't like.
I left the store without it, realizing that I had a (free) perfectly (free) serviceable (free) tea kettle at home. (I did however, get some new toothbrushes, a wall holder for my hair dryer, and some flushable bathroom wipes...who can leave that store empty handed?)
Yesterday, I arrived home from work and performed my ritual toss-bag-on-bench-take-dogs-outside routine. I noticed a funny smell in the house, but didn't investigate. I spent my usual five minutes tossing the frisbee to Squirt until she decided she was ready to pee. In my "mommy" voice, I asked the dogs if they wanted to go in and eat. They rushed in, I followed, and again, I noticed the smell.
As I approached the kitchen, I noticed the dog bowls were on the floor, as if the dogs had eaten already. Hmm, I thought. That's strange, their dad isn't home from work at the moment. He does work from home though, so, I decided to give the spouse a call to verify that the dogs had eaten earlier. As I was waiting for him to answer, I noticed that the stove was on. Let me write that again. THE STOVE WAS ON. NO ONE WAS HOME. On the lit burner was the remains of a glass tea kettle. Next to the stove, on the counter, was a mug with a tea bag inside, patiently awaiting the infusion of just barely boiling water. Unfortunately, the wait would be long, since the water had long boiled off and had left a lovely chemical laden burn mark inside the kettle. The house, miraculously, was not burnt down.
Needless to say, later that night, CPM gave me money and I went and bought the electric tea pot, which now holds a place of honor on my counter.