It’s the sound of a million grandmothers screaming in protest.
All because I threw away some Tupperware. (The horrors!)
Yesterday, I took my brood to Sam’s Club- BY MYSELF!!! I LOVE the fact that I can actually go somewhere without an extra pair of hands- to do some much-needed kitchen restocking. It was a very pleasant experience, once I wrestled Anthony into the cart and quieted his ear-splitting screams. (“NO! WANT TO DRIVE THE CAR! NO RIDE! NO CART!!!” I’m tempted to do all my shopping at regular grocery stores just for the stupid little car-carts that aren’t actually big enough to hold all my groceries but will keep Anthony entertained for a half hour as he pretends to drive (and inevitably crash, because those things are tough to navigate!) through the aisles.) Anyway, the shopping went well, the van was filled, the van was unloaded, two kids had a nap, and Alex and Kendra played Nintendo while I started putting things away.
I managed to find room for six gallons of milk, a gallon of orange juice, a gallon-sized pitcher of filtered water, a crock-pot full of leftovers, warehouse-sized margarine, cottage cheese and sour cream tubs, a ginormous box of Go-gurt, and five dozen eggs. (There are other things I am leaving out. I don’t want to bore you. Too late? ha ha) Finding room for all of that (and more!) meant reaching to the very back of the fridge on the middle and bottom shelves and pulling out what was down there to judge its relevance in our food-partaking future. Ugh, BIG mistake. There were six or seven containers of food from the last two weeks (okay, more like the past two months. Four months. Six months. Whatever.) (HUSH!), and while I could identify MOST of what was in them, there was one mystery container that was full of black slime.
Oh, the slime. The kids thought it was funny that it was impossible to tell what food it had once been. They shook the container, inspected it from the bottom, shook it some more, turned it upside down, spun it in circles and basically did every sort of visual analysis imaginable on our dark friend inhabitant. Finally, unsatisfied by observing through the milky plastic, they ripped the lid off to get a better look.
AND THEY LEARNED WHAT EVIL SMELLS LIKE.
The stench defied description. It was the worst thing I have ever smelled in my life. Worse than the smell of my own flesh being cauterized during my C-sections. Exponentially worse than any diaper I have changed, and I have dealt with Rotavirus… WITH ALL FOUR KIDS. (Ugh, even writing about it is making me dry-heave.) The kids dropped it in the bathroom sink and ran away (the cowards) leaving me to deal with it.
I threw up the toilet-seat lid and flushed what I could. The room was starting to spin, and I swear the paint was blistering off the walls. I ran into the kitchen and threw it into the sink, filling it with hot, soapy water. (Don’t ask me what I was thinking. Clearly, I was in shock.) Only after the black ooze had faded to gray, and then to clear, did I pull out the sink sprayer and give the mold-blackened Tupperware a thorough spraying. After two ten seconds, I came to my senses, grabbed the nasty container and lid, and threw them into the garbage. Whew! (You’d think…)
About ten minutes later, Hannah woke up from her nap. She walked through the kitchen and immediately wrinkled up her nose. “Oh, Mommy, it smells bad in here. What is that? I am NOT eating it for dinner.” (Because I routinely serve nasty, disgusting things to my children at mealtimes.) I lit a scented candle. No luck. I scrubbed the sink. I ran vinegar down the disposal. Nope, still smelly. I decided that the only way to rid my kitchen of the stench was to either 1) move to a new house with a NEW kitchen, or 2) throw out the garbage.
I got two steps away from the garage when the little June Cleaver on my right shoulder said, “But Kemi, it’s TUPPERWARE!” To which the Roseanne Barr on my left shoulder said, “Yeah, so?” They argued back and forth for a while, while I instant-replayed the “unmasking” and subsequent gagging (I gagged a little over the actual, lingering putrescence, too). When I reminded myself of what I was holding in my hands, with just a thin layer of Glad diamond-weave keeping my skin from peeling itself off of my body and melting into a puddle on the cement floor, I got tired of the mental debate, flung the bag into the garbage can and dropped the lid. Then I washed my hands at least a dozen times.
And the guilt started.
All night, the little June Cleaver voice kept telling me that the container could be saved. “Perhaps a run through the dishwasher would help?” “You don’t just throw away Tupperware. Gladware, maybe, if absolutely necessary, but NEVER Tupperware.” “Are the other 70 similar containers you have going to be enough to see you through all your leftover needs?” So, to quiet the voice, I went out to the garbage AND DUG THE CONTAINER OUT. It smelled just as bad as I’d remembered, if not worse. I’m sure it was exacting some sort of revenge on me, like the stench of the evil was combining with the stench of the plastic to make a new SuperStench (cue action hero tune), to punish me for casting it aside so casually.
I put it straight into the dishwasher, overfilled the detergent cup and turned the cycle on heavy wash, heated (extra!) rinse, and sanitizer mode. Meanwhile, the Roseanne voice was laughing at me, telling me to get real and be a (wo)man, but I ignored her and went off with June to starch some shirts. (Okay, really it was to blog and play PackRat.) (Hush!)
When I unloaded the dishwasher this morning, I saw the container and prided myself on doing the responsible thing by saving a piece of Tupperware. It looked clean, and there was no evidence of the black mold I saw yesterday. I pulled out the lid to inspect it, when I noticed a thin line of goo inbetween the grooves on the lid. It went all the way around. I had no scrubbing device small enough to get between those grooves and give it a proper cleaning, so I leaned over to throw it out. Because I am my mother’s daughter, I hesitated. Could I find another use for it? Then I smelled it.
When I regained consciousness, I wasted no time throwing the whole thing out, lid AND container, because, well, really, wouldn’t you?
And as June continued to yell in my ear about how I could save the container for a sandcastle-wall builder or a holder for elastics or a backup water dish for the dog, because you don’t just throw Tupperware away (what would Grandma think?), Roseanne chuckled and gave me a mental pat on the back. Followed up by a snarky, “See? Told you so!”
And then she sat on June Cleaver, effectively squashing her protests.