I am not noted for my great domestic skills. I forget to sweep the floors until the dust bunnies rolling by in my periphery are large enough to make me think we've adopted extra cats. I once waited to clean the tub until distinct foot marks started showing up in the gunk along the bottom. An experiment with indoor composting in an old milk carton resulted in a life-threatening black mould culture.

It's not only the act of cleaning that eludes me; it's cooking, as well. I had to routinely call my mother for instructions on how to boil eggs until I was twenty-eight. I still can't bake a potato without consulting the Joy of Cooking. One time, I tried making the Palinode a casserole, but it tasted off and was a strange colour. In an attempt to fix it, I threw in few extra cloves of garlic, pureed the whole mess in a blender, and baked it a second time with some cheese on top. It somehow managed to make my tongue tingle and burn when I hadn't added anything spicy to it. It was an embarrassment from which I have never fully recovered. When the Palinode isn't cooking, we eat Amy's Kitchen vegetarian meals, heat up some baked beans, or order in. It's best for everyone that way.

You would think something as simple as boiling water would not be beyond even me, though, but it apparently is.

Exhibit A:

after the burnt tea kettle

That black crud on the burner on our stove is actually flakes of carbon, which is all that was left of the outer metal layer on the base of our tea kettle after I was through with it on Saturday morning. How I managed not to hear it whistling while boiling away well over a liter of water, I don't know, but it wasn't until the smell of smoke started making me nervous that I went to see what was going on.

Exhibit B:

melted kettle

The cap on the spout was melted, and the little trigger handle to lift it was permanently affixed to the body of the kettle after having puddled from the excessive heat.

I hated this kettle, anyway. We got it for a wedding present, and I originally loved it. It had this old-timey aesthetic that appealed to me. Then I used it a few times and learned to hate it. Its handle must have been built for the hands of small children, because I routinely burned my knuckles against the body of the kettle when I lifted it. I got it into my head that I didn't trust its insides, because there was no way to open the thing up and scrub it out properly.

It seemed unkind to me, in that way that I anthropomorphize everything, and I was secretly waiting for its demise. My Mennonite upbringing has trained me to save and find a use for every last thing that crosses my doorstep, so the solution was nothing so simple as replacing it with a new one. This one had to find its own way to the dumpster, even if it took twenty years to outlive its usefulness. Thankfully, it did not take that long.

We are now happy consumers who are in the market for a new tea kettle. The Palinode and I are of the mind that we should avoid the stove-top variety, and we would like to get something electric and preferrably one that shuts itself off automatically once the water has boiled. Does anyone have any suggestions?

crotch in a kettle

This last photograph is a cheap bid to get you to vote for me in the 2006 Weblog Awards. It is a shot of my crotch in the reflection of that dead, nasty tea kettle. It's blue. I'm headless. You like it.

I have to mention that, during the writing of this entry, I nearly did it again. I put a pot of water on to boil and only remembered it when the burning smell made me wonder who was cooking in the building. Then, the pasta boiled over. Then, I had to water down coffee cream as a substitute for skim milk. Then, I accidentally managed to throw a bunch of dill on it, and I hate dill. Subconsciously, I must want to inhale toxic fumes from melting plastic handles and simultaneously starve myself to death while tasting dill. I wonder if that's one of the circles of hell. You know, the circle between the one in which you are stuck in an office cubicle repeatedly getting papercuts and then unthinkingly squeezing lemon into your tea and the one in which you keep getting hit by a different kind of vehicle every time you ride a bicycle. Oh, wait. That's my actual life. Hell should be grand.

Between now and December 15th (approximately), if you would like to support this website and urge the voting public in my direction, feel free to post the following link in your blog entries or sidebar, and then e-mail me to let me know of your awesomeness:
<*a href="http://2006.weblogawards.org/2006/12/best_canadian_blog.php">Vote for Schmutzie's <*i>Milkmoney Or Not, Here I Come<*/i> as the 2006 Weblog Awards Best Canadian Blog<*/a>

Of course, remove the asterisks (*) so that the code will work, and if you're feeling thoroughly inspired, you can pair that link with one of these eye-catching badges.

Post that link code and get on the Syndicate of Schmutzie Stalwarts list at the top of the page!