Careful what you wish for

Operation Relentless Dustbin continues! My kitchen, surprising nobody, contains some of the scariest drawers and cabinets in the house. I go back and forth between terror ("No, not the tupperware cabinet, no!") and denial ("It's only revolting if I open the doors...").

By way of self-motivation, I asked myself this question: 

If I could pick the worst cabinet in the whole kitchen, only one, and have someone else do it, which one would it be? Answer: The Undersink. I would seriously love not to tackle that cabinet. Like, ever. I wish someone would, though, because it's totally the worst. Every time I open it, I completely gross out. I can't find anything, it's crammed full of the filthy and the useless, and maybe I'm imagining it, but it kinda smells weird, too.

So with my Big Girl Pants firmly on, I decided to give myself the gift of not hating the Undersink cabinet. I dug around until I found my rubber gloves, which helped a lot, and emptied the whole mess out onto the kitchen floor.

And that's when I found out that the smell was not imaginary. Underneath the groaning heap of cleaning clensers, spent sponges and bent brushes, all hell had broken loose:

Yep. My sink had developed a leak, which the particle-board floor of the cabinet could not withstand. I sopped up a smelly, 3" deep puddle from the now-concave cabinet floor. The particle board was about as structurally sound as a brownie, and far less appealing. I did what any stout-hearted and powerful person would do: I sat on the kitchen floor and cried. And then I called the plumber.

And while I waited for him to arrive, there was nothing to do but start de-junking. I filled an entire laundry basket with empty cleaning containers for recycling. And then I wiped and dried the flood dreck from all of the containers I was keeping.  There is something surreal about cleaning the outside of your Windex bottle with Formula 409. Just saying.

But by the time the plumber came, I was done cleaning, and done (mostly) feeling sorry for myself for living in a house plagued by plumbing emergencies. The adorable Vitaly (from Ukraine, whose wife who wants to learn how to knit!) replaced my failed plastic drain with a shiny new metal one. He asked me to explain the different kinds of knitting needles to him, which I was happy to do. I taught him how some knitting is flat, and some knitting is tubular. And then I completely blew his mind by showing him how knitted tubes intersect just like plumbing pipes. We totally understood each other.

Once the sink was fixed, there was nothing for it but to demolish the soaked cabinet bottom. Which I did easily, with the aid of a butter knife. The subfloor underneath the cabinet (also particle board), is of course, swollen from the water damage, but after a couple of days with a fan blowing on it, I decided it was dry enough to move back into. And other than to quit crying, here is the only clever thing I did:

Sink Flood 2.JPG

I hung up all the remaining spray bottles on a tension rod. Not an original idea, mind you, but a pretty good one. And having been reunited with my groovy hot pink rubber gloves, I installed a clothespin to appoint them a permanent place of honor.

Am I glad that I had the guts to face my Undersink cabinet fear before the whole kitchen washed away? Of course. Do I wish I'd never looked in there at all? Damn straight. But I think I can safely say the bar is now set for scary cabinets. I doubt I'll find a more disgusting, expensive, enthusiasm-dampening hellscape anywhere else in my house.

O God, I hope not.