Super Soaker | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

July 17, 2013

Super Soaker

I love to indulge any opportunity that allows me to procrastinate, putting off something inevitable or undesirable until a later time. 

Sometimes, though, it is important to employ certain tactics so as to aide you in certain tasks, making them easier and more efficient. 

And somewhere in between there is a battleground that ranges from sloth to compulsivity that can be mind-bogglingly paralyzing, depending on where you fall on the spectrum.

So I ask: Are you a Super Soaker or Compulsive Cleaner?

Regarding Crusty Pots, that is.

I'm talking about those dishes that were part of creating a lovely meal for you or your family. The container in question housed something tasty, which involved a timely prep and a vacation in the oven or slow cooker where it cooked to perfection.  Hours of time are worth the melt-in-your mouth pot roast or filling lasagna. 

But the aftermath is daunting.

A well-baked on and crusty pan stares you down from its place of deposit on the counter. It will take more than a quick rinse or swipe of a sponge to get this bad boy clean. It will take forethought, various implements and possibly an ointment of polymers that chemists have yet to conjure. 

There are two routes you can go.

Method 1

Attacking the pot immediately, calling in the reinforcements of Wool Sponge or Plastic Knife to scrape away the baked food leeches attached to the sides of glass. Certain pans throw you for a loop, as their material of origin may require special care (I love you and hate you, non-stick pans), so you must take special care to not scratch the surfaces. Looking at a clean pot, a clean kitchen, feels so dang rewarding. Donna Reed would be proud. But let's face it: sometimes, after spending hours of prep making the meal, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour giving your cookware a specialized bath that you yourself could not receive without paying a spa with the value of your firstborn child.

Method 2

Soak it, baby. Fill that pan up with water and dish soap and let it sit. The reasoning behind this is the water loosens any sediment caked to the sides, which makes washing much easier. The benefit to using such a method is the ease in which cleaning may become (if the dish situation is not too out of the ordinary), and you can relax after a day of cooking instead of slaving over a dirty sink.

The drawback to Method 2?


The temptation to let the soaking pot sit. And sit. And sit. As it sits, you begin to reason with yourself, "Well. If a few hours of soaking loosens the crud, think of what a day will do!" A day becomes two days. Which morphs into a week, when you next check on the soaking experiment. The soap has dissipated at this point, and you notice moldy little lily pads living on the surface. A sign you may have let this pot soak too long. And your brain reasons that, dangit, you made the meal, therefore someone else should take care of the post-dinner clean up. So maybe you mention something to your spouse, who responds with the usual half-listening, "Sure thing," which you know means they did not actually hear you but you take this verbal confirmation that the situation is no longer your problem to deal with.

So the pot sits.

And sits.

And sits as you nudge and remind your spouse that they promised to take care of it, despite the nagging guilt that letting it soak was, in fact, your initial idea.

And it sits.

Until finally a strange smell fills your kitchen and you realize this has gone on long enough. You resign yourself to the disgusting job that will ensue. It will be gross. You may get strange organic matter on your person. It may make your hands smell odd even after washing them. But this pot has soaked long enough. 

So you empty the pot, gagging and holding back vomit. You open a brand new sponge, which wipes the rotting decay into your sink and down your garbage disposal. Since the first sponge has become so defiled you open a new sponge, and fill your half-clean pot with an alarming amount of sweet-smelling dish soap (anything that will help, right?) and scrub that pot clean.

Then you tell yourself next time, you'll only let it soak for a few hours.

And you learn from your mistakes.

Not that I....know anything about such nonsense.

I fall into the camp of Super Soaker. I understand the dangers, but have seen the benefits. And I give myself an Overnight Maximum: the pot MUST be washed no later than the next morning.

The moral of the story?

Soak responsibly.


What about you? Are you a Compulsive Cleaner or Super Soaker?

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