Organizing My Kitchen

I have a very small kitchen. I call it the kitchen from Hell. I call it this because it is oddly awkward. I have quite a lot of cabinet space, but they way they are set up is rather annoying. They are deep but not tall, so I have to move things around and re-do things often. I actually am much better at organizing someone else’s place than my own so I had to call in the big guns for this special case. The big guns would be my mother.

Often we end up being too close to a project and unable to separate ourselves far enough away to look at it with less of a defeated attitude and more of a critical eye. So, because my mother doesn’t spend as much time at my place as I do she was the perfect person to call for this.

I had a general idea of the basics on where I wanted things to go. But, it was able getting an order to this. I still have plaster dust settling so I cut up some grip base for my cabinets the best I could and set it down. I have huge base cabinets where pots, pans, and other crap would go that I had to crawl in and clean out.

I crawled into the cabinet with my dust buster and started vacuuming when I heard a loud squeak. With great dignity I screamed like a little girl and flew out of the cabinet thinking I had sucked up a live mouse and was now going to have to some how get it out of my dust buster. After my dignified screaming, I found out my mother was squeaking at my cat trying to get him to wake up.

That was fun. Not.

After the palpitations of my heart settled I managed to put a towel at the base of the pots and pans cabinet and quickly threw some of my pans and stuff in there. I still need to do one more cupboard and one more cabinet. But, for the most part it is done.

Basically the things to take from this post is:

1. I am very easily started and will scream my head off.
2. You will naturally know where to put things and take that as your base. It is often when we get too comfortable putting things just anywhere that we lose sight of how to organize or fix things. It isn’t because we are lazy, but because we are too close to a project and are overwhelmed.

A kitchen may seem like a simple thing to organize. However, if you’re anything like me, if your kitchen isn’t organized then your entire place is a mess including your head. So, you lose track of how to start and where.

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Dirty Spanish Breakfast Potatoes

I named these Dirty Spanish Breakfast Potatoes due to the extra ingredient I use that adds a bit of “dirty” look to it in the sense that they have something akin to a sauce when they are frying up.

I used a cast-iron skillet, 12 inches big, when making these. So please adjust your time.

 

5 lg. red potatoes diced

1/4 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 packet of Sazon (I use Goya)

1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning (I use Phil Robertson’s or Emeril’s)

1/3 teaspoon of soul seasoning (I actually got mine at the 99cent store ;) )

3 heaping tablespoons of Sofrito (I use Goya)

3 tablespoons of bacon drippings

 

In a large frying pan/skillet at least 12 inches warm up the bacon grease. Once warm and shimmering add in the onions and the garlic. Set on low.

In a small pot bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until tender. (5-8 minutes. You still want them firm!)

Once the potatoes are tender, drain the pot and put the potatoes into the pan/skillet. Mix the potatoes around with the onions and garlic and set the pan on medium-high. Start adding in the dry ingredients mixing it around with the potatoes. I always add my Sofrito last.  Mix the potatoes and cook for about 8 minutes. I like to stir mine every 2 minutes and I stop once I see the bottoms starting to get crisp.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Cat Pee on my Brand New Carpet

So, Howard, my new baby was picked up from the shelter about a week and a half ago. It’s been an interesting. There was something wrong with his eye and he had a UTI. So, it’s been rather fun. He used his letterbox for a day before deciding the best places for him to use the bathroom was his fancy popup cat tent, his cat bed, and Tom’s tool bag. He really, really loved Tom’s new tool bag. So much so that I cannot get the urine out of the bag. Great, right?

Well, during the time of his wetting issue I also had a severe head cold. At the time I thought he wasn’t peeing or pooping. I couldn’t find any presence of either, but then again I also had no sense of smell. So, one night after work I decided to investigate. I had no sense of smell–due to a stuffed nose–but I managed anyway.

I got on all fours and sniffed every part of my carpet the cat has access to. I fortunately found the three spots he had soaked and I went to work scrubbing it at two o’clock in the morning with a sponge and Dawn soap. It wasn’t going to be a permanent fix, but it was a temporary soak up some of the smell and clean it up a little bit.

I went all around asking all of my friends how to get cat urine out of carpeting. There were some who said once it’s in, well that it is it and you are screwed. But, after a brief survey a few people suggested Nature’s Miracle.
I purchased the orange spray, but it really didn’t smell like orange. Which was nice. I don’t like heavily scented items as they make me physically sick.

This product wasn’t expensive and it saved my brand new carpeting. (With a price tag of $3000 for the damn carpet!) I vacuumed the carpet first and then sprayed this very heavily upon the spots soaking it through the best I could.

I had to keep Howard and Leia (Tom’s dog) away from the wet spot. I don’t like any chemicals around my animals and the bottle also said to keep the animals away from it also. It over all wasn’t hard. Neither of them really bothered with it. I can’t say that for most animals, but my two ignored the areas. The bottle cost me I think around $15 and I still have a ton left for any accidents. Leia has a bladder problem where she pees when she gets excited. It happens every time she sees me. So, the bottle is great for spot touch ups for her little accidents.

I can report more than a week later that there is absolutely no scent in my carpet. Not even an orange scent.

So, for anyone looking to clean up cat urine. This definitely was worth the investment.

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Remodeling an Apartment: Removing Wallpaper

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When I decided it was time to move out I figured I would wait until I was finished with my BA and then figure out my MFA program.  But things came up and I got an apartment a lot earlier than expected. I also got a lot more work than I expected. This apartment is a family apartment and I got to do all the work myself*.

* – With the help of friends, family, and hired professional service people.

The apartment had wallpaper on every single wall. There were double layers and some times even triple layers of wallpaper. It was a madhouse. I also knew nothing about removing wallpaper in the beginning.  We tried the steamer. It is horribly messy and far more work than necessary.

If you’re going to remove wallpaper. You will need 4 simple things:

  • 11-in-1 Tool (per person)
  • Dif Wallpaper Removal Gel
  • Small Bucket
  • Paint Brush

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The 11-in-1 tool was a life saver. My other half lent me his and my painter used his own too. The dif also was horrible as a spray because it a) waisted time, b) your fingers end up hurting, c) you had to spray A LOT.

But, my painter gave me the idea of putting the Dif into a bucket1912036_10152285669622682_2014655867_n

and using a paint brush to put the gel over all the glue. This ended up working like a charm. In fact, majority of the wallpaperglue came up in huge sections and once you used the Dif to peel up the edges of the layers, I used my fingers to just pull it up and off.

The steamer made my flooring wet and the glue came up in the tiniest of pieces. You also have to rent a steamer and it really is a pain in the butt. I rented the steamer and tried the Dif to see which one everyone liked better.

As you can see on the pic to the right that even Princess Leia approves of the Dif. We managed to get majority of the wallpaper off in half the time.

We hit some snags and had to plaster over certain areas of the wallpaper due to the fact that a very old fridge ended up being so hot it bubbled the glue and we had to plaster over the glue and wallpaper on one of my kitchen walls. Sometimes it is better not to wrestle with the glue and just take the easy route. Decide what is worth your sanity or not. This was not worth my sanity!  For any touch ups  and any left over glue … you’ll want to get a big sponge and take it over any small pieces of glue and wallpaper (with the Dif). After you’re done Dif-ing you need to wash the walls fully and remove excess Dif. You don’t want to mess up any new wallpaper or paint you are putting up because you forgot to clean!