Baked scallops over tortellini
With my dad and brother down in Monterey getting their scuba certification tests done and Nick gone to a car show with friends, my mom and I had plenty of time to start cleaning the garage. Back in April I vowed that I would start the garage the first weekend in May and get my mom and dad's cars back into the garage by June before it gets too hot to work outside. I know that it would have been best to get rid of the old sofa that is sitting in there since it is the biggest thing and would clear up masses of space, but we have no way to get rid of it [yet...mauuahhhh]. It is too big to fit in our car, we can't leave it on the street because we'll get fined, we can't put it on Craigslist because my mom has been throwing out cushions whenever our garbage can isn't full (plus if it was usable it would still be inside the house), and we haven't really looked for anyone to have it taken away for us. My dad said that he wants to hack it up with some tool that we got him last year, but he hasn't gotten around to it yet. Dave, my coworker, suggested getting one of those pod things that you pretty much can throw everything in. I think it's a great idea, but my mom wants to go through everything before we junk it all. At least with a garbage pod we can get rid of that sofa! In my opinion, if it's in the garage, we clearly don't use/know it's there anymore so we wouldn't be missing anything if we just junked it all. At this point I've stopped caring about donations since there is just so much stuff to get through.
Even though it would have been logical to start with the sofa, I planned to start at the other end in the third car garage. I figured that if I started there I would be able to see progress and not feel like it's all for naught. I've find, like most people, that when you clean everything seems to get messier before it gets better and if I would have started with the super messy midsection I think I would have gotten discouraged halfway through. Well, that's what I was telling myself all through April anyway. So on Saturday morning I got up to get my hair cut and then started on the garage. After the last hair cut I had, I wasn't very happy with the longish A-line after a while. It looked sloppy so I had my hair dresser give me a bob like I had originally wanted. This is probably the nicest that you'll see this cut be styled. I haven't been doing much with my hair but put it in a ponytail like usual. It's a shame that not even an hour after I got the blow out and style it went up in a ponytail so that I could do the garage.
New hair cut
The garage in full force!
See why I said that it's necessary to get this clean? From looking at the inside our house you would never have suspected, unless you've already seen it, that we had sooo much stuff in here!
Clearing out a mess like this took some planning. The focus, as afore mentioned, was the third car garage with the pantry area. The first day was designated to sorting food. My mom had managed to keep the tiny aisle to the pantry just wide enough to fit a little step ladder. I started with clearing out and consolidating all of our paper products on the top shelf. A lot of the stuff in the giant pile in front of the pantry consisted of paper products that just wouldn't fit in the cupboard. By neatly stacking everything and taking them out of their original packaging so that they could fit better to the space provided, I managed to get everything in there. Next I went down to the second shelf that needed some reorganizing.
Before I could get to the third, fourth, and fifth shelves I realized that I would have to clear out all the stuff piled in front of the cabinet in order to clear out the three bottom shelves. Once that was clear, I was able to take all of the stuff from the shelves off and either sort them or throw them out. Since the cabinet is so deep there were food stuffs back there that had been forgotten about. I found purple ketchup and bottle lemonade that looked like urine. I also discovered that cake mixes have expiration dates. I didn't know that they had them, but I threw out box after box of old cake mix and we still have a ton of it left. Thankfully none of the cans that we had were puffy from being so old, but if they had rust or the labels were unrecognizable I got rid of them. Just getting rid of the old cans freed up a lot of space and makes me feel a little better that if someone in my family was digging around for something to eat that they won't accidentally pull out an expired can.
Once the three shelves were empty, I mulled over how to put the food back in. It's actually kind of difficult to find a logical way to stack the canned food especially since the cans go in about 10 deep and three high. I'm hoping by stacking everything in categories that my mom will just reach further and further back to keep getting soup or chili cans out, which will hopefully prevent so much waste in the future. (It was a little painful to see all that food/money be thrown out.) By the end of the day my elbow joint was creaky and my odd desire to work at a grocery store was cured. My obsessive nature pushed me through to the end. There were a few things out that my mom said that we should just leave until the next day, but I had to get them into a place that wasn't the middle of the floor.
While I was doing all of this, my mom had set to work on sorting through old paper products that had been saved because the packages were half open. She found Care Bear napkins and table cloths and all sorts of little girl paper decorations for parties that were so 80's it was comical. Kids nowadays probably wouldn't even know who the Care Bears are. Not the Care Bears I know anyway. I think I've seen some that are really bubbly looking cartoons of Care Bears. They're practically unrecognizable. For shame! Anyway, my mom is very thorough in her cleaning jobs, but she gets very sentimental and I would catch her staring at the table cloths remembering certain birthday parties while I was unceremoniously throwing cake mix into a big black bag. As a result, it takes my mom a really, really long time to clean because she likes to look at all the stuff we have, although by Sunday she was getting much better.
Beginning of Day One
I couldn't take a picture of inside the pantry cabinets because I couldn't get in there to take it. I felt very skinny being able to squeeze through a 4 inch gap of the doors and the pile of stuff to be sorted.
Old lunch box
Somewhere during our clean I found the old lunch box that I used to carry everyday in high school. Yes, I carried a lunch box and was gosh darn proud of it. I had a little bought of sentimentality before it went into the garbage bag. See, this is all you have to do. A picture is worth a thousand words after all.
Newly sorted pantry
By the end of the day I was getting really pooped. My mom had stuck some beers in the fridge for me so while I was sipping away she made nice little labels for everything in the pantry. The trick that I use to continue on to the end is to not sit down on something comfy. I was sitting on the step ladder which isn't the softest thing for your butt. If I would have gone inside to sit on the sofa the rest of the clean up wouldn't have gotten done. For dinner my mom and I were so tired that we sat in front of the tv and she made herself nachos and I had left over tortellini with Chicken a'la King sauce on top.
End of Day One
Emmy is looking at me like I'm crazy, but we haven't seen the cement in this part of the garage since I was in high school.
Beginning of Day Two
This was clean up from where the tissue boxes were towards the doors of the garage.
For some reason, I had a really difficult time sleeping on Saturday night and then woke up at the ungodly hour of 8:30am on a Sunday. I don't even get up that early for work! I was planning on making an early Mother's Day dinner for my mom so I went over to Ranch 99 to pick up some clams and got dim sum while I was there. After we had some food and lots of coffee, my mom and I headed back out to the garage. There wasn't nearly as much stuff in the second section of the third car garage. Sorting all the food was much more of a challenge for my organizational skills than this part. We basically had to figure out what we wanted to keep and what we could get rid of. For instance, a box of baby bottles and plates were donated to the Veteran's pick up today. Along with that are some barbies and toddler toys. I know my parents are sentimental and want us to keep all these toys so that we can hand them down to our kids, but with all the new regulations for what is safe for babies and the fact that Fisher Price has so many cool baby toys, hand-me-downs just aren't going to happen.
To sort, I made "keep" and "give away" piles on our driveway. Thankfully we were able to give away more stuff than we were keeping. I was stoked by the idea that Christopher could possibly use my dad's old work out bench and that I could use the treadmill, but then I started moving stuff back in and that hope was crushed. I think that we can still get onto the treadmill with no problem, but stuff got piled onto the workout bench. What disappointed me the most were the bikes. There seemed to be so much space on the platform until I had to put the bikes away. They just make everything look so messy. We were hoping that the Veteran's donation people would take my Mom's old stationary bike, but they didn't it. I'm not surprised, but disappointed. Anyone want a stationary exercise bike circa 1983? That's right, 1983! My mom said that she had gotten the bike right before she found out she was pregnant with me so then she didn't use it. I remember playing on the bike a lot. I must have thought it was some sort of mini jungle gym.
End of Day Two
Hopefully my dad will install hooks in the beams of our rafters so that we can hang the bikes up when they aren't being used. Maybe now my mom and I will use the treadmill that it doesn't have piles of stuff on it.
After finishing up in the garage I gave Emmy a quick bath because she's been making my allergies really bad from the pollen that sticks to her fur and then started on dinner. I have to say, with this new short fur giving her a bath took less than 10 minutes and she was dry in no time. Anyway, I was planning on making Emeril Lagasse's Fresh Seafood Pasta. We had made my parents something very similar before, but it was a tomato based sauce instead a white wine sauce like what I made this time. I'm not sure which I liked better. Instead of using muscles, I used clams since I can get them live at Ranch 99. I also added scallops and squid to the mix, both of which I bought frozen. The only thing that I would suggest for this recipe is that after you add the shrimp, scallops, and squid that you take the pot off the burner immediately so that the seafood can cook in the residual heat. When it's waiting to be served it will cook enough so that your seafood won't be overdone like mine. I let the seafood cook until the proper doneness, but then when I was waiting to serve the food, it continued to cook and the shrimp were over done. I think I will also sprinkle in some red pepper flakes for an extra kick next time.
I couldn't get over how gorgeous these tomatoes were.
Early Mother's Day dinner
Our early Mother's Day dinner since we're going to be busy this coming weekend with Jazz Dinner Dance and Mother's Day dinner in the city.
Tired girl after a hard day of watching Mommy and Pau Pau work in the garage.
I don't know what I was thinking, but after we had our Mother's Day dinner I worked out with Christopher. Not only had I been in the garage lifting boxes of encyclopedias and kid books, but I worked out too. No wonder I can't move.