Works For Me

It seemed straight forward. I wanted to bake my friend a loaf of banana bread, so I read the recipe. Then read it again. I assembled the ingredients and measured each one precisely using the correct equipment and utensils. I pre-heated the oven to the noted temperature, then I followed the instructions step by step. Next, I put my “baked-to-be” item in the right size pan and set the timer. Easy, right?  It was supposed to bake for 45-50 minutes. So, at exactly 47.5 minutes, I stuck a toothpick in its center, but it didn’t come out clean, so…I returned it to the oven. I checked it again at 50 minutes, 55, then 60. At that point, it was still sunken and ooey-gooey in the middle, so I cut my losses and took it out. What went wrong? Maybe I accidently used the ½ cup instead of the ¼ cup to measure the liquid? But I am a clean-as-I-go person so the evidence was already washed, dried, and put away. Maybe I set the temperature for 250 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 350? But since I had already turned off the oven, I’d never know. Perhaps I didn’t have my contacts in or maybe I put the left one in the right eye and the right eye in the left? That would have affected my recipe reading ability. But because I couldn’t pinpoint the problem, I chalked it up to experience and bought my friend bread from a bakery around the corner.

It seemed easy enough. I wanted our glass shower doors to shine, so I retrieved all items suggested on the Molly Maid cleaning list. First, I combined equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Next, I added a teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid into it. Then, I spritzed our shower doors with this solution and let it sit for 15 minutes while I did a quick dusting of our bedroom furniture. When I returned to the bathroom, I used a microfiber cloth to wipe it clean. After 40 minutes, I was done! However, on closer inspection, I still saw tiny patches of whitish spots– the dreaded soap scum evaded me again! What went wrong? A timing issue, perhaps. Being the efficient cleaner that I am, maybe I whizzed through dusting in less than 15 minutes, thereby not letting the solution sit long enough before wiping it away. Maybe the soap scum was more built up than I wanted to admit, and I should have just pushed my pride aside and added a cup of baking soda to the mix. Or it could’ve been a case of Misidentified Ick. Maybe what I was seeing wasn’t soap scum at all –  maybe it was really hard water stains!  Because I couldn’t draw a definite conclusion, I bought a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and now I use them to clean whatever is on our shower doors.

It seemed to be simple. I wanted my linen closet to be neat and orderly so I consulted “the” expert, none other than Martha Stewart herself. Well, not in person, but I checked her website on how to fold a fitted sheet. I began by holding the sheet by the two adjacent corners of one of the shorter edges. With the sheet inside out, I placed one hand in each of these two corners. Next, I brought my right hand to my left, and folded the corner on my right hand over the one in my left, so the corner on top was right side out. Then, I reached down and picked up the corner that was adjacent to the one that was in my right hand and folded it over the other two corners; resulting in the third corner being inside out. Next, I brought the last corner up, and folded it over the others so it was right side out. Continuing on, I laid the sheet on a flat surface and tried to straighten it into a lovely “ L.  Next, I folded the two edges to hide the elastic. And finally I folded the sheet into a rectangle-like shape, then…Voila!  The fitted sheet was now…a big bundle of tangled cotton!  What went wrong?  Maybe I mixed up my hands? But I know that when my left hand is stretched out, my index finger and thumb form an “L” for Left…hmm? What about my tucking technique? Maybe, but feet never escape from my hospital corner tucked sheets… so, that left only one other possibility…one too hard to contemplate. Maybe…just maybe, Martha’s instructions were flawed? No! That just couldn’t be true! Martha seems like a person who would want you to succeed, with a capital S! Her reputation is on the line, for goodness sakes! Because I couldn’t puzzle out the issue, I now just have one set of sheets for each bed in our house. That way I never ever have to fold a fitted sheet again! They go straight from dryer right onto the beds.

The Right Way – My Way

From my journal: January 12, 2023, Newbury Park, California

“I always want to improve on things, but there are some things that aren’t worth doing over and over…striving for less stress this year!”

Some things that seem easy, look simple, or should be straight forward, in reality may not be at all. I have to face it. I’m not Betty Crocker, or a Molly Maid, or Martha Stewart. I’m just me. So instead of spending my time and effort trying to figure out why something didn’t turn out a certain way, maybe it’s okay to accept what happens, and then, just do what works for me. Whew!

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