People keep making suggestions about other jobs for me to be doing. The Best Brother Ever thinks I should become a personal chef for someone who has a lot of food restrictions and can’t handle the challenge of eating within them. My friend E thinks I should be packaging my granola and selling it for ridiculous prices. (Someday I am going to do a cost analysis on my granola — I suspect it’s not any cheaper than the ones that companies do sell for ridiculous prices, because I put a lot of good ingredients in it. But it is tasty.)

And my friend P now says I should become a home organizer, traveling around and helping people de-clutter their houses. That’s because I spent the last three days working on her kitchen. I wish I had taken before photos, so that a before-and-after would make sense, but when I first got here, she had no available counter space on which to work. I don’t think I complained too loudly, but I muttered, and eventually I did wistfully say, “I wish I could organize your kitchen.”

To which she replied, “Knock yourself out.”

In my defense, I then asked several times if she was serious. Did she really want someone else going through her stuff? Deciding on the right places for useful things? Pushing her to get rid of the stuff she never used?

Patiently, she answered, “Yes, yes, yes.”

So I did. Her dishes are now stored above her dish rack, so that you can put them away without taking a single step. Her pantry items (formerly stored on a bookcase outside the kitchen) are now in what used to be the dish cupboard; snacks on the bottom shelf, soups and pasta on the next, rices and grains on the third. Her spices (formerly stored in a drawer in living room) are now alphabetized and in an angled double row on an open shelf next to the stove. The tea cups she uses are on the bottom shelf on the sink side, also an open shelf; the cups her guests most often use are stored within reach on the third shelf. The teas are in order — chai, ginger and herb, black — on the second shelf.

Eventually I stopped asking as I moved items to the “to be donated” pile in the living room. We all have those things: the inefficient jars for storing baking staples; the cute plastic dishes for little kids; the hand-me-down second or third crockpot; the fondue pots. She had three of the latter — she’s keeping the mid-size one, letting the other two go.

Or the chipped dishes that have been around forever, the glass jars that might come in handy someday, the abundance of plastic leftover dishes that somehow seem to multiply in the drawers. She still has an abundance of plastic dishes, but only enough to fit neatly into two drawers and she’s going to have to start her glass jar collection anew. The chipped dishes will happen on their own, of course.

I’m not entirely done. I left a pile of stuff on a small table needing to be sorted and one counter was still topped with many glass bottles needing to be recycled last night. But I’m pretty close. And P, whose kitchen was cluttered and overflowing with stuff, now has several entirely empty cupboards that she can start filling.

P tells me I could make a lot of money at it, but I don’t think I actually want to start cleaning out people’s houses for money. Maybe this is just the Floridian in me, but I suspect the jobs would mostly be getting rid of stuff after someone had died and that would be seriously depressing as a way of life. But it was highly satisfying few days.

And it gave me a new piece of my travel plans — I’m not sure what the next week or so will bring, whether I’m going to drive south into the path of the total eclipse coverage, whether I’m finally going to connect with my other WA friends — but at some point after the 28th, I’ll be back here in Seattle. I’m going to tackle P’s teenage daughter’s bedroom once she gets home from her summer vacation with her dad, and I am quite looking forward to it.

In other news, I’m getting a little obsessed with insta-pot soups. The combination of an insta-pot and an immersion blender make vegetable soups trivially easy. Last night I was feeling awful — either a gluten reaction, a mold reaction, or the beginning of a cold — but I threw some onion, carrots, curry spices and chicken broth into the insta-pot and hit the soup button, then when it beeped, added some coconut milk and blended. I wish I’d had some leftover rice, but since I didn’t, I topped some gluten-free bread with butter, a little minced garlic, parmesan cheese, and cilantro, toasted it, cut it into crouton-ish sized pieces and dropped it into the soup. It was delicious. Oh, I added some salt at the end, too.

Given that I felt terrible (and still do, alas), it was a lovely, low-effort meal. I will be eating leftovers for lunch. Maybe with some left-over quinoa instead of toast. If I’d remembered the quinoa yesterday, I would have used it then. Carrot, curry and quinoa soup — doesn’t that sound fancy? It was really just the only non-nightshade vegetable available to me, and I felt too lousy to go to the store.

And that’s a terrible note to end on, but I do have to get to the store today and I can tell already that it’s going to be a very low-energy day. Simple goals: a shower, the store, some more time spent staring at Grace, wondering what Noah’s motivations are. And the dogs, of course, will want to be walked. Huh, I’m feeling tired already. Maybe I’ll start with a little more coffee.

Oh, but since I have no photos — how about a link to an incredibly adorable set of baby photos? Kyla, who comments here sometimes, had her baby last week, and he is gorgeous. If you get a chance, stop by, say “aw,” and wish her well!