Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Guys, Chilli & Chips

Cleaning the kitchen was vastly different this time compared to last time. We'd just bought the house and it was supposed to have been professionally cleaned only there was grease, grime, twist ties, bread crumbs, and other assorted things everywhere and not a single drain in the entire house that actually drained which makes it really hard to clean.

It was only three months after finding the lump, two weeks after the surgery, and we were still waiting for the (benign) results. Howard had just gotten back from a seminar in Detroit and was about to get on the plane for Guatemala. Things were tense.

The contractor doing the renovations was a turtle moving backward. The floors were bare wood. The studio was non-existent. The garage was full of boxes, the house was full of boxes, and everything had to be shifted constantly in order to work in any particular area. It was the worse move I have ever made and if they'd all been like that, we'd have moved once and stayed put for thirty years.

Last year, this time, it felt like I was constantly two minutes from a melt down. The stuff of my life was piling up and overlapping. I've "affectionately" referred to it as the year from hell. It wasn't pretty and it dragged on FOREVER. When we're in the middle of some thing, it can seem pretty dark. It's good to be reminded that it will eventually end.

I woke up late, cleaned all day, had company for dinner, and didn't sew yesterday so I'm showing off my clean kitchen - VBG. The cabinets go to the ceiling. My stuff doesn't. I'm not tall enough to reach. I'd need one of those rolling library ladders. As it is, to clean the cabinets behind the sink, I have to stand in the sink. It's a good thing I don't need the space. Cleaning took seven hours. A few things moved to new spots. I wonder how long it will take the guys to remember where they go ! ! !

All the units in this complex came with a deep pantry. I added two more of the rolling shelves and use the cabinet for plastic containers, bowls, casserole dishes, and glass pans. I've had a pantry like this before and I know it's too deep and too high for me to see anything. It was always a mess.

Our pantry is in the hall closet where the linen was supposed to be. We built a new closet downstairs off the new laundry room. Originally that closet was supposed to be for my stash but it moved every time the studio moved and every stash move also shifted the linen until this last studio move when I built a new stash closet.

Now, the deep hall closet that was supposed to be the washer and dryer but first became linen and then stash is now cleaning supplies, paper products, the broom, mop, and vacuum and when Howard gets home, we'll move the freezer into it which just makes sense to me - near the kitchen. Just because someone labeled a certain area by a certain name doesn't mean we have to use it that way. There are no rules. What's important is that we make it work for us. Drapery fabric makes some amazing coats, skirts, and pants. Upholstery fabric is perfect for bags. Fabric is fabric.

I broke one of my favourite glasses. It's a reminder that death and disaster are a given. They visit everyone's life at some point and we won't always have the opportunity to use the good dishes and cut up the precious fabrics. Don't wait. Use them. That's what they're here for. Not to be stored in a box, out of sight, out of mind, except for the few moments every year when we clean and re-store them.

Except for washing the railing around the stairs and the doors, I'm finished cleaning upstairs. After going through every box, basket, closet, cupboard, and drawer, there was very little to discard, only half a box, and everything in it was given to me by someone else which means that I'm making tremendous progress on not bringing into my home things that I don't truly want or use. This is good.

The scarf above was a gift from my friend Sharon who bought it because I like lime only this particular shade is not good around my face. I can show the scarf here even though she reads my blog because Sharon always encourages me to use a gift my way. The fabric is beautifully soft and 100% cotton. I'm going to over-dye it with blue with maybe a touch of black to get a darker green and then take it along to the workshop in June for stamping and painting. I'm excited to see how it works out.

I had the guys over for dinner last night - five young men 20 - 24. What fun! They know I can't actually see their expressions so when I said smile pretty for the camera, naturally they didn't. Two are mine, two are "adopted", and one is a childhood friend visiting from out of town. I put pink napkins on the table for a girl moment since it was me, the five guys, chili & chips - boy food.

This morning, I'm getting my hair cut... again... and hopefully it'll be wonderful this time. Then washing the railing and doors. Then working on the dress pattern I showed yesterday.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - five guys


  1. LOVELY kitchen, Myrna!! I hope you don't mind drooling and gawking at that white kitchen!! I'm a die-hard-white-kitchen-fanatic and ended up in a kitchen with brown cabinets... Luckily, my kitchen needs work and will have to go.. Otherwise I won't be able to justify the expense of a new kitchen.. and I will get my white kitchen next year!

    P.s:I have the same Pyrex container.. L'Echalote?

    1. As long as you clean up your own mess, drooling is just fine - LOL. Good luck with your kitchen renovation. Stressful but worth it. I'd vote for lots of pot drawers.

      If I were to win a dream kitchen, it would have shorter upper cabinets with crown molding, a colored countertop most likely denim blue, either lighter tiles or visible wall with a shorter backsplash (which allows for painting the wall a color) and - if it was this kitchen - more pot drawers instead of rolling shelves and I'd trade the position of the fridge and the pantry and buy a fridge that is counter depth instead of sticking out. One can dream.

      The Pyrex container was either a shower or wedding gift - 1981.

  2. I think that's the first time you've shown a close up picture of the island in relation to the cabinets. I can see why you added it and it looks like it fits perfectly. How do you like the corner sink? We have the same configuration and that corner, towards the back, is just wasted space. I've thought about shifting the sink to that corner which would give me a nice,long run of countertop which would work after I switch the positions of the stove and fridge. LOL I just want a new kitchen!

    I hope the hair cut ended up being more what you wanted. I know how frustrating it is when it's not what you want.

    1. The island is wonderful. I still need to find the right baskets for the shelves but I haven't looked too hard. Otherwise, it does exactly what I wanted and we use it all the time.

      I hate the actual sink. It's white porcelain, the weirdest configuration, and the tap is positioned to the right and doesn't reach very far into the left sink plus the smaller sink is to the right and the bigger to the left and I work the other way. I'll eventually change it for something better... when I find it.

      I'm too short for that position in the corner. I'm not sure if you can see the canister set behind the sink but it creates a line across the corner that brings it forward somewhat and hides to dust because to clean I have to get a chair and then stand in the sink. I don't do that every night.

      The hair cut is FABULOUS. Much better. Texture on top and drama in the back. Guess you need to try another hairdresser every once in a while to appreciate yours more.

  3. This post was timely and exactly what I need at this moment. We just moved after 28 yrs. The house we bought is older--60ish, and renovations began the day after we moved. That was 3 weeks ago. We're living with boxes everywhere and like you, moving them about as we work on each area. New kitchen coming soon, new floors, yada, yada. Big mess.

    1. I don't know whether to congratulate you on your new home or wrap you up carefully to protect you from the chaos. Take time for yourself... and space... and stitch something. It's energizing. I'm glad the posting was encouraging. The mess does eventually end and you're left with a lovely renovation. Best of luck. Feel free to email and whine. Better than being two minutes from a meltdown.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.