Monday, January 26, 2009

Early Morning Kitchen musings

I was just emptying the dishwasher and one has time to think while doing this mundane chore. And I chose not to think deep thoughts but instead started thinking about kitchen facts. My kitchen(s) to be exact.

0) our first kitchen together was in a walk up flat in Boston. Old apartment building from the Boston mill area (no - not a fancy loft - these were the workers cold water flats - really nasty). We wanted to "fix it up" so we wallpapered the floor! Lot's of polyurethane and we had a new floor. It held up well and looked better than the 20 year old linoleum. The stove had a heater on one side, which is how we heated the back half of the house. If you got really cold you could stand over the stove with your hands over the heater and feel warm. Good thing we were young. No dishwasher in this house, only a tiny cast iron sink.

1) In Stow, we lived in an old house for over 20 years - it was built in 1795 and the kitchen "upgraded" in the "60's sometime. It had awful - truly awful knotty pine cabinets. I kept the cracks in the cabinets stuffed with steel wool to keep the mice out. It was a big kitchen - maybe 15x15 feet but only had about 2 sq feet of counter space. We wanted to redo it, but always put it last on the list because it was so much money.

2) I had no dishwasher in that old house and didn't want one, so for 20 years I washed dishes while all my friends thought I was crazy. I actually liked washing dishes and remembered hating to empty the dishwasher when I was a kid. We finally gave in and took Mom's old dishwasher and installed it so that it would be easier to sell the house. I still washed by hand. The microwave was an old one that was an oven also. But if I turned on the oven part, the fuses blew - so I never used it.

3) That old kitchen was so huge that we had a corner for sitting and reading, with a comfy chair. No fireplace but all the windows faced south and it was sunny all day. We needed the sun because all the windows in the house were single pane and cold as ice.

4) I cooked alot in that kitchen - you could be as messy as you'd like since it never showed.

So what I remember about that kitchen is: lousy kitchen space, terrible design, cold, great place to read, sunny, great hanging out space.

4) New kitchen - has all the latest and greatest amenities. Dishwasher and microwave and cooktop and stove. Maple cabinets and tons of storage space. Huge 'fridge. TV cabinet and an actual walk in pantry.

5) New kitchen is/was SO clean that I was scared to cook. Took me a long time to get up the nerve to make a mess in that kitchen.

6) no reading space in new kitchen which is too bad.

7) Dishwasher is now used all the time. I am hooked now on how clean it gets everything. I still sort of "wash" the dishes and then put them in this contraption and let them get really clean. I still hate emptying it out but it's less of a chore now that I enjoy the uber-clean dishes.

8) I finally figured out that this kitchen is easy to work in, and easy to clean and efficient. I have space for everything. The floors are tile and the counter tops are granite. Its so easy to be in that I forget how nice it is - does that make any sense?

It occurs to me that when things are tough and old I spend a lot of time figuring out how to make them better, but when things are just about perfect, I file them and don't think about them any more.

Perhaps this is a message to myself. Yes...I think it is. Enjoy the good. Relish the just-about-perfect. Don't look for things to fix. Enjoy the now. Enjoy and treasure what I have, who I am with, my friends, family, house.....

Let me know what you think about this


Anonymous said...

I think that is quite an epiphany. I'm struck by the idea that when things are perfect we no longer spend time with them - only when things are not perfect do we spend time with them.

I currently have a kitchen I don't like. It is too small now that I'm actually cooking - it has the ugliest formica countertop and cabinets. And yet redoing a kitchen is very expensive and on the do later list.

One thing I plan to do is get rid of the dishwasher, I don't use it. I hate those things and I don't think they get dishes as clean as when I wash them myself - although I must admit that hubby washes them more often then I do, so it is not exactly a burden.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It sounds to me like you have had a blessed life. You have had enough strife to make you appreciate the blessings you now have. You deserve them. Sit back and enjoy them I would say.

I feel sorry for people that don't know they have been blessed from the start.

Yep, I think you are very lucky too.

sukipoet said...

I love this post, your life through kitchens. I too lived in an old 1779 house with no kitchen updates, no counter space, room to sit etc. No dishwasher. As I was renting for 20 years I couldnt update. Mom's kitchen is much more modern, although since she died I have not used the dishwasher. But i agree, it does sanitize the dishes so if I'm sick I will use it to sanitize although what I used to do was pour boiling h2o over the dishes if i was ill.

Im glad you have a new, efficient and wonderful kitchen now. You deserve it!

Ces said...

Hello Mim,

I like reading about your old kitchen. I grew up in a house without any electrical appliances. We finally brought a refrigerator when I was in high school until then Mother used to go to the market everyday to buy fresh produce, meat and fish. It was my role to wash the dishes, therefore I broke as many as I could so I would be excused. That did not work. Now I love dishes. You should start using Fiesta dishes. If you love your dishes, you will enjoy washing them by hand. it's a sensuous feeling running your hands through that shiny plate under hot water. Very refreshing. I like old homes but I would prefer a modern, comfirtable, warm bedroom with plenty of pillows. I think the old New England homes are magnificent whether it is a mansion or a worker's flat.

MuseSwings said...

What a wonderful story! Kitchens are a story in themselves. I spent so much time in mine up north and now it's mostly a place to walk through on my way to another room. I finally gave in to having a dishwasher agter about 8 years of marriage and realized it gave me so much more time to enjoy other things.

studio lolo said...

I've never had a nice kitchen and I've never owned my own home.
I've had kitchens that I liked better than others. Right now I have more of an open concept kitchenette. The living room and dining area have cathedral ceilings that go right into the kitchen area. It's very cottagey and sweet with white wood ceilings and french doors that lead to a little yard. I have a dishwasher but I don't use it. It's old and doesn't clean very well, and it's in a far corner (near the litter box...ew!)I hate to load and unload it because it's hard to reach. And yes, that's actually the only place in the house for the cat box. It's hidden away there and isn't near any food prep.
I miss having a big enough kitchen for a table. I love sitting around the kitchen table!
This place is very small, so when there are a few dirty dishes the counter is filled and very messy looking. When I'm on my game and the place is sparkly it's really an adorable space!
And I love washing dishes by hand. it makes you stop and be grateful for the food you have. And like Ces...I love dishes!

Nice post Mim. I never really thought about my kitchen so much!

Mim said...

I might do bathrooms tomorrow

Melissa and Emmitt said...

what a wonderful post mim!
i love it and how you came to it (with thoughts about your kitchen, the heart of your houses) was heartfelt and truly creative.

Debra Kay said...

I love this glimpse of you. I've been keeping a gratitude journal-just a one line entry on a computer calendar, but I do believe it does help me appreciate things a little more.

ElizT said...

Thinking of all the kitchens I can remember,it seems the most sociable are those where you could walk or sit right around a fairly big table, something of a luxury now. If I get started on Dishes it will become a personal rant.