On being an eccentric with extraordinarily original life goals
An influencer blog post about a kitchen renovation “after” reminded me that I'd been meaning to finish/post this newsletter and baby is napping but I used most of the nap to harvest garlic so this what there is time for.
I want my kitchen counters lower, as in, at a normal height. I want normal cabinets, not open shelves most of which even a tall person can’t reach. I want my house to have a second, main-level bathroom. I want I want I want. It is so boring. Also an ice maker. I want the used IKEA (?) bookcase currently serving as pseudocabinet to no longer be necessary. Which is to say, I want aesthetic improvements in keeping with the practical ones. What is it that’s on the floor now, linoleum? What do I want it to be, tile? Cobblestone? What are kitchen floors made of? Not wood, not carpet, but not what it is now.
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I am a homeowner. This evokes something almost plantationish, problematic definitely, at the very least, a master bedroom having not been renamed “main.” What it actually means is that between the mortgage and daycare fees (theoretically but not actually reduced in Ontario; I am prepared to bore you but only to a certain extent, so will not continue on that topic) I live a grad-student-budgeted life more than I did when actually in grad school. I had this notion that working adulthood meant you could buy a coffee or a nail polish and not think about it. I do in fact think about it.
I try to have as many spend-nothing days as possible, and recently felt proud of myself at the end of the day for having one, only to remember that I had actually purchased (discounted! but nice) coffee beans and uhhh a pain au chocolat that morning.
Insofar as I’d imagined owning a home (and, not really), I’d pictured that it would involve a lot of customization. When you’re renting, you leave things as they are, but when it’s your (the bank’s) house, you can do all sorts of improvements, painting, remodeling, or at the very least, setting things up in a way you want them for the long term.
There were going to be new curtains. Or just: curtains. Did a house, when you bought it, come with curtains? Also light fixtures. (Same question.) There would be a fridge with an ice maker. A second bathroom where there was a pantry just large enough for that repurposing. Maybe even in time a finished basement!
Then came the reality of both the cost of this new lifestyle and of life with a toddler, then two small children, and a dog. The curtains that came with the house can be put through the washing machine with bleach, which is really what I ask of curtains that get food thrown on them. Contractors who’d come by to give an estimate on a pantry toilet instead wound up coming by to install a banister to our banisterless staircase soon after I learned I was pregnant, and this was such a production (cost, covid protocols) that the luxurious notion of having some people come by and improve the house became that much more improbable.
It was only when I was massively pregnant that I realized that our kitchen is, effectively, on stilts. Whereas previously I could reach most of what I needed on a regular basis on tiptoe, the more my midsection protruded, the more often a step stool was necessary to do things like get down a plate. I looked down and realized that the oven, the counters, all of it, is raised up, so as to accommodate someone incredibly tall. All wall storage (there are no cabinets in the classic sense) is accordingly high up and extra unreachable due to the depth of these counters. There’s the amount of counter space we have, and then the amount of it I can reach.
The floors. Hyacinth Bucket is constantly having hers redone. Maybe I should want to do this? It would make them easier to clean; the original (?) hardwood is basically a sponge. But I do not particularly care about this.
I want someone to come into the kitchen with a wrecking ball that does not in any way impact the dishwasher, and to emerge with an English country kitchen like the London one on “As Time Goes By,” but without Lionel because he’s the worst, nor with the Judi Dench character because she’s the second-worst. No, it will be a table-having kitchen (do they widen kitchens?) and sitting around the table will be Mick from “Benidorm,” Victoria Wood, and the silver miniature poodle from “Murder in Suburbia.”
Enough paid subscriptions and my kitchen will be featured in Short People’s Kitchens Monthly