Either my kitchen has decided to kill me, or I’ve acquired gremlins. Those are the only things I can come up with to explain the odd occurrences this evening.
Green spring-cleaning. I set myself the task to go through every drawer, cabinet, closet and cranny in my home, and once and for all decide whether to keep, or set free, the contents. The goal is to be green — to recycle, reuse, sell or give to a good home as much of my unwanted stuff as possible, so that I don’t transfer the clutter from my home to a landfill. And along the way, to get a good look at the basics of my home, and repair or replace anything that is worn-out.
I don’t think the kitchen wants to cooperate.
My kitchen is quite small (the only real drawback in this apartment), only about 8 feet long, and sorely lacking in counterspace. The basic cleaning only took parts of two evenings. I pulled every plate, bowl and pot out of the cabinets, and stacked them on the dining room table. Most of my serving and cooking prep pieces are new, and so obviously I’ll be keeping them — although having put everything in one place, I was somewhat surprised at the sheer volume of red cookware and serving pieces I have. It’s possible I have become obsessed with the color red when it comes to the kitchen.
The dispute between the kitchen and I arose when I began applying a good polish to the wood cabinets. Now, much of my apartment has been renovated over the years — the management is really great about the upkeep on this complex. But with the exception of redoing the linoleum when it began to lift up, and replacing the refrigerator and dishwasher after a power failure, the kitchen’s remained relatively untouched during my tenancy.
Translation — the cabinets date back to the year the apartment building was built.
In, I believe, the 1960’s.
And they’re showing their age.
As I polished, I noticed that the molding strips are detaching from the cabinet edges. That the wood is chipped along the bracers. That the cabinets themselves are, well, dingy inside. You don’t really see these things unless you’re looking closely, but now that I’ve seen them, I can’t help seeing them every time I look at the cabinets. Oh, the polish helped — I absolutely love how Method’s almond oil sinks into the wood and gives it a glow — but even with the polish, the cabinets appear, frankly, dull.
I may have said that out loud while talking to someone on the phone. I may even have mentioned that I was going to talk to the management, see if there’s some way to do an upgrade or repair to the cabinets. And it’s obvious that the kitchen resents my remarks. It hasn’t exactly been shy about letting me see that resentment.
After washing all the dishes, I began refilling the cabinets. Twice, as I was placing items back onto the shelves, the doors that ordinarily hang open without moving swung into my head so hard I saw stars. I don’t recall nudging them so that they would move.
Then the appliances got into the act. I went to heat water for tea, and the burner underneath the kettle, which was set on low, abruptly turned cherry red and nearly burnt the bottom out of the kettle.
The microwave refused to shut off as I was defrosting some soup for dinner.
The refrigerator froze the milk, lettuce and eggs.
Either my kitchen is determined not to have a cabinet facelift, or else I have gremlins. I don’t know which is preferable — that there are little malicious creatures sharing my home with me, or that my appliances have achieved sentience.
Or possibly I’ve gotten a mild concussion from being whacked on the head once too many times tonight.
On the plus side, I believe that most of the items I’ve taken out of the kitchen will find a new home, and not end up in the landfill. I found quite a collection of cookie cutters and cake decorating equipment — which I haven’t used since my friends’ children got out of grade school. I also discovered that I have enough wine glasses and decanters to host a small reception for 50 people, three different teapot and sugar/creamer sets, and more matched candlesticks than any sane person needs. I’ll list them on Craigslist this weekend, or offer them to friends and/or co-workers who might need things like that.
I did toss out one pot, which had a very loose handle, but otherwise my green resolution is going strong.
There are a couple of minor repairs needed in the kitchen — small things like replacing light bulbs, cleaning the grease trap on the stove hood and declogging the garbage disposal. I also decided that it was time to replace the rug — a red one will definitely brighten up the kitchen. (I know — I’m obsessing on that red color again.) I’ll be taking care of those tasks this weekend — if the kitchen lets me live long enough.
Meanwhile, I’m going to go take two more aspirin, which fortunately are not kept in the kitchen.