Category Archives: house

At last, a functional kitchen!

The kitchen is finally functional.  It’s not completely finished (the refrigerator is still in the living room and the finishing touches need to be added), but it’s usable.  My dad worked really hard on the kitchen and I can finally enjoy it.  It’ll look perfect when the backsplash is up, so I’ll wait until that’s up before posting pics.

I’ve lived in this house for over three months now, and this is the first time I’ve been able to enjoy a cup of tea in my home.  It makes me realize that, for me, a home isn’t a home until you can cook a meal from scratch and settle down with a cup of tea in front of the television. 

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My house has a heart now.  It feels really good.

The awful truth about cockroaches — we all have them!

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It’s late at night.  A tiny baby cockroach scuttles past me and pauses within reach on my floor.  I search for a sock to grab it (my plan was to flush it down the toilet).  My slow motion reflexes, however, are no match for its ninja disappearing act skills.  I do a search on the internet and discover the horrible truth. 

The horrible truth is . . . we all have cockroaches.  The White House has them.  Martha Stewart’s house has them (cockroaches can survive almost anything, even Martha’s frigid personality).  My house has them.  Your house has them.  (The only kitchen or home that doesn’t have them is the one on the space shuttle.)

We might think of ourselves as kings of our castles, but the cockroach is the ultimate unwanted guest we just can’t get rid of.  Just read up about his noctural jaunts all over your house and kitchen in this article by an entomologist Hal Coleman.  Click here for the article.  Just be warned that you won’t find it pleasant. 

Nevertheless, living in space to avoid cockroaches altogether doesn’t sound very appealing either.  In spite of our unwanted, creepy and nearly impossible to kill stowaways, WE manage to survive.  Martha Stewart still leaves a giant bowl of lemons on her kitchen table.  Entomologists don’t sleep with a bottle of Raid under their pillows.   I’m not about to scrub every inch of my future kitchen with a toothbrush soaked in bleach.  That wouldn’t work anyway.   The cockroach is an unstoppable noctural ninja just trying to survive like we are.  

Still, I have to admit I was delighted when I saw one giant cockroach caught in a black widow’s web under my trash can.  I applauded as she bound him with her silk threads and hauled him up for a long leisurely dinner.  

In closing, here’s a poem that describes with starting accuracy the noctural activities of the roaches in your home.  It’s one of four poems about insects under the title Nursey Rhymes for the Tender Hearted by Christopher Morley.

    Scuttle, scuttle, little roach—
    How you run when I approach:
    Up above the pantry shelf,
    Hastening to secrete yourself.

    Most adventurous of vermin,
    How I wish I could determine
    How you spend your hours of ease,
    Perhaps reclining on the cheese.

    Cook has gone, and all is dark—
    Then the kitchen is your park:
    In the garbage heap that she leaves
    Do you browse among the tea leaves?

    How delightful to suspect
    All the places you have trekked:
    Does your long antenna whisk its
    Gentle tip across the biscuits?

    Do you linger, little soul,
    Drowsing in our sugar bowl?
    Or, abandonment most utter,
    Shake a shimmy on the butter?

    Do you chant your simple tunes
    Swimming in the baby’s prunes?
    Then, when dawn comes, do you slink
    Homeward to the kitchen sink?

    Timid roach, why be so shy?
    We are brothers, thou and I.
    In the midnight, like yourself,
    I explore the pantry shelf!

Obstacles!

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Progress on my kitchen has yet again come to a screeching halt. It turns out that my dad made the drain for my sink a little too high before enclosing it in drywall, so we’ll have to cut out the drywall, fix the drain and then patch up the drywall before we can even think about getting any kitchen cabinets in there.

When the delivery guy brought my cabinets, he remarked that I had a great little house. I asked him if he ever ordered cabinets from Home Depot and he said “Nah, I’d never pay those prices for cabinets. I live in Mexico. We did my grandma’s kitchen for $450 with custom made cabinets.”

“Don’t worry, this will all be done by Christmas,” he assured me. In light of the fact that Christmas is about three months from now, I wondered if he was being kind and optimistic or a smart-ass. He seemed like a nice guy, so I’ll give him kind and optimistic.

I now have an entire roomful of cabinets in my dining room. Also, to make matters worse, my dad is having oral surgery done this week and I want him to fully recover before coming back to this project. It looks like it will be another couple of weeks of takeout for me.

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Light at the end of the tunnel (for my kitchen)

Home Depot informed me that they’re delivering my cabinets on Monday. 

Finally, my kitchen will be three-quarters done instead of just half-done!  Once the cabinets are installed, we can have the granite people come out and create a template for my countertop.  That will probably take another 2 weeks, but at least it’s progress. 

Castle Anthrax, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Castle Anthrax, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Kitchen envy

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It’s night time.  I pull up in front of my house on the way back from running errands.  My French neighbor has dinner guests.  I can see them through his open window.  Bathed in warm yellow light are tiny snippets of his evening — a tablecloth covered with a red Provencal fabric, a bread basket and a bottle of wine.  Faint sounds of  animated French conversation and jazz music drift out the window.  It’s obviously one of those long drawn out French meals punctuated by good food and great conversation.  Encapsulated in this window is a scene of coziness and warmth, hospitality and friendship — all the wonderful things that food is a conduit for.

I’m so jealous.  In my current kitchenless state, I’m looking at a world divided between those with kitchens and those without kitchens.  When rationality returns to my brain, I realize that a kitchen and a dining room are just tools.  It’s people and company that bring them to life.

Without a kitchen, I feel like an orphan, shuffling myself to other people’s kitchens, i.e. restaurants.  Tonight, the older man at the Vietnamese pho place I frequent recited my usual order right when I sat down.  After I agreed to it, he returned within 5 minutes with my food.  I have to admit, it was comforting to have someone recognize you and know what you like to eat. 

Pho Van
4233 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 281-9420

My kitchen is being held hostage by Home Depot!

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There’s a long backstory to this.

When I bought my 100 year old house two months ago, it came with a hideous, cave-like kitchen.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of it, but my dad summed it up best when he said “I wouldn’t want to eat anything coming out of that kitchen!”

Here’s a description of my former kitchen.  If you open your closet door, get in and shut the door behind you, you’ll know exactly what it was like to stand in this kitchen in the daytime.  It was pretty dark.  The cabinets had no drawers and they were coated with an inch of thick red paint, which in turn was coated with an inch of grime.  An oversized white refrigerator took up a third of the floor space and a 1970s range was blocking a third of the prefab formica countertop.  A sad paper plate was taped over a hole where some water damage marred the ceiling.   Beneath your feet, the black and white checkered linolium floor that was so groovy in the 1960s was now starting to come loose 50 years later.  Oh, and there was one outlet for the entire kitchen.

In a nutshell, my dad demolished and replaced every square inch of this kitchen with all things new and shiny.  The only thing left to do was install the kitchen cabinets, the sink and the countertop.  We ordered the kitchen cabinets from Home Depot and waited.  It’s been about 3 weeks since I ordered those cabinets and I’m still waiting.  My kitchen’s evolution from cesspool of obscure growth to Julia Child sanctuary has come to a grinding halt.  I’ve likened my situation to a hostage crisis.

According to an introductory paragraph on hostage crises and negotiation, one writer stated “Ideally, a hostage situation ends with everyone walking away (albeit with some of them in handcuffs).”  On that note, I do think Home Depot deserves to walk away from this situation in handcuffs.

Hello I must be blogging

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I’ve finally succumbed to blogging.  I don’t know why.  It’s probably this house I just bought.  It’s 100 years old and like me, needs a lot of work.  In the simplest of terms, we are one girl and one house.  I’ll report on what happens inside this tiny universe.