Nothing Is Ever Simple!

No, I didn’t do any cleanup for this shot. Can you tell?

Today is Thursday (news flash), and tomorrow U-Haul is going to pick up the pods in the in-laws’ driveway unless we call them and extend our rental for another month. But that will cost TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS. We do not want to spend that money. It’s so frustrating, as we rented them in the first place so that we wouldn’t have to move everything in and then move it back out again when the carpet got installed, only of course, as I’ve mentioned, they’re having to re-stretch the carpet in the main living space and so it all has to be emptied out anyway. At least we don’t have to re-do the bedroom.

(Jim realized later that we can just move the stuff into the aforementioned longsuffering in-laws’ garage, since the kitchen cabinets are no longer in there. So that problem is solved, at least for now.) And, speaking of the bedroom, here’s what it looks like as of last night. I was trying to figure out how to make it possible to get rid of the armoire and just use our dresser and the two small closets for our clothes and stuff, but it became clear to me yesterday that it wasn’t really doable. So last night we had the great moving-the-armoire-into-the-bedroom caper, an event which I stayed out of as much as possible, although I did help clear the path. I had told Jim, “I’m not going to spend the next ten years of my life feeling as if I’m living in a furniture store,” but here I am, doing just that. Actually, it’s not as bad as I’d thought it would be, but in a good example of “the map is not the territory,” we discovered when it was in place that you can’t open the doors to the inner section fully because of the mattress. That’s not a problem for the upper section but it does mean that you can’t open those inner doors very much. I’m going (per Lowell’s suggestion) to store sheets in one drawer, and one drawer may just be unusable. (But then later, by dint of a quick hip-check of the mattress, I managed to shove it back enough so that I can indeed barely open the door.) We’re going to lose the nice watercolors from that wall, as the available space will now be taken up by the dresser mirror. It’s interesting—we’ve owned this set of bedroom furniture since the first summer of our marriage, so 25 years. And over the course of those 25 years I’ve thought repeatedly that I needed to figure out some sort of shelving for those vertically-divided spaces, because just stacking up the sweaters doesn’t work very well. 25 YEARS! I’m going to go to BB&B and see if they have some kind of sweater-stacking rack that will fit. A good example of a small annoyance that can be eliminated with minimal time and money.

Which observation reminds me of the peerless Don Aslett, whose books you should read, as I’ve said before. He says in one of his early works that you should always fix those glitches that otherwise just hang on forever; he specifically mentions something about a sticking drawer that you use often. Every single time you pull it out you’re reminded that you should fix it. Over the years all of that annoyance builds up. So I’m going on an errand run as soon as I finish this post, and one stop will be the aforementioned BB&B (Bed, Bath & Beyond, of course) to see what they have.

I think, by the way, that when we get everything all done I’ll do some posts detailing what we did and at least some price/source info. This isn’t a home decorating or improvement blog by any means, but our surroundings do have a big impact on our emotions. It’s kind of depressing right now to go downstairs, which is why I’m sitting upstairs at the kitchen table to write this. But soon . . . I’ll have a lovely space of my own. It’s very satisfying to get things done. Jim and I went to the Sears Outlet Store this morning and bought all four of our major kitchen appliances: refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. Boy, did we get some deals. You should totally go there if you’re in the market for anything Sears sells, but especially for appliances.

Little detour here, but I think it’s interesting: Our old house had a pretty high-end kitchen even with the dated cabinets. The same owner who installed the granite countertops also installed a huge gas cooktop on the island and a nice microwave/wall oven combo. The ovens were GE Profile, which is an expensive brand, and the cooktop was by DCS, which is a sponsor of the America’s Test Kitchen TV show and also quite expensive. I liked the wall oven very much, and it was nice to have an electric oven but a gas cooktop, since each has advantages for the specific use. (So electric ovens hold the heat better than gas, and gas cooktops are instant on/instant off.) But you know what? The cooktop had sporadic problems with ignition, and I did indeed try to get that issue resolved with a couple of repairmen but never succeeded. It would never misbehave when they were there. And because of the layout, I almost always ended up doing my prep work on the little 2’ x 2’ square of counter space next to the cooktop on the island. (I think I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating!) I’d end up putting my cookbook on top of the knobs. Now, as of today, we bought an electric range that had a list price of $2,500 which we got for under $1,000 because of a dent in the side which no one will ever see. It has one of those way cool smooth cooking surfaces with some really neat features, including five burners, which is exactly the same number as the enormous cooktop I had, one specifically for keeping things warm, and two ovens. On my old cooktop, turning down the heat to the lowest setting often produced the aforementioned ignition problem, as the center burner would start clicking and sparking the igniter. This won’t happen now. And I won’t have to clean under the burner grates because . . . there aren’t any. If I’m baking one item I’ll turn on one of the ovens. (In about fifty years we’ll recoup the cost from all the energy savings!) Could we have replaced that miscreant cooktop in the old house? Sure. But we never seriously considered doing so because we knew it would be so expensive. So I just lived with it. (Poor me.) Did I like those granite counters? I did not, but, again, I would never have spent the money to replace them. Did I like the layout? No. But redoing the floorplan would have been pretty high. (Although, now that I think about it, I would have just removed the cooktop from the island and made the island smaller for better flow, and then I would have moved the cooktop over to the side counter that I never used. Cabinet space would have remained pretty much the same, since we’d have gotten back the cabinets under the island. It would have been much, much better. Hmmm. Oh well. Maybe the new owners will think of doing that.) So it’s been so much fun to start from scratch in this new space. It feels very newlyweddish, as I’m constantly reminded of our first couple of apartments when we’d plot and plan to figure out how to fit our furniture into the space. I will not be getting dark granite countertops that look like resin with fake chips imbedded into it. (I was tickled at some point to find out that it was an expensive color called “Blue Pearl.” Yuck! Gideon always said that it looked as though it was dirty.) My good friend Ronnie redid her kitchen about a year and a half ago and they put in granite countertops, but theirs are pretty. It’s going to give me great pleasure to pass on the granite cleaning/sealing supplies to her. And we’re putting in Corian for ours, which is a nice mid-range choice. We’re kind of mid-range people, I guess.

Well, I’ve gone on long enough here. My point is, you can have and do some nice material things while still being careful and frugal. I’m reminded sometimes of my dear mother and how much she loved beautiful things. There was never much money in my house growing up, so she did what she could, planting a few tulips and growing four o’clocks and morning glories from seed. She started tomato plants on the windowsill. She got the living room carpet replaced after living for years with the doghair-permeated gray-and-black stuff that was there when we bought the house. (She said once that it took her a year of vacuuming just to get the dog hair out of it.) I wish life could have been a little easier for her. And when she finally got the countertops replaced (with Formica, no less!) my dad put a hot pan lid down on it in the first week we had it and created a burned circle that we were stuck with forever after. Oh dear! I tried to console her and get her not to be mad at Daddy, but I wasn’t very successful.

Are there some small, simple, inexpensive changes/improvements you could make that would remove an annoyance or, to quote Marie Kondo, “spark joy”? (I know. She’s a bit much sometimes.) What’s holding you back?

Share with friendsShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

2 thoughts on “Nothing Is Ever Simple!

    • Error on our part. It should have suggested clicking on the “We’re on the Fence” icon for Picket Fence Blogs. Thanks for pointing this out so we could fix it.

Leave a Comment