Love in the Time of Marmoleum


I have mentioned before that this blog is an exploration of things through the metaphor of food and that one of the most prominent ideas for me is the concept of home. We identify ourselves primarily with these things, don’t we? – where we live, what we do, who we associate with and what we eat.

Home. I love my house in spite of it’s problems and because of it’s quirks. It was a time capsule when I bought it, even the refrigerator was from 1948. I love people this way too, and I hate to hear a man say the inevitable, “Don’t try to change me.” I”m sure we’ve all hear this. It  happens, people do have this attitude of “changing” someone, but there is another perspective. One I think my kitchen exemplifies.

Now I am faced with the inevitable in my kitchen – maintenance. And I can practically hear it saying, “Don’t try to change me!” I called the plumber yesterday to fix my bathtub drain and asked him about replacing the whole tub. He said, “Why? You can’t get stuff like this anymore…well, you could. But it would cost you a $1000 just for a tub. Refinish it.” Then I asked him to look at my kitchen sink because it is in need of some love. Same prognosis. Don’t replace the sink – you can’t get shit this good now. Replace the counter top.

Then, of course, there is the “common sense” of remodel. Progress. Of course, there are better things out there, we have progressed. Right?….Right? The common sentiment is that you add value to a house by updating the kitchen. If I replace the counter tops, then I should replace the cabinet, the flooring, the appliances.  I hear my kitchen saying, “Don’t try to change me!” I look around and I think, this kitchen is smart, this is space saving, this is practical. Does it matter if Lowe’s doesn’t agree with me? Fuck them.

I look at my sink and think this was the only real issue with B…I mean with the sink – a bit of wear and tear. It’s quality, it just needs a little love and attention in the places that have been over used and/or neglected. I look at the design of my kitchen and I think of L and I think someone really had their shit together when they made this. Just because it doesn’t adhere to the current standards of beauty doesn’t make it worthless.  I look around and I think this is why I dated JJ…eeerrrr….um…I mean this is why I bought my house – it has character. Do I really want to white wash that? No.

I say to my kitchen, “Face it – you’ve seen some years. You are worn and leaky, you don’t fit in with the popular culture, and there are a few things that are completely broken….but I love you. I love your style, your practicality, your charm, your durability. ”

You see these little bakelite beauties? To replace them would cost me over $600, or I could get cheap made in china crap for $100.

Yes, my counter top has issues. Don’t we all? Yes, it’s worn, it’s outdated, but it has been there for 63 years. Why would I not put the same thing in again when time has (finally) taken it’s toll on the original?

You see these cabinets? Sure they are bare, they don’t have a lot of glam, they are hand made, but they are just waiting for that well applied coat of paint to make them shine.

No, I refuse to give up character for “perfection”, “modernity”, home-equity. I’ve said to my kitchen, “Let me help you. Let me give you a little love and kindness. Let me influence you just a little so that we work together better. But I will stay true to your original being, because that is what I love about you. I promise, no Ikea. No vinyl, no House Beautiful bullshit. ”

If some tenant wants to share my house, they will because it is lovable, solid, charming, intelligent, fun, quirky and long lasting, not because it is perfect or is the latest and greatest. I wouldn’t settle for anyone who didn’t want me for the same reasons.

Anyway, how could I possibly cook real food in a box-store kitchen?

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