Heart of the Home.

My kitchen was driving me crazy recently, and naturally I responded by totally overthinking the entire situation. I’ve decided that while it isn’t perfect, it’s flawed in ways that are a pretty good match for me. Consider:

Stove: I’ve written about it before. That damn stove is both great (warm and cozy, extremely effective) and overkill. We’re never going to use six burners, a griddle, a broiler and two ovens. Actually one oven doesn’t work, and we don’t need it often enough to chase down a solution. But it’s a good metaphor for my aspirations to domestication. The spirit and equipment might be there, but the skills aren’t always quite able to back them up.

Counter/Drawers: My counter is clean and tidy, but the drawers and cabinets are a hot mess. Matt once gave permission to a friend to look for something in the cabinets while I was out of town. And she brought a friend to help her. I was mortified. I think it took them an hour to find an immersion blender, scattered into several different places. But I’m this way myself: usually serene on the surface (or so I’m told) but inside it’s total chaos.

Floors: They’re not quite as old as the house, but they’re old and pretty special. We’ve had more than one person ask for a tape measure to measure the widest boards, which are well over two feet. They’re not perfect, though. We had the floor refinished when we moved in, but it’s been almost nine years now and there are dings and dents. Particularly near the sink where one of our friends laughed so hard she stomped at a Christmas party years ago — laughter is a great reason for dents. And wait a minute – before you think I’m underlining the connection between myself and “old and wide,” I’m not. I was trying to go for “not perfect, but loved.”

Table: Our kitchen table is the one that I had in my kitchen growing up. My dad and grandfather built it, and I must have eaten thousands of breakfasts, lunches and dinners at that table even before it came to Vermont. My family means the world to me, and having this table really makes me feel connected to them. True to form (for me), there’s also a slightly-visible repair on the table now. I was trying to bring it in from the porch after a party last summer — my do-it-yourself zeal got away from me and I broke it. Fortunately my dad came a week later and fixed it.

Metaphors aside, it’s an odd kitchen. It has five doors and three windows, so even though it’s a big room, there’s not a lot we can do to rearrange or use the space differently. I’m frustrated that the fridge sticks out into the room and that the pantry is about nine inches deep instead of the 18 that would be quite a bit more useful. But, this is where John plays some version of hockey (trying to avoid the stove) and Michael, the cat, keeps a near constant vigil for Cowboy, his neighborhood nemesis. Whenever friends are here we can hardly budge them from the kitchen, and we spend a lot of time in there as a family as well. It’s a cliche, but this is really the heart of things in our house. I’ll live with the imperfections. God knows I certainly demand that my friends and family live with mine.

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