Saturday, February 27, 2016

Where Are the Spoons? by Betsy Ashton

Just about this time last year, my wonderful husband and I decided that our kitchen needed a face lift. When we built our house, we skimped on the kitchen, not because of space constraints but because we had never planned to live in the house full time. It was supposed to be a weekend getaway, until we fell in love with life on a lake. A big lake.

Back to the kitchen. Over nine years the kitchen wore out. Counter laminate warped; cabinet laminate separated. We had a couple of choices: redo the counter tops and reface the cabinets or redo the whole darned kitchen. Trumpet flare! We went with the entire kitchen.

We hired a contractor who worked with us on the design. Actually, he couldn't do much, since the footprint was fixed. What he could do was provide better cabinets and counters. We went back and forth over the design and choices. He gave us a start date six weeks out. Four weeks later, he called to tell us the cabinets were in and could he begin the next day.

Yikes! We'd lolly-gagged around, thinking about emptying the kitchen, doing absolutely nothing. One day! Holy hell! Terry dashed around clearing table tops and setting up portable tables. I filled them as fast as he made them available. Where ever did we get so much stuff? My first inclination was to sort each drawer, each cabinet, before stacking dishes, glassware, cooking items, on said cleared tables. With one day to accomplish this herculean task, sorting went out the window. Did I really have that many glasses? Really? How many did I need?

And the spices and condiments. Where did these all come from? Some were how old? Six years? No way. I use all these spices and herbs all the time. They can't be that old. Actually, some were more than a decade old. I couldn't believe how much I had in my cupboards. Yes, I cook a lot. I use tons of herbs and spices, but it seems I use the same ones all the time. I couldn't remember the last time I used Chinese Five Spices. The use-by date was in the last century. I tossed the bottle.

And how many pie plates does one cook need? I had 11. I now have three in different sizes. This year at the holidays we used two. Maybe I have one too many. Loaf pans. Six was three too many. If I couldn't remember when I last used something, it went into the Goodwill box. Or boxes. By the time I was through sorting, I had thirteen larges boxes of stuff to donate.

Now, none of this really has anything to do with the title of this little essay. Except that it does. We constantly lost something during the construction. First it was some of the wine glasses. See the top picture. Then it was the silverware. Our joking question became, "Where are the spoons?" Same place they were for a month or so. On a bar stool in one of the guest bedrooms.

And now, a year after construction is complete, duplicates have found their way to Goodwill and we have the kitchen completely put back together, we will look around, turn in a circle and ask, "Where are the spoons?" And we still have no good answer beyond "right where we left them/"

Do you have a similar story? If so, please share it.

Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Leah St. James said...

Nothing like having to empty a kitchen to make you look at all your "stuff"! My husband and I moved every year for our first ten years of marriage--from one apartment to another, one state to another, then a third state, with multiple apartments in each. Even with that yearly clean-out, we still managed to hang on to things we didn't need. (By the way, I'm glad I'm not the only one with decades-old spices in my cupboards!) Here's to finding all the lost spoons!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

When we decided to move from Columbia, MD to Lynchburg, VA, we lived in a three-story townhouse, Calvin had lived in it for thirty-five years. He still had his son's Tonka trucks, soda can collection, and rock collection. To say nothing of forty years of teaching plans and books--oh God, the books, his and mine! When I'd moved my things in two years earlier, it was a challenge to find room for it all. We had stuff jammed in every nook and cranny. We began throwing things out in January for our move in July. We donated more than we moved...and we moved A lot. We must be collectors.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Hmmmm. I thought we were supposed to have decades old spices in our cupboards. No? Love the line about the spoons being on a bar stool in one of the guest bedrooms. Sounds like our house! Even without the construction. ;-)

Betsy Ashton said...

It was quite an experience, one that I won't have to go through again. And about the spices. I didn't replace all of them. I knew the ones I like, so those I replaced.

Vonnie, I moved about 1/3 of my mother's book collection three times, before I realized I would never read her favorites. She would have been happy to know they went to nursing homes, Goodwill and libraries for others to share and love.

Rolynn Anderson said...

I'm an Army Brat, Betsy...I moved so much in my youth-learned to travel light. We've moved enough in my marriage to sort out the needed from the not...but it was our CA kitchen remodel that taught me how to throw. I lost four huge kitchen cupboards in the new design, opening the kitchen to our huge living space. Now I don't buy unless I know what space that new 'thing' will occupy. And yes, I have to hunt all over the house for some things! (Which often means, I improvise!)

Jannine Gallant said...

We've been in our house for 19 years. I may never move or remodel!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I've been married 47 years and we've moved 23 times. Keep in mind we have lived in one home nearly 10 years and in another 8 years. Soooo...we do a clean out every time we move. The saying is moss doesn't gather on a rolling stone, right?

Diane Burton said...

We remodeled the kitchen in our old house. Hubs gutted it. What a mess, but afterwards it was wonderful. In some ways, I miss that kitchen. When we moved to the new house (one we built), I had to make decisions on what to keep (before packing it) then daughter helped empty the boxes. She was ruthless. LOL Do you really need 4 sets of measuring cups, Mom? Well, uh . . . Wham, into the box for charity. Wish she'd helped me pack.

Alicia Dean said...

Ha! Oh my gosh, 11 pie plates? I think maybe that was a few more than you needed. Yes, every time I've moved, I've gotten rid of things, but I still keep way too much. I have three book shelves overflowing with books. If I went through them, I would be able to part with some, but not all. Even though I may never read them again, I love keeping my favorites. They're treasures!