i don't like my kitchen. i mean, i really don't like it.
which is not a good thing because i spend so much time in it.
it's not a bad kitchen. it's actually kinda cute. i guess. except that it was filthy when i moved in. which pissed me off. the cabinet full of liquor left behind mitigated that somewhat...but still.
plus, the rental ad touted it as a 'chef's kitchen.' so i was excited until i was standing in it and i was like, uhhh...chef's kitchen? chef who? chef boyardee?
i have always maintained it's not the kitchen, but the cook. if you can cook, you can cook anywhere. with any set up. but i REALLY do not like my kitchen.
because it's not my kitchen. in my house. 3200 miles away. and before you start rolling your eyes and stop reading because this is another maudlin post about how a sillymortalmama lost her house and can't let the fuck go...don't. because it's not. at least i think it's not. sometimes i don't know until the x. goes at the bottom what's going to come out. anyway...where was i?
oh yeah. okay, so i keep a running list in my head about all the shortcomings my kitchen now has. and i mutter them while i'm cooking in said kitchen. or hand washing the millionth tub of dishes that day (no dishwasher) or rescuing small items from the monster of a garbage disposal (not another measuring spoon! the tip top of the blender? great! sigh.) or battling ants and lack of space and the never learned to shop or cook bachelor sized refrigerator i could go on and on somebody slap me.
plus. it's charmless. my old kitchen had windows and light and space and the classical station was always on. in my kitchen now, it won't come in. the classical station. it's cold and the light is bad. plus the neighbors have full view of everything i do. but if i draw a shade then there's no light. somebody slap me. really.
okay. so yesterday i was sitting in the green chair in the corner by the window in the living room. thinking about how things are these days. how my life used to be. and how it is now. how i miss my house, my life before. and my dad. my family. and my friends. thanksgiving is coming and we are so far away. (it's okay. i'm still within time limits for grieving. for all of it. don't send the men in the white coats quite yet. unless of course they're here to clean. or tell me my hair looks pretty.)
i was thinking my favorite thoughts about how this house is too small and my office doesn't work and i can't find anything. good lord i do go on. and thinking about how i don't leave the house except to do things for other people. how i've lost my sparkle. and how hard it is without sparkle.
and i just sat there. wondering if this was it. you know, it. like this is your life from here on out. so get comfortable sister because you have arrived. in this house that's too small and in this life that's filled with loss. go you.
(you know what's coming, right?)
and then i thought about something my cousin, dane posted on a certain social networking site earlier that day. i don't know why, as it didn't really fit with what was flitting about. but it kinda niggled in and held on so i went to the computer and looked it up.
*Positive and attractive feelings such as security and confidence are similar to their polar opposites insecurity and jealousy in that they often end up becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.*
not a new concept, but seen right when i needed it. holy shit. i'm fucking my own self up. yeah, those things happened. and it hurts. still. sure. life's rough. tell me about it. and i do tell y'all about it. but if you spend your time telling yourself how rough it is, well that's just dumb. crap. i know this. i do. why do i keep having to re-LEARN it. SOMEBODY SLAP ME.
i live here in this small house. in this life. i live here now. i won't have a different kitchen anytime soon. i won't see my family for thanksgiving. or go a day without missing people anytime soon. it's not going to happen. so what am i going to do about it?
so i thought about my kitchen. why i focused on that i don't know, but that's what flitted in. and i wondered how in the world can i make it work. HURDLE. big hurdle.
and i swear the hand of the divine reached out and smacked me right in the ass. it hit me. (i mean the idea, not the metaphorical hand of the divine.) i got up i went into the kitchen and i grabbed the cutting board from where it always is for prep and i grabbed the onions and the garlic and the chilies from where they are by the oils and the cooking utensils the knives and the stove.
and i switched them.
i put the cutting board by the stove. i put the onions and garlic and chilies where the cutting board was.
i switched them.
and i discovered that prepping where i was was making me crazy. because there's no dishwasher so there are always dishes on the counter by where the prep space was. and no matter how often i do dishes it's ALWAYS a chaotic jumble right there. and the onions and garlic and chilies just spilled out onto the other counter making it impossible to use the space for anything but as a place to have STUFF.
so i switched them.
and i discovered a world of calm at the other counter. free of chaos. closer to the stove. walking across the kitchen with what i prepped to the stove was making me crazy. and it was stupid. why did i not see it before?
because i set that kitchen up in a haze of loss. through tears and irritation.
and i never revisited that. never once saw what i had done, and was continuing to do to myself.
and you know what else? with the onions and garlic and chilies gone the classical station comes in loud and clear. i kid you not. isn't that something? if i could make shit up like this i would. and make millions.
and then the husband moved the under cabinet light to the new prep space and it's the best lighting we've ever had. and it was a pleasure to be in the kitchen last night. and this morning making breakfast and preparing lunches with dvorak on the radio i actually found myself humming.
i don't hum.
i'm fond of saying it's the little things. that the big things are never really what do you in. because you can see them coming. and you HAVE to deal with them. so you just do. it's the little things that do you in. swooping in totally out of the blue and leaving you lying broken on the floor.
like a stupid cutting board in the wrong place.
and it does make me wonder where else i can 'move the cutting board.' i mean shit, where to start, right? every one of us has that running list in our heads. but what if instead of letting it hang us up because we'll never tick everything off, what if we abandon the idea of ticking those items off altogether? what if instead of ticking we go for tweaking? just a bit here. a bit there. you aren't going to have a different kitchen soon? fine. move the cutting board.
it seems simplistic, sure. but the moment we decide to let our lives be about the 'positive and attractive feelings,' quit muttering our lists aloud, let our lives be about the small tweaks to get us to the next step, about tweaking *instead* of ticking, that's the moment we don't define our lives by 'this moment.'
life is made up of a string of moments. no one moment defines us. so why should we let it?
so that's my story. i moved the cutting board. one foot in front of the other. lather rinse repeat.