Monday, January 22, 2007

Where Oh Where Is Bob Vila?

We recently submitted a plea for a kitchen makeover on live TV. Here is our story.

A mid-century house with a mid-century kitchen. Sadly those mid-century owners didn’t leave anything remotely cool or fun like say a vintage KitchenAid mixer. Instead – several homeowners and no remodelings later – Vince and I purchased this home to a very unimpressive kitchen (but hey, it was slightly bigger and more alluring than those teeny condo kitchens).

We bought our house almost two years ago (March 2005) and were initially thinking the kitchen had some potential. The first thing we noticed were the dual corner sinks. “Whoa,” we thought. DIFFERENT. Obviously it had to be cool and functional. A few months into scrubbing some pots and pans that didn’t fit into the “cool” sink, and we quickly realized this double sink was shallow and dingy. Our modest attempt at “modernizing” the sink with a kick ass chrome spout was foiled when the force of the water hitting the shallow sink splashed back at us, on us, and all over the counter top and backsplash.

This brings us to the hideous backsplash that covers the walls behind our sink. The walls are covered in some off white colored linoleum counter or floor material which bizarrely has seams running down the middle of it?! Once upon a time the homeowners thought this was an ingenious idea? So much so that the metal trim corners – now rusting, bent, and warped – proved to be an added aesthetic? They were so excited with how wonderful this would look on their walls that they didn’t measure properly and oops, only had enough to go part way up the wall. No worries…that’s what light pink paint is for, right? What happened to just leaving and painting drywall? I guess that was too simple.

I’ll give the old homeowners a little benefit of the doubt. Clearly they were not well when they took on the linoleum backsplash project. They thought they’d balance their mistake and ensuing bad karma by installing some cabinets themselves. This was clearly pre Bob Vila’s Kitchens and Bathrooms. Maybe they found them at Sears…or on the curb...who knows? They barely match, have scratches and dents all over the place, and are flush against the ceiling so a 5’3” woman must haul a chair into the kitchen to retrieve a can of peas. But wait! It gets better! Flush against the ceiling and at different levels (I really don’t think our house has settled so much that installed cabinets would slope), but they do. These handymen, so inspired by the Handyman Negrey of the day, felt that a makeshift wood trim barely adhered to the wall would suffice as a cover up. “JUST COVER IT UP,” they thought. “No one will know!” They’d be long gone by the time that makeshift trim came tumbling down exposing their shoddy craftsmanship.

And what was a dishwasher back in the day but a luxury item. It wasn’t with the house so we purchased one with some of our wedding money, but because the layout of our kitchen is so poor and the pots/pans cabinet was directly next to/beneath the sink, it had to stay…which meant another cabinet clear across the room had to be gutted and the new dishwasher had a home four feet from the sink. Needless to say, dishwashers are lifesavers and while we are happy to have one, loading it is a royal pain. Stack the dishes to our left, carry across the floor (drip drip drip), then load it. Adding insult to injury, the install wasn’t perfect (and this is 2006! The husband has no excuse – those Bob Vila books are next to nothing on Amazon). He used an old cabinet base to cover it but it wasn’t the correct width…there are gaping holes on either side of the dishwasher and the counter top doesn’t match the remaining peel and stick countertops. Which I might add are old, peeling up, and stained. Was this the decade when everything was made of plastic or some synthetic?

What else? I mentioned the trip-over-you, nonfunctioning layout. The stove is far from the fridge, the fridge is adjacent to a half wall (also a do it yourself project) that wobbles to and fro, the sink is useless and the dishwasher across makes no sense. The floors - again with linoleum (is there a theme here?) - are cracked and stained. This kitchen is the bane of our existence and everyday we dream of taking a jackhammer and demo-ing out the entire thing, replacing the old appliances and creating a more conducive layout for two newlyweds that enjoy cooking.

PLEASE help us. As cool as vintage and mid-century stuff is, a mid-century kitchen with all its oldness lurking in corners, shadows and behind spaces is not something any homeowner wants in a modern age. We’re desperate and we promise to laugh and make fun and even help in whatever way we can if you select us to be on your show!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Running: A Poem

She sprinted up the hill
Singing along to a favorite song
Unaware that the keys fell
And hit the ground.
A good half mile from the house,
When her workout was complete,
She slid her hand into the fleece
And did realize then they were MIA
And had to retrace her steps
And pray to St. Anthony
Until she found them
Sprawled across the middle of the street.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guess That Curse Word

Some days - even when I don't even work with the boy anymore - I effing HATE Jonathan. Even when I'm gone, he pulls c**ksucker sneaky moves.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Today is my second week as a nanny. I part time in the later afternoon for two fraternal twin boys, aged 10. They rock...I seriously couldn't ask for two better kids. They are responsible, accountable, involved, smart, open...Having put up with so much BS over the last few years, this experience is refreshing.

I popped some popcorn for the boys today and recall doing the same at the Pie for Steve's son, Junior. Jon and I were like the work parents of the boy. While we couldn't comprehend how popcorn was a vegetable, we popped it and let Junior munch away, ask us questions about the business, skate around on his slick black sneaker skates and then look at each other and shrug when Steve scolded us for letting Junior do stuff he shouldn't (we thought it looked like fun skating on the hardwood floors!?)...

Somedays I do miss that...miss the daily interactions with Jon. Except that we spent a great deal of time confused and annoyed and bitter at our work situation. I move forward and resist the temptation to text or call daily to hear familiar voices. It's nice when we talk about something other than that place. But we aren't there...yet?

I remember when I first started at the Pie and everyday for 3 months I wanted to call Baylin and hear voices. That was one of the toughest transitions. Prior to that, I'd been laid off, cut loose without the chance to say goodbye really. I left BAM, a family practically, on good terms but definitely before I truly wanted to leave. Of course because of the circumstances surrounding my leave, I also buried most of my transitional feelings - I didn't call because even though I wanted to hear voices, there'd be talk of conferences that I wasn't of an artist or school that wasn't my responsibility anymore. I didn't want to be angry so I ignored the sadness, the hurt, and just focused on being in a new place. I got through the first couple of months by listening to the voices that still played in my head...when I was confused about a sale or how to handle something, I'd think, What would Marc do? How would BAM handle this? And I'd find my answer, smile and feel comforted. But then Jon returned and we instantly connected and while a few insecurities crept up last year, I knew then I had a partner there and I was in a better place.

One year later I am out of there...and nowhere near as sad during this transition. I don't call Jon simply because I don't want to rehash the same old gossip. I also want to see if the "friendship" withstands the nonworking environment. The Pie was the transition time. The rest time before the surge forward. I suppose Jon was part of the transition. It was to get me past the BAM issues, past the insane commute, past Vince's mother's passing, past our wedding plans, past whatever lingering insecurities I had. I am glad I am here, on the other side.

I wonder though...these situations and people prepared me and were transitions for me...ultimately bringing me to this point. But what was I to them?