I may, finally and at long last, be Growing Up.
Look, I'm sorry to drop that on you without any sort of skid-greasing or fluffing-up, but with things like this, I feel it's better to do it with all alacrity and speed. Like removing a Bandaid--real quick, all in one motion, right off. You go ahead, however, and take as much time as you need. There, there.
(And don't let the fact that I'm writing this while wearing my adult-sized blanket sleeper change this New Reality. I forgot to do my laundry, and all my grown-up pajamas were in that load. When I finally remembered to put it in the washer/dryer, it was awfully late to go down to the freezing cold basement to retrieve it. I was actually being quite Maturely Resourceful when I put on my footie pj's.)
But I digress.
Several clues led me to the conclusion that I was truly Growing Up. The Major one involved this:
This is my kitchen. Or, I should say, it was my kitchen. Not anymore. Rick and I discovered quite some time ago that the red and white tiles were damaged. Some were cracked and some had deep pits and dents in them, mostly near the counter where you see the round cutting board, in front of the sink, and across from there in front of the stove. The culprits were my high heels, which I wore for thirty years in that kitchen, coming home from school and immediately prepping for dinner, starting something in the oven or on the stovetop. The red laminate countertop is faded and dulled in spots where we tried several different potions to take out wine stains, permanent marker, and various skidmarks made by dragging small appliances across it. When the kitchen was first complete, St. Patsy walked in and covered her eyes. "Oh, Nance!" she exclaimed. "How in the world can you cook in here with all this red?"
My kitchen now looks like a war zone, and those of you who have had kitchen remods can sympathize. I'm not going into details except to say that some strange Grownup Nance took over and said, "I'd like to go all the way down to the original hardwood floors in here. I don't care if they're not perfect. I want a sort of rustic, homey, farm kitchen kind of look." And so we are. We have to wait until March for the floor guy we want, and at present the floor looks like this:
but it's okay. That's solid oak, and in March it will be lovely. Most of what you see will be sanded and buffed away. Any imperfections left will add character and warmth. My house was built in the late twenties or early thirties. That floor has earned its marks.
Our other improvement would be new countertops. This was a real heart-tugger for me because if I gave up my red on the floor, I couldn't bear to give it up on the countertops. As it happened, our choice of stone for the job did come in a true red. I was so torn. We left the showroom having given instructions to the salesman to figure the cost for both the red and a simple white with a subtle vein of very light grey. We stopped for dinner on the way home, and over sandwiches and drinks in the bar (the warmest spot in the place), we discussed our options. (I had fish tacos, by the way, but the menu allowed a no-upcharge sub of shrimp for fish. How lovely and sensible. I told someone else this, and she asked me why I didn't like fish. "And don't say 'because it tastes fishy'," she said to me. "What do you expect fish to taste like?" It's not that I don't expect it to taste like fish. The taste of fish is precisely what I don't like. If bananas tasted fishy, I wouldn't like them, either! Most people hate liver. Why? Because of its taste. Just because they don't say, 'because it tastes livery' doesn't get them off the hook, metaphorically speaking.)
But I digress.
Anyway, we talked about the countertops, and Rick maintained that I should get what I wanted, meaning the red. Strange Grownup Nance (who didn't complain that her martini olive was alone and without a toothpick) said, "But red is awfully specific. It's going to detract from the saleability of our house. Even if we don't sell until ten years from now, some potential buyers might look at that red and be very put off. I can still have my red drawer and cabinet pulls and use red as an accent. The white will brighten up the kitchen. It will be okay." So the new white countertops are being installed in a couple of weeks. I am surprisingly okay with it.
You know, I can remember when the boys were much, much younger and the days were full and going by at breakneck speed. I was teaching and stressed; Rick was working at a job where his day consisted of doing nothing but solving problems and soothing clients and putting out metaphorical fires. There were times when he or I would turn to the other and say, "Please--can you be the grownup today? I just cannot do it." Thank goodness one of us would suck it up and put on the Grownup Pants and get through it.
Being The Grownup is Hard! That's why it has taken me so long to become one. Oh sure, I have been a Pseudo-Grownup for years, but the difference between the two is this: Resentment. Once you can let go of resentment and a sort of over-arching need for Revenge, you are a Real Grownup. Here are some recent examples:
Blizzard Conditions Forecast: The Old Nance becomes incensed. She crabs to everyone. She does a blogpost about shitty Ohio weather. Hurls profane tirades at all weather forecasters during their news segments. New Grownup Nance: Makes a run to the pie shop, drops off the ski band she knitted for her sister, keeps hydrated to stave off headaches, plans pork roast for Sunday.
Garnier Fructis Discontinues Another Product: As I predicted back in August, Garnier has discontinued its HiRise Root Lifter spray, a hairstyling product I adored and used daily. The Old Nance would have written a lengthy missive to Garnier/L'Oreal. In it would be statistics regarding the popularity of voluminous hairstyles, blowouts, and women who want thicker, fuller hair. It would also include the market share growth, or lack thereof, of Garnier since they discontinued the various Body Boost products I loved. I would also have immediately driven to every store in a 10-mile radius to hopefully buy any remaining product. New Grownup Nance: I went to Sally Beauty Supply and asked for a similar product that has been popular with local customers.
My Fantasy Basketball Team Sucks: Due to being in the championship last year, my team (renamed The PuppyCats) had a lousy draft and is plagued by injury. I am currently holding down 6th place...out of ten teams. Ugh. Old Nance would be researching players, jiggering lineups, wheedling trades, and grumping around like a troll. New Grownup Nance is Waiting For Next Year.
I'm not embarrassed to say that I am a Slow Learner in the area of Growing Up. Some of us acquire grace later in life, when we have more time to recognize the need. Some of us needed to be able to focus on our own development, not on others'. And still others of us finally took a look around and found a few people who showed us a thing or two. Or more. Better late than never, right?
So, what about you Grownups or GrowingUps? How's that going for you? Or, at the very least, what do you think of my kitchen plans?
(Oh, and the pies were one large pecan, and two "personal" pies, a lemon and a coconut cream. We're well-stocked for winter weather now!)