Wednesday, February 05, 2014

It Happened One Night: I Reach A Milestone In My Development

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!)

image here


  1. Why don't you get a red backsplash for the kitchen? You can always get a plain one when it's time to sell the house.

  2. Anonymous11:29 AM

    I've been living with cheap, crappy bed sheets from Target for most of my life, and I finally went and bought slightly nicer sheets from Target last night. The catalyst for the change was the fact that you're coming to visit!

  3. We did a kitchen remodel last summer just before we became The International House of Fractures. New quartz countertop, dark brown, sort of like a tortoiseshell cat, with an undermounted sink. I hope you're getting the undermounted sink, you will NEVER be sorry.

    Dress your kitchen up with red accessories, like a red apple cookie jar or a bright red teakettle, or (my favorite) a red Keurig coffeemaker. Kitchen towels are also good.

  4. I could not wait to grow up. As a kid, I was never really given much choice about ANYTHING and constantly felt like I was a disappointment to one and all. So when I got my driver's license at 17, my first grown-up decision was to stop going to church. I couldn't tell my parents (that would be a disappointment, after all), so I lied about it. That pattern continues with my mother, to some extent, to this day. Isn't that stupid? Old patterns die hard.

    In all other aspects of my life, I REALLY like being the grown-up. After some real hiccups at the beginning of my decision-making days, I finally got the hang of it. If it isn't already pretty obvious, I have a terribly high opinion of my opinion, and I usually am right about a lot of things. Can we say arrogance? Fortunately, age has mellowed much of that, and has slowed down the acid tongue of condescension. Now I just try to get along at my day job, enjoy my daughter, our horses, and our riding students, and watch a bit of television for relaxation. That to me is being a grown-up--understanding priorities, taking care of obligations, and enjoying the good moments that happen every day.

    And the kitchen remodel sounds lovely. Be sure to post an "after" photo of the oak floors. I love the ultra-modern look most of all, but there is nothing like a beautiful hardwood floor to warm up a kitchen.

  5. LaFF--I don't remember being in a hurry to grow up. I do remember being in a hurry to get married because I hated always being apart from Rick. You're right about much of Being A Grownup: priorities and obligations and balancing the two are a large part of it. The balancing act gets easier now that there is more time and the kids are not kids anymore. But there is always something waiting to fill that spot!

    Thanks for the encouragement. Sometime, when all is accomplished, I'll sneak a photo into a post.

    Fauxprof--I am getting an undermounted sink. Holy crap, are sinks expensive! I was outraged when I heard the price of a little old single-bowl stainless. "That's ridiculous!" I told the man. "They ought to be ashamed of themselves." Your countertop sounds gorgeous. My kitchen is so very tiny and narrow that if I put anything dark in, I'd feel like I was cooking in a stairwell.

    I do have red accents already, as you can see a bit in the photo. I have a bright red stand mixer out, and some pictures framed in red. And you're right about towels, too. Got those already! I think it will be okay.

    Mikey/emengee--You didn't have to go get new sheets. Besides,aren't I sleeping on the couch? Are we having nice weather? Actually, anything that isn't snow is perfect.

    phoebes in sf--I thought about that, I really did. For now, we're getting the white stone backsplash, but since I'm not completely attached to the wallpaper right above the sink, we are considering doing some tight-fitting tilework there. Enter my red! It may be a sort of homage to my red and white floor, or we might just use white and have a random red tile every now and again.

  6. Kitchen sounds great - and bright,that being my definition of kitchen bliss.
    I don't suppose I will ever grow up. I guess you are going to have to be the grownup in our blog relationship.
    Mostly. Sometimes I almost get there.

    Is there another kind of pie besides lemon?

  7. I like liver, but I need, like you, my fish to taste like something else.

  8. Anonymous11:29 PM

    I'd guess high temperatures in the low 60s and low temperatures in the high 40s. Maybe a bit of rain. But we've got a whole week before you come, so it could fluctuate a bit. Still, better than Ohio.

    And no, I'm taking the couch. You're going through the hassle of coming all the way here, so you get to sleep in a real bed. It's really the least I could do.

  9. Mikey--That sounds peachy. No bundling up in heavy coats and mittens. We can do rock-paper-scissors for the bed.

    Mary G--I love liver as long as it's not interrupted with bacon. Hate that. Bacon is bossy. And if one has to dress up fish to taste other than what it is, then why bother? Just take fish oil capsules for the health benefits and eat what one likes.

    Yes, the new kitchen components will still leave my area nice and bright, something not lacking in my former kitchen, which I loved so much. But it was time for change, and little by little, I think we'll be changing a few things throughout the house. I really wish the basics--like carpet, sinks, etc--weren't so darned expensive! It's ridiculous. I'm still not over the sink, and trust me, the cost per window of our last home project is still frosting my cupcakes.

    And I do this FOR FREE!

  10. I guess I'm not grown up yet because I would have had to go for the red counters & damn the consequences! :)

  11. Dear Nance,

    Do not take your potential buyer into consideration for one minute in deciding the colors for your kitchen.

    After being a Real Estate agent for many years I can tell you that I don't care what color your counters are, some little snip will come in there and buy your house,after wheedling a promise from the hubby that she can have a new kitchen to "Make her own".

    These young people today want, in the first year of their marriage, the same type of house their parents have after they have been working for 25 years.

    I guarantee you, when my house is sold the first thing in my driveway will be a dumpster to take all the countertops and cabinets and flooring from my kitchen to the landfill.

    You will realize that this is true if you will try to remember all the different kitchen appliance colors we have gone through in the past 30 years. There was the ever popular Harvest Gold, then the Olive Green, followed by Almond ,then Black and now, Stainless. Oh,wait,I forgot White!

    Please replace your red countertops with new red countertops, because that is what YOU like and enjoy. Believe me, no matter what colors you choose, when your home is sold you will also have a dumpster in your driveway.

  12. Nancy--Too late! The white tops are coming on Thursday. I know you may be right; however, I do think that it's time for a change. With the darker floors, the red might have been too much. White will balance it out nicely and lighten things up.

    Oh, my do I ever recall the everchanging appliance colours! My mom had a thing for the brown when it came out. We had that bronze colour in the kitchen, and we had the dreaded avocado green in the living room--Early American, don't you know.

    The Bug--Oh, I know you would have! But at least we still have my cows.

  13. I guess I'm a grownup. I feel pretty grownup when we pay taxes and so on, but then again, I also feel like a kid who hasn't done a very good job of saving and making lots of money and all of those things that I thought grownups did.

    Exciting about your kitchen! We redid ours when we had our house on the market, and I love the sink and the counters. The stove I dislike, and the fridge I hate. But we didn't want to get too spendy for appliances we weren't going to use. Then we couldn't sell, and here we are, with crummy appliances. Get what YOU want, always. And I think the white with red accents will be lovely.

  14. Ah, the Joys of Growing Up! I have decided to call this "Growing Down" in honour of a book I read years ago called "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple." It's sort of a "don't sweat the small stuff" of, er, people of 'advancing age.' So my "growing down" theory is that we should aim to "grow down" in the sense of kicking back and realizing that, while it may be therapeutic to write a 'grouse' piece about pet peeves, there are certain things that are always pet peeves, and which we suffer less from if we just put on a brave face and enjoy the process of dealing with it successfully instead of agonizing over the inevitable again and again.

    I adore your red countertops (thank you for posting the pic!), but fully agree with you on future saleability of the house, if that is a serious factor in your plans, and the idea of red accents which are more "removable."

  15. Ortizzle-I get it, and I agree. It's more of a wallow and bitch thing to write the grousing and pet-peeved thing--a way to say, "Isn't it a pain, and please be company for my misery because I know you've had it happen too." I no longer get completely outraged about much anymore except a republican or two and the occasional societal jaw-dropper. Not because some things don't deserve it, but because I simply can't give it my time and have a joyfully relaxed life. It's someone else's turn.

    And thank you for your kind words about my kitchen. I think I will miss the red, but am going to be happy with my decision.

    J@jj--You bring up a really good point. On one hand, if you want to sell, you really don't want to put a lot of money into a home that you intend to leave. On the other, you do have to live there until it does sell, and you'd hate to be uncomfortable or go without things that you know you'd love. We've had that discussion/dilemma a few times. It's hard to find the right balance.

    I'm very hopeful to have things almost complete the second week of March. That's when the floor will be done. The counters and sink will be done sometime early next week at the latest.

  16. We are both serial movers and serial home renovators, thanks to MrL and corporate moves. We have renovated every kitchen of every house we have owned. However, since we always know we will be moving sooner or later, we tend to go with whatever the 'standard' is for the neighborhood (or a little bit nicer, if we can afford it.) I'm sure your realtor friend is correct that a lot of people want a new kitchen, but remodeling/renovating has always helped us immensely, because we have found that most of the buyers in our price range have no desire to move into a house and immediately undergo/pay for a kitchen renovation, and they're happy if the homeowners have already suffered through it for them. If you really are going to sell in a few years, I think your restrained choice was a wise one - speaking purely from our own experience. Of course, we have had 2 rental kitchens here in Seoul and it has been a real exercise in patience - no storage space, and ovens so tiny you have to push hard to squeeze 1 muffin tin into them. Without a doubt, what I miss most about home is a normal oven (oh, and one that's marked in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, please...) Have tagged you in a question thingy over on my blog if you feel like playing. Otherwise, continue to enjoy your kitchen and I'll keep my fingers crossed that your winter is almost over..

  17. Ms. Caroline--Thank you for the support re: my kitchen decisions. I just returned from a California Getaway, and my VERY WHITE kitchen took me quite by surprise in its brightwhiteness. I miss my red counters, but I was thinking like a buyer, much as you described: after paying for a house in a decent neighborhood, one of the pluses would be that the kitchen was something that did NOT need doing for a long time. It might push a potential buyer over into being a motivated buyer.

    I will take a look at the question thingy and see if I can do it. I'm not always a meme-type person, but one never knows. Thanks for the no-pressure invite.


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