Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Kitchen Corner Makeover in Under Two Hours

We had dinner at a friend's home once and our hostess commented about a box sitting in the corner of her living room. It was full of stuff she'd received from a family member and she hadn't really known where to store it. So it had sat there. For a year. In the living room. For a year. Some people might have silently judged her. Personally, I was excited to have found a kindred spirit. Someone just like me. Often when I don't know what to do with something or some small unorganized corner of our apartment I don't do anything. I take the approach of an ostrich sticking it's head in the sand in the face of approaching danger. Ignoring the problem. For embarrassingly long periods of time. Then at some point (usually after "the problem" is covered in a layer of dust, disease, and potentially growing things) I get angry, say insulting things to it, and then go about vanquishing the enemy. Last week I reached that point with a corner of my kitchen.

A rusty shelf on wheels left over from our old apartment. An apron hanging from the window crank. A box of miscellaneous souvenir cups that we can't seem to throw away but don't really want. Car upholstery cleaner. A tire repair kit. A nice collection of empty coffee containers that we fill with old grounds. (Because we learned that if we throw yesterday's coffee grounds into the regular trashcan in our open-air apartment, they attract maggots within 24 hours. Gross. But true.) Our clean drinking water. Dog food. A bottle of watered-down dish soap. That was my corner. And it was coated in a thick layer of damp dusty grime that you cannot see in the picture. I hated that corner. I have no idea where half that stuff came from and why it was living in my kitchen.

We recently discovered that the magical world of Fruit Bowl has started selling potted organic herbs grown locally on St. Thomas. (If you live on St. Thomas, go support that endeavor! Now!)  I think those plants were what triggered my sudden anger at that kitchen corner. Why was I allowing a old GI Joe lunch box thermos and five year old upholstery cleaner take up a potential home for my new plant friends?

So my Thursday evening check-list looked like this:
- Dust everything
- Put miscellaneous items away in their proper home
- Deal with box of random cups that we didn't really want but couldn't throw away
- Clean the shelf and spray paint it white
- Replant the herbs into empty pots

Simple, right? And so at 5pm on Thursday it began. I had two hours before it got dark. I dragged our faithful old drop cloth outside and scraped off the worst of the rust on the shelf. Then I gave it 2-3 (or 7...I can't help myself) quick coats of white spray paint. Confession: I am a spray paint-aholic. This will not be the last you hear of me and spray paint. This time I used Harris spray paint. It was my first experience with Harris Paint. It was half the price of Rustoleum (less than $2.50) but only seemed to work half as well.  Next time I'll just cough up the $5 for Rustoleum.

Seth offered to re-plant the herbs for me. After he got set up with the plants and potting soil I asked if he'd replant basically every other plant inside and outside that I've been meaning to get to for the past three months. Of course I kept asking him one plant at a time, so he didn't see it coming until he was surrounded by a jungle. He's so nice. And patient. And nice. On a whim of mine, he even made a pot for the oregano by nailing some drainage holes into the bottom of one of those old camping mugs.

While I painted, he planted just a few feet away. Not a bad way to spend an evening, right? And there you go. That's that. Under 2 hours and an entirely new kitchen corner. A little spray paint and effort was all it took. Why does it take me months and months to get to minor projects like this? Now instead of saying angry things to the hated corner, I smile and whisper nice things to it whenever I go into the kitchen.

I might not be lying about that last part. I also might have simply reshuffled the box of unwanted dusty cups to another corner of the kitchen. Sigh. I'll get to them in six months...

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