One of the great joys of traveling is coming home. It is such a relief to touch down at the airport and know that you’ll soon be in your place, your room. Finally you can sleep in your own bed, surrounded by the accumulation of your possessions. You can eat when and what you want. You can drive yourself. Oh such bliss.
I had that for about an hour and then I went into pre-renovation mode. Every cupboard, every drawer, every shelf had to be emptied. Not only emptied but put someplace. Sure there was much that I just got rid of – so glad to have a Goodwill donation spot just blocks from my home – but most of what filled the kitchen were useful items, items which need to be kept.
I filled box after box, bag after bag stashing the kitchen contents in the garage, the garden shed, the guest bedroom, the guest bathroom tub (no one ever uses it) and anywhere else I could eek out a square inch. But I had to also keep in mind that I would need to set up a remote kitchen or I would be forced to eat out three meals a day for the next few months!
The back porch, an un-insulated, dusty place was my only option. The futon, bar, table, chest and bookshelf that used to fill it – all went out on the front lawn with “Free – Take Me Home” signs. At some point the few dollars I could make selling them was not worth the effort. I moved a bed and a table into the room. On the table – a toaster over, a microwave, an electric kettle. I figure with those items I could make coffee, grill, fry, reheat, toast and perhaps even bake (see the NPR story about making brownies in a mug in the microwave).
I work best under a deadline so I scheduled the movers to come the day after I landed home. They cleared away all the heavy furniture I couldn’t move myself. My little kitchen porch had to receive the washer and dryer. The garage got everything else.
All the furniture was moved into the now very cluttered living room or joined the items on the front lawn. I was reminded of a parable. A man went to his rabbi and said his house was too small but he couldn’t afford a bigger place, what was he to do. The rabbi told him to invite his brother and his family to stay with them and have his wife invite her siblings to come with their family. They should stay for no less than a week and no more than two. That would solve the problem. The man didn’t see how this could fix his problem but he followed the directions of his rabbi. Days later the house was crammed with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. People could barely get past each other. At night every inch of floor space was taken up with people sleeping side by side. There was barely room for air to circulate. At the end of the two weeks all the guests left. When the last person had walked out the front door the husband and wife turned to each other and exclaimed at how much space they had.
After consolidating the contents of a bedroom, a bathroom, a dining room and a family room into a porch and a living room – my house will feel so much larger once I get to spread out again!
Today, the pre-demo walk through with the contractor. Fingers crossed!