Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Laboring Day

We remodeled our kitchen this summer and I know why we chose to undertake the task. For twenty years we lived with a sub-par kitchen that was shoddily decorated and badly mistreated before we moved here, and has since suffered the abuse of four children, a dog, a cat, endless lines of friends, parties, and good living. It had become a depressing place no matter how much I cleaned and organized. Occasional bright new curtains only sagged the shoulders of the rest of the room in despair.

For us this room was the last redo in a fixer-upper house. It's time had come. The gouged and grungy oak cabinets have been sanded and refinished. The torn up flooring replaced. The dingy, ripped wall-paper removed, a leaky old window is gone. Colors updated, everything cleaned, the kitchen is a friendly place once again.

During the renovation process I had to make countless trips to the home improvement store. Over this past long weekend I had occasion to go there once again on a too-hot Sunday afternoon, tuckered out from work, and on the crabby side. I looked around at the other shoppers and saw in their countenances the way I felt. Red-faced, breathing harder than normal, hair disheveled, work clothes damp with sweat, eye-brows slightly raised and scrunched together with that 'hurry up and get out, I don't want to be here' look.

"That's what I look like, I know it," I thought to myself as I stopped in my tracks too suddenly, causing the couple behind me to bump into me, starting an apology war. "Oh, excuse me, I'm so sorry." "No, it was my fault, I stopped too fast."

What in this whole world causes so many of us, on a longed-for three-day weekend to put ourselves through these marathon work sessions to change the way our houses look? Who in all the world cares?

Well, I guess we do.

Here I was, using the holiday weekend to make some headway on our summer project.

And I was exhausted. They were exhausted. We were exhausted.

But progress was made and now we are relieved because Ugly Kitchen has been carefully transformed into Pretty Kitchen. The bulk of the work behind us, we enter September with a lightened load, in a cheerier home.

Environment lends itself to our moods and to our feelings of security and belonging. We notice a positive difference already. I guess fixing up our home is a way of fixing up ourselves.


liz crumlish said...

Cherie, how true. I've been beating myself up for being materialistic but its not wrong to want to have somewhere bright and embracing to relax at the end of a long day. Hope all your fixing up brightens fall and winter - and far beyond! blessings

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, if the energy of the room is affecting the energy of the house and the people in it, short term exhaustion and hassle is probably worth the long term change in energy. Now your kitchen is a great place to hang out, cook, entertain, etc., and soon you'll you'll forget all about the exhaustion...I hope!

tshsmom said...

OH BOY, can I identify with this post! When we're doing a project, Menards sends out a search party if we aren't there at least once a day. ;)
WC is right. Soon the exhaustion will be forgotten, and nothing but joy will remain.
NOW, we want some pictures!

BTW, I'm jealous of your new floor!

Cherie said...

It's a fine line isn't it, Liz. Bright and embracing does help one relax, you're right about that. Thanks for the blessings!

WC, I hope you are right that we'll soon forget the exhaustion. The occasional cool breezes help, too. I hadn't thought about the ugly kitchen effecting the energy of the house but it WAS a draining force, and now it's a positive place as a kitchen should be. (All the junk, old spices, broken pots and pans being removed helps a lot, too. Feng shui, baby!)

Tshs, I figured you'd identify with this, and I thought of you as I wrote it. I have ugly 'before' photos and will take 'after' ones soon. I'll post them AFTER I show the kitchen to a couple of guests who are coming to visit us this month. There is a teensy weensy chance that they maybe lurk here on my blog a couple of times a year, so I don't want to spoil the surprise. Once they see it, I'll show you!

tshsmom said...

I can't wait for the pictures! ;)

I'm sure that the kitchen is the heart of your home, like it is in ours. When it's shabby, the whole house feels shabby. Then WHY do we leave the kitchen repairs until last? I know, I know, priorities...and time....and money.

Our kitchen still hasn't made it to the top of the priority list. Maybe we'll be able to start painting it this winter...

deanna said...

Congrats, Cherie on your pretty kitchen! I hope to see it soon; maybe I'll get ideas for ours.

Cherie said...

Tshs, you said it all! I think one reason we waited so long to do the kitchen is that when it's under construction the Heart of the Home is messed up and we feel vulnerable.......and hungry.

Deanna, we'll have an open house one of these days and you'll be at the top of the Invite List!