Years ago I used to make sure to write celebratory writings on the occasion of a celebration of an occasion. In other words, back in the days when my head was clearer, before the fuzz began to lay along the meridians and frollocks of the brain and the world didn't quite seem so muddy. On the occasion of the new year, for instance, I'd write something resolutionary. Though even then, back when I had short hair, sometimes very short, and big eyes, sometimes very big, and sported a generally slightly bored look, I wasn't bored. I was consternated: our new year is not necessarily their new year and their new year is not those other people's new year and so is it really the demarcation of anything?
That was probably a sign of early onset. Meanwhile, the helliday tide of family joy and angst (— someone make me up a word mixing those two and I'll send you some pie. Joyangste? Pronounced the french way? Gives a dressiness to it. Jangst? Sounds Freudian. Jongst? Isn't that the name of a famous skier who wrapped himself around a tree in Gstaad? — ) has come and gone, and with it my marathon baking session that nearly melted our kitchen wall to death. Which was a very great thing. The net result of 4 cheesecakes, 7 batches of peanut butter cookies, 4 batches of chocolate chip, a killer batch of twice-baked shortbread, a whole herd of jelly kiss cookies and lots of satellite batches ungapatchka'd together from leftover sturm und drang is an accelerated Kitchen Renovation Plan.
Apparently, and this is switching into confessional blaggage over here so forgive me or skip, I have been, um, yelling for a couple of years about the kitchen. I have no recollection of yelling. Maybe a goddamit the fiftieth-whazztheyeffith time my knife fell between the crack between the dingy 9th-hand tiny stove and the loose scrap of faux formica counter (color: burned marshmallow, from years of someone who apparently liked to flambé her toast), and I therefore had to fish it out using the handle of the swiffer, teasing a mound of old yam shavings and dog hair and vintage mysterianisms into the middle of the kitchen floor where, somewhere in their greasy midst, was the knife.
Maybe, sure, just a little, little curse when the linoleum backsplash absorbed the boiling over tomato-based sweet and sour chicken soup instead of deflected it. Maybe a tiny little noise when the cardboard box of teabags plummeted from the cabinet over the sink into the soaking soup pot, endowing some very fancy Japanese tea with an unwanted iridescent lavender-eucalyptus cast. Just a little squeak.
Worth mentioning, however, that the stove has tantrums. What come are strange spikes in temperature from the oven: bake at 325º can become char at 600º if you're not there to monitor, to cajole, to turn, to readjust. That may have had something to do with the melted wall. And since a marathon baking session is also like pulling triple shifts as a museum guard in the Picasso galleries when the psychotics had their field trip, I may have been a bit distracted from the whole wall thing. Which I did. And was. I was a guard at the Museum of Modern Art, and I did once chase a deranged man through the catacombs between the fake walls during the blockbuster Picasso show.
It's a good thing the wall finally melted. Melting walls speak so much louder than quietly unyelling cooks. But FYI in the spirit of the luncheonette we are not buying the veneer farm or the New New New this or the Shaker farmhouse look or the up-the-value-of-the-house thing. We are not going to spend thousands. I am hoping to keep the atomic-modern metal base cabinet underneath the 1940s sink, and the 1940s sink, and the 1950s'cabin pantry closet, though all are a little — scabby. But the horizontal beadboard trimmed with scraps, the warbled strips of wood paneling, the linoleum backmelt, the 1970s vinyl faux stone floor tiles that shifted during the Big Melt (the ones around the stove sort of skated around), are gone yesterday. There is retrofunctional and vintage workable and then there is junkyard dysfunctional. Stay tuned.