What I told Otto—and what I thought was the truth—was that if we replaced the kitchen table, then I could tolerate everything ELSE I want to change about the kitchen, a while longer. The truth is that the kitchen is probably the only room left that’s still in its original-to-the-house state. I suppose it’s possible that the (ugly) wallpaper isn’t original, or that the (cracking) vinyl was replaced once along the way, but the cabinets and countertops and quite possibly the stove are ooooooold.
Not that there’s anything wrong with old. But in my mind’s eye, I see fresh paint, new cabinets, a stainless steel countertop, new appliances, and a floor I won’t mind mopping because MOPPING WILL ACTUALLY IMPROVE ITS APPEARANCE.
Someday, we’ll redo the kitchen, and it will make me deliriously happy. But probably not until the kids are grown and gone. In the meantime, I wanted a shiny dinette.
So I got my shiny dinette and it did just what I wanted it to do—it made the kitchen seem like it was MEANT to be sort of old-school on PURPOSE. It no longer feels like “go through the crappy kitchen into the nice dining room,” but more like “go through the kitschy kitchen into the nice dining room,” instead. I can dig it.
What I didn’t realize, when we brought it home, was that I’d wanted it for the wrong reasons.
It’s very shiny and pretty, true. But it’s also smaller than our old wooden table. Instead of sitting two on one side and two on the other, we each have our own side to sit on. This means I’m next to both kids and directly across from Otto. This means that I can rest one instep gently along the curve of his foot for an entire meal, and that when Monkey drops something I can reach it, and when Chickadee needs help opening the salad dressing I can easily reach over and assist.
This table top is significantly noisier than our old table, too. Silverware clatters. Dishes scrape. Setting a glass down causes a faint clanging that I don’t remember from the old table. I don’t know if it’s the extra noise or something else, but so far our conversations at dinner seem more jovial. It’s hard not to laugh when setting down a dish causes your fork to jump up and make a little music with the edge of your plate.
It’s fun to look at, but even better—when I walk past it in the morning, after Otto and the kids have headed off to work and school, I know that no matter what the day brings, we’ll all be sitting there together, tonight, talking and laughing.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Here’s to those small, noisy places where all is right with the world.