As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a haphazard quality to our home’s interior decor, a sort of “garage-sale chic” without the “chic.” It’s less feng shui than feng shrug; items end up in certain places because, well, that’s where they end up.
With all the time spent inside these past six weeks, I’ve had ample opportunity to look around the house and ask the big question: why? Why are we keeping a bag of bulgur wheat that already tasted stale three years ago? Why does Dr. Seuss still occupy nearly a full bookshelf? And, most pressing, why is the toaster over here when the bread is all the way over there?
Our kitchen counter runs the length of the wall, with a double sink smack in the middle. On the left side near the stove is the Keurig, the sugar, the compost, the cutting boards propped against the wall and the bread bowl that keeps the cutting boards from sliding away from the wall.
(A word about the bread bowl: it’s a big wooden bowl that holds the bread. It also occasionally holds folded tinfoil, cat treats, bags of coffee, Kinder toys from 2016 and so on. It’s also not a wooden bowl. It looks wooden but, after being pushed off the counter by the sliding cutting boards or pulled off once too many times by the bread-hungry dog, it’s become cracked and chipped enough to now see it has some kind of hard foam interior. Possibly asbestos. We should throw it out. But we won’t.)
On the right side of the counter, beside the drying rack that never goes away, is the blender, microwave and the toaster.
In the morning, if you want toast, you have to go to the left counter, remove the dog collar from the bread bowl, grab your bread, move to the right counter and put it in the toaster. Then you get your plate from the cupboard above the toaster, move back to the left cupboard to find your peanut butter.
That’s just not logical.
So, near the start of the lockdown, I moved the toaster to the left side, next to the bread bowl. Bread, toast – cross for plate and back – peanut butter. Still not perfect but an improvement.
By the end of the day, Deb had moved the toaster back. “It’s too crowded,” she said.
Okay, okay, I can play the long game. I can wait until this lockdown has reduced her will to correct.
This week, I tried again. The toaster was back within hours.
So I thought bigger, more logical, more sneaky. What if the blender and microwave were on the left counter by the stove—a whole space dedicated to cooking/reheating coffee—and the bread bowl were moved to the right side by the toaster? AND what if you moved the Keurig to the right as well, making a whole space dedicated to breakfast/dog collars?
How is this sneaky? Because a toaster may be easy to move back in place, but moving a microwave, blender and a coffee-maker, that’s a lot of inertia to overcome. Also, I did it after everyone was in bed.
Result: bread, toast, plate on the right and one trip left to the peanut butter: genius! I fine-tuned it by putting the cutting boards behind the bread bowl because I think you can agree that is the only logical place for cutting boards.
“I don’t like it,” said Abby when she saw it.
“Just live with it for a day or two,” I suggested.
I lived with it for one morning.
The Keurig, you see, was now located in a recess underneath the right cupboard and the only way to lift the lid enough to slip the pod in (reusable pod, I might add!) was to pull it out to the edge of the counter. That won’t do. Not at 6:00 am.
Here’s what I did: I brought the blender back to the right side, making room to push the microwave partway under the left-hand cupboard. Then I returned the coffee-maker back where it was on the right in the space vacated by the microwave, a location unencumbered by cupboards. Also it’s near the sugar and coffee now, so it all makes sense. Sure, you have to stretch a bit to press the microwave buttons but as Abby amazingly said, “I can live with this.” Yes!
I realize now in telling this that it’s much like someone recounting a “fascinating” dream. But I don’t care; I have logical toast. And that’s a dream come true.
Cheers to your counter intuitive progress, Ross.
In our crowded kitchen lineup, to create space my dear wife Karen moved the toaster into the basement(!) claiming I can “just bring it up” whenever I want to make my toast. Suddenly toast has become a weekend treat, something I really work toward to accompany our eggs. And yes, she quickly brings the toaster back down to the basement.
Basement toast. Now that’s blog fodder. 😂
“Counter intuitive” Nice!
Remember Hardware Wars, the Star Wars parody? This sounds nothing like that except the title.
I…. I can’t…
Ok. I too like logical toast. And logical coffee. 😶
If someone went and reorganized the counter without consent… in week 6 (or 67, idk) of quarantine/lockdown and, you know, all this excessive family time, I mean…omg.
Crush the weak.
Some under cabinet recess lighting there and…voila! This is not an unusual scene you’ve described here, not at all. Lots of this happening now, I’ll bet. Compost the bulgur!
I think this post requires an accompanying video to be really riveting…
…and perhaps a few rivets as well!
One of those high-speed videos, yes. Life is full of regrets…
Hi, Melanie, hope you’re well.
Or one of those military-style maps with arrows showing the movements, cooperation, and battles between various kitchen units.
A whole Ken Burns documentary would seem appropriate.
I just returned from the basement where I had heated up a mug of chai and almond milk. Wait, let me back up. I got a mug from open shelving in the kitchen. Walked to the passthrough area (from kitchen to den) to get the almond milk and chai concentrate from the fridge. Back to the kitchen to pour. Back to passthrough to the fridge to put away milk and chai. Back to kitchen to get spoon. Back through passthrough area to den and then down to basement to use microwave. Back up to read your post. Can you come over?
I’m on it.
Wow, Breakfast, Interrupted.
I don’t practice logic myself, but I respect other people’s beliefs of course.
I keep my toaster as close to the sink as possible. It’s a vintage Dualit, that someone brought over from the old country, not sure which old country, and they had to have a friend step down the current from 240v or something, so it’s kind of slow. The little tray on the bottom is stuck, maybe rust, so the crumbs, sesame seeds and peanut butter accumulate and catch fire sometimes. So then I have to drop it in the sink, but I unplug it first. Then I just shake it out and run it awhile to dry it out, so all pretty logical I think. Although seems like if I was doing this unilateral-sneaky-midnight- rearranging- stuff, I’d keep the toaster away from the bathtub, your wife might accidentally tip it in?
You legit wash the toaster? I treat my toaster like the barbecue: let the cleansing fire take care of all the detritus.
No I don’t wash it, this is just when it’s on 🔥 fire. don’t you set off the smoke detector?
No. I am a toastmaster.
And I’m informed it’s not a Dualit, something else homely and ancient.
You talkin’ to me?
No, “Homely & Ancient” wasn’t meant for you, O Toastmaster, 6-Time Winner of the George Hamilton Award for Consistent Browning.
George Hamilton. Now there’s a reference for the kids. Like Foster Brooks.
I think “Love at First Bite” is a classic, almost Howard Hawks-level. Foster Brooks I had to look up, but my dad remembered him, a radio DJ or something Roch/Buffalo when he was young, and always did DWI PSAs for upstate radio/TV stations. His routine was based on hiccuping? Seems a bit limiting.
I know him almost exclusively from Dean Martin Roasts.
Sometimes I feel like I have Foster’s liver, and I don’t even drink. Yes, I remember him well.
“The World Turned Upside Down,” or “Change you can believe in.”
The Obama poster, but reading “TOAST.”
when i moved, i became a kitchen counter minimalist. it is so funny the stuff that somehow accumulates and ends up in the oddest of places. over time, we adapt to IT instead of getting it to adapt to US.
Everything also becomes invisible.
yes, that’s it –
You’ve made me realize how totally illogical our toast is. Ack! Don’t tell my husband.
Step away from the junk drawer.
Don’t worry; we have window cleaning next.
This post made me feel deficient in a domestic sense.
Throw out old socks. There: done.
It might be time for you to go back to work. 🐸🐸
This was far more satisfying.
I’m a student travelling for my college degree, and I totally relate to your post! I usually own very little things, and I consistently get mildly annoyed when my roommate leaves things where they are because ‘he doesn’t care’. But he keeps putting them back in other spots like our mugs and toaster. I’m sending this article to him haha.
I hope this brings you both peace.
haha thanks i certainly hope so!
Covid is reducing us all to aged blithering domestics.
I was blithering before blithering was cool.
Oh right, blithering is in vogue these last 3 1/2 years. You were ahead of the curve then.
Ha. Good point.
Making breakfast is not supposed to be logical or intuitive – a double dose of caffeine isn’t going to jump start your brain in the morning nearly half as effectively as trying to figure out where EVERYTHING is.
That’s the entire rest of my day. I need to ease into it.