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.