The current renovation show craze does not obsess me, yet I am self-aware enough to know it certainly could given the right circumstances. I get unnaturally wrapped into episodes while sitting in waiting rooms, alternately hoping the Dr calls us in quickly and desiring it to take longer because I want to see how the kitchen turns out; wishing the gentleman to my right would just quit coughing already! I missed what they said was going on the accent wall!
The one major reason I am not wrapped into concerns television and antenna: we have old fashioned, over the air tv and we get 4 channels. Period. We also have end-of-the-line internet access which is sketchy at best - welcome to Rural Michigan. I am glad of this because, frankly, I don’t have time to waste sitting in front of the TV when so many good books need to be read. It also fosters family time and eliminates the constant barrage of main stream news media. People complain all over how they are sick of the news and campaign ads - I can listen in blissful ignorance, happy and settled in my soul.
The other major reason my kitchen looks the same is there is no extra money. Kids are expensive! We are no wealthier now in their 20’s than we were in their 2’s, we’ve just had 20 years of budgeting experience to keep our heads above water. If it wasn’t free, a gift, or at God’s Helping Hands, I’m not likely to get it, no matter what the product.
Yet, I do enjoy seeing how other people make their house a home. Most of the time it’s simply for aesthetics and not practicalities, but once in a while I think “wow! That’s a great idea!” That hits hard those moments when I sit in my empty but clean kitchen after the bustle of the morning has ceased and quiet descends like the nightfall, evidenced by this current morning whereupon I stared across the room with a lukewarm cup of coffee, thinking “man, my cabinets look so dated”. Yes, they do. They are a blonde oak that was popular in the very late 90’s, even though installed in our brand new home early 00’s. We found them in an auto trader magazine (much to my chagrin and my husbands exclamation: “Why do you keep reading those stupid things! We are building a house, you can’t build a house with a car” “Look at THIS!! I found a set of cabinets from a fire sale!!”) So it goes.
I have nothing to complain about, mind you, regarding my kitchen; it is fully functional and my muscle memory knows exactly where every single dish, strainer, pitcher, mixer, and spice is located, even though my cabinets could use a bit of organization. It’s the shows and pop up ads that are designed to make one discontent with what one has, always urging to ‘do more, spend more, seek more’ tapping into that innermost recess of the individual soul that does, indeed, seek More, but that More is a Person, not a thing; if one looks for happiness in kitchen cabinets, it will never be found for the instant the last swipe is complete, there will be another technique, a different color, or a new innovation which outdates it all immediately.
If only we were a more patient species for everything old is new again. What style was the rage in the 60’s has returned with a vengeance across America. If I am patient enough, my 00’s kitchen will be ‘retro’ cool here in a dozen years or so. Fashion, homes, decor, it’s all cyclical and not having the constant attack of what’s the “hot new trend” saves me from so much anxiety and aids me in the moments that I look at the countertop and see the formica so worn all the design is gone or the knife marks where my sons grew impatient for dinner or the burn curve where my husband set a boiling pot down. I walk across floor that is pocked with falling hammer dents, chair scratches, and sand-worn scuffs. Those speak to the bustle and use of a home and kitchen, not the ugliness even though there are times where I confuse the two.
There are a million little things that I might be dissatisfied within my domicile, but the beauty of use should not be one of them. Thank God I have a kitchen to complain about; Thank God I have people to cook for; Thank God I have the talents to BE in the kitchen hours on end. The quirky touches in have make it all belong to me and the life of our family; not a home improvement show’s suggestion and honestly, who really cares that my microwave is stainless, my refrigerator white, and my oven black. I sure don’t, because they work. My house is a home because of the people who live here, not the material inside, knife marks and all.