How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

May 19 2016

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion.

I clarified.

Me: I can see AND walk on the floor?

Them: Yep!

Me: And not just a teeny, tiny sliver of the floor?

Them: Nope!

Me: And you have organized your belongings?

Them: Yep!

Me: ALL of your belongings or SOME of your belongings?

Them: ALL!

Me: And I will find how many items shoved under your bed?

Them: None!

Me: And you have completed this entire task in 10 minutes?

Them: Yep!

Me: And it’s SO complete that you feel good about me inspecting it?

Them: Yes!

Me: Now?

Them: Let’s go!

We trooped up the stairs for inspection, and I patted myself on the back on the way because friends — friends — if you give your children FREEDOM to complete tasks THEIR WAY, and you DO NOT INSIST ON YOUR OWN, they finish jobs QUICKLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY, and it’s a MIRACLE. I should write a Parenting Book! I have finally figured it out!

Also, here is their system:

CleanRoom1

As they say, “A clear path for walking and all of our belongings at our fingertips!” There is nothing under the bed anymore, and, in fact, nothing left in the closet, either, because they pulled everything out of it. Everything. To create their New System of Organization.

I asked where they got such a terrible, terrible idea, and they said — I kid you not — “We learned it from watching you.”

In conclusion, bless their hearts. Bless their punky, butt-nuggetty hearts.

Keepin’ it real,

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P.S. Their room still looks like that because they pointed out there’s WAY less vacuuming this way, and “it’s likely to smother all the bugs.” I’m having trouble arguing with their logic. Well played, boys; well played.

 

Brain Crash: Rebooting

May 18 2016

My brain crashed sometime last week. It was just all, “No. Nope. No. We’re done here. Over and out,” and that’s the last I’ve heard from it in a while. I honestly don’t know what to tell you about that or at all how this post is going to materialize because… BRAIN CRASH. So I’m not promising anything here like sense-making or coherency, but, let’s be honest, I rarely offer those things, anyway, so whatever. We’ll just do what we usually do here; buckle up and see how it goes.

So. My brain crashed sometime last week. It’s one of the symptoms of mental illness I get to enjoy from time to time. Wheeeeee! Anxiety grabs hold of the neurons, I guess, and, WHAM!, I move from a highly functional person to a non-functional person who fakes highly functional until I can find purchase again to pull myself back to the rational world where I’m not utterly distracted and intermittently breathless with tingly fingers and a heart that gallops for destinations unknown. I usually get away with it. The faking functional, I mean. Then I come up for air, mention to friends or family that I’ve been busy drowning, hear wonderful, sweet things from them like, Why didn’t you SAY something? and We would have HELPED you, and then feel panicky and anxious all over again because I’m doing depression wrong and letting them down. It’s just, while drowning, I don’t have enough air to breathe, much less tell anyone it’s happening. The telling would require oxygen — and also brain that works — and God knows during Brain Crash I have access to neither.

In conclusion, Greg has spent the last week asking me impossible questions like, “How was your day?” and “Where’s the tape?” and “Do we need anything from the grocery store?” And I have spent the last week looking at him with confusion.

The End.

Sincerely,

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P.S. My words are returning. But they’re slow. Bear with me. I’ll be back here again soon when they’ve finished rebooting.

P.P.S. We checked one of our third graders in for surgery this morning (it went fine) and the nurse asked if he was in any pain. I think she meant, you know, right at that particular moment, but Cai took it to mean Anytime Lately, so he said yes. With emphasis. And wide eyes. “YES,” he said. “I HAVE been in pain. Bad, BAD pain because my MOTHER popped my ear zit and it BLED ALL OVER and HURT but did she stop? Nooooooo,” he said, and then he mimicked my voice, all high pitched and cackly, “‘Just a little more, Cai,’ and, ‘It won’t hurt if you let me finish,’ but my mother LIED to me because it DID KEEP HURTING, so YES, I have been in VERY MUCH PAIN.” The nurse looked at me with raised eyebrows, so I shrugged, like, I don’t know what to tell you, lady. That’s all true. I’m a militant ear zit popper. 

P.P.P.S. The nurse also momentarily confused Cai’s chart with his twin brother’s — they ask for last name and birth date to ID patients — before she caught herself and said, “Wait. This isn’t you. Are you a twin?” At which point, Cai said, “Yes, I am a twin. But we are not identical. That means we are from two different eggs in my mom’s uterus and two different sperms from my dad’s penis. That is how you get fraternal twins.”

P.P.P.P.S. And then the anesthetist came in and made a cutesy joke asking whether they were operating on his knee instead of his ear, and my 9 year old looked at her and said, “I do not like being talked to like a little kid. I like logic and the facts and scientific explanations,” which was not particularly polite to someone about to drug him, but was excellent self-advocacy, so I let it slide.

P.P.P.P.P.S. In other words, I may have lost my words temporarily due to Brain Crash, but my son has not lost his, for which I’m both giggly and grateful.

On Finding Our Foundation

May 12 2016

My foundations are a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of shoring up. Or in need of discarding, maybe; in need of abandoning as foundations at all and building anew, since I feel like I’m mixing sand and mud into concrete as fast as I can and throwing the muddled mess at the foundations of my politics… and the foundations of my religion… and the foundations of my religious politics… and it’s not sticking like I’d hoped.

Yes; my foundations are a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of reconsideration, because, I suspect, they were built on shifting ground. Or over moving water. Or smack dab on a sinkhole, and WHOOSH, one day the ground moved. Trembled. Dropped out from underneath me. So I wondered where I’d built my life and how to find stability. How to be sure of my footing. Where I might find a solid base.

It’s just… they seemed like such good foundations. America! The Church! They said such pretty things. And they meant well. I just know they did. I was told they were worthy of my trust, and they sure seemed to be. They worked so well for so long. Or they didn’t, but I didn’t notice because I believed what they said about themselves, which amounted to the same thing for me.

Give us your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you;
you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

Please understand I feel ridiculous saying this, but the whole Donald Trump thing had me feeling adrift and bewildered, a little hopeless and kind of unnerved, not to mention weary and wary and afraid. Not because of Mr. Trump himself, necessarily. Not really. Even Optimistic, Pollyanna, “Practice Gratitude” Me understands there are Trumps in this world who will make false promises, bully and belittle the marginalized, take advantage of people who are hurt and angry, and then use those emotions to rally vocal masses to spread hatred and exclusion as though those are solutions and not the Very Core of the Original Problem. Yes, I know there are people like Trump in this world and in our country; there always have been and always will be and they will try forever to find public footing and to be in fashion. So no, it’s not Trump himself who made me feel jittery and queasy and on edge. It’s the fact that I thought America was better than this. More open. More welcoming. More likely to Triumph over Terror than to buy into it. More interested in extending a hand than closing the golden door. More eager to seek solutions based on loving our neighbors as ourselves and more likely to understand, in the end, that everyone is our neighbor.

My foundations are a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of shoring up. And I’m embarrassed to admit that one of my foundations was apparently the Way I Perceived America to Be. To be shaken by a Trump type, after all, makes this Uncomfortable Truth clear; I built a part of my life and a part of my understanding and a part of my world on the idea that America is on a constant, upward trajectory toward Inclusion and Equality and Justice for All — and that even the leaders I disagree with are at least well intentioned — instead of accepting and practicing my responsibility to Beckon the Huddled Masses and Practice Global Citizenship, to Welcome the Stranger and move us on that trajectory with whatever Small Engine I possess.

America as a Savior! America as a Redeemer! America as a Comforter and Healer, I thought. Maybe not consciously, but thought it, I did.

I was wrong.

In God we trust, we say, but it was America herself in whom I trusted.

Instead of Love.

And I was wrong.

Yes, my foundations are a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of a fresh start. Everything is a jumble and a mix and a muddle, and I’ve had a little trouble knowing where, exactly, to plant my stakes and my feet. Turns out, it’s not politics or nationalism. That’s not the foundation. And it disappoints me to tell you as a Good Christian Girl it’s not the Church, either.

No, it’s not.

Sadly, the foundation isn’t the Church; though, as someone who loves Jesus, I once thought it was, and I idolized her in the manner I was taught. Worshiped the Church. Believed everything she told me, including that she should be my ultimate authority and I subject to her each and every whim, whether or not it matched what Love Incarnate had lived and breathed and etched on my heart.

The Church, though, is made of humans. And humans are made of mud and broken ribs and divinity and magic and mess. We are quick to anger and slow to forgive and unspeakably kind and generous. We are transcendent and terrible. Shaky and stable. As likely to be territorial and vicious as we are to be welcoming and warm, and God knows we’re unlikely to tell you truthfully which we’ll be on any given day since we don’t always know ourselves.

The Church, it turns out, is like a family. Some of us have great ones. Unbelievable! Wonderful! We couldn’t imagine life without them! And some of us have to escape horrific abuse. Most of us live somewhere in the middle where our churches and families are filled to the brim with people who mean well and don’t, who are charitable and cruel, sometimes simultaneously because they’re complex and complicated and unfathomable in method and motive, and beautiful and brutal, too.

And so the Church cannot be our foundation. It simply can’t. There are too many shifting tides and moving trajectories and muddy motives. Too much determining Who’s In and Who’s Out, as it’s always been for time immemorial. Too many endorsements of the Crusaders and the Trump types. Too much focus on yoga pants. Like any structure that wields power, we can participate in it; we can value beautiful bits and precious pieces; we can allow that it’s worthy of our time and investment because, when used well, it spreads compassion and kindness. And it’s still not foundational. Which means when it Screws Up Royally, it doesn’t need to shake us. Because our foundation comes from someplace deeper. Someplace stronger. Someplace less likely to pulse and sway and collapse with every tremor, every storm.

It’s true that my foundations have been a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of reevaluation.

And the more I live with that, the more I think… isn’t this great, friends? ISN’T THIS FANTASTIC? To learn that our foundations are crumbly and broken? To learn in time to build someplace stronger? THIS IS WONDERFUL. This is AMAZING. That we have this chance to discard the chaff and grasp the wheat; to let go of what does us No Good and find Sustenance.

We get to dig deeper. We get to find truer truth. We get to suss out what Makes Us Real like the Velveteen Rabbit before us. We get to look for Kindness, and learn Gentleness, and seek Faithfulness, and practice Patience (which is the worst), and learn to our bones that, at the end, these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But, friends, the greatest of these is love. The greatest of these is Love.

This is our foundation. That we love each other. Deeply. Wildly. Wonderfully. Well. Love made flesh and dwelling, still, among us.

I am neither leaving America nor the Church. I am simply recognizing they are no longer my foundations. They are no longer my sources. They are no longer my idols, worthy of worship or blinding loyalty, and I will push them and question them and challenge them as such, standing on a firmer, deeper, broader foundation which is all that’s left when the other foundations fall.

My foundation is Love. My foundation is in the God who goes by the same name. My foundation is in loving my neighbors as myself, and recognizing that everyone is my neighbor. My foundation lies in sitting in the mud. My foundation lies in living honestly. My foundation lies in waving in the dark. And in holding hands when we’re lost and alone and cold and afraid. And my foundation lies in waiting for the dawn with you. Waiting, always, for the dawn which is coming which is the same to me as Love itself.

Sending love to you, friends, from the new foundation, firmer and free,

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Hold Everything! (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 6)

May 4 2016

Regarding the range hood, HOLD EVERYTHING, friends.

Our friend, Katherine, just sent us this picture, and I suspect it’s the Perfect Thing.

VintageHoods

That’s a “Vintage Hood” made to order by the folks at Antique Vintage Appliances. They can make it in any color and any size with several trims. So all the advantages of a modern hood, all the lovely of vintage. Here’s their shtick:

We manufacture range hoods patterned after a classic stove hood built in the 1940’s through the early 1950’s. We have updated the fan section with a Broan insert with variable speed blowers, removable filters and a two position light switch. A mounting bracket will be provided for easy installation. This bracket creates a 1/4” space on the wall so you can install a painted, tiled or stainless backsplash of your choice with a finished edge. These are manufactured in widths of 30” to 60” and can be painted to match any decor. The trim pieces and logo can be plated in copper, nickel, chrome or brass.

Questions for the Team:

  1. I assume if this doesn’t cost one thousand million ka-jillion dollars, we must have it as it is the perfect hat for Betty. Correct?? << This is the part where you weigh in quickly because I’m Mostly Sold already, so if this isn’t the thing, you must talk me down. If you need tips for talking me down, Greg can provide you with details, though, as an overview, you can try distracting me (food, blood and nudity are most effective) or looking like you ate something rancid and, when I ask what’s wrong with your face, saying, “Your life choices, Beth; your life choices are what is wrong with my face.”
  2. I further assume we shall order this in white with chrome trim because that’s what Betty’s wearing, and every lady from the 1950’s knows your hat must coordinate with your shoes and handbag.

The only downside I can see here is the fact that it reinforces it’s worth it to wait for the Right Thing rather than Rush the Job. As a lifelong fan of Rushing the Job, I’m afraid this is the kind of thing that will force me to reevaluate my priorities, and that kind of bites.

Thoughts, friends? Do share!

With bated breath,

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P.S. I emailed the Vintage Hood people 2 whole hours ago and have heard NOTHING yet. I suggest we all call them and kindly note that I need an answer. ASAP. Because I’m Very Bad at Waiting. I’m sure they’ll understand. Their number is 1-520-326-6849.

P.P.S. Here’s a pic of Betty with the Vintage Hood pic, too:

VintageHoodsIMG_9438

I think they might be soulmates.

Several Problems with the Kitchen Remodel, Mostly Emotional (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 5)

May 3 2016

Friends! GOOD NEWS! Greg and I fought about the kitchen!

This means he’s not being crafty or wily or luring us into complacency before he springs his trap to derail us.

Unless he’s being crafty and wily by arguing to throw us off the crafty and wily scent. He IS better at chess than me. Probably. I’ve never played chess with him, but I assume, based on his passion for mathematics and strategy, and my inability to sit at a table for longer than two minutes before feeling jittery and panicky and like there are twelve other things I should be doing with my time, that he’s better at chess than me. Greg’s definitely better at Scrabble, though, so I feel like we can extrapolate. He takes five hundred thousand million years to take his turn so he can graph every possible letter combination and permutation and the trajectory of their positions on the board, and then he gets crabby when I poke him in the shoulder and say, “Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg. Are you going to go now? How ’bout now? Now? How ’bout now?”

The point being, Greg takes the EXCRUCIATINGLY LONG view of things so he could be throwing us off by arguing with us about the kitchen.

But I don’t think so. I think we’re in the clear. I think he’s genuinely disgruntled about a couple things, so WE’RE BACK ON TRACK and all’s good! We can proceed as NORMAL.

Which leads me to the problems we’re having with the kitchen remodel, none of which have to do with the remodel and all of which have to do with the counseling, encouragement and tough love you’re going to need to provide if we’re going to get anywhere. 

Specifically, our problems are as follows:

  1. Greg is Having an Issue with the chimney range hood concept (option 1 from the previous post). He does not like it. Does Not. Unequivocally. He only likes the idea of a cabinet and under-cabinet mount (which was option 2). Now, obviously this should not be a problem because Greg is entitled to have an opinion, I said I like both, and most of Us are all, “Meh. Whatever. No super strong opinion.” So whatever, right? I believe my exact words were, “I tend to like both and can easily be talked into either.” What I meant was I can easily be talked into either by YOU. Not by Greg. There is nothing — nothing — more likely to sway me toward pizza than Greg saying he absolutely MUST have a burger. So I found I NEEDED the chimney range hood, after all, and did NOT want — in fact, COULD NOT TOLERATE — the cabinet there. See how this complication is all Greg’s fault? Me, neither. 🙁 I came around. Eventual Maturity, I call it. I’d prefer just Maturity, but I’m not always issued that in my personality tool box.
  2. Greg is ALSO Having an Issue with placing the dishwasher further to the right of the sink than immediately next to it. I considered making this decision harder than it had to be, like I did with the range hood, but, since Greg does more dishes than me, he gets to pick. Me = Problem Solver! Also, Me = Dishes Avoider!
  3. But the Main Problem is we are officially 8 days into this project, and I would like to quit now. It’s not that I’ve suddenly decided I like starting my stove with an ice pick. The problem is I cannot sustain this much interest in myself or my house over the long term. This is the part where you say, “But, Beth, you are a BLOGGER. It’s your literal JOB to sustain this much interest in yourself.” And that’s when I’ll answer, “This is why I’m So Bad at Things; I do them wrong. CONSTANTLY,” and often on purpose. For example, I read articles that tell me my blog posts MUST be shorter — 500-800 words is “optimal length” — and I IMMEDIATELY sit down and write 1200 words as rebellion because No One Can Tell Me What to Do.

Now, I’m not rebelling against the remodel. I want to do it. It makes sense to do it. It’s just — it’s been 8 days — and I’d like to be done now because I’m driving Me crazy pestering myself with kitchen questions. It’s like one half of my brain is Me playing Scrabble, making hasty decisions and plunking down letters and Getting on with Life because there are More Important Things than Thinking Decisions Through and Being SURE About Them, and the other half of me is Greg playing Scrabble, talking through Every Possible Permutation. The Greg half is all, “Wait! I have to think of ALL THE THINGS,” and the Beth half is all, “Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth. Are you done yet? Can you go now? How ’bout now? How ’bout now?” until I WANT TO SLAP ME.

You guys. You guys. There are Serious Things Happening in the Real World. Trump is the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party; THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS HAPPENING. We should all be laying on the floor like Nancy Kerrigan when she got her knee beat to crap during the Olympic ice skating trials — laying there yelling Why? Why? WHY? And we are talking about a KITCHEN REMODEL, instead.

Which, I suppose, is exactly why we MUST talk about a kitchen remodel, yes? BECAUSE WE WILL SING WHILE THE SHIP GOES DOWN.

Blerg.

In conclusion, if anyone has any free counseling to offer, or encouragement, or pats on the head, or “there, there, sweet bunnies,” or kicks in the rear to offer, we’re at your disposal.

In the meantime, I’m sending love and waving in the dark,

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IMG_9476P.S. We DID have our contractor friends in to bid on the cabinet work. We’re waiting that to see whether there’s much of a cost difference in the range hoods/cabinet options, and we’ll tell you more when we know more.

P.P.S. Please do not be too worried about Future Arguments. I have explained to Greg that arguing with me in the future is actually arguing with All of Us as the Kitchen Remodel Collective. I helped him understand that we are the Borg, we will assimilate him, and resistance is futile. He took it well.

 

 

Under Cabinet or Wall-Mount Range Hood? (Where You Tell Me How to Improve My House: Part 4)

May 1 2016

Alright, folks; we have a winner!

IMG_9466mostrecent

84% of us voted to put Betty against the wall between the fridge and the sink. Whether we were motivated by the desire not to obstruct the window or because we want to jump naked out of a cake for Greg remains unclear and is, frankly, irrelevant.

Our conclusions are clear:

  1. Betty goes against the wall between the fridge and the sink,
  2. I’ll have to move the dishwasher further to the right so it’s not too close to the sink, and…
  3. We need to buy a really, really big, hollow cake, approximately the size of Rhoad Island so a) we all fit and b) Greg becomes too distracted to check our bank account ever, ever again. I just want to clarify that we are very egalitarian in these parts so the naked cake-jumping is not limited to a single gender; please begin mentally preparing yourselves now for close, sweaty, naked quarters inside the cake cave and to champion all body types, because we will shame no one for skinny or fluffy bodies, and to explain to your well-meaning friends and relatives that just because we’re sans-clothes together does not imply anything sexual or untoward. This is simply the World’s Best Distraction technique which is required in order to serve a Higher Purpose; namely, Helping Greg Through a Very Difficult Time because we care about him to the moon, and we don’t want him to have a heart attack. So really what we’re doing is Heart Attack Prevention, and when they ask if you’re crazy, you should ask if THEY’RE crazy for wanting people to die of heart attacks.

Incidentally, the other 16% of us aren’t necessarily opposed to putting Betty against the wall. We just wanted to be sure we’d explored all the options first. Some of our ideas included building Betty an island, putting Betty where the hutch or fridge are, or keeping Betty in the current stove spot but using a retractable hood or downdraft vent. These are all technically possible, but, in the end, there are various reasons I rejected them: the bulkiness of a downdraft unit, the fact that Betty’s high back would block its effectiveness, my dislike of a heat-sucking downdraft next to a stove, my adoration of our farm table, the desire to stay married to Greg and not drive him away with a full kitchen remodel, and, ultimately, the appeal of leaving the window totally unobstructed by Betty’s back or a pull-down hood. Those factors combined with a whopping 86% in favor of the move make the choice straight forward. But I like the creative way we think! We are going to need to keep this up as we go forward.

So we have a decision! Hooray!

What we do NOT have is Greg freaking out.

To emphasize, Greg knows what our decision is, and he is not looking nauseated or sighing excessively or curling his lip in that particular Beth Insists on Using an iPhone Even Though I TELL Her and TELL Her an Android Is Cheaper look of disdain.

This is the same man who wasn’t sure we needed to purchase a $30 Ikea laminate bookshelf because he had a few leftover 2x4s and some scrap plywood in the garage, so he thought we could put some combination of that on the wall, instead. Hahahahaha! No. Nope. No. Looking back, Greg and I should’ve known that bookshelf was a Slippery Slope to other Big Ideas. Greg must have had an inkling, though; you’ve never seen a man fight so hard not to spend $30.

This current Not Freaking Out behavior is, in other words, very, very strange and obviously due to one of two things. Either:

  1. Greg watched your comments come in, knew which way the wind is blowing, and these two factors somehow magically bypassed his usual response to my Grand Schemes, which is the same as the 5 Stages of Grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, OR, and this is my big fear…
  2. HE’S BEING WILY and TRYING TO FAKE US OUT and we must be very, very wary, friends. On the lookout for sabotage. Watching our backs.

Although I suspect the reason for the Non-Freakout is #2 because Greg is getting Very Crafty in his older age, if the reason turns out to be #1, and you have Magic Powers, we will heretofore be making ALL life choices together. Consider yourselves warned, friends.

And, with that warning that we’ve gotta be on our game, it’s time to move to our Next Decision.

The Next Decision – HOORAY! – which is this:

The Range Hood

Since Ms. Betty is going against the wall, we must decide what range hood will go above her. It feels important to note at this juncture I am thinking we will most likely cover our exposed kitchen walls (not a lot of space, actually) with white subway tiles. This is something you will rubber stamp for me later or force me to change my mind, but I’ve been in love with the look forever, it adds to the farmhouse industrial thing we’ve got going on, and my friend Emily says it’s inexpensive to do. So you’d have to present me with some compelling information (like you did about putting Betty in front of a window) to change my mind.

What I’m primarily after with the range hood decision is the BEST FRAME FOR BETTY. We have tons of cupboard space in the kitchen. You can’t see the double pantry around the corner past the hutch, but it’s floor to 9′ ceiling, 64″ wide and 24″ deep. Tons and tons of space. Even with losing the upper cabinet above Ms. Betty’s new location, we’re fine on space. So what I really need to know as you look at this is which looks better; option 1 or option 2?

Given that info on white tiled walls and the what’s-prettier parameters, I’ve pulled some pics from the internets to show our range hood options, as follows.

ONE: A wall-mounted range hood, left plain without cupboards above, which might look something like this…

RangeHood1Photo Source: maybe Michael Robinson Photography – that’s as far as I could track the pic 

RangeHood2Photo Source: unknown — let me know if you find out so I can properly credit this

RangeHood3Photo Source: A Diary of Lovely

*ahem* Note the stove faucet on that last pic. SO unnecessary with Betty next to the sink, but SO lovely I think we should consider it anyway.

TWO: An under-cabinet range hood which might look something like this…

RangeHood4

Photo Source: Birmingham Home and Garden

RangeHood5

Photo Source: unknown — let me know if you find out so I can properly credit this

Back to you!

Which of these options — #1 Wall-Mounted Range Hood WITHOUT Cabinetry OR #1 Under Cabinet Range Hood will look better with Ms. Betty? 

AND — follow-up question — HOW MUCH do you care? I tend to like both and can easily be talked into either, but if we find out one option is significantly less expensive than the other, can we make this decision based on cost? Cheaper wins? This might assuage Greg’s future freak-out (which may never come because of Magical YOU) and give us some street cred to use later when Things Cost More Than We Anticipated, which is inevitable, though we should never tell Greg we admitted that aloud.

I love you very much for not making me do this alone. WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER, VILLAGE.

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P.S. Speaking of being naked, which we haven’t spoken of since the beginning of this post, paragraphs and paragraphs ago, but I’m bringing up again now anyway… I dreamt last night I got my hair cut at a new salon full of naked male hairdressers. Not, like, the cultural definition of HOT naked males or anything sexy, you understand. Just ordinary dudes with sparse body hair in strange patches and paunches and dangly bits, which was strangely hot because these men OWNED IT. They were all, We are naked male hairdressers. What are YOU staring at? Like my staring was my problem and not theirs, which was kind of rad, actually, and felt like the most true part of the dream. Long story short, I got my hair cut while babysitting my hairdresser’s toddler because he couldn’t find a sitter, and my hair looked GOOD. The End.

The Stove Has a Name, I Took Better Pics, and I Need Your Opinions Again (Where You Tell Me How to Improve My House: Part 3)

Apr 29 2016

Back to Important Things instead of that detour we took yesterday to talk about feelings, and doing the Right Thing, and Making Mistakes, and working, always, on Listening and Loving Well . Back to Important Work on the Kitchen Remodel now. Because PRIORITIES, FRIENDS. Priorities.

We have results from our recent poll on What to Do With the Stove and How to Approach the Remodel. And, of course, we have New Decisions to make. 

But first, I have received a few emails like this:

Dear Beth,

I say this in love.

You are an adorable, sweet, darling woman, and I care for you deeply, but you CANNOT ask us to make INFORMED design decisions with crappy photos. You’re going to need to give us better pictures so we know what in the world we’re talking about.

You asked for help and WE ARE HERE FOR YOU; give us what we need so we can do our damn job, lady. 

Love,
The Designers Among Us

So, fine. I get it. As Carrie Fisher said in When Harry Met Sally when Sally told Carrie the married man she was dating was never going to leave his wife, not ever,  “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.”

You’re right, friends. You’re right. know you’re right. I can’t expect you to give me the Very Best Advice while I’m providing you with Substandard Tools. And, since the Whole Point of asking you for help is to AVOID the Substandard, I have done the unthinkable and cleaned my kitchen and walked all the way upstairs to get the good camera and took these new and improved pics for you.

The Whole Kitchen
taken from the living room perspective:IMG_9466-001

The Affected Corner of the Kitchen:IMG_9467

The Stove Area:IMG_9469-002

Better, yes?

Yes.

Now we can see what we’re working with.

Unfortunately, I have also just proven we Woolseys can technically clean up after ourselves if we would just get our butts in gear. That’s sad, but we shall ignore that bit of news like we’ve been doing for years and move swiftly on.

Here are our results.

WE MADE ONE ESSENTIAL DECISION!
GOOD JOB, US!

  1. We are overwhelmingly pro-window. I have tallied Team Beth’s opinions on Options 1 and 2, as follows: 73% of us chose Option #1 (keep the window and put the oven and range hood in front of it), 14% of us chose Option #2 (remove the window and construct a wall in its place with smaller windows on either side so the hood isn’t awkwardly in front of the window), and 13% of us chose Option #3 (both of the options suck, so can we please find any other way to keep the window and not obstruct it??)
  2. As a result, we have made ONE IMPORTANT DECISION, based on 86% of the vote. We will NOT be getting rid of the window. 
  3. HOWEVER, we have not decided it’s best to obstruct the window, either. There was Very Much Concern over this, so we must discuss.

HERE ARE OUR TEAM COMMENTS:

  1. The 1950’s stove was the most awesome idea ever. Yes! Yes, she was! And thank you!
  2. She should have a name, though.
  3. Jessie suggested we name her Betty, and since a) Betty was my grandmother’s name (until she named herself after me), and b) my grandmother had an abiding fancy streak and zero budget, and c) “a Betty” is synonymous with a gorgeous, super hot lady, we agree with Jessie. Betty is perfect. Problem solved. Case closed. Betty is our stove’s name.
  4. Can we just not install a range hood? Leave it off entirely? Maybe install just the stove in front of the window and no silly hood, thus solving the window obstruction issue? The answer, friends, sadly, is no. Oregon law requires an exhaust system, not just ventilation, so we must have a hood. I know, I know; boo.
  5. If we must have a hood, is there anywhere else we can put Betty so she’s not blocking the window? Blocking the window will drive us CRAZY. The answer is… actually, maybe we can. Maybe we can put Betty against a wall and not the window. Let’s chat. 

Which bring us to…

THE DECISION, ROUND 2

The Decision, Round 2, is where we operate within the parameters already decided, which are 1) we’re keeping Betty, 2) we’re keeping the window as is.

That leaves us with either of the following:

ONE: A NEW idea… we put Betty against the same wall as the fridge, sort of like this:

IMG_9466mostrecent

You may have to zoom in on the photo to see where Betty, the hood, the dishwasher and cabinets might go.

This is the more expensive of the two options because we would have to restub the gas line, move the dishwasher to the right of the sink, and do a fairly extensive cabinet remodel.

Please note: our neighbors just had their gas line moved, and they say it’s not too expensive. However, these same neighbors keep their house clean and purchase certain items like clothes and shoes and the occasional electronic device motivated by Investing Wisely in Things That Will Bring Pleasure for the Long Term and NOT motivated by DEAR GOD OF COURSE I HAVE TO HAVE THAT BECAUSE IT COSTS $0, so they’re not exactly reliable sources of “not too expensive.” They BUY THINGS, you guys. With MONEY. Like some things are Worth Paying For! I’m just saying we should take their advice with a grain of salt, you know?

On the other hand, if we bite the bullet and swallow the expense, Betty would be closer to the fridge and sink, which is far more convenient for cooking, and would have cabinets above, which I’ve missed, actually, quite a lot since we’ve lived in this house.

For another view of Option #1, here’s where the dishwasher would move and how cabinets would be positioned in the former stove location:IMG_9469-002

TWO: Or, Option 2, we put Betty in nearly the same location as the current stove and suck it up on window obstruction, kind of like this:IMG_9469-001

This option is clearly MUCH cheaper than the first option because it would require very little remodeling of cabinets, no restubbing of the gas line, and no moving the dishwasher. The reason I haven’t shown it centered in the window is because many of you pointed out it would be too close to the sink to be practical, and my friend, Emily came over and verified. We could move it to the right a little, but we run into a similar issue with being too close to the door. Centering it between the sink and the door seems to be the best place if we choose this option.

So, friends? Considering these newest developments what’s your verdict?

Option #1 (Betty goes against the wall) or Option #2 (Betty goes in front of the window)? I’ll tally every opinion and give you the results soon!

Also, GOD BLESS YOU for not making me do this alone.

With love,

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P.S. Here’s the Pinterest Board Rachel put together for us. WOOHOO, RACHEL! She has titled it “Beth’s ‘We aren’t being cheap like Greg anymore’ House Idea Board,” so we can rest assured she gets us.

P.P.S. If we decide on Option #1, which is the way I’m leaning, we need to think of creative ways to explain the added expense to Greg. I’m thinking maybe popping naked out of a cake. Thoughts and suggestions appreciated.