I am currently having my kitchen floor replaced, and am living in what closely resembles Alice’s rabbit hole. (An appropriate metaphor as they started work the day after Easter, and my first line of defense against insanity was a chocolate Easter Bunny and carrot cake.) It turns out that all my carefully laid plans to organize and clear out the kitchen in anticipation of the project, did not even begin to scrape the surface of what actually needed to be done. Exposing the floor meant every single thing-a-ma-bob had to go! And given the size of my place, that means there wasn’t anything like enough alternate floor space to accommodate a pair of file cabinets, two storage carts, a desk, printer, shredder, chair, two counter stools, shelving, laundry basket, stove, rugs, lamps, and all the flotsam of life lived with the kitchen as a command center. As a result, nothing is where it is at, so I am forced to rummage through random stacks and piles of whatnot to locate my phone. But after all my best efforts to keep some sort of control, the coup de gras was delivered by the workmen who commandeered the last bit of open floor space to stage their compressor, tools, buckets, grinders, jackets, flooring, crow bars, industrial vac, broom, tarps, and radio. In doing so they cut off access to most of my kitchen supplies. Luckily the chocolate was in the pantry and the carrot cake lives in the fridge. 

While the workmen grind down the old concrete and bang away at whatever needs it, my world swirls around me like a poltergeist on speed. I sit in a chair with my little white electronic charging cords cascading over tables and random household appliances. As my iPad and phone take turns being charged in another chair, my laptop perches atop a plastic carry case set on a kitchen counter stool looking alert, organized and obnoxiously smug. Meanwhile, the stove has parked itself at the dining table and is having a close conversation with stacks of unopened mail, desktop paraphernalia, Italian language books, writing projects and a tray with note paper and Kleenex. The printer lurks next to the office chair snickering about the revenge it plans to wreak for being unplugged without permission. The laundry basket snuggles up to the easel and shares insights about life in the closet while the easel offers color commentary. My little antique bamboo shelves give aid and comfort to refugee artwork removed from the kitchen walls, as well as the old office rolodex discovered cowering under the dust of disuse and obsolescence. The studio work table graciously offers asylum to cutting boards, boxes of Tupperware, a toaster and a toaster oven, big mixing bowls, fridge magnets, tomatoes, salad bowls, salt and pepper shakers, and stacks of god knows what else. The file cabinets, cast out into the hallway, give me dark looks as I pass by on my way to the bathroom … surly devils that they are … they dare me to stub my toes because I pulled them away from the front door window with the nice view. And in the entry way, the closet and pantry doors lean up against the wall like they are bellied up to their neighborhood bar and cover the thermostat, which means the cold air from the constant to-ing and fro-ing of workmen through the patio door doesn’t register. Brrrrr

The good news is they should be finishing up soon, and as not too much time has elapsed, I should be able to remember where everything was before I ransacked the place. I think of it as yet another memory exercise, like doing a crossword puzzle. But I must admit I’m glad I took pictures of the art on the wall, and the refrigerator door so I can recall what went where. The reconstruction project concerns me a bit as I know my mother would have gotten out the dust mops and cleaners and gone to work on the walls behind the file cabinets, the stove, the washer, the dryer and the fridge before putting things back. But here’s the thing, no one will see those walls again for umptee-dumptee years, and I like to think dust too, needs a nice safe home where it can gather. So, sorry Mom, it ain’t going to happen. It’s enough that the rolodex and the letterhead paper will start out with a dust free resting place. After that everybody else is on their own in the dust wars. 


  1. Hilarious, awesome, adorable personification!!! You’re wonderful, C. … and it’s always a joy to think of your Mother, even re dusting!!!

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