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Tiny kitchens

I had a dear elderly lady friend, who died several years ago. She loved to cook, eat, entertain and have a good time. I have many happy memories of our friendship. One of my favorite memories is her oft-repeated description of her kitchen's size. "I have a one-butt kitchen,"she would deadpan.

I thought of this last week-end when I started painting my kitchen. My kitchen definitely has room for only "one butt,"meaning anyone who bends over to get something out of the bottom of the fridge or the oven pushes all other occupants out.

I began painting last Saturday. Since I am painting over wallpaper, I quickly realized that two coats would not be enough. Luckily, my father volunteered to help. When he arrived, there was room for only one of our backsides, so I either stood in the doorway and kept him company or listened from the living room.

To get more decorating ideas, I tuned in to HGTV. OK, I realize I just lost all the men, but I'm on my soap box, so don't leave! The show's topic was about how to help the environment by recycling used materials into household goods. Ideas presented included gluing computer chips behind plastic to make coasters, weaving leftover rubber from flip-flop soles into doormats and weaving candy wrappers into baskets.

Now I know my children eat enough candy to overflow a landfill with the wrappers, but I found the entire concept contradictory. Environmentalists are pushing a "save the environment by recycling" agenda, and rightfully so. However, the business community makes money hand over fist by selling convenience, and we, the consumers, are opening our wallets and buying into it. Think about it - we used to drink water from the faucet in a glass, then wash the glass and reuse it. Now, we purchase individual plastic bottles of water and throw the bottles away when we're done. We used to purchase snacks in large boxes or bags and put the leftovers or individual servings in a container. Now, we can purchase everything from chips and cookies to carrots and sliced apples to coffee-creamers in individual-serving sized containers. My biggest pet peeve is cleaning products. We used to take old T-shirts and towels, rip them into rags, and use them for dusting, polishing and scrubbing. And when we swept or mopped floors, we rinsed out the mop, stood it outside to dry, and it was ready for the next cleaning day. Now marketers want us to believe that a used mop or a toilet brush is going to contaminate us with leprosy?

I would contemplate this further, but the trash needs to go out, it's overflowing. And I noticed there are no butts in the kitchen, so I guess it's my turn to paint.

Web posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2006


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