Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My mother, the ultimate collector

My mother was a collector of all things. Some of it was pretty good. Some of it was, well, interesting. And she was good at collecting. She pretty much filled up this little cottage of ours on Seneca Lake, starting, no doubt, when she purchased the place around 1960.

Michael and I have spent the past three years sorting, storing, and giving away box loads of interesting, cute, nifty, pretty things, trying to make a simple lake home for us and for family and friends.

But I've successfully avoid the kitchen project --- until now.

The first major kitchen improvement was to take down the bookshelf that divided the kitchen from the living room. Cousin Brett did a miraculous job of putting in a breakfast bar that opened the kitchen up to the living room, finishing it just days before the wedding guests started to arrive.

Unfortunately, it also opened up the view from the living room to the kitchen.

Uh oh.

Hadn't thought about that.

For the last week I've been sitting at the new, wonderful breakfast bar, making note to Michael that the kitchen shelves sure needed to be organized, sorted, cleaned, painted, you name it, and I sure should get to it.

But I didn't.

So my dear husband decided to help by forcing the timetable.

On Saturday I returned from some errands in Ithaca to discover mounds of kitchen stuff on tables under a tent in the driveway. The kitchen was relatively unusable. The pressure was now on and the project wasn't getting any easier during the daily rainfalls.

The avoidance factor for the project was knowing I would have to take the time to decide that, yes, I'll keep that little oblong dish from the Mark Twain Hotel that someone probably lifted 40 years ago. And that cute little glass bowl that doesn't match anything else, so it goes. And maybe I'll really still use that little antique syrup pitcher.


And, really, most of the stuff was/is pretty neat. There is just too damn much of it. When my mother was alive it was painful for her to give away things, or watch me give her things away. I used to agree with her that, yes, it was a treasure. It's just that now it was going to be someone else's treasure.

So, I'm happy to report that it's Tuesday afternoon and the kitchen shelves are back up and beautiful! Even with some empty shelves yet to be filled! And someone will be getting a box of some of our kitchen 'treasures'.

And I don't want to hear one word about the horrendous job waiting for us in the cellar. I can't see it... so maybe next year?

Today we've got more important work to do. The black raspberries are ripe in the vineyard above the house and we have some jam and pie requests to fill.

The new, improved kitchen, with shelves to spare!

Postscript: Check Michael's blog for the day-to-day news from life in New York. His blog is much more up-to-date than mine.