Saturday, April 7, 2012

Becoming "Mistress of my Domain" -- harder work than I realized!

Now that Mom is finally (and comfortably) owning her octogenarian status, the mantle of "Lady of the House" has been passed to me. As a rebellious sort, I have long managed to remain an undomesticated woman, even during my married years. I've been comfortable with "just-good-enough" tidiness, although I will, at least, insist on clean bathrooms and kitchen. My "culinary-challenged" tendencies have always been apparent, and thankfully, most of the men in my life have been those who love to cook.

Bless Martha Stewart and those of like mind, making their sweet little seasonal crafts and their elaborate dinners. Their creative territory is secure, because I couldn't care less for such things.

Perhaps I'm more of my father's daughter than I realized, because I'm actually a gadget gal. My eyes light up when I'm in a hardware store, or a garden supply department. Now that I've dismissed the "gardener" (in reality just a "grass-cutter guy"), I've commandeered the trimming equipment in earnest. One of my male relatives showed me how to use the edger without dismembering myself, and the lawn mower is surprisingly easy for me to maneuver. It's amazing what one can learn online, and with help from eHow, my next day-off venture will be to clean out the plugged-up sprinkler heads.

This morning, between appointments, I went to OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware), and got some nails to put up some vintage kitchen-wall embellishments I found at a thrift shop last summer. There was no one around, so I selected and bagged 'em myself. The digital scale was certainly not user-friendly. Who out there delights in muttering and swearing in frustration at these devices? I do, on a regular basis -- including the ATM, and also those irritatingly friendly voices at the supermarket self-checkouts.

I also got an education in the solvent aisle, when buying some "Goof-Off," being warned by a young man that the fumes can trigger a not-at-all-pleasant high. Years ago, Mom put some of those stupid adhesive flowers on the shower floor. They don't really prevent falls, and they look tacky -- so they're coming up! When payday comes around, I want to go back and get a power tile-scrubber that a friend told me about, complete with lots of little attachments. More and more, I'm realizing the appeal tools have to guys. There's such a thrill, and sense of proud mastery, to doing these projects oneself!

Now that I'm the only one who (reluctantly, believe me) enters the kitchen, I'm going to be spending some time tomorrow rearranging the cabinets, filled past capacity with lots of "As Seen on TV" utensils Mom acquired over the years, used once, and has since forgotten. I'd love to sell some china that was left by a grandmother of whom I was, shall we say, less than fond. That would leave more space for the china set I really love and use during the winter holidays (among the rare times I do play hostess).

Then there's the dipping kitchen faucet and a back-splash with seriously nasty
grout...hmmm...would a simple washer and re-grouting suffice, or should I take a Home Depot class sometime, and bravely tackle a major sink replacement? It is the original (1923) double sink, with ancient tile counters and back-splash. I bet I could bring some refreshing updates into my home.

Painting, doing my own linoleum replacement, renovating the cabinet configuration...I'll post some "before" photos here, and maybe someone could give me some ideas. I've got some Sunset Magazinehome improvement books squirreled away, and perhaps these can be my guide to putting my own style-mark--inside and out--to this beloved home of mine.

Damn...I can't get the photos that I took of the kitchen to load here. I'll try to do it in a separate post. (Another reason I miss my son since he moved to Lancaster! He's my resident computer-techie.)

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