Hypertension in the Key of D

Sometimes, if your house is already in chaos due to a kitchen remodel, and then a new crew comes in to start refinishing your floors (one half of the house at a time, which means all possessions in two rooms get shoved into the other two rooms, and then the next week, everything from that side gets shoved back over to the side of the newly-refinished floors), you hit Maximum Chaos and Crap Overload. It ain’t pretty. In fact, I feel like I’m actively restricting my drinking this week (what with classes starting back up, too) so that I don’t just sip from a flask–delicately and discreetly, mind you–from the moment my eyes open in the morning ’til the moment they slam shut at night. Under my current plan, I’m not allowed to have twenty beers until after 8 p.m.

We have so much stuff. Usually, we can pretend there’s a place for it. Not this week. We have not place.

…except out on the curb. The case with this spinet is that it’s untuneable unless we shell out about $600.

Not gonna.

So we listed it on Freecycle and Craig’s List and got no bites. We put it out with “Free” signs all over it and got some. Our neighbor said she’d take it. Woot-woot! We turned away all lookers after that.

She called this morning and said she can’t take it. (good thing she’s a lovely woman otherwise; I’ve never seen Groom, who makes Gandhi look like an a-hole, contemplate violence before)

It’s supposed to rain tonight.

We can’t find enough tarps to cover it adequately. The other tarps are already covering a kitchen table that’s living outside.

We can’t pay to buy anymore tarps because–WERE YOU LISTENING?–we’re already paying mounds of dollars for a kitchen remodel and floor refinishing.

So there sits the piano. Forelorn.

Come and take it.

Should you arrive, I’ll make you pie. It’s raspberry season, you know, and I have cream cheese.

All right, so bummers aside, the kitchen is getting prettier. Getting the cooktop in has been transformative. We eat pasta and beets now.

The oven’s been in for a couple of weeks. Look what it did for us last Sunday morning! Oven must’ve known we had a big week coming up, one with new students and no access to the kitchen during the floor business.

Oven likes skillet pancakes (aka “Dutch babies”).

Jocelyn likes Nutella.

Jocelyn also wonders when someone stuck her mother’s hands onto the ends of her arms.

For the first time since we moved into this house, our recipe books are in the actual kitchen and not out on the back porch.

Of course, I still go out on the back porch to look for them every time I need a recipe. Why can’t I just holler, “Dutch baby recipe: come to Mama!” and have it gallop right to me, to save some of this annoying rustling around, looking confounded? That’s exhausting work, the Rustle and Confound.

Miss Silvia and some still lifes (yea, I know it’s “lives,” but humor the English teacher who knows all the rules so well she has license to violate them) have come aboard, too. See how much our floors needed refinishing?

It’s proven confusing, as well, to have the food IN the kitchen. I still am wandering around the living room, calling out to my Triscuits. Now I hear their muffled cries coming from inside this pantry.

I’ve made two good choices in my life: 1) the man I live with; 2) the transom window above the door there. Both are transparent.

A shot of the dining room, after we cleared it out on Sunday. Note the refrigerator on the left. I like a fridge that serves as maitre d’ to everyone entering the house.

Because this is a high-class joint, we also have a hostess, Sideboard, to greet you on the porch.

The living room, all this past week, has been JUNK, JUNK, JUNK. Just typing about it makes my blood pressure skyrocket.

Dining room table in the living room.

Have to stop typing about this now. Need my meds. Pressure is spiking

Every now and then, though, the crap and junk come together in a queer synergy.

And it delights me.

If I stare at Maestro Monkey Love long enough, some nights I can wait until 8:18 p.m. before cracking the first two beers.

And then I stare at the dramatic dark vs. light of our half-re-finished floors (plus Paco doing the hula), and I can wait until 8:49.



By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."


  1. "Accio Dutch baby recipe!" works much better, IMO as a low-level Harry Potter nerd.

    Also, I feel you on the junk weirdness. We moved some rooms around our house so that my brother wouldn't drive me crazy, and now I have a "room" with no door of its own and just two walls, fully exposed to the rest of the basement (which is hopefully temporary). Oh, the sacrifices I make for my sister.

  2. And six months from now all of this will be an old memory and you'll have a super new kitchen and gorgeous floors. Yay!

  3. Dutch babies, eh? They look remarkably like Yorkshire Puddings (English delicacy, best served with roast meat and gravy, nom).
    Hi! I've come out of hibernation for a while.

  4. Viewing your progress as your home gets a big facelift, I think back to when this house of mine was in that state of disarray and yours looks much, much neater than mine did then -or does not for that matter (and no remodeling going on downstairs these days!)
    It is really a major pain in the behind to deal with the mess, the moving and shifting of stuff from one area to another but well worth it all after the fact.
    But that piano -and no takers -is sad. One would think somoething like that -and a freeebie no less -would be snatched up very quickly.

  5. I can not take your piano, alas I have no room. But I hope someone does soon. And I do hope the renovations are over VERY soon for the sake of your sanity.

    However, if you do go over the edge, take heart — most of the great writers of the world were crazy too and you may be able to get a best selling novel out of it. Of course, it might only be "best selling" after you die….

    (I second Flutter's comment.)

  6. This too will pass. It will, it will!

    Weed out the junk before you put things back in the rooms. Be ruthless, be strong. Dump dump dump.

  7. You must be stressing with all that chaos. I find my blood pressure rises just WATCHING those shows like clean sweep. I HATE disorder.
    Eat the nutella. Be calm. Keep writing.

  8. Love, love, love the transom! (Even if it does just lead to the commode!) It goes so "right" with the new mission-style kitchen cabs. Nice cook island, too, and applaud the use of butcher block when, dahling, the whole neighborhood is going cold cold granite! In a house like yours, wood is always the correct choice. And the newly sanded wood floors – so exquisitely fresh.

  9. i would very much like to have a video of you making a dutch baby (the food; i'm not looking for a labor and delivery video). and since you think i am handling this transition of eldest limeltte to college life with aplomb you need to know the sight of nutella, her favorite snack (straight from the jar on a spoon) has made me need to have 20 beers and i don't even like beer.

  10. dude, i LOVE your house, i LOVE nutella, i LOVE raspberry ANYTHING (please hold the cream cheese), and your dancing paco is adorable. i'm coming over.

  11. That was my son's favorite pancake ever back in the day.

    It's all coming together beautifully. From personal experience I will say the memories fade to almost nothing (until someone posts about their remodel and then you have traumatic flashbacks).

  12. How lovely your home will be when you get the workman out of there. Long haul and almost complete. I want to live there.

    And Nutella – I gorged on pretzels and Nutella on Friday night at 1am. So much for the diet.

  13. There is a little trailer in south austin that serves crepes .. banana and nutella being one. I heard of this and made myself and the kids a banana and nutella on flour tortillas. Voila! Or would that be, Ole!

  14. It all looks fantastic! Well done you! I'd go crazy!…but what a wonderful excuse to knock back a few drinks. Thanks for your much-appreciated comment on my blog recently Jocelyn. It means a lot. Might be having a few more extra swigs myself!!xx

  15. WOW! What a change! Love the bold red kitchen. The mess now will be worth it in the end. You might remember that we went through one long year of a big addition/reno an it's the best thing we ever did.

    Have a great year at school!

  16. Such a charming house:) We've been living in the same place 20 years this month, and our stuff has–swelled, or something like it. Used to be starkers around here, but–I need to get rid of junk, too. The thought of it makes me sleepy…sort of the opposite reaction you're having.

    Sorry about the spinet, that's a shame.

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