In praise of real dishes

In praise of real dishes

If I wanted to, I could figure out when the big kitchen/bathroom renovation began. I don’t want to. Not at all. We’ll just say it’s been a long time and leave it at that. During this long time, we’ve lived with a temporary kitchen set-up in my dining room while the “real kitchen” (as the kids call it) basically became Alan’s workshop. There have been some inconveniences to this arrangement, but none so difficult as the lack of a kitchen sink (or any other plumbing downstairs). The rest of it, I can deal with. I find a recipe I’d like to try, but it’s just not possible without a full sized oven – as opposed to the toaster oven we’ve been using – okay, we’ll have something else. I need the use of two burners, but I only have one? I’ll make things in succession instead of concurrently and use the slow cooker to help keep the first thing warm. I’m pretty adaptable. But dragging dishes upstairs to be washed in the bathtub and then back down? Running upstairs anytime you need water for a cleanup or even to make a cup of tea? Oy vey iz mir!

But look! My Valentine’s Day present! A working kitchen sink in my (getting so very close to done) REAL kitchen!

IMG_4596I know this could possibly come across as sarcasm, but I was really, really genuinely happy. Now, if you ask Alan, he’ll tell you that this is all part of his elaborate plan. Buy a rundown house with potential (always beware the word potential), and renovate it slowly, taking away all the conveniences of modern life long enough for me to get used to doing without them… Then buy a boat! Amazingly, the little galley on the boat seems wonderful! Also, our house had ZERO closets when we bought it. Zero. Connection to storage situations on the boat? Hm….

At any rate, we’d been using a lot of paper dishware for convenience during the dark, sink-less days. Today, I finally had a chance to dig our our real dishware from it’s hiding place in the attic. Hallelujah! What a wonderful thing real dishes are. They make me feel so civilized. There was a bit of a mystery, though. I couldn’t find our glasses, anywhere. There are boxes of kitchen things that got packed up, waiting for the day when I had a real kitchen with cabinets to store them in again, and I’m sure the glasses were among them, but that box must have somehow gotten put in a separate location than all the other kitchen boxes. I did, however, find a treasure. I had forgotten that at some point I was given my grandparents’ “H glasses,” as I always called them. They just got packed away with the rest of my kitchen goods – until now.

IMG_4627My grandparents’ surname begins with ‘H’, and as it happened they had only daughters, and among all their progeny so far, I’m the only one to end up with an ‘H’ name. Good thing, because I loved those glasses and I probably would have wanted them even if that wasn’t the case. I remember using these glasses at the *special* dinners at their little house: somebody’s birthday or some other little occasion to celebrate. It was such a treat to get them out tonight and celebrate the return of real, solid dishes to our dining experiences.

‘Twas the night before vacation…

We’re about to leave for a week of sailing. The preparation for these trips always overwhelms me. Just how much stuff does a family of five need to survive for a week anyhow? This will be our longest trip yet, and now that we’re properly into fall, preparing for weather possibilities is a bit more involved. I’ve made so. many. lists…

My notebook has been with me constantly all week – generally it’s traveled in my knitting bag, which is already constantly with me. I’m a bag lady.

I’ve shopped, and shopped again to pick up the things I forgot. I bought a gazillion snack things, made chili to freeze, boiled eggs, and carefully planned other easy meals for the week. I’ve packed clothes to take us through mild and dry to cold and wet weather. Thankfully, the forecast looks good right now, but one never knows. We have blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, toiletries, etc… Where the heck will we put all this stuff?

This is the main pile of stuff to be packed, but oh yes, there are others. (Shameless self promotion: I LOVE my SailorBags sailcloth stow bag that contains our towels and sheets. Once emptied it will make a perfect laundry bag. I just happen to sell these and other SailorBags products over at Hartlove Books and Gifts. The store is “closed” now for vacation, but will re-open in a week.)

Space is a big concern of mine. Our boat is a 32′ Bristol. Apparently it’s a “small” 32′, in that it has very little storage space compared to other 32′ boats. Alan explained to me why this is in regard to the design of the boat, and at some point I remembered and understood. Regardless, just like my nearly closet-less house, the boat has very few places to stow things. I’m not sure how all this is going to work out. Fall and winter clothing takes up a lot more room than summer clothing, and we just have more of everything this time. I’m sure somehow it will work out, but along with food supplies, it’s just one of those things I stress over.

And while I stress and pack and plan and check my list two dozen times, almost everyone else is calmly enjoying the anticipation of a lovely trip. Sammy must feel a bit of the worry I do. He was concerned enough to make sure his favorite friend Puppy Bear was not forgotten he choose to forego sleeping with him to leave him in the pile of things to be packed. He fell asleep hugging his stuffed shark instead.

I’ve hired Savannah as a product testing intern. She’s trying out a sailcloth book cover with her copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Assuming it passes her quality control test, that’s a product I’ll soon be offering in my store.

Meanwhile, Felicity pretends to sleep, betrayed by her cheesy grin.

We’ll be off to Maryland after church tomorrow and pushing off early Monday morning. The plan includes St. Clement’s Island and historic St. Mary’s City – places I haven’t been to since the Maryland history unit in 4th grade – so the history nerd in me is excited to return and to share the stories of these places with the kids. Here we go!