Learning to Love a Kitchen

I’ve never liked a kitchen before. When I was a kid it was too adult. When I was a student it was too dirty. When I was single it was ignored. I’ve never been interested in cooking. It’s a necessity not a joy. Doing the dishes is my least favourite chore. I hate the simultaneous dry and wet feelings between my fingers and the damp mildew smell of the sponge. I have never been fond of the kitchen.

However, since Joanie learned to sit up in a high chair my hatred for the room has subsided. The living room is no longer the hub of the house. Most of the living is done in the kitchen. It’s where I eat supper with my family, bake muffins for breakfast, and sing the ABC’s loud over the sound of the blender. But the kitchen is no longer solely for cooking. It has become my office with its bright south facing window and expansive table on which I spread all my papers and write this very blog. It’s also where I play tug-of-war with my dog, pace back and forth while arguing on the phone with my internet provider and laugh over coffee and gossip with my friends. It’s a place of noise. All day I alternate the sounds of news radio, NPR, Hall & Oates, dishes clanking about, dogs barking, and singing. Oh so much singing. I’m sure my neighbours love to hear me sing:

Oh, they built the ship Titanic

To sail the ocean blue,

And they thought the had a ship

That the water wouldn’t go through,

But the Good Lord raised his hand

Said that ship would never land.

It was sa-ad when the gre-eat ship went down.

And other such morbid tunes from my girl-scout days.

One of the first conversations Eric and I had after we decided to have Joanie was about dinner time. We made a pact that supper would always be served at the table and away from the television. Even if we have nothing to say to each other because we’ve spent the whole day lying about, we will at least make it to the table. Unless dinner’s pizza. Pizza should always be eaten with television.

We’re by no means traditional. We’re not married, we don’t attend any sort of church and our daughter was born two weeks before the one year anniversary of our first date, if you could call it a date. It was more like me stumbling to his house after the bar to drink absinthe then cabbing home at 4 am with the nicest lady driver I. But there are some traditions that appeal to me, the big one being family dinner in the kitchen, that noisy, messy, colourful place full of sunlight and smells.

When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time on the couch. Eric likes to joke about how I beat Netflix. There was nothing it could suggest that I hadn’t already seen. Things were sloth-like but cozy as I knit myself in a stagnant wooly ball. Since Joanie’s birth our lives have burst into activity. The living is no longer done in the room of its namesake but in the kitchen. Our living room is where we crash from all the living we do in the kitchen.

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