I’m at the tail-end of a kitchen remodel that has, so far, lasted five weeks. For more than half that time, the kitchen has been unusable.
No running water. No cupboards. No counter space. No oven or cooktop. No place to put our mail or school papers when we come home!
Forget preparing food; we can’t even eat carryout (at least not easily) because every inch of our dining table is covered with dishes relocated from the old cupboards. We moved the kitchen table to the basement and put it to similar use.
Our old microwave, balanced precariously on a former base cabinet, huddles with a card table in the family room. There’s room for one chair, so it works in a pinch for individual diners hoping to slurp down a bowl of microwaved soup on the run.
However, meaningful meals and conversation are impossible. I miss cooking and sitting down to a leisurely dinner with my family.
It makes a difference. I’m not as in touch with my children’s day-to-day activities as I used to be. Meal time is our chance to connect and I’m having a hard time replacing it with anything as effective.
The remodel also disrupts simple chores. Something as mundane as packing lunches for school becomes complicated. As a result, I feel scattered and unorganized much of the time.
But my inconvenience is temporary and minor. And while preparing food has been challenging, I’ve had ample opportunity to eat. Furthermore, I’ve been inconvenienced so I can ultimately enjoy a brand-new, beautiful kitchen.
What about people who live this way every day, with no end in sight? Homeless people, or victims of natural disasters and tragedies?
Being unable to prepare a meal isn’t just inconvenient – the effects are far reaching and damaging. If a person can’t cover this basic need, how does he or she manage to tackle anything else, let alone connect and bond with family?
Each time I cook in my soon-to-be-finished kitchen and sit down to the warmth of a family meal, I need to remember those who struggle daily to prepare food and find a quiet spot to eat – with anyone.