America has become a jiffy society. We are accustomed to instant everything. I am surviving a seemingly never-ending kitchen makeover that defies the American norm. It has been anything but quick. In fact, I have essentially had no kitchen for three years–the period that my remodel has required–but it does seem that the project is nearing completion.

Last week, my crew installed my cabinets and yesterday, they installed my marble countertop.

Yesterday, I ordered the old Chicago brick for the backsplash and to run behind my stove.

 Old Chicago Brick

I hope to enclose the range and hood within bricks, sort of like this:

I hope that I have a sink and dishwasher installed next week and the moulding the following week. The new tile floor and brick backspash will follow and Voila! I’ll have a functional kitchen.

Allow me to preface my story by admitting that I brought this long wait without a kitchen on myself. Almost three years ago, I ripped out the wall that divided 2 small, 10′ x 10’ rooms that had been built to serve as my house’s kitchen and my dining room. Both of the diminutive areas were dark and constrictive. I always felt that I could hardly breathe in them, and while a table for 6 would fit in the dining room, it was not large enough for 6 people to sit in the chairs. Neither the kitchen nor the dining room were adequate.

bluekitchen1On top of it all, my kitchen floors and counters were an obnoxious color of blue, and the flooring was a cheap, roll vinyl.

A couple of times, I considered selling my house and I briefly listed it both times. People would walk through the front door and about 15 feet through a nice living room, which has old hardwood floors. Their faces would seem calm and perhaps even pleased until they reached the kitchen. Once would-be-buyers saw my blue kitchen, their expressions would sour and within minutes, they were out the door and off to look at someone else’s house. I realized that a kitchen re-do was eminent. With sledge hammer in hand, I myself knocked down the wall between the old kitchen and dining room, but I had no idea how I would ever afford to replace what I had destroyed.

Not realizing how long the process would be, I donated my appliances to Goodwill, and for a full year, I had no stove or kitchen sink. I cooked with a crock pot, a microwave, and an electric skillet. Finally, I bought a few cabinets, and I had my old sink installed in my family room/bar. My first handyman was a loser–He was more of a doper and crook than anything else, and he caused more problems than he corrected. In fact, I wrote a poem about him.

A Limerick for My Contractor
by Jacki Kellum
I hired me a contractor who
Preferred the white the powder and flew
Clear out the door.
My money! You boar!
My house is still far from half-through.

After that guy fled, my project was paralyzed for more than two years. During that time, I have been forced to look at my half-down wall that looks like giant rats have been eating it, and after I yanked up the blue linoleum, I have been forced to see the scabby-looking sub-floor.

It all became depressing to me. I had almost given up on my kitchen project, but just before I did so, things began turning around for me. A series of miracles began falling on me. A wonderful family gave  me a complete kitchen that is gorgeous. It comes with a magnificent commercial range and hood, cabinets, and a marble countertop. In this case, one man’s trash is more than any treasure that I could have imagined.

I have even found a builder that I can barely afford, but I know that I can trust him. He has completely rewired and re-plumbed my kitchen, and we are beginning the final stages of my kitchen re-do. I am a Christian, but I rarely talk about my religion. Yet, I do believe in miracles.

My kitchen is a miracle.

Another friend gave me the garden window, and yet another dear friend has fronted me enough money to finally finish this project.

The wall between the breakfast nook and the kitchen is down, and we’ll finish that project next

I am planning a series of parties to celebrate with my friends. At Halloween, I am hosting a campfire and storytelling party. We will roast hot dogs and everyone is invited to tell their favorite Halloween story. At Thanksgiving, I am truly giving thanks for my new kitchen. I am cooking an old-fashioned Southern Thanksgiving dinner-Southern cornbread dressing, dumplings, fried corn, fresh green beans and bacon, squash, pumpkin soup, fresh cranberry sauce, and pies galore. Everyone is invited.

©Jacki Kellum August 13, 2017