by Susan Seyfarth
Every year when we get our tax refund, we tackle a house project. It's a long standing tradition, & since we have an endless list of Highly Desirable Home Improvements, I imagine it'll stand for years to come. But this year was special. This year we finally replaced our kitchen floor.
Happy, happy day. I have hated my kitchen floor with a virulent passion ever since I first laid eyes on it ten years ago. It was yellow & white linoleum with a fake brick print & 30 years of dirt ground into every stinkin' crack & scratch. And there were LOTS of them. I could (and did) get down on my knees & scrub the thing with Comet until my fingers pruned up. Ten minutes later, it looked exactly as dirty as it did when I started.
Now my kitchen floor is a yummy, warm terra cotta colored tile & it's gorgeous. But it took a very nice man two solid weeks to put it in, during which time every single item that used to live in the kitchen had to find a new home somewhere else. (The linoleum we had removed was full of asbestos, so we had to REALLY empty the place out.) I had the fridge & the stove in the dining room. The canned goods went into big laundry baskets in the living room. The dishes & tupperware went into the basement. My laptop became a sort of migrant worker (which I'm sad to say explains my lack of presence on the blog lately. ) And so on & so forth.
As I put everything away, I thought how on earth am I going to get by without THIS for two weeks? This carrot peeler? My favorite paring knife? This cute little sauce pan? Two weeks later, I unpacked those same boxes & threw away like 2/3s of the junk. Because that's all it was. Junk. I mean, really. I had four cans of cream of celery soup, expiration date 1999. Did I really think I was going to stick that back in my pantry? It was just proximity that made all my junk seem necessary. Familiarity that make it seem vital.
It's the same phenomenon that makes a book I could have sworn was finished looked like h-e-double-hockey-sticks when I drag it out from under the bed a year later. It makes me wonder what else in my life I've been dragging around just because I'm used to it, not because I need it.
How about you? Have you ever had an epiphany? Something that happened that gave you fresh eyes? A new perspective? A paradigm shift? Tell us about it!