I’ve Moved and How it Changes the Way I Cook

If you have been following along via my last post, or Instagram or Facebook, you know I have moved. And while I don’t WANT to make this blog about home renovations, for now, it will include the trials and tribulations of how having moved has an impact on my kitchen time. My kitchen is my happy place. On most days, I would rather spend time there than anywhere else…even in this “Welcome to the Gates of Hell” weather we have been having. Renovations haven’t changed that, I just had to alter my approach to things. For now, bread making is suspended. Anything I make must be uncomplicated, no new challenges, and it MUST bring me comfort.

My cookbook club chose Repertoire by Jessica Battilana as our book to work from for the time being. This dish was stellar and perfect comfort food for the Hubs and I in the midst of chaos. You can order your copy here from
The Writer’s Block

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome

As I type, I have moved everything out of my kitchen for the massive tear out. I am sitting in what will be my breakfast room, completely surrounded by my kitchen stuff. The only cabinet left in the kitchen is the one supporting my sink. The walls in the kitchen are partially torn out and we can see the original walls from 1939. I was sharing this info with Friend Natasha, and she said, “So, what are you doing for eating now?” I have grills, the stove is still hooked up, I have my portable burners, I have running water and an InstantPot, so I am rolling with the punches and following the old military adage – Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. We are eating anything that can be created with the above appliances, and of course supporting our local restos by dining in and take out.

I’ve Moved this Shit Four Times Already!

By the time this renovation is complete I will have touched every single item in my kitchen at least 6 times (packing it from there to here; unpacking it here; putting it in the cabinets here; moving it out of the cabinets onto temp shelving and then having to move the temp shelving to another room, and so on). It’s really making me wonder, “HOW MUCH stuff does one human need in their kitchen?” Having sold cookware for 17 years, I have quite the collection of kitchen ware. And I am not kidding when I tell you that I have at least a dozen skillets and fry pans, not including my cast iron. Then came my LeCreuset addiction which added even more. We moved, in part, to downsize. In my effort to downsize, however, the one category I am having difficulty reducing is my kitchen gear. If I give something away, what will happen when I need it?! Having moved every fucking item in my kitchen four times in less than three months, I am ready to part with some stuff. But which stuff? Who do I gift it to? And no, none of the LeCreuset is going anywhere!

I Cleaned When I Moved! Isn’t that Enough?

When we moved from the Big House, I scrubbed so it would be nice for the family taking possession. That’s the military wife in me. With each of our PCS moves, the house had to be spick & span before we could check out. When we moved into this house, it was filthy, so I scrubbed again. I am at the point in renovations where I have stopped cleaning. There is a film of plaster dust on everything and while it triggers my minor OCD, I have decided it is futile to clean daily right now.

What the Hell is in My Mouth?!

Every time I turn around, I find pieces of dry wall (sheetrock) lying about. I must clean everything before I cook anything and clean everything after I cook. The dust is literally on every surface of my house, including my cookware and plates because everything is on open shelving for the time being. NO matter how well you “tape off” a room, the dust finds a way to out-maneuver you. Whenever I get grit in my mouth, I wonder, “Is it spices I didn’t grind finely enough? Sand? Sheetrock?” Who the fuck knows at this point?! And frankly right now, I just don’t give a damn.

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*To purchase the cover photo in a poster – visit Red Bubble


To be honest I never have said I was good at waiting for ANYTHING. As a young person I would shake the gifts under the tree and try to guess what was in them. I would try to sneak into Mom’s closet to find out what my gifts were. When I am ready for a vacation or getaway, I cannot WAIT for the plane to take off and get VERY irritable if there is a delay of any kind. I just want to scream, “Sit your fat asses down so we can take off goddammit!”

So here I sit in a filthy house (Moment of Truth – my house is ALWAYS a little cluttered, but it is RARELY filthy) with no cooking appliances, waiting on granite, tile and backsplash. The cabinets were installed so quickly (3 days) that I thought for sure that the rest of the kitchen would move along as smoothly. Mistake number 3. That’s what I get for thinking.

I know. You are wondering what Mistakes Number 1 and 2 are.

Number 1 – Thinking I would be fine with eating out all the time. Let’s be honest here! I LOVE to eat out. But the kind of food I like to eat when dining out is pricey and after the amount of $$ laid out for the renovation, it’s really fucking difficult to justify $100 for dinner several times a week. I can make do with tuna sandwishes* and other stuff for lunch and yes, I am a junk food junkie. But NO ONE, not even I, can eat like that all the damn time. I limit it to once a week.

Number 2 – Thinking I would be able to “make the best of it” and cook on the grill or my little butane burner or simply enjoy a salad. FYI – I can’t stand eating salad. When offered the choice between soup or salad, I will almost always choose the soup. I know people who do eat salad every single day (Hubby would cheerfully eat salad every day). I like hot food. I like food with layers of flavors and textures that is HOT. And if this was the summer, it would be easier to jump on the salad bandwagon, but it’s February.

John warned me I would be stir crazy. John KNEW I would be a basket case right about now. He knows me so well. What he didn’t know is that he would be just as bad as I am. We can’t find anything. We can’t really cook anything. And we are both tired of the messy house and the food we are eating. I am not sure what is stressing me out more. It’s a toss-up between the filthy house and the lack of creative release. You see, I have come to the conclusion that even though I SAY I can’t meditate, I am lying to myself. I meditate in the kitchen. By focusing on the job at hand I am able to center myself and get my shit together. Yeah, um, I don’t have that right now. So I am not centered. I am crabby and ready for this to be done. Of course it looks amazing and I am so much happier with the results to date than I ever thought possible.  Enjoy these pics of the tile work.

This is the basic pattern.  The yellow "croquet hoops" are the spacers for the grout.

This is the basic pattern. The yellow “croquet hoops” are the spacers for the grout.


Gilbert (L) and Bobby working their magic.

Granite and more electrical on Monday and hopefully backsplash on Wednesday.  Then to paint.  Then to party…and party some more!

* I always write sandWISH

A New Hope…

This is Red Leader –  Operation Happy Mama proceeding according to plan.  Installation in progress.  Please view attached images to observe progress to date:

Day 1:

The completely empty kitchen.

Before – The completely empty kitchen.

Josh and Lou inspecting the inventory.

Josh and Lou inspecting the inventory.

Shipment in the garage.  BOTH cars had to park in the driveway!

Shipment in the garage. BOTH cars had to park in the driveway!

Day 2:


Josh and Lou starting the tear out.

Josh and Lou starting the tear out.

Counters out

Counters out

Island with the sink and dishwasher dismantled.

Island with the sink and dishwasher dismantled.

Everything OUT!

Everything OUT!

Final piece of the destruction.

Jeremy tackles the final piece of the destruction.

Day 3:


Day 4:


John, our cabinet guy, was a Zen Fucking Master! He had EVERYTHING installed in less than 3 full days.


Day 5:

2-IMG_1004 1-IMG_1009

Day 6:


And yes, John came in to work on Super Bowl Sunday. We didn’t mind – we don’t watch Fball and he was DONE by 1 pm!


All cabinets and hardware installed. On to granite and tile…

Day 7 :

Electric installed back in the island.  New sockets ready and hot.


Sink temporarily re-installed


Yes, that’s the ORIGINAL formica island countertop with the old sink. Now you have an idea how large the NEW island really is.

Day 8:

Red Leader here – we  have a problem…

And  now I wait…  If the promptness of the granite guy’s appearance (he was 2 hours late) and his attitude are any indication, I MAY have a functioning complete kitchen by Halloween.  I can promise you, when you hire me I will show up ON TIME and if I am going to be late, I will pick up the goddamn phone!

Apparently I have to wait for the granite to come in from SoCal and THEN they cut it and THEN install it (Moment of Truth – I thought the granite was an IN STOCK item, which is one of the reasons I chose that particular one).  I thought the counters would be fabricated today and tomorrow and installed by the end of the week! According to the guy who was here yesterday, the granite won’t even BE IN LAS VEGAS until next Tuesday!  Oh, BTW, I can’t put a fucking thing in any of the lower cabinets or drawers until the counters are in.  The uppers are all filled already.  Thank you Friend Lynn for coming over and handing everything to me while I was on a ladder.  But I still have appliances, cookware, flatware, Baking Stones (yes, of course they are Pampered Chef) and Tupperware without homes, resting on every flat surface of the house.  Three tables and the guest bed are covered and the drawers are stacked EVERYWHERE.  Will the granite guys be late for each appointment?  Who the hell knows!

Today the guys come to measure for the tile flooring and the backsplash.  The floor can go in, but the backsplash has to wait until the granite guys get done.  Have I mentioned I am not good at waiting and that my fridge in plugged into an outlet in the living room?

And before you ask, yes those awful light fixtures will be replaced too, but that is WAY down the road.  I will keep you posted.

Red Leader OUT!