It's not about the house.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Don't Judge Me by the Contents of my Cabinets

The very thought of organizing kitchen cabinets cripples me. Has done, every time I've moved, for eighteen years.

There are just so many options. Plates go here? Or there? Is ramen a soup or a noodle? Are all canned goods a single category, or should I put legumes on a different shelf? Should baking needs be low so you don't have to climb up for forgotten spices after you've added leavening, or high because -- let's face it -- you really don't bake all that often? And what if your husband is 5'3"? Would you rather put things where he can reach them, or have to get things for him all the time?

No matter how I set it up, there's always something I discover later that's just a little... off... but of course I never take note of what that off-thing is. Moving day rolls around, I open a box and shake the cabinets bare, then stand gape-mouthed and flabbergasted in the center of the new kitchen, wondering where in hell I ought to put my mugs.

Not this time.

This time, I have the advantage of moving from still-functional old cabinets into the brandy-new ones. This time, I can see what works and what does not, and plan accordingly. This time (I have a dream!), it will all make sense.

The one thing I knew right off is that the plates should go up adjacent to the stove. So that when you want to dish something, you don't have to run across the room to do it. Because my kitchen is so big it takes two whole steps to cross, and that can get damned exhausting, let me tell you.

But it isn't really my kitchen, is it? It's the AssVac's. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Johnny announced that the only cabinet they could anchor entirely to wall-studs was the stand-alone one in the corner by the door. That the other ones were anchored partly to the drywall. Properly, of course, they'd probably hold just fine, but to be safe we should put the heaviest things in the corner. Like plates, for example.

Annoyed, yes. I think I had every right to be annoyed. But I'll allow as how I should not have been surprised.

So let's start moving things over, shall we?

This is what your china looks like when you are Destructo:

That's a short history of my adult life, right there. A few pieces from every pattern I've owned since I was 21.

In fact,you know what? Screw this cabinet project! Let's finish moving things later and have a POEM CONTEST now!

Tell me how many different dish-patterns are pictured in that stack, and I will write a little ditty with your name in it.

Here's a confusing hint: there are several possible right answers. So don't just give me a number, give me some semblance of a rundown. And yes, when I say "dish-pattern" I'm counting everything -- even the stainless steel, even if it isn't technically a pattern.

Unfortunately, though, I'm going to have to disqualify people who have actually eaten from any of them. Wouldn't be fair.

You know you've all been coveting my mis-match chic for years.

Oh, also, I would like to point out (because if I don't, I know somebody else will) that we do, actually, own a matching set of dishes. They're not super-fancy china or anything, but they are all the same color.

We keep them in the attic. Where Destructo can't get at them. Just in case we ever find ourselves spontaneously entertaining heads of state. Or else the Justice League.


Khurston said...

wait, what? anchored to drywall is ok in what language again? elaboration needed, by non bearded non outies i think. not that they don't make a lovely couple, but you have heard about the wine rack disaster of 2001, right?

EGE said...

It's not ALL drywall, it's part on stud and part on drywall. And there were directions for how to do this properly, but Bearded Outie #2 has been doing this his whole life so he doesn't need no stinking directions. Trust me, it's okay. If everybody hollers I'll provide a link that says so. said...

You're scaring me with the drywall/anchor thing.

Horror Story Ahead:

The Fiance's old boss had cabinets installed (glass-fronted). He was reaching for something one day and the entire thing came down ON HIM. The broken glass cut him everywhere and he blacked out. He was on the kitchen floor bleeding for a long time. He was also diabetic and started to go into shock or something. He was on the floor for hours before someone came by and found him. End story: He ended up in the ICU for several weeks.

EGE said...

It is four parts stud and one part drywall. One, upper-right, where-there-will-only-be-spices, tiny-little part drywall. I can (and have) hung my entire weight from the g-d thing. And I am not a little girl.

Trust me. I know I joke about how stupid we are, but we are not really complete and utter morons. John B. is a master carpenter. He knows what he's doing.

It's fine!

EGE said...

Hm, now that I read that comment back, I wonder...

If I could hang my weight from it, WHY COULDN'T I PUT THE DISHES IN THERE?


(Okay, maybe I was exaggerating. I don't believe I ever technically lifted my feet off the floor. Still, though...)

Amalie said...

Oh, we've had to do a combination of attaching ours to studs at the side, and from ceiling joists at the top. The cabinets are mostly on exterior walls that are 2 1/2 brick thick, with no studs or drywall or plaster, for that matter.

The previous owners had these very same cabinets attached to the window casing as a primary point of security, so I think we've made an improvement.

modernemama said...

free-standing kitchens aren't anchored at all and they function just fine. And what about dressers piled high with china?
Oh, and I'm opting for 11 patterns: glass, white pottery, stainless, white china, blue pottery, black octagonal, blue rimmed, paper, blue on white pattern, grey and something really fancy at the bottom.
Matching china is so 20th century.

Ladyscot said...

I am guessing 9 sets.
1. clear glass bowls.
2. white bowls (that may or may not match plates below).
3. Dark glass (?) bowls.
4. White bowls that match white plates w/solid blue ring.
5. Green bowls - 2 different sizes, but they look like they match.
6. Dark plates that match large dark plates below.
7. White plate with design (may or may not match bowls above).
8. Other white plate w/design.
9. Bottom plate. This one is hard to see, so hard to tell if it matches anything.
I think that covers it.

Charlie said...

If I can't play I want my plate back!

Vanessa said...

I'd love to guess but the only thing I can make out is maybe fiesta and maybe corelle?

theotherbear said...

I'm just trying to work out how you hung yourself off the cupboard. Did you actually climb in and shut the door? Don't tell me if you didn't, I quite like the idea that you did it that way.

Leslie said...

Naming sets from the bottom up, making myself not read any other replies:

1. A patterned stoneware (white with black?) dinner plate. Only one of its set.

2. Black octagonal dinner plate, same set as small black octagonal dinner plates further up.

3. A few dinner plates from what appears to be a Corelle pattern (matching bowls further up).

4. A white plate with blue rim, only one from its set.

5. A white plate with green pattern.

(past the small black octagonal plates that are part of set #2)

6. A green/blue saucer and two bowls from a stoneware pattern. Note that the color indicates a possible set-mate with plate #5, but I don't think they're the same set - the plate seems too small and too patterned to be matched with the seemingly more substantial bowls.

(three corelle bowls that I'm guessing are from the same set as #3)

7. Two metal bowls

8. White stoneware bowl. Doesn't appear to be a match for any of the other stoneware.

9. Glass bowls.

So, nine distinct sets.