Frustration, food scraps and flies
I missed the garbage disposal the most.
For the better part of two weeks I was without a kitchen: no stove, no sink, no dishwasher, no food in the house and no place to sit down and eat it. To walk into the house through the back door required spelunking and hiking skills, and we only ever walk into the house through the back door. I knew we would be terribly inconvenienced, but I didn’t know how much I’d miss my garbage disposal.
The first domino in this long tale of whining and misery was the dishwasher, which leaked enough to warp the hardwood floor. Removal of those few boards revealed more extensive damage and so, rather than replace the hardwood, I decided on ceramic tile. It would brighten the space, and tile doesn’t warp, right?
As the dominoes continued to fall onto each other, the kitchen unraveled into something from an episode of “Hoarders.” The fridge was shoved to another room, the stove was where the kitchen table used to be, the sink was declared off limits.
“Don’t even think about running water in there,” said Patrick, who was doing the work.
I could go without eating, but my kid couldn’t, and so meals were poured from cans and heated in the microwave. The dirty bowls accumulated on the end tables in the other rooms, leaning towers of soup crust. The first few days, I washed the bowls in the powder room sink; after that, I let them stack up. They were monuments to the progress happening around us. By the end of the first week, the powder room was blocked by equipment. I could have taken the bowl to the second-floor bathroom to wash, but I’d had enough, and tossed it in the trash. It was plastic, but I might have tossed it even if it were fine china.
I had no place to pour leftover coffee; I’d walk it out to the side yard. (I notice the dog’s been hanging around over there, and come to think of it, he’s especially peppy these days.)
Without the disposal, the food scraps became a problem.
“Compost!” said Patrick, suggesting this was a good time to start. I bought a special little garbage can to sit on the counter and collect the organic plant stuff. By the end of the week it was full. Judging from the amount of leaves and twigs and roots and such, we eat a lot of vegetables around here. The stuff I so mindlessly would jam down the disposal hole and whisk out of my life was now very much a part of my life. As the compost can filled, so did my kitchen – with fruit flies. Where do they come from? You can go a year without crossing paths with one and then, voila, they’re colonizing your compost. I’m pretty sure they ride in on the bananas.
When the compost was full, Patrick would take it home to his backyard compost bin, where the flies and the roots conspire at night to create dark, rich soil. Patrick may be onto something: he has a faboo garden every year. I’m not made of that same, hearty stock. I’d rather not deal with my roots and leaves more than I have to.
And that is why I’m a happy girl today. The ceramic floor was finished yesterday, and the stove and fridge are cooking again. And so am I. As I write this, the new dishwasher is humming, the dog is lying on the cool tile floor, and the garbage disposal made quick work of the leftover Wheaties from breakfast.
And the fruit flies are gone, having left as mysteriously as they came.
Beth Dolinar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.