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Capital Improvements

Every home has quirks. They are like people. It does not matter how humble, or how large, Every place we live has something: a door that sticks maybe, or a missing part, or a window that leaks the cold air in.  Dwellings are like bodies that way, or like souls maybe. You can run around and fix things, you can mend as you go too, but there are stupid bits of strangeness that you eventually just live with.

Well. Most of the quirks here are in the kitchen. I have no idea what the builders were thinking. Our stove had knobs when we moved it. They quickly proved to be a pastework show. All the knobs proved to be useless for actual turning. You could not control the stovetop or oven with them. They just came away in your hand. So know I use a knife to turn the little metal stalks thast once held the knobs. The stovetop is fine, it is flame or not flame, and you can still make the flame bigger or smaller. The oven was a little more worrisome. But most things cook at 350 after all. That is usually halfway on the twisting knob. So I woked out where that was. I just twist the little stalk around halfway. Don't need knobs at all. (i have purchased replacement knobs of course. But they just fell off too.) Also the previous tenants took one of the oven racks when they left. There are supposed to be two but we have only one. I keep meaning to get a replacement. Have not done so yet.

But yesterday son and I went to Home Depot. (Best for Mike and me not to go together. He can spend hours there, just looking and drooling. He wants to buy the whole place up even if it means buying things we do not actually need!

And I am as bad. It is not that I want to spend money there. No, with me it is more viceral and weird. I love the smell of Home Depot. It is like the smell of my childhood. Something of sawdust, and fertilizer, and clean bigness. There was no Home Depot on the Vineyard of my childhood, but our feed store was sort of that way. (A feed store is where you go to buy bulk goat and chicken chow, and perhaps place an order for hay.) Our feed store was called SBS, it stood for Smith, Bodfish and Smith. They had different feed mixtures displayed in  actual wooden baralls made by an actual cooper. You said 'I want a hundred pounds of that' and they brought it to the car.  I used to plunge my hands in up to the wrists and feel the oats or corn or millet or whatever slide through my fingers. I usually got caught too. The feed store did not really want anyone doing that. Still I did it whenever I could. Kids are so weird. So, I am hopeless at Home Depot. I wander there blinking and breathing deeply.

So that is why it was good that I went with son. We corrected two things yesterday. We had lived all this time without a light in the fridge. I used a flashlight sometimes to find things at the back. I find a flashlight, and binder clips, and rubber bands to be kitchen things. Mike thinks that is weird. Oh, also duct tape for those inevitable times when a band-aid is not enough! ( You know how you put the band aid on and the blood just oozes through right away? Maybe you don't know The less said there the better!)

Son and i bought a refrig lightbulb.Big improvement in every way. I had not realzed how I was missing it.It makes the refrig look much less sad inside.

Also, the apartment came with a strange toilet seat that was not the right shape for the toilet. It had a sort of a prow on it that made it hard to get the bathroom door open. (NYC bathooms are tiny!) You had to sort of push it with the door or your foot to get into the bathroom. This meant that it was wobbly and unstable in use. A sitting person had the feeling that they might end up on the floor! For 6 $ we fixed that too. Big improvement.

Seems strange that these two little purchases make me so much more happy. But they really do.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
katriona_s
Jan. 17th, 2015 02:53 pm (UTC)
I love this post! I understand, this sort of things are really important though they seem to be trivial. Light, knob, handle, etc. I live in a new house, still it misses some trivial but important things like your home! I too should go to the suitable shops to find them!
eglantine_br
Jan. 17th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
It was something I had been putting off. But I feel much better now that I have gotten it done. Nice not to have to wear a headlamp to see into the refrig.
anteros_lmc
Jan. 17th, 2015 02:53 pm (UTC)
Our feed store was called SBS
Ours was called The Crofters and it's still there. We had no animals in Stornoway, other than pets of course, but my mother would go there to buy bird food and things for the garden. I used to love putting my hands in the feed bins too :} I can still remember the feel and the smell! My dad had animals on the croft and he used to go there to buy sheep feed and stuff. Sadly there is no equivalent store in Glasgow, DIY stores and garden centres don't quite have the same feel.

I'm glad your small improvements have made you happy :)

PS Bodfish is a splendidly odd name!
eglantine_br
Jan. 17th, 2015 04:02 pm (UTC)
The smell at Home Depot is not exactly right, but it is close. The feed store was not huge in front, but big enough to escape the gaze of adults who would have told me to 'stop that right now.'

Kids are such weird little animals, aren't they?

I was thinking today how I was much stronger then. I thought nothing of cutting hay with a scythe for an hour, or putting a 100 lb bag of feed on my back to carry to the barn. I could muck out the barn with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow, or pin a goat down with my hip to look in her mouth.

If those things were still required of me I would still find them easy, but they are not. Something lost.

There are lots of wonderful names I still hope to use somewhere. Bodfish is one of them. There are lots of weird names specific to the Vineyard too. Nantucket has a whole other set peculiar to itself.

(So you can tell which island a person came from, if they are from an island family.)
anteros_lmc
Jan. 18th, 2015 09:50 pm (UTC)
Kids are such weird little animals, aren't they?
Definitely. And much harder to train than kittens.

You've mentioned several of the wonderful Vineyard names before. I hope they do make it into a story one day. Mr Bodfish has quite a distinguished ring to it, but I do feel for his daughter. Miss Bodfish is quite a handle to be lumbered with
ba1126
Jan. 17th, 2015 03:00 pm (UTC)
I love the way you describe things! I love the smell of bakeries. Are there any actual bakeries any more, or have they all moved into grocery stores?

I have a stove with knobs that don't want to stay on. They make me a little crazy. I'm glad you have fixed everything!! And yes, I understand how having little annoyances removed can make you happy!!
eglantine_br
Jan. 17th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
It is hard to describe smells. Like describing color or music. You just have to say something like 'it was cool, or it was red, or it made my ears hurt.' But look at how we all know what we mean anyway!

There are still bakeries, at least in New York! And they smell awesome.
nodbear
Jan. 17th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
My grandfather worked part time in retirement in a shop which was called Maindee Ironmongers but which sold every household and garden related thing it seemed . I used to wander the narrow spaces between stacked shelves while my parents whichever of them had brought me gossiped with my grandfather and waited for whatever they had come in to get.
I thought of it as an Aladdins cave and the two smells I most associate with it are creosote for painting fences and gates and the hay which was for rabbit hutches and other animal care purposes.
Glad you solved your two little snags as well!
eglantine_br
Jan. 17th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
When I was small we had a store in town that sold everything from cheese by the pound to cloth and cough medicine, (people kind and livestock kind,)and nails and rope and ice cream. It was not as mysterious as SBS, but I loved to go there. It was tiny, and everything was stacked and crammed together, and that made it even more fantastic.

When I was little the blue laws were still enforced. Everything was closed down Saturday afternoon and remained closed until Monday. There was always a last minute scramble to make sure that you had what you needed for the weekend.

How funny that we all resonate to these memories. I like to think that we were all having these experiences at the same time. Such memories, universal and strong.
ba1126
Jan. 18th, 2015 03:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, I remember when we had my daughter's wedding and had immediate family back to the house after the reception! My brother and brother-in-law were aghast that we had no beer!!(Hubby and I rarely drink and neither of us like beer. It hadn't dawned on us to buy any!) They both jumped in the car and flew to the store to buy some before it's noon closing time!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )