Dust bowl

Greetings from the depths of the dust bowl! Yeah, it’s been a while…etc. etc. All I can say is home construction is *really* disruptive. At least to me.

One of my friends asked me recently if — now that I had a chance to think on it — I would have scheduled this kitchen remodel so soon after all the other disruptions in my life. I did hesitate for a while before answering with a definitive “Yes.”

Because as crazy-making as it has been, it has also brought good stuff into my life, too. Like baking. Although the kitchen has not been officially finished yet (there’s still a bit left for the painter to do, hence all the dust, and some minor electrical fixture manipulating), I’ve already used the oven twice in the past week. And I love it.

Last Saturday, I baked a frittata to bring to a party. And tonight, I baked a chocolate zucchini cake that I just can’t wait to cut into.

I know it’s late July, which is not prime baking season. But this summer has been unusually cool here in Chicagoland, so baking doesn’t cause much upset. The weather has actually worked in my favor quite a bit. I mean, it is “high summer,” yet I can open the windows during the day to let the freshening breezes waft through to clear the house of construction odors and dust. Yeah, I’m being environmentally responsible by using low-VOC paint, but there is still some odor and lots of dust involved.

The amount of dust kicked up by the wall-prep process has actually caught me by surprise and stressed me out a bit. I’m not typically considered a clean-freak, but once the big construction work was done, I just had to clean up the house for my own peace of mind. I just couldn’t stand to see the furniture covered with dusty paw prints, the floor dulled by residue, and the wine glasses in the bar cart covered with a fine coating of…whatever. Plus I needed to test the dishwasher. (Yes!!! I now have a dishwasher!!!)

So, I cleaned the house. And while it may not have been sparkling, it was quite nice to sit on fresh from the clothes-line slip covers on the sofa while I sipped wine from my newly sparkling glasses.

And I *love* the range. Yep, it was worth the splurge to get the Jenn-Air convection range with all the fancy controls. It has baked like a dream on two occasions now, and I used the stove-top in a very satisfactory manor, too, the other night as I made a pasta dish.

The cool weather hasn’t been affecting my garden negatively this year. On the contrary, my plantings are all doing fabuloso this year. I stupidly planted 3 patty-pan squash plants this year in addition to the one zucchini plant. I always thought the patty-pan squash was cute and little. And it is if you harvest it when it is cute and little. Like zucchini, it seems to double in size overnight, and I’ve now learned my lesson: I need to check on the summer squash daily.

Like many Northern gardeners, I’ve now started on my “all zucchini [or general summer squash] all the time” diet. Zucchini and eggs for breakfast, veggie hash (which has generous amounts of summer squash in it) for lunch, and zucchini desserts in the oven. Today I also tried dehydrating some shredded zucchini, and before the weekend is over I expect to shred and freeze several pounds of summer squash for later baking pleasure.

I’ve also enjoyed crisp cucumbers and tasty broccoli from my garden, too, so I’m not complaining. Gardening is often about years of plenty balanced by years of scarcity, so I’m enjoying what I have now.

Other aspects of my life are also rather topsy-turvy, which has contributed to my general uneasiness. I have a boyfriend, and while this could really be a good thing it is also a pretty challenging thing for me to deal with.

First, there’s just the fact that I’ve moved past the “just dating” phase to the “boyfriend” phase so quickly. While neither of us has said “you’re my boy/girlfriend” the fact that we spend every weekend night and some week nights in each others company makes this a certainty; we don’t have any availability to date someone else left at this point.

Then there’s this: as I’ve observed elsewhere, I take care of myself much better when I’m not distracted by taking care of someone else. It’s true that the construction and normal work demands alone make it challenging for me to find ample time to work out/sleep/eat properly. Add in trying to mesh your schedule with someone else’s and you’ve got a pretty messed up situation.

I don’t want to stop seeing G. I don’t want to be so attached to someone at this time, either. So I’m stuck in this seemingly awkward situation. Don’t go away, G. Don’t come any closer, either. I give him bonus points for not yet walking away in disgust at my instability.

There is some relief coming, though. I booked a workshop at Esalen in late August that is all about relaxing and rejuvenating.  I just need to get by until then and I know I’ll be feeling much more balanced when I return. Right?


2 thoughts on “Dust bowl

  1. Oooo, love how the kitchen is looking in your Flickr photos! Somehow I thought you would be going more Euro with the cabinets, but I love how they are! Can’t wait to see in person 🙂

    Glad the garden is going great!


  2. Pingback: How I spent my tax refund « a windycitygal's Weblog

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