By Lisa Scottoline
If Freud wanted to know what women want, he could have asked.
If he’d asked me, I would have answered:
Another kitchen cabinet.
And I just got one!
Here’s how it happened.
It was about ten years ago that I remodeled my kitchen, adding white cabinets and a trash compactor. To tell the truth, I don’t remember wanting a trash compactor and think it was Thing Two who wanted a trash compactor, but I’ve blamed enough on him, so let’s just say I wanted a trash compactor.
At the time, my kitchen contractor said, “I’ll install this trash compactor for you, but I bet you’ll never use it.”
“I’m sure I’ll use it,” said I. And I probably added, “Plus it will give me something to blame on somebody, down the line.”
In any event, the trash compactor got installed, and it came with two free bags, which I promptly lost.
Ten years and one divorce later, it turns out that the contractor was right.
I should have married the contractor.
But to stay on point, I never used the trash compactor. Not once. I even forgot it was there until three months ago, when it began to emit a mysterious and foul odor. I searched the thing and could find no reason for it to be smelly, but I washed it inside and out anyway. Still the smell got worse and worse, until it was so bad I could barely eat in the kitchen. Then one day, the electrician came over to fix a light and he said, “Smells like something died in here.”
The electrician showed me that you could slide out the compactor, which I hadn’t realized, and when we did, we found behind it an aromatic gray mound that used to be a mouse.
The electrician threw the dead mouse away, and I cleaned the trash compactor all over again, but it still stunk worse than my second marriage, which I didn’t even think was possible, so I threw the trash compactor away, too.
Which left an oddly empty space on my kitchen island, a blank square among the white cabinets, like a missing tooth.
I called the kitchen contractor, whose phone number I still had from ten years ago. As soon as he heard my voice, he said, “Told you,” and came right over.
Last week he installed a new cabinet, including a drawer, then asked, “What are you going to use it for?”
”I’m not sure yet,” I told him, excited by the possibilities. It was almost too much to hope for – a nice empty cabinet and a whole extra drawer. After he had gone, I pulled up a stool and contemplated my course of action.
The decision required me to consider the problem areas of my kitchen cabinets, which are many. My pot-and-pan cabinet is a mess because I hate to stack pots and pans in their proper concentric circles. I just pile them up any way, playing Jenga, only with Farberware. Also I can never figure out how to store pot lids, so I stick them in upside down, setting them wobbling on handles like the worst tops ever. Every time I open the cabinet door, they come sliding out like a stainless steel avalanche.
I also have a cabinet containing Rubbermaid and Tupperware, but it’s all mixed up, so that Rubbermaid lids are with Tupperware containers and Rubbermaid containers are with Tupperware lids, making the whole thing feel vaguely illicit, like an orgy of plastic products.
Then I have a cabinet of kitchen appliances I have never used once in my life, but feel compelled to keep close at hand, namely a juicer, a waffle iron, and a salad shooter. You never know when you’ll have to shoot a salad.
My kitchen drawers are equally problematic. I have one drawer for silverware, and four others for junk, junk, junk, and junk. All the junk drawers contain the same junk, just more of it, namely, pens that don’t work, pencils that have no point, extra buttons that go to clothes I’ve never seen, rubber bands I got free but can’t part with, menus for restaurants I don’t order from, and pennies.
In other words, it’s all essential.
I think I know what to put in the empty cabinet.
Trash compactor bags.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline