Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Can Find Us On the Floor

My family and I moved into our house in 1999. It was the first house my parents had ever owned, and bigger than anything I had ever lived in. With six (more or less) bedrooms, a daylight basement, and seperate kitchen, dining room and living room areas, it was a mansion. It even had butt glass!

The whole house had been redecorated in the 70's, and while the living room had since been done again, the kitchen reflected the style of the times.
Much like this only yellower...
I think the cabinets were similar, too
In true 70's fashion, the decorator chose a refrigerator in Harvest Gold, and time added smears of age, grease and memories of food long since digested. It was the first to go. Next to the refrigerator and seperated only by a free-standing, aqua-topped waist-high cabinet sat the avacado-hued stove. It was quickly replaced as well. But my absolute favorite was the porcelain sink. It wasn't quite the pumpkin orange that you would expect, but rather a muted tangerine. I thought it was a beautiful color. I truly loved that sink and even though we held on to it for a few years, I was sad to see it go. (And by go, I mean my dad threw it on the sidewalk with a FREE sign, and it was gone within a few hours. We're classy like that.)

Something like this

The beauty of the kitchen was this: the vinyl flooring tied it all together. The best way to describe the flooring is not eloquent, but it is very accurate. It looked like someone ate a pot full of chicken noodle soup and yacked it up all over the kitchen floor. I kid you not. I don't know exactly what the pattern was, but it incorporated harvest gold, avacado green and pumpkin orange, as well as a dingy cream-colored background, in a jam-packed series of 4" x 4" squares. Shucks of wheat might have been involved, as well.

To accent the cacaphony of color, the flooring possessed a number of rips, tears and all-together bald spots that marked the comings and goings of furniture, appliances and probably high-heeled shoes. Burn marks glowered darkly between the torn bits, telling their own stories. Black circles marked dropped cigarettes (not ours, goodness!) and brown, crescent-shaped scars bore evidence to hot pans clumsily dropped. Needless to say, that kitchen floor was not the crowning grace of the house.

However, my mom did appreciate the fact that she had to sweep half as often. After all, who could see dirt and crumbs within that busy mess? It provided the perfect kitchen detritus camoflauge.

That floor was my favorite place in the entire house.

I think it started with me, actually. I would come home from my after-school job at McDonald's, hobble into the kitchen and collapse on the floor. The cool vinyl would suck the heat from my inflamed hips, knees and ankles, and the hard, flat surface allowed my muscles and joints to realign into their proper positions. It was bliss. My mom would gracefully step over my head as she navigated between freezer, stove and sink, sometimes working with one or more of my limbs between her feet. With the grace given only to mothers, she never did more than roll her eyes at me, even when I propped my feet up on the dishwasher.

Then one day, she joined me. We chit-chatted about who knows what for a while, and one after the other, my sisters plopped down on the floor as well. My dad, wondering why we were all laughing and talking so loudly, found his way into the kitchen, too, and before long he sat down with us.

We had family time that night on the kitchen floor. The flour joke was born on the kitchen floor. At age 18, I threw a fantastic, beat your fists and kick your feet temper tantrum on the kitchen floor. Our shallowest and most in-depth conversations take place on the kitchen floor.

That puke-colored floor has since been replaced with cafe-tinged white vinyl to match the modern appliances. Over time, the cabinets and countertops were replaced, the walls painted and crown molding installed. The kitchen looks great--bright and homey. But the kitchen floor just doesn't feel the same. Somehow it's not as hard, not as cool to the touch.

It's said that the kitchen is the heart of every home. I guess it takes a family as weird as mine to appreciate time spent on the kitchen floor.

My nephew, Cyan, and I spending time
together on the (new) kitchen floor.


Tiffany said...

My favorite post yet.

Mom said...

Are no skeletons sacred? lol It's still the best place but the new floor isn't the same, is it?

Heather said...

I 'spose I could write about the skeleton we did find in the closet when we moved in...