Category Archives: Kitchen, remodel, knife rack,

Flirting in Yonkers.

Our kitchen is in Yonkers.**

Because we want to renovate our kitchen, we need approval from the Yonkers Building Department. (Even now, it is hard to capitalize those words, so unworthy are they; there is nothing proper about those nouns.)

I had heard nightmare stories about the permit approval process so when our permit was denied the first time, I was told to “put on something cute, go down to the Building Department, and flirt.”

“Oh,” someone else added, “you should bring cookies.”

I heard M sniggering when I relayed the pieces of advice. First of all, nobody really wants to eat my cookies. I live with teenage boys, who will eat anything that isn’t soldered to the plate, but Building Department people? Surely, they wouldn’t want burnt-on-the-bottom chocolate chip cookies which are raw in the middle?

The flirting got an ever bigger laugh from M.

If nobody wants to eat my cookies, even fewer want to see me try and flirt. “What does that even look like?” M asked.

What does that look like? It looks something like this:

I woke up early and put on a pencil skirt, blouse and a pair of heels. I had an early morning breakfast midtown, and I planned on going straight from there. I looked cute enough for the breakfast, but after a subway ride home and an hour or so of NYC humidity, the bloom was most definitely off the rose. When I got on the subway, I threw my heels into my enormous bag and put on a pair of Birkenstocks. When I emerged above ground and caught sight of the size of my hair in a store window, I threw it up into a twist. By the time I climbed into the minivan, I had untucked the blouse, which was drenched in sweat and something else which I could not identity but which it hurts to think about.

By the time I got to Yonkers, I was less Breakfast at Tiffany’s, more Travels With My Aunt. Still, I persisted. I walked into the building and into a time warp. I had to exit and enter again just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. Although it was 2018 on the outside, in the Yonkers Building Department, it was either 1957 or 1978, depending on the floor. Either way, it called for a lot of eye shadow and some pretty big hair. (My eye makeup had long since melted off, but my hair was certainly complying.)

I found the right floor, tucked in my sweaty shirt and marched on. When I was greeted by a room of partially gray women, sitting at desks, nursing giant mugs of coffee, my heart skipped several beats. A room of older ladies? These are my people! I can definitely flirt with this…

I collapsed into a chair.

“What’s wrong, honey?” One of them asked.

“I looked a lot cuter when the day started,” I said. “And I really want a permit for my kitchen.”

The thirty minutes I spent with the ladies of Yonkers was lovely. They assured me I looked just fine. We laughed about summer hair and what happens to your feet when your take off your heels, put on Birkenstocks, and try to get your heels on again. They even gave me a special number to call to check on the status of my permit revisions. I left feeling so much better about myself and the Yonkers Building Department. (Caps restored!)

I called that number every day for ten days and nobody answered. I even tried the special email they gave me: nada.

I went back yesterday, all gussied up, and received a second denial, in person. I was even wearing heels this time.

I guess I really don’t know how to flirt.

PS: A snapshot of the current state of my kitchen.

** Our house sits on the county border, but our kitchen is firmly in Yonkers.

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Get your own knife rack, people.

We are planning a kitchen remodel. Recently, I was sitting in our kitchen with some of my teenage son’s friends. They were asking questions about the new kitchen.

“Is it gonna be white?” One asked.

“Yeah,” said another. “All our moms have white kitchens. White kitchens are nice and bright, but this kitchen is homey.” He spread his arms out wide, as if presenting my kitchen to me for the very first time.

By homey, I think he meant dark and outdated. But I just smiled and refilled the giant snack bowls they had depleted.

But they were not done.

“I mean, this is a really comfy kitchen,” one said, lifting an empty snack bowl and emptying the crumbs into his mouth before I had a chance to pour more popcorn in it.

Comfy?

“Yeah, like there’s just weird stuff happening,” he explained, wiping his mouth. “I mean – look at all those knives on your wall. My mom would never like that.” He pointed to the knife rack in our kitchen. “She likes stuff you can’t see.”

“Yeah, I mean what IS that?” Another giggled.

“And all the jars.” This conversation now had a life of its own.

“Jars?”

“Yeah, I mean my mom likes a clear counter, but you don’t care. You have stuff everywhere!”

“All the jars!” The first said. “And none of them match!”

Hmmm. It was true. None of the jars did match. There were also bottles of oil and little (mismatched) jars of salts everywhere. I do love oil and salt.

“And look,” said a third who had just walked in. “I mean, there’s a brush over there.” He pointed to a brush on a crowded shelf. It had long since lost its handle, but it was a good brush.

“And all these random cards!” He pointed to three decks of cards, none of them complete, and all in piles, their boxes long gone. They were on the shelf with the brush, some vitamins, a dying fish, a cupcake-shaped eraser, cat snacks and some mechanical pencils.

“Our moms would go nuts! But not you! You don’t care.”

I was rendered speechless.

It passed.

“Rest assured, boys.” I told them. “Whatever color this kitchen may be, you can count on me to have cluttered counters and random stuff on my shelves.”

“What about the knife rack?” One asked.

“The rack stays,” I said.

They smiled and nodded at each other.

Then I refilled the snack bowls again.

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