We’ve definitately had our share of contractors over the past few years working on our house projects. One thing I have learned is that they appreciate and rarely turn down food. This is good because I feel really awkward having someone in my house and not offering them food. I know this may sound odd. I just have to be a hostess and offer someone in my home a drink or food.
I realize this isn’t the approach everyone takes. I grew up thinking if you go to someone’s home you bring something – cookies, wine, flowers, small gift. However when I became a mom, I realized I was the odd one bringing flowers to the playdate host. After a few times coming to what is now my daughter’s best friend’s house, the mom (my friend now) requested I stop bringing things. Actually a pineapple was the last straw. I took the hint.
I assume everyone that comes to my house should be fed and/or wattered, or at least offered to be. For playdates I always have or make something. Even if the neighbor comes over for a brief moment I offer something. I can’t help myself. So having someone working on my house makes me feel like I should provide something as well. The good thing about the contractors is they are usually hungry and are not picky. I’m not running a restaurant (and they’re not family) so I don’t ask them what KIND of sandwich when I offer a sandwich. This makes it easy. They can eat it or not. But they always do (or at least hide it and I don’t know). Actually I like this approach for everyone. I make the food, you eat or don’t eat the food. But there’s no discussion, critique, or complaining. Just a simple “thank you.”
Once we were having our driveway repaired on a hot day. My kids and I made ice cream cones for the contractors. I enjoyed watching my kids bring them to the guys and seeing their surprise. A simple act of food and kindness goes a long way.
The past weeks we’ve been remodeling our dining room. The kitchen is right next to the dining room, so it’s awkward to go to the kitchen if I’m at home and not offer lunch. So sometimes I avoid the kitchen if I don’t have time to make everyone (the contractors) lunch. Tonight I didn’t know what to do as two guys came to finish something unexpectedly around dinner time. I held off dinner as long as possible, not wanting to sit down for a family meal while they are working. Finally we (the rest of my family) gave in. I kept thinking we could of at least ordered them a pizza. Maybe I’ll make them muffins tomorrow…
Before we moved into our house (about 1 1/2 years ago), we remodeled the kitchen and baths. The kitchen was very small and dark with original 1950’s everything. Of course being like everyone who enjoys cooking, you always want to someday design your own kitchen. I had a folder of ideas and pictures, and a list of “must haves” (Viking stove, eat in island, green construction). The list changed with the boundaries of (1950’s) construction and the budget (the 6 burner changed to a 4). However, I love my kitchen and a few things that I always wanted, worked great for the remodel. One of the biggest was open shelving. I love the idea of the convenience as well as having it all out in the open. This kitchen especially needed open shelving because of the previous dark and heavy overhead cabinets. And while the kitchen has been transformed and looks, feels and functions nothing like the original kitchen, I do have some friends and family that question the open shelving decision. “How does it stay so organized?” “Do you like looking at your stuff?” “Are you worried in an earthquake?”
Even when I had traditional kitchen cabinets they were always organized and I had nothing to hide. Now I’m even more organized and can even decorate (or change the decor and color of the kitchen) with a simple addition or change of dishes, vases or glasses. Just so you know I do not have open display for everything. That’s just not practical or eye pleasing. I do have lower shelving for pots and pans, strainers, storage containers etc.
However there is one drawback to open shelving …the cleaning of the shelves. Yes, they do get dusty, so I clean them routinely. I take all the dishes, glasses, mugs and vases down and clean the shelves. It’s a bit dangerous and I try to do it when the kids aren’t looking . I use a step stool and stand on the counter. (We actually have friends who allow their kids to stand on the counters to reach the pantry, and I hold my breath everytime I see it). Most of the dishes are used regularly so are not dusty at all. However there are some glasses (champagne, beer, port) which display nicely but are not used regularly, so I wash them while they’re down for the shelf cleaning.
So yes, the open shelves are convenient to get dishes in and out of on a daily basis, but are inconvenient to clean. But not so that I’d go back to hiding in the cabinet. Plus my guests never have to ask “Where can I find a glass?” They just help themselves.