Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trying to Be Appreciative

Lately I have had a hard time living in our apartment. It is very small, and I honestly can't imagine how we will have another baby in here as well. I do like that it forces us to be close to each other, no matter where we are in the home, our landlords are great, and we don't pay very much for it. But I actually find it kind of hard to clean, despite what you may think, because I have to clean around (or move) everything and everyone, so by the time I'm done it looks like I haven't even done anything. It's true that I can have the place picked up in about an hour if someone is coming over, but at the same time, it only takes a few things on the floor or out of place to make it look like a disaster. Plus it's a basement, so it's always freezing cold in here, and I personally prefer hot to cool. It's a perk in the summer to come in to a cold house, and not pay extra for it, but we only have 2 months of summer here, and the rest of the year is chilly. This baby is due in December, and it would be really annoying to have to bundle him/her up so much all the time. We also don't have a backyard, so when I have to get the kids out so they can release their energy every day, it involves some preparation, even if we are just going up to the park. I don't know what I will do this winter when the baby comes and I won't be able to take the kids out every day anymore... Whine whine whine...

Those are all just the little things, though. My biggest complaint has always been the kitchen. It kind of reminds me of a jail cell, only smaller. It's all enclosed, and the barred baby gate at the entrance tops it off, ha. There are no windows, it's actually part of the furnace room that was converted to a kitchen, so it's very dark and dank. Food goes moldy REALLY QUICKLY. Only one person fits in there, so I can't have help with cooking or dishes, even if someone offered. There is very minimal cupboard space, although we do make the best of it. Counter space is even more scarce, there is only a little bit on either side of the little sink, and the right side is usually covered in dirty dishes, and the left side houses our crock pot and clean dishes. You say, "Why not just do the dishes after every meal, dry them and put them away so you can use that space?" Because honestly, I'd rather die. Ok, maybe not, but I try to spend as little time as possible in there. Have I mentioned I'm really claustrophobic? And the floor is tile over concrete so it's really hard on my back? It would be too much work, and it's such minimal counter space anyway that it wouldn't really be worth it. I have a cutting board bridging the stove to the counter, and that is my "prep" space. I have to be creative when using certain recipes that require counter space. I use the stove as "counter space" often too. The burners on the right side of the stove don't work anyway, and the rear left one will only go to med/high, so really I only have 1 fully working burner. So will you please feel sorry for me now? I used to love cooking, but now most days I dread going in the kitchen, sometimes to the point of tears.

You can go see this post if you want to see what I'm talking about. I was standing outside of the gate at the entrance of the kitchen to take those photos, by the way. The fridge is to the left beside the stove, but just kind of back a bit. To the right there is the narrow doorway to the furnace room (which scares me), and a shelf we use as our pantry.

I have been dreaming about moving a lot lately. I want to so badly. I'm not too picky, all I really want is 3 bedrooms (we have 2 right now), a backyard and a dishwasher. Or maybe even just a double sink. Or at least a window... But I also know that it's very possible we won't be able to afford to live anywhere else. So I am going to try and be positive, and come up with my "gifts" this week that involve my kitchen.

41 - Indoor running water. My grandma had 3 babies each a year or less apart, and she had to go outside to pump water (and also had to go outside to go to the bathroom, and wash her cloth diapers by hand! So I'm not really in that bad a position...). Most people in the world today still do not have running water inside their kitchen. So I'm lucky.

42 - Electricity. I know it's basic, but my kitchen would be even scarier if I couldn't just flick on the light every time I have to go in. Plus all of my handy dandy appliances require it. So I'm pretty thankful for it!

43 - HOT water on tap. My parents don't have hot water at the cottage, so we have to boil it for dishes or bathing. So when I come home, having hot water immediately on tap is amazing.

44 - Less crap. If I have something I'm not using, it's not worth keeping just to take up space we don't have.

45 - Food. I have never gone hungry while living here.

46 - Dishes etc. Most of the things in my kitchen were either wedding gifts, given to us by someone, or were foraged. =) I am thankful to have the equipment I need to make our daily meals! And that they didn't cost us a fortune.

47 - Minimal Bugs. There just aren't a lot of bugs out west, I guess. It's nice that I can leave the dirty dishes out overnight and they aren't crawling by morning. I hate bugs, especially spiders, centepedes, earwigs and beetles. We had all of those things when we lived in a basement in Ottawa (as well as ants, but they don't bother me as much for some reason). Then Australia was a whole other story, involving potentially lethal creatures and spiders big enough to eat small dogs. We once saw a Huntsman (see photo below) at a friend's house that was the size of a dinner plate.

Ok, so I couldn't think of many things, probably because I have been spoiled by living in the Developed World my whole life. I bet I would discover many more things that are wonderful about my current kitchen if I spent some time in the Third World, which is something I would actually like to do some day... I'm sure it would curb my complaining.

Until then, I will probably still be dreaming of moving to a new house. Perferrably before the baby arrives... In our culture I don't think it's too much to ask.


Stinx' Mom said...

I hope you guys can find a place over by me!!!

swellmel said...

Oh I so know how you feel! I was devistated when we found out our credit was too bad to prequalify for a house. I'm just now starting to appreciate apt living. I hate it but it's where we are so I'm forcing myself to be thankful for it. lol I'll definitely be praying for you guys. :)

VanessaKim said...

Oh man. I know what you mean. My place isn't small but it's totally falling apart. Being in a trailer there's literally no insulation & it's burning hot in summer & freezing cold in the winter. We have a major pest problem..because we live in the country in a trailer. I can't plug holes fast enough for the mice to stay out & the ants have been way out of control.
Not to downplay your pain. :( Could you set up an area for prepping just outside your kitchen? Just a little cart or table or something? We had hardly any cabinet space when we first moved in but Cory's dad finally built us some a couple years ago. I'll be praying that God will either provide a new home or give you peace about where you are now.

Grace@ MammaInTheScene said...

holy cow that spider is crazy.
I'm thankful for not having those too. YUCK

on a cornerstone note...I had a creepy wolf spider under my pillow one morning. and I thought I was going to die...or wish I had...I don't know I would do with that big sucker!!!

Anonymous said...

That spider makes me want to vomit! I know how you feel living in a cramped space but I think you are even more squeezed for space than us since its an apartment and you have 2 babies and one on the way. We are in a 900 sq foot house and the kitchen is very small. I rarely want to do anything in it but we really can't afford to eat out more than once a week (if that!).

b v said...

i think you are doing a great job ! i know how difficult it is in a small place ... when my don was born we were in a 1 but then later when he was 6 months we moved to a house .. do you live in NW calgary ?

Kelly said...

We live in the very north NE. =)