Decisions, decisions, decisions….. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would have been proud of my investigative instincts and herculean efforts to identify and purchase a new… KITCHEN SINK! From $80 for tinny stainless steel of no discernible provenance, to a Blidö – yep, the world’s most expensive and heaviest sink at 23 kilos, cast in 24 karat gold. The latter can also be customized to include logos etched in your favourite gems…. Diamonds, sapphires or emeralds, plus a choice of white or yellow gold, or platinum? Naturally, my budget was definitely targeting the lower end of this price range, but something durable, functional, and also demonstrating an aesthetic empathy that would complement our new kitchen.
Ironically, while the previous owners of our home invested considerable expense and installed fabulous Corian countertops, they fitted an undermount sink that could have come from the nearest landfill. The surface integrity has been so compromised by either time, or the misuse of chemicals that have stripped every millimeter of satin finish, that it turns black every couple of days…. Coincidentally, if you’re thinking the discoloration could be coming from our own well because local sources do tend to carry a high percentage of tannin, the house is also fitted with a highly sophisticated three-stage water filtration system. Therefore, and without prevarication, the sink had to go! However, since my last sink purchase a dozen or so years ago, I had no idea that a static basin designed to perform a household chore that most people prefer to avoid, have become such household fashion statements. While anti-corrosion and dent resistance were typically last century’s go-to priorities, I’ve had to re-educate myself regarding zero radius, minimalist edges, noise cancellation (for a sink!???), intelligent draining, reflexive system, power-clean technology, and the latest in ‘crossover’ sinks that include seamlessly integrated compost pails and knife racks…. Ye Gods! When did kitchen sinks become so high-tech and sophisticated…. To say nothing about faucets (taps for our European friends). Pull-down, pull-out, pre-rinse, swivel spout, adjustable sprayer, touchless, magnetic docking…. Even taps that dispense filtered/chilled water, or deliver a temperature sufficient for an instant cup of tea – for a price!
However, investigative powers were hampered by the fact that the existing countertop (far too handsome, expensive and functional to replace) was cut to accommodate an outdated, non-standard size sink, and the original installer quoted $300 to simply enlarge the space by one inch. Coincidentally, as we have a dishwasher, and a prep-sink that’s about to be installed in the island, the old single-bowl size isn’t a major issue. So, after Googling the existing cut-out dimensions for the umpteenth time, I finally found just two options – both falling within budget, contemporary design, good quality, and FREE delivery. Online order completed. Hit send!
Decision made, it freed up some brain cells to navigate the world of faucets with escutcheons. Yep! The majority of taps (99%) these days appear to be single post, where our Corian countertop has, of course, been drilled to accommodate a throwback to another era, so we need an escutcheon plate to cover the double-drilled holes! As it happens, some very savvy faucet manufacturers have realized that the motivation to buy their products would be enhanced with ‘includes escutcheon’ as part of their sales pitch. So, what I perceived could be another frustration in the washing-up challenge turned into an easy-peasy decision to find complimentary taps: one for the main sink, and a smaller version for the prep sink. Yay! Done and done!
What next? Aha! Repainting the kitchen cabinetry? Maybe when we’ve recovered our energy for another major project. In the meantime, I’ve thoroughly washed the yellow cabinets, which has improved the colour, so I can live with it for now, maybe. However, in an effort to resolve my love-hate relationship with it, I turned to my trusty Google app for a definition: ‘The colour of sunshine, hope and happiness. Stands for freshness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, intellect, honour, loyalty and joy….’ Great – it stays! On the other hand, it also ‘represents cowardice and defeat’. Whoa – it goes! But, according to Chinese culture, yellow is an imperial colour representing royalty and prosperity – ‘Decorate your kitchen in yellow to attract good fortune to your household.’ It definitely stays! ‘A colour highly esteemed in Buddhism that represents freedom from worldly cares.’ Oookkkay! I guess I’m gonna have to scrap the fruit fly trap and the yellow cabinets will live on for the time being.
LOL – I currently appear to be on The Bay’s VIP list as there’s a guy, Nathan, whose become my personal appliance manager until they’re delivered and installed. Thankfully for my patience span, which is virtually non-existent, everything was scheduled for delivery into The Bay’s warehouse by last Friday, because I also have to coordinate with the gas company who’re installing the propane tank for the gleaming dual-fuel range. Given the price wars being fought between manufacturers, retailers, and Amazon.ca it’s definitely worth shopping around. However, that historic Canadian icon, The Hudson’s Bay department store, has a ‘price match’ guarantee, so I shopped around for all the cheapest prices in Halifax and beyond (including online and Costco), then found a ‘keen’ salesman who was happy to take the whole discounted order (they work on commission), as well as free ‘white glove’ delivery (typically $300 when it’s outside The Bay’s normal delivery zone). The latter was a revelation because I’d been reading about ‘kerbside deliveries’ – a nightmare when your drive is 200 metres long. However, my appliances will be delivered into the kitchen, unpacked, plugged in (all but the gas line – which they have to leave to a certified gas fitter), and the old appliances hauled away, if necessary. Yay! A huge pat on the back for Billy at The Bay who’s been a joy to work with.
(Postscript: As a few days have gone by since I wrote this, everything except the range arrived and will be delivered tomorrow. The range is now scheduled for August 9 – grrrrr! However, hats off again to The Bay – and Nathan – who managed to work an additional $300 into the deal and arrange two free-of-charge out-of-zone deliveries, so I didn’t have to wait another couple of weeks for the fridge/freezer, which I’m keen to get my ‘stuff’ moved into. The much smaller fridge/freezer we inherited with the house is dented and lopsided, and now stuffed to the gills, and I’ve been concerned that it might give up the ghost any day, given it’s having to work overtime in the very hot weather.)
The NS culinary experience
Well, with our very limited NS culinary experience, it seems eating out can either be ‘mind-blowingly great’ (and also not touristy over-priced) or ‘pathetically indigestible’; i.e. Yuck! And there’s some irony to this because ,since we arrived, we’ve had the best ever fish and chips of our lives in…. IKEA! Yep. Who’d have thought we’d be looking forward to our next trip so we can indulge in one of their lunchtime specialities – Swedish veggie balls.
On the downside, we visited Lunenburg farmers’ market for the first time last week and found what appeared to be a fabulous fishmonger – certainly he appeared to be popular judging by the line-up at his stall. Well, perhaps his fish is good, but his crab cakes should be renamed ‘crap cakes’. I bought four, thinking we’d eat two and freeze two, but when I opened the bag, expecting a deliciously appetizing fishy smell to escape and tickle my nose with a scintilla of ocean breeze, there was nothing! Nada! WHAT! Even my back-up bottle of Thai fish sauce has more appeal. I cooked the ‘crap’ cakes nonetheless, in butter even, somehow expecting that magic might happen and they’d be transformed into some miraculous feast. NOT! They appeared to be 99% mashed potato shaped into discs of starchy nothingness – certainly no hint of crustacean flesh, or even a crabby eyeball. So, our anticipated evening feast resolved into salad (a fresh mesclun mix, including nasturtium flowers, from a local farmer), a dollop of nicely creamed potato with fresh herbs, and a crap cake, plus some tinned tuna on the side to at least bestow a semblance of fishiness. As it happened, and as I’m completely averse to throwing anything away that can safely pass through our digestive systems, we did eat the remaining two crap cakes the following evening – but in lieu of potato so we didn’t get a double helping of starch!
Relating this story to a pickleball friend of ours, he nodded sagely, having already experienced said non-crab cakes himself, and mentioned a fish chowder he’d ordered in a restaurant that was simply pieces of potato swimming in milk – but maybe they at least cooked the potato in sea water to give it the briny flavor!
Postscript: Other than the pretty boring ‘stuff’ that’s happened these past few weeks, Peter met the chief of the United Communities Fire Department (our village, plus three others) over the weekend, and will hopefully soon be volunteering as a paramedic member of their emergency response team. A job he thoroughly enjoyed while we were in BC., plus a great way to become involved with the community.
Peter’s also attending a meeting tomorrow with a conservation guy who’s coming to the village to talk about woodlot management – much needed information as we have 50 acres to conserve in a way that it can be enjoyed and correctly managed. I just hope no one will notice a missing Christmas tree each year…..
Meanwhile, I’m awaiting the arrive of some sample paint pots to determine how we’re going to transform our living room from the existing lemon yellow walls into a calm oasis of comfort that doesn’t assault the eyes.
More next time….
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