Not every child dreams of someday buying an older house and fixing it up into a place to call home, but someone I call “me” actually grew up, bought an older house in Phoenix ten years ago, and am still fixing it up.
This little ranch style house wasn’t exactly a fixer-upper, after all it had new plumbing, electrical wiring, a new air conditioner plus a 430 sq. ft. add-on with a covered patio just as big as the add-on. The kitchen was not the first project on my list, in fact the kitchen was a place I wanted to avoid, and not because I didn’t like to cook.
Dark, ugly secrets lurked in the corners of the kitchen. Fear of touching greasy cupboard handles and contracting some rare viral disease turned my stomach, and I resorted to a snacky, finger-food diet, or bought anything I could warm in the microwave. The overhead vent held the biggest secrets. The fan, coated with 50+ years of grease, encouraged me to use the stove as little as possible. The secrets up there revealed themselves recently when roofers knocked the vent while removing the old shingles. Among the small pieces of shingles, other unidentifiable debris crashed down through the vent, and landed on the stove.
Of course my imagination began working overtime. My mind couldn’t help visualizing a grease coated vent, summertime temperatures in triple digits and sandstorms depositing layers of dirt on the gooey substance. Summer after summer, and year after year, alternate layers of grease and dirt built up like cyclic sequences of oceanic sediments. I stood in the kitchen for at least ten minutes, my mouth agape in horror, watching 50 years of crap falling like rain and filling up the burner wells.
No more secrets, no more crap, because there is no more vent. I hired a handyman, and happily escorted him, and the hood, to the dumpster in the alley.
Earlier this year, my sister and I took on the challenge of remodeling this dark, dingy kitchen layered in grease. And this is where the story begins