I have always heard the old saying, “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” And, I admit, I used to think the line was something to boost Hallmark card sales.
But it wasn’t until the fridge and freezer in the Patterson home went out (died, really), that I began to see the truth behind that saying. Having adjusted to three days without a completely running kitchen, I agree that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s also the brain, the nervous system, the whole nine yards.
My husband Jason and I discovered our aging refrigerator finally kicked the bucket around 9 p.m. last Tuesday night. And, of course, it was after a trip to the grocery store where I bought enough food to feed a small army. Tears swelled in my eyes as I hurled hamburger meat, 40-sausage patties, several bags of vegetables and a few ice-cream treats into the trash or the dog bowl.
For the next 30 minutes, I was hauling my tail off to my mother-in-law’s house to save what little food we had left in her fridge until we could get a new one delivered. With deadline looming at the newspaper the next day, it would be about three days before I get the new one.
No big deal. We will just eat out of the deep freezer and make sandwiches. Things will go on as normal.
We spent the remainder of that evening moving the old fridge away from the wall. Please note, you don’t realize how disgusting you are as person until you move your fridge out. It was…you get the point.
But now we were stuck with a massive 1980s model of a fridge stuck in the middle of our kitchen. We had to move the breakfast table up against the stove to make room to wiggle the fridge out.
Still, no big deal. We will manage. Those were my famous last words. I didn’t realize how much our family of five utilized the kitchen until we had to operate without one.
With no way to even get to my stove, we lived off Lunchable packs and water from the kitchen faucet. We had to eat together at the coffee table in the living room, which left my Hansel and Gretal crew leaving crumbs that took all evening to sweep up.
Homework was another issue. Normally, we spread all the books and papers we need on the kitchen table. But with no way to use the table, we were subjected to stretching out on the floor. Pencils rolled under couches. Feet began to kick other feet, which led to World War III.
And the fridge that normally held the week’s school assignments on display thanks to an assortment of magnets was out of commission. Frantically trying to make sense of all those loose papers, I had our kindergartner wondering why he was subjected to a math sheet. Our oldest son James was convinced tracing a giraffe coloring page was not his assignment. And our daughter Elsie, who is in the second grade, was already pulling her hair out over division problems. It was complete chaos.
Without an operating kitchen, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off for three days. We grew tired of cold meals, missed homework assignments, dodging a fridge door that would swing open in the middle of the room and more.
When our new fridge arrived, it was like the Heavens beamed down upon us. Life was to return to normal.
We sat down to a hot, home-cooked meal. Everyone did the right homework assignments. Coloring pictures and writing in their journals became business as usual for the kids. Jason and I were able to return to our deep conversations, gathered around the kitchen table.
Our family became a family again. And it was the kitchen that brought us all together. The kitchen serves as the hub of our family and our home. Being without it reminded me how the kitchen truly is the heart of the home. It is a cycle that continues to bring families together at the end of a busy day or the start of a new adventure.
It is a heart that is beating once more in the Patterson home. And I hope the old ticker has a lot of life left in her.