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Small Talk: Relaxation not on the menu

As I perused the pages of the home and garden magazine, I spotted a story that claimed a particular company promised bathrooms and kitchens guaranteed to bring relaxation.

If I hadn’t been laughing so hard, I might have considered calling the Better Business Bureau. This was an obvious cause of fraud.

Relaxing bathrooms, of course. You can get them now with saunas, multispray showers, whirlpools, mini-refrigerators and every little luxury of sight and scent you can imagine. Throw in a fluffy towel and a bathrobe and I’m good in there for weeks.

There is no way, however, you could ever hear me use the words kitchen and relaxing in the same sentence. OK, maybe, “I’m relaxing now, so don’t even suggest that I go into the kitchen.”

The author waxed at length about stainless steel appliances, big windows, endless cupboards and granite countertops. So, I can lie down on the granite countertop and get a sea salt rubdown? Can I pull up to the six-stool bar and get a manicure and pedicure?  Can I climb into the spacious pantry and hide for a few hours with a good book?

The only way they could guarantee relaxation in a kitchen for me is to equip it with a live-in chef who also did the grocery shopping and all the dishes.

I can stroll through my whole house for a week and blithely ignore dog hair, dust, scattered newspapers, shoes, piles of underwear, laundry, junk mail, spiders and the vacuum cleaner. But the minute I hit the kitchen, I can feel my shoulders bunch up.

Fifteen minutes ago, I washed the last dish and scrubbed the counter clean, again. How then, can there be six greasy Tupperware containers, two caked skillets and a host of plates and glasses suddenly heaped there again?

Apparently, everyone else in my family has this relaxed-in-the-kitchen thing down cold. They are equally relaxed about leaving behind every item used, to wait for the resident foolish, unrelaxed person to stroll in.

I haven’t gotten an expert’s opinion on this bad attitude of mine, but I suspect my initial tension in the kitchen began when mother’s efforts to teach me the joys of home and hearth crashed head-on into my first batch of burned cookies. I suspect I compounded it when I put the skillet to dry on the stove and somehow melted the nearby timer. Perhaps it was the two or 12 times I have set off the smoke alarm. Tsk. Those things are so darned sensitive.

You know, now that I think about it, I vaguely recall one or two occasions when I was rather relaxed in the kitchen. I remember there was always a blender full of margaritas nearby, but maybe that was just a coincidence.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer and 21st-century galley slave. Contact her at [email protected].

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