29 September 2008

La Cucina Caprese

The last week seems to have passed in a flash.

I mean, looking back, there seems to have been little to no time since my last entry, at least that is what it feels like.

Admittedly, it also feels like an epic muscle-ache in my thumbs, and in my shoulders, and my feet, and like the bruises and scrapes on my forearms. And my nose is still itching from all that sawdust.

We have been working hard setting up the new kitchen, 'we' in that case being my lovely wife and both our fathers.

It started last tuesday when we painted the place in a weird patchwork of red and white. At first, the red was a real shocker, and only in parts due to the shock that the paint is MUCH brighter when wet and only darkens and deepens while drying.

But the dry paint looked great, if a little intense maybe. But the more we're getting used to it, the more we like it. Very energetic.

And on tuesday, the furniture arrived. As we bought the whole lot at IKEA, it arrived in flatpacks which seemed to stack up to the ceiling.

Naturally, the delivery service lost three parts out of 95, but they weren't the most important ones, so we could wait a few days until we got them back.

Once again, my wife and I proved that we are real heroes when it comes to assembling IKEA flatpacks, as we managed to build up all the bigger parts in less than a day, and had a great time doing so. Everyone always tells me that assembling those flatpacks is a pain in the ass and a real breaking-point-trial for a relationship - if that is true, I am the happiest man on earth right now.

From thereon, things got less breezy, more straining and at times plain annoying.

Who'd have thought that an apparently rectangular room didn't have any right corner; with slightly curving walls for added fun? We also had the classic walls that wouldn't hold a screw, much less a cupboard; wooden countertops that weren't available in the proper size even though a phonecall two days before had confirmed them as being on stock so abundantly a reservation was absolutely unnecessary; feet that were too high despite a different description; just to name a few.

My personal highlights were the drill that wouldn't fit inside either of two adjoining cabinets so I could bolt them together, and the adjustable feet of our dishwasher that could only be adjusted by pulling the dishwasher out of its niche yet had the perfectly crappy ability to literally screw themselves when being pushed back in.

But none of the above were real deterrants, though some stuff managed to get us noticeably behind schedule.

In the other hand there were moments when everything fit together nicely, and many great ideas were contributed to the whole project. My father once again prove himself a real wizard fitting and finishing the countertops; my father-in-law is now officially master of all drawers and hinges; and kudos go to my wife for remaining calm and co-ordinated even if I sometimes lost it.

But sunday at about seven pm, we installed the last board (at least for now), and even though I felt tired enough to collapse happily on a pile of sawdust, we cleaned up and had a lovely dinner in our new, dazzling, well-lit and spacious kitchen.

And to be honest, the whole room reminds me of an insalata caprese, especially with the green sunscreens and the basil on the window-shelf. But that is not a bad thing for a kitchen, is it?

For dinner, we had tomatoes fried in butter and honey, ciabatta roasted with olive oil and herbs from the garden and a cool bowl of mozzarella cheese with balsamic vinagar each.

Quite needless to say, it was lovely.

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