Robert Cox

Writing on the Wall

Robert Cox is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is RCox@cherryroad.com.


Settling in — slowly

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

I drank a cup of coffee in my kitchen Monday morning. The day before, I cooked an actual meal — nothing fancy, just grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas and biscuits — but it definitely counts.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve subsisted on sandwiches, burgers and takeout, so firing up the stove was kind of a big deal, a big step forward as I try to settle in.

You may recall my recent struggles trying to find a place to live here in Berryville. The search was long and filled with disappointment. A month ago, I finally found a place, a wonderful two-bedroom duplex that’s almost perfect.

I say “almost” because my bedroom is bigger than my living room, meaning I spent about two weeks trying to Tetris my living room furniture into some sort of usable configuration. Once I got that figured out — minus one inherited couch — I was able to turn my attention to the kitchen.

I have no complaints in that department. The appliances are all fairly new, there’s sufficient counter space, the cabinets are spacious and I love the fixtures in the double sink, which includes a variable pressure faucet on a retractable hose.

Yes, I’m easily entertained.

Ok, I do have one complaint about the kitchen — there’s no light above the sink, but that’s something I can address pretty easily with one or two of those stick-on LED lights.

At any rate, while my kitchen still looks like a hoarder’s paradise — all the boxes got stacked there because it was the largest open area in the house — I’ve managed to make enough of a dent that I found plates, silverware, pots, pans and a single cookie sheet, more than enough to make a basic dinner.

Filling my pantry, on the other hand, has been a bit of a chore. I’d forgotten how hard it is to start from scratch. There are so many items that are necessary but not something you buy regularly enough to remember to put on a list. Then, if you do, you wind up with a huge bill.

No one likes that, so I’ve been getting bits and pieces here and there, working my way through it gradually.

Plus, I’ve had to make a few extra purchases just to get the pieces I need to get by. That cup of coffee cost me about $100 and was served in a tumbler. See, I had to buy a coffee pot for the first time ever, along with coffee and all the fixins’ — turns out I like it sweet and blond — but that will likely even out as I go. As for the unusual choice of drink container — my coffee mugs are still MIA, so I had to make do.

That “bits and pieces” method did kind of bite me in the butt Sunday night. Right about the time I started cooking, I realized I didn’t have any spices — not even salt and pepper — and no butter.

Some of you might be asking, “Why didn’t you go get some?” That’s a legitimate question, I suppose, but doing so would have required putting on real pants and leaving the house, neither of which I was inclined to do.

As a result, dinner turned out kind of bland, but I soldiered on. Luckily, the potatoes were of the instant variety and didn’t require any additional doctoring and I like peas no matter what. The pork chops could have used a bit more flavor, but the biscuits were perfect.

All in all, I’m really starting to feel like I’m settling in, even if that pile of boxes in the corner of the kitchen is still staring at me. All the time.

I’ll deal with that eventually. For now, they’re out of the way.

I can get to the fridge, use the stove and wash my dishes without any issues. The laundry room is up and running. My bedroom is just about complete and my living room is fairly well set up. I even hung my clock on the wall, just above the TV.

I think it’s safe to say I’m finally settling in. At least, I will be, once I find my coffee mugs.

They’re here somewhere — probably in the last box I open.