It is only fitting that, after a week away on vacation, I should return to find The Kitchen infested by ants.  You see, this is no ordinary kitchen.  Though it may look relatively domesticated with its pink dish drainer and marble counters and sink, the reality is that every day is a wrestling match to see which of us is actually in control.

You see that marble sink?  The one people in America would pay thousands of dollars for?  Well, for some reason the drain is oh-so-slightly higher than the basin, meaning that in spite of my repeated squeegee attacks, water collects around the edges and mates with the omnipresent dust to form a slimy brown goo  that, if left unchecked, slowly creeps toward the center of the sink.

The gleaming white cupboard doors are barely hanging on.  At least one of each pair is crooked or falling off its hinges.  Some day soon I’ll be pulling out the noodles and a door is going to come down on my head.

The stove and refrigerator are such characters that they will each get separate entries, so I will leave you today with the window.  High enough that I have to stand on a chair to reach the bottom edge, it opens out to an airshaft in the middle of the building and up to the roof.  Although I have yet to see a rat in this neighborhood, stray cats are abundant and accustomed to roaming around in the garbage that collects on rooftops.  Having recently read “Wildcat” by Flannery O’Conner, I have vivid images of what could happen if a feline-gone-bad came screeching through that window while I was cooking.  It is hard to decide what would be the worse smell: burnt garlic or burnt fur?

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