How To Remodel

Start with the perfect cobalt blue farmers sink, on sale at Lowe’s. It’s too big for your kitchen, but that doesn’t matter, you bought this house for its potential. Set the sink in the middle of the kitchen floor where the tiles are missing because you plan to install a mosaic there, and start ripping out cabinets. Replace the bronze drawer pulls with blue glass knobs.


Do the dishes in the tub while the kitchen is torn up. It’s not that bad, even if your joints ache every time you kneel down and your back threatens to seize. Take a hot bath after the dishes are clean.

Buy new appliances (also on sale at Lowe’s). Store them in the garage; the kitchen cabinets are still half dismantled, sheets of one-inch tiles laid loosely over the plywood, and that beautiful sink is still on the floor because you need to replumb. Walk around it for the next ten years every time you move from the fridge to the microwave. 

When your lungs are too crowded with smoke to swing a hammer, hire your boyfriend-slash-handyman, who is slow but cheap and does really excellent work when he is sober. When he isn’t sober, lock the door but don’t call the cops, because really he just needs a break. He didn’t mean to set fire to your hair that time. It was an accident. He apologized, later. He started to build shelves in your bedroom.

Buy him tools, a coffeepot, a KitchenAid. Maybe he’ll stay clean now that somebody is taking care of him. And when you do call the cops, that night he is banging on your door and will not leave, that night he stabs the bartender downtown because you wouldn’t let him in, write a letter, telling the judge he’s getting better, he’s not perfect but he’s got such potential.

Take the doors off the cabinets. Line the open shelves with beautiful blue jars full of pasta and beans, flour and sugar and coffee. That sink will look so nice, when the kitchen is fixed up.

The author and her mother

The author and her mother


- Christine Hanolsy is a writer from Portland, Oregon. She serves on the editorial staff of the online writing community YeahWrite, where her primary portfolio includes microprose, flash fiction, and poetry. She was a 2015 BlogHer Voices of the Year recipient and community keynote speaker for her essay Rights and Privileges. Her short fiction has been published in print by MidnightSun Publishing and online by Enchanted Conversation; other pieces appear on her blog, Trudging Through Fog. She is currently revising her first novel, which she co-authored with fellow YeahWrite editor and Dead Housekeeping contributor Rowan Becket Grigsby.