kitchenDrum roll, please…..


365 days after we bought our home in Kansas it finally happened:  we sold our house in Oklahoma! Can you imagine the odds on that? 365 exact days!  😉  During the past year we made ten trips back and forth – a total of 6,200 miles – most of them with three dogs tagging along.  But, now it’s a page turned in our lives.  Not without some drama, though.   As my friend Marcia pointed out,  “Drama follows you, Sally.”  Oh, well.  Next life I’ll try for a spot in Hollywood. If you are interested to know more, read on…   but beware, no recipes in this post.

We scheduled the closing of the sale for 4pm on Friday, May 31st.  Still, lots of things were left to do to completely empty and clean the house for its new owners, so we drove to Norman a couple of days beforehand. That Wednesday, May 29, both Kansas and Oklahoma were under a full-blown tornado watch for most of the afternoon and evening. We hit the road around 1pm, driving with one eye on the highway and another on Intellicast radar.   We made it home with 8 minutes to spare before the storm hit.  Driving through Moore was a sobering experience that recalled May 1999.   The area of destruction is narrow, but it is complete.  Imagine a gigantic lawnmower passing through and turning homes and trees into small sticks and dirt. Unless you see it you can’t comprehend the violence of a tornado of that magnitude.

We were excited to arrive home, not only because we made it before the t-storm, but because we wanted to see the new roof installed last week. Our house suffered hail damage from one of the many storms earlier this year, so we had to take care of that and replace the roof before selling the property. What we did not expect was to arrive in our master bathroom to find broken, exploded glass everywhere!

The roofers had broken the skylight, never said a word about it to their boss, and simply left.  Drama? You think?  😉  A few phone calls were exchanged, four guys came up and cleaned the mess next morning.

Next day (Thursday) we worked hard, making three piles in the garage: one to donate, one to dispose, and one to move back to Kansas with us.  A trip to Habitat for Humanity for the first pile, and a trip to the “Transfer Station” for the second.   Have you ever visited a Transfer Station?  It’s what we call “the dump”. Basically, one stop before a landfill.  A place where folks dump trash, it’s moved around into HUGE piles by a skillful worker driving a front-end loader, and it’s then dispensed into gigantic trucks that do the final trip to the landfill.  If you have a pickup truck and a utility bill to prove local residency you can dump your trash. They weigh the truck when you arrive, then weigh it again when you leave. You pay per pound of trash left behind.  Clever, don’t you think? I know it is not a food blog-worthy subject, but the truth is, it’s a part of life we tend to forget. We live in a “pseud0-clean,”  protected environment, in which the meat comes nicely packaged so you don’t think about the animal behind it.  We also don’t think about the trash we produce once the garbage leaves our front door.  Well, it’s not pretty, it’s nasty,  and a lot of people work very, very hard to deal with it.   I made a little video for those interested.

You can watch it here.

It is only 35 seconds long, and only in the end can you see the worker dumping a load in the truck for final transportation to a landfill. The truck parks on a lower level, so all you can see is its open top slightly above ground on the side of the transfer station. Fortunately for you, smells don’t travel with the images. 😉

Phil and I were anxiously waiting for the Thursday tornadoes to pass. We stayed inside our  garage, tornado shelter open, pickup truck filled with the last load of stuff to dispose. Since we had no TV in the house, we turned the pickup radio and listened closely to it.   Another little video for you here, those from the area will recognize the voice of  Gary England, the meteorologist who doesn’t “believe” in global warming.  Yeah, right.

So the Thursday tornadoes came and went, touching down 5 miles or so away from us.  We quickly drove to the dump. Quickly? We wished.  Unfortunately, you can’t turn on the truck radio without the headlights too, and they unexpectedly drained the battery, leaving us with a big problem: a truck full of trash, a dead  battery, and no way get out of the garage.  Drama?  You think? A frantic phone call to our dear (and tremendously helpful) neighbors ensued, followed by a quick jump of the battery, and off we went, arriving at the dump shortly before it closed for the day.  End of drama?  Not quite.  Right when I was  standing next to the 15ft-high pile of trash in that wonderful location, a strong gust of twisting wind (back-end of the tornado storm) hit the place, and literally sprayed me with… how should I put it?  Hummmm…. let’s go for “dump juice”. The most disgusting episode of my existence.

That, my friends, was drama.   Irony of ironies, Phil was spared of the filthy encounter, at the time he was standing up in the pickup truck bed.  Yes, he laughed.  But he stopped quickly because the blood in his veins kind of froze a little when our eyes met.  Arriving home, I took three showers. In a row.

Friday, the big day arrived.  We worked every single minute of the day, Phil trimmed trees, I cleaned the house, we did everything  to make the place as welcoming as possible.  The truck was full to capacity, ready to be covered with a heavy tarp as storms were predicted (AGAIN!)  for the end of the afternoon.

That afternoon the deal  was signed, sealed, delivered!  We went to our neighbor’s home and sat  watching TV  waiting for a safe time to go out for a celebration dinner.  We chose a restaurant about 2 miles from home, a traditional spot in Norman called “Legends,” which brought fond memories of our time in town.   As we left our neighbor’s home we noticed that new storms were forming southeast of us, but they seemed harmless.  Well, harmless they were not.   The storms intensified as we happily chatted and enjoyed dinner.  By the time the sirens sounded and we frantically paid the bill, Norman was in the center of a huge tornado storm.  We decided to drive home because it was just 2 miles, but those miles seemed like 20.  The rain was falling in all possible directions, as if a circular shower was turned on in full blast by perverse powers.  It would be impossible to see a tornado approaching, impossible to judge the direction it would be coming from.  Drama? You bet! 😉

But, it all ended on a happy note.  Above is the last photo taken close to our former home.  The new owners had already moved in, so we had to be discreet. We hope they will be as happy as we were living in that wonderful home, and enjoy everything it has to offer, particularly the original Bewitching Kitchen.

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012


THREE YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin