When my apartment was initially fitted out back in 1965, the builders installed a revolutionary and space saving device. It was a combination washer/dryer that could take a load of laundry from dirty to clean within the confines of a single unit. It was an amazing appliance for a kitchen like mine, where space is at a premium. It was just an added bonus that it happened to be turquoise, like the old countertops and stove (I do believe that back in the day, the original refrigerator also featured that particular hue).
That washer/dryer combo unit ran semi-reliably for more than twenty years, but when it broke down for good sometime in the late 1980s, it had to be replaced with a washer and a dryer. They stopped making those combo units sometime in the 1970s, as they didn’t actually wash or dry well. But my kitchen was not designed for both appliances and so it was reconfigured a little to make it work, blocking off the second door that led from the entrance of the apartment into the kitchen.
When they installed the dryer in that corner, they didn’t think much about a countertop to go above it, laying down an ill-fitting piece of stain-prone white formica. I have lived with that slab of ugly laminate countertop for more than five years now. Sometime around late 2003, I started thinking about replacing it. I did a little research at Ikea and discovered that they sold lengths of counter. But I took no action.
Then about two weeks ago, I started thinking about new countertops again and this time I wasn’t able to dismiss the thought. I took myself to Ikea and bought a chunk of counter. I brought it home and propped it up next to the front door, as there was still another hurdle to leap over. It was 7 5/8 inches too long for the space. I have a very nice drill, but no saw. One of the maintenance guys in my building said he’d cut it down for me, but then never stopped by when he said he would. Another one offered, but he creeps me out, so I decided not to take him up on his offer.
This afternoon, my countertop and I took a Sunday drive out to Plymouth Meeting, where the very handy Donald, an almost-cousin, went through four different rechargeable batteries, cutting my counter down to size with a circular saw. I brought it back home tonight and it slid into the spot without a hitch (I did measure about nine times before taking to Don). I gave the counter got a nice massage with some mineral oil and I now experience a joyful giddiness every time I walk into my kitchen.