Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's Cookin' This Christmas

Let's pretend you asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I would reply that I have everything I want.  Which I do.  Especially considering I have my job, my healthy self and family members, my unforeclosed house, my amazing friends.

But then you would press me, and I would ask, "Okay, you mean, besides this?"

You would nod.  And for a moment I would think about how I wrote that post a year ago, and here we are a year later, carton of contentment and everything.  I will concede a little bit of longing.  But just a healthy dose, the curable kind. 

Tell me something tangible, something material you desire, you would prod. 

Okay.  Okay?  I'll tell you what I want.  I want another bedroom on this house.  And a half-bath.  Just one more toilet would make it so no one has to run outside for a Nature Pee during rush hour.  And if Santa wanted to throw in a jacuzzi tub with the deal, who am I to argue?

But Santa has other plans, it seems.  Santa, rumor has it, is giving us a new water heater this season. 

So not sexy, a new water heater!  No one will come by and comment on its color to justify the money spent.  There's just no bang for your buck on a new water heater.  It's an invisible expense. 

Nevertheless, if I had to choose between room addition and water heater, I'd have to go with the heater.  Invisible it may be, but under appreciated it is.

When I spent a year in Kenya, I lived in a very modern house almost the size of our current one and with a water heater.  The fact that I had to set an alarm each morning so I would wake in time to turn on the heater  so the water for my shower 1.5 hours later would be warm but not Too Hot, and the fact that I had to occasionally replace the propane tank that fueled my kitchen stove (much like we do for our barbecues) reminded me that gas lines and water heaters are too often taken for granted in our First World.  Most of my neighbors in Africa had neither. 

So we're gifting ourselves a new water heater, because we'd all be huddled in one bedroom after bathing in cold water without one.  And if going with the tankless water heater option means that we gain some cupboard space for at the very least, a broom, then Santa is our hero.

We'd also love to paint our kitchen cupboards--that is, with any funds leftover from the water heater allotment.  How likely are we to have funds leftover?   Not very likely.  It's more likely that our kids' play kitchen gets a remodel.

To that end, I am at Gearhead Mom again this week, reviewing the upgrade of our kids' play cafe.  Talk about bang for your buck:  a play kitchen is all play and no clean-up.  For the children, anyway!  You feed them while they pretend to be cooking and eating and serving others.  A brilliant investment.  Way cheaper than a room addition, a water heater, AND a coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets.

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