Monday, April 19, 2010

Ahhhh... Excess...

I own an Advantium microwave oven, a slide-in glass-top range with built-in warming drawer, a french door refrigerator with purified ice and water in the door, a state-of-the-art stainless tub dishwasher, an instant hot water dispenser...the list goes on and on. All of these gadgets are here to make my life better and to make cooking the ultimate adrenaline rush -- still we eat most every meal out.

This week I attended K-BIS, the world's biggest kitchen and bath industry showcase. Here, vendors from all over the the world showcase their latest and greatest wares. I enjoy attending the conference so I can be armed with knowledge and inspiration for my clients. I do have to ask myself if these wonder gadgets actually improve my quality of life. It seems my early ancestors may have had it much easier ... a fire, a sharp stick and a piece of meat -- dinner is served. I, on the other hand, need a degree from MIT to pop popcorn.

To me the excess is not the gadgets, it is the attention to self. I think what we need to do in such a blessed nation is to enjoy the gadgets and at the same time leave our fingerprints on the world, not just on the stainless steel. Now before anyone reading this decides not to do a remodel, I say hold on. Your kitchen or bath remodel adds value and beauty to your house and feeds the economy, which produces jobs, which feed people; this is a good thing. The call to action I propose is to use your remodel to help others. How? Simple. Here are a few ways.

The last few years, I have used Habitat for Humanity for my demolitions (they may or may not have this service in your area). Habitat will remove your old cabinets and appliances and then sell them in its home store. The money is then used to build homes for deserving people. Here's another: why not take $50 of your remodel budget and send it to Soles4Souls? Fifty dollars can buy 50 pairs of shoes for people in a needy part of the world. Imagine being able to look up rather than down as you walk; for many this is life changing.

How will you leave your fingerprints?


  1. No joke. Back in my table waiting career I knew a chef that moonlighted as a personal cook and worked home parties or events. He came in one night and told everybody about working some ladies big home event where he pre-heated the high-end oven/ range only to see smoke billowing out moments later.

    Her instruction manual ( plastic wrapped ) was still in the oven three years after the build/ installation.

    The habitat deal is genius.


  2. Is that a picture of you BBQ'ing in your hairy rock'n roll days?

  3. That picture reminds me of a camping trip that didn't go well back in the day.

    Good words, bro. Thinking about needy people and attention to self in the same thought bubble does a number on widening out the zoom lens.

    Had friends over last night who were blown away by your kitchen remodel work. It holds up well, my friend.


  4. Is the Habitat option a tax deduction for homeowners doing the remodel? That might really inspire some altruism if nothing else will. :)

  5. Yes, the Habitat donation is a tax deduction, but more importantly it recycles materials for a great cause and keeps it out of the landfill.

  6. Wonderful blog! So many people have nothing, while so many of us are blessed. We may not think we can make a difference, but there is always a ripple affect in doing even the small kind deeds.