Kitchen demolished as June wedding nears

Strange sounds are coming from my house. Imagine a jackhammer with a bad attitude, or a thousand bellies stuffed with sweet corn; an extravaganza of moaning, grinding, pounding, cursing, belly laughing and grunting.

The construction crew is on the premises.

I've mentioned a time or a hundred that Schlueterville is preparing for a wedding. Our son, Rocket, will marry Trooper, the love of his life, in our backyard on June 29 — less than one month from today.

Let me repeat the vital part of that sentence — well, besides the marrying/love of his life business. The wedding is taking place in our backyard, in less than a month.

"You must have a gorgeous yard!" people exclaim when I tell them the news.

I smile while my innards twist. Actually our backyard is pretty ordinary, except for the giant, shady maples where rain crows gather to sing their soulful tunes. It's bordered by a wood slat/stucco columned fence Hunka built soon after we moved here in '95, complete with a creaky gate that clicks when you throw the latch. He built the shop in the back, too, and the lovely covered patio where I am writing this column.

Come to think of it, our backyard is rather gorgeous in a rough-around-the-edges kind of way.
We learned about the wedding couple's choice of venue in February, shortly after they got engaged. We were shocked and honored that our future daughter-in-law, who lives in Oklahoma, wanted to get married in the same backyard where her fiancé grew up. It was important to her that Rocket's grandparents could be part of the fun, and Schlueterville fit her simple and rustic outdoor wedding plans. So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, excavating and landscaping, clearing out and building up. Little by little, I could envision our yard as a lovely place to be married.

But Hunka had bigger plans on his mind.

The next thing I knew, Hunka and his cohorts were demolishing our tired, '60s-era kitchen, filling a flatbed with worn out cabinets and a scarred up sink. Food and cookware currently share space with appliances and dishes on our pool table in the basement. Meals are eaten outside in all sorts of weather, on Hunka's custom-built patio.

If you need a cereal bowl or a coffee mug, head downstairs and dig around. I think I saw one in the corner billiard pocket under the waffle iron, next to a can of beans and a cheese grater. Dishes are done in plastic tubs lined up in a row on top of our freezer. Drywall dust is the flavor of the day. The living room is full of freshly built cabinets, and cans of paint line the garage. A sheet of carpenter's plastic hangs from the ceiling, in a feeble attempt to control the mess.

This is life in Schlueterville right now.

A lot can happen in one month's time. In our case it has to, and we have a lot to do before the big day arrives.

I'm not the least bit worried that everything will come together, except for the times when I have to rifle through the pool table for dinner ingredients. We'll go to the mat to make the wedding as perfect as possible for the bridal couple and their guests. And among the dust, mess and chaos, it's been oddly fun watching everything torn asunder and built into something better than it was before.

But the clock is ruthlessly ticking. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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