Granite & Me

I never thought I'd be picking out a granite countertop. I never thought I'd buy granite, period. It's expensive, heavy, prone to stain if not sealed properly, and it requires annual re-sealing, which is a lot of maintenance for someone who can't even be bothered to blow dry her hair.

But I conceived this opinion before I had: an active kid for whom the etiquette of restaurants, like sitting still and not shouting, is an incomprehensible torture; a renovation that eats the disposable income we used to spend feeding ourselves in restaurants; and my irritating dietary restrictions, which take a lot of the fun out of eating out.

So I am cooking. A lot. And the countertop we have is taking a beating from knives, spills, bangs, bumps, and hot pans.

Originally I spec'd Paperstone countertops for our kitchen renovation. But these countertops are heat-resistant only to 350 degrees, which means that when I take the five-hundred degree cast iron pot out of the oven, I'm going to have to put it... Where? Oh, right -- on the large granite tile I bought for hot pans. Which is under the sink. Or in the pantry. Or in Jane's room. Or something. Oh, wow, this pan is hot.

Another eco-friendly alternative, Richlite, is $80 a square foot. Not cost-effective. Formica, butcher block, tile, concrete, corian -- all wrong for various reasons. So, granite: a stone good for tombstones and other icons of permanence. The woman at the store says it will last through many renovations. This is not a purchase, it is a marriage. It is so hard to reconcile this material with my affection for what is ephemeral and fragile, and with my efforts thus far to render this affection safely and cost-effectively in our design. Will the stone look bizarre with the junk shop aesthetic I'm trying to cultivate?

In another life, I must have been a bee, living in a paper house with lots of shelving.