For the past seven weeks, we have eaten almost nothing but frozen dinners. We have been stepping over myriads of construction implements and devices, dodging paint cans and incomplete cabinets. We have had our ceiling drilled into, a wall knocked down, our cats imprisoned, shards of plastic utensils stuck in our teeth, and been forced to wash dishes in the bathroom sinks. I have cursed at The Large Orange Home Improvement Store for their ineptitude, and made numerous trips to The Large Blue Home Improvement Store for appliances, paints, ceiling fans, and tile (and have been EXTREMELY happy with those guys). We have managed to even put up Christmas decorations in the midst of all of this chaos. But we’re almost there…out great domestic nightmare is almost over.
The kitchen will be completed at the end of the week!
If you’ve never had the pleasure of getting your kitchen reconstructed, let me explain a few things that you might need to know if you’re considering it. When Murphy wrote his famous Law, it was at his kitchen table while workman hovered around him like a swarm of bees and after they had hit him on the head with a two by four while he was getting HIS kitchen reconstructed. It doesn’t matter how great your Contractor is, and believe me, our guy is absolutely top notch. He’s a freind and neighbor who has an impeccable reputation. It’s who he sometimes sub-contracts to, or who those guys sub-sub contract to that is the problem. Our guy did all the work in the house, but when it came time to order the cabinets (which came right away except for two cabinet doors that they forgot to include, and sent us the wrong replacements…TWICE) and counter…that was done by the aforementioned Large Orange Home Improvement Store. THEY subcontract out to other guys. In one of my previous Kitchen Chronicles posts, I alluded to the corrupt way in which these guys “floated” my money in a legal Ponzi scheme that would make Bernard Maddoff proud. That Large Orange Store is losing money and closing stores all over the place, while The Large Blue Store is doing quite well; maybe it’s because the people they employ know what the hell they’re talking about AND they are NICE to you too!
There is something that I now call a “Contractor Temporal Shift”, which basically means that any estimate a contractor or sub contractor tells you is NEVER correct and can either be sooner or later than an estimate. Oh, and I couldn’t even call things an estimate anymore, “Wild Uneducated Random Guess” is more appropriate. Expect something that you take for granted in your life, namely your kitchen, to become the most important thing in your life, bordering on complete and total obsession. When someone said that the kitchen is literally the center of the home, they were not kidding…and in our case, architecturally speaking, it most definitely is. The amazing thing is though, as the final pieces of the puzzle are being put into place, it’s literally the light at the end of the tunnel; the rainbow after the storm; the cigarette after sex…although with all that’s gone on here lately, it’s BETTER than that cigarette!
The counter tops arrived several days early and were installed over the weekend along with the trim around the ceiling and cabinet bases. The refrigerator has been recessed into its alcove (underneath the last two cabinets that were installed yesterday) so that it’s flush with the wall. The tiles were installed today, and the grout will go on tomorrow. The appliances will be put in place both tomorrow and Wednesday, and outside of small touch ups and tacking down the carpets to the hardwood floors in the hallway and in half the new kitchen…we can start whipping up culinary delights in a matter of days! After rearranging the Dining Room and the Living Room into habitable conditions, and putting all of our groceries and plates, glasses, and silverware away…we can start living like Human Beings again, and acting like them too.
You have NO idea what this amount of disruption does to your nerves, your patience, and your sanity. I am DONE with doing my best wailing banshee impression at the inept folks at The Large Orange Home Improvement Store. I am DONE with frozen dinners that make me nostalgic for college cafeteria food. With any luck, outside of a full interior painting of the house and pulling up the carpets in the dining and living rooms (to reveal the hardwood floors that some previous owner of the house managed to polish and seal BEFORE butting the carpet down…they are in INCREDIBLE condition); this should do it for a few years. That is, unless we move from here…but if that’s the case, I told my wife the only two words I want to hear from a Real Estate Agent:
“You can get more with a kind word and a two by four than you can with just a kind word.” – Marcus Cole (Babylon 5/jms)