Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 27: Can't Top This

The countertop was installed today, as were the bookcase wiring, the under-cabinet lights, and the over-sink fixture, so the kitchen is practically finished. It's been exactly four weeks. Tomorrow, the plumber will install the faucet and disposal and hook up the dishwasher. On Saturday, the stove will be in.

We'll have a few loose ends to tie up after that, and then I'll be getting to work on the backsplash. Ooooh, shiny.

Day Twenty: Handled

On Saturday, my sister came to help me organize the drawers; in return, I bought her lunch and gave her my mother's amazing set of orange enamel pots. I'm sure I'll regret the decision, but I've had them for a few years and have only used them a few times. On Sunday, I bought glamorous crushed velvet chairs—an odd choice for the kitchen, but they were so comfortable that I had to buy them.

Day 20 came on Monday, January 30th. Thanks to my flexible and understanding company, I was able to work from home to juggle the insanity. At one point, I had seven grown men in my kitchen. Three had their arms folded across their chests and were ogling the laser measuring tool used by the countertop company. But I digress.

The electricians came to install the fan and the microwave outlet and move the stove outlet so that the cabinet installers could finish their job. I adore my electricians; they've done everything in this house and out, including wiring the garage, which I did as a surprise for my husband for Father's Day. 

The cabinet guys—all three of them—were back to finish. They made a jig for the cabinet handles, finished installing the last of the cabinets and toe kicks, and spent their time dropping f-bombs and talking about how much they like Trump's refugee ban. 

Call me old-fashioned, but I think when you go to work in a client's house, job site or not, you keep your politics to yourself if the client's home, unless someone asks you for your opinion. Not that I expected anything different from the folks who like to go home and shoot stuff in their backyards and who talk about Jewish cabinets (you know—cabinets at Jewish people's homes).

But it was the last day, and the cabinet guys cleaned up and went on their way, leaving Jeff to tackle the ceiling fan, my favorite purchase. It took two hours to put together. It has six speeds and far more light than I'd expected. It's huge—60 inches. It was also pricier than I could afford. But when you turn it on, nothing wobbles, and it's completely silent. (An excellent purchase from www.rejuvenation.com.)

I agonized over every choice in this kitchen—from the cabinet handles to the stove. I bought six different handles and compared them all, and when these came, there was no doubt. But by the time I was ready to order, they were out of stock, so I had to scour the internet for them. I ordered the wrong color, and the company where I ordered them so decently took them back and helped me find the right ones, even buying them from someone else and making it an even exchange for me, not even charging me new shipping! (http://www.Hardwaremarkdowns.com/!)

The easy choices were the cabinets and countertop and the finish. I have had these in mind for the last four years, and even though I looked a lot, I never found anything I liked better.

I'm not sure the cabinet designer ever really dug my taste, but when he walked into my house for the first time, he got me. I think the biggest compliment came when he met the countertop guy here today and said, "I'm going to want a picture of this kitchen when it's done."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day Eighteen: Books and Art

I don't think there's any such thing as "home" without books and art. So after the guys left on Friday night, I hung two paintings and put some books away.

The guys put the last couple of cabinets up but did not get finished. One of the cabinets needed some work by the electrician before it could be put in. Some of the toe kicks aren't done yet. And none of the handles are on.

The freelance plumber had a work emergency, so the fridge stayed in the middle of the floor for most of the weekend.

The next day, I put away nearly everything. It hasn't been three weeks yet. It's amazing how quickly the time goes. No wonder these things can take six weeks!

Day Seventeen: In. Stalled.

Two and a half weeks into my renovation, and everyone arrives when they're supposed to. The cabinet installers come at 8:45, the designer come at 8:45, and everyone understands each other.

Fortunately, I marked all the boxes the night before; it saved an hour of checking stock numbers against the plan. 

The guys take a lot of breaks. They install a cabinet, and then they take a smoke break. They install a cabinet, then take a smoke break. They sit on the deck and chat. But they seem to do good work, so I'm OK with that. 

Thing is: they cut out at 3:00 most days. If they worked eight hours, they wouldn't have to be here for three days. 

Lookin' good, eh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day Sixteen: Call a Cab

I woke up at 5:00 thinking about my backsplash: What colors would I use? How fast could I build it? How many pieces would I make? Where could I get the right plates? Did I want to use plates? So after tossing and turning until 5:30, I got up and had some coffee to wait for the delivery of 35+ boxes, most of them large boxes.

The driver arrived at 7:15. He complained for the first 15 minutes: the deck was slippery, there were too many steps, the boxes were too big, he didn't have any help, nobody told him, nobody measured. Ugh. What is it with the complainers? I'm the customer. I'm the one who gets to complain, damn it!

And complain I will. I was terrified that some of the cabinets would have to come out of the boxes and get slid across the floor and rip it. (That didn't happen.) But the mud and grass clods and dogshit did come in on the delivery guy's shoes and the hand truck wheels. I was feeling a little frantic, and as soon as he left, I washed what little of the floor was showing through. (Part of me still trembles with fear that the floor is permanently stained.

While I was squeezing dry the sponge mop, there was a frantic knock at the back door. It was my neighbor, come to tell me that the delivery truck knocked limbs off his and my other neighbor's trees.
[sigh] That's terrible. I feel awful about it. And I don't want to just callously say that shit happens, but if a UPS driver were delivering a package to my house and side-swiped a car, would that be my fault? I didn't force the cabinet guy to come through the alley (I even said he might have to bring a hand truck up the alley and park on the street). But he knew what he was doing. 

When I got to work, I was upset, and I stayed upset all day. 

The cabinets will be installed on Thursday. That means in just over two weeks, I'll have most of a kitchen. All hail the Kitchen Bitcher!

Day Fourteen: We Blue It

I knew this weekend would be tough. We'd hoped to get to the Women's March on Washington, but we woke up too late and wound up turning around at Ft. Meade. But that's OK. We had a nice lunch and joined a local rally of 5,000 people fairly close to home. We still participated. We even donated $40 more to Planned Parenthood. And though we didn't feel the exhilaration we'd have felt from nine hours on our feet in DC, we were able to come home and paint the kitchen ceiling, then wake up Sunday morning and paint the rest of it. 

How is it that a ceiling—already white and being painted a brighter, fresher white, needed a second coat? But it did. So Marty re-rolled it while I started on the walls. 

You should hear us: he bitches; I moan; we both grunt. It was a full day of grunting. We sound like old people trying to get up from the toilet. 

The paint is pretty good. I chose Behr Marquee (primer and paint in one) in Beach something or another, and it covered in a single coat. Actually, the paint is exactly the same value as the previous paint, so there were spots when I was all finished where I didn't realize I hadn't painted there yet.

Good prep made cleanup easy. But by the time I was taking the painter's tape off the floor, my fingers had stopped working. I've been up and down the ladder so much in two days (I cut, Marty rolls), that took three ibuprofen and a whole hydrocodone before bed.

I painted from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. After dinner, I scraped the windows and then pulled up all the drop cloths and the tape, washed brushes, folded drop cloths, and went up to take a shower. I don't know how I washed my hair without being able to lift my arms over my head.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day Twelve: Floored

I was expecting the flooring guys from 8 to 10 a.m. When they weren't here by 10:05, I called. I was on the phone with the company when they showed up, complaining that someone had spelled my address wrong, and they'd been driving around the city for the past hour.

Things don't get better for those guys when they see the state of the kitchen. The guys who removed the tile didn't remove the lauan plywood underlayment. It was delaminating, which left splinters of wood everywhere. So the phone calls went back and forth, and yes, they had to pull it all up. They ripped it down to the bare wood, which, if it didn't have rotting black felt on it, would've been glorious.

They worked for hours. The first 30 minutes, though, they bitched: "Why didn't they take the floor out?" "I just can't understand why they did this shit, man." "It would've been so easy to take the floor out." Thirty minutes. Over and over and over again.

I wanted to yell at them, though I doubted I'd have been heard over "Livin' on a Prayer." This, not a Trump presidency, is the kind of thing you should be able to "get over" within the first few minutes.

It took them until about 6:00 to finish and get out. And it looks good. There's some weird stuff I wouldn't have done, like matching vinyl shoe molding, which, for some reason, is not around the base of the door trim. I think
when it's all finished, I'll have some things finished right. Till then, I'll have to suck it up. Or get over it.

Toward the end of the day, a friend came over to help us put in a new toilet (not in the kitchen). So much going on in this little house.

Also here: the new ceiling fan.