Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Kitchen








There’s a reason people pay a premium for “done” houses. And there’s a reason for all those negative stereotypes and clichés floating around out there in the wind about building contractors. And, importantly, there’s also a reason people continue to go through the hell of home remodeling. Our version of that reason is pictured above.

We’re in the new kitchen one day and it doesn’t seem real. We’re afraid to use it. Afraid we might break it. Afraid that if we touch the appliances the face plates are going to pull back to reveal they are really cardboard props. It’s going to be an interesting weekend around here from the standpoint of sustenance.

I wish we had a true “before” photo, a “this is what the elderly woman we bought this house from lived with for 50 years” photo. Unfortunately we don’t. Feel free to scroll back across a couple months’ worth of postings to see what the space looked like on the first day of the remodel, in mid-June, when the walls were ripped down to the beams, when we still liked our contractor, felt he had our best interests at heart and was capable of single-handedly leading us through the darkness. In the end, it was Gwen who led us through the darkness, holding a Bic lighter up over her head, in the wind.

We had the new guy we hired to remodel the girls’ bathroom over the other night to talk through some final details so we can start ordering materials and fixtures. The job officially starts in late September and he’ll be the third person to work on our house in less than a year. I'm not going to spoil the moment by getting into the specific setbacks and mind-numbing frustrations of our last two encounters - the adult equivalent of pulp in a sippy cup.

Gwen gets the credit for the good results pictured above, and also in our basement, far more than anyone who entered our house wearing a tool belt or reeking of cigarettes. She made these things happen, through her own imagination, sheer force of will, negotiating acumen, endless reserve of patience, and ample funds.

I greeted, regarded and communicated with contractor #3 in a cordial but somewhat detached manner I've developed along with the scar tissue, an approach I like to informally refer to as – hoping for the best, but Preparing To Hate You.

So far no hatred, but it’s early, the game really hasn’t started yet, and we’ll see how this one goes. Happily, this house isn't too big and we’re running out of things to change.

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