Saturday, September 10, 2011

Going without

We, in America, don't have too much opportunity to "go without". I tell my girls all the time, "This is America, there is always more." Thankfully. Being part of the lucky sperm club that allowed us to be born here does not make us particularly familiar with denial.

So I wanted to give you a more in-depth picture of what state we are actually in, without a kitchen.

We tore out our kitchen the week after 4th of July. I know this because we planned it all at Scott and Jane's 4th of July party. Handyman said he had a week off and then he was starting a 5-day/week movie for one month. So we decided if we were going to get this whole shebang started, it had to be then. After all, we had purchased the cabinets in November!

So for a week, Dad and Handyman and sometimes Rachael, Mom and I, hauled things out. We did keep the island intact and have used it to great effect, figuring out where and how to position the new island. In fact, it has become a useful tool shelf. I wanted to consider wheels on the new island, but Handyman wants a prep sink and that silly plumbing just doesn't move well.

So our status is this: The ceiling drywall was removed; the insulation above it was removed along with the perimeter bulkheads. The ceiling is rafters, wiring and subfloor for the upstairs above it. There is an open hole above the sink where the vent used to enter the master bath (which is NON-FUNCTIONING!). We put a screen door, covered with plastic, in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room. This kept the A/C in the main part of the house.

The walls have been stripped of 98% of the drywall and nasty insulation behind it. There are wires running to plugs hanging by a screw. There are open cold-air return holes near the floor, which I have blocked so cats cannot go down them. The windows we installed 8 years ago and never painted are shimmed into place.

The new subfloor has been installed everywhere except under the original sink wall, where I threw myself on the floor at Handyman's boots on July 10 and begged for mercy. He wanted to finish the subfloor before leaving for the movie and I said, "Why would you quintuple (a Scrabble term) my misery by taking my sink and dishwasher?? Please, please leave me the sink." (I should have used this method when it came to the upstairs toilet...might've helped my situation.)

So, he left me the sink and dishwasher. It allows me to pretend that I have a real kitchen. Even though the backsplash for that sink is made of particle board.

There is a duct running floor-to-ceiling and a large waste pipe from WHAT USED TO BE THE MASTER BATH, also. The laundry is still up and running in its location that will become the student desk area, with two windows instead of one tiny one.

The entrance to the "back room" has been widened to 4', as planned, and we have sheeted it with heavy black plastic, which lends a festive mood to the whole place. Oh, and the half-bath off the kitchen, where Handyman spent so many happy afternoons in the crawlspace re-doing amateur plumbing debacles, has been covered over with plywood, by the contractors.

We called the contractors back in March, so they could get started while we had good weather (read: no heat necessary), and so they got here just before Labor Day. :) So each morning, after they hand me my deodorant, I head off to work and they stay here and suck money out of our savings account--I mean work on the new back stairs, roof-changes, etc.

They are smart, fast and hard-working. And we talk football in the mornings now. Then I leave for my high-paying sandwich job.

I think the kids have begun to get an appreciation for my cooking, because I don't do it anymore. I think we are saving money from our food budget to pay the contractors (but not nearly enough). I drink yesterday's coffee to save money, and we mooch off Handyman's mom as often as possible.

I kept thinking some of the cats would get eaten by coyotes this summer, as is usually the case, and that would lessen my pet-food budget--but that hasn't happened. I also drive Handyman's dad's little red car to save on gas.

Of course, the flooring we bought 8 years ago for the kitchen does not match the cabinets we bought last November for the kitchen. Fortunately, our house has about 3,000 sq. feet of space still needing finished, so we can use that flooring somewhere else. But, that means we have to pick out and pay for more flooring.

But Handyman is never home. As soon as the kitchen was gutted, he got work for the next 12 years straight, out of state, or so it seems. Everyday I come home from my high-paying sandwich job to an empty house (well, the contractors are usually here, just getting ready to leave), and walk through my stark, plywood kitchen with no counter surface. Past my brushed stainless refrigerator to the plastic-covered screen door, and wonder why in God's name we did all this??

As quickly as possible, I get back outside, with the dogs and I head out to the barn--the glorious barn that took all my kitchen money and all Handyman's remodeling time for 1+ years, and I play with my ridiculous money-eating horses and those stupid, goofy little hay-wasting goats and I text Handyman, who is in Bermuda shooting bathing suits or something, and tell him how much I love it here.

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