There are so many stories I’d like to tell, but as of this week they all pale in comparison to a kitchen remodel which has been so far out of my mind that I haven’t even mentioned it here.
In hindsight, I did a poor job preparing myself for this thing to happen. While I was worried about dog medication and Mother’s Day, Joel did a great job of making the upfront part seamless for me, fun even. He used to work on a kitchen renovation show on the DIY network, so he contacted a designer and contractor he knew and they went to town. With little work on our part we got a design we love and an IKEA shopping list that required us to do nothing more than hand over a printout to a sales assistant and initial where she told us.
There has been almost no friction between me and Joel.I didn’t have to fight to get the double oven of my dreams, and only had to fight a little to get the new fridge I wanted. We ordered tile samples, loved our first choice and the completed order shipped on time. We agreed on handmade pendant lamps, a white apron-front farmhouse sink, and faucet styles. There was a momentary skirmish over cabinet hardware, easily solved. And as the contractors were arriving for the first time, we disagreed over whether or not to keep the built-in china cabinets in the dining room, a topic on which I had been waffling. My love of built-ins was trumped by the ugliness of ours, so they went.
I am sure I will eventually eat these words, but I am so very lucky to have a partner with similar tastes to mine. There are enough differences to overcome in moving in together and starting a family. Thankfully for us, we don’t have to wrestle over paint colors, sofa patterns, or throw pillows.
We were also in complete agreement regarding our distaste for the kitchen in our new house. While it didn’t classify as horrible by any set of standards, it was definitely dated and not at all us. The layout was far from ideal, with an unused breakfast nook and no counter space to speak of near the cooking surface. And don’t even get me started on the stupid, no-good, awful flat-top electric stove. Fiery suns, hate, hate, HATE. (I hate it so much, apparently, that I didn’t even take a picture of it before it was carted away.)
The dining room was also fairly inoffensive, with the exception of the country blue paint and standard-to-our-house wallpaper. The aforementioned built-in china cabinets weren’t appalling, but weren’t beautiful and full of old-world charm like the ones in my 1906 Victorian house in Berkeley. They were just sort of there, with v-shaped cabinets that weren’t very good at holding things – hence their demise.
As of Tuesday, everything has changed. We emptied the contents of the kitchen into the basement, and set up a temporary kitchen space in the spare bedroom downstairs. Men with sledgehammers and saws showed up and tore almost everything out in a day while the dogs cowered at my side and looked concerned. Plastic sheeting shields the rest of the house from the white dust. I’m making smoothies in the bathroom and washing dishes in the bathtub and eating cereal on the couch and boarding the dogs so the contractors can punch a hole in the floor to put in a new support beam. It is already deeply unfun, and it’s just begun.
The dividing wall between the two rooms made each individual space feel smaller than it needed to. And we often found ourselves shouting spelling words to Claire while she sat at the dining room table doing her homework. That duct at the center of the picture has caused much gnashing of teeth, as it was an unexpected find when the wall came down and requires yet another contractor.
I am already so sick of trying to feed myself out of this space that I’m ready to declare eight weeks of takeout. We can make a game out of it by creating a list of restaurants we haven’t tried and ticking them off one by one. We can subsist on the Whole Foods salad bar. Or maybe I should take this opportunity to try a month-long juice cleanse. Can kids do juice cleanses? Claire would love not having to take time out of her scootering schedule to chew. What could go wrong?