This is the part where our neighbors take pity on us.

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The bad news is that we couldn’t sneak into our neighbors’ house and eat supper this weekend (they were home and would have noticed).  The good news is that Lori, The Most Awesome Neighbor In The World, offered to cook us dinner Saturday night.  Which led to even more good news and bad news:

The bad news – We could only offer her barbie sized table at which to sit and a glass of wine.

The good news – We had several glasses of wine and decided to do whatever Lori says.  She says we need to move the sink to the other side of the room so we can look out the window (which has the potential to lead to more bad news, but since this is the good news section I’ll defer that conversation until later).

Yes, this changes the scope of the project, and yes it is absolutely batshit crazy to attempt such a feat, but by now you’re familiar with our work.  Batshit crazy is how we roll.

Let’s reflect on what we accomplished this weekend, shall we?

Saturday Morning: We (and by we I mean I) woke up convinced that we had made a horrible mistake and were in over our heads.  I typically wake up with moments of clarity that are later ignored during the course of daily events, so I chose to ignore this particular moment of clarity.

It was a good thing, dear reader, that I did ignore this moment of clarity because just after shrugging it off, Kris and I drove to ReStore (people donate home repair stuff to ReStore to be sold to folks like me, then the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity) and found the mother-lode of kitchen stuff.  And they were having a sale!

  • Lazy Susan corner cabinet – Retail cost at Lowe’s $ 182 – cost at ReStore $8.50
  • Switchplate for light switch – Retail cost at Lowe’s  $ 7.00 – cost at ReStore  .50
  • 60 square feet of backsplash tile – Retail cost at Lowe’s $600 – cost at ReStore $45

Total Retail – $789

We spent – $56


Ok, it took an hour for us to replace the broken tiles with good ones to make a decent kitchen (while obsessively checking my phone to see if the electrician sent a bid to my email), and while we were sitting on the floor sorting the other customers started circling like vultures questioning their own purchases and coveting our tiles.  And yes, we had to drive back home, check again for the electrician’s bid, get the truck and come back for the lazy susan (since strapping it to the top of the Vibe was clearly not an option), then check again for the electrician’s bid, but I’m ok with that.

Saturday Afternoon:

Baseball break.  Ben rocked.  His team won.  He was awesome as usual.  Kris says electricians aren’t “paperwork” people, and not to worry that I don’t have a bid.

Then, back to work!  I patched the sub-floor while Kris obsessively cleaned the adhesive off the old linoleum so we could lay our tile.  [I might have checked my phone again for a bid.]

I demoed the rest of our hutch while Kris continued to obsessively clean adhesive off the old linoleum.  Then Kris put down the Clorox wipes and paint scraper to eat dinner and drink wine with Lori (see above).

Sunday morning I again woke up convinced we made a horrible mistake and that we were in over our heads.   After shrugging it off,  I checked my phone for an email from the electrician again.  Then I replaced the floor and a built a wall around the air conditioning duct while Kris started snapping the chalk lines for the tile.  [Side note: While I have never actually “snapped a chalk line” I’m told this is what this activity is called.  Mostly it involved mason line and clouds of blue chalk followed by Kris marking the floor with a pencil, then marking it again, then asking me to mark it, then using the carpenter square to be sure.  But we’ll still call it “snapping a chalk line.”]

Several hours later we were laying the bits and pieces near the wall by the light of the moon (and the single remaining functioning lightbulb in our kitchen).  It’s almost there.  Not quite, but almost.

Addendum The electrician called me just now to tell me that the bid should be in today’s mail.

Addendum to the addendum – Kris has informed me that she will be handling the social portion of our project, so I’ve forwarded all pertinent electrician and plumbing contact information to her.


Wait, what?

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I was only pretending to be awake when the electrician called back yesterday morning.  He would have been mortified to know I was in bed in my underwear talking to him about estimates.  Lucky for him, I can fake consciousness well.  The fact is I wasn’t conscious, though, so after I sent Kris on her merry way to work while I waited for a 10am rendezvous with Thomas Volz (I’m not kidding.  His name is pronounced Volts.) I started to doubt the accuracy of my appointment making skills.  Did I actually say 10am this morning or tomorrow morning?  My anxiety grew as the clock passed 10am.  Then I obsessed over whether or not to call to ask if we indeed had an appointment.

Would the electrician take me seriously if I called at 10:05 asking where he was?  Would I come off as a high maintenance idiot DIYer that they later make fun of?  Did he have a car wreck?  What if I sent him to his death by calling about my precious kitchen project?  Did I even really talk to someone this morning? [side note: yes, I did actually talk to someone.  My cell phone, unlike me, was conscious and had saved the number in the recently received phone calls.]  Did we say 10?  Is it normal for people to be late?  I mean the tree people haven’t called back and it’s been two weeks.

10:10  Yep, he’s late.  I SO remember saying 10am.  Should I call with feigned indifference?  Should I be pissed?  What if I call and come off pissed and they give me a crappy estimate because they don’t like me?

10:15.  I’ll do what I always do when I have to interact with people – I’ll call Kris first.  Kris assures me that I should call and if he doesn’t show up by 11 I should call back and say I have to go to work.  Finally, specific etiquette instructions.  I’ll call.

I got the answering machine.  They’re too busy to answer the phone.  Is my job too small for them?  What if they only work on big projects?  No, their ad says residential.  I’ll just leave an angry message.  [side note: I suck at angry messages.  In fact, I can be enraged and no one will know I even perceived a slight.  My message winds up sounding something like this: “Oh, hi. Yeah, this is Jarek Steele.  I was under the impression we had an appointment for an estimate, but I could have misunderstood, or maybe you’re just running late.  So, give me a call back here if you get a chance.”]

10:23, I’m in the kitchen duct taping bare wires to the cabinet above the stove  (I might have gotten impatient and removed the hood) when Thomas – I’ll call him Tom- shows up.  He makes no mention of being late, so I assume he hasn’t gotten my message and while he’s introducing himself I silently ponder whether or not one can recall a phone message.  No.  Probably not.

I shake his hand with the firm grip I’ve learned to use to mask the fact that I’m a giant puddle of anxiety at all times and we get to work.

The upshot:

Our stove has been plugged into an EXTENSION CORD the entire 10 years we’ve been here.  It stretches through a hole in our floor and plugs in somewhere down in our basement.  I couldn’t exactly see where, because the lights in our basement suck.

He can move some outlets, rewire the one where we want a refrigerator and put an actual outlet by our stove, no problem.  He talks me through how he can go through the weird soffit that runs into the back door with the wiring for new lights.  By the time he’s talking me through the procedure for mounting our over the range microwave (that we don’t actually have yet) I’m crossing my arms and nodding in that, “Well, we’re gonna hafta rip ‘er out & shoot ‘er on in there” kind of way that suggests I know what he’s talking about.  He pretends he doesn’t see my eyes glazing over.  He says he’ll give me an estimate by Saturday.

I’m already worrying about the message I’ll have to leave when I don’t have an email by Saturday afternoon.