Monday, July 15, 2013

Cabinet Marathon Complete

A year ago this week, I made my way to London for a month of working at the U.S. Embassy there during the Summer Olympics. Before I left, I made a couple of long, hard slogs on public transportation from the old house in Petworth up to the Home Depot in Aspen Hill to finalize plans for our kitchen cabinets, which required taking the Red Line to the end, then going on a bus that was labeled "Leisure World." All this, because supposedly so much was going to happen while we were abroad that it was imperative kitchen cabinets were designed and purchased before we left. Well here we are, a year later, and our kitchen cabinets have finally been completed. Yep, every cabinet is in, every door is correct, every door pull has been affixed, every appliance has been anchored, every gap has been filled. One huge box has been checked. And all it took was a year.

Not that we haven't had stuff in the cabinets since we moved in-- er, "started squatting"-- three months ago. But now, we don't have to use a paint-can opener to get peanut butter, we don't have to keep glasses away from the front of the dishwasher drawers in fear of it tipping too far forward and flinging them out, and we don't have a seemingly teeny-tiny microwave sitting in a big hole. It's done!

On Friday, before I left to pick up Abby and the kids in North Carolina-- which, incidentally, also included a long slog on a bus-- the installers came by and finished the last five items on the list.  What took so long, and who was to blame?  Honestly, at this point I don't care, but it was a mix of the installers' poor measurement, Home Depot's poor transcription, and our terrible luck with all things housing-related. But they arrived, I gave them the list, and I left. (Actually, they gave me a ride to the Metro, which was nice, considering I was late for work.) First up, they attached all of the drawer pulls and door handles, which was great because we had actually purchased them separately, and the company was under no obligation to do that; since there were so many problems, though, I think they overlooked the fact that we probably could have been charged for what they did. Next, they installed the shield that goes around the microwave, filling the gaps around the unit and centering it in the hole; again, we bought this separately, back in February. After that, they switched out the solid wood door mistakenly delivered back in April with the glass door we had paid for, so now the cabinets flanking the range match, and we can see our glassware like we wanted. Next came the dishwasher, which lurched forward every time we emptied it because it hadn't been attached to the cabinets next to it; now it is, and it stays in place like it should. Finally, the gap between the top of the fridge and the bottom of the liquor cabinet was filled; unfortunately, it was too small a space to allow for a taller cabinet, so the space is just wasted. (Actually, I bet we could have had the filler on top and brought the cabinet down a few inches, but that'd involve changes that are just not going to be made-- I should slap myself just for thinking about it!)

I trusted that the guys finished the job, and didn't call to make sure all was well, assuming if something went wrong that they'd give me a call. Went right from work to the bus to the Carolinas, only seeing the finished product last night when we got home. I had told Abby about how the contractors installed the storage room door, raised the range hood, and worked on the porch roof, and she knew I had painted (for 20 total hours!), but this was a surprise for her to see. I think she loved it, but could see she was a smidge disappointed because of the placement of some of the hardware. The installers had asked me where the hardware went on the doors and drawers before I left-- something I had never previously considered. I couldn't get a hold of my notoriously unreachable wife because she had lost her phone on the trip, and because I didn't have her mom's telephone number due to a quirk with my own phone's contact list. So it was executive decision time: for the drawers, I chose to center the handle above the inlay, because putting it inside the inlay might look too anal retentive-- too "me;" on the doors, I went with their recommendation to center the knobs between the inlay and the side, square with the top of the inlay. I think Abby may have wanted the hardware to be more cornered than centered, but what's done is done. (I also think it'll take a while to get used to how busy the cabinets look now, seeing as I've gotten used to hardware-less cabinets these last three months!)

New in this shot: Glass door to left of range hood,
filler above fridge, all the hardware
All said, our kitchen's not done. We still have to wait for our inspection, after which we can have the electric outlets on the backsplash moved, the backsplash itself cut down to a more manageable level, and the tiles that have been waiting so patiently in the foyer finally put up. After that, the part of the cabinetry that faces out the windows needs to be finished-- hopefully in white, so as to match the color of the cellular shades on the rest of that side of the house as seen from outside. Then? Then that's it. I think. Or rather, then maybe we'll have to start fixing things, like when they finish painting the Golden Gate Bridge and just start over at the other end. (Shoot me now.)

But in the meantime, I got to make a PBJ for myself this morning, and didn't have to use a construction implement to facilitate the simple act of opening a door. It will make all the "gourmet cooking" we plan to do in that room so much easier, that's for sure. As Martha Stewart might say, "That's a good thing." And as Paula Deen might say, "I like your white cabinets, y'all."

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