Monday, September 22, 2014

A Handyman and his Handygirl

"Let's get some new cabinets," said the husband.

"Okay!" said the wife. So they went out and got new cabinets and lived happily ever after.

Oh, except actually that is the story of a different husband and wife, maybe named something like, I don't know, Donald and Melania Trump, and it is nothing like the story I am about to relate here.

Our story goes more like this:

December 2013, our first time in the house. 

"This is going to be awesome," says Stephen. "We'll get different floors in here, obviously. And get rid of that yellow. We might as well just get all new cabinets."

May 2014, after 5 months and one loooong semester of school.

"I found some cabinets!" says Stephen. "Only problem is, I don't know if they would fit. They're on KSL, I just have to see if the measurements would work."

*Repeat that maybe 10 times. The measurements don't work, or we hate them, or they are already sold. You may recall that we are kind of KSL connoisseurs, but cabinets are a different story.*

July 2014, while both of us are on break from school. 

"I say we just get new cabinets," says Stephen. "It'll be worth it."

August 2014, when I have just gone off-track for the first time and he has a week off of school. 

"Welcome to Ikea," says no one, because it is not so much a store as it is a 100,000 square foot maze of a building with crooked escalators and deceptive arrows, and you sometimes have to walk for a half-hour before you even come across a worker, who still doesn't welcome you there because they have no idea how recently you actually arrived, and they probably don't want to talk to you, anyway.

"Oh, wow! Isn't that nice!" says a cute little old grandma, scooting into a seat in the kitchen computer place where you go online and design your kitchen. She's hooked! I vow not to be her.

30 minutes later.....

I am also hooked. I have designed my kitchen and I have never been more proud! (To be fair, designed is probably too strong of a word. Actually I just recreated it online from the measurements we took of everything, but still.) Every victory at Ikea feels like a big deal to I-me-a.

45 minutes after that....

I am no longer hooked. I printed out the item list and that's fine, but now I want to leave the store and take Stephen to work. And at this point I have been wanting to leave for about 20 minutes and there are 40 exits in plain view and I'm not allowed to exit out of any of them.

Later that week.....

We did end up finding our way out of Ikea, and now we are standing in the kitchen. We move the refrigerator into the far corner of the kitchen. We move the oven and table into the living room. I cry for a week about how sore I am from that.

"Are we going to be okay without an oven for a while?" Stephen asks.

"Sure," I say. "We can just make meals in the crockpot, or go out to eat. It won't be that long."

We buy a crowbar and start ripping up the kitchen floor. There are so many layers! The laminate is on top of plywood, which is on top of some underlayment, which is so old that it is gray and fuzzy, and the underlayment is on top of the original wood floor. And apparently, whoever laid down these ugly laminate floors in my kitchen had just gotten a brand spankin new heavy duty inch-long staples staple gun right before they got to work up in here, and they did not leave one inch of this floor unstapled.

Fun Fact: Exactly zero staples would have been necessary for this project.

But we can't put down the new floor until every staple has been ripped up, so we get to work. Stephen jams the crowbar under the top two layers, breaking the plywood and peeling up the laminate, and I start exploring the most effective way to pick up staples.

The next day....

My back feels like I have been stepped on by an elephant. As it turns out, the most effective way to pick up the staples is jamming screwdriver underneath and prying it carefully up. But sometimes it is rusted and it breaks, or it gets stuck, or one end comes out before the other, and when that happens, you have to either hammer it into the ground or pull it up with pliers. Pulling it up with pliers is a quick and easy way to feel like you've been stepped on an elephant.

A few days later....

Back to Ikea! We briefly considered getting unfinished cabinets from Home Depot and painting them, but that was short-lived. We eat free breakfast (!!! They do this err Monday??) place our order, pay for them, fit almost everything in the car, call Stephen's mom to come with another car for the last piece, and take our cabinets home. They look like this:

I should have taken my own picture, but I didn't. So here's one from http://bayporthandyman.com/wordpress/ikea-master-installer/ which I read like 4 times before we actually bought our cabinets. 
There are so many boxen, and the first one I open is unfortunately a door, which doesn't come with instructions for obvious reasons, so then I panic and spend 2 hours online searching for directions and regretting everything.

The next day....

I open one of the cabinets. This box has instructions in it. They are pictures, but I am thrilled anyway! There is a little bag of al the screws / nails I will need for this cabinet box. I build my first Ikea cabinet and almost fall over, I am so proud of myself. I call my mom and txt my sister and sit there smiling at the cabinet for about five minutes.

One week after that.....

I have put all the cabinets together! And the floor is all the way ripped up! I am back in school, so it's harder to get stuff done during the day and now our basement renters probably hate us, but we are ready to start laying down the floor.

It seems like the work should go really quickly now, but we happen to have a diagonal doorway going from our kitchen to the hallway to the bathroom, and that diagonal doorway is what Satan would look like if he was a doorway. Stephen spends a good five hours and goes through almost a whole box of wood planks trying to cut it exactly right.

Two days later.....

Stephen eventually cut the plank to fit in the left side of the Satan doorway. It is absolutely perfect, and now we have arrived at the right side of the doorway where there is another diagonal piece of death that we'll need to cut, and we haven't mustered up the courage to do it.

But I am tired of not having a kitchen, and I'm less of a perfectionist than Stephen. So on this day after school, I plop down in front of the evil doorway corner with a piece of paper, a pencil, and a screwdriver, and start trying to trace the corner on the paper. I cut out my outline and lay it on a plank, trace around it, tape it, re-measure, and decide that this is too scary. I find a plank that Stephen ruined, trace my outline on that, and take it outside to try and cut it.

I've watched Stephen do this a lot, but never actually tried it. So it is a miracle that just an hour later, I still have both hands, and I also have a plank that fits pretttty well around the doorway. I am as proud as I have ever been.

Two days after that.....

We have finished laying down the floor in our kitchen! We have nailed the backs on the cabinets. We are almost ready to move the oven and fridge back in the kitchen and put up the new cabinets. Stephen and I walk around on the floors in awe that we can step from one room to another without getting tetanus.


I sit here blogging, listening to the light hammering in the kitchen. Stephen and his dad have moved back the fridge and are putting in the first base cabinets. There were (about 96) times I thought (and said) that we should have just hired a contractor, and if I had known how much work it was going to be we would have just hired a contractor, and we are never doing this again, and blablabla.

But the truth is, part of me loves that we do these things on our own. It's very satisfying to remember what this house looked like at the beginning, and then to see it now. Up until a week ago, I had never used a jigsaw and I certainly hadn't taught myself how to use any power tools. But now I have! It is a very empowering feeling. (If you are in need of a jigsaw, we used the Dewalt one in that link and I love it. I mean it's kind of a scary looking blade, but I found it to be very user-friendly.)

I'll post before and after pictures of the kitchen when we are all done, fo real. Trust me, I am even more excited than you are for that :)

No comments:

Post a Comment