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Kitchen Drought Diary

August 8, 2013

We have entered the maelstrom, the waterless whirlpool of strained tempers, murmured epithets, and … dirty dishes. The total destruction of the north wall of old kitchen cabinets has been accomplished. This is the part I’ve been dreading, and now it is upon us. We will be forced to live without a kitchen sink for an undetermined period of time. How long? Eric says it will be merely “a long weekend,” but I didn’t just fall off the renovation turnip truck. If I’ve know anything about home renovation, it’s that whenever a man estimates how long a project will take …  triple it.

Yes, we have water in the bathroom and we can use the washer and dryer and water our plants … so it’s not as if we are living in a tenement. But I don’t relish doing dishes or washing veggies in the bathroom sink. Can we survive this without going crazy? I decided to keep a diary of our waterless adventures to gain some perspective.

The sink wall as we knew it. Hey, it’s not so bad! Those were the good old days!

base cabinets on the sink wall

Day 1

Our plumber arrives this morning to disconnect our kitchen sink and cap the pipes so Eric can pull the sink and demo the old cabinets. As a reminder that the sink’s out of commission, Eric tapes a green X over the drain. How many times do I go into the kitchen only to be rebuffed by the big green X? Every time I need water.

sink with green tape X

We buy paper plates and disposable cutlery. I refuse to do dishes in the bathroom. Except for wine glasses. I refuse to drink wine out of paper cups. And coffee cups. I refuse to drink my morning coffee out of Styrofoam. We forget to buy paper bowls, but I don’t like eating ice cream out of paper bowls, either. Am I making any progress?

We microwave leftover lasagna for dinner. Mine fuses to the plate, and smoke roils out of the microwave. Lesson 1: Cooking (if you can call heating leftovers in the microwaving “cooking”) on paper is different than with real dishes.

Day 2

While I am at work, Eric texts me to suggest he might take the day off and drive to the Canadian border to take photos at a Scout camp for their website, which he manages. We don’t usually tell each other where we can or can’t go, but this time I drop a hint. Okay, I tell him where to go.  “We have no kitchen sink and you’re skipping out to summer camp? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?” He changes his mind.

Cabinets out and wallboard disappearing:

cabinets goe and wall surface being removed

Here goes the lath and plaster!

removing lath and plasterremoving lath and plaster

Day 3

I no longer walk into the kitchen expecting to see a sink. In fact, I wonder if I will ever see a sink there again. This is what I see now. What used to be here is now in the utility trailer, bound for the dump. Those vertical pipes tell me the original sink (not the one we refinished) had a wall-mounted faucet. Cool.

open wall showing studs and plumbing

Blocking access to my new cabinets are several boxes that hold all the cleaning junk that crawled out from under the sink like clowns out of a Volkswagen. I once read that you only need maybe six products for all your cleaning needs. If that’s true, all this stuff can be thrown out. Any chance? Because we’re installing a dishwasher, space restrictions leave us about half the under-sink space we had before. Something’s gotta give.

boxes of cleaning products from under the sink

In the middle of the room, sawhorses support the sink cabinet while I polyurethane the interior. I get up in the middle of the night to let cats in, sleepily note how extra dark the kitchen seems, and run smack into the cabinet. @#$%!!!

Day 4

Duke is impatiently waiting for Eric to make his breakfast. “Dad, I’m starving! Hurry!” demands Duke. “Hang on,” says Eric, “Mom’s still in the bathroom.” “Just barge in,” insists Duke, “She won’t mind. I do it all the time.” Fortunately, Eric has better manners than Duke.

Duke waiting for breakfast

Day 5

It’s hotter than hell on the deck, and I’m out here sanding cabinet pieces and getting them ready for polyurethane. But before I can finish the heat forces me indoors. I don’t want Eric’s progress to be held up for lack of polyurethane.

I’m getting a little testy about all the mess (I know Eric would agree) … and oh yeah, that we’re having a party in—holy cow—a week and a half!! The closer the party looms, the more overwhelmed I feel. I don’t even know where to start cleaning. I want to move boxes from the dining room to the spare bedroom, but the dishwasher in its crate is camped out in the middle of the bedroom floor. Eric insists all will be done because he’s taking the week before the party off (but not to go to camp). I know it’s foolish to think we can do it all in one week. Civilized people don’t live like this! Obviously, we’re less than civilized.

clutter on floors and counters

Tonight as I rinse salad makings in the bathroom sink, a bowl of berries spills all over the bathroom floor. @#$%^!!!!

Day 6

Day 6 already? Would you still consider this a “long weekend”? Tonight we go to a flooring store to inquire about getting an estimate. We were there several months ago to look at linoleum, and chose our Forbo Marmoleum “Granada” pattern. But tonight we walk in and—where’s the Forbo? GONE!! They don’t carry it anymore because of distribution problems. However, we hardly miss a beat and quickly pick an Armstrong linoleum pattern that we like even better than Granada! How often does that happen? Plus, they carry our Ceasarstone “Raven” countertop material … so we’ll have two estimates coming. And the guy is coming out to measure on FRIDAY. There is NO WAY Eric can have the cabinet carcasses in place for him to measure. No way.

Floor: Armstrong Linorette “Silver City” and countertops: Ceasarstone “Raven.” In between: white cabinets—nice!

floor and counters

Day 7

We play golf. Clearly, we lack the killer renovation instinct required to push through to completion.

Day 8

Eric is downstairs sawing wood, and I am upstairs with a cat in my lap, writing this post. It’s too dark to poly the cabinet pieces (which I’ve been doing out on the deck because the breakfast nook/paint studio/OR is occupied by one enormous, shiny sink). I’m going to stop keeping a diary. We will have water by Friday, Eric insists. When it happens, you will hear me hoop and holler around the globe. Now, it’s time to clean something. Better yet, it’s time for ice cream. In a china bowl. With a real spoon.

Day 9

Okay, one more entry. Eric is postponing the plumber’s visit from Friday until Monday to give us time to finish the cabinet bases. What did I tell you? This is the longest long weekend of my life. More ice cream, please.

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From → Kitchen

13 Comments
  1. Haha, great post! I have a total inability to predict how long something will take – a couple of hours is always at least a day and a week usually pushes into a month. So, I totally sympathise with the ‘long weekend’!!

    Cling on to your sanity, it’ll be worth it in the end. Jude

    PS Does Duke get a real bowl, or a paper one? I admit to being slovenly enough that if Humphrey’s dish is in the dishwasher I will just sprinkle a few biscuits straight onto his feeding mat!!!

    • Oh yeah, Duke gets his crockery bowl washed before every meal! We wouldn’t want the critters to suffer! (We have six cats, too, btw.)

  2. So funny! It brings back memories of our kitchen reno. Being without a kitchen sink is miserable.
    A long weekend for us is most definitely 30 days or more. What’s great about that is when someone says “what are you doing this weekend”… you can reply “renovating our kitchen”. They’re so impressed! HA HA HA!

    It’s a pain and I feel yours. Hang in there sweet friend… it will be so worth it. Everything is so beautiful so far that I have no doubt it will ROCK! And by the way if you’re uncivilized then we’re cavemen. I’ve been living in a dark, dirty hole for almost 4 years. GRUNT GRUNT! You’re doing just fine! Love the floor and counter choices. YAY!

    • Our friends have quit asking us what we’re doing on weekends! We’ve become predictable. Thanks for the moral support–It’s always good to have someone support my morals. 🙂

  3. I don’t know how you’re hanging in there without a sink! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  4. You need to write a book (in your spare time :D) This is hilarious. I remember when we remodeled our kitchen, I even had a hot plate but you’re right, it’s amazing how old eating off paper and plastic gets in such a short time. It will be worth it, but just barely!
    Karen

    • We have to keep our eyes on the prize, as they say! In the meantime, it really does help me to write about it, so I appreciate everyone’s words of encouragement! Thanks for yours, Karen!

  5. Judy permalink

    I am still laughing after this post. I know exactly what you encounter when you can’t move something from one room to the other because the other one is too full. Been there, still there with Brother’s things, and hopefully before I die, it will all be cleaned out. If you can’t have a sink then you shouldn’t have to use the kitchen. Tell Eric you want to eat out until you get a sink. Bet that gets him moving, even though I get the impression he is always moving anyway. Hang in there, the finished product will be well worth the wait.

    • You’re right, Eric IS moving as fast as he can … and sometimes the best thing for me is to stay out of his way!!

  6. All of your trials and tribulations make for good blog reading! Small consolation, I know, but that is what I have to constantly remind myself. You are making progress, and that is what really matters. The party is going to be great. No. Matter. What. 🙂

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