You’re not lost. For the next several months, my “parenting/muscular dystrophy/Barenaked Ladies/be nice to people” blog will likely be flavored with a dash of kitchen remodeling alongside the rest of my usual trainwreck of thought. You know how you move into a new-to-you house and you go, “I canNOT live with this awful kitchen for one minute” and then you live there for twelve years and then your ancient previous-owners-left-it-behind-in-the-basement moldy, harvest gold refrigerator leaks all over the floor and dies finally and you decide that you want to remodel the kitchen? No? Just us??
is was really nice having an extra fridge. With two boys and their mom who could eat breakfast cereal for lunch and dinner too, the amount of milk we have to have on deck is substantial, so the extra space was a little gift for us. When the gold monstrosity blew, and let’s face it, that sucker outlived any warranty’s wildest prediction, my husband wanted to replace it with another fridge. We’d grown accustomed to the convenience. Instead, we decided it was time to jump in and remodel our actual kitchen, investing in a big-picture solution instead of in a major appliance relegated pretty much to milk and extras duty.
We met with a couple contractors and settled on a design at last. And when I say settled I don’t mean we settled like, “eh, may as well go with this guy,” just that we agreed on a expertly designed, beautiful floor plan and room design borne of my husband’s brilliance and keen eye for layout. I was all like, “I am NOT having the kitchen sink back there, it’s stupid and I INSIST on an island” and was not backing down. Until I saw the plans. . . It’ll be incredible, but it won’t be easy. Or cheap. And because when you have a designer and custom cabinets built and are not independently wealthy, you have to do much on your own. Sweat equity, they call it, and we started sweating, people. Day 1 began like this:We had the border stripped and cleaned in less than an hour. Easy-breezy cool except for the Canada geese stencil pattern we learned was painted underneath the wallpaper border. I spent the rest of the evening singing O Canada, and to my husband’s remarkable credit, he didn’t tell me to shut up even once! We decided we would document the process through before/after photos, so this is Step 1, photo 7 or 8. My husband did totally require several takes to get a halfway not blurry picture because as we have learned previously, technology is not one of his special gifts.
Getting back to old Gold. Day 2 of the project was slightly more physically demanding. Don’t tell anybody, but I think there’s been some kind of mistake. See, I am strong, deceptively so as it relates to the physical feats I’m able to accomplish. For an
old woman woman not in her 20s or even 30s, I got skills. Or maybe it’s strength of will, not skills, but either way, I almost never fail when I set my mind to a reasonable physical task. Never one for endurance, I am mistress of the burst. Move a flat of landscaping blocks? Sure. Move ’em over here now? I got this. Carry furniture or move mattresses? Piece of cake. I’m strong. Pretty sure I mentioned that. I’m strong, but I leaned that I am no match for a ’70s-era harvest gold refrigerator. Well, almost no match. I did say reasonable; this was not.
Tom and I got the behemoth almost all the way up the stairs, like to the tippy-top stair, but I was unable to lift it that extra centimeter to clear the lip of the landing. Dammit! Refrigerators are fucking heavy. There. I said it. FYI, 70s-era refrigerators are also super ungrippy, further complicating the extraction. Back down the basement stairs it went. Huffing, puffing, waving the white flag and clutching my lower back, I gave my concession speech. Tom then called one of his work buddies, but it turned out he was unavailable (something about spending the evening with this family–whatevah. . .). Like all modern middle-aged women, I took to Facebook to share with the world my frustration at not being strong enough to help carry a harvest gold refrigerator up a flight of stairs. What was the takeaway?
“You have a harvest gold refrigerator??
NO! Well, yes, but it’s in the basement. Now the friends who’ve never been to my house think I have harvest gold appliances, and that’s way worse than any backache I could endure. Ugh. “Would it be lighter if it was white?” asked my friend Jan. Nice.
I knew like I knew my name it wasn’t over for my husband though. Nope. I have (relatively speaking) mad bursts of strength skills, and my husband has mad determination skills. Tom went to work disassembling the compressor mechanism with the hope it’d lighten the load sufficiently to find us that last little measure of success.
It didn’t lessen the physical load by much, but it did spurt 40-year-old freon goo all over the basement floor. And the stairs. And the sidewalk. And the alley. But do you see what I’m getting at here, people? We got that beast outta the basement! Victory was ours. Victory had to be ours because probably poisonous, definitely malodorous goo was puddling on the floor. Sure, I could Google it, but I think I’m going the ignorance-is-bliss route on this. DO NOT leave helpful chemical hints in the comments, OK? If I’m gonna die, I’m going out in a blaze of back-breaking glory. OK, actually I did Google it and I’m probably going to survive. Comment all you like about how foolish I am. I can take it. I am strong. See?For those of you keeping score, it’s Wendy, 1; Harvest Gold, 0; Ibuprofen, 2-3 every six hours.