It's not about the house.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Counting Headless Chickens

The new stove was delivered before the gas was ready, so we signed for it – affirming that it had arrived in acceptable condition – based on nothing more than a quick peek inside the box.

It’s the right color. It doesn’t have any holes that look like they don’t belong there. And it’s not on fire. Great! Where do I sign? Now can you stick it in that corner over there? Because we're having counter issues, and I don't have time to think about the stove right now.

See, the counter I picked out and lugged home by myself from The Home Despot had an overhanging lip edge in the front. And the cabinets that I chose and put together had drawers on top. Drawers don’t pull open very easily when the counter has a lip edge that hangs over in the front. This may seem obvious to you, but we did not discover this handy little rule of motion until after we had trimmed the edges off the counter and cut a great big honking hole out where the sink was supposed to go. So I could not exchange my drawer-blocking counter for another, lipless one.

It was Andy's idea to cut a sink-hole in a piece of ¾” plywood and put it down underneath, to raise the stupid lip up past the drawer. We had to do it twice, because ¾” was not high enough. I actually like the super-tall countertop that we wound up with, but poor Johnny is 5’3”. And ½”. He still opts to knead his bread dough on the kitchen table.

By now the pipes were ready for the stove, but of course now the stove was an inch and a half shorter than the surrounding counter. This is not just odd-looking, it’s actually illegal. The inspector wouldn't sign off on it this way. The idea being that if you’re sliding a pot of boiling spaghetti from stove to sink to drain it, you don’t want to catch the bottom of it on the counter-edge and wind up like Freddy Krueger.

So Johnny and Andy spent the better part of an afternoon, shimming and leveling and shimming the stove again. Once it was all finished and hooked up, we went to put the bottom pan-drawer in, only to discover that the back of it was warped beyond all hope of fitting in the slot.

“Why did you sign for it in that condition?” the Whirpool people asked me when I called.

“Because I’m a frigging idiot and I thought it would be more fun to accept it as it was and pick a fight with you about it later.”

Seriously, how did I know what to look for with my “visual inspection”? That drawer, when it arrived, was encased in bubble-wrap and sitting on the range. I was supposed to look at that and intuit that it wouldn't fit?

Thankfully we had the warranty, so we agreed to pretend we broke it and they sent us out a brand new drawer. That one didn’t fit right, either, which led us to believe perhaps the slot itself was actually off-kilter. But it’s not a functional piece or a safety issue, so we decided to ignore it. We managed to get it to go in and have agreed to never try to open it again. Who really keeps pans in the pan drawer, anyway?

The dishwasher, a hand-me down, was installed with no problem. But apparently the last time it was used, someone put regular dishwashing-liquid in instead. The first time we turned it on, the kitchen filled with suds, and I ran it empty for a week before the problem really stopped. Also, the special nuts to hold the kickplate on went missing and we can’t find replacements for them anywhere. So underneath it there's this big old gaping hole.

When I went to put things in the cabinets at long last, I realized I’d forgotten all about the drawer pulls and cabinet handles, so I went dashing back to Home Depot for those. Maron, there are so many! The ones I chose cost $4 a piece, which didn't sound so bad until I realized that I needed twelve – and then twelve more for someday in case, whenever we got around to the other half of cabinets, these handles had gone out of print. Or whatever you call it. Twenty-four times four is a hundred freaking dollars! For drawer pulls! But having made the decision once, I couldn’t bear the thought of going back and pawing through all those thousands of knobs again, so I paid the g-d hundred dollars. Dang. I wonder where I stashed those dozen spares?

As of this writing, I do not believe the sink has yet caused any trouble.

She said, while chewing vigorously on her tongue.

Tomorrow: Pictures!


Sparkle Plenty said...

Getting caught up--what a treat!
1) "Fumey Interlude" cracked me up BIG time.
2) Poor Jack.
3) When you do house stuff you find out exactly how many people out there used to be hall monitors in school and enjoy the power rushes their jobs currently provide (inspectors, appliance sellers, yada yada).
4) Did you see Dirty Boy on the cover of Fast Company this month? He's, like, a Dirty Tycoon or somethin'!

EGE said...

I don't even know what Fast Company is, but you know I'm gonna get me one!

Amalie said...

Oh my. Now I see where your sympathy comes from!

My mother recently bought a new stove, and it sits out in front of one of her drawers...and the above range microwave doesn't fully open because the cabinet next to it sticks out too far. And, well, you know about my sink.

How do we get ourselves into these measurement messes?

theotherbear said...

I can't get past the bit where you agree never to use the pan drawer again. Who has enough storage space they can decide on that!!!!! Can I come over and leave some of my kitchen stuff in your pan drawer, my kitchen's too small to fit all my stuff.

EGE said...

Amalie -- I don't know about you, but I know that I get myself in by leaping first and looking later. Every freaking time.

TOB -- If you can get it open, you are welcome to the space. Bring Vegemite! (On second thought, DON'T bring Vegemite. Bleah...)

Amalie said...

Yeah, that's definitely a problem of mine, too...But sometimes, no matter how much preemptive over-thinking I do, something jumps up and bites me on the ass.

What can you do?