Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kitchen Odyssey: The Waiting Game

We are very fortunate to have friends who can help us with this remodel, keeping costs down. Well, I should say we are fortunate that our children have friends who can help us out. Mikey (yes, that is what he calls himself) and Tony have both worked in construction their whole lives. In addition to general construction, Mikey is a journeyman electrician and Tony is a plumber. Both are happy individuals, who work hard, sing off-key, and love to play golf.

It’s a good thing they like the golf, because there are frequently days when they cannot work due to delays not of their own making. They had a two-day delay thanks to a local building inspector. Maybe he was being overly cautious, maybe I am just a rookie who didn’t prepare the plans well enough, maybe a bit of both. We also had 4 hours of standing around and hand-wringing when the cabinets started to be installed. Then another day waiting for the granite installer to come and measure.

Let me just say that I am a timely person. I show up at the appointed hour for events, dentist appointments, airplanes. I am not very tolerant of those who are late, unless they have small children that inevitably cause delays. So when someone says they will be at our house at a specific time, I plan everything around that. Like the granite installer. When he came to measure, he assured us he would be back the next day mid-morning. Now mid-morning to me means 10-11 am. When he had not shown up by noon, we started calling him.

Now I don’t want to piss this guy off, because he is installing a lot of granite and I want it done right. So I try to play it nice. But Mikey and Tony showed up and were going to install my new hood vent. But since they start at 9am, they wouldn’t have enough time before the granite guy showed up. So they picked up our baseboards, measured out all our window and door trim, made their cuts…and still no granite guy. We put a call into the granite guy and they went off to get lunch. When they came back…still no granite guy. He finally returned our call at 1pm and said he would be over in an hour. Not enough time for Mikey and Tony to install the vent hood, again. So they left to play golf.

And what time did the granite installer arrive? 3:15 pm. I was out getting more primer and paint for the trim, which was probably a good thing. It gave me time to cool off.

Of course, installation was not without its hiccups.

· They had to cut into our sink wall to get it to fit tightly. Not sure if that is because the granite wasn’t square or the wall wasn’t square.

· One counter run is longer than 8 feet, so we knew there would be a seam. I had assumed that it would be in the middle of the sink. But the granite installer recommended it be a foot or two to the left of the sink, as he could get a 9-foot piece. He said that seaming is much better these days and that is preferred. I took him at his word, but now I think he was full of shit. While the seam is nicely done, granite varies so much in its look and color, that now I have a 2-foot seam of mismatched granite, rather than a 3-inch seam at the center of the sink. It doesn’t look terribly bad, but in hindsight, it should have been seamed on the sink.

· He also said the cabinet wall that cases in our refrigerator was not square and gave us a choice of placing the granite tight to the wall, meaning the edge next to the stove would not be straight, or making the edge next to stove straight, leaving a slight gap next to the wall. He said we could always adjust the wall to tighten it to the granite, so we went with the square edge next to the stove. But when he placed the backsplash, he did so tight to the wall so it now cannot be adjusted. We have to hide the small gap with a piece of scribe.

While there were issues, Mr B was fascinated during the whole process. He kept relaying interesting tidbits about the installation process to me, kind of like a kid reports a baseball score every half inning. It was cute to watch.

While granite was never my first choice for countertops, several factors played into it ending up the kitchen, namely our realtor recommended it, potential buyers’ expectations dictated it, and the pocketbook could afford it. At $190 per 8-foot slab, it was cheaper than almost anything else. And it does look nice. But I have learned a wealth of lessons here that will serve me well on my next kitchen remodel.

And for your viewing pleasure: our new stove and vent hood, and the fancy outlets that Electrician Son installed on the sink run.

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