Basement-and-garage-living is not yet a distant memory

November 6, 2012 at 5:41 am (Uncategorized)

But, we have slowly started migrating upstairs. Today, I awoke before anyone else (pets included) saw the light of day. I padded upstairs before getting ready to go for a (very, very wet) run and just hung out in our new kitchen. The appliances are in and functioning; the fridge even has one of those nozzles that supplies cold, filtered water at the touch of a button. The dishwasher actually really cleans the dishes AND doesn’t make horrific churning noises while doing so. The oven is a DOUBLE oven, and I’m so happy about that. The microwave zaps food faster than our other one did, sputtering all the while it slightly warmed food. And our stove top now has five burners — plumbed for gas — and it’s such a joy to use. Previously, we’d had halogen burners, 1.5 of which worked by the time mid-August came around and the entire system got ripped out.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but will do just that:  While standing in our kitchen, enjoying the early morning light, I smiled like a crazy person. I just couldn’t help myself, despite being all alone and having no one else to smile at or with. We actually went for it — we chose to and remodeled. After 11 years of thinking about doing so. I kinda never thought we would go for it; Dave and I always talked about “one day when we…” and had only kept an ever-increasing mental list of huge home improvements we’d one day get to (either on our own … read: Dave’s own … or spare the expense to have a professional do the work). And not only did we go for it, but the entire job (including the floors on the main and top levels; living room and dining room; family room; and, yes, the kitchen) is nearly done.

There are the nit-picky things to have repaired, such as the few scratches that remain on the freshly painted cabinets, newly stained floor floor, gouged into the switch plates… And all the lights aren’t yet installed. Oh, and there are the baseboards to add here and there… But, in about two weeks’ time, we’ll be able to LIVE in the entire house again. From Aug. 15 to roughly Nov. 15 — I’d say that’s not a bad timeline at all for an extensive remodel.

A couple more weeks in a slightly cramped and overrun-with-pets living space is just not that bad.In fact, I’ll indeed miss our cozy temporary home and glamping lifestyle. Just the other day, Alyssa announced our more-limited living quarters have been “cozy”; she’s enjoyed it, she said. That makes two of us.

The girls, pets, and I last Wednesday ate our inaugural meal in the real kitchen, standing at the newly constructed island, as we were not about to schlep our chairs from the garage, up the stairs, and into the kitchen. (Standing while eating aids in digestion, right? No, I didn’t really think so.)

From our upright position, the girls had the perfect perspective from which to scrutinize and play with their shiny new surroundings. Hayley couldn’t stop serving herself fresh water from the fridge (and no longer from the ever-diminishing bottled-water stash we’d kept in the increasingly cold garage), nor could she stop poking at the microwave which is now placed low enough so that she can use it all by herself. And Alyssa couldn’t stop opening the low cabinet that now contains a pail for garbage AND for recycling, nor could she refrain from turning on each of the gas-fueled burners, just to make sure each one had a functioning pilot light and actually produced flaming-blue-hot vapors.

Then again, our glamping lives could remain just a titch longer. See, it goes like this: On Saturday, the flooring guys returned to repair every last flaw we’d (read: Dave’d) found. Yes, these folks worked the weekend just to wrap up our job. As the business owner left, he explained to me our contraindications that only were to last four hours before we could again sock-hop over their fine work. Dave had just left on a business trip to Israel; I was to spend the day out of the house with Alyssa; and Hayley wanted a favorite babysitter all to herself.

As the lovely and talented Rachael arrived and immediately started making Hayley smile broadly and giggle, I explained to Hayley befofre leaving the proper Don’t-F-ing-Touch-The-Newly-Stained-Floors behavior she was to stick with for a four-hour period.

The day went swimmingly; Alyssa and I had a very nice time together (we both got new haircuts at Bishops; I love that the place is for walk-ins only), and Hayley had had a blast with Rachael (cookie-baking at the sitter’s house, anyone?). It was the next morning, in the plain light of day, when I saw The Flaw. Right on the exact patch near the front door I’d told Hayley Not-To-F-ing-Touch.

Not only did I spy across the floorboards the footprints of one 9-year-old girl, but also the pawprints of the cat who’d followed her lead. (Just for the record, Hayley is now blaming the cat for this conduct breach and its resulting flaw in the stain.)

I’m trying desperately to get the floor guy back before Dave returns from The Land of Milk and Honey (just the type of place to wash away all of one’s worries) to repair our teensy-weency glitch. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

Prior to the start of this remodel, a friend said to me, “Nothing like a remodel to test your marriage.” I scoffed at that odd comment; why the hell would our marital intergrity be put to the test just ‘cuz we’re changing some features in our home? Here’s the thing: Our marriage is as strong today as it was Aug. 15 when the asbestos-abatement men started taping up plastic sheeting everywhere. What’s been eye-opening, however, is Dave’s “work mode” that he very easily slips into (but not as easily “out of”) where the remodel is concerned.

He’s lost sleep over the stain-color choice for the floor. He stayed up ‘tlil the wee hours painting the living, family and dining rooms, as well as the kitchen and some of the upstairs; he said that, one late night, as he was perched on the damn-high ladder borrowed from the contractor he saw his life flash before his eyes as it started to totter while he was at its pinnacle. He haggled over the surfaces he was to paint versus the cost we’d be charged were the contractor to do that job. …

The other day, at last, I saw the light. My sister called, asking if, when her family comes to town in a couple weeks, they could bring their Schnoodle, Clyde, with them. AND DAVE SAID YES! I was a tad shocked. But his explanation made all the sense in the world and provided relief for me, too: “Jenn, I want all the work we’re paying for to be perfect. After it’s perfect, we all just want to live.”

Here, here! And, with that, I’m going to curl up and go to sleep, still in the cozy basement, the girls snoozing very soundly in the adjacent playroom.

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