Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to guarantee that your kitchen renovation will never be finished

As some of you may remember, back in August I posted about a constructive conversation that resulted in the decision to finally buckle down, get organized and get our kitchen done.  This decision came the weekend of August 23 and our original (perhaps slightly unrealistic) deadline was two weeks.  Of course, this didn't happen for various reasons.  But in my last post I mentioned the fact that, though we were unable to complete the kitchen in two weeks, I at least felt certain that by the end of the month of September I would have a completed kitchen.  This gave us an extra two weeks to accomplish the task and seemed completely achievable, especially considering all the work that was completed before my in-laws left on vacation.

Let us just say that apparently even the end of the month of September is apparently a dream.  For those who would like to personally witness perhaps the slowest kitchen renovation in the world, I invite you to come for an extended stay in Bordeaux.  For those who can't make the trip, I present a list of ways to insure that your own kitchen renovations proceed at a glacial pace:

1. Make the decision to just ignore the obstacles your kitchen presents rather than deal with them in an appropriate manner, i.e. all those exposed pipes, just leave them like that.  That huge concrete block that was under the sink, don't bother to remove it.  That would make everything else less fun!

2. When making the decision to install a new floor, rather than shopping for and purchasing said floor in advance, just start ripping out the old one.  Spend at least two days scraping 40-year old glue off the original floor using a chisel and hammer.  Then, finally go shopping for a new floor only to end up choosing a floor that could have been installed without removing the old one.  This way you are sure to waste at least two days of work.

3. Still pertaining to the floor, also, disregard everyone's advice so you can be sure that, once you are finally ready to go shopping, it is Sunday.  That way all the stores are closed and you lose another day of work.

4. Once the new floor is finally purchased, be sure not to have any appropriate cutting tools so that a floor that should take 2-3 hours to install actually takes one and a half days.

5. Now that the floor is finally installed, go to the store to purchase your kitchen.  But be sure to insist that you do not purchase everything you need.  This way you can return to the store.  But, please note, on this subsequent trip you should also not purchase everything you need.  Repeat this step often resulting in at least two trips to the store a day to purchase everything from screws and supports to backsplashes and counter tops individually.

6. Start your installation by building the element in which you will be placing the sink.  Make sure that it takes you three hours to partially build this one simple element.

7. Proceed to cut your counter top to accommodate the sink.  But naturally be sure to not have the correct tools to do this.  Also, make sure you don't read the instructions that come with the sink.  This way you can spend at least four hours cutting the counter top and installing it, only to realize that it was not cut right and you need to redo it to enlarge the hole.  Remove counter top and start again.

8. Finally install your sink and counter top.  Celebrate.  The first little bit of your kitchen is installed and it only took a day and a half!

9. Admire what you have completed.  Then start scratching your head because something just doesn't look right.  Grab the measuring tape and remeasure the space.  Realize that you did not measure correctly and the future (but naturally not yet purchased) dishwasher will inevitably be too tall for the space.

10. Leave.

11. Come back one week later.  Insist that it will only take an hour to redo.  After all, all that needs to be done is to remove the counter top, raise the element, replace the counter top and redo the pipes for the sink.  Instead of spending one hour on this task, spend half a day.

12. Finally move on to other things. Start with another trip to the store for the backsplash.  But, make sure that while at the hardware store you don't think about purchasing any tools for cutting this backsplash.

13. Proceed to cut the backsplash with the incorrect tools.  This will naturally make the process take longer.

14. Install the backsplash, shockingly with little difficulty.

15. Make another trip to the store for a support for the counter top you had previously installed.  Also, make sure to spend at least an hour a day searching for the various screws and tools that you are sure you have but just can't seem to find due to lack of organization.  Dump your entire tool box on the ground in the process of looking for one small item, thus giving your daughter-in-law a brilliant idea for your Christmas gift...a larger and portable toolbox that actually has compartments for organization!

16. Start trying to install les éléments hauts that go above the sink.  This process will be long and complicated because you did not want to appropriately deal with the obstacles in the kitchen.  After nearly an entire day of trying to install these elements, give up in frustration.

17. Realize that you put too much expanding foam in the space between the wall and the backsplash (because remember you didn't want to deal with the exposed pipes by "building" a new wall with a sheet of drywall to cover them).  You were forced to create this space with boards in order to avoid the exposed pipes.  You then wanted to fill it with expanding foam, but didn't read the instructions first.  As a result, it is now destroying your backsplash.  Try to remove with a saw???

18. Watch your son and daughter-in-law curl up in a ball of stress and frustration and cry as they realize that their dream of a kitchen sometime in this century is slipping away.  Oh, and don't forget, once those elements hauts are installed, you still haven't purchased a stovetop or hood and will need to go shopping for those in order to move on to the next section of the kitchen.  And let's not even talk about all the unpurchased finitions meaning that you still won't even be close to finished with that one small part of the kitchen.

19.  Realize that in three and a half days of work, this is all you have completed (this is just one of three separate sections of our future kitchen - the others have not even been touched):

 
So, if anyone has been wondering why I haven't been posting much recently, this is what I am dealing with while also trying to complete other projects in the house such as the heaters.  So we can use them when it starts to get cold. 
 
Basically my entire month has been kitchen, kitchen, work, kitchen, work, heaters, baseboards, pipes, kitchen, work, kitchen, shopping for kitchen, work, shopping for fall/winter clothes because I have none, kitchen, work, kitchen and two dinners with friends.  I am even dreaming about kitchens.  Sounds like fun, huh?  I haven't even had time to keep up with the blogs I normally like to follow.  Needless to say, not entirely blog-worthy as I don't want to lose what few readers I have because they die of boredom reading about my never-ending kitchen renovations.  And so, I make this promise to you, dear readers: my next post will be either entirely unrelated to my kitchen or it will be photos of a completed kitchen.  Your guess as to which one is most likely to happen first.

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's been awhile

I can't believe it's been more than two weeks since my last post!  Things have been extremely busy around here what with trying to get the kitchen done before my in-laws left on their vacation as well as some other administrative stuff (because it never ends) and attempting to have some semblance of a social life here in Bordeaux.

Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the kitchen before my in-laws' vacation so we have to wait until they return to install it.  There were various unforeseen circumstances that prevented us from finishing, some of them good, some of them bad, but nothing I particularly feel like going into on my blog.  But, looking at the bright side, at least I am fairly certain that I will finally have a kitchen before the end of September!

What we were able to complete, however, was the floor.  We spent two long, hard, back-breaking days ripping out the old floor and scraping the 30-year-old glue off the original tiles with hammers and chisels.

removing the old kitchen floor
 
We then went shopping and finally settled on this dark gray flooring that, in fact, could have been installed without removing the old linoleum.  So we lost 2 days for nothing, and this is why I prefer to plan ahead, but no one listened to me.
 
our new kitchen floor
 
We also finished all the work in the entryway and finished painting the kitchen so once the new floors were installed we made our final decisions on the layout of the new kitchen and went to Brico Depot to purchase all the kitchen elements.  We just didn't have time to build and install them or to shop for an oven or stove top, so all of that has to be done when my in-laws return.  But here is our new kitchen, still in boxes, in the garage:
 
Rasteau curled up on top of our kitchen
 
It has served one purpose though - it is Rasteau's new favorite bed!  He literally spends almost all his time sleeping on top of our kitchen.  He's going to be devastated when we install the kitchen and he loses his preferred sleeping spot!
 
Other than that, there hasn't been much of anything going on here.  Nothing that is particularly blog-worthy at least.  We got our carte grise for the car, after naturally having to deal with more administrative red tape.  I got everything set up to be able to declare my revenue and pay mes charges online, and Lionel was finally able to go to the CAF to see about getting aid until he finds a job.  He's also found a few more positions to apply to now that summer is over so hopefully he will at least get an interview soon.  We spent a Friday evening out in Bordeaux with one of Lionel's friends (our first night out in Bordeaux) and discovered this great little Vietnamese restaurant in the centre ville and we have dealt with Rasteau's flea problem.  That's pretty much it at the moment.  I know, I know, it doesn't get much more exciting than that!