Category: home renovation

It’s Not Just Cabinets

Helpful PSA for all you would-be home renovation folks out there. I went to order my new windows and doors for the (hoped-for) kitchen remodel that will be coming in late September. We don’t need them for 7 or 8 weeks, so that felt like it should be plenty of time. For the doors, it didn’t appear to be. For the windows? The first brand I wanted to get was going to take a while to get here. How long?

20 weeks. That’s a 2 with a 0 after it. Five months. 140 days. We’re talking, they’d be here in January.

Perhaps that’s not really a surprise for some of you. Maybe it shouldn’t be for me, either. The pandemic has caused all sorts of chaos in all sorts of different areas. I can definitely understand why some people would like to pretend it’s no longer “a thing.” I would love to get back to the point we used to be at, where I could get practically anything I wanted, whenever I wanted it.

(ASIDE: Perhaps this can also be a good reminder that there’s a cost for that “whatever/whenever” luxury. It relies on many different people being available, hard at work to keep all the different cogs that run that machine going. I’ve reflected multiple times how we’ve taken prices and products for granted. When the first cell phones came out in 1984, they cost over $10,000 in today’s dollars. True, some of that price has gone down because technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. But then again, the cell phones then didn’t do anything like what the smart phones do now.

Cheap technology is possible because of cheap labor. There’s been no small amount of debate around what “essential services” really means today. If we value having readily available goods and services, it’s important to remind ourselves that those are a luxury, not a right. RANT OVER)

In any case, the good news is that they had other windows that will work fine, and they’ll be here in only 8 weeks, which should be in time for the job to get done. But I’m glad I ordered them now, and didn’t wait until the end of the month, like I was thinking would be sufficient. I wonder what other pleasant surprises this renovation has in store . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Kitchen Renovation 2021: The Saga Continues

Any keen-eyed followers of my blog would remember the plan was to start our kitchen renovation at long last at the beginning of August. And while it’s true I’ve taken some days off the blog here and there (due to camping, traveling, and work), there have been no “The renovation is starting” posts. Sadly, that’s not because I haven’t had time to write that post.

It’s because the renovation hasn’t started.

A month and a half ago, our cabinet company called to say our cabinets were going to be delayed past their August 3rd delivery date. No biggie, I thought to myself. We weren’t going to need them right away, anyway. And then I promptly stopped thinking about it, because I’ve had a million other things to think about that seemed more important than “when will the cabinets really be delivered?”

But then we were at the end of July, and I realized we really needed to have a firm date. The renovation was about to start, and they’d never called us back. When we called to inquire when the cabinets would appear, the answer was “We don’t know.” Apparently our wood had been backordered, and they just didn’t have any available. They had no clue when they would have it available, either. Our options were to pick out a new wood, or wait for who-knew-how-long.

So Denisa and I got in the car and drove back to Augusta for our fourth “Cabinet Reconnaissance” trip. (This being right after I got back from Utah, on the one free night I had before I had to leave for Machias. I was thrilled.) Four hours later, we’d picked out not just the new cabinet wood and stain, but investigated our flooring options as well. (What can I say? I lead a glamorous life.) We called our cabinet guy and made the switch. He promised the order would be rushed through.

And indeed, the next day the cabinet company called with our delivery date: October 5th. October 5th? I called back to see if their definition of “rushed through” was really as far off from mine as it seemed. Yes, October 5th. But our original wood choice was back in stock! Would we like to go with the original? We did not. The one good thing to come out of all of this is that I think we’ll be happier with our new color and wood than we would have been with our first choice.

So we called our contractor. Thankfully, he was able to shift his work schedule around to fit us in in mid-September. When the kitchen renovation will start. It better. We have about 20 cabinets coming to our house one way or the other, and we’re really going to have to put them somewhere, you know? And if we start any later, then we’re doing it when it starts to get really cold. Which we don’t want to do . . .

Here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing from here on out.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Surprise Home Improvement

You all know the big project of the summer is renovating the kitchen. The cabinets are ordered and on their way. The layout is set. The time is blocked off. The budget’s there.

Well, a part of my roof decided it had other ideas about all that.

Seven years ago, we paid to have that part of the roof redone. It was a process that wasn’t without its pitfalls, as you’ll see if you go to that post. Those pitfalls really ought to have been a red flag to us about who we were dealing with. We ignored them, and we’ve been paying the price for that again and again in the years since as we’ve paid to redo the things that contractor did wrong. This is just the latest incident of that.

The roof really should have lasted another 5-10 years at least. Instead, it’s been shedding shingles left and right. The shingles themselves are in fine shape, but they weren’t nailed properly to the roof. Instead, too little space was left between the edge of the shingles and the nails, making it so that the shingles can get ripped off in a strong wind. We also discovered that the roofers from 7 years ago failed to put any sort of underlayment on the roof. Again, something I should have caught back then, but I was much newer in the ways of the roof, and I just didn’t see it.

In any case, we can’t have a big part of our house stuck with a roof that’s failing constantly, and we don’t want to have to continue to pay people to come and fix it, so . . . we’re getting it totally redone. It’s frustrating, and it’s not cheap, but I just don’t see another choice. It’s very high up there, so it’s not something I’m willing to do myself or with a group of friends. I want someone insured, and we have someone lined up already, which worked out well. It should be totally done by tomorrow. Yay for quick, straight-forward projects.

The good news is that thanks to all the government COVID stimulus checks, I think we’re still on track for the kitchen. Here’s hoping nothing else major breaks anytime soon, though. That extra padding only goes so far.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Cabinets: Purchased!

I first posted about getting ready to renovate our kitchen back in September of 2018. At the time, I noted we had the basic plan in place for the layout of the room, but we were a bit daunted by how big of a project this was going to be. It might take a year to really get ready for it. (Ha ha ha.) In November of 2019, I wrote about how I was finally getting ready to move forward with cabinet selection and purchase. (Ha ha ha.) I had found an online cabinet company that would send us Ready To Assemble (RTA) cabinets, and it seemed like that would be cheaper than going with buying cabinets pre-made. In July 2020, I wrote about still gearing up for those renovations, and maybe looking at that fall to do them. (Ha ha ha.) I could have sworn I wrote a post in September or so, talking about how Denisa and I went to Lowe’s to do a consultation around cabinets, but I can’t find it now. We’d talked to friends who swore that would be cheaper and easier than RTA, and the consultation was free, so . . .

Yesterday, we finally ordered and paid for the cabinets. We did end up getting them from Lowe’s instead of the online company I’d found. Why? For one thing, they were less expensive. I’m not surprised it was hard for me to tell that at first. Figuring out just how expensive cabinets will be from Lowe’s is a bewildering process. It’s hard to find the prices anywhere, and when I’d guesstimated the cost, I hadn’t realized that Lowe’s discounts their cabinets. Heavily. So the price you see on the surface ends up being much less than the price you pay.

For example, our cabinets ended up being 40% off the final price, plus 50% off the stain we chose. Lowe’s was running a 30% off sale (that seems to be pretty much permanent, judging from the fact that every time I checked on the price over the last year, the sale was always running). We got that extra 10% off by applying for a Lowe’s credit card, which typically gives you 5% off at Lowe’s, but for cabinets this week, they were doubling that.

So the Lowe’s cabinets are less expensive, they’re the same quality as what I was looking at online in terms of construction, they’ll arrive pre-assembled, and I don’t have to worry about them anymore. I also had someone who actually knew what they were talking about help me design the layout. Maxwell was our assistant at the Augusta Lowe’s, and I was very happy with the help he gave us and how patient and courteous he was. That made a complicated process that much easier to handle. (All told, I think we spent 8 hours in that store over three different visits, picking out wood types, stains, layout, features, and all.)

For the record, we went with rustic alder for the wood choice, with a stain that will make it slightly darker and give it a matte finish. Our current kitchen has 7 drawers and basically 8 cabinets. The new one will have something like 13 drawers and 14 cabinets. It’s hard to match it up one to one, but we’re going to have many more storage options. I was worried the increased cost of lumber right now would have made them more expensive, but apparently that isn’t the case. The lead time, however, has gone from 4-8 weeks to 16 weeks, which might have been a problem if we were planning to do this soon, but we’re not going to start until August, so it’s not nearly as big of a deal.

At this point, the cabinet’s are ordered, the fridge is here, the dishwasher’s here . . . Let’s put it this way: if we don’t renovate the kitchen this fall, we’re going to have an awful lot of boxes around the house for way too long.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

The Dishwasher Saga

As you likely know if you read my blog regularly, our current plan is to renovate our kitchen this year. Right now we’re looking at August. COVID pushes everything back. Always. We first wanted to do it back last spring, then we bumped that to the fall, and then to this spring, and now to August. Meanwhile, the price of lumber has skyrocketed, leading me to believe the industry has been taken over by some drug cartel. (I mean, it’s gotten three times as expensive in less than a year. Yowzers.)

But Denisa and I are undaunted. We want to press forward. For one thing, we already bought a new refrigerator when our old one broke during the pandemic, and the new one doesn’t fit where the old one used to go. This means we have our fridge in a different room than the kitchen. Now, I may not be a professional kitchen designer, so perhaps this is some new cutting edge approach to kitchen layouts, but I’ll say from experience, it’s Less Than Optimal when it comes to actually using your fridge. Also, our dishwasher is gurgling its way to an approaching death. The interior rack is literally rusting away to nothing, and I’m beginning to think people may need a tetanus shot just looking at it.

Which is why we bought a brand spanking NEW dishwasher on black Friday. Yes, it was earlier than we thought we needed to buy it, but I did some research into dishwasher storage, and it looked like we’d be fine leaving it in the garage over the winter, even in Maine temperatures. Little did we know that buying the dishwasher at the end of November meant we wouldn’t actually get it until . . .

Who knows? Not yet. We’ve called the company multiple times to keep getting updates. Supposedly we’re now the 13th people in line. (How long was this line to begin with?!?) This means we should have a dishwasher with our name on it in the next shipment of Bosch dishwashers the company gets. (I would say this all sounds fishy, but this isn’t my first kitchen appliance rodeo during the pandemic, remember? Getting the fridge required a not-so-minor miracle, and thank goodness that came through. Our backup plan was to use the hand-me-down fridge we have in the garage, which we still have from Breadweavers days. I’m not 100% sure, but my gut says this would have been less useful than having a fridge in an adjacent room to the kitchen . . .)

Theoretically, we should get our dishwasher sometime in April. But remember, that will then be contingent on the postal service (or some delivery service) getting it here. So maybe it’s good we’re not planning to use it until August. (And boy am I glad we bought it in November. If we bought it now, it almost certainly wouldn’t have arrived in time for our renovation.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, my lumber dealer just texted me to tell me he got a new shipment of premium white pine in, and if I don’t run over to pick it up now, I’m going to regret it. Here’s hoping the police don’t bust the trade this time.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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