The First Full Weekend

Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7:

With Mom and Dad, we accomplished a lot. Mom, Dad, and Christina worked from 3:00 until 7:00 on Friday, and Robert joined them for dinner after work.

On Friday, the cable guy came, complained about the stairs, and didn't install the cable modem because he got his work order mixed up. But, on the plus side, his truck didn't get towed from in front of the house in the middle of the job--the way that our locksmith's truck was towed on Thursday, while he installed beautiful new locks in our front and back doors. Thankfully, the locksmith was a lot more placid guy than the cable guy, who really didn't have all that much to complain about after all.

On Saturday, Mom and Christina spent three and a half hours in Home Depot. Dad and Robert made two trips back and forth to the apartment with kitchen cabinets while we: 1) assembled and then guarded the rest of our cabinets; 2) asked many questions about ripping up ceramic tile, hooking up sinks, and using primers; 3) wrestled with kitchen counters; 4) chose and ordered paint, much to the amusement of everyone in the paint department; 5) watched various people--shoppers and employees--go back and forth and in and out; 6) nearly died of thirst; and 7) inspired many men--shoppers and employees--to offer to help us with our three carts and flatbeds full of materials and cabinets. For the final trip, we rented a Zipcar Element, and got everything back all at once. I felt much better knowing that all our cabinets, counters, and the sink were here, though not installed. And I was excited about getting ready to start painting: did I mention how everyone loved my paint? The paint mixing guy was thrilled to do so many beautiful colors, and the people behind me on line admired them immensely. When the guy lifted off the first cap to dab the top of the can with a little bit of the color, the three Berklee students behind me were wowed: "Good lord, that's red!" one said. "That is one bold color." I smiled proudly. It's for the small bedroom. It's tomato red, semi-gloss. He lifted off the top of the second can: "Wow! Look at that yellow!" the guy nearly yelled. "No one's ever gonna ask you what you call that color--that's red, that's yellow. Pretty clearly." (Big bedroom.) The third can: "Blue! Hey, you don't do anything by halves!" This time I was modest: "No, I try not to." (Living room/dining room.) Inspired, I added, "Wait until you see my lime green kitchen." Fourth can: "My god, that's really lime! Look at that lime! Everyone will know it's lime, all right." Fifth and sixth cans: "These are the boring colors," I apologized. "Bathrooms and woodwork." (Porky Pig pink and very pale blue-white, like clouds.) I am in love with my paint.

On Saturday and Sunday, we worked hard. The four of us started at 7:00 each morning and ended at 9:00 Saturday night and 4:00 Sunday, with brief breaks for fast and grimily-eaten meals. We had one small finger cut, one relatively minor plumbing disaster, and a lot of achey bones.

Robert and Dad ripped out the old oven, stovetop, dishwasher, sink, and 80% of the bottom kitchen cabinets.

Dad used his table saw to trim wood to line old radiator depressions and a cut in the wall for the projector.

Christina and Mom cleaned the kitchen and the small bathroom.

Robert sat on the floor of the kitchen reading a plumbing book, dismantling the garbage disposal and water filter. Notice my grandfather's trouble light in the background, since in addition to all we accomplished positively this weekend, we also managed to make both kitchen lights mysteriously stop working. We made due with daylight, the trouble light, and flashlights.

Christina and Mom primed most of both bathrooms (one painted very dark blue and one very dark green, and both extremely dark and poorly lit). Christina painted the entire laundry nook pink and laid down a new rubber floor, in preparation for the arrival of the new washer and dryer.

We piled trash in the back bedroom in preparation for getting rid of it. Trash disposal will clearly be an interesting ongoing issue. In addition to the broken-up cabinets you see here, with nails and all, which aren't ready to be taken out, we had three heavy contractor bags of smaller heavy dirty trash, two regular white trashbags, a stove-top, a lot of old paint we found under the floorboards, and a bundle of nail-free tied-up cabinet pieces. I like looking at the trash pile, which grew steadily over the weekend. Satisfying, no? Now, if it weren't for a small plumbing problem that's causing a roadblock for us, we'd be completely on track to a working kitchen and painted walls by the end of September. We might still be able to do it, but things will be interesting: it turns out that the pipes going to the kitchen sink were really poorly installed, were glued together rather than screwed, and were installed with the shut-off valve hidden under the floor or in the wall. We can't find the shut-off, and we can't quite get the new kitchen sink and sink base on top of the old pipes without cutting (and flooding?) something. So, what now? Professional plumber, do-it-yourself, or flood?

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Created: 9/7/03. Last Modified: 9/7/03.