Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

My flooring was due in on the 25th of May and my cabinets were supposed to arrive in late July. I have already brought my flooring home and I just got an email from Diamond (our cabinet manufacturer, if you can’t guess) saying that they preliminarily expect to ship out our new cabinets on June 8! I’ll get an update when our order starts down the factory line, but the message is the same: Holy crap, I’ve got to get to work! At least I have finished all of my classes for the semester.

Changes? We don’t need no stinking changes!

Apparently, if I order all of the cabinet equipment and plan on installing it myself, Lowe’s doesn’t care much if I screwed up dimensioning the room. However, if they’re going to install it, they need someone to come out to my house and verify my dimensions.

Here’s how the process is supposed to work: I give Lowe’s my sketch and we spend 5 hours designing the new kitchen. Then the installer comes out and re-measures my kitchen, and we spend about an hour going over the “new” dimensions, hypothesizing work-arounds, discussing installation quirks, gaps, mis-fists, part re-ordering and modifications. Then, the installers give the information back to Lowe’s, we adjust our order accordingly, and then sign for it.

He was supposed to arrive at 11:00 this morning and be here ‘till noon. He was late, and I had to wait until 11:08 for him to get around to showing up. He got his tape measure out, measured out the space for each new cabinet, scribbled all over his sketch, and finally said, “OK, I’m not used to this. Your measurements are spot on. First time this year.” He said he would turn his drawing back into Lowe’s and that he would call when the cabinets came in. He was out by 11:15.

So is there anything really mystical and magical about a tape measure? I wouldn’t think that crappy measurements were that much of a plague, but apparently I would be surprised. The only thing that confuses me about a tape measure is how one can own five of them and not know where to find one when they need it.

An Unstable Foundation

With my wife in Africa, it is time for me to address an inadequacy that has been plaguing us for years: much of our life is not built on a strong foundation… Literally.

Sarah and I bought our house right after we got married and we were told that our house had foundation problems in the past. I looked under the house and saw that the beam supporting the main load-bearing partition in our house was too weak. However, a replacement beam was installed that was the right size and was supported correctly. Everything was good, we were assured that all of the foundation issues have been addressed, and we bought the house. Yay Us!

Except the new beam was installed in the wrong location. Whoopsies.

So the main wall in our house—you know, the one that supports the kitchen cabinets and all of the living room electronics, as well as 1/3 of the weight of the roof—is sinking into the ground. These things happen, so I called a couple contractors to see how much they needed to fix the problem. It shouldn’t be that difficult. I got back a few quotes.

$15,000. Fifteen. Thousand. Dollars. For a beam.

Jeezus! It turns out that there’s a lot of work to be done, including a lot of engineering, and adding the word “Foundation” to any construction project automatically increases the cost 5 times. Luckily, I know a Mechanical Engineer with a couple of years experience in structures that works for cheap. I analyzed the old beam and verified that it is crap, designed a new beam and verified that it is awesome, and then made the biggest mistake since my wedding: I told my wife I could save us $13,000.

She must have heard “I will save us a ton of money on this beam, so we’ve got a ton of money to spend on something else… like a Kitchen!”

So yes, we are getting a new kitchen. At least I’m paying to have the new cabinets installed, but before that happens (which very well may be while I’m in Africa), the beam will have to be fixed, the floor will have to be leveled, the old crappy hardwood flooring will be ripped out, the old kitchen will be ripped out, and the new awesome hardwood will be installed. We also have a few design considerations left, like what countertop we are going to get.

So stop by often and check on our progress!