Monday, May 10, 2010

The Kitchen..Yeah still at it....

When we left off, we were now again in a working kitchen.  Yes, I popped pop-corn before putting on the cabinet handles.  To be honest, I wasn't sure where they were.  We know that somewhere in a box we have handles for the cabinets that we can use.  We bought them about a year ago, but then the whole 'getting laid-off: moving 700 miles: getting into the new job: blah,blah' happened and there you go.  They are in a box.  We will find them.

Now, I need to add one small thing here.  When we replaced our appliances, we were able to find the stove and refrigerator at a good price.  Unfortunately this store didn't have the matching dishwasher yet.  So as we finished up the cabinet install we didn't yet have the dishwasher.  We had left the needed 24 and 1/4 inches so we knew we were good.  We would keep searching, find the perfect dishwasher and put it in.  (remember the 24 and 1/4 inches?)

So that next weekend, we decide to head down to Nashville.  We hadn't had a nice day-off in a while.  We would go down and go to the Frist Center, then check the big Sears outlet, then on to our very favorite Sushi place in Brentwood.

I personally hadn't gone to the Frist Center but had wanted to.  Marsha had gone once or twice, and we were looking forward to it.  Since I hadn't been there, as we were pulling up Marsha was explaining where the parking lots were that validate parking.  But whats this?  A spot right on the curb?  Next to the side door?  And it's not a handicapped spot?  What luck!!

I say, do you think we can just go in this side door?  It was chilly and I was looking for the 'quick way' in.  We try it and yes.  Right into the lobby.  Then as we are passing by the nice security guard sitting in his little booth at that side of the lobby, he says to us "Excuse me, do you have passes for today?"

We say no (me thinking we were in trouble for my quick entry through the side door), but asked where we could purchase them.

He then said, "Oh, have these two."  FREE PASSES?  Cool...

Now, for those who do not know the Frist Center.  They evidently do this a lot.  However, I just thought we had the super-double luck-out.  A great spot right outside AND free passes?  Could this day be any better?

So we spend a couple of hours at the Frist and then head to our second destination,  the HUGE Sear's appliance outlet store. We thought that surely we would have some luck in this place with a dishwasher.  No luck.  500 Refridgerators - 8 dishwashers.  Then as we were walking out of the store to the car we happened to notice a store of the same chain we bought the other two appliances from was just next door.  We decided that since we were already here we might as well check.

So we walk in, and go right over to the appiance section.  They had the EXACT one we needed.  It was the same brand as our other two, same style, stainless we couldn't believe it.  AND it was exactly 24 and 1/8 inches wide.  We left the perfect size hole.  Needless to say, she went to pay as I ran downstairs to see what I needed to do to make enough room in the SUV to get it home.  This was turning into the best day.  So we have a nice dinner, and drive home.  We can't wait to install the new dishwasher.

Sunday, we get up ready to finish out the appliance install.  We remove the dishwasher from the box.  Lug it into the kitchen, get ready to put it in the whole and...

"Wait, it's not quite fitting.  Let's move it a little this way..."  Still nothing.  Hang on, we measured this. What happened?

Suddenly we noticed.  That small line we marked that had been where the end of the 9" cabinet should have been had an extra 1/4 inch beside it.  Now, I really don't know what we did.  The best we can tell, was that when we put in the shims we must have moved the cabinet just enough that the dishwasher no longer fit.

Oh well, we can just slide the cabinets down.  We loosen the screws holding down the counter top.  We take out the screws holding the cabinets to the wall.  It was then I noticed that the nice big opening that I had to secure the sink cabinet to the wall was of course NOW taken up with the sink.  So now I have maybe 4-5 inches left to work with.  Underneath the sink where I will have to do all the work upside down.  And the topper.  My shortest screwdriver was way longer than 4-5 inches.

My Grandfather had a saying.  "Always have the right tool for the job.  If you don't have the tool, make it.  If you can't make it, well you don't have any business messing with it in the first place." 

So with this sage advice in my head, and summoning all of that Herndon 'make your own tool' mojo that I had learned growing up on the farm,  AND after much scratching of the head, I create the tool I need for the job. 

I put a screw-driver bit, into a socket that is the right size, holding it in with a bit of masking tape.  Then when the 'screw-bit-socket-driver-thingie' (patent pending) is on the ratchet, I can remove the screw in a tight spot.  I get to work.

Now remember, I'm working upside down.  And it's really hard to take out a 3 inch screw a quarter turn at a time.  So I continue.

OK, my leg was tired.  So after about 30 minutes, I get one of the two screws out... Next....

OK, so we get the sink cabinet loose.  We move the cabinets down 'just a smidge', then tighten it all back up again.

Woo-Hoo, the dishwasher now fits perfectly.  I spend the next couple of hours re-assembling the plumbing for the sink, re-adjusting the cabinet doors, and finding the bandages and anti-biotic cream.  Because there is another famous Herndon saying.  Well not a saying but really kind of a curse.

"No job can be completed until blood is spilled."  Yes, sounds kinda crazy.  But any of you that grew up on a farm can attest to this.  It's very hard not to get out of a project without a few scrapes.

OK, that's the most of the 'heavy' construction.  Since this we have painted and installed new lighting, including using an old wine rack we found in conjunction with a new fixture to do something nice over the kitchen sink.

OH, and you can notice the new paint too.  Yes, we have come a long way.  We have the kitchen more or less like we want it now.  As soon as we find that magic connection on some cork flooring we'll finish it up and be really proud.  I'll circle back and put more pictures in once the 'interior designer' (wifey) has OK-ed me putting up pictures of the "Non-Construction-Zone" kitchen up on the internet.

Now, On to the Patio.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Kitchen... Day 3..(Or, yes still working on it...)

OK, time to put the cabinets in on the other side of the kitchen.  Now being pros for putting in the other side, we boldly move forward.  We know as we put in the bottom cabinets we need to leave 24 and 1/4 inches for the dishwasher.

We put in the bit cabinet with the nice 36" drawer,  measured 24 1/4 inches and placed the cabinet for the sink and the small 9 in cabinet.  As we place the sink cabinet, we realize that it's ever so slightly off kilter (I'm told that's what the pros say).  Having had this problem before I pull out my 'bag-o-shims' and quickly tap in a shim to make the cabinet just right.  We reset the small 9 inch cabinet, also tapping in a small shim to make it all line up just perfectly.

Great, all cabinets are in.  On to the counter top.   Realize, due to our recent move our garage is still quite full.  I dig out the saw-horses and find just enough room to put the counter top onto them and still have 8 inches to stand in to cut.  Perfect.  So I go back into the kitchen and measure how far from the wall to where the sink would be centered.  I go and make a small mark on the bottom side of the counter top.  I go measure again. I double check.  (Can you tell I'm gun shy on cutting?)

We both go out to the garage.  "Honey, can you please double-check me?  We don't want to cut this wrong."  I show her my measurements, why I measured this way, blah blah...

"Yeah, that all seems right.....wait a minute!" She says.

"WHAT?" I say.

"OK, if we have this laying here up-side down, that end there would be by the wall right?" She asks.

"Yes, I think so." I reply.

"Then shouldn't the hole for the sink be over here?" she says trying not to hurt my manly pride.

"OH!  You are so right!!" I exclaimed, "I am SO glad I asked." 

Now, for those of you out there who may find this odd.  I won't say I'm a perfect husband.  But I have at least learned to ask my wife on certain things.  Plus, I think whatever pride I may have lost being wrong was MORE than made up for not having to go buy another 10 foot section of counter-top.  We re-measure, and double-check ourselves again.  Good.  I grit my teeth and make the cut.  Perfect.

From then on things go fairly smoothly.  I even was able to put the disposal in, and get all the drain pipes together with only 1 extra trip to the store.  On top of that, not one leak.  NONE.  I usually have to futz around with it for a couple of hours until I get it all right.

We have a 'working' kitchen.