Monday, July 19, 2010

Kitchens vs. Bathrooms

Yesterday Beach Bum remarked to the effect that his handyman skills never seemed satisfactory to his wife so they always hired out the work to be done.  Even though the Great Bathroom Catastrophe of 1999 was a stressful time I am glad Mr. Lime is a reasonably capable handyman and we only need to hire out electrical type stuff  or huge projects like removing a load bearing wall and replacing it with a horizontal beam.  I like not spending absurd amounts of money for labor.

 Cocotte commented, "I'm never sure which is worse, bathroom or kitchen projects?"  Well, that leads me to another story.  Please try not to wet yourselves in glee over the prospect of reading it.  We do have a functional bathroom for such purposes.  In order to revisit the time of the Kitchen Crisis we need to travel back in time to 1995.  I was great with child and no I am not being poetic there.  I was a massive, swollen bloat of an expectant mother.  I was 8 months pregnant with a child who would weigh in at 9.5 lbs....GREAT with child.  So expansive was my girth that for the previous 4 weeks bathing of the older two children had been taken over by Mr. Lime because we had a claw foot tub and I literally could not reach in to the bottom of it to safely secure my 2 year old or 4 year old during the bathing process.  This will become an important consideration later in the story.

One glorious Saturday morning I was actually able to sleep in a bit.  I savored this knowing such mornings would soon be coming to an abrupt end with the baby's arrival.  Mercifully, the girls were even sleeping in.  When I finally wandered downstairs yawning in a state of unusual relaxation and bliss I was suddenly shocked into full consciousness by the presence of a refrigerator in my living room.  Strange, this isn't where I left the refrigerator last night.  I entered the kitchen with a puzzled look on my face and discovered empty spaces which only the night before had been filled by the fridge, the stove, and the sink.  The stove was now on the back porch and the sink and it's cabinets were in the back yard.  I was perplexed and none too pleased to say the last.  Mr. Lime and I had discussed redoing the kitchen but agreed to wait to do so until after the baby was born.  At least that's how I remembered the conversation going.

I called for Mr. Lime since he wasn't in sight but I could hear him banging around in the basement.  I asked why my kitchen was...well, NOT in the kitchen.  He emerged from the basement sweaty and growling that when he got up in the morning he came into the kitchen and discovered a pipe had burst in the night.  (Ya just gotta love the plumbing in a 100 year old house.)  Since that time he had shut off the water, cleaned things up, and moved everything out.   Well, I was certainly glad for that.  He went on to explain how the water gushing out of the pipe under the sink had run back down under the cabinet, through the hole in the floor and into the basement and right into an old washer that was very fortunately positioned directly under the kitchen sink.  Thus most of the water had filled the washtub before spilling out all over the basement floor and sparing the first floor considerably more damage.  So as burst pipes go it was pretty amazing that it didn't occur AFTER we had redone the kitchen and that the water was so nicely contained.

There still was the slight problem of not having a functional kitchen.  I asked in as non-pressuring manner as I could how long Mr. Lime thought it would take to get things in working order.  He said he'd already been calling around about cabinets and counters to replace the damaged one and was told a couple of weeks for the counters.  since it was grocery day and I needed to have some idea as how to proceed my next question was about food prep and clean up.  Since I had no sink the only alternative for washing dishes was a hose in the backyard or the tub.  Remember how we already established my inability to reach the bottom of the tub?  Yeah.  That wasn't happening.  And Mr. Lime would rather clean a toilet with his tongue than wash dishes so that left the hose and a basin in the backyard.  Not undoable but it was freakin' 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity and I'm freakin' ginormous pregnant here.  Let's just say in the end stages of pregnancy I don't handle curve balls well and I thought I had already handled one big curve ball with astonishing aplomb. Anyway, the issue of the shopping list boiled down to this.  Either Mr. Lime figures out a way for me to have some sort of a functional sink (It doesn't have to be pretty.  It just has to work.) or I am buying T.V. dinners for the duration.  Mr. Lime rigged up a pretty groovy sink on stilts within a day or two.  It worked just fine until we got the new cabinet and counter.

So all in all the Kitchen Crisis of 1995 was far easier to negotiate and endure than the Great Bathroom Catastrophe of 1999.  For the sake of argument we'll pretend Mr. Lime has no handyman skills and couldn't remedy either of these situations himself.  I'll still take a deconstructed kitchen over a gutted bathroom.  If it still seems unclear let me ask you, "Would you rather eat out or shower out?"  Case closed.

11 comments:

Cricket said...

Yeah, I'm with you here... a sack of dollar menu burgers is easier to come by than an alternative way to bathe.

Or just whipping something up on the hot plate. And let's not forget the joys of paper plates. I still use 'em on hot days with those wicker holders. Who needs a load of dishes and/or a dishwasher that pumps steam into the kitchen?

And that bathroom story began with the toilet... even harder to sub out than the shower. The yard might be ok for #1 in a pinch, but those "Acts of Congress" are problematic.

Jazz said...

Yep, that final question does indeed pretty much close the case.

I love the new look, by the way.

coopernicus said...

new template...woo hoo!!!!

isn't home ownership fun???

Craig said...

Funny you should mention it; we just remodeled our kitchen a couple years ago. . .

It was actually a bit less hassle than I'd expected it to be. Jen's brother did the work for us, which had its good news and bad news aspects for us. Good news - we got some price breaks, and he threw in a few 'added extras' just 'cuz he loves us so much. Bad news - we were constantly getting 'bumped down' in favor of jobs that were payin' him full price. . .

But he's pretty good, and did a great job. As to the sink, he had a temporary sink that he just carried around with him - just a sink in a hunk of plywood that he rigged up in two minutes at the end of every work day. Then the next morning, it took him about a minute and a half to take it down so he could work. So we never had to do dishes in the bathtub.

We'll be needing to do our bathroom in the nearer-than-I-wish-it-was future. But, with 3 bathrooms, we have showering options (you might as well have a perk or two from owning a house that'll accommodate ten people). . .

And, what Cooper said about the new template. . . very Limey. . .

Cocotte said...

You make a very good point!

Suldog said...

Love the story, of course. Always love your stories. But today I want to comment about your labels at the end of your posts. They crack me up.

Just thought you should know that at least one person reads them and has a laugh.

secret agent woman said...

Remodeling can be such a hassle. It took me forever to tile the bathroom and do other remodeling projects, but afterwards I'm always glad I did.

g-man said...

Didn't Del Shannon have a song called Handyman?

Beach Bum said...

Home ownership seriously sucks!

S said...

I love your new bloggy look miss! Cool!

LOL that 100 year old house again!

When LR was born, she had to be in the hospital for three weeks, so I had to pump and freeze the milk.
Well, Mr Ratburn decided to defrost our freezer with a knife and hammer....
Yes, he did!
Yes, it did!
Now, imagine, i'm postpartum, green freon slime is pouring out all over my baby milk in the freezer, which I barely had enough of...while my brand new infant, 8 weeks early is in intensive care, and I know Mr Ratburn had NO IDEA how I felt inside but I just about exploded out of frustration, exhaustion, confusion and postpartum I dont even have my baby with me now blues....

Then I had to switch to formula...that totally wrecked me.
Now we still have the old crappy used fridge we had to buy the next day after the freezer burst, but we dont have to defrost the freezer at all.

I have to agree with Beach Bum, that home ownership seriously sucks, thats why I rent. Everytime something goes wrong, its his problem. Why, dry rot costs $25,000 to fix, thats 2 years rent! I am renting as long as I can avoid buying a house with a man that can barely screw in a lightbulb.

Have a lovely day!

Jocelyn said...

The only way this story could have ended better would be if you'd given birth in that stilt sink.