“We shall not have tiled in vain.”
I posted the following kitchen renovation log entries on Facebook over the span of a few months and they developed a bit of a following. By that I mean a couple dozen people who know me seemed to love them. I have no doubt they will find their place on the nation’s historical register, alongside documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Statue of Liberty’s adoption papers.
When we were about to get started on the kitchen almost a year ago, we were giddy with excitement. Ready to embark on a journey of rejuvenation. But it was a total slog, and gross, because it was a disgusting, dirty, neglected kitchen and we did all the work ourselves, except for the new hardwood floors. It’s been “mostly but not quite done” for a few months now. Half the tile is grouted, for example. The other half continues to need some scraping of Thin-Set. The toe-kick things aren’t in quite yet, allowing a collection of dog food, dust bunnies, and party favors to accumulate nicely. But wow. What an accomplishment, right? Aren’t we heroes for doing this? No, we’re not. We’re cheap.
So the inspiration for this log came from HGTV shows where whiney new homeowners complain about everything from paint color to three weeks of slight inconvenience as top-notch professionals swoop in and do everything for them. Also, one day on the eve of our renovation, Cody mused about how he couldn’t wait to retrieve leftover pizza from the fridge without having to bend over slightly. I agreed. Then I laughed, stepped back, and marveled at this perceived material “problem.” So I immediately posted to Facebook, of course.
Cue up a Ken Burns-style documentary soundtrack and enjoy.
Kitchen reno log, day 4: Inhabitants’ spirits remain high, but already signs of fraying tolerance are starting to appear as supplies run low. The sub-flooring is laid bare and I fear before too long, frustration will be as well. Despite our flawed humanity, we are unwavering in our determination. While carving out a brave new kitchen is a test of soul and strength, the end result will be a source of pride and beacon of triumph for our entire community (of four including a dog). May it long endure.
Kitchen reno log, day 8-ish: Colonists have begun to exhibit strange symptoms. Kansas (of Nevada) has been vomiting at night, and we pray that a vet can help determine if this is due to nerves over our countertop and appliance choices, or consumption (of drywall or stuffed animal innards). The youngest member of the colony has descended into a form of madness, refusing to wear her glasses. Elder Cody is complaining of aches and pains, but what he really desires is freedom from toil, we suspect. Building a new kitchen is forging a new way of life. Not for the faint of balls. The walls are in shambles, the sub-flooring creaks ominously, and our bodies have begun to falter, but our spirits will never be broken. The vision of a remodeled kitchen, with no duct tape on the floor to bind linoleum layers or our souls, remains a beacon too bright to be denied. May we never relent.
Kitchen reno log, day %$#!: As our kitchen staples and supplies are encamped in the dining room, quarters are tight. New trails are being blazed thusly for wayfarers traveling from living room to other areas of the settlement and beyond (like to the backyard or whatever). Setbacks plague the burgeoning colony, yet I’ve never been more proud to be an inhabitant of this new world born of cabinets from IKEA, various supplies from Home Depot and Overstock.com, and the love of freedom from super gross tile and linoleum. One day our clueless progeny will look back and marvel at (or totally take for granted) the conviction and labor of the kitchen’s founders, if not their organizational skills. Times like these require boldness of spirit the likes of which were never seen in the oppressive kitchen of olde. With screwdrivers as our bayonets, and curse words as our rallying cry against constant errors, we remain steadfast.
Kitchen reno log, day a million: Mental, physical and spiritual fatigue had settled upon us in a thick blanket along with dust from the newly sanded wood floor when we were visited by representatives from the Massachusetts colony, who offered elbow grease, expertise and free meals to bolster our efforts and weight gain. ‘Twas an enormous blessing. Though each step of the building process is typically repeated three times before successful completion, the kitchen colony, against all odds, is taking shape as a place for finding fortune and not just fortune cookies out of Chinese take-out bags. It shall be a destination for comfort food and warm conversation, and not just cold pizza and chilly remarks about someone’s failure to read instructions*. If not confidence or morale, may sheer momentum carry us home. May God smile favorably upon our combination of white cabinets, stainless steel appliances and black countertops**.
**For at least two score years, or beyond the various warranties involved.
Kitchen reno log, day 300-or-something: While many (hopes) have died, progress continues. The backsplash has been set into the walls of the kitchen as well as the fabric of history. Angles may be slightly off in corners under cabinets, but where precision fails, spirit and perhaps laziness persist against all odds. What is clear, unlike the grout lines, is the indomitable spirit of this settlement and its love of food. Why, the bedrock of this place–what is it other than a desire to eat and prepare food under the warm blanket of freedom and without the oppression of duct-taped floors and splinting plywood of olde? Tis our hope, and our unflagging faith, that our arguments, strife and slow pace will in the end quicken the cadence of liberty, deliciousness, and entertaining. God bless you all, and God bless this kitchen.
Just don’t look in the bathroom–it’s anarchy in there.