what’s cookin’

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Traskland
Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s no better time to incur debt than during a prolonged recession. Over the past six months or so the lovely Ms. Trask and I have contemplated upgrading the kitchen. Actually, so much in the house demands attention that it’s almost impossible to know where to start. But every home improvement guru I hear and every home improvement article I read preach from the same gospel. When it comes to selling your home the biggest bang for the buck lies in the kitchen and bathrooms. Which is all fine and good except there’s no selling in our foreseeable future. However, when everything starts collapsing onto itself your better instincts say, “Hey Einstein, maybe you should do something about A and B and C and D and E and F and G before you find yourself storing food in coolers and gazing at the stars through an unplanned sunroof.” Since the kitchen is the heart of the house (pulling out home improvement clichés I am) with a fair amount of time spent there, it being closest to the food and all, the decision was easier than expected. B through G and beyond will have to wait their turn.

Assessing specifically what must be done wasn’t as tough as you might think. Other than the floor and the cabinets, everything else is on the chopping block. It’s not as if the floor and cabinets are so utterly fantastic they couldn’t use a nice refresh, but they are functional and money doesn’t grow on trees. (Now I’m resorting to clichés which stretch beyond home improvement. Yay me.) “Everything else” includes the walls, countertops, oven, fridge, built-in microwave, dishwasher, sink and fixtures, hardware for the cabinets, lighting, furniture and a partridge in a pear tree. I’d love to do some of the labor myself, but faithful readers may recall I know my way around a tool box about as much as Madonna knows her way around humility. Okay, that first part is a lie. I have zero desire to do any of the labor myself. Why should I take a job from a semi-capable union fella just to save a few million dollars? (That is the going rate for the labor part of home improvement, right?) Plus my economic contribution to this great nation could land me a special guest spot in the galley at the next State of the Union address. I could be Joe the Plumber without the plumb. Call me John the Financier without the finance.

Still, there are some things I can do. After we made the decision to tackle the kitchen we looked for the quickest win, something to help drive home the fact this metamorphosis was actually going to happen. The obvious solution involved a sledge hammer and blow torch, but I understand you may need a permit for that. Not patient enough to wade through bureaucratic red tape we chose the next best option: painting the walls. The walls were a light institutional green which looked fine when first applied 8 or 9 years ago. At the time it didn’t seem institutional at all, especially since it was replacing this acid flashback swirly pastel wallpaper horror show the previous owner apparently adored. As they say there’s a lid for every garbage can. So the new coats of flat light green were like a revelation, albeit a short-lived one. Light colored walls show dirty rather effortlessly. And after a while it really did feel institutional. I half expected Nurse Ratched to start dishing out meds. So yeah, a new color was needed. We may have been subtly influenced by a recent trip to Santa Fe when we picked Warm Terra Cotta. Whatever the reason, it dramatically changed the appearance. More significantly, the die was cast. (Third cliché for those counting at home.) Most significantly, my manual labor was complete.

After months of pure neglect spent staring at the pretty walls Phase II is now in the works. This is where I expect to hear from the White House come next January. Over the weekend decisions were made on new appliances, except the fridge. Trust me, ovens, dishwashers and microwaves alone can cause a major dent in the automobile of your financial life. Utilizing the wondrous beauty of the interwebs these were purchased online and will be delivered and installed next week. It will be nice to have a working dishwasher not named John and a stove on which all burners produce actual flames. Admittedly, the new microwave is as much for aesthetics as anything else since the switch is being made from white things to stainless steel things. But it is only a matter of time (cliché!) before it also conks out. Since the delivery charge is the same if you buy 1 or 30 items it seemed prudent to merge the oven and microwave purchases. Plus, there is that whole contributes to the economy thing. I feel good. I feel like the Neil Armstrong of kitchen remodeling. This is one small step for the Trask kitchen and one giant step for Sears first quarter earnings report.

  1. BrainRants says:

    What? You didn’t fell trees, mill wood, and make your own new cabinets?? Okay, okay. At least you use a gas stove.


  2. kayjai says:

    Ah, renovating. Such joy. We have lived in our present home for almost 7 yrs. (that’s a lifetime in RCMP speak. They’ll be shipping us out soon, I fear) and in that time I have painted the kitchen twice, all bedrooms at least once (except the master. Hubby didn’t appreciate my chocolate brown so it changed to cream), daughter’s room 2ce, renovated the basement and painted all of that, all bathrooms and the main floor I painted last summer. Whew! Yep..now they’ll tell us to get the hell out of bean town! This is our 6th posting by the way…so many homes painted..and a few more in my future, it seems. Happy renovating! I’d be happy to lend a helping roller to your cause!


  3. How much did the partridge in a pear tree cost? We’ve been thinking of upgrading from our crow in a cactus.


  4. whiteladyinthehood says:

    It will be nice to have a working dishwasher not named John – too funny!! I bet it will be beautiful when you are all done!


  5. Congrats on your kitchen makeover. Sounds like fun. Just when you thought stainless steel was still in, we’ll be back to avocado green appliances in no time…brace yourself! It’s like the fashion industry. Happy cooking!


    • John says:

      I preferred the mustard yellow appliances, thank you very much.


      • HARVEST Gold, John, not mustard. (I used to sell the stuff.) When we recently bought our new unstainless steel frige, the sales guy and I talked about those two colors and he told me that before that, it was turquoise and pink. Yuppers. And I had a friend who once owned an ANCIENT and VERY PINK range.


        • John says:

          Little known fact: The song was originally called “Home on the Pink Range” but it messed up the rhythm.


          • Whoa, we had a turquoise fridge when I was first born. And my dad called it the “ice box.” Mom even remembered the “ice man” coming every morning with blocks of ice, delivered into a trap door in their kitchen to keep their ice box cold. So if we REALLY want to go retro…actually, that might create more jobs and help the economy, come to think of it!


  6. A lovely new kitchen so you can continue not cooking!


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