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Taken for granted

Published October 08. 2011 09:01AM

So. If you've been reading my column, you know we've been renovating the kitchen.

What started out as just putting in hardwood floors turned into a major renovation. It began on Feb. 22. Almost eight months later, it's still not completed. (I won't bore you with the details.) But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only one thing remains to be done and that is to tile the backsplash. Yeah!

You know what I have learned through this experience?

I am the most indecisive person alive.

A home improvement project always costs more than you originally planned for.

Life is nothing like a HGTV program where a reno job is completed in 30 minutes.

You can count on delays and mistakes to really mess you up.

And the #1 thing I learned?

I take a lot for granted.

"You don't know what you have until it's gone" is so true.

We lived without the dining room table, and everything in the dining room, for almost the whole eight months. We ate off a plastic picnic table that could be lifted easily out of the way. I missed seeing my beautiful things because they were all packed away. Now I have my dining room back and it's like everything is brand new as I unpack my treasures to put them back where they belong.

Periodically, I had to do without running water in the kitchen. Let me tell you, washing dishes in the bathroom gets old really fast. Sitting on the toilet looking at a cookie sheet soaking in the bathtub is a new experience.

My flour and sugar were in our bedroom.

The dishes were in Harry's office.

The pots and pans were on a table in our attached garage.

The microwave was hooked up in the garage for so long that last week when I went to microwave vegetables for dinner and was heading out to the garage, Harry asked me where I was going. "You don't have to go out there anymore. Remember? I hooked up the microwave last night." And sure enough, there it was, right where it belonged! In the kitchen above the stove attached to my brand new cabinets! Oh, bliss.

Yesterday, the countertop was installed. I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie "The Money Pit" when he wakes up one morning prepared to go down a stepladder with his buckets for water because he had been without a staircase for months, to find a brand new staircase had finally been built. He couldn't believe his eyes and said, "Stairs! We have stairs!" He ran to tell Shelley Long that they had stairs and was rendered almost speechless, delirious with wonder and joy.

That was me with my countertop.

"Countertop! We have a countertop!" I cried joyously to Harry. I laid my head down on the beautiful smooth cool surface and stretched out my arms across it, trying to hug it. "I have a countertop," I sighed.

I couldn't believe how much I missed having a countertop. I immediately got the urge to chop up something for dinner.

There's one other thing I take for granted.

His name is Harry.

This project could never have happened without him. He's the one who has the friend who told him about the unfinished hardwood floor deal of a lifetime. It was his friend who agreed to barter his time to install the floor and the cabinets when they arrived in exchange for Harry doing a stone wall at his home. It is Harry (with a little help from me) that stained it, distressed it with a chain, and finished it so that it looks like something out of a magazine. It is Harry that is a handyman extraordinaire and can do almost anything that saves us so much money by doing it himself, from electrical, plumbing, woodworking to tiling. He amazes me at all the things he has a working knowledge of.

But here's the thing about Harry that I take for granted the most ... his unending patience with me. If they gave out awards for Best Husband Ever, I'd nominate mine in a heartbeat!

When I made countless trips to every home improvement store and specialty shop from here to eternity to pick out cabinets, tile and countertops, he never once killed me. I don't believe a jury of his peers would have convicted him if he had, because they would have believed I drove him to the brink of insanity with my indecision.

In all things, he is my hero.

But in this scenerio, he was Captain Reno Man, coming to my kitchen aid wearing his bullet-proof plaid flannel shirt and a toolbelt loaded with superpower tools.

This eight-month project has resulted in a beautiful new kitchen and a resolve to never take any of my blessings for granted...especially my Captain Reno Man.

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