Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kitchen no more

Day one of the new kitchen dawned at 4 AM with a migraine.

For some unknown reason even I don't understand, I felt compelled to bake this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe (Lenox Almond Biscotti).  I mean, I was up at 4 anyway and the kitchen was boxed up and sitting in the living room, so why not?

I dropped the biscotti and yesterday's double chocolate cupcakes off at the office and came home to find Alan the contractor and the electrician already at work.  This was the best part of the day, and it would soon to go downhill.

We're replacing the electrical panel because adding new appliances is the perfect time to correct a wrong in the house--namely, too many appliances on the same breakers. See, you're not supposed to have the washer, dryer, microwave and dishwasher (plus a couple of outlets) on the same breaker. The plan was to install a recessed circuit breaker box; the existing box is situated under a gutter. That's not such a big deal, except that the previous owners ran the wiring from the pole THROUGH the gutter. It's in a steel pipe, but if the gutter were to leak (which, uh, it does in several spots around the house), it could leak into the box. That would be a bad thing.

Once they started breaking through the stucco to recess the box, they ran into (this will shock you) an unusual arrangement of studs, plywood and framing. The electrician suspected there used to be a window where the new box is supposed to go. They asked me if there used to be a window there. Like I know. But I remembered one of my former neighbors had video taped the house during its renovation, and I found the tape and we watched it. Sure enough, there used to be a window smack dab in the corner of the house next to the old chimney. Alan confirmed that the framing and stud configuration was fine and he could build a frame for the new box, and everyone seemed happier, if a few hours behind schedule (at 2:30 the power was still on). In the meantime, Alan found termite damage (old) and asbestos. The electrician found the fuse box from when the house was first built, still buried in the wall. All kinds of wires that go nowhere. We also discovered that the washer and dryer electrical wasn't wired properly (rewiring it was already on the agenda before we discovered it was wrong). I love this house, but there are so many things that were done wrong.  At least we know about these problems so we can fix them.

On days two and three, Alan demoed the kitchen. I think it went well since he didn't call me with "news." We now have a large empty room that I like to imagine having lots of promise.

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